Why I’m Not Afraid to Air My Dirty Laundry On Sundays

be still and know that I am GodLast Sunday we returned from a family trip in the wee hours of the morning. After attending church and eating a good meal, we spent the majority of the afternoon relaxing, what we normally do on Sundays. A day of rest. A day set aside for worship. A day different from the rest.

With today’s technology, it’s easy to do laundry without effort. You put clothes in a machine, turn a dial, and press a button. Going to my child’s bedroom requires more work than that.  It’s a simple process.

Last Sunday, I did the unthinkable – I did some laundry and hung it on the clothes line.

Gasp.

I’ve come a long way in being okay with hanging up laundry on Sundays occasionally.  We live on a main highway in a small conservative town. Stores aren’t open here on Sundays. People don’t mow lawns on Sundays. And you don’t air your dirty laundry on Sundays or people will see.

Like other unwritten rules, I’ve learned to assess the root and value of them.

Are they for man or are they for God?

I’ve learned to check my motives for breaking silent codes that bring looks of “I can’t believe she’s doing that.”  Hanging clothes on the clothesline on Sundays is one I’m not bothered by because there’s a principle I value:

I should be the same person in public that I am in private. 

If I’m okay with occasionally doing a few loads of laundry on Sunday, then I should be okay with letting people know about it.  God sees it anyway. I can’t hide things from Him.  He sees my dirty laundry.

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Does He see yours? Or do you try to hide it?

For years I hid my dirty laundry from others. Not the stinky-teen-boy kind, but the unhealthy behaviors I struggled with. Having an eating disorder was a very private thing. No one knew my stuff except me and God and my parents on occasions. I was good at hiding things.

Are you good at hiding things?

For years I responded to conflict with anger. As my children grew older, I couldn’t hide it. It began overtaking my relationships with them and their dad. It was easy to hide, too. I could do a lot of good yelling before going to church and sit really calm in that church pew.

There’s an unwritten rule you aren’t supposed to struggle with things.

You definitely aren’t supposed to be angry in a pacifist faith.

I learned to hide things real well.

So people wouldn’t see.

But God saw.

And as He nudged me to address the anger, the hurt, and rage, I felt more comfortable letting Him wash my dirty stuff. He was gentle with  it and He removed the stains and stink and filth and exchanged it for clean, bright, and beautiful through the forgiveness and power of His grace.

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It’s been a journey with me and God. As He’s changed me inside and out, things have changed in how I relate to unwritten rules.  I’ve learned to answer to God first, then my husband and family above anyone else.

Paul says, “My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t make me innocent.” I Corinthians 4:4

What guides your choices?

Having a clear conscious in the eyes of others doesn’t make us innocent.

While it’s trivial, I’ve learned in my accountability with God, is okay to do laundry every once in a while on a Sunday. I’ve learned I answer to Him for my actions. I could have an empty clothesline every Sunday but be cheating on my husband Saturday night.

It’s all in how it looks, right?

Where do you need to get honest with God?

What I love most about God is that He sees everything and yet He pursues us because He wants a relationship with us.  He pursued me for years to change and heal from an eating disorder and to change and heal from anger, hurt, and rage that was inside of me. I’ve learned I can air my dirty laundry with Him and it’s okay.  He makes us clean and bright, to be on full display in His clothes of righteousness, not ours.

Will you let Him clothe you today? It’s safe  with Him. He won’t fail you.

Father, will you speak to each one reading these words and take the contents of their heart and make it what you desire? Will you equip those who struggle with unwritten rules and judgment from others to know you love them and are a God of grace, forgiveness, and freedom?  Will you continue to pursue those who are struggling with things inside their heart that only you know about?  

Thank you, Jesus, for washing dirty, smelling rags and making us beautiful in you. Amen.

How can I pray with you or encourage you as you learn to walk in freedom? I’d love to hear.

P.S. There will be a new look to Life Beyond the Picket Fence soon as I launch a new website for the blog.  You’ll be able to subscribe to a newsletter linking you to the other things happening here at the ministry and connect you with the other sites I’m writing for. If you are a current subscriber by email, I’m hoping the transition will be smooth. I’ll keep you posted when the site is launched so there won’t be interruptions in your connection here with us.  Thank you!

