Willingness to walk through the tough things in life is not easy but is essential for change. If we are not willing to go through whatever it takes to get to the other side of obstacles we are fighting a losing battle. It was something I struggled with when it came to certain obstacles in my journey to change. I was willing to give God only so much but the rest I would try to control to no avail. Every time I have tried to control anything it seemed to blow up in my face leaving me with more struggle.
When I became a Christian I was under the impression that all things in my life would just miraculously get better and I would skip through the tulips of life. I didn't understand what "faith without works is dead" actually meant. The belief that the good Lord above was going to come down, heal what ailed me, take all my pain and I would be happy was soon squashed. I didn't understand then that I had to do some footwork if I wanted to change my life. What I learned is it came down to a willingness to change and a choice to do whatever it took to accomplish my goals.
Walk ThroughThe early days of my journey I was still drinking and on my way to the package store. I would tell God that if He didn't want me to drink then stop me. Drop a tree or something if you have all this power. Well, the tree didn't fall and I would go get my supplies and I'd be off and running. I talk to God like He's my friend but I'm not such a jerk today. I was such a mess back then. There was no willingness to walk through the hard stuff so I kept doing the thing that caused me pain until it almost killed me.
My friend told me once, you know Kristina God can remove the desire but He's not going to remove all the package stores. Yes, this is where my part comes in. I have to be willing to make a choice to first, not test God, and second, choose to make the right decision and walk through to the other side.
Willingness to walk through is a huge obstacle for many people. Too often I hear people say they don't want to suffer through withdrawal or relive the past in order to get better and change. We get comfortable with things the way they are and comfortable with the pain and the fear wins. If the devil can keep us in our misery he will do it any way he can and fear is one of his greatest tools. The fear for me was if I stopped drinking I would start to remember and I didn't want to do that. I knew how to handle chaos and I was okay with that.
To The Other SideWhy is fear of change so hard? What will we do with all the time we have when we are not stressing about everything in life? How will I handle life without all the chaos? Won't it be boring? I'm laughing writing this because my life is so not boring. It still has its fill of chaos and stresses but I am sober and free from the things that haunted me. I came to a place where I had a willingness to walk through and live life on God's terms. I prayed my way through withdrawals and suffered for a time but I was willing. Walking through the tough stuff is not easy but because God is so good and walks with us it's doable. There are so many things in life I could never have gotten through on my own strength.
When we look at ourselves we don't give ourselves enough credit. We don't see what other people see in us. My suggestion is to start listening and believing in yourself. If you made it this far you survived all the past up to today. It's over and you never have to relive it again. Come to a place where your past is used to help someone struggling and needs an answer to getting through. If we walk through to the other side and we make it, we can now help others get there too.
WillingnessWhen I talk with people who are struggling the first thing I pray for is willingness. I surrendered my addiction to God and became willing to do whatever it took to get better and I got better. Life around me my first year was one of the most chaotic, eventful, and dramatic years of my life. I made it through by making the right choices and did the footwork to accomplish change in my life. It wasn't easy for me and I was tempted to throw in the towel many times, but I just kept believing there was another side and I wanted to be on it.
Are you willing to come to the other side and walk through whatever it takes to get there? I'm praying for people reading this that a willingness comes over you and you decide to walk through. It's a place where the world around us doesn't necessarily change but everything inside us does. We begin to see, think, react and live differently. A place where we can live on the other side of brokenness. A place where we see the need to grab someone's hand and pray for their willingness to walk through.
Lowering our expectations. Have you heard the saying, “expect less, get more” before? I'm sure you have and maybe brushed it off as I did for, well let's be real my whole life. I never could really understand the concept of it until a few years ago when I was doing some inner healing work with a woman. It doesn't pertain to everything. For example, if I’m going for a job interview I’m going expecting to get the job but I don’t crumble if it doesn’t happen. I believe I have to go with confidence into these types of situations but in everyday life, with people, it is a different story.
I hear so often from people the expectations they have of other people and the sad part is, we can have them but it doesn’t mean people are listening or going to adhere to them. What I have learned is to lower my expectations I have on people and the end result is less frustration and anger when I don’t get what I want. The truth is when we are selfish by nature and want things our way and when they are not we get mad. Then we say, “oh if they loved me or respected me’ blah, blah, blah.
One expectation I hear a lot about is demanding to be treated with respect. The problem with this is we can’t control other people or how they act or talk. I taught my children to treat people with respect, even if they didn’t respect them, and I stand by that and do my best at being an example to them. I can’t demand people act the same way. All I can do is kindly reply my request in a situation and hope for the best.
What Did I Expect?When a person is continually rude and disrespectful to me and I keep going back for more who’s fault is it? If you keep going back and nothing changes then stop going or stop complaining. Pick one and run with it. If I expect my husband to pick up his socks and he never does it why am I still expecting it? It’s pretty obvious he doesn’t care about where he leaves them and if it bothers me that much then I pick them up. I haven’t quite mastered the no grumbling while I do it but I’m getting better.
