All posts in Resolve

I learned in school that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. When I travel, that is the route I always like to take. I choose “shortest route” on the map app on my phone.

But, in life, God doesn’t always take me that way.

Oftentimes, He takes me the long way around. I suppose it should comfort me that I’m not the only one.

Exodus 13:17
It so happened that after Pharaoh released the people, God didn’t lead them by the road through the land of the Philistines, which was the shortest route, for God thought, “If the people encounter war, they’ll change their minds and go back to Egypt.”

So, if I understand that correctly, He knew them well enough to know that if they faced the opposition that was inevitable on the shortest route, they would bail. Instead, He took them the long way around. On the way, they developed character, they learned about His timely provision. They acquired the tools they would need for battle.

If I am comforted by the fact that I am not alone, it is short lived. I become disturbed once again when I realize that if I had been determined enough from the beginning to handle opposition with resolute determination to persist on the journey NO MATTER WHAT, I may have saved myself a lot of time.

Of course, this is just speculation and I know that God in His sovereignty may have still decided to take me the long way around, however, if He gives me a choice in the future, I choose the shortest route from now on.

I say, bring it on! I am ready to face the giants.  I am ready, knowing that He goes before me, paving the way, protecting me, and picking me up when I fall.

Long way or short way…I’m going the distance.  How about you?

closer than before, on my way, go the distance, face the giants

impossible journey

How do you make a dream come true?

One brave step at a time!

So far in 2013, over at For the Girls International, we have built all of our events around this idea that we were created to be STRONG, BEAUTIFUL and BRAVE and we have been cheering women on to take brave steps all year.  I have taken a few myself by talking about my struggle with depression…you can read a little bit about that here, here, and here.

And even though I feel like I’ve definitely taken a few brave steps this year there is one more I have decided to take.

For the longest time I’ve had a secret dream. Well, not completely a secret. Some of those very close to me have known of it. I’ve dreamed of writing a book. I love books!

I love stories and characters and plots and themes. I love how you can learn, even from recreational reading, about places and people and life. I love how words strung together in just the right way can transport you to another world. And I love how people sharing their life experience can reach out beyond the paper pages and touch you right where you live, giving you strength and helpful tools for your journey. And I’ve dreamed of inspiring others as I have been inspired by so many wonderful books.

But here’s the problem:

There are SO many books already! When I stand in Books A MILLION I hear this little voice tell me that the world doesn’t need another book, at least not from me. Who am I to think that the world needs to hear what I have to say?

I expressed this nagging thought to my business coach. (I hired him to keep me focused – something I highly recommend if you have a fly by the seat of your pants kind of personality like me)

And he said to me, “The truth is…you’re right. The world doesn’t need a book from you. The whole world doesn’t need to hear what you have to say. But someone does.”

And that is precisely why I am taking this journey. It’s a little scary to put yourself out there because in order to bring real hope there must be transparency which can leave one feeling a little…well, naked.

But this hope that I have and hold so dearly, I want to share.

So, yesterday I started my journey to write The Six Impossible Things I Believe Before Breakfast – (tag line still to be determined). With one brave step I started.  I had actually written a little bit already but yesterday I bought a white board and post it notes and now I’m telling YOU so that makes it official!!!

What brave step have you been putting off? Start your journey today and let’s do this thing together!

I’ll be sharing bits of the journey here so follow along and please feel free to leave comments.  I love to hear what you have to say! first step

I remember the first time I was asked to speak to a group about my experience with depression.

I said yes.  And then, almost immediately, I regretted it.

Fear began to creep in.  I was afraid of what people would think of me.  I wasn’t sure I wanted people to know about my weaknesses and frailties. I was afraid that they would think less of me.

At that time, besides my husband and my sisters only a few very close friends knew what I had been going through.  It’s not something you really want to talk about. The reason I had said yes to speaking was because during that depression I had felt God open my eyes to the suffering around me. I had a profound sense that I was not alone and that there were many others that didn’t speak of it but were in pain. I thought that if even one person was encouraged by my story then it would be worth it.  And I was right about that.

But it was still scary. A few weeks before the event  the women’s pastor was announcing the conference in a service and right out loud in front of 1000+ people she announced that Tracey Metzger had just been through several months of depression and would be speaking about it at the conference. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me.  Why had I said yes??