How To Be Strong When There’s A Weak Link

I’m 4% permanently partially paralyzed. A fancy way to say I have a torn ACL from a workman’s comp injury.

I have a weak link. 

As my surgeon released me from treatment, he said my knee will only be as strong as the muscle above it.

You have to keep that muscle strong.

For a lifetime.

Physical Therapist Working with Patient

No pressure there. In addition to working, doing ministry, being a wife and mother, spending time in God’s Word, eating right and exercising regularly, I have to keep my quad muscles strong or my knee will give out.

I have to make strengthening this muscle a priority because it’s the key to compensating for the weak link.

Do you have muscles you need to keep strong?

Are there emotional, spiritual or mental muscles to you need to strengthen to compensate for weaknesses?

how to stay strong when there's a weak link

My physical journey has spiritual parallels in more ways than one.

Knowing I have a weak link in my knee makes me feel like Paul the apostle and Jacob, son of Isaac.  Paul had a weakness he asked God to take away, but God’s response was, “My power is made perfect in your weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV)). Jacob wrestled with God because he wanted God’s best for him, and was left with a lame hip (Genesis 32, NIV).

Both of them were marked by weakness which reminded them of their dependence upon God.

What weakness in your life causes you to be dependent upon God?

Strengthening my muscle teaches me to strengthen other spiritual, mental, and emotional muscles in my life. If I don’t, the weak ares of my spiritual, mental, and emotional world will collapse, like my knee.

As a woman who lives in the shadows of an eating disorder and other unhealthy behaviors, I know my weaknesses all too well.  I know if I don’t exercise self-control in all areas of my life (yes, all areas), the weak links buckle and I’m crippled emotionally, mentally, and physically.

I know the importance of strengthening what needs to be strengthened.

I live it, I breathe it.

I make choices every day to strengthen weak links so I remain strong.

Before I messed up my knee, I completed a half-marathon. I felt invincible.

Now reality awakens me. Just one foolish side-step and I come crumbling down.

I must strengthen the supporting muscle. I must rely on God to be strong in my weakness.

When life is going well, are you tempted to feel invincible, too?  Do you feel strong based on your own merit, apart from God?

how to stay strong when there's a weak linkEvery patriarch in scripture had a weakness that they needed God’s strength to overcome.

For Abraham, his honesty.

For Moses, his speaking ability.

For Joseph, his reputation.

For David, his love for women.

For Peter, his impulsivity and temper.

What is your weakness?  What do you need to strengthen so you are not defined by your weakness?

What choices to you need to make to keep your spiritual, emotional and mental muscles strong?

How can I pray for you or support you in this journey? I would love to do that.  Feel free to comment or to email me at yoderbl@gmail.com and I will pray with you and encourage you on that journey.

Your Father is with you always, His grace sufficient for you, His strength made perfect in your weakness.

For when you are weak, He is strong.

Home Improvement: Having Faith in the Unseen

Our dehumidifier - "Bucket is full."
Our dehumidifier – “Bucket is full.”

There’s a machine making background noise as I’m typing. It’s a dehumidifier taking the moisture out of the heavy summer air. Every twelve to fourteen hours, a light on the machine says, “Bucket Is Full” because the machine has collected enough unseen water particles from the air producing a tangible substance – water.

Amazing

I know there’s a sixth grade science fair explanation here, but every time I empty the bucket, I think of another simple-yet-complicated process – Faith. Continue reading “Home Improvement: Having Faith in the Unseen”

Mother’s Day: Inspiring Women and Messed-Up Experiences in Motherhood

MP900341759Today is Mother’s Day –  the day we think of the blessings of motherhood. In reflecting on this day, I’m reminded of inspiring women who had messed-up experiences in motherhood.  Many biblical women endured hard places, being forced to lean on the Lord alone and nothing else. For example:

