Tag Archives: faith

Drifting

Sometimes I forget who I am and I need to be reminded.  This is my top ten list of things I want to remember.   

  1. Faith – Faith in Jesus, faith that it is “as it should be” and faith in me. 
  2. Love – As in, don’t just talk about it, do it.  Love is a verb.
  3. Gratitude – We must be grateful for what is because “what is” is more than enough.  We are blessed. 
  4. Joy – It’s a choice every day.  You do not need to go around smiling and being outwardly “happy” all the time but you must choose to live in joy.  You have the power to do that and living in Joy changes everything. (Happiness is fleeting but joy in your heart is everlasting.)
  5. Stillness – There is something beyond the noise.  There is something beyond the neighborhood, the house, the cars, the job, the parties, the friends, the schools, the games, the committees, the media, the politics, the church, the clothes, the work out, the diet, the internet, the grades, the texting, Facebook, the stuff.  There is something bigger and better.  The only way to get there is through stillness.  Find a place that is still and go there.  It takes work but it’s worth it.  In the stillness you will meet yourself again. 
  6. Acceptance –  Give yourself a break.  No one is perfect.  No one can hold it together all the time.  It’s not real and it’s not fun.  Nobody wants to be around you when you are so wound up.  You don’t even want to be around you.
  7. Awareness – Check in with yourself.  When you feel uncomfortable in your skin, take a look at it.  Think about it, get still and address it.  Why are you uncomfortable?  Have you gotten away from your true self?  Make a list of what you believe in.  Put it on the fridge…carry it in your purse.  Most of all carry it in your heart. 
  8. Laughter – It is medicine for your soul.  Don’t stop laughing…especially at yourself. 
  9. Look people in the eye – Engage, care, pay attention to other people.  Don’t talk so much.  Get out of your head. Other people have stories and struggles and need an ear too.  Get over yourself.
  10. Surround yourself with people who will remind you who you are if you forget.  These should be people who are not afraid to stop you mid-sentence and say, “What the ?#!?# are you talking about?” 

My friend shared an illustration with me about how it feels when you forget who you are.  She said it’s like when you are on a raft in the ocean and you are in front of your towels and all the people you know.  Then you start drifting and you don’t realize it.  You are moving along comfortably, not worrying about your towels or your people.  When you look up again, you are way down the ocean, looking at a bunch of things you don’t recognize thinking, “How did this happen?”

Anchor yourself.  If you drift and you hear a voice calling you back, listen.  It’s usually God saying, “Child, you are lost.  Come back.”  Follow His voice.  He is your anchor.  He will pull you back to safety…again and again.

 

©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

“Watch me!”

We have been at the pool a lot lately. My son loves to go off the diving boards. He spends hours alternating between the low dive and the high dive. Each time he gets on the board, he looks over to me and gives me the thumbs up. When I give him the thumbs up, he’ll proceed. If I’m not watching, he will wait or yell, “Hey mom, are you watching?” This is why I haven’t been reding much this summer. I carry my big book to the pool but I’ve been on the same page for weeks.

My son’s longing to have me watch him is similar to the way we all want to be seen. How cool to have someone always watching and cheering you on. Wouldn’t it be great if before we took a leap in life, we could look over to God and have Him give us the thumbs up?  We all want reassurance that what we are doing is right and good for us. 

I was in a seminar once and the speaker said her mom hung a picture of Jesus in every room to remind her that He was always watching her.  She claims her mom did this to scare her.  She said it like, “He’s ALWAYS watching…” As in, “Don’t try to get away with anything because even if I don’t see you, Jesus sees everything”.  This woman was really traumatized by this and felt very afraid of Jesus.  She said she couldn’t accept the Eucharist as a child because she was so afraid of Jesus.  She was taught that he was a judgmental, punishing God.  She was taught to fear. 

How different would that message have been if she was told this…”Jesus is always watching you.  He is everywhere you are and he loves you so much, He can’t take His eyes off of you.  He is cheering for you, He is giving you the thumbs up, He is with you always.  He is your protection, your comfort, your assurance.  He is your friend.” 

Much better, eh? 

It’s all in the perspective.  It’s all in the way we look at it. 

As a parent, I know how important it is for my kids to see me there, on the side of the pool, paying attention, giving the thumbs up, clapping, congratulating, cheering.   I realize they are building their perceptions of life based on what they are experiencing. 

The diving board is really a metaphor for life.  When we are going to take a “leap” in life, what has our experience shown us? 

Am I being encouraged?  Are people rooting for me?  Am I good enough?  Am I brave enough?  Am I supported? 

What has your experience shown you?  Are you going to jump off that board or not?

©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

Fight or Flight… or Faith?

In November of 1994, I was held up at gunpoint.

I lived in the city.  I was walking alone at night and a man came up with a gun and said “give me your bag”.  I gave him my bag and then I ran as fast as I could.

It changed everything.

For months after that, I went through a transformative experience.  At the time, I didn’t know what was happening to me.  I couldn’t get on the “El” or a city bus without being completely out of breath and shaking.  I thought I was having a heart attack and couldn’t breathe.  There were times when my chin or my arm would go numb.  I had cat scans and EEGs and EKGs. 

Two really important things happened at this time.  I was talking to my mom about it and I was really freaked out.  I was not sure what was happening to me but I knew that I was not okay.  She said to me, “Have you prayed about it?”  No, I had not prayed about it.  I had talked about it with everyone, I had seen many doctors, I had tried to fix it myself, but I had not prayed about it.  I went to everyone who I thought could fix it and I didn’t go to the One who actually could.  It was an “AHA moment”.   My mom, again, was wise and faithful.  That moment stands as a turning point in my life and in my walk of faith.

The other really important thing that happened was that I went to a doctor many times hoping for answers, getting tests, often just hoping she would give me “something” to take away the symptoms.  I guess it’s a Western thing but we love medicine.  We love the idea that pills can make us better.  I know this is not true but at the time, I was desperate.  I would have welcomed a prescription. 

However, God had other plans.  He led me to a doctor that was enlightened.  She asked me what is going on in my life.  I went through a list of things, I told her I just got married, I just got mugged…she stopped me there.  She asked for details and we talked about what happened. Then she pulled her chair closer and said, “You are having panic attacks.  Your body senses that it is in danger because your mind is telling it so. Your body is reacting with a fight or flight response.  Your mind is tricking your body into this reaction.  Your mind and body are intricately linked. We need to address the mind and the fear in order to stop the panic attacks.” 

Then she taught me how to breathe.  She essentially taught me yoga breath. She told me I should practice this breath to calm my central nervous system.   I practiced this breath as I was facing my fears of the “el” and the city bus and walking alone.  It worked and my symptoms were gone.  When they would return, I would “check in” with my mind and then begin my breath.  I would tell myself, “In this moment, I am not in danger.”  This was the beginning of my walk with Mindfulness.

How ironic that in the middle of what could be the worst thing that has happened to me I learned two things that now define me. 

1. Rely on God. What matters to me matters to Him.  Talk to Him. Pray.

2. Be mindful. The mind and body are intricately linked. Take care of both. Be present and in the moment. Do not fear.

The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
 

 

I am excited to be posting an entry from my second guest blogger.  Her name is Mary and we are in a faith sharing group together.  Mary is insightful and kind and interesting and thoughtful.  She has a great curiosity and her willingness to learn and grow is inspiring.  You can read Mary’s thoughts on Mindfulness by clicking on Voices at the top of the blog, under the header.  Enjoy!

©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved