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Healthy Voice: FOR REAL, cause being REAL is so much better than just posting an Image on Facebook

(P.S. This is unedited and written in a short period of time but it's rather fitting for the topic. Enjoy.)

So right now, it's 4:18. I have to leave by 5:00 to go meet a few people on the other side of town. In two days we leave for a weeks vacation up north. I just got off the phone with my sponsor from my 12-step program so I could vent about the balancing act of life and how sometimes it just feels like we're being pulled in 50 directions. If you are reading this, I know you get this - no matter what path we've chosen in our lives, we're all busy. I completely get that and I know you do to. I won't get into the rest of how crazy the earlier part of the day has been. It was actually good in many ways, but we all know that life doesn't always go exactly according to plan. Life - doesn't come in a pretty blue Tiffany box. Life comes sometimes in a messy box. 

That's why I'm writing this post, because my life with this Healthy Voice isn't all inspiration and glory. I don't live in a fantasy world. I do love to inspire others and have a huge passion for bringing the Healthy Voice out in every one of you to shine. But guess what? That doesn't mean it's the only thing I've got going on in this life. I've got a life - a very full life. I am grateful for my life and everything in it. But this imperfect life has a very REAL side and that's why it is very important for me to share with you - that there is Healthy Voice: FOR REAL, and there is Healthy Voice. I'm not here to show you how to live this perfect life. I'm here to show you the good and the bad, the crap and the glory. I'm here to show you why the stuff that goes in my life is WHY I need my Healthy Voice, and the Healthy Voice that comes out of my heart and inspires me or you is only because my Healthy Voice has carried me through the crap. I need that Healthy Voice just as much as you do. 

So I wanted to tell you - that I'm going to be doing a series of blog posts over the next week sharing my commitment to that Healthy Voice: FOR REAL by sharing the honest to goodness truth about what certain aspects of my life are like. Some call it taking the veil off. Others see it as being real. I see it as just being me so I can inspire you to just be you.

This weekend my husband and I listened to a couple of Podcasts on the drive North from sermons by Steven Furtick, a Pastor in Charlotte, North Carolina. I like him because he talks REAL. 

The first one we listened to was called, "Death by Distraction," and how there are four concepts of how we can get distracted in this life that keep us from planting seeds that last. He mentioned how the seeds get 1) snatched (like when you choose to read Facebook instead of being present at the dinner table with family), 2) scorched (when we're superficial in acting like we've got it together and it lasts for a bit, but isn't rooted so it doesn't last for long and we're not "committed"), 3) choked (when we let what we "think" might happen, our anxieties or our worries keep us from actually trusting God, even if we know he's got this), 4) sabotaged (this happens when [and I thought this was really good] the Lord plants seeds in our life and the devil plants weeds right next to those seeds to distract us from being present to the good seeds. He will do anything to distract us from our purpose. Furtick mentioned that he can't take it away, but he can distract us enough that we can't focus on it. That's when we are spiritually sleeping. That's when God can't pull out the root of our pain because we're stuck in the weeds of distraction. 

(At this point of the podcast we arrived at a lighthouse called "Point Betsie" which I thought was fitting because it reminded me how God IS our lighthouse). 

I don't know about you, but I want to stay focused on what God's got planned for me. I know it's good and I know how easily my Unhealthy Voice can get me to think or feel that it's the weeds that need my focus. It's just not true. That's why when I finished this podcast, I literally deleted all the social media apps off my phone because they are all distractions from being present in the moment. Of course I can be on them at my computer to share info, but I don't need to be on them constantly. It's what is in front of me that's more important than anything. It's that BEING PRESENT.

That brings me to his second podcast called, "The Problem with Pinterest." He used 2 Corinthians 12 to discuss this problem we have a society with "showing" others how we have these perfect lives, but we don't share the REAL stuff. He went right to the concept of COMPARISON, and how we live in a culture that breeds it. I highly recommend you listen to it because of the powerful message behind it essence he challenged us to not just "preach from your strength, but preach from your struggle." 

