Welcome to Write Your Vision!

Deep down, most people have dreams - they may be forgotten, unspoken, or unrealized - but they are there. I want to help you remember and believe in them again...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Timing, Part 1 of 3

I've been hearing a lot lately about TIMING.  Seems like so much disappointment is wrapped up in this word -- phrases like:
  • You can't have what you want because it's not the right time...
  • That's moving too fast, I need more time...
  • Time will tell...
  • In time, you will see...
  • and the list goes on (fill in your own blanks)
So where exactly does timing fit in with VISION?  
Do these things work together for good purpose?  Or do we simply make excuses to make ourselves feel better when things don't go our way?  How do we talk about timing?

For the most part, it seems we discuss this topic primarily around things we love or feel passion about:  1) love life, spouse  2) children  3) purpose or work, job... major life events or things.
Hmmm.  Okay, let's begin with those basics:

Do you believe there's any such thing as 'poor timing.'  Why?

We are told that God's timing is perfect.  Okay, I can get on board with that.  That said I think we - collective we - mess it up through misunderstandings, poor choices, and misplaced free will which causes incredibly annoying delays that God then uses to teach us and bring us along.  Where it gets tricky is when there's more than one person involved, right?  :)

Syncing up both or multiple persons learning curve is not an easy task to be sure.  Nevertheless, this gets at the core of who am I? and why am I here?  Is it fate, destiny, or chance?  What does all this mean?

Yes, I'm in an existential mood but hang with me...

I believe we are born for 1) a purpose.  We are each called to fulfill a purpose... and when our purpose aligns with our job, for example, then we see real passion and joy.  Work no longer feels like work because we are doing what we were meant or created to do.  That's one area that is essential for leading a whole life.  Another area is our 2) Interpersonal Relationships - particularly, our desire to be with the person(s) we were meant to be with - usually a spouse/partner and then there's your children, family and friends or community.  The third area is our 3) spiritual relationship and it's health.

If we align ourselves in each of these areas with God's plan then miracles occur... the windows of heaven open and things flow, right?  It's called grace.  You know when it's happening.  It's like being carried by a beautiful stream through the perfect valley.  Everything - I mean everything - works!  You even get the parking space up close to work or school or the mall.

IF however, any one of these areas are off or out of alignment then we encounter delays, setbacks, challenges, etc.  You're swimming along and whamo you run into a board; get hit from behind at a stop light by a truck; get fired or promoted; etc.  Life's curveballs hit you.

Now with all that said, I do also believe there are negative, evil things that are operating in direct opposition to the universe's good plan and purpose for our lives that we must also recognize - but that's another blog topic!!  Regardless, the most powerful force that exists is God and God is love*.

*So you can go back and reread everything above and substitute the word love for God and the meaning is the same.*

Okay.  Now back to timing:

Timing inevitably involves some measure of patience, doesn't it?

The one thing I know I lack more than anything is patience.  I struggle with waiting and allowing things to unfold.  I am a Type A driven individual with a purpose and a plan for literally everything I do.  I believe that God granted us all a measure of faith and faith without works is dead... therefore I see it as my responsibility to do my part to move forward and to be the absolute best person I can be every single day.  The key here is the 'moving forward' part for me and my own desire to keep everything around me doing the same.

I was born on an Astrological cusp (if you follow).  I'm an Aries-Taurus which means I'm a Ram-Bull.  Think about those two animals... does anything in their character or behavior represent patience?  Nope.  

Yet, despite my general impatience, when I care passionately about something - like my vision for my life - I can wait almost indefinitely for it.  That doesn't mean I'll sit idly by, no - being patient is an active not passive endeavor.  What it does mean is that I will continually look inward to challenge myself to see and say:  Am I ready?

Am I really ready for what I've asked for?
Have I learned what I need(ed) to learn to appreciate this vision? this person? this job?
Do I have the tools needed for me to change to fully incorporate this new thing?
Can I appreciate this gift?

