As the sun makes it’s final descent into the horizon, I think of spring. Today has been beautiful! Cold, but beautiful. It is also spring break for many schools in my area and I couldn’t help but think about all the families traveling to warm destinations for some much needed family time.

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I am sure you have all heard the expression FOMO. If not, it is an acronym for “fear of missing out.” You know, those times when you are with friends and you really have to use the bathroom but you don’t want to go for fear of missing out.

Even my 2 year old granddaughter gets FOMO. We were there the other night at her bedtime and my daughter put her to bed. She cried and said she was “all done with night night.” Every tactic she came up with failed to get her more time with the adults. Finally, she asked for grandma and my daughter let me go in and rock her. Of course, she wanted to read books and play games but I honored my daughter’s wishes and we sang. We sang every song I could think of and then I made up a few. Thirty minutes later she was ready to sleep. FOMO is a powerful thing.

But what about JOMO? Have you ever experienced that? I only recently learned about this phenomenon from Instagram. Two writers I follow introduced me to the “Joy Of Missing Out” – JOMO. The difference between the two? One is an internal choice you make and embrace. The other is an external force to be resisted.

JOMO is the joy of missing out and feeling content with staying in and disconnecting as a form of self-care. (Thanks Brene Brown)  I think my heart rate slowed, my breathing relaxed and my mind eased just writing those words. How often do we give ourselves permission to stay home, to say no because it will be good for our souls? Do we do well recognizing the need to disconnect? Does self-care come easily?

Read: Psalm 23

In what way does your soul need to be restored? Perhaps a mental walk with the Lord through green pastures and beside still waters is just what you need today!

Happy Monday, friends! Thanks for stopping by!

As we close out this week learning the Four Healthy Agreements and prepare for the new week, I wonder how today would be different if you reviewed and implemented the four agreements. If you attend a worship service, watch church online, grocery shop, clean your house or whatever you have planned…

How can you…

Use your words in the direction of truth and love?

Avoid taking anything personally?

Find the courage to ask good questions rather than make assumptions?

Do your best and feel good about it?

And in everything, bring glory to God because you represent Jesus well.

Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment. It will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply to your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Read: Colossians 3:17

This agreement is simple and straightforward. I love it. The truth is, I am not always able to work at something with the same level of energy, insight or desire. But if in everything, I simply do my best at that moment, I represent Jesus well. And that is enough for me.

As I thought on this, it came to me that there are some tasks that should be left for another day. In the past I have put so much pressure on myself to always operate at my optimum. And by that, I don’t mean just doing my best, but always being able to do my best in the same way. And that just isn’t true.

I am a sewer – you know somebody who sews…with sewing machines. (That is a funny English word. It could also be a sewer – like an underground conduit that carries away waste. And I am not a sewer!) Anyway, I find that some days sewing goes really well. Other days, I am ripping as much as sewing. On those days it is better to stop or take a break and come back refreshed rather than just push through. I bet you are that way in something as well.

But what about in relationships – what if one day our best is just not all that great. That’s okay. If we put all of the agreements into action, we will set healthy boundaries and we might reschedule the coffee date for a day when we can be at our best. Knowing when to postpone a conversation or interaction is loving not only to you, but to the other person as well. And it represents Jesus best when we love others by modifying interactions based on what we know about ourselves at that moment.

So, give yourself a great big gulp of self-love by remembering that your best won’t always look the same. Enjoy the freedom of knowing that whatever you do, it can be enough in that moment.

Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can transform your life.

Read: Colossians 3:14-15

In October, Dave and I spent two weeks traveling in Thailand and Indonesia. It was a business related trip so, while Dave wasn’t working, there was a lot of business to think about. About the second day I noticed Dave seemed distant. I wondered if I had done something but as I thought about it more I knew that it wasn’t me.

Rather than making an assumption about what was creating the distance, I asked. I shared that he seemed far away and wondered if he was thinking about a particular situation that had developed while we were gone. At first he didn’t know, but later he came back and said that he didn’t realize how much he had been thinking about it.

Most of the time, my go to response is to make assumptions when I encounter a situation that feels “off.” And most of the time, I am wrong. And then my thoughts and actions follow the line of my assumption. This does not prove to be loving or peaceful in my relationships.

