What We Have in Common with a Pumpkin

Gratitude Day 528

Wed., Oct. 28, 2020

Matthew 5:16 – So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that the commendable things you do will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.”

Maybe you’ve heard the story of being a Christian is kind of like a pumpkin. It’s a little story that I have often shared with kids this time of year. It’s just a nice little story that helps us see faith through the eyes of a child … and a pumpkin.

It begins with being picked. When we got to get a pumpkin, it begins with looking at all of the options and choosing one. Likewise, every day, all day, God chooses you.

The pumpkin maybe a little dirty and needs a good cleaning. Likewise, God is already to wash our “dirt” away.

God isn’t just interested in a pretty outside. God wants to know what is on the inside. We cut out the top of a pumpkin when we make a jack-o-lantern. And yes, God looks deep inside of us.

There’s some good stuff in there … but there’s also some yucky stuff. God has a great knack for getting rid of the yucky stuff.

All those seeds that are not helpful? God can deal with. The seeds of doubt, hate, greed. The seeds of disappointment, fear and lack of patience.

Who ever sees a sad pumpkin? Don’t we put smiles on them? Yes … just as God loves to see our smiling face.

Finally, a light inside the pumpkin makes it easy for the world to see it. I pray we keep God’s light inside of us for all the world to see as well!

Because it is Wednesday, tonight is Devos with Dianne on Facebook Live at 8 PM Central Time. Tonight is one of those times you really do NOT want to miss! A family who has experienced COVID-19 will be joining me. In their own words, Linda, Jerry and Sara will share how this virus and the pandemic have affected them, their family and their faith. I encourage you to share this post and invited someone to join me tonight during Devos with Dianne. At 8 PM, just look for my live video under Dianne Deaton Vielhuber. See YOU tonight!

For lessons even from a pumpkin, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – so many little lessons that we can find right in our normal, everyday lives. Lessons about life. Faith. You. Me. Thanks for the story of the pumpkin. May my light shine brightly for You today. Amen.

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When Mistakes Happen – Part 2

Gratitude Day 527

Tues., Oct. 27, 2020

1 Timothy 6:11 – Timothy, you are God’s man, so run from all these errors. Instead, chase after true holiness, justice, faithfulness, love, hope, and tender humility.

Oh, how I wish that I would TRULY learn from my lessons.

Truth? Sometimes it takes more than one trip around the block for me to figure something out. I find myself making the same mistakes over and over and over. You’d think at some point I’d figure this our and change my behavior. Right?

Wrong.

A couple weeks ago, I shared “When Mistakes Happen – Part 1.” Rather than share all my lovely mistakes in one setting, I promised to share some more mistakes in Part 2. And here we are. More of those areas that I just can’t quite seem to figure out.

The times I say I will do something … but don’t. I was raised with the understanding if you said you were going to do something, you do it.

Period. No excuses.

Most of the time, I follow through. There are times when I have moved heaven and earth to get something done. But in all honesty, there are the times when I don’t. Why? It’s something that I know will be more difficult. Or it will take a lot of time. I don’t feel that I have the energy right then. Or other things simply feel more important.

When others are counting on you, you need to follow through. When we don’t then this leads to disappointment. Lack of trust. Others questioning if they can trust you.

It’s just easier to get it right from the get-go and follow through. It creates much fewer headaches, defending and explanations.

The times I tell pesky little white lies. My guess is that most of us have used little white lies more often than we’d care to share. You know, those little embellishments of the truth. Or not sharing all the information you are aware of. Or enhancing the information for our advantage.

I become leery when someone says, “We ALWAYS do it ….” Or “I’m ALWAYS the one …” Seriously. Always?

Probably not. It may FEEL like always, but the truth can be different.

Often, I use the white lie method when I either want to make myself look better or I don’t want to fully disclose information to another person. I convince myself that those pesky little white lies are for the benefit of the other person. What they don’t know will actually be helpful for them.

Until my white lie gets caught. Then it’s no longer fun and can be embarrassing.

Or we put someone else in an awkward situation. As much as I’d like to think I’m protecting others with white lies, ultimately, I’m really protecting myself. And then, what are we protecting ourselves from?

When in doubt, tell the truth. Not white lies.  

