TRIGGERED

Have you ever stopped in a moment and prayed something like this;

‘Lord, give me patience to deal with them!’

‘Jesus, please help me get through this meeting with this group of crazies!’

‘God, I am SO ANNOYED and frustrated, help me to be at peace.’

‘God, what is wrong with people!?’

If you’re like me, you pray prayers like this all the time desperately trying to get through the madness we face on a regular basis. Sometimes these desperate prayers just come out, quick and easy, without any thought or effort but lately, it’s been different for me. When I find myself praying these prayers, asking God things like ‘What is wrong with these people?!’ I feel the Holy Spirit nudging me towards a different kind of question…  Questions like ‘Why does this trigger me?’

Since I started to get this little leading from the Lord, I’ve been asking myself over, and over (and OVER) again- this very question.  ‘Lord, why does this trigger me?’

 

Asking the right questions has helped me to get to the root of MY ISSUE and become more accountable, rather then pointing the finger at someone else and expecting God to ‘fix them’ or change my situation.

Today I had yet another ‘God, why does this trigger me?’ moment.

I was dropping my daughter off at school already feeling frustrated that the morning derailed and turned into a yelling and crying match. I walk in and Sav’s teacher begins with the small talk, ‘How are you? How are you feeling?’ and then continues to tell me all about Savannah’s progress with her letters.

Now for the sake of back story, this wasn’t the first time I heard this. The first was via progress report that was sent home. After reading the progress report and the recommendations the first time, I was upset and frustrated.  I thought of everything I would say to this teacher. Things like;

‘I would like to see the curriculum you’re teaching.’

‘What’s your plan to give Sav’s letter memory more attention during the school day?’

‘How often are you doing letters throughout the week?’

But when she began to speak, I just teared up with Savannah, standing next to me full of smiles and totally unaware of what was happening. I think all she heard was the great job she was doing with most of her letters and totally disregarded the portion about the letters she didn’t know. In an effort to keep it together, for Savvy’s sake at least, I just nodded my head in agreement, kissed Savannah good-bye and then left to my car where I cried my way to work.

‘Why did this trigger you?’ I felt the Holy Spirit ask me in my no words, tear filled moment.

Why did this trigger me? Why was I losing my mind over this moment? I reasoned with myself that my husband and I sacrifice a lot financially to put her in this school, we wanted the best for her, isn’t this their job? And that’s why I felt frustrated. Then I thought about how she would be starting Kindergarten next year and I wondered ‘will she be prepared?’ Being that kindergarten is about 7 months out, this was a premature concern so then the question remains, what is it? Why did this trigger me?

As I drove, guilt the weight of this world began to crush me.

–          I should have more time to work with her.

–          If I wasn’t working full time, I would- I could!

–          If I could just be there for her more, this wouldn’t be an issue.

There it was, the trigger; the feeling of ‘being a full- time employee makes me a part time Mom’ guilt.

I was so upset because I felt like it’s all my fault, I felt like I can’t be there for her the way I want to be because I’m working, I felt like life will always make me choose and I can never, ever have the best of both worlds, someone or something will always feel the burden of this sacrifice.

Ugh. I hate this trigger. Of all the triggers, this is the worst because it attacks one of the things I hold dearest to me, motherhood.

I wish I could say in that moment, I shook it off, moved on and forgot all about it. I wish it was that simple, but it’s not. I felt frustrated, sad, even confused. Even as I pen this note, I’m asking the Holy Spirit ‘so what’s the answer?’

And all I hear is this; GRACE.

There is grace for this place. There is grace for this life. There is grace for this, not just for me but for my children, for my husband. I believe firmly that when you are called to something, anything – whether its motherhood, marriage, ministry, a job or career, school or training- whatever it is, when you are called to that, the Lord graces you for the journey as well as those who are meant to be on the journey with you.

For example, I know that I KNOW my husband is graced for me and my life as I am for his. Going to school, the personal aspirations I have, the fact that I was a dozen babies (joking- kinda), he is graced for that because he is meant to be on this journey with me.

Today, I’m reminded that my girls are also graced for this journey. Out of all the wombs that God could have placed sweet Savannah in, He chose mine. And that sweet and sassy baby girl is graced for this journey. She is graced to have a mom in the workforce, she is graced to be raised by parents in ministry, she is graced for this life because when God chose me as her mother, He graced her to be my daughter and when He chose her as my daughter, He graced me as her mother.

