family life, journey, judgment, self-acceptance, Uncategorized

Millennials make us uncomfortable… (That’s why I love them…)

marketing-to-millennials

I was talking with a colleague recently about a vision I had to start a unique think tank of sorts. I expressed my desire to acquire a building where people from various generations could rent space for events, or utilize office space for their daily business activities. I continued explaining how awesome it would be to hear the ideas of Millennial Creatives, then have more seasoned professionals act as their coaches. The older, more experienced generation would help them to add sound infrastructure to the businesses they envisioned. The person quickly responded, “I don’t do Millennials, they don’t like hard work”!

As I to listened to him, I’m sure I had a look of incredulity on my face that was perplexing to him. You see, I am a Baby Boomer to the core; not the hippie Woodstock kind of Boomer, I am a traditionalist. I love rules. They make me feel safe. My friend knows this about me.  Yet, the Millennial generation are some of my favorite people in the world. They are courageous and innovative. They take risks. They dream, and dream big. Some wonder if they are all talk and no action. I’m sure my friend wondered why I would ever want to do business with men and women of this generation.They bring discomfort to our need for a steady existence. They tend to shake up the norms that we have come to embrace in business.

My mother retired from the Federal Government after working for over 30 years. The image of my grandfather receiving his gold watch and pension from Sears Roebuck Department Store, is a vivid and proud memory for me. The family that raised me taught me to find a good job, work hard, and retire with a good pension. That was the way I intended to live my life as well. However, when I entered the workforce, the world was changing. New and creative opportunities were on the horizon. Staying on one job, doing the same thing for 30 years or more was horrifying to me. In some cases that kind of tenure was not even an option.  I like many of my peers, I received promotions by moving from job to job waiting for someone to recognize my talents and offer me a job that they thought would be right for me. Management of my career was passively given into the hands of others.

Having children that are now Millennial young adults has changed my life. When I was raising them, I thought that they would be traditional people too. I tried to steer them into traditional fields. I wanted them to have careers that would keep them “safe”. I was passing onto them what had been passed on to me. But my children wanted no part of what I was offering. They had visions and dreams. Dreams that they dare to walk in every day. They are artists, musicians, graphic designers, writers, filmmakers, and anything else they dare to be and do. They are all very successful leaders. They may not always feel successful, but they are. Moment by moment, they embrace their unique personalities and talents. When they were children, I taught them about different learning styles and how everyone was created with a different “bent”. I taught them that all of the different learning types and temperaments have value. They believed me. They are walking that truth out in their lives every day.

In the community where I serve, the Millennial members are often the most creative and productive people among us. They work very hard. To many onlookers, it may not look like they are not working hard because they work differently. They actually love what they do and have fun doing it. They make us feel uncomfortable because we don’t always understand their process. They come up with the most innovative ideas as they are tossing a ball back and forth joking and laughing among one another. Although they experience stress in their lives, for the most part they keep moving. Many don’t have long term plans; they plan as they go.  This is not their fault, it is the times that they were born into. They have been forced to become possibility thinkers. The fact that they succeed and fail, then do it all again the next day inspires me. They are a resilient, hopeful group. This is why I love them.

Rest, self-acceptance, Uncategorized, worship

Get off the Cycle

 

violon-cartoonSometimes I feel like Mass Media plays us like a fiddle. From September through December, we are convinced that we must buy delicious foods and sweet treats to ensure awesome holiday celebrations. From harvest celebration candy (Halloween for some), to Thanksgiving with all the trimmings; then right after Thanksgiving it’s cookie baking and on to the grand Christmas feast! Soon after we’ve eaten the last stale Christmas cookie we look in the mirror and say, “Oh my God, what have I done? I have grazed my way through three different holidays!”

Work it Out…

Don’t worry! Mr. Ad man (or Mad Man), has the answer. Time to work it all off! Get to the gym! Buy new water bottles to match your new exercise clothing. Don’t forget to buy the new free weights to keep at your desk so you can do some reps between projects. What about all the new juicing gadgets and nutritional machines? We’ve got to buy those so we can mix up all the beets, carrots, spinach and berries. Don’t forget to add a touch of lemon to make it more tasty… Umm Ok…(still trying to get use to the juicing thing.)

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None of the things mentioned above are particularly good or bad. Having fellowship with family and friends, sharing good food is fine. It is also important to monitor your nutritional and physical condition; making sure you have proper balance for optimal health. The concern I have is how media advertising keeps us on a cycle that facilitates a false sense of control; an attempt to coax us into satisfying our needs on our own terms. The truth is that God created us with an internal hunger and full mechanism, endorphins and other metabolic processes that let us know that we need to get up and get moving. As we prioritize fellowship with, he speaks to us and gives us everything we need for life and godliness.

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A new year is upon us. It is a great time to adapt, change and develop new habits. One of the best habits to cultivate is listening to the Lords promptings so that you will know what is right for you moment by moment.  Look at the following passages of scripture.