  • Jocabed, mother of Moses knew her child would be taken away and killed if he were found.  Emotions if I were her?  Fear and anger (Lord, why would you give me a child only for him to be taken away or killed?anxiety and depression. But she responded with faith in God even though He gave her a child at a difficult time. Faith that He would take care of her and the child. Faith that the Author of their story knew what He was doing.
  • Mary, mother of Jesus knew her divine pregnancy defined her as morally corrupt and open for misunderstanding and judgment.  Emotions if I were her? Fear, anger, anxiety and ambivalence.  While knowing the honor and calling on her life, no doubt there were dark days for her, being aware of the whispers, looks, and judgment that came her way.  But she responded by clinging to the Lord she knew was writing her story, clinging to Him when no one else may have encouraged her.  She clung to him when she felt alone.
  • Sarah, mother of Isaac was pregnant past her prime, when her husband already had a child from another woman.  Emotions if I were her? Fear and anger (Lord, why would you allow Hagar to bear Abram’s child when you knew I was to have one?), anxiety, jealousy and bitterness.  While she knew she was bearing a child anointed by God, the strained relationship between her, Hagar and Ishmael must have caused some strife in her life.  She responded by remaining faithful the story line the Lord gave her, even though it was hard. Scripture tells us she laughed (Exodus 21:6) and took one day at a time.

There are truths these women encountered that face many of us:

Life wasn’t supposed to be this way

This isn’t what I expected

Motherhood has more pain than joy right now.

MP900227697I hear these statements when I share with women. Mother’s Day can be painful to individuals suffering in heartache, often alone.  But motherhood pain isn’t a popular discussion in bible studies, church meetings, coffee breaks or in social media.  Facebook or Twitter statuses rarely say, “Motherhood is not what I bargained for. I don’t think I can make it.”

If Hallmark doesn’t fit the bill for you this Mother’s Day, God’s Word does.  It shares the lives of real women in hard places, with real pain….. in places they didn’t expect to find themselves….places where there are no easy answers.  If you or a woman you know faces a tarnished Motherhood this year, share these principles from biblical women who were hard-pressed to find joy in motherhood.

  • They each knew the Lord intimately.  Each of these women could stand in their circumstances because they knew the Lord and His character when the truth of their circumstance dictated His absence from their situation.  God is never absent from our situation or that of our children He sees beyond the trial and knows the ending.  In that we can take hope.  When there’s no hope in sight, we must look to and know the author of the Story.
  • They clung to the Lord and His character.  Clinging conjures up visions of grasping hold of, refusing to let go because doing so would result in disaster (clinging to a raft vs. drowning, clinging to a ledge vs. falling to destruction).
    Clinging
    Clinging

    Despite their emotions, these women clung to the One they easily could have rejected.  If motherhood only includes blessings, then what do you cling to when the image of motherhood is not what you signed up for?   You cling to a sovereign, good God who sees the bigger picture…..clinging to the truth of His character when the “truth” of our emotions can lead us away from Him.  Our emotions can betray us.

  •  Motherhood does not define our happiness, but our relationship with God does.  What do you think got Mary through the whispers, misunderstandings and acts of judgment thrown her way?  If Jocabed’s happiness was determined by baby Moses, what was she left with when God’s plan took this child from her?  Happiness for these women did not rely on their motherhood or dreams for their children, but was rooted in their relationship and identity with the Living God. 

Wherever this Mother’s Day finds you, take encouragement from these women. They were real women whose encouragement didn’t come from the culture around them, but from the Lord authoring their story.  You can receive the same encouragement, too.

Lord, thank you that You are the Author of our stories.  Will you encourage each woman who is hurting this Mother’s Day?  Thank you.

