Words

The power of the tongue can carry life and death.

I have been pondering the prolific use of words in our society lately.  In a country where freedom of speech is allowed at unprecedented levels with very little censorship or boundaries, words seem to be the driving force behind life as we know it.  Words, spoken in every way from casual conversation to eloquent prose both written and even sung, they are in every moment of our life, often creating the rhythm by which we move.  I often have wondered what would happen if someone suddenly yelled “QUIET”, and it actually happened!

Can you imagine if the world suddenly became silent? And even the written word momentarily vanished?  What would we be left with?

Silence.

Quiet.

Stillness.

With only the heartbeat of the natural beating in our ears and laying itself bare before our eyes.  Crazy thought…but one that holds much appeal these days.

In the bible, David, Soloman, James and Peter all spoke of the tongue and the power of our words.  Soloman, notably one of the wisest and wealthiest men to ever live in that time, even went so far as to write that it carries the power of life and death.  Interesting proposition…

How often do I speak careless words, and have conversations that are meaningless and even at times could be harmful?

Martin Luther King used his words to inspire and incite a dream to come to life.  Ghandi used his words to speak peace.  Billy Graham used his words to effect the eternity of thousands.  Today, words are tools that create chaos, bring destruction and destroy families and relationships.  But what if your few words could be the catalyst for changing that?

Me?  Well I am just one voice…that’s the lie.  The lie that silences our voice, makes us think we do not matter and what we have to say, write or sing carries no weight.  But here’s the truth…

It does.

What are the words dying to escape your lips?

Better yet, where are those words being birthed?  What is your soul really wanting to speak.  It is said that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So the real question on the table is where is your abundance?  Is it in what you can gain from the words you speak?  Is it an abundance of fear keeping you silent only to allow something to continue to wither and die, or is there a deeper abundance that is screaming to get out?

Pondering silence always brings me back to the heart of the matter.  Silence is necessary yet we fight it.  And without the silence we lose the appreciation of the words around us.

Be still and know that I am God (Ps 46:10)

We want to know God, but there is a requirement…stillness, quietness, silence.  I remember a time that it was clear that I was not to sing.  No biggie, right?  Well for a worship leader, for one who music is the vehicle by which God carries you and your instrument is your voice this was devastating.  I was not sure how I could survive.  Not sing?  Really God?  But then it was clear…

Sometimes we are so busy operating in our gift, or making our requests known to God that our voice becomes so loud we cannot hear the Creator.  As Paul said in I Corinthians 13:1 we are like a clanging cymbal.  And its because our words are flowing out of a self love not a love for our Creator, our need to be heard.

So I silenced by voice…for months…maddeningly hard at first but then in the stillness and quiet came the peace that God knew I so desperately craved but had no idea I needed.  And it was in the quiet, in the stillness, His love washed over me, His unraveling of myself began and He began to reveal to me who I really was and the depth of His love for me. IT was here in the silence I found my voice.  Silence spoke to my soul and unlocked a place I didn’t know existed.

So how quiet is your world?  Does your soul scream chaos or are there whispers of peace flowing through you?  In that desperate place is where our true soul voice lies…the place that feeds us and the place that the enemy of our soul wants so desperately to silence by drowning it out.

I challenge you today…be still…be quiet…take a moment and breathe and let the Creator of your soul speak in gentle whispers of love.  Fight the discomfort and just do it…it just may unlock that voice that the world so desperately needs to hear!

Blessings to your soul,

Dee

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Rear View Mirror

Counselors will say that reflection is a good thing.  It’s where we can see our life now in the reflection of what has happened or decisions we have made in the past, seeing where we have come from, in order to adjust our steps into the future.  It is also a way to “talk back” through what was said and done to allow a person to truly understand the situation they are currently going through or have experienced.

