Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When to Lead & When to Follow




As often the case with my job, I met the coolest elderly guy today.

Bound to a wheelchair for now he was a former (and current) ballroom dancing enthusiast and expert.

Through our chitchat / assessment he told me that, in dancing, as long as the message of leadership is conveyed well enough to the man (the leader) the dance goes smoothly.

If the dance is not lead correctly, it will not work.

True dance, in his mind, is not choreography, but a spontaneous and passionate lead and follow. Give and take.

It is one of the few activities that it is actually beneficial to have not two equal partners, but truly one leader and one follower.

The conversation had me thinking about when in life you should lead, and when in life you should follow.

It had me thinking about my inner dance of leading and following; the constant push and pull of the world on my heart and on my head.

I think the answer is simple. Lead yourself. Follow God.

Lead Yourself.

You do not want to be a follower to your emotions (of which many times are nothing but lies). You want to be a leader of your emotions. You want to intentionally and actively make the decisions that you make each moment of each day. You want to lead your consciousness away from what is hurtful and towards what is good.

Deliberately. Calculatedly. Decisively.

Do not be led by television, inner dialogues of distress and temptation, hurtful comments made by others, insensitive remarks, lustful comparisons, jealousy and moments of anger, revenge and pride.

Follow God.

This is where the self meets the ultimate dance instructor.

By bending in with each twirl and step, and truly allowing yourself to follow, you can rest assure that your dance will be harmoniously in tune and step with the music that you cannot hear.

By allowing the dance to unravel around you and within you, instead of stiffening to your own two left-feet, your dance will melodiously become a dance of Truth.

So today, instead of marching alone, allow God to pick you up and twirl you.

(Yes, even if you're a dude. Cause it's actually pretty fun. And it's just metaphorical, so it's not that lame.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kaitlin. Analyzing Life's Nonexistant Problems. One milisecond at a Time.

I think if I had to pick one word to describe me, and one word only, it would be analytical.

Not in an awesome-intelligent way (I wish), but in an all-consuming-bordering-on-psychosis way.

I am constantly, and I mean constantly, analyzing my complete surrounding to the minute detail.

Everything I do, and I mean EVERYTHING, I break down to the tiniest detail of how I perceive that detail, and how others perceive that detail.

And, most of the time, my “analysis” is pure insanity/nonsense.

Example.

I have a really cool ring, that fits snugly on my thumb (my fingers are little), that my sister gave me.

It is a simple sliver band that reads: Love, Hope, Faith evenly spaced around its circumference.

I am almost obsessed with the fact that it turns slightly around my finger throughout the day, and as an event happens, I will glance at that ring to see if the word most directly visible to me corresponds with the event taking place.

And then, if it does, I spiral into a spiritual frenzy along the lines of that I have a magical ring.

If it doesn’t I obsess over the “meaning” of this (obviously) fateful occurrence.

(I told you I was freaking crazy.)

This is just one example of my mindfully busybody life.

I am constantly using the world around me to explain and justify my thoughts, feelings, desires, and mental rants.

I am an expert, nay a champion, of rationalization.

The Butterfly Effect is no doubt my favorite movie.

It’s actually amazing that I am even able to get through my day.

People who know me well have seen the times where I get too sucked up into Kaitlin rationalization. I panic.

It will seem like I made a rash decision, or I am just being a big baby about a situation.

In reality, my brain has totally destroyed a simple decision and I just cannot move forward.

This, of course, spirals me into another series of questioning about my NON-decision being a decision and how THAT is affecting me/the others around me.

People sometimes see me as “Black and White” and that always shocks me.

You see, I am SO in the gray, that I appear to everyone else above my sea of whirpooling thoughts “All or Nothing,” “Black and White.”

I read something yesterday that I think really applies to the way I live my life.

I hope I can use it to move forward, as most of my analytical processes involve how OTHERS will perceive this action, these words, this outfit, these ideas.

When I was 20, I was upset over the way people thought of me.
When I was 40, I didn’t care what people thought of me.
When I was 60, I realized that people were never thinking of me.


This is so simple and wonderfully peaceful.

God welcomes us to live a life where we are impressing HIM and no one else.

We see this as some enormous, almost impossible feat.

To live as if we are only gaining His acceptance.

How could we do that? Don’t we have bosses, and husbands, and friends, and pastors, and people-who-we-think-are-better-than-us to impress?

It is, obviously, the Devil who plays this as insurmountable.

When, in reality, people are a lot less noticing of you. Like, a lot less.

And if they do notice you, they are judging you maybe, maybe 1/3 of the time you think they are.

Maybe it is easier than I thought to ignore the judgments, the would-be judgments, the looks and the gossip. Maybe most of it isn’t even really there at all.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lessons from Family: Aunt Sue

This is a continued edition of the things I have learned from my incredible family that God has given me. I have been so blessed with so many different kinds of role models.

The following are a couple of lessons I have learned from my mom’s eldest sister, my Aunt Sue.

Aunt Sue’s whole being is the definition of the nicest person ever.

Her joy comes purely from the grace that Jesus has shown her, and it SHOWS.

As long as I’ve known her at least, her little light has shined.

#1 Be Someone’s #1 Fan

My Aunt Sue is without a doubt my biggest fan here on Earth.

Every time I talk to her, have ever talked to her, she is simply my cheerleader.

It’s incredible.