Parenting Series: God Will Supply Your Needs/Free Resource

Thanks for the great post!  By Kristin L. Nelson of Not Alone Mom
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
This is the verse that runs through my mind over and over again as I walk up and down the aisles at the grocery store getting the items my family needs.
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God will meet all my needs according to His riches and glory. God will meet all my needs according to His riches and glory…”
Over and over again all throughout the store as I pick up each item evaluating if it’s a “need” or a “want”…
Yesterday when I was at the grocery it was no different… but as I was walking to my car with my cart full of groceries quietly thanking God for providing my needs something truly switched on in my mind.
According to HIS riches…and HIS glory”
His riches are limitless… His glory is limitless…
The only limitations that occur are when WE put them there!
When we align our lives (mind and heart), our finances (tithing; good stewardship), our families (modeling Christ) with His word we can rest in knowing without a doubt that He will, indeed, provide for us and make a way even when there seems no way!
While I was sharing this with my husband we made a pact, an official proclamation that we would continue to trust in Him and claim victory in our lives in the way of finances while in the midst of the difficult time… not after, but now!  We agreed together in prayer that we would continue to praise Him and trust wholeheartedly that He will, in fact, continue to provide all of our needs.
A few hours later I received an email from someone who wanted to mail us a check to bless us… the amount of the check would cover the entire cost of our grocery bill plus a little extra!
One blessing at a time… God is faithful!
As mothers, we have a tendency to worry about how we will take care of our family.  I think it’s part of our instinct when we become mothers.  While God never intends for us to fret, He makes mothers highly aware of the needs of the family.  It’s a beautiful thing really, but through our own human nature and predisposition to worry (because we’re human) this heightened awareness often manifests as anxiety.
What we need to do is remember God’s promises.  He promises that He will take care of us.  He promises to meet all of our needs according to His riches and Glory.  He loves us, He sees our needs and wants to meet our needs.  He simply asks that we trust in Him, seeking Him first and then all of these things will be given to us. Period.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?   But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6
Love,
Krissy
Free E-Book
This week, May 1-3, contributing writer Josh Kissee is offering a free download of his book, “Bringing up Boys of Character: 12 Core Virtues Decoded for ages 4-9” from Amazon Click here to find it!.
About the Author
Joshua Kissee, M.Ed., is the founder of ManBuilders.Com, a cause devoted to encouraging parents to raise their sons strategically through proactive parenting. Joshua is married to Rebecca Kissee and has five sons: Jacob, Jordan, Johnathan, Jonah, and Jared. The family enjoys living in Central Texas.
Description of the bookbringing up boys of character book cover_Promo
What should every boy learn before he becomes a man? Within each boy, a core of character virtues must be developed.  Decode these virtues while improving the relationship with your son and build his character through practical tips, lessons, activities, events, and spending time together. Bringing up Boys of Character: 12 Core Virtues Decoded for ages 4-9 will give parents the tools needed to start building your son into a man before he enters the pre-teen and teen years. Get started today!
Audience
Parents of boys, especially ages 4-9.

Why I Run and Why You Need Freedom, Too

The sun was in my face, good music was in my ears, and my feet hit the pavement. As my feet hit the ground with Why I runeach strike, I was careful to land just right.  After months of being injured, having knee surgery, and currently undertaking physical therapy, I was aware that one wrong side motion could wipe me out again.   But six weeks of PT was working and I was able to jog several yards before slowing down to a walking pace.  I did this over and over again as I reveled in the freedom I had.

Freedom to run.  

Freedom of spirit.

Freedom of mind.

Over the last several months, I’ve realized why I run. I began running ten years ago.  At the time, it was my source of stress management. As a mom of four kids and working-full with teenagers, running was the only 30 minutes where my mind was my own, where no one could touch me or ask anything of me.

portrait of a mid adult woman jogging in a parkAs time has become more limited with the demands of parenting and life, running is sporadic, but a priority.  During the winter months, I’m dormant because of daylight savings and weather.  But running periodically in the winter is a release for me when stress or seasonal depression gets the best of me.   It gives me a boost, clears my mind, and brings balance to my body and spirit.

What do you do that gives you a clear mind and brings balance to your body and spirit?

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Living without the option to run poses a problem for me.  

I’ve realized if I don’t have healthy options to release stress, I’m tempted to turn to unhealthy options.

Confessions of a woman trying to live addiction-free for a lifetime.

I wish I could say food is never an issue for me, but I can’t.

Do you have something you run to when you’re stressed? What do you self-medicate with?  Technology? Shopping? Sports? Sleep? Alcohol? Medication?  Sex? Or do you, too, run to food?

I come from a family where comfort food is normal.

I grew up pushing against it and developed anorexia.  Then I became bulimic.  My development and identity as a teen and young adult revolved around food, though it was hidden.  There are reasons why people turn to food or other substances for self-medication.  There are payoffs.  It comforts. It nurtures.  You’re in control of your body, your mind and emotions for a few minutes as you feed your senses with momentarily pleasures.  To overcome an addiction, the payoff of overcoming it with healthy behavior has to be more enticing than what the addiction does for you.

