Soul Surgery: How He is Changing Me

My favorite time of the year (and it has nothing to do with a pumpkin spice latte!).

The changing fall tapestry never ceases to amaze and delight me. The leaves are going to slowly change  from their standard brilliant green. They will show off in their tuxedos and ball dresses, draped in maroon, gold, orange, and even purple, but it surprises me every single year! I can’t get enough of the fall palette. It beckons my attention and I find myself lost in the wonder of it all.

As summer pulls her curtain, the stage is set for autumn to storm on the scene and take her photogenic bow. And she never disappoints and always gets a standing ovation from me.

The leaves however, know that the show will be short-lived. Maybe that’s why they burst on the scene and sing their hearts out for a few weeks. As the days get shorter and summer ends, there is not enough light for photosynthesis to happen. And the trees begin to get ready for the long cold winter by shutting down their food-making factories.

The fabulous greens caused by chlorophyll will disappear from all the leaves and the brilliant fall colors take over for a few weeks as the leaves begin their journey to the leaf pile. The brilliant colors are a result of the leaves dying from not having enough food. The tree knows that it will need to live off the food that it stored during the summer months and the leaves have to go. The tree hunkers down, so to speak, and lightens its load. The tree has to let go of its canopy or covering to live to see another season.

Lightens its load.  Letting go. Hmmm. God is doing some of that around here. And even though it sounds painful, it is refreshing.

Sometimes we are called to let go of a good thing. To quit trying to make it work. To trust the call that God has given us even if it doesn’t feel right.

I have been quiet as of late, but God has not. He has been moving and revealing and shaking everything up all over the place. And I can honestly say that it has been good. Quite good.

Because He is good and I don’t have to claim that I am or that I am trying to be better. Because I can’t.

I can choose to wrestle or I can choose to rest. Either way, nothing changes who He is.

In abiding, I am learning that change is a necessary component of growth and adventure in an excitedly frightening way.

It goes without saying, I am scary excited about what He is doing.

Soul surgery is best done without anesthesia…I want to know and remember what He is doing and how He is changing me. Are you awake for your own life?

The leaves are falling, friends. And they are overwhelmingly beautiful. Can’t wait for the bonfire and roasted marshmallows!

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ~Victor Frankl

 

If Heaven is for Perfect People, Then It’s Not For Me

 

I used to be *perfect*. The good girl. Did all the right things. Lived with a lot of guilt and pride.

Today, I dare to be an imperfectionist. My children offer me many opportunities to practice this new discipline. For example, during homework last night, I yelled. I lost it and broke a pencil in half. On purpose. Afterwards, we laughed. I apologized and Callie said, “Well, at least it wasn’t my favorite pencil.” I love that girl to the moon and back about 4 million times.

Yep. Then today, a friend told me that I never wanted anyone mad at me. That I wanted to be liked by everyone. Okay, she didn’t really say those exact words, but this is what I heard the Holy Spirit saying to me:

“You want to be liked by everyone. You don’t want anyone to be mad at you. Ever.”

Even though I am daring to be an imperfectionist, this LIE lingers. Yes, I admit it. It sucks. It is a lot of work.  I have been blocked by folks on Facebook. I have been called names. I have been misunderstood for my passionate beliefs. And it hurts.

But, I am choosing this day to be okay if people don’t like me. I can choose to respect them and their differences. I can love them anyway! It is a choice I can make for me. And for them.

Victor Frankl (a survivor of the Nazi death camps) said, “There are two ways to go to the gas chamber: free or not free.” Wow. I can choose to be free from other people’s opinions and their thoughts of me. It is TRUTH that allows us to do this. To choose FREEDOM. Freedom to believe what we know to be TRUTH. Freedom to accept ourselves as God made us, warts, moles, and all. Freedom to LOVE ourselves just the way we are…and others, too.

The truth will set you free…free to be who God made you to be and not have to attack anyone else or their opinions. The truth gives you wings to fly. To places that resonate deeply to your core. The essence of your being and your passions. The truth frees you up to trust God with your future and your desires.

I’m going to heaven imperfect but made perfect in Him. FREE to BE me! And not everyone is going to like me. There will be haters and naysayers anytime you move forward in obedience to Christ.

When you try to make everybody happy, you end up miserable and exhausted. Speak TRUTH in LOVE and let the pieces fall where they may.

Who are you trying to earn brownie points from? How can you pray for your enemies?

Standing in the gap with you, friends. It is scary…but most things worth fighting for are. Be strong and courageous!

 

 

What are you giving away?

 

Sean was a wonderful hand model today!

 

She helped me more than I could ever help her. I knew that I couldn’t afford to pay her what I truly owed her, but I offered anyway.

“What do I owe you? You have helped me so much.”