Then I work to distinguish between the circumstances (challenges) and the lessons or choices:  What things can I control?  What's my part or role?  Finally, I question my desire for urgency, immediacy.  Is my desire to influence the timing driven by fear or by love?

Am I afraid of running out of time?
Am I excited by the possibilities?

Within this context, I think it's so interesting that one of the greatest explanations of love 
begins with what it isn't and then states what it IS starting with a word related to timing: 

1 Corinthians 13:4 reads:
Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (NIV)
Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up (KJV)

The entire chapter/verse reads:
 1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Love NEVER fails.
Isn't that a beautiful thing?  Love never fails.  Makes me smiling knowing that.

Think about every great 'Love Story' you know.  Your grandparents.  Parents.  Movies we relate to like "The Notebook,"  "Serendipity," "The Lake House," "Pride & Prejudice," "Persuasion," "When Harry Met Sally," etc etc etc.  Or think about every great success story you know?  A person follows their passion, risking everything they have - every dollar, every person - for their dream.  But isn't it incredibly interesting that they never get together until the last minute, until there's no possible hope, until every resource is exhausted...

Why?  Is that how life works?

Don't you root for that person?  The underdog... the one we all think to be foolish but who we all hope to be.  Why does it take until the virtual 'end' for everything to come together?  

What do ALL these stories or examples have in common?

Miscues on Timing.  Setbacks.  Need for a Choice.  A Risk... then AMAZING Rewards!
(or not if they don't choose to take the risk)

We can all see it in other's lives.  We tell the characters on the screen to take that Leap of Faith!  We can see what THEY need to do!  If ONLY...

We wait - anticipating the choice - but we can only stand it for the two hour movie and we demand a happy ending.  Why?  Because we want to believe.  We want to see that the risk is worth it and that the timing issues are resolved.  We want the heroes to be together in the end.  We want the sunset ride.

Because isn't that what we all hope for deep down? what truly matters to each of us? to be the hero of our own life...

So what have I learned?

Timing is a real factor... thus the need for PATIENCE, but timing doesn't determine anything.  In the end, there is a biblical and universal principle in place that determines the outcome regardless of the timing:  LOVE never fails.  That dream that you have will become reality if you choose to move forward with love and challenge yourself to learn what you need to be your best self along the way.

Love will determine the timing.

Trust in that because when you do, timing will be everything it's meant to be.  Trust in love... and be willing to risk all you have for it because ultimately that's really what dreams are about:  Finding your purpose in this life by being where you're meant to be, with whom your meant to be with, doing what you were created to do.  

These three things are what fulfills your heart and makes you whole - it's your perfect world.  If any one is missing or isn't right, you'll have an internal nagging that you can't dismiss no matter how hard you try.  God designed each of us for this and established this need deep within our souls.  We can't escape though we may delay it due to our own fears, insecurities, or mistakes.  So, the sooner you see and begin to act on this Vision for yourself, the faster it will become a reality.  
  1. Align your mind with God's purpose (stop fighting your fate)
  2. Take the risk by acting on it, and then 
  3. Experience the unbelievable JOY that comes as a result.  The timing will begin to align as you do...


Reader Question:  How has timing impacted your life, positively or negatively?  I'd like to know! 

Part 2.  Impact of Choice on Timing

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Where to go from 'here?'

We made it out of 2011 and 2012 is going well so far!  My brother launched his dream - a talk show featuring West Virginia called The Coffee Talk Show.  I hope you'll check it out via live streaming media for the next show in February!  If you like it, please donate!  I'm praying that PBS or some station picks it up because I love his concept!  (Say a prayer for him and watch!)  My WVU Mountaineers crushed Clemson in the Orange Bowl!  The underdog team with no possible chance according to the pundits and the polls showed the country what it means to "BELIEVE!"

I had made up my mind to be more present this year... to be more proactive with the people I love.  That also meant reconciling this past year somehow.  I've always believed you can't get to where you're going unless you understand and learn from where you've been.

