You aren't alone. Many people today would raise their hand right along with you, including me.
I am scared. Stay with me here. Fear can be irrational, you know.. like being afraid you are going to be eaten alive by hairy spiders invading your home. Fear is also real, you know.. like someone shooting your kids at school. How do we live life through the real life, hell-resembling fears?
I am not a Theologian nor do I pretend to be. I do know, however, that the thousands of unbelievers in the world today are being handed even more reason to not believe. Don't be those people. Period. Rise above the thinking that God is doing all of this. Rise above the thinking that God wouldn't allow these things to happen IF he was real.
Darkness is real. Satan. The enemy, Voldemort.. whatever you want to call it. It's real. We have a choice every single day in who we are going to put our faith in. If we choose to put our faith in anyone other than God, the darkness wins even more so than it is now.
I am not going to try to expain why shootings are happening. I am not going to try to explain why addiction exists or why it's killing our kids along with Cancer killing our loved ones or why the flu is a deadly epidemic this year. I can't.
What I can do is tell you that there is LIGHT because there is a God that promises us an eternity of goodness and togetherness. There is a God that weeps when we do, mourns when we mourn and who wants to tell us that we will understand some day.
Get angry. That's ok. Then come back. Get sad, that's ok.Then come back. Don't give up your faith, that's not ok. If you think you are angry now, sad now, fearful now, if you give up the one thing that can promise us freedom, the darkness will be darker.
I thought the school shootings just happened in Columbine a long time ago, then Sandy Hook too far away. Then I see it everywhere. This week, I got a call that a school 7 miles away from my daughter is on lock down because someone was rumored to have had a gun and two days later a "fake" threat was made at her school. Her fear is real. This week my twin preteen boys participated in a protest type rally mixed with honoring students who have been killed at other schools. I never had that kind of fear as a child.
My sons wanted to walk to Starbucks on the sidewalk after school but I was afraid they'd get hit by an accidental oncoming car in traffic. I wasn't sure if my fear was real or irrational. The next day on the same street in front of my daughters school, a 15 year old was hit by a car on the same sidewalk (survived thankfully). My fear is real.
My 20 year old daughter is likely shooting heroin in her veins as I type this. For seven years she has struggled with addiction and has been in and out of treatment, sobriety, interventions and still struggles. Most days I am barely breathing. My fear is real.
You see, I understand fear. I understand doubt in a God that would allow this. I understand anger. Yet I believe in God. Still.
I have told my children this so many times but even more so lately and as recent as this morning. I tell them to go and have a beautiful day. I tell them to be kind. I tell them to not live in fear and I tell them that if something terrible happens, to hide under the desk. I tell them that it won't hurt (because that's what I want to believe) If something bad happens because God will take us immediately and that we will all be together as soon as we can for eternity. You may not agree with my saying that. But I do. I want them to know that it is real. It can happen. They know their sister can die from her drugs, but they see me pray. They see me open my Bible and find hope in Psalms and Proverbs on days where I don't know where she is. My Senior in High School knows the reality of the school ground battlefield yet she keeps going because I tell her to keep living her life fully.
I am not ready. I want to see my children recover, succeed, graduate, marry and have children. I will claim that out loud!
But I also know during our time here that nothing is guaranteed but the beautiful moment staring right at us that we have right now. I do know to tell them all how very much I love them and to try to make each day valuable. It's a lot of work to not take things for granted. I have to watch my words, my attitudes, my priorities.
I get fear. It is real. My friends, if I have faith in a God despite the darkness, you can too.
Find something beautiful to hold on to today. It's there. I promise. He's there. I promise.
This is what I hold on to, this crazy moment of our family taken three years ago. It was magical and I choose to believe it will be again. Make it count. Tell them you love em so much. Find even the smallest thing to smile about today. And don't stop believing in the God above. Please.
Wowsers. Sometimes it really is just one of those series of days. Yes, even as a coach, I face some of the funk that all of us do (of course).
Lately, it has been a bit trying around the Paulson household. Tonight though, as I was making school lunches for four, I realized I had drawn a heart made of mustard. I know, you have to look hard to see it but it's there, I promise.
In the midst of some challenges, my soul is still trying to make beauty out of things I do. My kids won't even notice this act of love. They don't need to know. I did it for me. I did it to make something I do each night feel special. I did it so my kids would be blessed with a little extra dose of love that they don't even know about it and that made it just a little bit more special to me tonight.
How are you touching others in ways they don't even know about? What does it do to your spirit? What could others possibly be doing for you that you don't notice?
It's all around us, even if it is just a sandwich.
Find the beauty.
"Keeping it REAL."
All in moderation.
Life is a balance.
Five things NOT to do.
Five things TO DO.
Let's face it. We all want to stick to something. We all want to consult someone and do what they do if they have the results we are seeking. How do we remain on any given path when there are literally thousands of self-help books, diet plans, training methods, life skill techniques, books, seminars, challenges, work outs proven to work, Bible Studies proven to keep you on task, Keto diets, cleanses, detoxes....and I could go on and on. I am exhausted trying to keep up.
Today, dear friends, I was told to start growing my own sprouts and drinking celery juice every day to cleanse my gut (nice image, right)? But in all seriousness, I know this will work and it will help with some things I am currently facing and I've done it before so I know I can do it again.
As soon as I ordered my fancy sprout bag and loaded up on celery stalks, I had an undeniable craving for Cheetos. Let's face it, I have kids and a husband in the house so as I healthy as I try to be, Cheetos are in the house. I realized at this point I was going to do one of two things.
One, I was going to "deprive" myself of the salt and strange synthetic orange color and feel pretty good about myself, or
Two, I was going to "give in" and just deal with it.
I ate the Cheetos. I had three. It's all I wanted. I trusted my own body and just kind of followed what I wanted to do and the automatic gag reflex or health meter kicked in and took over.
Let us think about this. Had I denied the Cheetos, I would likely still be obsessing about them.
I can coach the heck out of this scenario, ask myself a bunch of questions, and come up with why exactly I wanted something on the day I was about to turn my stomach into a temple of goodness only, but I will save that for my clients:)
The bottom line here is that I followed my instinct and just let it all run the natural course that needed to happen.
What's going on in your life that needs to be faced with trusting yourself, allowing yourself and loving yourself through with faith, laughter and self-love?