Resting in Peace

When prayer doesn't seem to work

A few nights ago, I had trouble getting to sleep…I mean TROUBLE! Everything was wrong…the room was too warm, my pillow too hard, the covers too heavy, and my mind- I just couldn’t shut it down. It was speeding into overdrive imagining every possible thing that could go wrong. Yes, that old frenemy “fear” had come to visit.

Loic Djim- Unsplash

I’m not sure why I was so anxious that night- it had been a great day—  but as I was winding down, I started to feel uneasy. “It’s too much….” The day was too much, my commitments were too much, the news was DEFINITELY too much…and before you know it, I was laying in bed tossing and turning to the sound of complete chaos in my mind while watching precious minutes speed by.

I tried praying– that’s what most Christians do (understandably) when we start to panic, but I couldn’t!! There was so much noise in my head that I could not organize a single, coherent sentence!!

The Choice to be Offended

Everyone today seems to be offended by something or by someone…it is the latest victim-mentality of the 20-teens, or whatever we’re supposed to call this decade of the 21st Century. You know how it goes, you do or say something, whether audibly or digitally, something that might reflect your unique feeling, opinion, or perspective on something, without considering if every. single. person. within range would agree with you, and BOOM! Conditions are ripe for offense.

Unsplash - no alterations

Caleb Woods  Unsplash – no alterations

A few weeks ago my toddler and I were having lunch with friends. You know the sitch- we’re talking, laughing, eating our weight in chips and salsa, and the child decides she no longer wants to sit quietly like the perfect little cherub. I feed her chips, one of those brilliant squeezy-pouch applesauce concoctions, and all the chicken from my soup, but she wasn’t having it. Like a fighter pilot in a tailspin, she searched frantically for the emergency ejection button to her highchair, to no avail. She let out a howl here and there, but this was not what an experienced mom like me calls a four-alarm tantrum…nothing requisite of a “trip to the bathroom” or an early departure– she was moderately irritating if I had to be honest.

Sanctity of Life

This Sunday is called “Sanctity of Life Sunday.” It was enacted by President Ronald Reagan in 1983- the official proclamation can be found here.

National Archives, Michael Evans

National Archives, Michael Evans photographer

His words were heartfelt and haunting: “These children, over tenfold the number of Americans lost in all our Nation’s wars, will never laugh, never sing, never experience the joy of human love; nor will they strive to heal the sick, or feed the poor, or make peace among nations. Abortion has denied them the first and most basic of human rights, and we are infinitely poorer for their loss.
We are poorer not simply for lives not led and for contributions not made, but also for the erosion of our sense of the worth and dignity of every individual. To diminish the value of one category of human life is to diminish us all. Slavery, which treated Blacks as something less than human, to be bought and sold if convenient, cheapened human life and mocked our dedication to the freedom and equality of all men and women. Can we say that abortion — which treats the unborn as something less than human, to be destroyed if convenient — will be less corrosive to the values we hold dear?

Now we stand at the 44th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision and it is estimated that since that historical ruling, 59-60 Million children have been aborted. But who knows the millions MORE that have been performed before these procedures were legalized and tracked?

Wanting LESS for 2017!!

books-everywhereWe live in a culture of more. More things. More food. More fun. We strive to get more in nearly all aspects of our lives. More education. More responsibility. More money. Even things that are beneficial drive us towards getting more of something. More muscle. More focus. More time. And the more we get, the more we want. Yet we are never satisfied... never actually content.

I walk around my home and I see too much stuff…clothes, toys, books, knickknacks. Every Saturday I clean out the fridge and dispose of leftover foods from the week that we either cannot or will not eat, yet head to the store to buy more groceries. My bi-annual trips to donate unwanted households to our local charity have become monthly in an effort to curb that choking feeling when I look around at unnecessary stuff and struggle to breathe. The more I get, the worse I feel.

DIVIDED We Stand?

Where the Church Must Unite

Head in HandsThis 2016 political season has been hard on all of us. Most of us never anticipated just how nasty it would become through the campaigning, debates, and the daily onslaught of media coverage. My stomach is sick and I can only imagine yours is too.

It is our great honor and responsibility to vote for the next president of our nation. But I am left wondering how in the world do I vote for any of these candidates? Their views and plans are so diametrically different and it seems that each candidate, will give America a massive pill to swallow whether it is regarding healthcare, immigration, the economy, or dealing with enemies at home and abroad. We are indeed, a nation divided.

And unfortunately, so is the Church.

How To Silence Your Inner Critic

distraccion“You’re terrible at this. Why are you here? Why are you doing this again? Don’t you realize you are seconds away from major embarrassment? You know what people are thinking, right- you’re okay, but you’ll never be as good as ___________- you’re just not good enough. You never will be. Just give it up. Don’t walk away. RUN!”

Those are some of the comments I hear from my own worst critic – my Self. And they are horrible. They are rooted in pride, comparison, perception, and fear. We would never say any of these things to our spouse, friend, co-worker, or child, yet we get by with saying the most devastating things to our own selves. It’s like an inner bully that recognizes our weaknesses, but we feel overpowered and overwhelmed so, we just take it and take it and take it.

Recently I asked readers who they believed was their worst critic. Surprisingly, most people admitted that they are their OWN worst critic! Sure, there were a few who felt greater criticism from a spouse, boss, or mother-in-law, but a majority of people admitted that they regularly put themselves through their own mental wringer.

Greetings!

wishing you all a CROWNING WISDOM

Wishing you and yours and very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year!

I look forward to a new year of Crowning Wisdom posts, podcasts, and projects- and I hope you will invite your friends to join us in this journey for greater wisdom in the choices we make and the paths we take! Please enjoy these last few days of 2015 with your family and friends and remember to praise the One– Christ Jesus, who “has become for us wisdom from God” (I Cor 1:30).