Woman Standing on ScaleI can’t diet. I have to have freedom to choose what I eat. If I don’t messes with my mind.

I’ve learned if I don’t have the option to run, it messes with my mind.

There’s something spiritual about both of them being in balance.

It deals with freedom.

The freedom of your body, soul and spirit to experience joy and peace….like adrenalin that runs through your body when you run.

A rush of contentment, happiness, and top-of-the-world feeling.

What does that for you?  What gives you that rush? Is it healthy?  Or do you run to things that dull your senses?  Do you seek things that bring balance and freedom or things that bind you and bring destruction?

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I’ve done both.

I’ve fought hard to remain healthy and have balance in my life physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

I’ve decided if I can only run one-hundred yards at a time, I’ll take it.

I need it. 

I don’t ever want to go back to being bound. 

So I fight to remain free.

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I don’t do this alone. 

My battle to remain free from the hold of food, self-harm, and addiction has been a journey between me and God.

He walks with me every step.

He fills me with peace and joy.

But I have to stay vigilant to keep Him in that place.

How do you fight for God to stay the center of your life?

Being Free
Being Free

What do you do to fight things off that are more enticing than the presence of God?

Living healthy is hard work.

Living balanced is hard work.

Living in the fullness of God requires action.

Draw near to God and He will draw near you.” James 4:8 (NIV)

Like running brings freedom to me, so does having the fullness of God in your life.

I’ve learned it’s worth pursuing both of them with vigilance.

Freedom of mind, body, and spirit is a glimpse of eternity where there will be “no death, or mourning or crying or pain.” (Revelation 21:4.)

Addictions only relieve this temporarily.

Healthy balance and the presence of God relieves this for a lifetime.

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Where do you need to experience freedom in healthy ways?

Where do you need to place God as the center of you life?

Where do you need to be balanced?

Ask the Lord of all goodness to empower you to make the changes needed to bring balance.  If you need a prayer partner, email me  at yoderbl@gmail.com.  It would be my honor to pray with you as you work to bring balance, center, and freedom to your life.

Holy Father, draw each of us to the healthy life you desire for us.  Give us grace to admit the things that are out of balance in our lives, and give us a glimpse of the goodness you have for us that is greater than any pay off our out-of-balance choices give us.  Equip us to do the hard work to live healthy.  Prompt us to make the first step in drawing nearer to you.  Thank you that You never fail.  Amen.

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Why The Breakfast Club is Still Relevant Today

CB100664When I taught high school Sociology, we studied stereotypes and social groups via the movie “The Breakfast Club.”  As I’m watching it at home tonight, I realize the movie’s content may be even more accurate in today’s high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools than it was thirty years ago.

As a present elementary/middle school counselor and former high school teacher, I’m concerned more and more about children, families, and what’s happening in society.  It’s not about bombings or shootings, but our ability to face life, adversity, pain and fear.  Recently, a shooter threatened to attack five schools in our local area on a particular day.  On that day, more than half of the students were kept at home due to fear. The day went without a hitch, the threat was not realized, and strategic safety measures were put in place.

The same day, two bombings occurred in Boston.

The irony? More and more children are not safe in their own homes.  Violence and sex are in video games, apps on tablets and phones.  Sexual harassment, cyberbullying, dating violence is occurring at younger ages in schools.  Drugs, addictions, and self-medication is increasing in our families.  Kids’ reading levels are low not because schools aren’t teaching them, but because it’s a rare thing that someone at home is reading to them.  Children stay up late using technology in their rooms when parents think they’re asleep.  In a recent poll I did of 5th graders, 3/4 of the classroom admitted they are on Ipods, smartphones or tablets when their parents think they’re sleeping.

Do you know what your kids and grandkids are watching and who they’re interacting with?

Danger doesn’t lurk at finish lines or at the hands of a random gunman…but in our homes, in society and in hearts left unguarded.