God didn’t slip, fall and drop her into my lap, or womb for that matter. This was a precise decision made in Heaven and if it makes sense there, surely it’ll make sense here.

Maybe you’re not a mother or this isn’t your struggle but I would challenge you that we all have triggers. This was my trigger today, other days my triggers vary. What’s your trigger?

I just want to encourage someone today who’s been triggered by something and it’s sending you into a spiral of frustration and guilt-  you’re graced for this! And so are your children, your spouse and the people who are meant to be on this journey with you.

Be a good steward of what’s before you. All of it. Don’t resent or despise it because God, in all His wisdom chose you for this path. Is He, I mean could He, ever possibly be wrong? I think not.

IT’S NOT A COMPETITION

Have you ever been scrolling down your timeline, looking at pictures or posts, trying to unwind with some mindless entertainment and then before you know it, you find your brain full of thoughts, questions and concerns that weren’t there moments before?

 

How did she lose all that weight so fast?

How are her kids already potty training?

Wow, her husband brought her flowers, again?..

Another date night!?

They are always going somewhere fun!

If I didn’t have all these kids, my life would be a little more adventurous.

How are they getting married?

Oh my goodness, I need those shoes!!

Look at that car!!

Why can’t I have a cool job?

What am I doing wrong?

Everyone around me is so blessed and then there’s me..

 

The list could go on and on and on. We all fall victim to it at one time or another. That feeling of ‘look at them’ that makes us feel like we’re just below the mark. It happens to me sometimes. I’ll be scrolling, trying to clear my mind and before I know it, my mind is full of junk!! It happens so easy, as if a simple crack of our hearts door allows for an avalanche of crazy to come flooding in.

For me personally, I get this feeling sometimes when I see mothers with their children. Working full time leaves me with less time than desired to be with my kids so sometimes when I see fun day trips or parents with their babies, it makes me sad! Not because they get to do it, but because I don’t.

Thoughts like ‘You’re such a bad mom’ or ‘Maybe you made the wrong choice’ flood my mind. I think about how I wish I could be with them more, how I should be with them more. I think about how I’m selfish for ‘putting my career first’ when my babies are little. Thought after thought comes in like a tornado taking down every truth, promise and revelation God has ever given me about my life, and my journey.

When I was in school, I could vividly remember the time and place God told me to enroll yet during times where I was stuck doing homework, when I had to decline invitations to study or I had to spend 4 hours in a classroom after a long day of work I literally could not see past that moment. I would forget that God had placed me on assignment. I would forget that He told me surely there would be enough grace. In the face of comparison, I would forget everything that mattered most.

It’s amazing that even with knowing I’m in the right place for this season of life everything, knowing that God has anointed me for this assignment, knowing that He is with me and for me, all that I know to be true just crumbles under the weight of comparison.

I’ve heard it said before that comparison is the thief of joy but it’s so much more destructive than that. Comparison robs you of your best life, the life that God has graced you for.  Comparison tells you that what you have is not enough and what others have is better. Comparison says that the road you’re on leads to nowhere while your neighbor is on a path to destiny. Comparison silences the voice of God in your life.

I remember several months ago, having an ‘insta-episode’ as I would like to call it and I looked at a picture of a gorgeous woman. Looking at her long hair, curvy body and gorgeous face I thought to myself ‘Dear God, I can’t compete with her’ and the Lord whispered back ‘You don’t have to’.

 

Insecurities tell you it’s a competition.

Insecurities tell you that you’ve got to compete.

Insecurities tell you that you have to do better, be better, buy better.

Insecurities tell you everything you have is nothing compared to what they behold.

 

But confidence in Christ reminds you that you don’t have to compete. You don’t have to fight for first place. You don’t have to look at your co-laborers as competitors. Life is a collaboration, not a competition and when you realize that, you’re released to simply be all God has called you to be. Someone else’s success does not equal your failure. There is more then enough purpose, success and destiny to go around. The idea that when someone else is doing well means your doing bad is a lie straight from hell that needs to be torn down.

No more looking to the left or to the right, no more comparing and contrasting, no more feeling sorry for yourself, just the freedom to be everything God desires you to be. The idea of beauty and success in our society is a moving mark. It’s one thing one moment and something different the next. But the purpose God has placed in you, the man or woman He destined you to be even before He laid down the foundations of the Earth, that does not change. That does not grow old. That does not go out of style.

God was and still is obsessed with you. God has always and will always delight Himself in you. God is not a moving mark, He is stable and secure, steadfast and strong, He is the one that claims you His and purposed you for Heaven’s sake.