Putting yourself out there can be terrifying but if God is calling you to do something, whether it is making yourself vulnerable like that or just taking that first step towards your dream…if he is calling you he will equip you with the boldness and the courage you need. 

I made a resolution back then that if God was calling me to do something scary that I would resolve to be fearless and if I couldn’t be fearless then I would do it afraid!

I did speak at that conference. It was scary but not as as scary as I had imagined it would be.  I was humbled by how many people came to thank me for the glimmer of hope they had found in my story.

I love what Mordecai told Esther when she was afraid to step into the position that God had ordained for her:

“And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” 

By stepping into that place that God had prepared for her and prepared her for, Esther saved her people. Remember that you are part of God’s big picture and we all have a role.

What is God calling you to do that may be a little scary to you?

Make a resolution today to BE FEARLESS or at least to do it afraid!

Some people may choose to settle for less because they don’t want to work for more!

If it’s worth having it’s worth working for. 

I’m sure someone much smarter than me has said that before but when I searched for it as a quote I couldn’t find it so I’m claiming it!

In my quote search I found “If it’s worth having it’s worth fighting for” which is also true. But sometimes I think it’s easier to fight for something than to work for it.  Fighting for something, in my mind, evokes images of passion and fervent intention.  Sounds kind of exciting! Working for something, on the other hand, brings to my mind drudgery and laborious effort. Not so inviting.

Working just sounds hard. And sometimes it is.  But if it is worth having then it is worth working for. 

In 2 Thessalonians 3 Paul talks about this very thing.  He stresses the importance of not being lazy. God has called everyone of us to do great things in His name.  He wants to use us to bring solutions to the needs of this sometimes dark world.  That will require getting our hands dirty and working hard.  We must not become weary in well-doing. 

Never settle for less than God has for you because you don’t want to work for it.  We are promised that the payoff is worth every ounce of sweat.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time 
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 
Galatians 6:9 

I’m on a roll here with this blogging thing.  Thanks for those who have been reading along.  If you are just joining in, I have committed to blogging each week on the resolutions that a bunch of us made at RESOLVE, our first Girls Night Out of the year for For the Girls International.  You can see all of the resolutions here.

This 3rd week I’ll be talking about resolution #3 which is:

I resolve to refuse to settle for anything less than everything that God has for me.  

If we really stop and think about that we have to ask the question…why would we settle?

Why would we be willing to settle for less than God has planned for us? That opens up a lot of possibilities as answers.  It could be that we are not patient enough to wait for it.  It could be that we are not willing to work for it.  It could be that we don’t have enough faith to believe it will come to pass.  We could be under the mistaken impression that we don’t deserve it. It could be that what God has for us is so big that we are fearful to embrace it, afraid that we could not cope with it or live up to it. It could be that we are allowing Satan to use a number of those reasons to rob us of what is rightly ours as children of God. 

Whatever the reasons, there are times in our life that we compromise and settle for less than the best.

God’s word clearly tells us that Jesus came that we may have life and have it to the full!! I love that!!  I want to live life to the full.  I do not want anything less than everything God has for me but that doesn’t mean that I don’t fall into the trap of settling at times.

So this week I want to dig a little deeper into what it means to NEVER SETTLE!  Are you ready?

Meditate today on this verse:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

Ask yourself this question:
What am I allowing in my life to steal, kill and destroy my plans, my hopes, my joy? What would it look like if I was living life to the full?

Check back each day this week! On your journey to your best life, I would love to have the privilege of cheering you on.  Our God is amazingly generous and can do exceedingly abundantly above and beyond anything you could think of or even hope for! So why would you settle for anything less?

 When I was a teenager I wanted to be a cheerleader.  My father didn’t feel it would be right for me and forbid me to try out. I was so upset! I went crying to my mother about it and she told me to go ahead and try out without telling my dad, then if I made the team, we would deal with it when the time came.  (Yeah, she didn’t win any parent-of-the-year awards for that one!)

 The try-outs were held over the course of 2 weeks and during that time I did my best not to engage in a lot of conversation with my dad.  I was afraid that somehow I would expose myself if I talked too much.  So I avoided him as much as possible and made sure I figured out how to get to and from practices without involving him.