The times I get involved when it would be best to stand on the sideline. When there’s a disagreement between two people or two groups of people, it’s easy to want to swoop in and fix it. Often, bringing a third party into the situation only diffuses the original problem in having both parties come to the third-party soliciting support for their position. This is called triangulation and a strategy that is highly unproductive. When the two conflicting parties are off-loading on a third party and basically requesting this third party to side with them, the ultimate situation only leads to disaster. And the third person feels caught in the middle.

Rather than inserting ourselves into the middle of a mess, let the other two groups simply figure it out themselves.

The times I stood on the sidelines and didn’t enter the game … and should have. There are the rare instances when standing on the sidelines really doesn’t help the situation. This is not the normal, go-to course of action. And should be used only when it’s clear there is no other option.

Sometimes, I simply don’t want to get caught in the middle. I don’t want to pick a side. It’s easier to remain neutral and allow others to figure it out.

Once in a while, a mediator is needed. Or maybe a bridge-builder. These aren’t incredibly fun times. We can embrace the opportunity, or we can ignore it. It’s our choice.

The times I depend upon myself more than I depend upon God. Of all my egregious mistakes, this is the most common and most hurtful. I have made this mistake a million times … and continue to time and time again. I think that I know more about myself, a situation or what the best result would be without ever consulting God. I don’t take time to really listen or see how the situation fits into the bigger picture.

Really, it’s not difficult to fix this mistake. It’s as easy as pausing, breathing and asking God to come into a specific situation and give you wisdom. But too often, we keep rolling along, oblivious to what God may have to say on the subject.

When God becomes part of the solution, we discover new possibilities. When God is part of the equation, we no longer have to do it all. When God joins the team, the best coach is already present.

It’s up to me, you, us to make sure God was invited to the party to begin with. When God’s on the guest list, I think we have no idea of what could really happen. Depending upon God and not ourselves opens up a world of possibilities … when we do it.

I know that I could write several more posts about the mistakes that I repeatedly make. And some day, maybe I will. I pray that these mistakes I find in my life will encourage you to think about see where you are letting mistakes keep you from being the best version of yourself you can ever be. Instead, replace your mistakes with true holiness, justice, faithfulness, love, hope, and tender humility. And watch what God will do.

For a God that overlooks my mistakes more quickly than I do myself, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – It’s not fun to be honest about our mistakes. Yet identifying our growing edges allows for us to see where You can make a real difference. Thanks for accepting us just the way we are, warts and all.  Amen.

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Home Is About the Heart

Gratitude Day 526

Fri., Oct. 23, 2020

Psalm 26:8 – Lord, I love your home, this place of dazzling glory, bathed in the splendor and light of your presence!

Home. I’m spending a lot of time at home these days.

Have been for months.

Don’t see this changing ANY time soon.

Home. It’s my place of refuge. Safety. Calm.

Often, we are conditioned to “think” that we need to go someplace else to find time to take a break. Relax. Enjoy. In fact, just a couple weeks ago, I said to Hubby Rick, “Can we just run away for the weekend.”

But we didn’t. We stayed home.

I’m already contemplating how much time I’m going to be at home this winter. Lots and lots of time. Rather than thinking of this as a “I’m so over being home all the time,” I’m shifting my perspective.

I’m celebrating that I GET to spend all this time at home.

We know the saying, “Home is where your heart is.” Honestly, I LOVE our home. With all the hours I spend at home, I celebrate that our home is a place that I LOVE. All the old woodwork. The gorgeous (if sometimes mismatched) hardwood floors. The “50 shades of grey” as Hubby Rick calls the various wall colors throughout our home. The little pieces from Rick’s family and my family. The items Hubby Rick and I have curated over 20 years of marriage. Things that mean absolutely nothing to anyone but him and I.

In the last five years, we’ve torn apart, rebuild and remodeled almost every square inch of our home. We’re rounding the corner on finishing the last room. (Hubby Rick painted the ceiling yesterday!) It’s just an old house that we’ve poured some love into. But it’s our house. Our home.

In this world where everything is ultimately temporary, I try to be careful about putting too much stock into the material things of this world rather than the ultimate rewards that are far more important. Rather than cultivating a blog and focusing only on decorating and the best deal at Target, I challenge myself to see my home as one more tool in my toolbox to find peace and contentment in my life. Yes, I want a home that I love. But I don’t want my home to be more important than my faith and relationship with God.

Yet, as we spend SO. MUCH. time at home these days, does it not beg that we create a sanctuary that we love? Enjoy? And brings us peace?

Yes. Definitely. Without a doubt.