Friend, look away from the screen for a moment- maybe not forever, but long enough to fix your eyes on things above. All the things lovely and admirable that God says about you, all things beautiful and steadfast, all things true and tangible.

God is obsessed with you, never forget it. Let Him be your obsession as well.

xx.. Lori

PURPOSE.

Over the years I’ve heard questions like ‘What is purpose?’, ‘What is my purpose?’, ‘How will I know when I find my purpose?’ or ‘Do I even have purpose?’

All of these are great questions, the concern is valid and truth be told, most of us have asked ourselves these questions more than once.

So what’s the answer? How do you find purpose? Is it told? Is it showed? Is it discovered? Does it evolve? How will we ever know what we are placed on this earth to do?

At this point, I wish I had some profound answer to each of these questions. I wish I knew. I wish I could tell you! But I can’t… The only thing I can tell you for sure is that your purpose comes from God and was deposited in you before you even reached your mother’s womb. As for the rest of the questions, they are so personal to each of us, that the answers can only be found within ourselves.

What I can tell you are three practical truths that I have found on my journey.

  • Your purpose is for people, not in people.

Now this first one is going to be difficult for the Momma who’s knee deep in dirty diapers and believes she is only on earth to wipe butts or the woman who believes her purpose will be found in a spouse or the Pastor who believes his or her value is found in the size of their ministry. (All of these examples are close to my own personal story, yours might be different and that’s OK!) What you have to offer this world is not found in the form of another human. Period. Your purpose is for people, not in people. Be very careful not to confuse the two. As a mother if I believe that my purpose is changing diapers, doing laundry and reading bedtime stories, what happens when my little people grow? Does my purpose diminish? Of course not! Your purpose will outlast the people in your life. No matter how close those people are to you. Knowing that your purpose is for people, not in people will free you from the entrapment of people pleasing.

Have you placed your hope and purpose in people only to be let down? I’m certain that wasn’t God’s original intent for you. Don’t quit your purpose when people fail you, your purpose is for people, not in people!

  • You can’t find what you’re unwilling to face.

In my experience, purpose is usually tied to a strength disguised as a struggle and it isn’t until you’re willing to face both that our purpose truly begins to unfold. Through grade school I had two very specific struggles that now I can look back on knowing  they were actually intentional attacks on my strengths that would build walls of fear like a fortress around my heart and purpose.

They began when I was young and truthfully, I have struggled with these two things almost every day since then. First, I was rejected and excluded. When I moved to a new town and began a new school, I was just that- the new girl and it was clear that I would not be welcomed into the ‘in crowd’. I was left out, forced to ‘prove myself’ and yet, I never quite fit in nor was I accepted the way I had hoped.

Secondly, I was extremely insecure- not only about my appearance but my abilities. I still remember the first time I was made fun of for the acne on my face and the day that I realized that I could never and would never read out loud AGAIN! (Let’s just say this experience involved the word pesticides and resulted in a room full of young, mean and relentless teenagers laughing my soul into a state of panic!) I will never forget these experiences. I will never forget the journey that began on each of these respective days when fear, rejection, hurt and pain filled my heart and tried to wage war against my purpose.

What I didn’t know then is that I was called to stand out of the crowd. I was never meant to fit in with the group or flow with the crowd. My purpose would require me to ‘stick out’ in a sense because if I looked like, acted like and become like everyone else, what impact could I really have? What better way to attack my strength then to make it my weakness? To make me believe that I could not impact ‘the group’ because I wasn’t even worth being a part of ‘the group’?

For a very long time after this, I had a hard time facing people. I always felt like I would be on the outside, and often times I was! This only further validated my dysfunction. Once I began to realize that I had a purpose and in my purpose I just couldn’t fit in with the crowd, it became ok for me to be on the outside. Secondly, being made fun of for my inability to get through a basic paragraph in my school textbook without error made me think that I couldn’t, shouldn’t (and wouldn’t) speak out loud ever again. But that was also a lie. I am called to write, read and speak! My biggest weakness was my strength in disguise.

What is your biggest fear? Insecurity? Worry? Obstacle? I’m certain that if you would face your weakness, you will find your strength and your purpose will be nestled nicely in between the two.

  • Practice your purpose.

