Tag: false self

5 Important Questions to Ask About Boundaries

“I often can’t get away from work til around 8:00.”

“I make work calls on my 45 minute commute to the office.”

“I’m a stay-at-home mom because I want to invest time in my kids while they are young, but I’m in so many important volunteer positions that I’m exhausted and pre-occupied with all I have to do even when I’m with my kids.”

“I’ve been up til midnight the past few nights trying to get my work load under control.”

“If I go out of town or take a break on the weekend, I’m swamped when I get back. It’s not worth it.”

These are all statements I’ve heard recently.

So many of my millennial friends are in seasons of high stress, high demand, and long work hours. The discipline of setting boundaries while trying to establish a career is tough, and scary.

I know there is no silver bullet, but this ties into my post from Monday on your “The Hardest ‘Yes’ of Your Day”.

What do you have the courage to say “no” to?

Before anything, maybe journal about what values are most important to you.

Family? Faith Community? Spiritual Growth? Balance? Volunteerism? Peace?

Is it possible to prioritize these values within the career you have? Do you have clear expectations and boundaries built into your job description?

“You get what you tolerate.” Henry Cloud

Here are a few questions to consider asking yourself as you are making decisions:

  1. If I say “yes” to this request, what will I need to say “no” to? What will I need to sacrifice? Who will I be cheating?

2. Does saying yes to this (deadline, project, staying late..) tap into an unhealthy sense of “need to be needed” or pride? (Ouch! I know this is an important one from experience!)

3.  Who might benefit from me sharing this opportunity or delegating this task?

4. Am I letting urgent things crowd out the important things in my life?


5. Who am I coaching or mentoring on a daily basis so that not everything will be dependent on me? 

Whether you’re a boss or not, there are some great strategies here:

The One Thing All Great Bosses Do Well

Remember, your true self will never change. You are beloved child of God with nothing to prove. Your false self is based on titles, paychecks, and awards that will come and go.

At the end of the day may we, like Jesus, be able to say:

 I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to. John 17:4

5 Choices When You’re Feeling Rejected

I read what’s on my computer and feel like I’ve been slapped in the face as I sit at a table in Starbucks. Tears leak out, running down my cheeks and I dash to grab some napkins, turning my face to the wall, hoping no one will notice.


I know I’m not alone. We’ve all had moments like this.

  • Someone who’s opinion you value, rejects you through words or actions.
  • You don’t get the job.
  • A friend doesn’t show up.
  • There’s a silent undercurrent of disapproval in a relationship.
  • The invite doesn’t come.
  • Someone you admire unfollows, unfriends, unsubscribes, un-whatevers

You wonder if you’ve been used and discarded, if you’re unself-aware, if you were stupid for thinking you had something to offer of value to the relationship, or the job, or the community, or anyone anywhere in the entire universe.

And you tell yourself it shouldn’t matter. Your true self is the one that is valued and cherished by God. No.Matter. What.

You tell yourself that the opinion of “that person” shouldn’t have power over you. But it does. Continue reading

2 Questions, 2 Truths

When you I write a blog post I rarely never have the time to find all the scrumptious words or present my offering with the “voila!” of someone serving a gourmet feast at Thanksgiving.

But this morning, more than most, I feel like I’m serving up “bare naked chicken” – just a couple of things I’ve been thinking about that seem to go together.

A few weeks ago I was listening to a sermon podcast by Craig Groeschel and honestly I can’t remember the point of the sermon because as an aside (not having to do with the message at all), he said his counselor had asked him two questions.

Those two questions are what my mind keeps returning to.  Here’s what they are: Continue reading

When God Calls You to Stop Doing Stuff and Let go of Your Balloons

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t sit still well.  I love a high goal and lots of action.  Lots of people and passion.  “Not somehow, but triumphantly!” is a refrain in our family.

But with some of the people closest to me, lately I find myself saying, “I think you need to be gentle with yourself.  Give yourself grace.  Stop. Rest.”  Easier advice to give than to take.

There’s a friend who experienced an adoption nightmare while trying to be faithful to God’s leading is left reeling, confused, wounded.

A friend battling pancreatic cancer, wondering “What can I do?”