From this perspective, I’ve been thinking about home and the looming long winter and our choice to limit being in groups. To keep my heart and soul fed and filled this winter, I know this involves having a home that makes my heart happy. Sing. Breathe.

That’s why I’m thinking a bit more about how to curate my home which will allow those things to happen. How can I create space that makes every day feel like I’m on vacation … even if it’s right at my normal address?

Here’s how I’m thinking about this right now:

  • As much as I love a beautiful looking space, creating a sanctuary is more than nicely placed furniture or cool lighting. It’s layering in those things that draws us back to memories that we love and cherish. Smells. Tastes. Sounds. Textures. I LOVE the smell of coffee ALMOST as much as I love the taste. How can I create this smell beyond the time the coffee pot is warming today’s brew? What music or other sounds take me to the spots that mean the most to me? What foods that I make will make me close my eyes as they melt in my mouth … and make the whole house smell like that spot that you don’t want to leave?
  • Making sure there’s lots of light in the spaces where I spend more time. Yep, the days are getting shorter. The dreary, wet days like we had yesterday can be depressing. So, when there is light, I want it to flood over every surface around me. It is AMAZING what a bit of sunshine can do for the soul. How can we capture this as much as possible? Along with this, having greens and/or living plants in space helps me feel like the outdoors has come inside as well.
  • Rethink the spaces we have and determine if maybe something should be shifted. A few years ago, I put a chair in my office where I do daily devotions and reading. It’s a chair that I love having. Are there other spaces in our house that should be shifted to accommodate more of the things we do as we spend so much time at home? I’m thinking where’s a place to have a puzzle out. A space where I can actually do a hobby. Maybe our bedroom isn’t the best place to do the online workout videos that I do daily. This weekend, I’m going to walk through the house, think about how we use the space and challenge myself to wonder if there’s other ways we could utilize them.
  • Use the things that I love the most regularly. So often, we put something away we treasure because we don’t want it to get broke or damaged. Years ago, I determined that if something is special to me, I want it out where I can see it, enjoy it and use it. I use the dishes my grandmother bought when she was first married. My father-in-law’s favorite fishing pole is part of our décor. You can probably find a milk can on our porch twelve months of the year.
  • Which leads me also to my next idea: if I don’t love something, I get rid of it. It’s easy to keep those things that have been given to us or that we’ve moved from house to house to house. There ARE things that I moved many, many times that I want to keep. And there’s a whole bunch of stuff that I no longer enjoyed and got rid of so someone else could love and enjoy. Over time, I developed a style of less is more and the less must be things I want to pack up and move to the next house we live in. Otherwise, it’s time to get rid of it. Now.

Whether your home is 800 square feet or a few thousand, does your home bring you a sense of peace and joy? No matter how many other people you might share this space with, do you have a little spot (even if it is terribly tiny) where you can go, close your eyes and know your heart is happy? What smells, sounds, tastes and different textures can you layer in that truly make your home “feel” like you and the memories most special to you and your family?

Hubby Rick and I love spending time outside in God’s great big creation that is ultimately God’s home. Yet, we can also create the same awe and admiration within the space where we live much of our daily lives. This IS pleasing to our hearts and souls. It’s a way we can prepare for the upcoming winter. It’s creating a home that feels safe and like we’re at a happy spot every single day.

For a home that makes my heart sing, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – when we look at your creation and all that You call home, it inspires us. It often speaks to us. I pray that having a home and space that reflects Your glory will bring us peace. May we see having a home that is a respite for our hearts and minds is part of the tools that allows for joy and contentment in our lives. Amen.

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Lessons from COVID-19: Having Enough Bandwidth

Gratitude Day 525

Tues., Oct. 20, 2020

Matthew 14:23 – After the crowds dispersed, Jesus went up into the hills to pray. And as night fell, he was there praying alone with God.

It is AMAZING how one phone call can completely change a day.

Or an e-mail.

Or unexpected news.

These things can be WONDERFUL. Great. Exciting. Bring life into your heart and joy into your step.

Or … they can deflate your life faster than a popped balloon.

Seriously.

Honestly, there are some days when it just feels like we can handle those expected things without missing a step.

Other days?

We look at the caller ID and groan. Loudly.

It amazes me. Sometimes, I can problem solve and figure things out in a flash. It happened yesterday. A friend called to share some information. Just a little information. Soon, I had diarrhea of the mouth. Giving her ideas and suggestions and people to contact and ….