Don’t wait until you feel as though you’ve arrived to get going on your purpose. That day will never come. We will never ‘arrive’ on this side of eternity. We will always be what I like to call ‘a work in progress’ and that can’t be a reason to stay stagnant. You have to start!! Where are you right now? This looks differently for all of us but if you can begin to practice your purpose in a practical way, you will begin to see it unfold in a supernatural way. What does this look like? Well for me, I believe that I am going to be an author. I’m not (yet), but I do believe that is a purpose I have in life. Often times I get messages from friends or family, ‘Can you read this?’ or ‘This is what I’m trying to say, how would you word that?’. So what do I do? I practice my purpose and I write. I’ve become quite the ghost writer! Anything from cover letters to speeches to emails and more! I write on the boards at work, I write in my notebook, I write in my planner. I write as much as I can because I’m practicing my purpose in a practical way! Whatever your purpose looks like, make an honest effort to practice it, daily and it will grow.

Purpose is a beautiful thing and like any mosaic masterpiece, all of the pieces need to come together in order to make the full picture. The world is waiting for ‘your piece’ to arrive. Get started, right now, where you are, with what you have. Begin to explore, discover and practice your purpose. The world is waiting for you.

xo.. Lori

WANNA RACE?

The New Year is upon us and everyone has a new resolution, goal and plan for 2017. If you scroll through your Facebook timeline or chit chat with some of your closest friends, you’ll see that most people expect to grow in some way this year whether professionally, personally or relationally.

I’ll be the first to say that I love goals, I love planning, I love challenging myself and I love to hope and dream for the future! All these things are great, but in this process there is one simple notion I am very intentional about keeping in mind; life is a collaboration, not a competition.

Challenge yourself, push yourself, create goals and prepare for growth but measure your success by who you use to be and what you aspire to be, rather then what the person to the left or the right of you is doing.

Wanna race?

Thinking about this concept of ‘compare and contrast’ and our innate instinct to compare ourselves to those around us and contrast our success to theirs, I was reminded of a funny story. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to work with 2 of the most amazing women I’ve ever met. We went from being co-workers to friends quickly and it made for some of the best days at work.

We would laugh, talk and joke around to make the days go by faster. It was great!

Well one boring afternoon, one of my friends and I decided to play a trick on the third friend. The joke would be that I would challenge her to a race (yes, like a running race) around the building. She was much more fit then I was) but the plan was, once she took off from the front door, I would go back into the building, find my way to another door, go out that exit and essentially short cut to the finish line. In hindsight, I’m not sure why we thought this was such a good idea or even so funny for that matter, but I guess it goes to show how boring our days were.

Anyways, we’re lined up at the front, ‘On your mark, get set, GO!’ and we both took off. I quickly ran back inside, did my little short cut thing and then came back to the front door where we first started. She runs up a couple minutes later gasping for air (apparently she’s very competitive and took winning very seriously). As she approached, she said something like ‘YOU beat me?!’ and I said, something like ‘that’s right I beat you!!’ She looked around, ‘No way! I didn’t even see you pass me!!’ I said something to the effect of ‘That’s because I was running SO fast, I just whizzed right past you!’

It was honestly, hysterical. I laughed so hard that I gave myself up in no time. We both walked into the office, me laughing, her still gasping for air, it was seriously great.

As entertaining as this story is, I think the underlying principle is noteworthy; the only person you’re racing is yourself.

It’s easy to get on your mark the first of the year, get ready and then set off on this race to the finish line, hoping to whiz past every other person that crosses your path but the reality is, while you’re ‘racing’, others are simply doing their thing. They aren’t thinking about you, they aren’t considering you, they are simply running their race, doing their thing, their way.

During this time of year it will be easy to look at those around you and immediately begin to measure up to them.

‘How did they lose so much weight?’

‘What made her qualified for that position?’

‘How can they afford a new car?’

‘Why did he get that job?’

‘Did they really just buy a house?’

‘Did you see how many likes that post got?!’

‘Are they really getting married before me?!’

The list can go on and on, but the point is simple, another person’s success does not equal your failure. You’re not racing against them, you’re running with them.

When you feel temped to compare and contrast, don’t. That’s it, that’s the key!! Just don’t. Nothing good comes of that. Focus on your journey and realize those around you are just running their own race with you, not against you. It’s ok if we’re all going in the same direction, it’s ok if we have some of the same goals, it’s ok if some days those around you seem up while you feel down, it’s ok! The point isn’t to be better then the next person, by that standard, you’ll always fall short! The hope is that everyday we can be a little better then our own personal best.

Do your thing and do it well.

This year can be great for ALL OF US! There is more then enough success to go around 🙂

Xo.. Lori