And another who’s been through a season of conflict and unfair criticism at work.

We all go through different spiritual seasons.  Some where we’re growing, others where we’re re-orienting, but often the most neglected are those seasons of rest, when God says, “Sit awhile with Me.  The world will keep spinning without you.” Continue reading

Baggy Overalls, Hot Mamas, and Your True Self

Think of your most comfy, go-to-on-bad-days piece of clothing.

You know what I mean…the super soft snuggly sweatshirt with paint stains from when you were fixing up your first house.  Or the holey pair of jeans from 1998 that make you think of friends.  And watching Friends.

You like to call it “classic”.

For me that piece of clothing is a tad more embarrassing than classic.  A little more obviously out of style.  It’s a pair of baggy, khaki capri overalls that are just sooooo comfortable.  I usually reserve them for wearing at the lake, or on days when I’m not going to see anyone (or at least anyone I know).



But a few Wednesdays ago was a bit of a bad day.  I did a six mile run which started off with a bite in the butt by a dog who chased me (I know!  How embarrassing is that?!), and ended with me positive I was going to die and will never be able to finish this race or get water to thirsty kids in Zambia.  Total fail.

So I took a shower and put on my baggy Khaki overall capris.  The only other thing I had the rest of the day where I would see people I knew was a missions meeting at the home of my friends, Mike and Megan.  I debated changing, but I thought, “No, it’s safe.  Although they always look totally hip and cool and pulled together even in their exercise clothes, I think they’re ok with my come-as-I-am self. Not my fancy-pants, polished, achieving clean water with a half-marathon, trying-to-be-good-self. Continue reading

A Birthday, a Wedding, and Who You Really Are

May 18th my mom turned 80.  May 26th our daughter Maggie got married.

Two milestones for two amazing women within eight days.


You would never know my mom is 80.  It’s a little demoralizing when we’re out together and people think we’re friends instead of mother and daughter.  She classy and spunky and fun and fashionable.  In short, she is remarkable.  And she has a remarkable relationship with both our daughters.

She just finished making 407 cake pops for Maggie’s wedding, ordering flowers,  overseeing a team creating 60 flower arrangements, and creating centerpieces.

That, and Maggie’s been known to borrow her shoes.  Yeah, she’s got game.

But the two things that are most inspiring about her are that she’s always available and she loves me unconditionally.  I know, I know, she’s my mom, and it’s part of her job, but wow, she does it better than anyone I know.

We were disciplined as kids, but I don’t ever remember her criticizing us. Her trust in us and her belief that we would choose well was powerful.

She always believes the best.  I don’t mean she is blind to our faults.  But if I was convicted of bank robbery I’m sure she’d visit me every day with her famous brownies.

She wouldn’t talk about how wrong I was to rob the bank.  Instead she’d talk about how great I looked in my orange jump suit, and how she was sure I would be the friendliest person in the clink.  She would be confident that I’d be the next Chuck Colson, turning it all around for good.

You would think with all this good lovin’ I’d be super secure in my identity as a beloved child of God – the truest thing about me and you.  The one thing that can never change.  In spite of this, a million people and circumstances every day try to tell me and you differently.

Continue reading

THE Question, Part 1

Our daughter, Maggie, and her boyfriend, Austin, have been visiting for this hot 4th of July week.  Woohoo!  It’s been wonderful time of bikes and boats and barbecues.

For Austin, who’s never been in Minnesota before that’s meant one-thousand-four-hundred-and-ninety-eight “first” conversations getting to know new people.  Fortunately he’s patient and gracious and delightful.

But those “good-to-meet-ya” conversations aren’t easy for all of us.  Because of  THE question.

You know how it goes…You meet someone new and practically before you can say your name is Rumplestiltskin, the next question is, “So, what do you do?”

Rephrased: Just how important are you?

Continue reading

Chariots or “Likes”?

A friend of mine has 52,216 followers on Twitter.  Another has 36,333.

Last time I looked, I had 42 :).

That doesn’t bother me, but this on another friend’s blog…

Hmmm… Deep breath.