I was thrilled when I made it to the final try-out.  One more to go and I’d get to wear the cute outfit and hang out with the football players! On the day of the final round I had to call home to let my mom know that I’d be late.  I went to the pay phone – yes, the pay phone, put in my DIME (that’s how old I am!) and dialed my house.

To my horror, my DAD answered!!  That’s when things began to unravel. First, I asked if my mom was there but she wasn’t.  Uugh!  So, I told him that I needed to stay late.

And then he asked why.

I had to tell him.  I couldn’t lie. He was upset. I blamed my mom, of course. He told me to go to the last try-out and then we would talk.  So with red puffy eyes I went and gave probably the lamest effort they had ever seen and consequently did not make the team.

In the beginning of this week I talked about throwing off the things that slow us down so that we can run our race unencumbered.  The resolution to LIGHTEN UP was inspired by the commission in Hebrews 12:1, but there is a second part of that verse that we must not ignore.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

God has set guidelines for us. They are found in the Bible.  He instructs us in His ways for our protection.  He is not trying to suck the fun out of our lives.  When we are tempted to go around His instruction we are on dangerous ground. The farther we get from communication with Him, the easier it is to rationalize that what we are doing is ok.  We must not avoid talking to our heavenly Father.  If our communication with Him is broken it becomes harder and harder to hear His voice. Lines become blurred and before we know it, sin trips us up.  It’s that easy.

Thankfully, His grace is endless and sufficient.  No matter how far we are He is waiting with open arms, ready to pick us up and set us on our course again.  But wouldn’t it be great if we could avoid the detour altogether?!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Next week: Resolve Week 3 – REFUSE TO SETTLE

“When a deep injury is done us, we never recover until we forgive” Alan Paton

Unforgiveness is one of the heaviest pieces of baggage to drag around with you on your journey.  If we are going to run our race unencumbered we need to make sure that we are not harboring bitterness or anger toward someone that has wounded us. But how do you forgive someone that may not even be truly sorry?

When my daughter was a toddler and she would do something naughty like throw something at her brothers, I would do the motherly thing and march her over to apologize.  A forced apology is rarely sincere.  We still laugh today about how when forced to apologize she would give an icy stare, grit her teeth, barely open her mouth and say “Rorry” without any expression.  (that wasn’t a misspelling ~ that was how she said it)

The boys would be incensed saying, “Mom, she’s not really sorry!!”

She would go on her merry way having done her duty and they would remain all riled up about the injustice of it all.

My response to them would be, “Let it go.”

In this life you will be offended and you can count on being hurt by someone at some point. The decision you will have to make in favor of your mental and emotional health is to forgive them and let it go.  If you don’t it will slow down your forward motion.

But how? Here are some suggestions…

1. Prayer. Lots of it.  ~ Pray not only for strength to forgive but pray for that person’s well being.  This is hard to do but it will help you to see past their fault to their need. You may even begin to have compassion for that person.

2. Have a ceremony ~ Write down who and what you are choosing to forgive and then do something creative to symbolize letting it go.  Burn it (safely in a sink).  Write it on toilet paper and flush it down the toilet…whatever helps you to visualize officially letting it go.

3. Say it out loud ~ It helps to hear yourself say it.  Say it over and over again.  I choose to forgive _____.

4.  Remember that forgiveness is a choice and an act of obedience to God.  It is not a feeling.  You may not feel any different at first but you will over time. Be patient with yourself, forgiveness is often a process.  You know you are making progress when you can think of the person without the offense being the first thing that comes to mind. 

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (Col 3:13)

Break free!

Resolve Week Two:
I resolve to lighten up.  
To read about the other resolutions…click here 

The other day I was running a little late to a bridal shower (not unusual for me.) Because of my terrible time management skills I had to rush to get dressed and wrap my present so I was relieved that I had only gotten there 10 minutes late.  Upon arriving the host served me a drink and I began mingling with the guests.  After greeting quite a few people a friend came up behind me and whispered that my tag was hanging out of my shirt.  I thought it was the tag of the maker of the shirt, but no, it was the entire price tag that I had neglected to remove in the rush.  So there I was mingling at the party with a big old Macy’s tag hanging down my back!  So embarrassing!  But I was so grateful for the friend that had let me know and had saved me from going through the whole party that way.