Post them somewhere in your home. Let them be a guide to help keep you balanced in your perspectives about life and health:

exercise class

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

 I Timothy 4:8

 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

Lamentations 3:22-24

I too have renewed my commitment to going to the gym at least 3 times per week. I am even drinking heathy juices with plenty of good fruits and vegetables; however, those behaviors are just meant to enhance my ability to live life well so that I may fulfill the purpose for which I was created.

What I really want see developed in me this new year is a new heart and a new mind. An increased sense of balance versus worrying about the next issue the media presents as a concern. I want to stay focused and  remember that I have a God who loves, cares and provides for me. I don’t want my life to be so much about my activity – the things that I do; but rather those times when I discipline myself to rest; physically, mentally and emotionally. Resting in His presence facilitates me to accomplish what he created me to do. To love God and enjoy him forever.

Friendship, journey, self-acceptance, Uncategorized

Sweatin’ with the Oldies…

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Before the Insanity exercise craze, before boot camp, palates and Yoga fitness was popular, there was a man name Richard Simmons. Baby Boomers all over the world know him well. He was one of the first to introduce the concept that exercise and the sweat that is produced as a result, could be fun. Out of this concept came his very successful, Sweatin’ to the Oldies series. What a great idea! Dancing to familiar, beloved songs and burning calories at the same time.

As I laid awake 3:00 in the morning, dripping wet without having exerted any energy at all, I began to think about how I could have my own DVD series or TV show, but I would call it,“Sweatin’ with the Oldies! The shows concept would be based on the Titus 2 concept of teaching women how to walk out their hormonal journey together, on purpose and having fun in the process.

There is really something comedic about how for no apparent reason you wake up in the middle of the night and wake the person sleeping next to you as you swoosh the covers off and on as you alternate between hot and cold, finally ending up looking like a wet dog that someone  has just sprayed with a garden hose. Your freshly styled hair dripping wet completing the Shaggy Dog motif.

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Hormones are a very real part of the journey of women, young and old. ( Men have hormonal issues as well… But that’s for another discussion) 🙂 When not properly educated regarding these things, hormones and the roller coaster effects they have on women can be a bit intimidating. When your heart starts to race for no apparent reason, we are sure that a heart attack is not far behind. So many symptoms, so little time.

Although reading about these things is certainly helpful, there is nothing like connecting with another women who has been where you are going. Like planning a great vacation, they can tell you all about the special places not talked about in the vacation brochures. A Titus 2 woman who is committed to listening and sharing is invaluable.

Older women teaching younger women to live wisely and pure…

Titus 2:5

When I was a young woman, I used to pray that God would send me an older woman who would talk with me, listen to me, and laugh with me – to tell me that it would all be fine in the end. I wanted someone to tell me that the crazies of my life were all a part of the journey.

From the onset of menses, to the post menopausal period, woman need one another. We can help each other by sharing stories and strategies to get through our various seasons with humor and dignity, never apologizing for who we are in the moment, but always striving to get better.

The bible says, two are better than one  –  Ecc. 4:9

As far as night sweats go, I’ve made a decision that I don’t want to go there anymore.

Only day sweats please… Preferably on the beach, with a cool glass of iced tea!

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Gifts, Holidays, judgment, Love, self-acceptance, Uncategorized

LOVE REMAINS….

WHERE’S MY GIFT

The days leading up to February 14th were very tense, anxiety filled days for many people in our society. For many, the contentment and comfort of their world comes crashing down as they begin to muse about the question of whether or not they will be someone’s Valentine this year. As flowers and other gifts show up in offices etc., both married and single people ask the question, “What about me? Where’s my gift? Who will love me?”

valentines_heart_box

Long after all of the heart-shaped balloons, chocolate candy, flowers, jewelry and candle light dinners; after all of the media hype and marketing for February 14th, Valentines day, comes to a close, love remains. Less than 24 hours later, the same items that have been advertised as something that you must purchase to make the loves of your life feel special are marked down to 70% off of the original price. They are tossed aside to the “Clearance” section of the store, as if they have somehow lost their value. They are no longer important. We are on to the next thing, the next season.

The marketing plan appears to be intentional effort to make people believe that the absence of these material things somehow make the individual of less value, that they too should be placed in the clearance bin because no one wanted to “purchase”  them and take them home.
We are made to believe that there is some defect associated with us. That we are somehow in some way not enough.

WE WIN

One of my favorite terms associated with Tennis is “to hold love”. This term means to win the game when serving, with the opponent scoring zero points. I am so thankful that God has initiated the serve in our relationship to him. There is a wonderful sense of confidence in knowing that God is always “holding love.” I am always reminded that Romans 5:8 says, that God commended his love to us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. In the midst of all of our broken places, flaws, and poor choices, Christ stood in our place. He makes all things new. We are new creations in Christ Jesus… worthy of love in its various forms.

loveGod

Whether you are single and longing for an expression of love from another person, or if you are in a relationship where you feel that there is a deficit of tangible expressions of love, Love still remains!