There are days when I’m humming along, feeling pretty good, and then, even accidentally sometimes, I’ll see a number, and I turn small and envious, and discontent.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but am I the only one?  Which numbers affect your sense of well-being?    Number of dates you’ve had in the last year?  The number on your scale?  Number of days since your kids called?  Number of sales? Number of friends on Facebook?

So Monday I read, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”  Ps. 20:7

I don’t know about you, but there aren’t many horses or chariots in my neighborhood, so it is not a temptation for me to trust that Charlton Heston is going to come careening down my street, whip in hand, vanquishing all my foes, cleaning up all my insecurities.

But there IS the temptation to trust in other things.

I’m wondering…if this verse were written today (no, I’m not changing scripture, just wondering) might it read:

“Some trust in ‘followers’,  ‘likes’, ‘hits’, ‘friends’ and full email boxes, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

But here’s a hard question.  What does that look like?  Trusting in God?  And not being derailed by either praise or the lack of it?

How do I resist having praise go straight to my head and criticism straight to my heart?

A couple of years ago I learned about a “Welcoming Prayer”, originated by Mary Mrozowski, that I have adapted and personalized for my own use most mornings.  Maybe part of trusting God is reminding ourselves and preparing for the battle we face each day.

Here’s my version of the Welcoming Prayer, prayed with hands open upwards:

Holy Spirit,  Welcome.

I let go of my need for affirmation and approval…

I let go of my need for recognition from…(This is the most important part for me. I insert here, specific people or places I’m tempted to look to for approval)

Holy Spirit, Welcome.

I let go of my need for power and control…

I let go of my need to change…(I insert here, specific people or situations I’m tempted to try to control)

Holy Spirit, Welcome.

Find rest my soul, in God alone.
For my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
He is my fortress; I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Psalm 62:5-7

Lord, help me to be a follower instead of seeking followers.  You are enough.

Which derails you most often? Praise or the lack of it?

How to Be Where You Are

I love this photo I saw recently of a basket at the door to someone’s home.

But beyond that, what about the Obama White House, where cabinet members needed to tag and leave their phones before entering a meeting?

Be where you are.

I love these examples because they model what we all desire.  For people to be truly present and attentive.

But it’s also convicting, because I’m an ADD, multi-tasking friend and wife who isn’t always “present” to others.

Have you ever been talking to someone on the phone and can hear them typing on their computer while they talk to you?  Or people having coffee with you, texting (even under the table!) at the same time they’re talking to you?  Or you’re in a meeting and someone is surreptitiously checking FB?

Does it make you wonder if you’re that boring?  Or if they’re that important?

I keep thinking of Luke 10 where it says “Martha was distracted“, but “Mary chose what was better.”  Being present to Jesus.  Is technology distracting me from my relationship with Jesus, others, and even myself?

Just this morning as I was reading scripture, and praying, I stopped to text someone I thought of.  Could it have waited?  Absolutely.  I wonder…when we’re not fully present are we really saying to the other (in this case, Jesus)…

  • Someone or something else is more important than you.
  • I am more important than you.
  • Posting, tweeting, texting, being in demand defines my value.

Here’s something that really impacted me this week.  I’m not an “important” person (yeah, yeah, I know I’m important to God, but I mean in a worldly sense).  I’m not famous, but somehow I’ve been privileged to spend time with many people who are.  Leaders who are having a huge impact in the world.  They are smart, articulate, anointed, sought after, and extremely busy.

This past week I was with one of the most gifted, influential teachers of our day, and the thing that struck me the most powerfully was that I never once saw him check his iphone while he was with us.

He wasn’t receiving texts during dinner.

He didn’t interrupt conversations to answer a call.

His eyes didn’t stray around, searching for more “important” people other than who he was talking to.

And he didn’t hurry through the room.  He was truly present to the people he was with.

That in itself is a big deal.  But the question I thought of beyond that was, what does this say about his ability to be present to Jesus?  To not allow the demands, interruptions, requests, distract him from the discipline of being truly with Jesus?  I wonder if these two things are related.

How might the practice of being present to Jesus affect our ability to be present to each other?  And vice versa.  Does practicing being present in one relationship carry over into another?

How can we “Hang up and arrive.” as Jon Acuff says?

Are there times we leave our phone at home?  Days we turn it off?

How much does technology affect your ability to be present to Jesus and others?

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