So I figured out that part of what I needed was to be honest about the struggles of the year and to deal with the circumstances directly.  NO hiding.  No sugarcoating... just the brutal truth.  The only way to release pain from the lessons learned sometimes is to tell your story, to share where you've been and how you made it through.  And to tell the truth even when it hurts or may not result in what you think you want.  These are the principles of forgiveness used by therapists, groups like Weight Watchers, AA, etc.  There's a reason this process is so popular... it's because it works.

Where I was:
2011 started out relatively well.  I began working out with a trainer who helped me get in shape for the first time in a decade.  Work was going well.  I was getting out more with friends.  And I felt my personal life was at long last on a solid track - I was blessed.  I either had or was about to get everything I had always wanted... or so I thought.  I was happy.  I felt good.  So of course I should've expected something to go wrong, right??

That's what happens, doesn't it?  The other shoe drops.  The bottom falls out or the proverbial rug gets pulled...

And boy did it!  The summer turned my life upside down and broke my heart.

I ended up in the hospital in acute pain in my abdomen.  One surgery later I was minus one appendix and needing to see a gynecologist for ruptured cysts on my ovaries.  At the same time, I almost lost my little Maltese who became deathly ill.  He was only two.  Still yet, at work we got hit with two enormous projects that each required my full time attention which was impossible and terribly stressful.  And then lastly and most devastating of all I thought I lost the person I love.

I crumbled.  I felt so lost.  So confused.  I couldn't find my balance.  I felt punch-drunk... hit from every direction.  I was reeling, questioning my very core beliefs.  Who I am.  Who God was.  Marriage? Relationships? Family?  Life in general.

I couldn't breathe.  All my life I've had a vision for my life.  I've known who I was and what I wanted... where I was going.  Even when I had setbacks or challenges, I still always KNEW.  But, for the first time I couldn't SEE.  My future disappeared.  I no longer had the certainty of my beliefs or the passionate conviction of world view.  All stability was gone.

I couldn't think.  Thankfully my parents did what wonderful parents do - they loved me through it.  They let me 'feel' everything I was feeling the moment I felt it and they let me call them at all hours.  I called when I woke up with nightmares at 4 am.  I called when I had a panic attack in traffic.  I called angry, in tears, confused, and so on.  I also discovered I have amazing friends.  They too loved me through - listening, talking, hugging, picking me up when I drank wayyyy too much, checking on me even when I didn't want to be around another human being.  They all refused to 'leave me alone' though I pushed.  My self preservation instinct was in full force.  What happens when that happens?  Well, most of us retreat, isolate, shut down.

I faced many challenges in my past... but I always rebounded.  This time I felt I was in danger of never rebounding, never recovering.  I felt broken.  Rocked to my very core.

The thing about heartbreak is that it doesn't actually kill you - even though you might want it to.  
It felt like that last straw disintegrated.

So what to do?
Well, suffice it to say I couldn't do much.  All I could to was to get through each day, as cliche as that is.  I started with that.  Moment by moment until I closed my eyes at night.  Breathe in, Breathe out.  And then thankfully I shut down emotionally.  The pain was too great.  The beauty of this was that without the emotion, I got very logical.  Introspective.

Fortunately, rather than focusing outward trying to figure out the circumstances that just happened to me, I looked inward.  Not sure why but I did:  What did I need to change?  What did I do?  How did I not see this coming?  HOW did I get 'here?'  Lord, help me/show me/change me.

I asked.

When you ask, you'd better be ready for the answer.  Don't ASK unless you want to know because God will answer you.

I needed to change.

I needed to kill my co-dependency.  I needed to recognize my own selfishness.  I needed to acknowledge my own inability to control everything.  I needed to let go, let God and just "be."  Not requiring myself to move forward, slip backward - nothing.  Just BE.

And lastly, I needed to let go of my fear... my deepest, greatest fear.  You know the one.  It's the ONE thing that you tell yourself you'd never survive.  The one thing that makes your stomach churn, your palms sweat, heart race in terror.  The thing that launches the onslaught of negative thoughts that slices at your soul.  I needed to finally FACE that and defeat it once and for all.