She looked at me long. I could tell she was not only gazing but gathering. Gathering words from all the thoughts racing through her mind. She seemed to stare right through me. Yet, I wasn’t uncomfortable.

“You don’t owe me a thing. This is what I do. And I want to be able to share it with you.”

After hearing what my ears captured, my brain had to catch up to the atrocity of it all.

“Nothing? I can’t do that. I have my checkbook. Let me pay you something.”

“Nope. I will not take your money. If  you give me a check, I will tear it up.”

And she was serious. Her gaze had changed and she was no longer gathering. She was demanding that I owed her nothing. Not a single dime.

She was giving away the bank and I told her so. But, she disagreed again in her own stubborn way.

“I am giving away the bank. But not to everybody. Just those whom God tells me to. And by the way, I am not giving anything away. I am investing in you. And that, my dear, is priceless. I may never see the return on my investment, but somebody will and that will be well worth my time spent with you today.”

It took me several months to begin to understand her way of “doing business”. Her doxology seemed paradoxical to every business rule I had been previously taught. Here were several examples:

1. If you give someone something for nothing, they will continue to expect it.

2. Never work for free.

3. It’s not really manipulation if you “care” about the person.

4. Always stick to the business model. Period.

5. The more letters behind your name, the more they think you know.

But everything I learned from this very successful “business” woman 7 years ago flew in the face of all that I had previously learned. Here is what I learned from her:

1. Give it all away to those whom God reveals to you. It always comes back. You can never out give God.

2. Working for free is okay. Pro bono work grows you as a coach and gives people who can’t afford coaching an opportunity to experience something life changing.

3. If you really “care” about the person, you won’t want to manipulate them.

4. Business models are great, but they have to be malleable. Change happens. Prepare for it.

5. It doesn’t matter how many letters you have behind your name. It doesn’t mean that you know more. You have to know what you are called to do and do it well.

As a coach, I charge a fee. I also do a lot of pro bono work. I give away free sessions when a paying client is dealing with something that requires more sessions than they can afford. Lastly, several of my clients pay me what they can, when they can.

And I feel really good about all of the above. Because something changed in me when I was given the bank. For free. By someone who had also learned that living life with open hands is a requirement for receiving more.

Remember, you can never out give God. Not even close.

I pray that I always give what I can when I can where I can to whom I can.

What are you giving away?

Clenched fists cannot be filled. Open hands can be filled time and time again.

If you ever wondered what Life Coaches do….

….now you know:

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my very perceptive 7-year-old daughter’s artistic depiction of what I do in my office when the door is closed. And, yes, I do talk with my hands. I would add a cup of tea or coffee to place on the desk, but in all, she nailed it!

When I am “yam, yam, yamming” in my office, amazing people are choosing to be courageous and bridge the gap between their reality and where they truly want to be. I have the best “job” in the world!

When the risk feels huge …

We teach children to save their money. As an attempt to counteract thoughtless and selfish expenditure, that has value. But it is not positive; it does not lead the child into the safe and useful avenues of self-expression or self-expenditure. To teach a child to invest and use is better than to teach him to save.  HENRY FORD

When I first read this quote, I thought I read it incorrectly, so I read it again. And after about 10 rereads, it hit me.

I am a natural-born saver. I will buy things and put them in a safe place until I need them. For a rainy day. Or for when we have guests. Or when the power goes out.

I hoard stockpile store these things and almost never use them. Because there are very few true rainy days. And I have all this stuff just in case I might need it one day.

And then I realized after reading Henry Ford’s wisdom about 10 more times, that I am teaching my children to do the same thing. Oh my… I may have a problem.

“To teach a child to invest and use is better than to teach him to save.”

What does that mean? For me, for my kids?

When you put money in a savings account, you are rewarded with a very low wage as your money is earning very low-interest. However, you have almost instant access to your money. When you invest money in mutual funds or securities, you take a bigger risk, but your potential for rewards is much greater. Your access to your money is usually limited unless you pay large fees, think 401K.

By investing, you usually earn more money than saving. Savings is great for short-term use, but investing is better for the long-term because you have the potential to earn more money.

However, when I read this quote, saving or investing money didn’t even cross my mind.

What hit me in the gut was how am I investing my talents and treasures? What causes me to hoard them, store them, and stockpile them for rainy days?

Case in point: I bought a desk top easel 5 years ago. I knew that I would use it one day. I was saving it for the “right time”. It would still be in my closet unused if I had not taken a risk and signed up for an art class. I am investing … in me. I took a huge risk and that risk is already paying dividends. When the risk feels huge, remember the rewards are waiting on the other side of YES!

Don’t wait 36 years to learn how to paint and draw (or dance or sing or play piano or go back to school or dye your hair or take that trip) like I did. This talent has been sleeping within me for over 3 decades. It was shut down by a comment that one person in authority said to me when I was 5 years old. And I listened to that lie.