Everyone is so scared of sharing their struggle. Of course - we live in a world that is all about NOT showing struggle, and I'm certainly not saying that it's really "safe" to show the world your struggle around everyone because some people are so uncomfortable with you being real that they will try to shut down your real. But I'm with Pastor Furtick. I say, BE real. 

I loved this whole podcast because I'm with him. I think Pinterest is cool and everything, but where is the reality? He referenced a website called Pinterestfails.com and talked about all the ways that people tried but failed their attempts to do stuff on Pinterest. People spend so much time sharing images of positive quotes and images, but how are they doing and being it in real life? Let me tell you - I love doing that, but I also know that sometimes writing a blog about what's really going on in my life is SO much more real than an image with a pretty quote. Again, I love them - but I can't get from them, what I can get from being IN my life and present to it. 

Phil Cooke, a Christian Hollywood guy shared a blog this past week that pointed to how little inspiration really offers in our lives, and I loved it because really - how far can inspiration go? In some ways isn't Pinterest sometimes finding the stuff we want on the outside of us? I've loved it for a long time because it keeps me out of the stores and keeps my creative imagination going. But it's still - like the rest of the world - a comparison game. So again, why keep life to just inspiration? Why not go deeper than inspiration?

Some of the things Pastor Furtick said that I want to remember:

  • The #1 complement he gets from people is, "Thank you for being REAL."
  • "Instead of trying to impress people, share how life REALLY is!"
  • "The goal of my ministry is to deplastify this pulpit."
  • "The most helpful way to encourage someone is not always to say 'You should', but 'Me too."
  • And my favorite....(it deserves it's own quote box.)
We live in a world driven by the presentation of an image we have manufactured, manipulating people into thinking we’re something that we’re not. And we’re dying from the pressure of our own presentation of pseudo-perfection.
— Steven Furtick

BAM.

  • He said, "Only in Christ does this image management come to a head."
  • He said, "Our memory is selective and defective. So we'd rather live in a memory and the great thing about a memory is it sanitizes the past from the pain. If it's not memory we live in imagination of what it WOULD be like. I'd rather PIN the thing I'm going to do, then LIVE now."

And finally he says, "Instead of comparing yourself to the glory of others, contemplate the glory of God." He recommending getting into HIS work instead of going on Instagram and allowing HIM to transform us instead of what we see we want in someone ELSE to get us what we want.

So - I don't know if you are in with me on this or not, and I know people say I'm "brave", but I want people to see who i REALLY am, not who they "seem" to see, or want me to be. I want people to have the courage to BE who they are not because I taught them, but because I was just me and by being me and being real about my struggles - it gave them, that one person maybe, the courage to share their own struggles.

You in? I hope so.

If you want to check out Pastor Furtick's podcasts, I suggest finding him on ITunes. Both of the ones I mentioned are on there. Here is the link to the Phil Cook Blog Reference for you to contemplate yourself, it's called "Don't waste your time on inspiration."  You can follow both of them on social media or read their books. You can also follow me on social media, but I'd encourage you over the next week to pay attention to the blogs I post and how I share REAL life with my Healthy Voice. Tomorrow I'll talk about what those will be and the reason for my commitment to sharing them. Oh, and I'd check out that Pinterestfails page. Hilarious.

 

 

How Planning can Be an Unhealthy Voice in your Life

The Lord knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.
— Psalm 94:11, NIV

Earlier this week, I was able to spend time with my friend, Pastor Mark Waltz. He was actually  the officiant of our wedding one year ago next weekend!

I reached out to him to discuss the plans of Healthy Voice. I wanted to talk to someone who knows the Lord and could remind me that God's plans are not my plans, and his ways are better than my ways. I knew I could be honest and real about where I'm at with him. I also knew that he wasn't going to give me the silver bullet fix to this problem. But he would listen with grace, and that's what I needed.

I had a note written before I went in there. I'm an over thinker, over planner, and an over feeler. That means yes - I think deeply, plan thoroughly and feel deeply about everything. I've come to a place where I'm okay with all that. It's just part of who I am, but it's a part of who I am that I have to be present to or it will kill me.