I am in agreement that reflection can be good.   BUT (yes there is always a but), reflection can be the very thing that invokes a paralysis of sorts that will either keep us bound in the place we are currently residing or even cause us to revert back to the comfortable places of the past (no matter how destructive they are). It may well be a cause for correction for the future to get back on track or send us on a detour of self reliance and pride that is fueled by anger, regret, bitterness or unforgiveness. In short, to quote Pastor Steven Furtick,  “our perspective can be our prison or our our passport”, what keeps us in bondage or what releases us to fly.

So now I reflect…on how I started this blog and where it is today.

Beginnings are always just endings of something else.  Like when you left home the first time, new beginning but ending of life as you knew it.  You looked in that rear view mirror until what was left behind disappeared into the horizon.  Or maybe what was behind was too painful to look at so you just didn’t look at all.  Either way, that ending was a new beginning.  And you were walking into what would become your new “normal”.

As I write today, I realize that this blog was birthed out of an ending that was coming, but not yet here, and I, in an effort to navigate my own future, tried to jump ahead to the new without allowing the door to close on the old.  Funny how we do that, wanting to hold on to both what is in front and what is behind all the while wondering why it is tearing us apart.  All that came from that was calamity, frustration and finally quitting.  No writing, no dreaming.

So in this I realized the proverbial “one door closes and another door opens” is not entirely the truth.  You see the choice is always ours.  True that one door opens, but our choice is to walk through the new door and close the old one behind us.  Or we can leave multiple doors open and try to hop in an out of them, never releasing one to fully walk into the next.  Which brings me to the next obstacle…the letting go.

You see, we have a choice to continue to look in that rear view mirror, to long for what has been, to be paralyzed by the mindsets of the past or let it go and move into the new place.  You simply cannot drive in two directions at once and expect to get anywhere!  Or walk through more than one door at a time and see any progress!  That is called making no progress! (some would say insanity!)

But we do exactly this.  Fear whispers that we can never do what is in front of us for multitudes of reasons, and comfort beckons us back to complacency and what will be death to the dreams of the future.  Competing voices…and always a choice…

So today I choose…I choose forward not backward, life not death, dreams not complacency, risk not security, passion not passivity, and Jesus…period.  One yes…one yes I said years ago but today with a renewed, passionate cry from my soul…YES!  Yes to what’s bigger than me, yes to crazy, wild, unimaginable trust and yes to the only One who can truly complete me and fill my soul to overflow.  There is SO much excitement ahead!

Today I look in the rear view mirror and allow many things of my yesterdays to fade into the distance.  Not sure what the future fully holds but knowing my future is in capable hands.  I choose to let go and drive forward, full speed ahead…and in the (somewhat modified) words of Peter Pan with Jesus sprinkled in…

“All it takes if faith, trust and a little ‘Jesus’ dust…to go to a place where dreams are born and time is never planned…”

Believe BIG my Soulife girls, this journey has just begun!  Will you say yes?  Will you allow yourself to dream again, and trust a Jesus who will never let you down? Who wants so much more for you than you ever imagined?

“…I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward-to Jesus.  I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” (Philippians 3:14 MSG)

Never think small…Never look back…A world in need of brave love and care that only you can give is in front of you!  Would love to hear from you…deesoulife1@gmail.com

Until next time…May God breathe new life into your Soulife!!!

Simplicity

For anyone who knows me, simple would not be a word used to describe me.

Generally crazy, wild and outrageous people are not simple.

And insecure overachievers are definitely not simple.

Yes, there is nothing simple about me.

But today I’m realizing there is even more to me than I realize.

I’m a bit like the old antique dresser I have.  I know thats a crazy analogy and I really should not call myself an antique but follow me for a minute.

This dresser came into my mom’s possession when I was a teenager.  My mom is a finder of things and a lover of old things.  This dresser was hiding out (or hiding behind as we will do) in what we call a “junk” shop with all the other cast away furniture of days gone by.  It was painted a lovely shade of cream but due to the many scratches and dents one knew it was not the only color it had been.  Most would look past and discard this piece.  That is unless you are able to look past the surface and see it’s “bones” (wow…that’s a different perspective).  Antiques are like that; it’s always more about the character of the piece than the actual appearance.  I fact the character usually enhances the outward appearance.  This old dresser had good “lines” as she would say and it was solid.  So we took her home for $25.00.