I think I asked her twice if she wanted me to keep going. Or to stop. I hope my suggestions were a tiny bit helpful. Otherwise, I AM SO SORRY.

Then, there are the days, when one tiny little thing puts us over the edge.

This happened on Sunday. I had something planned in the evening. Right before this begin, I received a short text. Could I send an e-mail and figure something out? Like, right now?

Maybe it was because I knew I had another commitment. Maybe it was because there had been countless energy put into this very situation earlier in the day. It doesn’t matter because at the moment I was trying to log onto my meeting and send an e-mail and reply to the text, my bandwidth was exhausted.

Done. Gone.

Unfortunately, the folks on the virtual meeting met my frustration of being out of bandwidth. Once again, I AM SO SORRY.

What’s bandwidth? It’s our energy, attention and ability process through things at any given time. It’s like the ability to deal with something at any particular time. It’s the space we have within our heads and our bodies to be patient, kind, helpful and positive.

Or not.

There’s probably a technical definition of bandwidth, which I’m not sure I am explaining very well. Let me try this way.  

Enough bandwidth – you wake up and get out of bed at the time you planned the night before. The first sip of coffee or tea or beverage of choice fills your belly with warmth that carries you into the day. There comes a time in the day when you think yourself, “Wow! I’m getting a lot done!” And you are! Even if there’s a little hiccup along the way, you keep perspective, problem solve and move on.

Not enough bandwidth – Every seems to be going wrong. Literally, everything. All you can think to yourself throughout the day is, “Can’t I just get ONE break today?” And it never seems to show up. “Will this day EVER END?”

I feel like a lot of us are operating without adequate bandwidth these days.

Maybe it’s COVID-19.

Maybe it’s the election.

Maybe it’s because there is less sunlight and it’s colder and we know winter is coming. (This is completely Hubby Rick these days.)

Maybe it’s because we know it’s going to be increasingly more difficult to get out and do things AND be socially distanced and keeping others safe.

Maybe it’s because our income has decreased, and food prices go up weekly.

Maybe we are sick and tired of trying to home school kids and work from home and cook every meal of the week.

Maybe we’re concerned about a loved one who is ill, sick and/or vulnerable health wise.

Maybe we just want to go to a concert or a football game or a movie … and we can’t.

Maybe all we REALLY want is good old long HUG.

Maybe ….

All these things, and a whole bunch more, can lead to inadequate bandwidth. Days when nothing seems to be going right and we just want to crawl under the covers and come out when it’s spring. Or post-COVID-19. Or after the election. Or …

Friends – It’s pretty clear to me these days that one of most important things we need to do is protect our bandwidth. Keep ourselves in a spot where we operate out of a capacity where we handle and manage things. When our bandwidth is depleted or exhauster or inexistent, a whole lot of negative can happen. To our loved ones. To strangers. To neighbors. To ourselves.

Can I encourage you to monitor just one thing this week? Watch your bandwidth.

  • When do you have enough energy and attention and ability to handle things?
  • When do you not?
  • What are the common denominators of when you have enough bandwidth? Is it a particular time of the day, time of the week, encounter with a particular person that affects you more than other things?
  • What do YOU need to do to increase your bandwidth before the next day? DO IT. (Well, as long as it’s safe.)
  • What do YOU need to STOP doing to increase your bandwidth? Stop it TODAY.

This lesson maybe from COVID-19 or other things going on in our lives right now. But I’ve discovered this about myself: I’ve spent way too many days without adequate bandwidth. I knew it. I felt it. I saw it. But I didn’t do enough about it.

These days, I’m at least recognizing that my bandwidth is down. My to-do lists are a bit shorter. I’m trying to let myself breathe and build up bandwidth before the next day.

It’s not a coincidence that all four gospels tell us that there were times Jesus went off by himself to pray. Why did he do this?

He needed more bandwidth. It was just that simple. If Jesus needed more bandwidth, what makes me think that I don’t need more bandwidth?

Hmmm.

Once again, it’s Jesus that helps me see something about myself that should be so obvious, and I ignore. Thank you, Jesus. Once again.

Bandwidth. How is yours?

For discovering a need for bandwidth, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – Too often these days, we’re operating out of limited and depleted bandwidth rather than adequate bandwidth. Help me see when I’m lacking bandwidth. Place it upon my heart ways that I can replenish my bandwidth. Amen.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Saturday Round Up – Trusting God

Gratitude Day 524

Sat., Oct. 17, 2020

Psalm 9:10 – May everyone who knows your mercy keep putting their trust in you, for they can count on you for help no matter what. O Lord, you will never, no never, neglect those who come to you.