For 31 years that dream slept inside of me.

But the dream is over and my reality is now that dream. If you think it and dream it, it can become your reality. The lowly acorn holds the DNA for the mighty oak tree. The furry caterpillar is the holding cell for a radiant butterfly who dreams of soaring.

The only day you have is now! Invest in yourself right now! You can soar!

How are you using your talents and treasures? How are you teaching your kids to invest in themselves and the world around them? Are you saving for a rainy day or investing in yourself and your talents?

Wake up from that dream and make it happen. I know what I want to start teaching my children. Today. I will support their dreams and be their biggest cheerleader as long as I have air in my lungs.

Don’t delay. You are talented and brilliant. Put some paint on the canvas of your life…

 

All I wanted was some tea…

…and all she wanted to do was clean her blender.

The parking lot was empty so I had my choice on the front row. The door chimed loud when I walked into the warm and inviting space. The smell of muffins, cookies, and of course freshly brewed coffee, aroused my senses. I couldn’t wait to place my order…

She was standing over to my right behind the counter that displayed their delicacies. There was no love at hello because she didn’t say “hello” or “hi” or “good afternoon” or “how are you”. She did say, “I’ll be with you in a minute”. Turns out her minute has more than 360 seconds in it.

I said okay and waited by myself. First in line with no one else behind me.

And I waited. I watched her meticulously cleaning the blender she had used to make a cold blended beverage earlier in the day. And I waited some more. She then wiped down the counter. While I waited. Alone. In line. By myself. Until I couldn’t wait anymore.

She never made eye contact with me until I said, “I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to go somewhere else.” After I waited for over 6 minutes for her to take my order…a large unsweet tea with extra ice. Not too difficult. No blender needed.

She looked at me and said, “I’m almost done.”

So was I. And I left. Disappointed. I thought to myself as I got back into my car, “boy, unless they change the way they relate to their customers they won’t be in business much longer”.

This exchange happened over 3 months ago. And, I have yet to figure out why she insisted on cleaning her blender when I was the only customer in the coffee shop. She didn’t even ask me what I was having. If my drink order required a clean blender, then I would have understood what she was doing. Clean blenders are important, but I am not fond of tea smoothies.

When I left the coffee shop back in May, the door chimed again to announce my exit. And I drove about two miles down the road and ordered my large unsweet tea from a well established store. One that has excellent customer service. And they always say, “Hi! My name is ______. How may I help you?” By the way, the tea was great!

I drove by the same coffee shop today while I was running errands. Guess what was on the door? A white piece of paper that said, “Closed. Thank you for your patronage”. Wow…

This series of events has pricked my heart. I can’t let go of it. And here’s why:

How many times do I “clean the blender” when my husband or children only want to order a cup of tea? Some recognition that they are there and important and need me.

“Cleaning the blender” can always wait. The most important people in my life, the ones I live and interact with on a daily basis, are so much more important to me than any blender I can ever clean.

My husband and children need things from me that no one else can ever give them. And how many times have I put them off and I hear them say in return, “Babe, all I wanted is………..” or “mommy, all I wanted was for you to……….”.

They don’t want a large green tea frappuccino with 5 shots of raspberry syrup and extra whip cream. They just want their wife and mama’s time and attention. Two things that only I can give them.

I know what blender I am currently cleaning. And I know what I need to do about it.

What’s your “blender”? What or who needs attention in your life that the “blender” is getting?

Friends, the heart of this blog is to help you walk in deeper fellowship with God and then in healthier relationships with those nearest and dearest to you. My left foot reached over and stepped on the toes of my right foot today. I am learning right beside you. Thank you for taking time to read, explore, and dream with me. So very grateful for you.

 

 


Letting Go

In my slowing down, I have seen and heard things that I haven’t even blinked at before. It has been refreshing to take more in by taking less on. Like breathing from my diaphragm instead of gasping from my throat.

Slowing down has also been a painful teacher in some ways regarding time. Time that never stands still. However, I can stand still as the tick tock continues. The hands of time that never stop their forward march.

As I continue to practice this discipline of slowing down, God has shown me a lot. More recently He has shown me that there are some things I have to let go of. Things that found their way into my backpack. Some on purpose that I invited in and others that tagged along looking for a host. 

Surrender and release. Give the air room to circulate through the ever-widening hole at the back of my throat and find my diaphragm.

Oh, the freedom of a deep breath. Some of you know, just like I do, the panic that consumes you when you can’t breathe.

But, when it hurts way down deep, we try to hold on with white knuckles. And the throat narrows. The chest tightens.

Hold on to what was or what we want or how we want it.