After some cleaning up and airing out (yes it was a bit smelly from abuse and then lack of use) it became my dresser.  Some time would pass and after a marriage and a move to the other side of the country, the dresser came to reside in a garage in the frozen north.  And it became my project.  Curiousity had gotten the best of me and I had to know what was under that paint.  So began what would be a much longer process than I realized.  What I didn’t know was that the cream paint was just one of many layers that now adorned my dresser.  So began the stripping process.

Pour the stripper, let it melt it away, scrap and sand it off.  Rinse and repeat…and repeat, and repeat, and repeat.  And that was just the easy surfaces first.  Then came the intricate areas.  Remember I said it had nice lines?  Well that means many areas for the paint to have settled in, never to come out.  No simple sanding here.  Chipping away was all I could do.  And did I mention that some of the paint had actually penetrated the original wood?  It was forever part of the surface.

A scar of sorts…a reminder. Of what had been but was now redeemed back.

Days turned into weeks and finally the original surface appeared.  Layer upon layer removed, sanded, chipped away, sanded a bit more until the original piece shone through.

And it was beautiful!

Inlaid wood, painstaking detail, turned legs, solid hardwood maple.  A masterpiece, just like you.

Yes there was more to it than I realized…and it was far more valuable than the $25.00 paid for it.  The shop owner just didn’t know what he had.

We are like that.  We never really know what we’re made of until the tearing away, the stripping down, the chipping away at all the hard to reach places happens. And sometimes we are discarded because people didn’t really know what they had beneath all the “layers”.

The complicated mess we’ve allowed ourselves to become is really a simple masterpiece created by the Master…the one who sees us beyond the surface life we’ve created.

Nothing complicated, yet so very intricate and valuable.

Nothing difficult, just a simple creation of love that fills His heart to overflow.

So who are you REALLY underneath the layers of life you’ve taken on?  Do you know there is a you with an outrageous purpose only you can fulfill?  Have you ever thought there was really more to you than what you’ve painted your surface to be?

People have often asked how to restore antique furniture and I do not have a standard response.  You see, like us, all the pieces are different, covered with different things and each requiring different methods of removal.  But as I look at myself it’s always been so simple, it is I, my own measure of who I am that complicates things.

So the raw reality is I’m just a hot mess girl, covered with less layers than before thanks to His grace and love, who is allowing the Master restorer to strip away until I am the me I was created to be.

So how about you?  Will you allow a small, nearly inaudible whisper of “yes” to escape your lips?  That’s all it takes…simple right? And the Master will gently begin the process.  Is it sometimes long? Yes.  Is is sometimes painful and uncomfortable? Yes.  Do you go it alone? Never!  Is is worth is all?  Absolutely!

One very simple Yes and the journey of restoration begins….Until next time…let it be well with your soul!

Dee

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11;28-29)

Still or Stuck?

You know when you get one of those ideas that you wonder where it came from, all the while knowing EXACTLY where it came from!

A few hours ago was one of those moments…

I was in my constant wrestling place of being still.  Not that I don’t love a good afternoon nap or to delve into a good book or movie, but I’m not talking about the entertainment times.  I’m talking about those intentional, meditative, introspective, examination, quiet your mind and focus on God times.

Being still for me is just plain hard.  But not the hardest place.

That spot belongs to being stuck.

You see stuck for me is a funny place as it often is a result of those being still times. Being still is scary, out of control, restless and seemingly unproductive.  And when you thrive on productivity that is a problem.  But worse than that is the fact that the stillness can breed a complacent, lazy attitude in me.  Not a pretty posture for this girl.