Miraculously, as the weeks rolled on, I did.  I got countless messages and signs on HOW to do it... at church, from friends, circumstances, and even books.  Eventually, I started to SEE again.  I could see past and through that fear - the fear of loss and rejection.  I saw that God, my faith, and the love that surrounded me was far far bigger than the blackness of that fear.  It began to shrink.  Smaller and smaller.

Also in this time of pain, I LEARNED so so much.  They always say you do... and it's true.  I learned that those things that are central to me -- my core beliefs are still core -- they remained in tact even when battered.  I learned the power of real love and friendship.  I learned that as great as I sometimes think I am that I still have so very much to learn and experience about life, relationships, balance, and truth.

And once again, I learned that life is a journey not a destination.  It's about patience and timing... and that if you truly love someone, you must allow them to be who they are and to walk their own path.  If you do that, actually take the risk of release, you'll eventually be rewarded with a different kind of peace that brings a renewed strength.  The saying is true --- if you love something, let it go.  If it comes back to you, it was always yours... if not, it never was.

Finally, if you are blessed enough to have your love return to you, recognize the gift.  Be honest,  speak courageously and watch what happens.  You might be surprised.  The truth always sets you free.

Where to go from 'here?'
I don't know exactly.

But what I do know is that I trust I'm on the right path and that my dreams for my life and my love have never been more real or possible.  I have my vision back.  It never left and now it's stronger than ever. Amazingly, >my love -B< returned and the future is bright.

Thank you God for renewing my strength, teaching me about love, and showing me the value of changing myself first.... and thanks to my family and friends for everything.  Welcome 2012!  You're gonna be a great year!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom

My Mom
Throughout a person's life there are people who come and go that touch our hearts, that hurt us, that shape us, love us, and so on... but there is no greater single person in any lifetime that can help HEAL us like a mother.

Most mothers have an infinite capacity to love their children in a way unlike anything or anyone else.  It's a depth of feeling so immeasurable that there really aren't words to describe it.  It's often this depth and the longing for that closeness that makes us all come running back to MOM.  I truly believe that the closest thing to Christ-like, unselfish love is demonstrated by moms...

It is this tremendous influence that mothers have on us because of their love and support that either make us whole or if we are lacking it, can break us apart resulting in dysfunctional families, need for therapy, etc. because a "good Mom" instills courage, independence, thoughtfulness, compassion, grace, and of course our own ability to love and be loved.

MY Mom is more than a "good Mom" - she's one of the greatest people I know.  
She is faithful to fault, loves her kids and grandkids with a fierceness unlike anything I've ever seen, and truly does her best to live by the Golden Rule every single day.  No matter what happens in my life, my Mom is quite literally ALWAYS there.

I am who I am in many respects because of her unending love for me...

She gets the greatest JOY from simply being in the presence of her kids and grandkids.  A text.  A call... or better yet a little FaceTime - literally or virtually makes her day.  Her whole face lights up when my brothers or I remember her.  She is the person we call when things go badly and one of the people we call when things go well.  No matter what, she is THERE.  We depend on that fact whether we admit it most days or not... She loves us and supports us however best she can.  And it's THAT willingness to be what we need that makes her so incredibly special.

I have never once doubted my Mom's love for me.  In fact, many times through smiles and tears, she's hugged me tightly and told me "you're my heart.  I love you."  The power of those WORDS and the emotion behind them is indescribable.  :)

MY Mom is a teacher.  Growing up she took the time to instill in me a love of reading, romance, and history.  She shared her passion, her convictions, and the need to continually LEARN.

MY Mom is a friend.  If you've met her, you know.  She goes out of her way to make you feel important.  She listens.  She encourages.  She prays.

MY Mom is devoted to her family.

I wish everyone could have a Mom like mine.  If you DO then celebrate her today.  Call her up just to say "hi Mom" and let her know what she means to you.  You are blessed beyond measure.  If you are a Mom, then learn from mine because she's the best example I know.  If you're missing your Mom then do something today in memory of her that would make her smile.

I'm so thankful for you, today and always.