There are so many things we expect from people. We get angry when the expectation is not met and only we can change that. Our parents are expected to protect us and when they don’t we stay angry for years. We try to figure out what we did wrong. We expect people to be nice to us or pay attention to us. When they don’t we think they don’t love us. We expect people to tell us they're sorry when they hurt us. When they don’t we are unwilling to forgive them. We allow the expectations we set for people to define how we view ourselves.
If my parents didn’t protect me I must not have value, there must be something wrong with me. Or my husband isn’t nice to me I must not be lovable, nobody will ever love me. If my friend won’t apologize to me she must not like me, I must not be a good person. The unmet expectation becomes a lie, a stronghold, that we cling to as our identity and it is not the truth.
Recently I spoke with a woman, (I’ll call her Mary) and she was going to be seeing her dad after many years and was not sure how it was going to go. She was holding some feelings towards him from past hurts that had not been resolved. Through a course of events, she was taking care of a sister from her dad's new family. He was coming to visit and pick up this sister and Mary was a bit nervous.
I saw her a week or so later and asked if her dad had come and she said yes. It was going well and she stated, “it’s not what I expected”. What she perceived and expected turned out to be different from what happened. An expected uncomfortable meeting turned out to be the beginning of healing with Mary and her dad. The process of forgiving and moving forward started to take place. How many times do we avoid something because of false expectations of what's to come?
When we can learn to expect less from people we begin to get so much more. I’m really working hard at learning to see people as broken vessels. The way God sees us. When I look at my parents as people and not my parents I can see the brokenness in their lives. I look at my husband as a brother in Christ, and I can see that he may be just as messed up as me. When my friend won’t come to me I wonder what I might have done to hurt her and maybe I can reach out first.
Lowering my expectations is about swallowing my pride and letting go of the need to have it my way. It’s about being love, in an un-lovable situation. If we know who we are the actions and words of others can’t touch us. Is it easy all the time, no it is not? Especially when it comes from the ones closest to us. I’ve heard it said many times that people can only hurt us with words and actions if we believe what they are saying. There is so much truth to that statement. If someone tells me I’m stupid it only hurts if I believe I’m stupid. Expectations of others is a nice way of saying I selfishly want it to go my way.
People have a right to their opinions but it doesn’t make it the truth. It is only true if you believe their opinion. They are in control of their own mouths and behavior, not us. When I accept that I can’t control others my life gets easier. Lowering my expectations I can stay in my happy zone no matter what zone the other person is in, I like my happy place.
Please comment and share an experience you had with expectations and how you worked it out. I’d love to hear from you.
Stepping outside the box is a very scary concept for me. As with so many people staying in a zone of comfort and familiarity becomes commonplace. Stepping out of the comfort zone takes faith and trust and a bit of courage. I've gone to South Africa a couple times (2013, 2016) on missions trips and stayed at a place that had most of the comforts of home. I am now going to step out of my comfort zone in Mozambique at the Harvest School of Missions.
Both times in Africa I heard a lot about this missionary school that a lot of the people I know have gone through. It is through Iris Global (https://www.irisglobal.org/home/), and the testimonies were all amazing adding to my curiosity. After my second visit, I came home with a desire to attend Harvest School and began researching. I wasn't sure when or how I would get to the school but I wanted to know everything about it. I prayed and asked God to work it out if it was in His plan for me to go.
God began to work it out about mid-year of 2017. Feeling a strong desire I looked up the requirements for reading and supplies as well as any costs for this school. Again, I'm not sure how this is going to happen but I have a strong belief that I am to attend the summer session of 2018. I wrote out the reading list and begin reading the books in faith that I would attend the next summer session. As soon as the winter 2017 session ended I was able to apply for the 2018 session God told me I would be going to.
Applied, accepted, and now the fear and doubt sets in. What did I get myself into? Harvest School isn't like attending Harvard or even a community college. From what I'm learning it's about humility and going deep with God. It's about getting out of my own way and living within the culture and environment of where I am. Washing my clothes by hand like the folks that live in the community do. Eating the cuisine that is customary on their menu. Stepping out of my comfort zone and humbling myself before God and becoming love.
The fear has been replaced by excitement and I am looking forward to my out of box experience. I'm trusting God for the finances to attend. I actually set up a go fund me and deleted it because I felt funny doing it. Then I tried to set it up again twice and both times it deleted all the information as I was hitting publish. At that point, I heard God say "why aren't you trusting me?". Now I am just going to sit back and give God the glory in providing what is needed to attend Harvest School.
God has provided the airfare thus far and we are working on tuition and supplies. I'm always amazed by His faithfulness and I shouldn't be because He has always been faithful. Whenever I let go of control the miraculous happens. My trip is from May 28th - August 3rd and I am hoping to be able to an update blog once a week while I am there. I wanted to share this with my readers and hope you all come along on my journey.
Please pray for me on this trip and thank you for stopping by I'm LIving Free Being Me.