We hold it and squeeze it tight. Clutched to our chest like our whole life depended on that very thing. Nothing could be more important.

Nothing. Except maybe, letting go.

To whom or what are you holding on to? So tight that your chest aches and you forget to breathe. You know. And He knows. And He wants to take it for you. But, you have to be willing to give it to Him.

Sometimes it’s easier to just let go…give it to Him. Lay it down. Quit trying to make it right. Maybe, just maybe, He is trying to make room for more. And you are settling for less. Could it be?

He has shown me two things thus far. And, I have a choice to make. I can hold on to mediocrity and shallow breathing. Or by letting go, I can breathe in all that He has for me.

Yes, we have a choice to make. What choice will that be?

My one thing…

I know you’ve been sitting on the edge of your seat since Sunday when you read about the Weekly Intention for this week. Waiting and about to pop because you want to know what my one thing is for this week.

Drum roll please!! No more delay!!

It’s pretty simple, folks. I am slowing down. Yes, me, Lizzie, slowing down. I do most everything fast, except for run. I am a solid 10 minute miler, but in every other area of my life, I am in hyper mode. Eating, sleeping, working, walking, talking, etc. Multitasking everywhere I go.

I am probably the main reason my son sees a speech therapist. He clutters his words together…because he talks too fast. His processing speed is much higher than his ability to produce language in an intelligible manner. Now, since he sees the best speech therapist in the world, Mrs. Renee, he has improved leaps and bounds. But, we have invested a lot of time and money teaching him how to ssssssllllllooooowwwww down.

So, now,  I am being more intentional about being slow. On purpose. And it makes realize just how not present to the present I am most of the time. I am like the professional pool player who has already run the 9-ball table in his or her mind before the little solid yellow #1 ball has been pocketed.

This is going to be hard. It will cost me something. I am fearing that I will be much less productive. But, the Lord keeps reminding me that I will gain more than I could ever lose. I am sure there is a reason why I rush through life…but that is a completely different post for another day!!

First things first. And, I will never have to worry about coming in last. 

 

I will keep you posted! The next installment of “Weekly Intentions” will post on Sunday. Also, if you haven’t already, please visit and like my new Kairos Coaching, LLC Facebook page. I would love to be able to keep you updated on all things Kairos via my Facebook page.

And, by the way, my amazing web designer is working on my new website. I cannot wait to reveal it to you in the weeks ahead. Thank you as always for reading. Blessed beyond measure and grateful to call you friend.

Weekly Intentions: Forgiveness

Traveling along, cruising at 8 miles over the speed limit. BAM!!!! Suddenly, I am jolted awake, out of my blissfully ignorant road trip.

My clean little upper room was rattled this weekend. Not in a bad way. But in a way that is requiring something of me. Release. Surrender. And then praying for something. Let me explain.

I attended a retreat for the Way of Life Coaching, LLC, leadership team. We usually have one to two retreats per year for personal development, spiritual growth, and overall team leadership development. It is a phenomenal time of community, friendship, growth, and love. Oh yeah, I usually take lots of walks on the beach and learn a whole lot, too. Doesn’t sound too shabby, huh?

The director of Way of Life Coaching, LLC, Cheryl Scanlan, discussed forgiveness at length this Saturday. And, I left a changed woman. She challenged us to search our hearts and ask God to show us who we may need to forgive. Most of the time this is pretty obvious. But for me, I had a major revelation this weekend. Here is the question that brought me to my knees:

Who can you NOT pray for and ask God to pour blessings on?

So as I ponder this week and work through my list of 8 people, I kindly request that you consider this question in your own lives. I want to be free indeed and that means being able to forgive and ask God to pour blessings upon these 8 people. They will never know who they are, but I know and God knows, and my friend, that is all that matters.

“Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness….And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.”

Corrie Ten Boom – The Hiding Place

Are you living small or large?

Has a quote ever pierced your soul? This one has gripped me for the past 5 years:

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, some day far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”   Rainer Maria Rilke

I have an {at times} overwhelming desire to know the answers, the end results of my choices. This keeps me from living at times because I am afraid of the unknown. So in my fear, I have {at times} chosen to live small. Living large is was for those people who were stupid bold enough to know and accept that they could feel pain by doing so.

Well, consider me one of those stupid bold {albeit sometimes very anxious} people now. It is impossible to know every known possible outcome in every situation. However, knowing the One who knows every possible outcome, helps me to live the questions now. I would rather live large and experience joy and pain than live a mediocre life. Won’t you join me?

“Searching”

Questions rattle in my head.

Answers escape me.

Will I ever know?

Searching for tomorrow today.

Peace flees.

What do I want to know?

Dance in between the lines.

Move with the flow.

Who do I know?

Lay it down.

Live today.

Savor every moment.

That is the answer.

He will find me.