Wednesday, February 29, 2012

ONE STEP AT A TIME




“Procrastination is, hands down, our favorite form of self-sabotage”
~ Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby

I heard Rory Vaden, author of the book Take the Stairs, interviewed the other day. At first I thought he was an exercise guru, but he is actually a motivational speaker and self-discipline strategist for businesses. His premise is to do the right thing even if it is hard.

Although he is focused on helping businesses succeed, what he talks about it true about life. I thought about my life. Where am I taking the elevator when I should really be trudging up the stairs? Well, one thing is exercise. And I literally have to walk up stairs to my exercise equipment. I hate to exercise. It is boring and time-consuming. But it is also necessary.

Other difficult things may be standing firm with a teenager. Having that talk with someone. Making that apology. Applying for a new job. Being a better employee. Stop procrastinating and do what has to be done. Stop spending and save money. The possibilities are endless.

Are you on the elevator, taking the easy way out? Do you need to take the stairs, do the hard thing because it is the right thing to do?

I encourage you to do so. Take one step at a time. Guess I better head up my stairs and start the Jane Fonda DVD!  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

FORGIVENESS A FORMIDABLE FEAT



“Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.” ~ C.S.Lewis

Last time we looked at what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. Today we will look at how to forgive. And just like it says in the title, to forgive can be a very difficult thing to do.

When I was in elementary school we used to play a game called “dodge ball.” Remember that? We would stand in a large circle, and one of us would go to the center of the circle. We had a ball, kind of like a basketball only a lot softer. The goal was for those forming the circle to try to hit the person in the center and the person in the center to dodge that ball. Who ever finally hit the “dodger” took his or her turn in the center.

To forgive is a lot like that game. The offense is the ball. Life circles us and situations throw the offense at us. We are wise to dodge it, but too many times it knocks us flat. Or we might catch it and hold it tight, nursing the hurt. We may turn it over and over rehearsing the story in our head, or to others. But the true object of the game is to dodge it. And should we catch it, to reverse it—throw it away from us.

For most of us, forgiveness takes time. But if we will practice the following steps we will succeed:

·      Decide to forgive. Decide to let go of that offense. We must not listen to our emotions. They keep a death-grip on our hurt because at first it doesn’t always feel good to forgive.
·      Move forward. Not forgiving holds us in a state of inertia. Believe the truth. We did not deserve to be hurt in such a way. But now is the time to close the door on the past and move on to our future.
·      Focus on how this has made us stronger, wiser, better people, and more compassionate people to others in similar situations. Let us think about ways we can help others?
·      Redefine ourselves. We must quit being “the victim.” Let’s no longer allow the offending person or situation continue to have power or control over us.

Finally, we must be patience with ourselves. Sometimes in a weak moment we might forget to dodge and the offense will land in our hands. When that happens, we mustn’t nurse it, or rehearse the stories. We must reverse it. Throw it away. Life will get tired of playing that game and we will emerge the victors!  

Thursday, February 02, 2012

FINDING FREEDOM IN FORGIVING



“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”~ Lewis B Smedes

As a child, I always heard the phrase, “Forgive and Forget.” As an adult, I learned that forgetting is physically impossible. Our brains are not designed to forget. So what do we do? Live in the prison of our bitterness and anger? Draw others into our prison so they too can suffer?
No. Even though our human design makes it impossible to forget, forgiveness is possible. It involves our Mind – how we think about the offense, our Will – the choice we make, and our Emotion – controlling our reaction.
Most of us have been offended, cheated, treated unfairly, rejected, abandoned. Some of us have been heinously abused and feel the right to hold our attacker in un-forgiveness and hate.
For the next few posts we will explore forgiveness. Today I want to say what it is and what it is not.
Forgiveness is releasing the offense. Holding on to anger and bitterness is like squeezing a fist full of stinging nettles. It hurts and yet we hang on. We look at our hand and cry because it hurts and we hate it, but still we refuse to open our hand and throw them from us. But in order to heal, we must. Even after we throw the offenses (nettles) away, our hand still has wounds, it still bleeds, but the process of healing can now begin. 
Forgiveness is not saying the offense was justified! If someone has hurt you, to forgive the person is not giving him or her a pass. By forgiving we are not admitting that person had the right to hurt us. We are not saying it was okay.
To release an offense is to release ourselves from that person, from our own personal prison, and to grow. It will give us perspective and empower us to help others.

Are you holding onto stinging nettles? Will you let today be the beginning of your healing?