Somedays, I feel so close to God.

And then, there are the more common ones where it’s just a wee bit harder.

On those days, where’s what I remember: God didn’t move. I did.

God is still there, friend. Plugging right along. Just waiting for you to pause and say, “Hey, God. It’s me.”

I’ve pulled together a few things I’ve encountered recently that has helped me come back to God. To trust that no matter what is going on, God is RIGHT. HERE. With me. And always will be.

This book: The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton.

This is the author’s story of his wrongful 1985 arrest and conviction of two counts of capitol murder in Alabama. A poor black man, it was a case of mistaken identity and a skewed system of justice. During his 30 years on death row at a state prison, Hinton became a beacon, transformed his own spirit as well as those of his fellow inmates. Civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson won Hinton’s release in 2015.

Why read this book? It shows a glimpse into Hinton’s story of hope, love and justice. This inspirational story shows how a person’s freedom can be taken away but not his imagination, humor or joy.

This cake: Apple Cider Donut Cake.

OK, I know. A cake isn’t going to make you feel closer to God. I get it.

But I still wanted to share this cake with someone, anyone who is a fan of apple cider donuts. If this is you (or you just like ANYTHING apple,) then this cake is JUST. FOR. YOU.

Seriously.

I ate two pieces of it the night I took it out of the oven.

Maybe celebrate the apples of the season? Too much of a stretch?

Either way, just enjoy this cake. If it’s too much, porch-drop some of it at your neighbors. They will think you are a little ray of sunshine in their day.

Yes, it takes a little more effort … but it’s worth it. So does Hubby Rick, which is notable because he isn’t a huge sweets fan. But this one? He gave it two thumbs up and has been slicing away at it.

Here’s the link to the recipe I used.

These swings.

Yes, they are the swings from our back yard. Honestly, it doesn’t quite look like this right now. There are leaves on the ground and the flowers in the pots are looking a little sad. But I sat in the swings this week. Just for a bit. I just sat. Did nothing and listened. To my heart. My soul. For God.

Even if you don’t have swings in your yard, take a hot minute. Sit. Listen. Be.

(Like the swings? Sorry. I can’t send you to a link. They are custom made for me by Hubby Rick. I know. I’m so lucky.)

This exercise: Devos with Dianne from 10.14.20.

If you haven’t watched it, please do. I share an exercise of how to be kind to YOURSELF. It’s a little reminder that before we care for everyone else, we must care for ourselves first. Even if you don’t have Facebook, you can click on the link and watch. Hope you enjoy!

A reminder: COVID-19 isn’t going away. Anytime soon. It’s here. It’s daunting. We’re in this for the long haul. Seriously.

Unfortunately, until we personally know someone or know someone who knows someone, it may not feel personal or real. But it is. My heart is sad for the folks who have it and are struggling. My heart is sad for those who feel the fall-out has been too much.

As much as we WANT it to go away and to go away fast, it isn’t. Yet, I know that God IS with those who are feeling stressed, discouraged, distracted and challenged. Find your swing. Sit awhile and say, “Hey, God. It’s me.”

God always loves to hear from you. God will never neglect those who come to God. Thank you, Jesus.

For finding ways to trust God in daily life, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – Thank you for never being very far away. And always being there for me. Thanks for not giving up on me when sometimes it’s hard to trust. Thanks for being patient with me. Amen.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Wednesday Prayer Day – Resolving Opposite Prayer Requests

Gratitude Day 523

Wed., Oct. 14, 2020

James 4:3 – And if you ask, you won’t receive it for you’re asking with corrupt motives, seeking only to fulfill your own selfish desires.

I know that it’s happening right now. People are praying for exact opposites to happen:

For “their” candidate to win the presidential election.

Or another election.

For a referendum to pass or not pass.

For people’s minds to be changed to their “correct” position.

How can all of these prayers be answered?

They can’t.

Someone is going to be disappointed. We just pray that it won’t be us.

And my heart becomes sad.

Prayer IS important. It’s mandated by Jesus as a way for us to draw closer to God, share our heart with God and have confidence that God wants what is best for us.

The problem is … sometimes we get it wrong.

Our prayers aren’t the best prayers.

