Authority?

Human beings cringe when we hear the word law. We don’t embrace strict rules. Like Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, we much prefer guidelines or suggestions. Something designed into our very core causes us to automatically reject rules and those that would attempt to enforce those rules. You know what it is like, that feeling that rises up inside when the flashing lights of a police officer in your rearview mirror threaten to ruin your day. Sure, we were in a hurry and driving ten miles over the posted legal speed. But there are serious crimes being committed out there and this cop has nothing better to do than harass a law abiding citizen like yourself? We are all guilty of this thinking. Even those of us who attempt to show the officer respect and accept our ticket with some semblance of maturity drive away feeling as if we have been treated unfairly. Others of us will spend a huge portion of our day explaining why the ticket was unfair, (how the cop was actually in the wrong) and determining how to fight the citation in court. Reactions to a traffic stop can range from a speeding ticket to gun play and actual death. However (in most cases) the truth is, a law was broken; you broke it. There are consequences for breaking laws. You chose to drive ten miles an hour over the posted legal speed, you chose to not show up in court, you chose to rob a bank, you chose to drink and drive, you chose your actions; you were, therefore, saying that you were willing to accept the consequences of those actions.

One of my girls attended a college where certain movies were against the schools listed rules. She asked me on one occasion if I thought it would be ok for her to watch one such movie in the dorm with her roommates. I explained that her dad and I had no problem with that movie and we felt it was completely acceptable for her to watch with her friends. I also explained that her dad and I do not make the rules for the institution that she was attending. I wanted her to understand that, by breaking the rule, she would be saying that she was ready to accept the consequences of her actions regardless of the severity. She and her friends watched the movie. They were caught and had to go before the discipline committee. She called to let me know that she had been reprimanded and wanted to know if I was mad. I informed her I wasn’t mad. She did the crime, she did the time. She accepted the consequences of her actions.

In the climate of our current world there are those lining up against law enforcement. I am not implying that police officers are not capable of committing atrocious acts. They are and they have, just like the rest of us. The point of my writing is always the same. I want to inspire myself and others to look inward. If you find yourself against ALL law enforcement, I must suggest that your issue is not with “bad cops”. Your issue might be with authority. You might have a problem with someone having the right to tell you that you are wrong. You might kick against the thought that someone has the right to to hold you accountable for your actions. If this is you, then I suggest you do another litmus test.

Do you accept the authority of God? Whether or not you acknowledge Him, He is. He created you and everything you know, He made the rules. He decides the consequences. This is why some of you refuse to believe, and this is why some of you have walked away from a God you once loved. It is not because you are smarter than those of us who place our faith in Christ. You are gambling that the rest of us are wrong and that there is no one that will hold you accountable for your actions. That is a big gamble.

Allow me to get this part out of the way. I love God. When I say God, I am referring to the Creator of everything that is and everything that ever will be. I am referring to the Heavenly Father of my Savior, Jesus Christ; the God that sent His only begotten Son to die in my stead on a cross, so that I would not need to pay for my own sin debt. He was my sacrifice, restoring me to a relationship with our Father so that I would live in fellowship with Him for eternity. God designed this plan for all of us. Regardless of race, political affiliation, sexual preference, or your disregard for authority. The invitation is there for all who will simply acknowledge His authority and accept His free gift of salvation. In the movie, National Treasure, Detective Sadusky asks Ben what he wants out of the deal for returning the Declaration of Independance. Ben replies, ” I would really like to not go to jail”. The Detective says, “Somebody’s gotta go to jail, Ben.” The truth is, according to God’s word, somebody is going to pay the debt owed for your inability to live up to His Glory. Somebody is “going to jail” for breaking God’s laws. We can pay our own debt, or we can accept that Christ paid it for us and accept Him as the Savior He was sent to be.

Your refusal to accept the police officer’s authority will not keep him from ticketing you or taking you to jail. Your rejection of God’s authority does not alter His authority, anymore than your failure to accept the law of gravity will keep you from falling to your death if you jump off of the Empire State Building. In our analogy, when that police officer hands you your speeding ticket, Jesus steps up and pays it for you. God’s word does NOT teach that you must be living perfectly to believe or to walk with Him daily. It only requires that you humble yourself enough to know that you deserve “the ticket” (consequences ) of your actions and that you acknowledge Christ’s authority and the fact that He paid for those consequences for you.

I teach my yoga students that you cannot learn yoga without doing yoga. It does not matter how many books and articles you read or how many questions you ask. In the same way, you cannot understand what it is to walk with Christ until you accept Him. I encourage you to look inward and assess whether or not you have an authority issue. Determine why you are rejecting God’s authority in your life. Make a plan to correct any issues. Reach out to someone who is willing to talk and withhold judgement if you have questions.

Seek enlightenment always.

