The long way around

I learned in school that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. When I travel, that is the route I always like to take. I choose “shortest route” on the map app on my phone.

But, in life, God doesn’t always take me that way.

Oftentimes, He takes me the long way around. I suppose it should comfort me that I’m not the only one.

Exodus 13:17
It so happened that after Pharaoh released the people, God didn’t lead them by the road through the land of the Philistines, which was the shortest route, for God thought, “If the people encounter war, they’ll change their minds and go back to Egypt.”

So, if I understand that correctly, He knew them well enough to know that if they faced the opposition that was inevitable on the shortest route, they would bail. Instead, He took them the long way around. On the way, they developed character, they learned about His timely provision. They acquired the tools they would need for battle.

If I am comforted by the fact that I am not alone, it is short lived. I become disturbed once again when I realize that if I had been determined enough from the beginning to handle opposition with resolute determination to persist on the journey NO MATTER WHAT, I may have saved myself a lot of time.

Of course, this is just speculation and I know that God in His sovereignty may have still decided to take me the long way around, however, if He gives me a choice in the future, I choose the shortest route from now on.

I say, bring it on! I am ready to face the giants.  I am ready, knowing that He goes before me, paving the way, protecting me, and picking me up when I fall.

Long way or short way…I’m going the distance.  How about you?

closer than before, on my way, go the distance, face the giants

One BRAVE step at a time

impossible journey

How do you make a dream come true?

One brave step at a time!

So far in 2013, over at For the Girls International, we have built all of our events around this idea that we were created to be STRONG, BEAUTIFUL and BRAVE and we have been cheering women on to take brave steps all year.  I have taken a few myself by talking about my struggle with depression…you can read a little bit about that here, here, and here.

And even though I feel like I’ve definitely taken a few brave steps this year there is one more I have decided to take.

For the longest time I’ve had a secret dream. Well, not completely a secret. Some of those very close to me have known of it. I’ve dreamed of writing a book. I love books!

I love stories and characters and plots and themes. I love how you can learn, even from recreational reading, about places and people and life. I love how words strung together in just the right way can transport you to another world. And I love how people sharing their life experience can reach out beyond the paper pages and touch you right where you live, giving you strength and helpful tools for your journey. And I’ve dreamed of inspiring others as I have been inspired by so many wonderful books.

But here’s the problem:

There are SO many books already! When I stand in Books A MILLION I hear this little voice tell me that the world doesn’t need another book, at least not from me. Who am I to think that the world needs to hear what I have to say?

I expressed this nagging thought to my business coach. (I hired him to keep me focused – something I highly recommend if you have a fly by the seat of your pants kind of personality like me)

And he said to me, “The truth is…you’re right. The world doesn’t need a book from you. The whole world doesn’t need to hear what you have to say. But someone does.”

And that is precisely why I am taking this journey. It’s a little scary to put yourself out there because in order to bring real hope there must be transparency which can leave one feeling a little…well, naked.

But this hope that I have and hold so dearly, I want to share.

So, yesterday I started my journey to write The Six Impossible Things I Believe Before Breakfast – (tag line still to be determined). With one brave step I started.  I had actually written a little bit already but yesterday I bought a white board and post it notes and now I’m telling YOU so that makes it official!!!

What brave step have you been putting off? Start your journey today and let’s do this thing together!

I’ll be sharing bits of the journey here so follow along and please feel free to leave comments.  I love to hear what you have to say! first step

Resolve to BE FEARLESS!

I remember the first time I was asked to speak to a group about my experience with depression.

I said yes.  And then, almost immediately, I regretted it.

Fear began to creep in.  I was afraid of what people would think of me.  I wasn’t sure I wanted people to know about my weaknesses and frailties. I was afraid that they would think less of me.

At that time, besides my husband and my sisters only a few very close friends knew what I had been going through.  It’s not something you really want to talk about. The reason I had said yes to speaking was because during that depression I had felt God open my eyes to the suffering around me. I had a profound sense that I was not alone and that there were many others that didn’t speak of it but were in pain. I thought that if even one person was encouraged by my story then it would be worth it.  And I was right about that.