Our prayers are more about US than they are about GOD.

We convince ourselves if we just pray hard enough, God WILL see it our way.

And my heart becomes sad.

Don’t get me wrong. God is interested in every single last detail in your life and our world. God’s desk never gets too cluttered that God forgets the desires of your heart. But here’s the deal. Sometimes we get it wrong. And we aren’t wise enough to see, believe or know this.

And my heart becomes sad.

My heart becomes sad because I’ve tried to bargain with God myself … more than once. My heart is sad because I know better than to pray these self-serving prayers … and yet I still do. My heart is sad because in my prayers, I’m already setting up the structure of winners and losers … and forget that in God, there are no losers. Only winners.

Can we be a little more careful with our prayers in the days ahead? Can we hear that prayer is more about transforming ourselves than transforming God? Can we allow ourselves to trust in God even when these self-serving prayers we reiterate aren’t answered … and we just want to blame and give up on God?

Answering prayer isn’t about us. It’s about God. Thank goodness there is someone who knows a lot more than we do … and will provide God’s will to prevail

Yes, we can be angry. Mad. Blame God and assure everyone that God has let you down when those prayers aren’t answered exactly like we would like.

God will still love you. God will still advocate for you. God will never leave you.

Now, if we can only remember that it’s not really about us. It’s only about God.

For a necessary attitude adjustment about prayer, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – We want You to trust us and our prayer requests when really what is necessary is us to trust You. Remind me again that You have this. Now, help me depend upon You, no matter what happens in the days and weeks ahead. Amen.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Giving Thanks for Color

Gratitude Day 521

Mon., Oct. 12, 2020

Isaiah 34:4 – At that time the heavens above will melt away and disappear just like a rolled-up scroll, and the stars will fall as leaves, as ripe fruit from the trees.

Refreshing your mind and soul is SO. IMPORTANT.

This fall, Hubby Rick and I have spent many Saturday afternoon’s taking in nature. Hiking. Walking. Biking. Enjoying outdoors. Letting our souls breathe. Drink in nature. Enjoy.

Here are a few photos from our hike on Saturday. I’m not a professional photographer, mind you. The photos do not do justice to what our eyes observed. What I simply encourage you to do it look carefully at each photo. Look for the details. Notice the various colors. Pick a favorite area of the photo and think about why you are drawn to this spot.

We all need a few minutes to simply drink in the gorgeous world around us. I hope you are doing so these days. At minimum, drink in these photos. Make them your moments of Sabbath and peace and rest today.

For a God that designed a wonderful creation, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – It is amazing to think that you created deciduous trees so that in the fall, their leaves would turn beautiful golden colors before falling off the branches that have nurtured them this growing season. As we see the colors this fall, may they take our breath away. Amen.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

When Mistakes Happen – Part 1

Gratitude Day 520

Fri., Oct. 9, 2020

Provers 17:9 – Love overlooks the mistakes of others but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships.

Somedays, do you feel like things click?

And then another day, NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING seems to go your way?

Friend, I feel your pain.

I know your game.

Like you, I find myself struggling and making mistakes and needing lots of do-overs.

One frustration that happens over and over?

When I keep making the same mistake.

I vow that “this will be the last time.”

Or “tomorrow will be better.”

But here’s the deal. If we depend purely on will power, we’ll fail ourselves regularly.

We’ll let others down.

We’ll find ourselves dealing with the same situations over and over and over.

How do I know this?

It’s the story of my life.

As a seasoned mistake-maker, my experience is long and wide. I’ve come to grips with the fact that I WILL make mistakes. The big question? How will I respond. React. Deal with it.

Here are some of the mistakes that I’ve made multiple times. Hundreds of times. And a few thoughts of how I’ve tried to right-up the situation. Maybe you might find one or two areas that you struggle with here as well.

The times I procrastinate and wait until the last minute. For years, I convinced myself that this happened purely because I just was “too busy.” Finally, I discovered the REAL truth. I am not always a particularly good at prioritizing. I often find myself doing the quick and easy jobs while putting off the big, important and longer projects. Suddenly, I find myself with a big project that needs lots of attention and time … and I’m short on it.

Yes, I’ve heard the helpful things about picking the most important things to do today … and doing them first. Am I the only one who looks at my to-do list and thinks, “It will look so much better if I just get some of these easy things crossed off first. THEN, I’ll do the things that need more of my time and attention.” Too often, I let the chunks of the day get sucked up in a whole bunch of little things.