Namaste

 

 

Enlightenment

It amazes me how God can, and often does, choose to teach us His truths using whatever method or tool that we are open to at the present moment. In the three decades that I have been a Christian, God has guided me through His Word, His Spirit, and His people teaching and preaching his truths. Through books, magazines, music, strangers, friends and even in business meetings, I have gleaned life changing insights.  First and foremost this is because I choose to put my faith in the person of Jesus Christ and He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me. I believe that this promise is why He chooses to guide me using any and all methods. The most recent avenue of His guidance has been through the authentic teachings of yoga. I imagine He is utilizing this teaching avenue because He knows all too well that I have closed myself off from many of the traditional models that served me well for many years. I am no longer interested in following anyone who seems to lead with their ego. Men and women who make their decisions through the lens of their emotions, feelings, traditions and the past teachings of previous mentors, while blatantly disregarding God’s Word as the final authority. Leaders that leave their followers questioning if they have any worth when it comes to the ministry or christianity, or in life period, have, in my opinion, failed to recognize Christ’s teachings on leadership. Authority figures that act as if the position Christ has allowed them to fill grants them all power and all insight.  You can discern quickly if you have been asked to follow this type of person. This leader cannot answer the hard questions. In fact, they behave as if you have no right to question them in the first place. They will avoid the question. They will attempt to divert from the question. They will simply ignore the question. But, if all of this fails and you push for an answer they will rely on some version of the response “because I said so”, “because I’m the Pastor” or “because this is my church”.  In my 48 years on this planet, history has proven that when an authority (whether in the secular field or christian) gets to this place, their business or ministry is decaying rapidly. I am not judging these folk. Christ has said that He has sheep “that are not of this fold”, and I am content to leave it with Him. I am not willing to subject myself or loved ones to these people, after witnessing time and again the havoc that they wreak in the lives of the righteous and unrighteous alike.

I seek enlightenment. My Saviour has promised this very thing in His Word. He promises in Matthew 11 that if we come unto Him He will give us comfort. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Enlightenment. To ease the burden. To cease to carry the heaviness that this world has to offer. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Yet, many Christians are bent low under the weight of life. Worries, fears, and anxiety does not sound very enlightened to me. I am on a path to enlightenment, but not in a mystical way. Daily I am being taught how to reduce the burdens that I have been carrying. Moment by moment I am learning to be enlightened as Christ is enlightened and many of my lessons are coming through the teachings of authentic yoga.

I invite you on my journey to enlightenment. How great would it be to reduce some(if not all) of the burdens that you now carry? Authentic Yoga is like Christianity in that the principles work for anyone that will apply them. Regardless of your religious affiliation to this point. Regardless of your history. Regardless of how another human being has made you feel.

Today, start by repeating this mantra to yourself:

I HAVE WORTH! I CAN FIND BALANCE! I HAVE AMAZING THINGS TO OFFER OTHER PEOPLE AND THIS WORLD! I CAN BE LIGHTER, AND MORE BALANCED!

Next: Follow my blog below,  and join me on the path to enlightenment.

NAMASTE

 

Dents and Scratches

Oh my Darling, yes, it’s true…beautiful things have dents and scratches too!~author unknown

I have not lived a life unmarred by hurt and pain. I have not escaped the harsh words and unfair judgments of others. If truth be told, I was born into a family of meager existence. I was picked on and bullied through the first 6 years of my schooling (the most sensitive children usually are). I lost my best friend to a rare disease at the age of 10. My parents separated and eventually divorced when I was 11 landing me in an even more financially strapped position. At the age of 21 I buried my younger sister, Kim. Three short years later had me saying goodbye to my earthly father, my daddy and the only stability that I had encountered in my life. Around the same time, I met my very best friend, Jesus.  But guess what…My new found church family did not offer the security that I longed for or expected. For many years I have watched ego driven (albeit broken) people literally hurt and judge and bully the “least of these” in the name of Christ. Leaders who are more hell bent on making a name for themselves then they are in affecting the lives of others with the hope of the gospel or any other kind of hope for that matter. Christians who, if they have ever read God’s Word, certainly don’t feel the need to live according to the principles contained therein. I lost my mom at age 31 and effectively became an orphan.

I have always admired those creative people that will take a discarded piece of furniture or clothing and turn it into something amazing. There are those who have a gift of being able to see beneath the outer appearance of an item.  They see the potential that is just underneath. You know the ones. That friend who holds up some piece of junk that she found by the roadside and explains how it’s going to be something beautiful. You, like me are thinking….sure, if you say so. They find a dresser that is missing 4 of the 6 drawers and turn it into a gorgeous bench. Maybe the find is a bike frame with one wheel and the next time you see it, there is this amazing planter sitting on their front porch.

Everything that I have shared in this post has been the unadulterated truth as it relates to my upbringing and life thus far. However, I don’t see my life that way. At a very early age I learned to re-frame my existence. I learned to see the beauty behind the loss. I trained myself to refuse to focus on the ugly…to always search for the gold glittering somewhere in the dirt.