But it was still scary. A few weeks before the event  the women’s pastor was announcing the conference in a service and right out loud in front of 1000+ people she announced that Tracey Metzger had just been through several months of depression and would be speaking about it at the conference. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me.  Why had I said yes??

Putting yourself out there can be terrifying but if God is calling you to do something, whether it is making yourself vulnerable like that or just taking that first step towards your dream…if he is calling you he will equip you with the boldness and the courage you need. 

I made a resolution back then that if God was calling me to do something scary that I would resolve to be fearless and if I couldn’t be fearless then I would do it afraid!

I did speak at that conference. It was scary but not as as scary as I had imagined it would be.  I was humbled by how many people came to thank me for the glimmer of hope they had found in my story.

I love what Mordecai told Esther when she was afraid to step into the position that God had ordained for her:

“And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” 

By stepping into that place that God had prepared for her and prepared her for, Esther saved her people. Remember that you are part of God’s big picture and we all have a role.

What is God calling you to do that may be a little scary to you?

Make a resolution today to BE FEARLESS or at least to do it afraid!

Work for it.

Some people may choose to settle for less because they don’t want to work for more!

If it’s worth having it’s worth working for. 

I’m sure someone much smarter than me has said that before but when I searched for it as a quote I couldn’t find it so I’m claiming it!

In my quote search I found “If it’s worth having it’s worth fighting for” which is also true. But sometimes I think it’s easier to fight for something than to work for it.  Fighting for something, in my mind, evokes images of passion and fervent intention.  Sounds kind of exciting! Working for something, on the other hand, brings to my mind drudgery and laborious effort. Not so inviting.

Working just sounds hard. And sometimes it is.  But if it is worth having then it is worth working for. 

In 2 Thessalonians 3 Paul talks about this very thing.  He stresses the importance of not being lazy. God has called everyone of us to do great things in His name.  He wants to use us to bring solutions to the needs of this sometimes dark world.  That will require getting our hands dirty and working hard.  We must not become weary in well-doing. 

Never settle for less than God has for you because you don’t want to work for it.  We are promised that the payoff is worth every ounce of sweat.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time 
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 
Galatians 6:9 

Never Settle!

I’m on a roll here with this blogging thing.  Thanks for those who have been reading along.  If you are just joining in, I have committed to blogging each week on the resolutions that a bunch of us made at RESOLVE, our first Girls Night Out of the year for For the Girls International.  You can see all of the resolutions here.

This 3rd week I’ll be talking about resolution #3 which is:

I resolve to refuse to settle for anything less than everything that God has for me.  

If we really stop and think about that we have to ask the question…why would we settle?

Why would we be willing to settle for less than God has planned for us? That opens up a lot of possibilities as answers.  It could be that we are not patient enough to wait for it.  It could be that we are not willing to work for it.  It could be that we don’t have enough faith to believe it will come to pass.  We could be under the mistaken impression that we don’t deserve it. It could be that what God has for us is so big that we are fearful to embrace it, afraid that we could not cope with it or live up to it. It could be that we are allowing Satan to use a number of those reasons to rob us of what is rightly ours as children of God. 

Whatever the reasons, there are times in our life that we compromise and settle for less than the best.

God’s word clearly tells us that Jesus came that we may have life and have it to the full!! I love that!!  I want to live life to the full.  I do not want anything less than everything God has for me but that doesn’t mean that I don’t fall into the trap of settling at times.

So this week I want to dig a little deeper into what it means to NEVER SETTLE!  Are you ready?

Meditate today on this verse:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

Ask yourself this question:
What am I allowing in my life to steal, kill and destroy my plans, my hopes, my joy? What would it look like if I was living life to the full?

Check back each day this week! On your journey to your best life, I would love to have the privilege of cheering you on.  Our God is amazingly generous and can do exceedingly abundantly above and beyond anything you could think of or even hope for! So why would you settle for anything less?