In our age of technology this is especially important to learn. Recently my daughter texted me to ask if I could come over and help with my granddaughter. I replied “OK.” She responded, “You don’t have to….” and then “I never know what just “ok” in a text means.”

I was glad she asked. You see, I was at dinner with friends and didn’t want to get into involved texting, but wanted her to know that I was available to help. Since she asked, I could elaborate and set her mind at ease. Otherwise, she may have assumed I was grudgingly agree to help.

Developing the courage to ask questions rather than make assumptions is a difficult but necessary step to developing good relationships and healthy boundaries. When I find the courage to ask good questions, I also open the door for the other person to share what is on their heart.

How about you? When something or someone seems “off,” do you make assumptions about what is happening beneath the surface? Is developing the courage to ask questions seem out of reach? This is an agreement you will never regret making! It can be the game changer and you will find yourself living in a place of peace more often than you thought possible.

Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

This one is a challenge. When I taught school we had an acronym we could recall quickly when a student or situation was getting under our skin. It was “QTIP”. I actually considered carrying one with me all the time because at times this was brutal. It means “Quit Taking It Personally.” When a student came to school surly and rude, it was pretty easy to take it personally. When I was told, “I’m pretty sure this isn’t what my parents are paying for” it was easy to take it personally.

Maybe you have a co-worker who makes life difficult every day. One day he/she is charming, agreeable, cooperative and the next day he/she is harsh, argumentative, stubborn. Who is this person? (Maybe that is you and reading it here just made you see it.) It’s easy to take it personally.

Read: Colossians 3:13

It really is true that nothing others do is because of me. I’ve run this scenario through my thinker a dozen different ways and I always come out at the same place. The reactions and responses of others is not because of me. Good or bad, the other person’s response is their own.

The reverse is true as well. As much as I would like to think they are, my actions are not someone else’s fault. An interaction may trigger a response, but I respond out of my own dreams and my personal reality. Good or bad, my responses are my own.

Paul says we need to have grace, to make allowance for the faults of others. Forgive them. You will save yourself a multitude of trouble and heartache. It is so difficult to maintain a grudge. They require so much feeding and tending. If we aren’t careful, they die! (Please read with much sarcasm.)

So, how about it? Are you taking the actions and moods of someone personally? Do you feel it is an affront against you? Consider what life might look like from his/her perspective. How are his/her dreams dictating responses that feel bad to you, but worse to him/her? Make an allowance for the faults of others.

Don’t Take Anything Personally.

Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the word in the direction of truth and love.

Read: Colossians 3:12, 16

The first agreement addresses how we use our words. Recently I was with a friend and during our conversation I had to stop her and remind her to use her words to build herself up rather than tear down. A couple of days later I had to say the same thing to myself. It is so easy to fall into the mindless use of words that don’t honor who we are as created individuals and children of God.

Paul reminds us in the reading today that not only are we chosen and loved, but we are living examples of Jesus in the flesh. Our words should be filled with kindness, mercy, humility, patience, gentleness. In Kindness Matters, I discussed that it is our words that will change our relationships. This is true for the relationships you have with others and with yourself.

Listen to yourself today…really listen. Is your internal dialogue healthy? Would you want others to hear what you are saying about yourself? What you say about others? Is your external dialogue building others up or tearing them down? Words are powerful and do so much to determine the trajectory of our lives.

Be Impeccable with Your Word!

Today I took a walk down memory lane before I sat down to write this blog. And by that, I mean I read through a few of my journal entries from years past. I wanted to refresh my memory regarding agreements I lived with for many years that kept me trapped in hard places. Because when healing comes, it’s hard to remember how it used to be.

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Read: Colossians 3:12-17

I am really excited about this week. Years ago in counseling, I learned that we all live from a set of agreements we have made with ourselves. They aren’t always healthy and will vary from person to person depending on your experiences.

Agreements you live from may sound like this: I will always get the short straw. No one enjoys my company. He doesn’t want me to get the promotion. I must have upset her today. I can never get it right.

As you read this passage, can you identify healthy agreements you can adopt to change the way you experience life? Give it a try! I know you can do it!

Today as you prepare for Sunday, take a few minutes to listen to this faith affirming song. It truly is Christ alone! He is a person who will not disappoint!