My other perpetual challenge is my daily to-do lists are more like dream lists than reality lists. There is SIMPLY. NO. WAY. I’ll ever get everything done. There will ALWAYS be things that get carried over to tomorrow. These days, I’m trying to be a bit more realistic about what I CAN get done in a day. Pick three really important things and schedule the rest forward.

Yes, there are the unexpected things that happen. I had one of those things suck up a bunch of time this week, which leads me to the next mistake I often make.

The times I only saying “No” to myself … and those most important to me. The phone call or e-mail comes in and I’m asked if I can quickly squeeze something in … soon. Or now. It happened again this week. Of course, I say, “Yes.” This is what Martha’s do.

The mistake I make over and over? Every time I say “Yes” to something, I’m saying “No” to something else. We can’t do it all. Period. Maybe the urgent is important and something we should take on. Other times, maybe we should decline and put our time and energy and gifts into the most important things that God calls us to do.

It’s so difficult for me to say “No” to anyone other than myself and my very inner circle, which most often means myself and Hubby Rick. When I say fail to say “No” to us, I’m saying what is most important to us gets shifted down the list. No question, there are times when this call must be made. But other times? I really must be more diligent about protecting what’s been laid upon my heart as important to God, Rick and/or myself.

I know this is a mistake I will struggle with for, well, probably forever. Awareness is always the first step.

The times I am convinced my opinion, agenda or beliefs is right or more important than someone else’s. I thought about not addressing this mistake because it’s a hard one right now. I read and see and hear things that disappoint me and distract me … and it’s hard to let them go.

I know that I’m not an expert on many, many things. Truth? I’m not the expect on basically anything. But I have opinions and feelings and beliefs, just let everyone else.

There have been times when I’ve been criticized for NOT expressing my opinion more. Many times, I keep those thoughts to myself. Yet, I STILL tell myself that I have all the right answers, even if no one than Hubby Rick hears them.

My remedy these days? Really, truly and honestly try to be kind to others. Everyone. Even if someone has a vastly different opinion than I do. Especially when someone says or types something that almost makes my blood pressure rise. This other person is a beloved child of God, just like I am. So, it is my calling to love this person especially if I don’t like their beliefs or opinions.

Can I avoid reading or engaging in something that I don’t agree with? YES. At times, people will then assume that because I didn’t engage, I agree with this person. So be it. Right now, we DESPERATELY need strong doses of kindness. I’m going to error in trying to be kind to the limit that I can.

The times I harbor ill feelings and/or hold onto things that happened previously. It takes a strong and wise person to deal with something once … and completely let it go. I really, really, really try to do this. Sometimes, I can. Other times? Not so much.

I know my misplaced feelings affect me significantly more than anyone else. When I can let them go, it’s releasing myself from all the bad junk I’ve been carrying around. Sometimes, we just need to empty out the junk drawers of our lives. Throw some of it in the garbage. Return the items to their rightful owner. Keep only the things that bring joy and happiness into our lives.

The times I hurt someone else. There are the times when we knowingly affect someone negatively. Yes, there are also the times we do it without fully knowing this has happened.

Every time this happens? We need to get it right. Period. The two easiest … and most difficult words to say in the English language are, “I’m sorry.”  Sometimes we feel that it’s not our responsibility to express remorse and ask for forgiveness. We think the other person should do it first. Most often, this person is also waiting for an apology from us.

Here’s the deal. If we apologize whether we fully think we should or not, we open up our hearts to healing. We are releasing all that bad junk that is bringing us down. Often, when one person apologizes, it leads to an apology from the other person. And isn’t this a great thing! Can I get an “Amen!”

As I go through the list of common mistakes I make, I’m beginning to realize that this is a book. I’ll keep some of the other mistakes I often make and share them another day. Soon. I promise.

Maybe you know someone who struggles with some of the same mistakes that I do. I don’t have all the answers but encourage you to share this post with them. Sometimes, it’s just helpful to know that someone else struggles with the same things that we do.

For a God that overlooks my mistakes more quickly than I do myself, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – It’s not fun to open up our hearts and lives and see where we make mistakes. We’d rather build an armor of shield around ourselves and try to protect ourselves from being vulnerable enough to share our shortcomings. Yet, it can be so liberating to ask for forgiveness. Know that others struggle with us. Remind ourselves that in You, we are enough. Amen.

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