wisdom

how to handle bad news

 Seems like you can always find bad news & sometimes, it seems like bad news is determined to you.  Whether you look on a nat’l or int’l scale or down to our individual lives, there can always be bad news.  But the real issue isn’t always what the bad news is, but maybe moreso how we handle bad news.

When I was growing up, my dad could have a major melt down with a small piece of bad news, but if there was a MAJOR piece of bad news, he was a rock – stable, solid & steady.  So here are some ideas & thoughts on handling bad news:

  • pause & take a deep breath – take some moments to assess the bad news & evaluate it with some perspective:  is this momentary bad news? does this have a permanent effect? in light of the big picture & eternity what does this news mean?  what is my responsibility in this news?
  • don’t let your mouth loose without some “paused” reflection – this helps us to avoid the foot in mouth syndrome
  • find a safe place to let your hair down / vent – in your car, with some exercise, taking a walk, riding a bike, etc
  • pray – when you vent, don’t leave God out of the picture.  If you’re mad at Him, don’t shut Him out.  The main person this hurts is you.
  • be mindful of any destructive escapes or habits you might turn to – these would include:  addictions, co-dependencies, food (dysfunctional behaviors), entertainment escapes (sports, movies, gaming, etc) & others
  • if you’ve received some MAJOR bad news, try not to make any MAJOR life decisions in crisis times
  • consider what Paul said in Rom 8:28-29, all things work together for good to those who love God & are called according to His purposes – our main responsibility is to stay in love with God & in His purpose for our life.  From there, He will work it all out
Always remember that God is in the business of converting bad news to good news – hence the term “redemption” 🙂
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Posted by Sarah in Holy Spirit, living, prayer, spiritual, 1 comment

tips to help with forgiveness

 I’m a big fan of being proficient with forgiveness – after all, we get to practice almost everyday! ,)

There are LOADS of benefits that go with maintaining a lifestyle of forgiveness, but the point for this blog is to refresh a few tips & to give you an opportunity to share some effective tips you’ve learned as well.  So here’s a quickie sarah forgiveness primer:

  • be ready to forgive more than you’re ready to take an offense – sometimes it helps to have a forgiveness mindset
  • fast forgiving is easier than elongated forgiving:  anytime I’ve nursed a hurt, the forgiving process gets quagmired & almost moribund before I know it :/
  • some people require more forgiveness than others;  some of us are proned to the foot-in-mouth syndrome so please don’t make us squirm as we try to get better
  • forgiveness is about personal liberty: for those of us who are Americans, its hard for me to understand why we are so adamant about our external freedom, but we can be virtually oblivious to our internal incarceration
  • I want to be super generous with forgiveness because Lord knows He gives me more than I can comprehend;  people who are stingy with forgiveness are usually mean & lonely 🙁
What are some more suggestions?
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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, living, Lord's Prayer, spiritual, 0 comments

growing pains

We often associate growing pains with childhood – when our joints were sore as kids or teenagers for some unknown reason.  We might have been growing too fast for our bodies to adjust without some aches & pains.  I think this is also true as an adult but in different ways.

Let me give you a few examples:

  • being less selfish is often a painful decision, but it is one that frequently reflects a level of growth & maturity as an adult
  • being more selective about when & how we communicate shows that we are making progress from “blurting out” whatever could be flying through our mind; this is a noble goal, but it can require painful discipline to shut our mouth when we have something really “zingy” to say
  • doing what’s helpful, constructive or even sacrificial when we don’t want to;  I surrender “getting my way” for something I consider to be more important – for me this relates to letting Jesus use my life as a platform to express His will (hopefully, with minimal distortion)
  • getting good at something I’m not good at;  there are lots of schools of thought on this idea:  stay in your sweet spot, do what you’re good at, maximize your talents & minimize your liabilities, etc.  But in my life so far, I find that I don’t get the luxury to do only what I’m good at – I’m required to LOTS of different things, many of which I’m not good at.  So here’s my choice: do the things I’m bad at with ongoing sloppiness, using the excuse that I’m just not designed that way  OR do the things I’m bad at with the intent that I’m going to try to get better at them each time I have to do these things.

