Archives for March 2015

Figuring Out Brokenness

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For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

 ~Psalms 51:16-17

I do not like the idea of brokenness, in fact, I try all day every day to be the opposite of broken–in my parenting, in my marriage, in my friendships, even in my walk with God.  Being broken means my messy parts in all of these areas are exposed, which means I might have to admit I have messy parts.  And I don’t like to do that.

The irony is that in my trying to be a “good Christian/mom/wife/friend” I am actually pushing God away.  Of course he wants me to strive after righteousness, but when I become prideful or self-sufficient in my pursuit of Godliness or the other roles in my life, I fall completely short of His delight in me.  Look at the scripture above.  He does not delight in my material sacrifice–pleasing him with good deeds, striving for perfection, or looking good in my life.  He actually delights in my brokenness and a contrite heart (realizing my need for atonement).  When I stop ignoring or hiding my messy parts–the fight I just had with my husband, the impatient way I snapped at my child, the gossip that slipped from my tongue, the bag of chocolate Hershey eggs that I just frantically consumed, I truly feel the pain of my brokenness.

And I experience the desperate need for a Savior.

It is the place where pride and brokenness meet that God can work His great grace and love in our lives.  There is not room for both, and a broken heart for God must push into that space with greater force.

Sometimes the reality of our sin is overwhelming and impossible to ignore.  We feel crushed and almost hopelessly distant from the love of a good God.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. ~Psalm 34:18

Yet, these God-breathed words can wash over us during this time.  He is so near in our complete weakness, because we have no pride to consume all the air we need him to breathe into us.

If we want to experience a deep relationship with God, where we feel his presence, his love and his mercy, then we can rejoice in our brokenness, for it draws Him near to us.  How wonderful to be messy.

 

 

 

The Harder Kids Work, The “Luckier” They Get

Are your kids hard workers?  Our culture stresses “Buy, buy, buy” and “me, me, me”  which fights with the messages we want to teach our children that hard work helps one succeed, and consumerism and selfishness does the opposite.

Here is a video by Dani Johnson, a motivational speaker and businesswoman, who shares from a Christian perspective–it’s an hour long, but with some great nuggets of wisdom, explaining how we can better equip our children to grow into successful adults through hard work.   Enjoy!

A Checklist For People Pleasing

 

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This morning I went to return an item at a store, and the woman behind the counter asked me to enter my email on the credit card scanner. This simple request always poses a dilemma for me because I don’t want them to have my email– but it makes me uncomfortable to say “no.”  Being the recovering people pleaser that I am, I mustered up the courage to politely say, “No thank you.” This felt awkward for me, because I just said these three words, instead of my normal, “I’m really sorry, but if you don’t mind I would rather not give out my email because I am trying to stop cluttering up my inbox…” yada yada, (yuck).  I then realized I was saying “no” to a fellow people pleaser because she went on and on about how it’s no problem but they need to ask for it to send coupons and for me to get a duplicate receipt in my email, yada yada.

I’ve about had it with the sorry’s and yada yada’s–especially from me.

There is a great book on the shelves right now, called “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkheurst.  We are working through it, chapter by chapter in our Monday night bible study.  I love it because I believe Lysa speaks to so many of us who struggle with saying a simple “no”, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, then finding ourselves weary and worn, and annoyed that we have spammy emails showing up in our inbox from retail stores.

PEOPLE PLEASING

This last week our discussion centered around people-pleasing.  In the workbook was a checklist of people-pleasing traits:

Here they are:

___   I’d rather say yes than have a confrontation

___   I don’t want people to think I’m selfish

___   I don’t want this person to be mad at me (or have ill feelings toward me).

___   If I say yes, this person will like me, accept me, approve of me, etc.

___   I want to be a nice person, and nice people don’t say no.

___  I’d rather overextend myself than disappoint someone whose opinion matters to me.

___  If I say yes, this person is more likely to be there for me in the future if I want or need something.

___  I want to be loving, and saying no does not seem loving.

p. 134 The Best Yes Workbook

How did you do? 

I checked every single one (except one).   I should probably start a People Pleasers Anonymous group.  All of these behaviors can be summed up in 4 prevalent traps of people pleasing, says Lysa:

1. THE FEAR OF REJECTION

2. THE FEAR OF DISAPPOINTING PEOPLE

3. THE NEED TO MANAGE PERCEPTIONS

4. THE NEED FOR APPROVAL

p. 134

Do any of those stand out to you?  Number three jumped out at the page and slapped me right across the face.  I constantly feel like I need to explain myself, give more detail than necessary, apologize, give the back story, etc to manage people’s perceptions.  Not to mention, how annoying is that for others? Sorry everyone.  So, I am working on the following mindset.

TRUSTING PEOPLE

Here is my new mantra:  I trust that people in my life know and love me, and if I mess up, they will see all of me and not just the messy part.  I will trust them to forgive me, to talk to me if there is an issue, and to still like me even if I am not perfect,  or need to be honest with them,  or say “no” to something they are asking.  I trust that people I don’t know will appreciate honest, respectful responses from me.

I believe that people-pleasing is born out of a lack of trust that others:

1.  Are capable to extend grace

2. Will handle and work through any temporary disappointment they may have in me

3.  Will respect the “no” or whatever else I am presenting them and still like me in the future

In short, when we people please, we do not give people in our life the credit they are due.  Here are some examples of where we don’t trust people:

~ You need to tell you boss that you need time off.  You are afraid they will be mad.  Trust that this is part of their job–managing employee absences, and they will handle it professionally.

