Shrapnel

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"Healing is a lifelong process...maybe it was too emotionally overwhelming at the time it happened for us to deal with it all at once, and now we have the strength to process even more. Like a shard of shrapnel that's been stuck beneath our skin - sitting there for years and never surfacing - until finally, one day our bodies expel them. Perhaps it's the same with our minds and hearts. Old wounds surface when it's time! As part of the natural healing process, when we are ready." - Dr. Ken Druck

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I’ve learned that when ‘we are ready' always happens when we least expect it to. If you’re like me, then today is a day where you are dealing with resurfaced ‘shrapnel.’

I pray that you will be compassionate and patient with yourself. Healing from trauma has nothing to do with a lack of faith, but everything to do with your commitment to a healing journey.

“Of course there are people who say progress is dangerous, but then I bet none of those idiots ever had to live with a chest full of shrapnel. And now, neither will I.” - Tony Stark

I love this line from Iron Man 3 because for me, it’s a reminder that every tiny step we take toward recovery requires a recommitment to this very difficult process.

I hope that you’ll choose to accept the strength you’ll need to face and process the message that your sorrow is sending you through the situation that pushed the shrapnel to the surface.

Please don’t apply pressure and force it back down - it’s time to let God remove that shard until you’re strong enough and ready to let him remove the next.

As I encourage my sons every day, I pray that you will

Be brave , Be present, Be faithful, Be wise & Be kind to yourself and others.

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” - Psalm 34:18

P.S. Brace yourself, if you say ‘Yes,’ to God’s healing shrapnel removal work - I think it’s like having surgery with little to no anesthesia, with your eyes open. But as one of my mentors often says, ‘Make sure you don’t climb off the operating table before He’s finished the procedure, or you’ll have to keep coming back.’

*Thank you @samuelmartins7 for your beautiful work and gifting.

Peace Innovation

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Recently I was invited by a colleague from the Stanford Behavior Design Lab to be a part of a conversation about Peace Innovation.  From the first few moments of our time together I fell in love with the concept of designing real world interventions in order to create, cultivate and sustain a spirit of peace on a global scale. 

Much of what we discussed I can’t share here.  But what I can tell you is that this conversation reignited in me a desire to share what I’ve learned about peace and how important it is that we understand that peace must begin within the individual before it can spread to families, neighborhoods, communities, nations and into the world. 

Jesus talked about this when He told his disciples that He offers a peace unlike anything that the world offers, and once we have received this peace, we no longer need to be afraid or troubled. 

Think about how many of us long for this kind of peace.  A peace that surpasses all understanding and allows the bearer to transcend all the adversity that life on this unpredictable planet brings.  A peace that swells up from deep within, and is so much a part of your identity,  that you have a calm that’s contagious even through a storm.

I believe that this kind of personal peace innovation is possible. And the key is through the cultivation of tiny-habits specifically and intentionally created to increase personal peace within, one tiny decision at a time.    

A good place to start is with a question:  What choice do you need to make right now that will sow a seed of peace in your life? 

·       Maybe it’s considering for the first time that there’s someone or some situation that you need to forgive and let go of.

·       Maybe it’s taking a 5-minute walk today so you can victoriously begin to end the deeply personal war created by choosing a sedentary lifestyle? 

·       Maybe it’s giving one item away from the garage that’s overflowing with things you no longer need.

·       Maybe it’s reading one Scripture out loud every morning before you begin your day. 

·       Maybe it’s slowing down and taking a deep breath, accepting that you are not in control.

The seeds of peace are always waiting to be planted and watered.  They are each as unique as you are, and in time - they culminate into the same fruit:  A deep abiding peace that affects you and everyone around you for good in tiny countless ways.

Peace Innovation on a global scale begins with one tiny, loving choice, followed by another. 

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What real-world, practical intervention will you choose today to move toward peace?

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“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. So let not your heart be troubled or afraid.” – Jesus (John 14:27)

Thank you Wesley Eland on Unsplash for this beautiful photo! :-)

Sore Spots that Ache at Christmas

Photo: ‘Tough Times’ by Ben White on Unsplash

Photo: ‘Tough Times’ by Ben White on Unsplash

I love a good Christmas movie.  This year I decided to spend some time checking out some of the new releases on Netflix. I typed ‘Christmas’ into the search box and one of the first movies that popped was a 2017 Netflix Original production called ‘Christmas Inheritance.’  The synopsis reads: ‘Before she can inherit her father’s company, a young heiress is sent to a small town where she learns the value of helping others.’  It was 2am and my brain was tired so I decided to go for it.

One of my best things about walking by faith is that I know that God is always leading me, especially when it come to random, middle of the night moments of discovery.  Overall, the movie is a sweet, standard Christmas movie.  Just as the caption promised, the young heiress, Ellen Langford travels to the small town where her parents grew up and she does in fact discover what Christmas is really all about.

I was quite a bit into the movie when I said, ‘Lord, why am I watching this?’  A short while later, I received my answer when Ellen walks over to her new friend Jake who asks her why she decided to come back. She replies:

‘Even though there are some things that you can’t get over, maybe it’s easier if you’re not alone. If you’re with someone that you trust.’

This was worth the whole movie for me. What a great line and a powerful truth.  I think one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my healing journey is that I would often expect myself to somehow find the solution, or the ‘cure’ for my condition, especially if I was battling through a spell of extreme discouragement and struggle. I often thought that my breakthrough would be in the next chapter, podcast, or sermon and often that was true, but the reality is - there are somethings that we make it through that are so terrible, you can’t just ‘get over’ them.  And no matter how far you’ve progressed in recovery, there remains a sore spot that will always ache if disturbed.

It’s just the reality of life in this broken world.  The line from the movie reminded me of something that Robin Williams said, “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone.  It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.”  

It’s so important that you make sure not to isolate yourself if you’re going through a season of discouragement and especially if you’re feeling despair.  If you’re going through it right now, I pray that you will reach out to the safe people in your life and let them know you need prayer.  Let them know that you’re hurting and give them the chance to come alongside you through this time of struggle. 

Christmas can be an especially painful time for many people.  I’m sorry for what you’ve been through and  I pray that you’ll believe that God is with you.  He will strengthen you and carry you through.  Please don’t give up hope.  If you don’t have any safe people that you can think of right now, I pray you’ll call the Somebody Cares Helpline or 800-273-8255.

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Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

If you’re reading this and you suspect that someone you know may need encouragement, please do take the time to reach out.