I remember lots of conversations with her that I feel like I am not special or even a very good person. She never saw me as anything less than the light I am.

Spending time with her makes me happy, and makes me want to be someone’s #1 fan. Someone who is always supportive. Someone who is always caring and just thinks the world of that person.

Everyone needs a #1 fan.

Who can you be a #1 fan of today and offer blind and nonjudgmental encouragement?


#2 Joy of Worship

My Aunt was driving me one summer to visit my cousin at his college. I had put in a mix CD that I had burned for the trip. One song came on and she made the remark that she enjoyed it! I asked her if she had ever heard of Josh Turner, to which she replied that she mostly listened to worship music in the car and that’s really where she listened to the majority of her music.

My fifteen-year-old brain was astounded. “JUST worship music?!??!” I thought.

My aunt continued to explain, “I figure, if I’m going to sing I might as well be singing to the Lord.”

That has always stuck with me, and I only have started to understand how incredible that concept is.

It applies to SO many things!

If I’m going to be singing, I might as well be singing to the Lord.

If I’m going to be working, I might as well be working for the Lord.

If I’m going to be washing dishes, I might as well be washing dishes for the Lord.


That was one of the first examples of VOLUNTARY, NON OBLIGATORY worship I had seen displayed personally.

She wasn’t trying to prove anything. She wasn’t trying to get God to bless her.

She just genuinely found more joy in worshiping God than listening to country music.

Period. Simple as that!


What are you already doing today that you can do for the Lord?

I love you Aunt Sue!!! Thanks for being my perpetual biggest fan! 

Home





Home is such an interesting concept.

It’s one of those concepts that begin clear as day, then get quite muddled, and then, presumably, back to "clear as day."

I find myself asking myself basically this simple question, “Am I home?”

Your childhood home is your “clear as day” home.

It’s the one you don’t even realize doesn’t keep up with the Joneses. It’s the one you don’t even question. It’s yours. Inherently. Absolutley. Indisputably.

When you have a rough day, you walk through the doorframe and you are instantly at peace. As you sink further and further into the cushions the day begins to completely shed its hold on you. Until eventually, with your mother’s hug, it’s gone.

After you spread your wings and leave, usually your childhood home is still the one you refer to as home. You tell your girlfriends you are headed “home” after the soccer game and head to your dorm, but you don’t mean you are going Home.

Home becomes something you visit at Thanksgiving or Christmas, or for a wedding or another special occasion.

You feel comfortable where you are, but you feel the world’s sting linger long after you walk through the doorframe and even after hours of sitting on your donated free couch that you still don’t really claim as yours. Everything within your walls you put into the classification of: temporary.

Even the ground that your walls rest upon. This city, these restaurants, this job.

People say that “home” becomes no longer a place.

That it becomes a wildly exciting mixture of yourself and others that you love dearly.


I can’t say that my roots are set quite yet. But I know that they stretch deep into my marriage and my son. As the years go by and those roots take deeper hold onto my heart and my being I am sure to find that entering a doorframe and seeing my “temporary furniture” will more and more relax me and bring me peace.

I was worried when we moved from our townhouse to our new house that Braylon, my son, would struggle to sleep having moved. He didn’t even flinch.

Maybe he has this whole “home” thing down better than I do.

He knows that “home” is Mom & Dad (& Moose & Maverick (our cats)).

He doesn’t see our furniture as temporary or foreign.

We are his “clear as day” home.

But all the houses and homes on Earth will always be temporary and foreign.

Maybe I don’t feel so “at home” anymore because I am really not at home.

Maybe I feel like I don’t belong here because no one belongs here.

2 Corinthians 5:8
Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

And maybe, I am supposed to see all my furniture as temporary because I am accumulating other furniture.

Matthew 6:20.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Adieu.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You Lie




“You Lie” is an awesome new song by The Band Perry, one of my new FAVORITE bands.

For some reason though, this song struck a different cord in my heart yesterday.

The words “Prince of Lies” popped into my head; which got me thinking two things.

#1) Isn’t it cool how Satan is never the KING of anything? He’s always the PRINCE of Darkness, the PRINCE of lies, etc. Satan is never the KING of anything, because we have another King.

#2) The lyrics, “it just comes way too natural to you, the way you lie” really resonated with me. Satan is a SUPER duper good liar. He is the ultimate natural liar.

I started thinking about the lies that annoying serpent has put on my heart lately…

You cannot be happy following God’s plan for you. God’s plan is boring and all you’re going to do is sit around and pray. That’s not fun! Some Father he is, says he wants the best for you…then why aren’t you happy??

The song changed then to Miranda Lambert “Heart Like Mine” and the truth was poured out.

‘Cause I heard Jesus, He drank wine
And I bet we’d get along just fine
He could calm a storm and heal the blind
And I bet he’d understand a heart like mine


How TRUE! If God can seriously perform MIRACLES on the least deserving, and most complicated of issues, SURELY he can understand a frustrated newlywed first time mommy.

So, I say, SHHH you slithering serpent! You will not steal away the happiness that has been laid before me by the one we call KING (you lowly Prince). And, furthermore, you’re the worst kind of Prince. You’re not like a prowling furry singing prince who someday will be king like Simba. You will NEVER be King. MUAHAHAHAHAH.

SO BUTT OUT.

Thanks, the team of which the victory has been won

And there ain’t a single darn thing you can do about it.





P.S. Thanks Becca for the CD!