New Year’s Resolutions – Part Deux

Ok, this one is tough to share.  Lol. What will you think of me?!  😉  Ironically, I am practicing my resolution today by sharing with you!


“This is your life.. are you who you want to be?”

This little phrase developed into an anthem for my life a few years ago taken from a 2003 Switchfoot song.  I began daily listening to it first thing in the morning as I brushed my teeth, combed my hair and stared at the getting-close-to-forty face looking back at me.

Am I who I want to be?  Or am I who I think everyone else thinks I should be?  Or am I stuck being someone I don’t want to be?  Or am I someone I don’t like, but seem to keep on being that person anyway?

You see sometimes in our life we grow up thinking that everything around us defines us.  People in our life, community, leaders, culture.. And, when we think that, guess what?  Our actions follow.  So, we allow those definitions to take root, and limit our actions to fit in the little box afforded us.

Oh, their family is just that way.  Oh, people with that color of skin are just that way.  Oh, women are just that way.  Oh, he’s always done things that way.  Oh, that temper just runs in her family. Oh, people that age just always think that way.  Oh, he won’t ever be anything else, he’s just not capable.

Oh, she just IS……

But, all that stuff doesn’t define me.  Nope.  It contributes to my life.  Like a recipe with a dash of this, and a tablespoon of that.. It all becomes part of who I am.  But, it doesn’t define ME.

Define:  To explain the meaning of : to show or describe something clearly and completely.  (Merriam-Webster).

There are things that we are so grateful for in life!  We are happy for their contribution, and glad it’s part of who we are!

But, here’s the thing.. there are things in our lives that we really don’t want to define us.  But, we feel restricted like they do. Trapped.  One of my very favorite songs right now is John Mayer’s “In The Blood.”  I cried the first time I heard it, because it reached deep into my soul, and straight to the lies that whisper to me that I am limited by my past to deter becoming who I want to be.  Maybe you can relate?  Mistakes we’ve made, failures, abuse from others, family struggles.. the list goes on and on.  “Could I change it if I wanted, can I rise above the flood?  Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?” (Mayer, 2017, In the Blood).

So, my resolution I’ll share with you is this!

Practice the courage to be myself.

Who do I want to be?

I guess the first step is us being intentional to think about it.  And, to realize we aren’t limited by that other stuff.  I’m not stuck… my Father made me free!

You aren’t stuck either.

I know these things:

1)      I am made in the image of God!  (WHOA!)

2)     I am a sinner that tries to find other things to fix my cravings.  I desire stuff that’s not for me, and sometimes I over-desire stuff that might be good in my life, but it still isn’t Him!  And, over-desiring that stuff still gets me off-balance because it’s temporary!  He is eternal!

3)     God’s grace is sufficient for yesterday, today and forever!  When I am one with Him, I am balanced and complete.  Seeking Him reveals more and more of my definition!


Some ways for me that help me practice….

-Being vulnerable, always truthful and sincere with my thoughts, but also kind and sensitive to the needs of others.

-Listening to others, and sharing with others in safety.  Staying away from gossip.

-Enjoying the moments of bliss I find!  For me often with music, (or other awe-inspiring gifts from God) that completely jive with who He made me.  You know the moments that you sing along with to the top of your lungs in the car.  Or, you listen to with tears. The moments were you have to just sit spellbound at scenery that doesn’t seem real.  And, then, for me that Beethoven symphony that leaves me with chill bumps and a sense of awe EVERY TIME?!

-Stopping to enjoy the sunset, or savor the coffee.  Giving myself the OK to rest, play, and create!

-Not stressing about what people want, need or try get from me… But give freely of the right things at the right time.  What’s on my plate?  Take care of those things step by step… and practice the word, “no” when it’s needed.  😊 Every time I say yes to something, I am also saying no to something else.  So, make sure my yes’s are the ones I want, and the no’s are the right ones for me.

-“Where ever I am, being all there.” ~Elisabeth Elliot.  Wholehearted living!

And, when I mess up (because I surely do and surely will…) getting back on the path and taking a step at a time back in the right direction!

Hey, remember as Dr Seuss says… “There’s no one you’er than you!” And that’s not a mistake… God shaped and fashioned you!

The practice of being ourselves takes courage, insight, and honesty.  Not just simply, well folks – this is me and this is what you get kinda courage… ‘cos honestly that can leaving us feeling very dissatisfied at the end of many days. Rather, the courage to be who we truly are. Who we are created to be!  And all with the flair of the individual ways He made you and me!  To practice shedding ourselves from lies of our image that weigh us down – hate, fear, insecurity, pain… and then practice putting on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and strong love for ourselves and others!