Maturity requires growth & growing can be painful.  But I’d hate to become increasingly older & remain as immature as I am now 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling, 0 comments

predicting success

So I know alot of people do this already & it’s not unusual for me to be slow to figure things out, but I’ve been reading 1 chapter of Proverbs each day for the last few months & it’s been a very interesting experience.  The main take away, so far, is that I really appreciate the practical wisdom it presents in such short & pithy  insights – not too wordy 🙂
Here are a few more lessons I want to digest & integrate into my daily life:

  • routine:  what we do consistently on a daily basis can show not only our priorities, but also what we will be good at in 5, 10, 20 years, etc.  Habits predict the future
  • persistence:  quitting & failing are often as complementary as peanut butter & jelly or salt & pepper
  • wisdom:  there’s a difference between information & wisdom;  the pursuit of wisdom yields higher returns than the pursuit of information
What are some insights you’ve discovered from Proverbs?
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Posted by sarahbowling in Holy Spirit, living, spiritual, 0 comments

scones & wisdom for breakfast ,)

 My ultra cool husband made scones for breakfast today & he makes a fantastic scone!  While we were eating, my kids & I had an interesting discussion about friendships with the importance of their various influences.  In my morning Bible time, I read Prov 13:20, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Here’s a quick synopsis of our conversation, chose your friends wisely because they will have either a harmful or wise influence in your life – affecting your choices, preferences and values.  A companion of fools will suffer harm, but the person who walks with others who are wise, will himself be wise.  Let’s be sure to chose wisely who we allow to be close to us, with whom we share our heart & allow ourselves to be vulnerable 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in cooking, enemies to intimacy, family, Holy Spirit, living, spiritual, 0 comments

dealing with frustration

 I think our lives go through different seasons & timings.  Some of these seasons are easier than others.  But presently, I seem to find myself in a bit of a frustrating season.  It seems like wherever I look, there’s something messed up, missing or not going smoothly.  I’ve got some kid challenges – dentist adventures, back to school prep, behavior coaching, etc.  I’ve got some work challenges – some changes with how we do our work, some people changes, moving adjustments, etc.  Reece is presently leading a missions trip in Haiti, which is TOTALLY EXCELLENT for him, but adds some pressure on me.  I could continue with my list, but I think you get the gist & you probably don’t want any help to think about your own frustrations.

So here are some helpful thoughts:

  • some frustrations are temporary – when there’s a foreseeable end, it helps to remember that there will be a conclusion
  • deal with one thing at a time – when we pile frustration upon frustration they can get overwhelming;  looking at them one at a time makes them more manageable
  • lessons:  it’s important to ask yourself what ways God might be challenging you to grow in (stop procrastinating, self-discipline, time management, etc)
  • exercise:  there’s alot of merit to getting into some exercise routines to help release stress through physical exercise 🙂
  • escaping isn’t always the answer – sometimes there’s no better solution than to look a frustration in the eyes & deal with it head on;
  • prayer – this is probably my best tool to deal with frustration:  lifting up to God what’s happening or what I’m frustrated about & then listening & watching for His answers & help
May God help us to not be overwhelmed with our frustrations but to keep our confidence in His abilities, love & wisdom 🙂
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Posted by sarahbowling in family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, spiritual, 1 comment

some thoughts on friendship

When I was growing up, my mom gave me some really good thoughts on friendships.  She would always encourage me to have lots of different friends & to not just have one, key friend.  I can still hear her tell me not to “put all of my eggs in one basket.”  This advice has really helped me over the years to be open to having lots of different kinds of friends – some young, some smart, some kind, some silly, some reflective, some old, some cheeky, . . . .   The diversity makes for some fantastic conversations, insights & interactions!