I am 47, and I have lived an amazing life! I was born into what would become a family of 6 in Feb. of 1969. Although finances were tight, I have memories of waiting up for Santa with my sisters and brother and  playing outside in the summer catching lightning bugs. I recall memory after memory of laughter and good times. My elementary school years taught me how to stand up for myself and to have a heart for the underdog. At age 10, my best friend went to be with Jesus, making heaven so much more real to my young mind. My middle school and high school years taught me that I could change my path. I wasn’t stuck; I had choices. At age 21 I lost my sister, which is the thing that set me on the path to meeting  Jesus. I have had the privilege of working with inner-city children in Chicago, living for 3 years in Ghana, West Africa and meeting many amazing people with amazing life stories. After losing both of my parents, I learned just how real the person of Jesus Christ can be. I, truly, have never been alone. I serve an amazing and real God, and I serve Him based on what our relationship dictates. I am free of the judgments and parameters established by institutions and groups. I spend my days loving my life and enjoying my friends and family. Every experience of my life has led me to my passion. I am a trash picker!

You see, Christ is a “trash picker” too. The ultimate “upcycler”!  He never met anyone that He didn’t help get cleaned up and help their true beauty to shine forth. He took the most broken, discarded, unloved people, and He “refurbished” them completely. This is how I choose to live my life as well.

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Can I tell you today that, no matter what has brought you to this place in your life…YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.  Can you take just a few moments (whether or not you agree with everything I have said here) to re-frame the hurts and losses. Realize just how amazing you are and embrace whatever changes you need in order to become the person you long to be. Begin the process of Refurbishing yourself!

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Say it with me…

You are beautiful. Yes it’s true…beautiful things have dents and scratches too!

Namaste

Empathy or Empath?

Empathy is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as: The feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions; the ability to share someone else’s feelings.

Empathy is a trait that most of us are familiar with, even one that we can, and should, try to cultivate as human beings.

Having empathy is seen in our Western Culture as a good thing.

Being an empath…well now, that’s a horse of a different color.

That being said, and at the risk of you placing me squarely in the “she is coo-coo for cocoa puffs” category: I AM AN EMPATH.

On some days that fact seems distant… even strange; yet, at other times, the depth of what this really means about my life, and the influences of that part of my spiritual make-up become all too clear.

For years I have struggled with why I can FEEL the pain of another.  I can relate to a stranger and where they are in life, making them feel as if we had known each other our whole lives. I can literally (and not always comfortably) feel the prevailing spirit in a large group of people. I cannot, under any circumstances, read newspapers or watch the daily news on T.V. Sudden violence to humans or animals angers me and can make me physically ill. No matter where I am people are completely comfortable to “dump” any and all of their life circumstances in my lap. I do not just hear music, I FEEL music. To be cruel to someone intentionally is something I am incapable of doing; to do it by accident brings a pain to myself that is as great as if I had been intentional. I am a friend to the death, and yet I find that trait seldom reciprocated. My “intuition” is spot on. I do not understand rejection or selfishness.  When I am wounded, those cuts are deep.  I live carefully, and slow processes/reactions way down in an effort to minimize my own pain. A truly narcissistic personality sends my emotions and spirit into fits as  I want to heal everyone and this personality type refuses to admit brokenness. If I am not tuned into myself I can and will take the emotions of others as my own. I just know when someone is lying. As a Respiratory Therapist I would literally take on the breathing traits of my patients. I will wade into a fight that I have no vested interest in simply because the underdog needs defending from the bully.

I wrestled with this self discovery for quite a bit.  It took an all knowing and all loving God to point out that we are all spiritual creatures, first. The gifts he chooses to give his creations are completely up to him. For many of my friends, who also claim to believe that the spirit is part of our makeup, this is a little to ” Star Trek” for them. ( I told you, I don’t like rejection:)

But I’m ok.   I’m ok with being who I am.  In truth, being an empath is a beautiful gift. I can feel the pain of another. Therefore, I am able to minister to them.  I can relate to the stranger and by making them feel as if they have known me forever I get to truly influence their lives. I can feel the prevailing spirit in a large group of people, which helps me to reach out to groups in need. People are comfortable to dump their burdens in my lap allowing me the honor of commiserating and offering assistance where I can. I get to feel music! My loyalty cultivates true and lasting relationships.  My intuition has helped me and helped others on many occasions. Because I slow processes down I have time to help myself and others navigate through many of life’s difficulties. Taking on the emotions of others as my own helps me to take responsibility for those around me. I know when someone is lying. Empaths are creative and loving, nurturers who get the joy of living to help others.

Discovering that I am an empath has helped me to to really know myself.  If any of the traits that I have listed here resonate with even one reader, then let me encourage you to start studying yourself.  Do the research, pray for guidance.  Discovering your true authentic self is the path to a whole life. As an empath I am all too aware that sharing the nuances of my life opens me up to the very rejection that I shun; yet, I am compelled to do so because I realize that my experiences can help someone else along their journey. To this empath, that is what life is about.

Namaste