Bearers of the image of God

Here’s what is fascinating.. our God is a God of ubiquitous diversity!  Just take a look around, and then in the mirror!  I’ll leave you with this quote that I heard once in a lecture…

“Every man is in certain respects like all other men, like some other men,  like no other man.”

The same Switchfoot song also has this line.. “Don’t close your eyes.”  Ahhh.  That’s what I’d like to do some days.. lol.. but, courage isn’t always some big, bold hero with a cape and a big S on the chest… courage is taking the right steps today.  It’s opening our eyes to look at reality.  Steps.  One by one by one… Not always an easy road, but the one that brings harmony inside, no matter what we are walking through on the outside.



To A Wild Rose: Straight From the Heart of Joanna

Next up in our series, “To A Wild Rose,” I have the privilege of introducing you to my little sis, Joanna.  They say (who is they?) that dynamite comes in small packages, and that fits our Joanna.  She is small in form, yet has the biggest, strongest heart that you will find.  She currently works in child care caring for little ones; her hobbies include collecting silver-screen flicks, children’s books and movies, gardening, and she is currently a yellow-belt in karate.  Read on, I think you will be inspired by one of my heroes.  

What God Wants

I used to have a really bad habit of mentally bashing myself over the head. When I would feel bullied by other people, I would then bully myself even more. I would repeat the mean words they had said over and over in my head. I have come to realize that I was probably my biggest bully because other people might have lit the fire, but I was the one who poured gasoline on it. (I just want to stop here for a second and say if some is bullying you in any way don’t think that you can’t talk about it! Go to someone you trust, maybe a friend, a pastor or a counselor and tell them about it. I have learned that it’s ok to talk about things.)

I still have the problem of bullying myself from time to time. But, the difference is I used to think I deserved to be bullied, now I know I don’t. Don’t let someone bully you, and don’t bully yourself. I can tell you it’s not right. I like to remember the words of  Eleanor Roosevelt – “No one can make you feel inferior with out your consent.” If someone is verbally bullying you, you don’t have to listen to them. And you do not have to have the same thoughts about yourself. You choose who you are and what you think of yourself. I’m still learning to think positively about myself. I have came a long way through the encouragement of loving friends and family, and I would like to share with you a quote that I have grown to love.

“God wants us to be victors not victims; to grow not grovel; to soar not sink; to overcome not be overwhelmed.”  — William A. Ward

Ok, now I’m going to tell you when I first read this quote I liked it…. but, part of me did not like it. Because I had been so harsh on myself and always running myself down there was a part of me that felt judged by this quote. I knew I was doing the opposite of what this quote was saying that God wanted. I had spent so much time  beating myself over the head that I did not understand the way that God wanted me to be.  I also had a messed up view of God, and so I thought, “Wait does this mean that God is going to be upset with me for not being a victor?  For choosing to grovel at peoples feet? For allowing myself to sink down into sadness? For letting everything around me get me so overwhelmed??”

But, as I have grown to know God better I have actually learned just how much He loves me.  

God loves us so much that He Wants us to be victors. He Wants us to grow in Him. He Wants us to soar high in His happiness. He Wants us to overcome obstacles through HIM and HIS love.  He Loves Us and Truly Wants the Best For Us.  He is not sitting up in heaven going, “YOU better get this right.” He is up there saying, “You can do this and I’m going to help you if you’ll let me.”

I am learning to look at myself not how I see myself, but as God sees me.
We can be victors. We can grow. We can soar. We can overcome through Christ and God’s love. But, you know there are a lot of days that I don’t just jump out of my bed and be like, “WOOHOOO I’M A VICTOR!”Some days I look up at God and I’m like, “God, I don’t feel like a victor today I’m struggling with some stuff.”  Soo, I was like hmmm I’m going to look up the meaning of the word VICTOR (a person who has overcome or defeated an adversary; conqueror / a winner in any struggle or contest)and  that made me start thinking… you must first run the race to win, or climb the mountain to stand on top.  We might be in the middle of a struggle, but we can get through it.


Speaking of mountains, I was thinking, you know that kids song “the bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, to see what he could see, and he saw another mountain, he saw another mountain….” Anyway, the point is this bear keeps climbing all these mountains, and every time he gets to the top there’s another mountain and I was thinking That’s Like Life!!! We are constantly going through something, or struggling with something.  These are our mountains and no matter how many mountains we climb there always seems to be another mountain. But, as long as we keep climbing we can make it to the top of our mountains, and when you stand on top of one of your mountains, even if your looking at another mountain right in front of you, you can stand at the top and say I am a victor! And, right now if you’re in the middle of  climbing one of your mountains, holding on to God’s hand, telling God “I’m tired I’m thirsty are we there yet?”….Just remember don’t give up and remember What God Wants For You.

God wants us to be victors not victims. To grow not grovel. To soar not sink. To overcome and not be overwhelmed.