Recently I read an article titled “Why Social Media is Better Than Your Granny.”  It was the morning after the Boston bombings.  I read it before starting my day as a counseling professional in a large urban school.  I was stunned by the comment in this article that “Grannies don’t live forever…” but social media does.  Feel free to read the article.  This was the response I posted:

I’m a teacher and counselor in today’s schools, both rural and urban, and also am a behavioral professional. While kids benefit from technology, nothing replaces relationship for them in their development. Today’s kids lack human interaction because they are exposed and reliant on technology too early in life. It effects their social, academic and emotional development. Human nature doesn’t change over time and nothing replaces the power and influence of relational people in our lives and the lives of children.Four Hands Joined Together
“Grannies don’t live forever”…. Everyday I see the power of human connection and inter-generational connection that fills gaps in the souls of people. Call me a fool, but at the end of human life – our own or our grandparent’s, who will be standing there? What will we be remembering? Will we wish we spent more time with someone who loves us in our worst days or for our best online behavior? What will you tell your child when your mom dies? Perhaps you haven’t encountered this yet. Perhaps you don’t sit with kids experiencing grief over grandparents who they know love them and nurture them more than their own parents. Hashtags don’t answer the questions or fill the voids.

A narcissistic society feels good from social media because it feeds self-absorption. Today’s kids are craving nurture and attention from the people in their lives. The power of encouragement by people they have genuine relationships is what they want. A majority of today’s kids are raised by grandparents. Why? Their parents are either self-destructive or self-medicated and they leave their children to the care of their parents. They are more invested in their online presence than their physical and emotional presence with their kids. Have a child tell you their mom spent money on herself instead of buying birthday gifts for them. Have a grandma tell you in tears she is the only stable thing in a child’s life. Then tell me that granny doesn’t matter….that Twitter will fill that child’s soul.

When purchased Twitter followers and FB friends fail to engage or respond, Grandma will always be there. I’d rather have Grandma.

Why does The Breakfast Club still speak so loudly?  Because it displays the complexity of relationships, the power of human connection, connectedness, and community.  In a world of bombings, shootings, Twitter, Apps, and Facetime, the power of human connection still trumps all.

It’s been a rough week in America, in our schools, and as a counseling professional. But a colleague of mine shared this video which shows the power of human connection far beyond social media.  Click the link below to watch.

The Power of Human Connection

Where have you seen the power of human connection this week?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

PS…Those of you who are “prayers,” pray for me Saturday as I speak to women for a retreat in Zionsville, IN. Thank you!

In His love,

Brenda

Steps to Health and Healing – Pushing Through Fear

“Ouch, that hurts,” I told the physical therapist working on my knee.  He was trying to figure out what was stable and what needed to be stretched after last week’s surgery.

“We’re going to get you walking,” he said, in a thick Polish accent.  “That pain? It’s from muscles you haven’t used since you’ve been hurt.  Now, get up and walk.

I looked at him with fear in my eyes.   I hadn’t put full weight on my right leg for two and a half months.  I started walking, but with a limp.

Get rid of the limp.  You don’t need to do that anymore.  You’re afraid to walk because of the pain you had in the past.  There is no pain anymore other than from the muscles you haven’t used.  You can do this.  Walk.”

I took steps, one after another, swinging my hip just like he said.

With courage I was capable to do what I was afraid of.

Do you have moments like that?

MP900341649Moments where the pain of the past grips you? Where you change your emotional, spiritual or behavioral posture because something hurts and the only way you know to go on is to limp along.  The limp becomes the new normal, overcompensating for the pain that’s afflicting you.  A pain that won’t go away unless you’re intentional about fixing it so it can heal.

While the surgery fixed the torn meniscus in my knee, my PT was pushing me to work through the pain from unused muscles I no longer used right because the stiff limp I was accustomed to became normal.

Are you walking in pain that has become normal for you?  Have you become dull to the pain, allowing spiritual or emotional muscles to weaken because you’re haven’t been using them?  When you attempt to use them in the right way, do you shrink back because the weakened ones cause new pain?  Are you afraid to go through the pain to be healed and healthy?

Physical therapy has done great things in just one week.  My knee’s been pushed, pulled, challenged, and stretched.  After each session, it’s stronger.   In order to heal, I have to persevere and work through the pain.

