Sunday, June 08, 2014

4 Things I Learned From Waiting On My Good Things To Arrive...


     Everyone talks about the hustle, the go-out-and-get-it-done-mode. But what if that still small voice is telling you to wait? Are you a crazy person? Are you being lazy to just wait? Perhaps.

     I mean, I don't know you personally, but often that still small voice is God trying to tell you something. 

     There's a place for hustle. But there's also a place for waiting.

Here are 4 things I've learned in waiting for some Good Things to Arrive into  My Life:

1. Like a toddler who can't have his favorite toy right away, there will be tears.   
    Yes. There will be tears. AND IT'S OKAY. 
     Let's get passed this weird thought that crying makes you weak. I'd rather release the stress out of my body than hold onto it and inherit illness. 
     So with that said, You will cry and get frustrated and be tempted to throw a prom like pity party. But DON'T. Allow yourself some tears. It means you actually care about the good thing you are waiting for. 
     Plus, our tears are never wasted material in God's eyes. But rather, something very, very precious to Him. And I find that tears keeps our own hearts soft and not calloused towards ourselves, God, or people.

2. Surround yourself with hope-filled people.  
      We all know that misery loves company. And gossip breeds like weeds, ready to choke out the life of the offender and the listeners. 
     So make sure you have a good core of people (1-3) that encourage you and remind you of your own heart and your own hopes and dreams when you forget yours or when you rather jump ship regarding the thing you're waiting for. 
     No one achieves success on their own. No one. 
     It's been said that you are the average of the 5 people you hang around the most.  
     Um. What. Can we just let that sink in for a minute.

     So if these people closest to you are not reflecting the very best of may delay the good thing that is trying to get to you.  
     Mind you, there may be a Judas in the pack, but they should definitely not be the majority of your closest friendships.

3. Others will most likely get that good thing you've been waiting on, BEFORE YOU. And it's imperative you learn to celebrate with them. 
     If you can't, I can promise you that bitterness is ready to snatch your little heart up and make you look and feel like an 88 year old full of regret before your time. 
     And when you're unable to celebrate the victory of others, you display a sense of emotional immaturity. Showing that you're not quite ready for your good thing to arrive. 
     Because you see, good things, while they are for us, are not meant to stop with us. They are meant to flourish and be shared.  
     And if our heart's intent is solely selfish, God has such a tender way of softening our hearts and motives with His love.  
     Learning to celebrate someone else's victory with a sincere heart (fake smiles don't count here) will free you up in the long run. 
     But look, I'm not asking you to fake it out. I want you to be honest with God, and tell Him that your heart, your pride, your whatever is hurt while in the midst of celebrating someone else's victory if that be the case. 
      I find when I'm this real and honest with God, He somehow does what my dad would do in real life when I was a young girl. My dad would often take me for frozen yogurt. TCBY to be exact.  
     It was my favorite thing to do with my dad.  
    We didn't have to talk or anything. My dad just knew that I needed a pick-me-up. That something was weighing on my heart and I just needed something good, something sweet. 
     I find that God continues to do this in my life. Whether someone sends me an encouraging email out of the blue, a sweet comment on my blog or Instagram, gives me a free dessert on my tab, or simply offers to give me a hug. I take these "TCBY" moments and I hold them dear. 
     God knows. 
     He knows.  
     You good thing will still arrive on perfect time.

4. It's all about timing.  
     One thing I've learned the most regarding waiting, is Timing is truly everything
     Has this ever happened to you?... 
     You're at the mall, and you randomly bump into a friend you haven't seen in years, a  co-worker, neighbor or someone you were just thinking about the week prior? 
     You go on vacation, and you start chatting with a random group of people, only to find out that you all have a mutual friend in common? 
     Do you ever think of all the variables that have to fall in place for such an encounter to actually happen??  
     I mean, with our little mall example, the stop light had to change green at a certain time. Your parking space had to be so many minutes away from the front door in order for you to bump into your co-worker, neighbor, or long lost friend at the right time. Not to mention the variables at play with the other person you ran into! 
     But then, you realize that encounter didn't just reconnect you briefly with that person, but sparked a domino effect of either memories, dreams, stories, that would then begin to flavor the rest of your day from there on out. Perhaps some things that you needed to pay attention to in that particular season of life. 
     I've noticed that God truly does know the beginning from the end. And He knows all the different variables at play and what will be playing when your blessing is meant to arrive.  
     If you had gotten your dream job 5 years earlier, you may not have had time to pour into that new relationship that God brought your way. 
     And if you had gotten your dream relationship 5 years earlier, you may have been deterred from walking out some key life and career paths and experiences that God had been inviting you into, let alone, growing in emotional maturity, being ready to love your future beloved well.    
     This is one of the hardest lessons I've learned regarding waiting. Trusting the timing of God. One that I honestly still struggle with.
     But as I look back on my life and the opportunities that have been afforded to me and the miraculous and perfect timing of those things coming into my life, I can't help but trust God with my romance story.

     And with that said, I simply invite you to do the same... To wait with expectancy, to cry when you need to, to allow yourself to be surrounded by encouraging and hope-filled people, to celebrate the victories of others, and to trust that God's timing is at work now even when you think nothing is happening.

     Don't worry, my friend. Your good thing was always, always meant to arrive.

Wisdom's Knocking:

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, 
who does not change like shifting shadows."

- James 1:17 

Monday, June 02, 2014

Validation: Part I


     It hit me yesterday.

     I had been searching and searching for what was constricting my heart in this current season. I felt stiff in the midst of paradise. Because, you see, everything around me is beginning to flourish, like really flourish.