By the end of the week, I realized that all the planning I was doing for where Healthy Voice was concerned - was another way that I was trying to control things. It's like the plan was this big fluffy pillow that if I could get "just right", I would have this perfectly fluffy pillow to rest on because I got it all set up before I got there. Got where?

Well, it hasn't quite worked that way. My vision and my plans have made me a little nuts. I have a LOT of ideas. I am my father's daughter. I have a vision of how they can all fall into play and of course if they are part of my dreams, I want to see and help them come to fruition. But I not only get stuck in those plans. I get stuck in a rut of thinking that old diet type thought, "Once I get _____ I can do _____." If you've ever been on a diet, I'm sure you relate.

Everything about Healthy Voice is about being vulnerable and real. Nothing about it is being fake. I show people how to stop being fake and get below the surface of their appearance. So, why am I doing all this I asked? Because I was trying to cover up my fears - of failure and success, of not being able to do it...

In reality, I was blocking myself. My website had real stuff on it, but I wasn't being as real as I could be with my content. I wasn't being as real as I could be about where I'm at today, and so I spent the whole day yesterday (unexpectedly) cleaning up my website in a way that was more me, and more real. It's not "all together." There is still stuff in the works. The newsletter is still something that needs to get out so you can find out more about what's going on. But I think I had to put down my plan, so that I can give that plan to God  - who had it anyway!!! Duh.

I am excited because I have a series of blogs to share with you next week that will cover the following with my own Healthy Voice: 

1. Children of Divorce: The Struggle Beneath the Surface

2. The Weight: Pain You See on the Surface

3. My Heart: The Truth of Who I Am

4. My Mind: The Place I Can get Stuck

5. My Rock: Jesus Christ, my Hope and Refuge

I hope you'll check it out. I'm excited to share simply about these 5 core things on my walk with my Healthy Voice.

After talking to Mark for a while, I realized just how much was right in front of me that I had to work from this place. I have a whole book, FULL of content that I can share with you to help you understand better what this journey is all about. That IS truly a gift. We talked about how Healthy Voice truly is a ministry and some Unhealthy Voice I have makes me think that if it is to be a ministry there won't be a way to make a living. It's a block that has kept me from seeing the light and I'm thankfully working through it now that I know it's there.

I want to share with you something Mark said to me towards the end of our chat that I want to make sure I remember. He said:

Staying out of your way doesn’t mean blocking your way.
— Mark Waltz

I want to also share with you the Four Horsemen of this Unhealthy Voice so you have a place to go back to if you get to this place:

  • I have a "Planning" voice that gives me a sense of comfort, false control. It says something like, "It might be rough now, so I just want to make sure I land soft in the future so I'm going to make it all just right, then I can sit down and start." (Hello! Not a Healthy Voice for me right now.)
  • I have a "Pleasing" voice who seeks guidance from others who think they know what is best for me and tries to make happy every one who thinks they know what is best for me. I have to remember who this is about pleasing. "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. - Galatians 1:10, ESV
  • I have a "Distractions" voice that wants to focus on something other than God's plan for me in the moment. I'm looking at what someone else has going on (i.e. Facebook) or I'm beating myself up getting stuck in my mind, not realizing what God put right in front of me. God reminded me of my distractions voice this week in this amazing message. I HIGHLY recommend you watch or listen on Podcast to "Death by Distraction."
  • I have a "Comparison" Voice. Who doesn't? When I'm distracted, I'm easily comparing my life to someone else's. Of course, what's the next message that the Holy Spirit sends me to this week? It's another Steven Furtick. I haven't even finished it yet. But I loved the title so much, because he completely called it out. It's from May 10th and it's called, "The Hop of Glory, the Problem with Pinterest." Watch or listen here.

I don't know about you, but none of these thought patterns really work for me. I have GOT to keep my focus on God and HIS plan for me. I have GOT to keep things simple, when I so badly want to complicate them. I say this because I know it will be difficult, but I also know by sharing my intent with you here, and the resources that helped me this week - I can always come back to see where I found the hope.

“For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord,” “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a new future.”
— Jeremiah 29:11, NIV
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
— Romans 8:5, ESV

A big thank you to Pastor Waltz for your time this week and for your encouragement to keep listening to my Healthy Voice.