So I have found myself stuck lately.  Not for lack of anything to do, but for lack of knowing what is next.

You see stuck for me is a result of a place of fear…of the unknown, of making a mistake, of letting go, of what others think, of not having what it takes.  So stuck is a safe place because I make no life altering decisions there.  I just remain paralyzed and deadened but the fear…Stuck…

Yet isn’t it funny that a safe place can also be a place of danger…a crazy paradox of life.

So I can stand still in that stuck place, go through the same routine, do the same things, react in the same way, yet desire a different outcome…the definition of insanity!  There is the place of danger.  Stuck can create a false security that lulls you in to comfort and then slowly erodes all the hopes and dreams of the future.  Sure there are things being accomplished, but what about those God-sized dreams?  Those impossible dreams that will tend to occupy your dreams and keep you awake all at the same time!  In that stuck place those mountains of dreams become unattainable and eventually robbed from me.  An inside job, if you will, to rob my soul of the very thing it cries out for…something more, something beyond myself.

There is a adage based on a biblical principle that says:

“An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”

When something is idle it is not moving, perhaps stuck.  One can surmise then that when one is not moving, there is much time for the enemy of our soul to be at work. There is the danger of a stuck soul. Idling until we just run out of gas.

Stillness…well it is not the same.  One can move forward from a position of stillness…that is a stillness of your soul… your mind, will and emotions.  For most of us, especially women, this is a daunting task.  Efforts to please everyone, live up to expectations and “do it all” can result in stuck.  There is lots of motion in stuck but never going anywhere.  Again stuck appears safe maybe even productive on the outside…but something is dying on the inside.

Without a challenge, without some resistance there will never be any true growth.  Growth is motion and true growth in your soul requires a stillness.  Again a paradox but truth tells us things grow best in quiet, still places.

So let me challenge you today…get still, even for a little while.  Listen quietly to the cry of your soul.  Breathe…count your breaths and be thankful for every one.  Realize your are wonderfully made and possess a soul that is beautiful.  And from that place be thankful, for your breath, for your easy days and hard days, and for being the wonderful you that you are.  Believe it, speak it, rest in it.  And begin to dream a little…baby steps…that’s all it takes.

And I believe that in that stillness, past the uncomfortable and awkward and maybe a little scary, there you will begin to get “unstuck” and realize there is really more!

Bless your Soulife….Dee

Retrospect and Redemption

Lessons from a puppy…

  1.  There is always time for play
  2. Love is unconditional
  3. No destruction is intentional, nor is it beyond repair

When I looked at the little shreds of paper my heart broke…

Those were my thoughts, promises, words for a destiny beyond myself…now in many tiny pieces.

Anger, yes.

Frustration, yes.

Frantic piecing back together, yes.

Finally, the realization that this task was going to take longer than intended came and that a ziploc bag now housed the contents of hopes, dreams and what I was sure was the directive for my future.

All a mess in a matter of minutes.

Then I turn to look and there are those sweet, unconditional puppy eyes staring at me, from a face encased between two paws in a posture of sorrow.  Uncondiitonally loving me even when I had yelled and scolded and threatened in my frustration.

That was more than a month ago, on the heels of the most catastrophic event of my life thus far.  I was certain I couldn’t take any more.  So that baggie just was tucked away as I was certain that all those hopes and dreams were shattered.

But funny the way life works and how the orchestration of God trumps our best laid plans.

Death of one things is sometimes the entrance to life in the next.  One things sometimes must be destroyed to allow a new thing to be built.

So I stare at that ziploc baggie full of pieces.

How quickly we all can see our life, hopes, dreams and aspirations reduced to a baggie.  So where does one go from here?  How long will we stare at the baggie?  How long will we fear opening it up, pouring out the shattered pieces and really examine what it contains?