     But there was this nagging feeling of distress, unrest, and agitation within my soul, manifesting itself in subtle yet noticeable ways to my own eyes.

     I didn't feel fully at peace and in the usual freedom I'm used to walking in.

     Something was lurking and making everything, and all my interactions just a tad bit lacking, and not fresh and vibrant as their potential.

     It's funny how we can treat a blessing.

     Much like we treat the truth.

     At first we look at it with side eyes before we allow ourselves to get excited and receive it. Because we know we've been disappointed one too many times in life, and we think this could be some sort of cruel joke or prank.

     I've been in a season of blessing--crazy unmerited favor. I call it my "Slip n' Slide" season. I've somehow entered a slip n' slide and everything that was once hard is becoming easy. And along this slip n' slide I keep collecting blessing after blessing. It's been so effortless. And incredibly amazing to experience and witness.

      So you would think that being on such a slip n' slide means I'm experiencing nothing but absolute bliss, but that's just not the case.

     As I said earlier, something was constricting my heart.

     God had been giving me subtle clues all last week, of which I totally missed until retrospect.

     And then it hit me yesterday. It took a preacher on a Saturday night service to say it plainly:

     "Stop searching for validation from the very thing that you are meant to bring Light to." Because that, Fill in the blank: (Workplace, that Mean Boss, Your Ex, Hollywood, Your Professor) can't give you the full validation you truly need and want. Nor were those vessels mean to be the foundation of our identity.

     In essence, we are already validated by God. And we are meant to bring that sense of validation (not self entitlement) to all those that we come in contact with, letting them know that they are loved, important, and seen.

     Even in our workplace (especially in our workplace), in our families, in our schools, and in our closest friendships.

     Yes. Challenging, vibrant and courageous words indeed.

     And yet we know vaguely the power of validation with our heads, but do we know this with our hearts?

     And better yet, do we live this out? Moreover, have we come to terms with our own fundamental need for validation in healthy ways. To not just be givers of such generosity, but receivers, true partakers.

     I started researching the importance and art of validation in the midst of writing this post. I've now read and researched over a dozen articles from psychologists, mothers, fathers, pastors, and the like regarding validation, its role in our lives and how we can be partakers in such validation.

     Here are some of my findings about Validation that I wanted to highlight to you: 

"Validation Creates Safety in Relationships:
Validation simply means to substantiate or make something valid. Validation does not mean agreement and is especially important where disagreement is present. Validation is nothing more than communicating to others that their feelings, point of view, or idea is valid. Most people simply want to know that they have been heard, and that what they had to say was not rejected or dismissed as unimportant or insignificant. Validation creates a sense of safety where people can share what’s on their minds and hearts without fear of how the other will react. Once safety is created by validation, certain qualities are instilled that ultimately lead to a healthy relationship regardless of the context."

Credit: Pastor Scott
Benefits of Validation: 
"Validation communicates acceptance. Humans have a need to belong and feeling accepted is calming. Acceptance means acknowledging the value of yourself and fellow human beings.

Validation helps the person know they are on the right track. Life can be confusing and difficult. Feedback from others that what you are experiencing is normal or makes sense lets you know that you thinking and feeling in understandable ways. Your internal experience does not have to be the same as anyone else’s but it helps to know that your experience is understandable. Or not.

Validation helps regulate emotions. Knowing that you are heard and understood is a powerful experience and one that seems to relieve urgency. Some say it’s because when we don’t feel understood it creates thoughts of being left out or not fitting in. Those thoughts lead to fear and maybe panic because of the importance of being part of a group is critical for survival, especially in the early days of mankind, and of the potential loss of love and acceptance which is a basic need. Whatever the reason, validation helps soothe emotional upset.

Validation helps build identity.  Validation is like a reflection of yourself and your thoughts by another person. Your values and patterns and choices are highlighted and that helps people see their own personality characteristics more clearly.

Validation builds relationships. Feeling accepted builds relationships. Some research shows that chemicals related to feeling connected are released when someone is validated.

Validation builds understanding and effective communication. Human beings are limited in what they can see, hear and understand. Two people can watch the same event occur and see different aspects and remember important details differently. Validation is a way of understanding another person’s point of view. 
Validation shows the other person that they are important. Whether the person being validated is a child, a significant other, a spouse, a parent, a friend, or an employee, validation communicates that they are important to you and you care about their thoughts and feelings and experiences. Validation also shows the other person that you are there for them.

Validation helps us persevere. Sometimes when change is very difficult, having the difficulty of the task recognized helps people keep working toward their goal. It seems to help replenish willpower."

Credit: Karyn Hall, Ph.D.

"Validation of feelings means just about everything to having a truly lovely relationship. If your relationship is suffering from validation starvation it is important that it be adjusted. If this lack of validation has been present for some time, then you may need help in getting your communication back on track. Start to make a genuine effort to stop reacting and start listening to your partner’s feelings. Don’t you want to be heard as well?" 
Credit: The Art of Relating: Validation StarvationBy Christine Kniffen, MSW, LCSW, Therapist & Relationship Coach

     In my next blog post, Validation Part II, I'll be sharing some more gold nuggets that are helping to free me up and strengthen my current friendships and relationships. I'll also talk about how validation is seen as suspicious to some people.....

 Wisdom's Knocking: 

"The older I get the more I’m convinced
that we all long for someone to believe in us
and tell us they’re proud of us." 

 - Sammy Rhodes

An extra nugget:

Some of you may have already seen this popular short film from several years ago, aptly titled: 

In light of what's been shared in this post, I think it's totally worth a view. Hope you enjoy! By the way, you're amazing and your feelings regarding this post are valued and valid... ;)

(Trouble seeing the video above? Here's the link: