Midday Connection

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Archive for the tag “courage”

Midday blog: Sorry

The other day I watched this video and while I cheered, I also got a little teary-eyed.  I believe that most women can tend to apologize too much for things that aren’t their fault!  I left the house feeling confident and we went to a party.  As I entered the room that was loud with laughter and conversation, I immediately felt my introverted, shy self feel less confident.  I heard someone mention a cheese tray, which gave me something to look for and do, so I wound my way through the crowd, seeking cheese and crackers.  As I navigated the crowd, a man suddenly stepped back and waved his arms as he told a story and he ran right into me.  Immediately, I said, “Oh! Sorry!”  He said, “That’s okay.” and he went back to his story.  Sigh.  I was so disappointed with myself!  Why did I apologize when I’d done nothing wrong?  How did I so quickly step back into being a “Christian Nice Girl”, saying “sorry”?

This issue of being quick to apologize is bigger than “who’s right/who’s wrong” – it’s an indication of something deeper going on.  Why do I so naturally fall back in to apologizing for taking up space?  For most of my life, I’ve struggled with feeling like I don’t have the right to take up space.  I would often dismiss my own voice, feeling insignificant and unworthy of being listened to.  God has been healing me in this area over the past few years.  I want to live confidently and fully into how God created me, living as God’s good woman.

For one week, try to notice how often you and women around you say, “I’m sorry”.  Reflect on what you noticed and ask God if He might be speaking to you about that.

Lori NeffLori Neff is the senior producer of Midday Connection and editor/contributor for Daily Seeds: From Women Who Walk in Faith and Tending the Soul (Moody Publishers). She grew up in a small town in Ohio, spending more time outside in nature than inside. Lori is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute. Her interests include art, humanitarian aid efforts, cooking, gardening, coffee, thinking, learning and spending time with her husband, John (and their three fiesty cats). For more information and her blog please visit Lori’s website.

Midday blog: Authentic Friendships, Part 2

Last month when I blogged, I focused on Authentic Friendships. You can read it here. This is part 2 of that important conversation.

Many of us have experienced betrayal in relationships. Some have even been abused or struggled with codependency issues. These things all color how we seek to develop and maintain close relationships, or whether we seek to develop them at all. When I was in Jr. High, I had a close friend betray me. After that deeply wounding event, I guarded my heart and wouldn’t let others in, especially other women. The year after I graduated college I had two women call me on it. I was traveling for a year with a singing group and there were only 3 men and 3 women in the group. The other two women confronted me and said, “If you won’t open up to us, first of all it’s going to be a long year, and secondly we don’t think God will work as deeply through us as he could.” I knew they were right. God used their loving confrontation to break me and begin opening my heart up to them, to Him, and others. I realized I was making them pay for something that happened in my past. In reality, I had been living with an open wound that had gotten infected and couldn’t heal.

I said in part 1 of Authentic Friendships that going deeper takes risk. It is much less risky if you know how important it is to link up with safe people. Henry Cloud and John Townsend are well known for their book Boundaries, which I highly recommend. Before they wrote that, they penned a book that greatly helped me called Safe People. They emphasize how crucial it is to be in relationships with safe people. It will help eliminate some drama in your life.

Here are the 3 characteristics of safe people:
1. A safe person will always lead you closer to Christ.
2. A safe person will always lead you closer to others. They will not isolate you and keep you to themselves.
3. A safe person will always draw you closer to your authentic self. They will see the gem you really are and help you move toward becoming all God created you to be as they encourage the development of the gifts they see in you.

There is one more crucial piece to the ‘safe people’ puzzle. I’ve shared this important equation with people for years and still had people come to me and say I make sure people in my life have these 3 characteristics and I still can’t maintain friendships. I started to notice something in common with those who had this experience and I realized something important. We have to run ourselves through the safe people grid. If we don’t possess the safe people characteristics, we cannot hope to find and retain quality friends with whom we can be authentic.

How’s your people picker? Has it been broken in the past? Do you think the Safe People characteristics can help?

Anita LustreaAnita Lustrea is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and has worked for Moody Radio since 1984. She is a sought-after conference and retreat speaker and loves to connect with Midday Connection listeners face-to-face. Anita lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Mike, and her son, John. To learn more about Anita, her speaking schedule and her blog, please visit her website.

Midday blog: Poem reflection

maryAs we reflect on this holiday season, read this poem by Nicola Slee called “Fiat”. This poem is in the voice of Mary, mother of Jesus:

Fiat

I uttered myself
I claimed my voice
I was not afraid to question
I held my ground
I made my yes
looking straight into the angel’s eyes
(any slave girl could have been beaten or raped for less)
There was no mastery here
Nothing was taken from me
Everything was given
Here I am:
See me
Listen
As you read this poem, reflect:
How do you feel as you read this poem?
What most stood out in the poem?
Why do you suppose this poem is called “Fiat”?
Are you being shown a different perspective? If so, how do you respond to it?
Can you relate to this poem, personally?

Midday blog: Poem reflection

On September 23, 2013, Janet Davis read a poem by Nicola Slee called “Fiat”. This poem is in the voice of Mary, mother of Jesus:
Fiat

I uttered myself
I claimed my voice
I was not afraid to question
I held my ground
I made my yes
looking straight into the angel’s eyes
(any slave girl could have been beaten or raped for less)
There was no mastery here
Nothing was taken from me
Everything was given
Here I am:
See me
Listen
As you read this poem, reflect:
How do you feel as you read this poem?
What most stood out in the poem?
Why do you suppose this poem is called “Fiat”?
Are you being shown a different perspective? If so, how do you respond to it?
Can you relate to this poem, personally?

Guest blog: Healthy Relationship Indicators

On the July 4, 2012 Midday Connection rebroadcast a program with Jennifer Degler as a part of the No More Christian Nice Girl Series. We talked about the differences between healthy and abusive relationships.

As you look through these lists, think about how you relate to others and how others interact with you.  Are you a safe person for others?  Are there unsafe people in your life?  How can you create healthy boundaries with them?


Healthy Relationship

– Needs are met and respected

– Speaking truth is encouraged

– Okay to exert your will

– Bringing up problems leads to resolution

– Share thoughts because they are listened to

– Okay to maintain healthy boundaries

– Experessed feelings are validated

– Your pain is comforted

 

Abusive Relationship

– Needs are unmet and shamed

– Speaking truth is punished

– Can be deadly to exert your will

– Bringing up problems leads to bigger problems

– Hide thoughts because they are ridiculed

– Give in quickly because boundaries are violated

– Numb your feelings because they will be disregarded

– Deny your pain because it will be ignored or belittled

 

(used by permission. Written by Jennifer Degler and Paul Coughlin, from No More Christian Nice Girl http://www.jenniferdegler.com)

Listener blog: Just Say “Thank You”

I’m going out on a limb here. This won’t sit well with some of you, but it needs to be said.

Sometimes we need to respond to others with a simple “thank you.”

I have cringed so many times when trying to encourage someone. Perhaps they sang a song. They recited a poem. Whatever.  I’d approach them and try handing them my gift. A compliment wrapped in beautiful paper with a shiny bow.

I just wanted to bless them with my gift, like they blessed me with theirs. But instead, they refused my gift.  No, they weren’t obvious, putting their hands up in protest. They just quietly handed it back, stating four words I’ve heard over and over: “It was the Lord.”

Now before you pick up proverbial stones to throw at me, hear me out.  I am NOT opposed to giving God glory. It is one of my favorite things to do. I know that without him we can do nothing. God tells us that in John 15:5.  Everything we are is from him. Every good gift is from above. James 1:17.  It’s just that sometimes people stand behind their insecurities thinking they are wearing humility.

A Bible teacher once told me, “Humility isn’t crouching down, trying to look humble. It’s standing to your fullest height next to someone mighty.”  God does give us gifts. But we still decide whether to display those gifts, or hide them.

Let me challenge you. Next time someone approaches you after you perform in any way. And they tell you how it blessed them. Smile and just say, “Thank you.”

Just take the gift.

pic of Anne PetersonAnne Peterson is a poet, speaker, an author of 42 Bible Studies and 25 articles with Christianbiblestudies.com. In addition, she has written devotions for Trochia.org. Anne recently published her book, Real Love: Guaranteed to Last and is presently working on a book about her sister, a victim of domestic violence. Anne resides in Peoria, Illinois with her husband of 37 years, Michael. If you see Anne smiling it’s probably because she’s spending time with her two grandson’s Jude and Charlie or maybe she’s holding her new granddaughter, Ruthie. To find out more information about Anne, go to www.annepeterson.com.

Guest blog: Verbal and Emotional Abuse

Have you noticed how we stop seeing the smudges on our own walls but see them immediately in someone else’s house? It’s easier to spot the “dirt” in someone else’s home because our eyes haven’t grown accustomed to it. The same thing can happen with emotional and verbal abuse: we can spot it in other’s relationships but can miss it in our own because we’ve “gotten used to it.” We come to believe all relationships are like ours, that yelling, name-calling, cutting sarcasm, or the silent treatment are normal. Those behaviors aren’t normal. They are emotional and verbal abuse.

Emotional abuse is a consistent pattern of hurtful, humiliating, and condescending behavior. Examples include trying to control someone’s actions, making unreasonable demands, shaming, devaluing what is important to someone else, withdrawing love and attention, sulking, rolling eyes, and not caring how others feel and believing you are always right and superior.

Verbal abuse is a form of emotional abuse and defines people in a negative, pain-producing way. Examples include negative statements or insinuations telling you what, who, and how you are and what you think, feel, or want, such as “You are: like a child, clueless, too sensitive, lazy, trying to start a fight, overreacting, being dramatic, etc.” or “You think you’re always right, you’re better than everyone else,” or “You are confused, are never happy, aren’t sad, have nothing to cry about, don’t love me, want to hurt me on purpose, want me gone, etc.”

You cannot be emotionally intimate and safe with people who are consistently emotionally or verbally abusive. While they may not be physically violent, they are doing psychological violence to you, and their assaults on your heart will gradually erode your self-esteem, confidence, and identity. You are not causing the abuse, even if you are told “You make me act this way, I have to talk to you this way to get you to listen, etc.”

If reading this has been a wake-up call for you, don’t go back to sleep! Stop making excuses like “I’m used to it. That’s just how s/he is.” Emotional and verbal abuse is wrong. Making excuses for someone else’s sin enables the person to continue sinning. Educate yourself about emotional and verbal abuse so you can recognize it quickly. Join a support group or see a counselor so you can learn new, healthy ways of confronting abuse.

Jennifer DeglerJennifer Degler, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist, life coach, and co-author of No More Christian Nice Girl. A frequent speaker at women’s events and marriage retreats, she also maintains a counseling practice in central Kentucky. She is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and the founder of CWIVES, an organization devoted to helping Christian wives enhance their sexuality (www.cwives.com). She has been interviewed by Women’s Day.Com, Moody Radio, and numerous other media outlets. Jennifer and her husband, Jeff, live in Lexington, Kentucky, with their two children. Visit her Web site at http://www.jenniferdegler.com.

Listener blog: Courage

courage ritaOh, Dear Papa, me grow up?!   What does that really mean? Will I look like what everyone else thinks I should, will I be free to be a fun-loving, kid-loving, Jesus-loving gal?   Or am I really a quiet woman, always thinking up question after question, trying to find answers to all the ‘big’ questions?  Classical music or Bluegrass?  Writing books, or just reading them?  I believe…. if I keep my heart and mind focused on You…. knowing and believing that You will continue the work you started in me (Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  NIV) that You will!!  Could you please give me the courage to do so?!   Thank you, Papa!!! amen

Do you sometimes find it difficult to just be yourself? What fear is holding you back?

rita beedy

Rita Beedy is a wife, mother, grandma, rural mail carrier.

Midday blog: Planted

Recently, I was able to tell some of my story on Midday Connection. I talked about how I’d spent a bunch of my life feeling invisible – unimportant – unworthy of taking up space.

As God began working in this area of my life, I heard a Tom Petty on the radio and, while I’m not a big fan of his, one line of the song would literally bring me to tears: “Think of me what you will, I’ve got a little space to fill.”  I cried because I didn’t believe that… and I wanted to!  I wanted to feel worthy of the physical space I took up.

It’s been a long road for me as I combat the lies I’ve believed for so many years – and those old voices still like to pester me from time to time.  I’ve tried to incorporate reminders in my life to help me along the way.  I created a simple piece of art that I keep in my bathroom.  The background is full of lively, messy, bright colors and splashed across the front are the words: “You are definitely NOT invisible!  Did you act like you were today?”  Each day I have the opportunity to answer that question as I reflect on my day while brushing my teeth before heading to bed.

I also do yoga occasionally and I love the Mountain Pose.  It’s simple – just standing, really – but, a key to the pose is to fully feel your feet grounded on the floor, feel your legs solidly underneath you. I often imagine that pose when I feel shaky inside. I imagine myself internally doing the Mountain Pose as I breathe a prayer for courage and truth, reminding myself that I belong here – I am “allowed” to take up space and feel my feet planted on the floor.

What reminders do you have in your life of the work God in doing in you?

Lori NeffLori Neff is the senior producer of Midday Connection and editor/contributor for Daily Seeds: From Women Who Walk in Faith and Tending the Soul (Moody Publishers). She grew up in a small town in Ohio, spending more time outside in nature than inside. Lori is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute. Her interests include art, humanitarian aid efforts, cooking, gardening, coffee, thinking, learning and spending time with her husband, John (and their three fiesty cats). For more information and her blog please visit Lori’s website.

Midday blog: Looking at Unpleasant Things

The Medium lost the delighted smile she had worn till then. “Oh, why must you make me look at unpleasant things when there are so many delightful ones to see?”
Again Mrs Which’s voice reverberated through the cave. “Therre willl nno llonggerr bee sso manyy pplleasanntt thinggss too llookk att iff rressponssible ppeoplle ddo nnott ddoo ssomethingg abboutt thee unnppleassanntt oness.”
– Madeline L’Engle

I somehow missed reading A Wrinkle in Time as a child, so I’m starting off my 2013 by reading it. I was struck by the quote above – especially with Martin Luther King, Jr. day taking place in January. Dr. King has been such an inspiring figure to me. He dared to look at the unpleasant things – straight on. His work toward Civil Rights inspires me to confront injustice straight on – to not just look away from the unpleasant. No, he wasn’t a perfect man. I’m not a perfect woman – yet I know that God can use me in spite of my failings. Thank God for that!

There are times when I feel weak and overwhelmed and I want to look away from unlovely things – the painful, big issues in the world. Will I have the courage to see the mess and do what God has enabled me to do?

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. –Martin Luther King Jr

Lori NeffLori is the senior producer of Midday Connection and editor/contributor for Daily Seeds: From Women Who Walk in Faith and Tending the Soul (Moody Publishers). She grew up in a small town in Ohio, spending more time outside in nature than inside. Lori is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute. Her interests include art, humanitarian aid efforts, cooking, gardening, coffee, thinking, learning and spending time with her husband, John (and their three fiesty cats). For more information and her blog please visit Lori’s website.

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