Wannabe cheerleader

 When I was a teenager I wanted to be a cheerleader.  My father didn’t feel it would be right for me and forbid me to try out. I was so upset! I went crying to my mother about it and she told me to go ahead and try out without telling my dad, then if I made the team, we would deal with it when the time came.  (Yeah, she didn’t win any parent-of-the-year awards for that one!)

 The try-outs were held over the course of 2 weeks and during that time I did my best not to engage in a lot of conversation with my dad.  I was afraid that somehow I would expose myself if I talked too much.  So I avoided him as much as possible and made sure I figured out how to get to and from practices without involving him.

I was thrilled when I made it to the final try-out.  One more to go and I’d get to wear the cute outfit and hang out with the football players! On the day of the final round I had to call home to let my mom know that I’d be late.  I went to the pay phone – yes, the pay phone, put in my DIME (that’s how old I am!) and dialed my house.

To my horror, my DAD answered!!  That’s when things began to unravel. First, I asked if my mom was there but she wasn’t.  Uugh!  So, I told him that I needed to stay late.

And then he asked why.

I had to tell him.  I couldn’t lie. He was upset. I blamed my mom, of course. He told me to go to the last try-out and then we would talk.  So with red puffy eyes I went and gave probably the lamest effort they had ever seen and consequently did not make the team.

In the beginning of this week I talked about throwing off the things that slow us down so that we can run our race unencumbered.  The resolution to LIGHTEN UP was inspired by the commission in Hebrews 12:1, but there is a second part of that verse that we must not ignore.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

God has set guidelines for us. They are found in the Bible.  He instructs us in His ways for our protection.  He is not trying to suck the fun out of our lives.  When we are tempted to go around His instruction we are on dangerous ground. The farther we get from communication with Him, the easier it is to rationalize that what we are doing is ok.  We must not avoid talking to our heavenly Father.  If our communication with Him is broken it becomes harder and harder to hear His voice. Lines become blurred and before we know it, sin trips us up.  It’s that easy.

Thankfully, His grace is endless and sufficient.  No matter how far we are He is waiting with open arms, ready to pick us up and set us on our course again.  But wouldn’t it be great if we could avoid the detour altogether?!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Next week: Resolve Week 3 – REFUSE TO SETTLE

Lighten up ~ Choose to forgive

“When a deep injury is done us, we never recover until we forgive” Alan Paton

Unforgiveness is one of the heaviest pieces of baggage to drag around with you on your journey.  If we are going to run our race unencumbered we need to make sure that we are not harboring bitterness or anger toward someone that has wounded us. But how do you forgive someone that may not even be truly sorry?

When my daughter was a toddler and she would do something naughty like throw something at her brothers, I would do the motherly thing and march her over to apologize.  A forced apology is rarely sincere.  We still laugh today about how when forced to apologize she would give an icy stare, grit her teeth, barely open her mouth and say “Rorry” without any expression.  (that wasn’t a misspelling ~ that was how she said it)

The boys would be incensed saying, “Mom, she’s not really sorry!!”

She would go on her merry way having done her duty and they would remain all riled up about the injustice of it all.

My response to them would be, “Let it go.”

In this life you will be offended and you can count on being hurt by someone at some point. The decision you will have to make in favor of your mental and emotional health is to forgive them and let it go.  If you don’t it will slow down your forward motion.

But how? Here are some suggestions…

1. Prayer. Lots of it.  ~ Pray not only for strength to forgive but pray for that person’s well being.  This is hard to do but it will help you to see past their fault to their need. You may even begin to have compassion for that person.

2. Have a ceremony ~ Write down who and what you are choosing to forgive and then do something creative to symbolize letting it go.  Burn it (safely in a sink).  Write it on toilet paper and flush it down the toilet…whatever helps you to visualize officially letting it go.

3. Say it out loud ~ It helps to hear yourself say it.  Say it over and over again.  I choose to forgive _____.

4.  Remember that forgiveness is a choice and an act of obedience to God.  It is not a feeling.  You may not feel any different at first but you will over time. Be patient with yourself, forgiveness is often a process.  You know you are making progress when you can think of the person without the offense being the first thing that comes to mind. 

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (Col 3:13)

Break free!