 

 

How to Disarm / Dismiss Negative Critics in Your Life

Muppets_Statler_WaldorfMy mother worked at a miserable job for ten years. She described her boss as an arrogant, unhappy man as she was subject to humiliation and horrific verbal abuse, expected to operate then-new computers with absolutely no training, often suppressed her physical needs for breaks and lunches, and received meager wages with few benefits. She remained in a job she abhorred because of her reliance on the income for our family but deep down, a belief took root that she could neither do better nor deserved better.

We all have critics in our lives. Some critics are helpful. Some are harmful. Sometimes they are a parent, sibling, spouse or significant other. Or they could be a friend, co-worker, your in-law, or a boss. Oftentimes it is your own self. Depending on the nature of the relationship and the dynamics, the criticism can range from mildly irritating to devastating, but my prayer is that with wisdom, even if we cannot rightly end those damaging ties, we can learn how to dismiss and even disarm this critic that knowingly or unknowingly is doing such harm.

When facing our biggest critic, there are 3 things I believe we must consider:

  1. Consider the SOURCE.  Jesus taught the people to be on guard against false prophets by looking at their fruit- a good tree bears good fruit, a bad tree bears bad fruit. These were the wolves in sheep’s clothing and he warned against trusting them. With your critic, what kind of fruit do they bear? Are they known for their integrity and grace when dealing with others or are they known for being harsh, unfair, or impossible to please?                                                                                    If you see evidence (fruit) of healthy relationships, business practices, or general kindness towards their fellow man, then their criticism might be of benefit to you, even if it stings a little at first. However, if their life is filled with evidence to the contrary, it is entirely possible that their criticism is not even about you at all, but that you happen to be stuck under their tree and may unfortunately be hit with some rotten fruit.                                                                                                          Another aspect to consider with the source of criticism is their perspective and background. My 97-year-old grandmother grew up in an era where women’s roles and contributions to the family were different than today. Her experiences living through the Great Depression, WWII, and the rest of the twentieth century afford her attitudes and viewpoints that are very different than mine. Not always better, but different. Assessing the source of disparaging remarks and respecting another’s unique experiences helps us to disarm the critic that may intentionally or unintentionally do us great harm.
  2. Consider their MOTIVE. Why might this person be so critical of you? Is it out of genuine care and concern or does it possibly make them look or feel better to be so critical? Are they exercising a form of control through their criticism? Is this a deflection of their own insecurities? Are there any other motivations that could fuel the criticism whether it benefits you or themselves?                         Proverbs 20:5 states, “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” This verse implies that it is not always evident why people do the things they do or say the things they say, but a person with understanding can draw this out through observation, consideration, and possibly conversation.                                                                     Once we understand their motives, we can readily accept the criticism that is intended for our good, and dismiss the criticism that is intended for harm.
  3. Consider the TRUTH. Is what they are saying in fact, truthful, or contain elements of truth to it? In the story of Job, he spent a great deal of time listening to his friends’ assumptions about why he had lost everything and had been so afflicted. He told them in Job 12:11, “Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?” He was listening to their words, testing whether there was any truth to them and he found them lacking– so he rejected their assessments. He refused to believe the lie.

We too, should not believe everything we hear,  but rather taste it, test it for the truth. If there is truth in the criticism, it is wise to consider that truth and act accordingly. If it does not represent truth, it is imperative to reject it, otherwise we buy into the lie and find ourselves imprisoned in an unhealthy job, relationship, or mindset. Lies put us in bondage, but truth sets us free.

In dealing with a critic, it is important to consider the source, their motives, and whether or not there is truth to their criticism- but without some type of framework or filter for these judgments and opinions, we may subject ourselves to years of damaging words, thoughts, and judgments. This fuels insecurity, an insatiable desire to please others, and gives rise to one of the worst critics of them all.

We will discuss that critic in a separate post, but it is even more devious and deceptive than the rest and wields a power over us that can cripple our self-worth and any hope for a brighter future. In order to understand and address that critic, it is imperative that we do a healthy appraisal of the other critics in our lives.

Until then, my prayer is that we can all better assess the criticism we receive by considering the source, the motive, and the truth and from there move forward into profiting from helpful criticism or dismissing that which could result in harm.

Challenge: Let’s try something together. The next time your critic hurls something at you, don’t blindly accept it, hold on to it, assess it, and then determine if it merits your emotion, action, or disregard.

The Way to Wisdom Podcast – Episode 11: Life Outside of Eden

Welcome to “The Way To Wisdom Podcast” with Tracie Dawson. A podcast dedicated finding WISDOM in the Choices We Make and the Paths We Take!

Today’s Topic – Life Outside of Eden
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2. RATE and REVIEW the Podcast to help us promote Crowning Wisdom.
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4. Download MP3 

I’m Just a Little Angry About This…

These are legit! Still on amazon, made for TV sites, and other kooky places. (And no, I'm not selling these myself nor am I an affiliate)

These are legit! Still on amazon, made for TV sites, and other kooky places. (And no, I’m not selling these myself nor am I an affiliate)

I just dusted my filthy nightstand, dresser, mantle, and wood trim with this rag and it worked amazing! So why am I angry about it…because it has been sitting in a drawer in my nightstand for the last 5 years! It was another unique gift from my Canadian mum-in-law, queen of treasured trinkets and odd stuff, and initially went in a drawer until I could process it and possibly give it a go. As I looked it over years later, the instructions were simple: wash before use and get your dustin’ on! Since it required pre-washing, I threw it back in the drawer for yet another 2 years.

I couldn’t throw it away though. The promise of a dust-free surface from this strange towel intrigued me.

“It can’t be. No way this works.” I thought.