Life Happens

From the Heart of Grace Waters…

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Tangled Up

I was minding my business when a colleague approached me asking for a favor. I used to automatically respond, “Sure, what do you need?” Not anymore. I have gotten myself into some sticky situations by automatically agreeing. šŸ™‚ So, as I waited for her to tell me what she wanted, she held up a tangled necklace and asked if I could fix it. Now, staring at the mess in front of me, I wondered how in the world she thought I could fix it, but she had faith in me that I could. So, I watched myself (kind of an out-of body experience) reach out my hand to accept this jumbled mess. I told her I would get to it in a bit, but as I stared at the mess before me on my desk, I could not resist at least trying to get it right. The going was intense. Every time I thought I had fixed the mess, another tangle seemed to appear out of nowhere. At some point, I felt myself getting frustrated and almost deciding that it was not worth trying, but I kept going. When I heard myself in my head giving myself a pep talk, “Slow down. You’re going to get it. Just one loop at a time.” the chore became more of a puzzle. I love puzzles, so that worked for me. Finally, I got to the last knot, and I began to hurry because the suspense was almost over, but then it seems the necklace got more tangled. So, I remembered my advice to myself and I slowed down. After what seemed like forever, I finished untangling the mess, and came out with a beautiful necklace. Now, I am patting myself on the back for a job well done.

As I untangled the necklace, I thought about how life happens, and sometimes the decisions we make or the decisions others make regarding us leave us in a bind. We get tangled up and frustrated, and many times it may seem that we will never be able to straighten out the knots and twists that life has brought to us. But, just like the necklace took time and patience to untangle, so do our lives. The great thing about life is that things can always get back to “normal”, but it is the twists and turns that make it a bit more interesting. Even when our lives get jumbled up, there is always an opportunity for us to get ourselves together. Just as I had to help my colleague, sometimes, we have to help others untangle their lives. Even if it is left to us to fix the “mess” of our lives, we have to remember that some messes can’t be fixed immediately, but they take time, patience, and some setbacks. The blessing is that when we work to fix it, we appreciate the finished work.

Maybe your life has seemed like that necklace. A mess.Ā  Tangled up. Confused. Maybe it seems impossible to fix. But, I challenge you to take it one “knot” at a time. Keep working at it. Don’t give up when things seem to get more difficult. Just keep in mind the image of what you want your life to be, and work towards that goal. After all, we are all “a mess”, but we don’t have to stay that way.


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From Frustration to Strength

It is so easy to want to give up-especially when it seems that the harder you try, the more disappointment you face. It is so much easier to throw in the towel than it is to keep pushing towards that dream you know is meant for you to accomplish. It may seem that for every two steps you go forward, you go ten more steps backward. You may wonder, when will it be my turn to succeed? I know I have wondered this, and that led to frustration that I seemingly could not make things happen like I wanted them to. Then that frustration led to strength. “How?”, you may ask. I’ll tell you. It is in those times of my greatest frustration that I realized the strength of what is inside of me. All of the times when I have been disappointed and wanted to give up, somehow I did not quit. When things have been at their lowest point, and it would have been easiest to walk away from all that I know I am supposed to do, I could not stop. When I thought I was at my lowest point, then I got another rejection, but somehow that was brushed off–therein was strength. I think that the measure of a person is not so much in how many obstacles they face, but in how they respond to those obstacles. Some people quit. Others get depressed. Still others decide to become something they are not so they do not have to face the difficulty of becoming who and what they are supposed to be. I am none of those things. I tried to be, but they never worked for me. Instead, I am in that group who, when obstacles present themselves, I rally back. I may get struck for a moment, but I refuse to stay down because I know that my life has purpose beyond my low moments. I am not saying that I have never contemplated giving up, because believe me, I have. I realized though that I would never be happy as long as I did not fulfill my purpose. I would wander endlessly, trying to find something else to be. That’s no life for anyone to live. Instead of allowing various obstacles, and disappointment after disappointment to dissuade me from living out the life I am meant to, I have chosen to daily reaffirm myself. Sometimes others can encourage you. Other times you need to know how to encourage yourself. So today, I urge you to take a deep look at yourself. Who are you meant to be? What is your purpose? If you’re not pursuing it, why are you not? Turn your frustration into motivation, and see the strength that resides on the inside of you. There is so much more to each of us when we take a moment to look.

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The Frustration of Now

I haven’t written in a while, but I have to admit that since the last time I wrote there has been a level of frustration unlike any I have experienced before. It seems that frustration introduced itself into my workplace, my personal life, my church responsibilities, my familial relationships…everything! I found that in the midst of this situation, though I have some that I can call friends, and though I have leadership at my church who are well equipped to assist, I found that there was no one I could really talk to about the frustrations except God himself. I tried talking to my husband, but no matter how much he loves me, I could see that he did not really understand. I tried telling a friend, but they provided temporary relief. After theĀ conversation I was assaulted again with the frustrations that persisted in trying to choke out any remaining joy or strength I possessed. I realized that even surrounded by people there are some things that I am meant to go through alone so that no one else can get the credit for helping me to get through it. I had to confront the reason behind my increasing frustration, and once I did so, I found that my frustrations stemmed from things that ultimately are not under my control. I had been seeking control and trying to make things work out as I thought they should. As a result I felt as if my efforts were not producing the desired results. The frustration of this present moment is that it does not look like what I have seen it will be. In my haste to see things appear now as I have seen them in my future, I was becoming discontent and not living the here and now. Don’t get me wrong, some of my frustrations are valid especially as it relates to my workplace, but I cannot allow my frustrations to stop me from pursuing what I know is meant for me to have. What I had to realize is that today is a frustrating rollercoaster, but tomorrow could be the day that I actually come face-to-face with all that I have dreamed of. So, while it is frustrating in this moment, in the next breath I could be able to inhale a wave of relief. Do not get stuck in your now–in believing that because it has been like this for some time things will never change. You have too much vision in you…too much desire in you…too much fervor and determination in you…to allow the flame carrying your dreams to be extinguished due to the rain of today. If we just take a moment and look back we will see that we have been in a frustrating place before, but we have come through and grown past that moment. Just because this moment threatens you, just means that you have to stand up and face that which is trying to intimidate you. You are stronger than your fears and your frustrations. You have power over them. Frustration is a temporary situation, so don’t allow temporary frustrations to disqualify you from a lifetime of dreams.