NEW PATTERNS

It is so important that we do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Then you will find God’s good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom. 12:2)

God knows about all of our deepest longings. He created us, shaped our hearts and designed our intellect to chase after him. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 is a critical manifesto for the believer in Christ Jesus. It begins by saying, “Love Never Fails.” It goes onto say that, “Now, I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And these three remain: faith hope and love. But the greatest of these is Love.”

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SOUL HUNGER

PSALM 62:5
“Truly my soul wait thou on God, he alone is my rock. All my expectation comes from him.”

Those of us in relationships must stop putting all of our emotional eggs into the basket of our mates. Those who are single must confront the lie that their emotional happiness and well-being rests with another human individual. What we really have is a soul longing. I have seen many a person reject the well-intentioned gifts of a lover or friend because it failed to meet the soul hunger.

In this world where true love is often lost in the midst of commercialism, we must be like be like David who hungered and thirsted for God in a dry and weary land. Be filled with God’s great love for you my friends so that you will hunger no more.

God’s love is sweeter than any chocolate found in a box!

Love, self-acceptance, trust, Uncategorized, worship

Deeply Loved

deep heArt

My Beloved,


I am so proud of you. Just thinking of you makes me sing (Zephaniah 3:17). You are the apple of my eye, my child in whom I have found great delight (Psalms 17:8, 149:4, Song of Solomon 4:10).
You are beautiful, my darling, unique, one of a kind (Song of Solomon 1:15, 6:9). I created your inmost being; I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Ps 139:13). See, before I established the foundations of the Earth, I knew you. Before I parted the oceans, I was waiting for you, peering through the lattices of time: Let me hear your voice! (Song of Solomon 8:13). Your voice is like the choicest perfume, like sweet honey to my lips (Song of Solomon 4:11). Do not be afraid (Isaiah 41:10).
I have chosen you among your companions, I’ve called you by name, and you are mine (Psalm 45:7, Song of Solomon 2:16). Nothing can separate you from my love (Romans 8:38-39). I am here for YOU, every day, every moment, and with every breath you breathe. There is nothing I would not do for YOU, you can believe this because I have already given you the greatest gift of all, my Son (John 3:16).
Be still and know that I am God… and that since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you (Isaiah 43:4(a)) you can “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). In the temple of your spirit, I have built my resting place (1 Corinthians 6:19). So, draw near to me, and I will draw near to you (James 4:8). Even when you do not feel me, I am here. I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).
For “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV). My love for you remains as steady as the rising sun (Psalm 103:17). It never changes, because you are my child, my creation, and I am well pleased with you (Hebrews 13:8).


Love always and forever,


Your Heavenly Abba

 

journey, judgment, self-acceptance

Do You!

“Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave YOU.” (Colossians 4:17 NLT)

Have you ever noticed that when we get excited about something, we want everyone else to be excited about it too? I find that I not only want or desire others to be excited about the same things, but I go further and assume that that they will be just as impacted as I was. When that doesn’t happen, I have a tendency to look around and say, “what’s going on here? Did they just hear what I heard, or see what I saw?”.

If the person or persons doesn’t respond in a given way, I am often tempted to evaluate and make judgements about the person or myself. I want to find out whether they missed the point, or did I make too much of the issue. Either way evaluation can be very dangerous.
Evaluation begins from the premise that you are standing on a firm foundation of “rightness”. Surely, my thoughts about this situation are correct. It is so important to remember that our thoughts are not His thoughts, and our ways are not His ways. His purpose is working deeper in us then we can imagine.

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.” But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:9-11 NLT)

When we evaluate people based on our emotions, we may completely miss what God is doing in us and them. We must be careful about make comparisons and believing that one part of the body is more valuable than another. In Colossians 4:17, Paul says, “be sure to carry out the ministry that God gave you.” Ephesians 4:1 says, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”

Be careful not to cast off the work of the master architect. He is the God of intelligent design. Who we are, how we think and process things is something that only God can fully understand. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

The Body of Christ, much like the human body is a very complex mystery. The mystery of how all of the systems work are known only by our creative God. It makes no sense therefore to evaluate or compare ourselves to one another.
“If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (1 Corinthians 12:17, 18 NIV)

There is a better way to interact with each other. In fact, 1Cor. 12:30b says,” I will show you a more excellent way”. This is a set up for the next chapter which is all about love. Because, love never fails.

When you are tempted to evaluate, or make swift judgements, pause and ask God to show the beauty of his handiwork in the other person. Choose a heart of gratitude for a person who has different gifts, and who may be on a different part of the journey then you are on.
The world would be missing much beauty and creativity if everyone was just like me.

Christine James is a wife, mother and pastor at CareView Community Church. This is her first blog. She is glad you came.