~ You have to let a friend know that you bit off more than you could chew by volunteering to watch their children two mornings a week.  You worry you will disappoint them. You may disappoint her, but trust that she will work it out another way, and both of you will be happier in the end.

~ You plan a vacation after telling a few close people you are watching your pennies.  You feel you need to manage perceptions by explaining you travel on points, fly free, and go all-inclusive so it costs next to nothing every time you talk about your upcoming trip (totally guilty of this).  You don’t need to do this.  It’s no one’s business, and you need to trust that probably no one cares~in fact they are most likely happy for you!

GOOD ROLE MODELS

I have a couple of close friends in my life who are excellent at kindly setting boundaries, expressing their feelings, and not tripping over themselves to make everyone else around them happy. Guess what?  I RESPECT those friends immensely! For example, I just had a friend yesterday nicely but directly share that she was disappointed in the customer service she received from a company I work for.  While that is always a little disconcerting or uncomfortable to hear, I was so glad she shared that with me so I could explain and correct the situation.  If the situation were reversed, I would tend not to say anything for fear of hurting my friend’s feelings–how helpful is that to both parties?

My friend trusted ME enough to be honest.

I look to these friends as examples of how I can grow in this area of my life.

WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT PEOPLE PLEASING?

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  Galatians 1:10 NIV

Wow. That’s convicting.

In fact, if there is one thing that will cure me of people-pleasing it’s knowing that God is not pleased when I do this!  If He is to be my “audience of one” than pleasing Him releases me from winning approval of everyone else around me.

Friends, let’s let go of managing other’s reactions. Let’s be kind an respectful, but honest in our communication.  We cannot please everyone all the time, that is okay–we will all survive!

Instead, let’s focus all our energy on pleasing God, since His opinion of us is the only one that truly matters–and will always be full of love and grace.

There is so much more to be said on this topic, so I will write more later.  Now, I have to spend some time unsubscribing to emails I signed up for that I didn’t want in the first place.

Yada yada.

 

 

 

 

 

Meal Planning For The Busy Family

 

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I’d like to introduce a guest on the blog today–Liz Hayes.  Liz is my Mother-In-Law and friend.  She has many talents, like quilting and swinging a nine-iron, but where I have learned the most from Liz is in the kitchen.  Liz is who I call if I have a question about the best way to make gravy for a Thanksgiving meal, or if a food item can be frozen and still resemble its former self when thawed.  Which is why I do not hesitate to have her share some of her wisdom with all of us here on GracefullHome.  Here she teaches what she did for meal planning as a busy working mom of two:

 
My daughter-in-law, Amy, has graciously invited me to share some space in her blog.  I really enjoyed her recent blog dealing with chores and budgets.  I have been trying to figure out how the chore system might work with my husband.  I can probably guess what his “payment” might entail!
I do want to fully endorse using a budget system.  We embraced the cash envelope/allotment sheet budget 35+ years ago.  At that time we had credit cards with Sears, Penney’s, gas companies and Master Card – all with revolving balances.  We eventually paid them all off and have kept it that way.  Now we use Visa 99% of the time and pay it off every month – no exceptions!  We are retired and entered retirement with two fairly new cars paid for and no debt other than our mortgage.  We actually have a tighter budget in retirement, but we still travel and entertain quite a lot.  Things still happen that upset balances, liked having to replace the house A/C last summer, but the framework holds.

I know that many of you are in the midst of raising a family.  Some of you may also be working full time as well.  Life is hectic with all the different schedules and energy is often lacking.  Laundry, grocery shopping and meal planning and preparation never seems to end!  I understand, I was there once too, and you could have written the grocery list in the dust on just about any surface in my house.  I would like to share a stress reliever in meal planning I utilized at that time.  I still use it today when I am expecting houseguests.

1. Every other Sunday afternoon I would plan the meals for two weeks.  I would plan 10-12 meals since there would be the inevitable crazy night of grabbing fast food or a pizza.  A few of those meals might be assigned to a particular day but mostly they were free flowing and the list was posted on the side of the refrigerator so I could just wake up and pick a meal for dinner that evening.

2.  I would do the major shopping once every two weeks only returning to the store for milk, bread and produce.  This meant if the kids consumed all the granola bars the first week, I didn’t replace them until it was time to go shopping again.  Since I made my list on Sunday, I would typically grocery shop on Monday after work.

3,  In the morning, before I left for work, I would take a look at the list and then take the necessary ingredient(s) out of the freezer and leave them to thaw in the sink.   (I know – so unhealthy – but we all survived!)  An hour of planning twice a month took away the daily stress!

You know what meals your family likes and what you typically prepare and serve.  Start making a list and keeping it on your phone or computer.  Use categories like, meals, desserts, salads, appetizers etc.  When planning, look at the list and make choices or simply keep the same rotation.

Make everyone in the family share the responsibility for adding items to the shopping list.  When they use the end of something or run out of their shampoo, it is their responsibility to add it to the list.  I highly recommend the Apple app Grocery IQ, it can be synced to everyone’s phone and you can make separate lists for Costco, King Soopers, Home Depot etc.

Below is the list I used so many years ago.  I’m sure Jonathan and Jennifer will recognize many of these menus.

 

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In case you can’t read this, here are a few on the list:

Hawaiian Chicken, Hamburgers, Lasagna, Spaghetti, Meatloaf, Chicken Divan, Beef and Rice, Mac and Cheese

Ask your family what their favorites are and make your own list!

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