Healing from emotional pain is similar.  I often tell counseling clients that things will feel worse before they feel better because therapy brings up painful things needing to be addressed and healed.  It’s like surgery.  In order to heal, you have to open up and repair what’s damaged in the mind, soul, and spirit.  Learning to walk an emotionally healthy road requires using emotional and behavioral muscles that have been weakened.  It’s painful.  You’re pushed, pulled, challenged and stretched.  But after persevering, you’re stronger.

Just like my knee.   If I wouldn’t have sought treatment, I would have walked in pain with my “new normal” limp.  I probably would have gotten along okay until something would make it hurt worse.  Emotional pain can be carried the same way.  Pain and injury becomes an accepted way of life.  It’s not healthy.  Not at all.

I’ve learned my fear of walking “the right way” was real.  The physical therapist saw right through it.  He knew my muscles were strong enough to walk again.  He wouldn’t accept my fear of the past experience to be my present reality.  When he said, “You can do this” it gave me confidence to walk the right way.  “Swing your hip,” he said.  “No limp no more.”Man Walking Along Line in Road

 I needed to do this. In fact, my future health depended on it.

What fears grip you because of pain from your past?  What fears are keeping you from walking forward?

As I continue to get stronger and work at strengthening the weakened muscles, I’m reminded that healthy physical, emotional and spiritual lives requires hard work.  It requires addressing our past, our pain, our fears.  It requires being stretched, pulled, pushed and challenged.  But in the end, we can walk with strength.

With a swing in our hip and confidence in our heart.

We know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who He has given us. Romans 5:3

My love to you,

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Steps in Overcoming Obstacles: Keep Walking

Man Wearing Knee BandageI have a messed up knee. A torn ACL, torn meniscus, possible compression fracture.  Today I’ll be seeing an orthopedic doctor to find out the course of treatment.  Since the injury two months ago, I haven’t been active.  That’s been hard for me.  Being active is a part of a life-long strategy of healthy living as a recovered bulimic.  It’s not something I take for granted.

This week, I put my running shoes on and decided to walk.  We’ve had several inches of snow with temperatures in the teens, so walking outside is not an option.  Using our elliptical is too strenuous on the injured knee.   Obstacles to exercise have kept me sedentary.  I finally decided to overcome the obstacles.

As I walked a circle for forty-five minutes in my basement, the mundane act was life-giving.  I realized how tempting it was to tell myself that if I couldn’t run, I might was well not try.  I knew the longer I stayed away from healthy behavior, the easier it was not to engage in it again.  I realized how easily lies creep in when you need to overcome obstacles.

Sometimes, you just need to walk.

Man Walking Along Line in Road

So, how do you overcome life’s obstacles?

  • Walk in the direction of the obstacle.  Obstacles have power over us when we feel helpless in overcoming them.  Walking towards them makes them more manageable.
  • Doing what you can is better than doing nothing at all.  I’ve felt helpless in the area of physical activity lately.  But when I began walking, I gained energy and was encouraged in what I could do.
  • Don’t aim for perfection.  A lie of the enemy is “If I can’t do it the way I’d like, it’s not worth trying,” or “If I don’t think I’ll succeed, I won’t try.”  Perfection shouldn’t be a life goal.  Doing your best regardless of circumstances should be.
  • Think outside the box. My elliptical has been a vital tool in being active during snowy Midwest winters.  Part of me wanted to believe I couldn’t do anything with a bum knee.  I resolved to do what I could to get myself moving again.  My tennis shoes and a basement free of furniture were options for me.  Not ideal, but it worked.
  • Don’t lie to yourself. No matter how much time transpires between the present and the eating disorder days, old, familiar lies quickly can creep in.  Cognitive distortions and unhealthy thinking patterns are obstacles to most of us.  Recognizing triggers for faulty thinking is essential in overcoming obstacles.
  • Keep moving.  When I speak on addictions and overcoming obstacles, this principle is an essential truth.  As long as you are moving forward, you’re overcoming something,  you’re not being defeated, and you’re taking steps toward healthy behavior. Living addiction-free is a lifelong process.  Walking forward towards the goal is the action plan.

What obstacles face you?  What fear is holding you back from stepping toward healthy behavior, healthy relationships, or achieving hopes and dreams?  What steps to you need to take today?

Whatever you do, keep walking.