So I did…

And what I found was that I had two choices:

  1. Try to piece the ripped edges, wrinkled and destroyed text back together, while always seeing the holes and now unrecognizable parts.
  2. Create a mosaic

Such a strange word…mosaic

It sounds so profound and creative when really it is nothing but shattered pieces of many times discarded things rearranged and oft times added to so as to create something brilliantly new!

That was it.

Those aspirations, dreams, words spoken were simply that…pieces of a bigger picture yet not the whole picture.

So in retrospect there is redemption.  A looking back at what has been and a buying back of what is needed for the next place, the new vision.  A place of examining falls and failures, misalignments and my own misguided attempts and learning.

Not comfortable but yet there is comfort in knowing there were lessons learned and that equals growth.  Growth for the next place, growth for the new vision.

And there is redemption…salvation, atonement, deliverance, freedom, justification, purification and a ransom paid.  And there lies the lesson in the baggie…

Retrospect does not mean regret, retrospect actually points us toward redemption.  To leave all those shattered pieces in the baggie means to stay angry, bitter, to weep over the loss and to blame the cause of it.  But to take them out, look at them in their shattered state and then take the lesson from each piece is to create a pathway to freedom and the place where a new vision, albeit incorporating pieces of the old, is created.

Puppies…never blaming, always forgiving, unconditionally loving and full of joy.  What can appear to be an instrument of destruction is a blessing in disguise.  Much like Jesus…in death there was redemption…and here life begins again…

“…All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul…” Joshua 1 (Message)

What will your mosaic look like as your soul is redeemed?

Blessings…Dee

Soul Beginnings

Every journey has a launch point.

A crisis

A miracle

A leap of faith

A deep dissatisfaction

No matter what it is, journeys must start somewhere.  And usually when the journey begins we, as humans, have the clear destination set before us in the distance.  I mean, where would a runner be without knowing how to pace themselves for the final destination?

And so we approach life the same way…

A start and a finish, pacing ourselves along the way, putting limits on our days, our lives and those around us.  We have our mind set, our path is sure (or so we think) and we are calm and collected.

Then it happens.

The collision, the stumble, the disorientation, the boredom or sometimes just a u-turn.

And now the journey we were sure of, that we had put our trust in has changed trajectory.  The mind now races, the path is unsure or completely gone and our emotions are everywhere.  It is here that many either stand still or simply just quit the journey they are on.  We settle for “this is the way it is” or maybe “this was all wrong from the beginning”, whatever that voice speaks at that place.  Either way, things are just not the same.

And our soul is immediately not well and the life we had at the beginning drains away like the slow ebb of a dying heartbeat.

What now?

And it happens to us all, young, old, male, female, it happens.  So, what now?

Honestly I sat cross-legged a few years ago and wondered the same.  The disillusionment had set in somewhere on what I thought was the perfect journey with a clear destination.  And with that came the grasping for life and gasping for air.  And it was at this point that something began to penetrate my soul and choices needed to be made.

Immobilizing fear?  Doubt?  Paralyzation?

All the above!

But sometimes we must just step into the craziness of our soul.  And it was here that I began to allow my mind to unravel, a new way to be charted, for my will to become not mine but that of something higher than myself, and for my emotions to become raw and then one by one be healed.  A process, yes definitely!  One that’s been mastered?  Not yet…but that’s the journey!

Comfortable?  No way!  Hard?  Seemed impossible!

But…

The more I allowed myself to be unraveled from the places I’d created for myself (notice I said “I created”), the clearer many things became though others became a far, distant, dim, impossible dream.

Then, as I let go and surrendered more and more, I realized something…it’s so simple…

The simple truth that I was being taught to love myself and be loved and let go of MY created journey and step into the one that had been created for me before time, one made uniquely for me,one that only I can accomplish that, though seemingly impossible, sparked an excitement in me I didn’t understand.  A deep peace settled and a new feeling emerged…rest in my soul.