My mom also encouraged me that friendships go through seasons.  Furthermore, I picked up from Joyce Meyers that God puts friendships in our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime.  The reason, season & lifetime ideas have really helped me to keep a healthy perspective on the various relationships that God brings into & removes from my life.  Some friendships God brings for a reason – to help us grow, change, etc.  Some friendships come into our life for a season – they have a limited duration & for whatever reason, they seem to dissapate after a time.  Finally, there are a few friendships that last for a lifetime.  I think that the lifetime friendships are few & far between, but I highly treasure these relationships.  Recently, I had one of these friends pop through Denver for a few days & I’m musing today on God’s love to me, expressed through this wonderful friendship.  I’m keenly aware that my friend is ultimately a conduit through whom God expresses His love to me and how great is the Father’s love for us!!

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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, family, Holy Spirit, living, spiritual, 0 comments

receiving with gratitude

All of us like to receive gifts that we want.  For example, recently, my husband bought me a kindle & for me its the perfect gift because I really like to read & when I travel, my books can get excessively heavy.  He bought me the kindle just out of the blue & I’m SUPER happy because its fantastic!  Sometimes, however, we get some gifts that aren’t so whippy, or even gifts that we don’t want.

I find that this is true with God as well.  We are particularly happy with God when He gives us what we want, but when He gives us something that we don’t necessary want, we can be ungrateful.  We often tend to overlook the gifts that He gives us that we don’t want, but He knows that we need.  God gives us what we need, when we need it & I’m becoming increasingly convinced of this truth.  He gives us time, wisdom, energy, resources, favor, etc.  We may ask for  money and He may possibly give us wisdom on how to lower our expenses.  We may ask for a certain achievement or promotion and He may give us an inner contentment that we are beloved in His sight.  We may ask for friendship and He may possibly give us the opportunity to be a friend to a needy person & experience His love to us as He loves through us.  We may ask for more time and He may give us a way to more efficiently use the time that we have.  We may ask for many things, but let’s be certain to give God ample space to answer our requests in His perfect wisdom 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, spiritual, 1 comment

daily bread

Ever find yourself asking God for more time, or more money, or more energy, or more wisdom, or more abilities, . . . . . ?  At some point in all of our lives, I think we’ve all asked God for at least one of these things. 

In my Lord’s Prayer experiment, I’ve found these kinds of requests interesting in light of Jesus’ instructions to ask our Father for “daily bread” – sustenance, essentials necessary for this day, etc.  Here’s some of my thinking:  if Jesus teaches us to make this request in praying to our Father, then because of God’s character of goodness & provider, He supplies our needs.  To me, this means that He gives us what we need for each day, when we bring this request to Him. 

As such, I’ve concluded that my heavenly Father does give me what I need for each day:  enough time, enough provision, enough money, enough patience, enough talent . . . . In Ps 84:11 it says,”For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing  will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.  NKJV

So given this understanding, when I ask our heavenly Father to give me my daily bread, I can trust Him to give me exactly what I need for this day. 

Do you ever have trouble trusting our heavenly Father to provide what you need?  What helps you trust Him?

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Posted by sarahbowling in Lord's Prayer, 1 comment

how to look smart

here are some thoughts:

  • wear glasses
  • carry a book (avoid comics)
  • keep a pen behind your ear
  • let your hair get messy (a mediocre suggestions bc it can backfire & make you look silly)
  • ask questions
  • listen alot

Looking smart is different from being wise.  Lots of people can look the part, but actually being a wise person requires more than just looking the part.  Proverbs has lots to say about how to be wise, starting w the fear of the Lord.  It also says that even a fool looks smart when they keep their mouth shut.  I’ve heard that role around in my head on more than 1 occassion, that’s for sure!  Anyways, just some encouragement here: why not think about reading 1 Proverb each day for the next month & then consider if your wisdom quotient has improved.  It probably will  😉

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Posted by sarahbowling in living, spiritual, 2 comments