In those kinds of situations we welcome the truth-tellers in our lives.  The friend who will tell us when we have something in our teeth or an outfit really doesn’t look good on us.  Those kinds of friends are not afraid to cause us momentary embarrassment to save us from further humiliation.

However there is a type of truth that is not so easy to receive from a friend.  The kind of truth that validates the common expression “the truth hurts.” Many times it is easier for a friend or someone close to us to see the baggage that we are carrying around.  But when our defense mechanisms kick in we can become very good at convincing ourselves that we are all right and don’t really need to make any changes. I’ve tried to make it a habit that if I receive feedback that sounds like criticism, no matter the source, I will try to peel it back to see if there is any truth to it. 

We know who the truth-tellers are in our life and we should seek out their council.  If I am avoiding telling one of my truth-tellers something that is going on in my life, it is an indication that I may be heading in the wrong direction.

I thank God for the people in my life who I can count on to tell me the truth, even if it hurts.  I have to constantly remind myself to welcome their input.

A good friend and truth-teller should be:
 (take note if you are a truth-teller to someone else)

1. Trustworthy – You need to know that you can trust that person to tell the truth about you to you, but not the to rest of the world!
2. Faithful – You want truth-tellers to be willing to stand by you as you work through the issues you may be facing. It’s unusual for change to happen overnight.
3. Loving – The manner in which hard truths are told should be loving and full of grace.

Take a quick minute to pray and ask God to provide you with good friends that will run alongside of you on your journey ~ if they are doing their job they will ensure that you travel light!

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” Proverbs 27:6

Resolve Week Two:
I resolve to lighten up.  
To read about the other resolutions…click here 

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 
Over the years I’ve worked for several airlines and have been able to observe the difference between passengers that travel light and those that are encumbered by excess baggage.  The recent trend of airlines charging for even the first piece of luggage has caused more and more people to opt to carry on their baggage.  I’ve seen people at the check-out counter claiming that their 2 year old is carrying on a bag that weighs more than the child itself in order to save the baggage fees! 
The passengers that choose to lug around their overstuffed carry-ons take longer to get through the security checkpoint, have a hard time getting down the narrow aisle of the plane and have to fight to find a place to store the bag once they arrive at their seat.  
On the other hand the passenger that has no baggage or pays the price to check it in and get rid of it breezes through security and boards the plane without complication.  
There is no doubt about it; the person that travels light completes their journey with more ease than the traveler that is dragging along a lot of baggage. 
The writer of Hebrews encourages us to take the “traveling light” approach to life.  We are encouraged to strip of every weight that slows us down. That can be so many different things.  Sometimes when we have been hurt or betrayed we carry those wounds with us on our journey, nursing them and wasting precious time.  Those wounds can result in unforgiveness adding to the heaviness that impedes our progress.  If the unforgiveness is directed at ourselves then it converts into guilt and shame, burdens we are not meant to carry.
Sometimes the things that slow us down are obvious.  Others not so much.  Fear, doubt, worry can all be excess baggage. As you read this you may already know what it is that slows you down.  Then again you may have been carrying it so long you don’t even realize it’s there anymore and you may have to dig a little deeper in order to recognize it and get rid of it.  
Either way if we are going to accomplish everything that God has called us to do and if we are going to become all that we that we were created to be we have to lighten up!  It may require letting go and paying the price no matter how difficult. When we do, we will find we have the stamina to run our race to win! 
I’ve been working on off loading some stuff I’ve been carrying around.  I am praying that this week you will be willing to take steps to check some baggage and lighten up in preparation for the next phase of your journey.

Freedom is probably my favorite word.  
Definitely in my top ten of favorite words. 
When I close my eyes and think about what it means to be free 
I find myself unconsciously taking a deep cleansing breath,
and my whole body relaxes.
When I hear the word freedom in a song it gets me all choked up. 
It is a longing in the deepest part of every human being ~ to be free.
I can’t think of a better way to end this week of talking about how God see us than to simply say
God sees me free!
 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery”  Galatians 5:1
 Walk in freedom…Have a great weekend!
Coming Next Week:  RESOLUTION #2 
I resolve to lighten up! 
Getting rid of the things that threaten our freedom.