Step in…that’s all I had to do.  One small step and the journey began.  One small, fearfully whispered “Yes”, having no idea what I was saying yes to.  Something that appeared would cost me so much, yet knowing deep inside the reward would always outweigh the cost and, the destination, though unclear, was a so clear.  It was a call to more than I was and more than I could ever be on my own, a destination always marked out for me but was awaiting an appointed time.

So step in I did.  But stepping in requires leaving things behind, some that need to be left and others that are hard to leave.  Forward motion requires focus on what’s ahead, not what is in the past.

Freedom?  Yes…but a difficult freedom at times.  You see being undone is vulnerable and scary and unsure and we simply don’t like that, as we are a culture of guarded, put-together people.  You know, it’s only the crazy ones that share all that inner “soul” stuff.  We who are “wiser” must keep it all together and make it look good…all with a dying soul.

So as I write today I’m further into the journey, have had successes and failures and have skinned my knees a lot from falling or just from kneeling and crying out.  And it continues…

As I know, it will never be over until moving into eternity so with my backpack slung over my shoulder and my aviators firmly on my face, this girl walks on, steps in, lives full and doesn’t turn back, facing the light of tomorrow that is impregnated with a plethora of hopes and dreams.  Limitless dreams!

Soulife lesson today…

There are always two paths…one well worn, sure and safe and as Robert Frost penned the other “less traveled”.  What will you choose?

Let’s chat!  Are you ready to take that step into new and away from where you are?  Are you ready to let go and move into your future?  Let me journey with you into a real, full, exciting, healthy Soulife!

Who knows…the you, you were created to be may just be around the corner of the road!

Until next time Soulife friends…Blessings!

Dee 🙂

What is the Soulife?

Is it well today?

The question that is often raised in my mind as I reluctantly open my eyes to face the day ahead (reluctant is an understatement for this non-morning person).  I check the time and the gears begin moving in my head (yes slowly at first, but they do speed up a bit)

Mind racing…

To do list forming…

Feelings all over the place…

Sound familiar?  Probably all too familiar to most.

Soul wellness.

We hear much about physical wellness, mental wellness, even emotional wellness. There is a system for them all and a remedy (multiple) for anything that ails us.  We are a quick fix, give me a pill and let’s move on to the next thing culture.

But what if, rather than isolated elements of our life, compartments we try to manage, they were actually all connected?

Well they are…and there, my friend, is your soul.  The encapsulation of the mind, your will and your emotions.  One big jumbled up, crazy place for some (a lot) of us.

So, is it well?  Your soul I mean?

The answer to that question just made some of you shut this down and will never read again!  I know I would have.  But if you will humor me a bit, join me on a little blogging journey.  Call this a free therapy session, a chat, or just a friend to a friend but I want to journey with you into this idea of a well Soulife…yep I know it’s misspelled but that’s really it, all meshed together into one life.

A couple of thoughts…

Are you conscious of the you you were created to be?

What do you think about, want to do and how do you feel?

And finally, how does all that effect the “real me” I was created to be?

Well, those are the questions on the table.  So grab your coffee (0r tea), I have mine, sit in that big, comfy chair and let’s ponder these things and chat.

This is a journey, one for soul-wellness if you will, but more than that, one for wholeness.  You see, that’s been mine for a few years now (more about that later) and I hope to share my heart and you share yours as we dive into some “soul food”.  What a better thing for friends than food with many benefits and no calories!  I’m in!!

So before I leave you today, a little about me…

I’m a wife, mother, friend, business owner and simply a woman who loves life and wants my life to live beyond me.  I’ve had multiple careers and now am sitting in a new beginning in my life…a do-over or u-turn of sorts.  A blessing, a gift,  but I didn’t always see it that way…hence a not-so-good soulife!  But here I sit some years into the journey, with lots of experiences, successes and failures and MANY journaling hours!  So here is where I’ll share those journals, my heart and my soul journey.

And here is where I hope you will share yours as well.  Let’s start some dialogue and let’s explore a magnificent, incredible, exceedingly abundant Soulife together!

Until next time…

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Dee