Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Turn those "No's" into a YES

Being a parent was not part of God’s plan for my life, but as a former teacher of elementary school students, a big sister, and an aunt, I have had many experiences of saying, “I’m sorry, but, NO, you can’t” do this, say that, have this”….and so forth.  These conversations often included the phrases I heard so often from my own mother….. “Because it’s not good for you……because it is dangerous…….because you’re too little……because……..finally, ending with a loving, but firm…..just because I said so.”  My “NO’s” were often met with frowns, pouts, temper tantrums, and sometimes even tears. Most of the time, the “I hate you; You’re so mean; It’s not fair,” looks didn’t last long and within a short time, the child/student/sibling was fine and we were friends again.

I’ve also heard my share of “No, I’m sorry you cannot…..” from various people in my life. I didn’t like being told NO as a kid, and I don’t like being told NO as an adult either. I especially didn’t like being told NO when there didn’t seem to be any logical reason WHY I couldn’t have….couldn’t go…..couldn’t do…..whatever it was that I wanted.   A ‘NO’ without explanation didn’t teach me anything; it simply made me angry and frustrated, especially when I saw others that had what I wanted. Eventually, it led to bitterness and fueled my emotional eating tendencies.

When someone took the time to explain to me that I couldn’t stay up late/do/say/have something because it cost too much….was foolish……could hurt me…..etc..., it taught me responsibility and helped form my conscience, and I was able to accept the reality….for the moment….but I  silently vowed to…. ‘Have it/get it/do it”…..when I grew up/got my own house/moved out/ got a job…..whatever.  These experiences fueled determination and motivated me to work harder in life, but oftentimes, when I could have/do/go wherever/whenever/whatever I “thought” I wanted, the thrill was gone.  It’s the whole, ‘We always want what we can’t have” mentality, if you will.

 I’ll always be grateful for those valuable life lessons and that I didn’t always get what I wanted because, ultimately, I learned that many goals/desires in life can be achieved and attained with time, effort, and work. I also learned that there are some things in life that, although I may want them, will never become reality in this life. I cannot, no matter what I do or how much I pray, bring back loved ones from the dead.  I can’t blink my eyes and make it 1987 again. I can’t go back and change ‘would have…could have….should have’s” of days gone by. BUT; I can change how I respond to those moments. I have control over that. I can learn from my mistakes; I can value those people in my life that are still alive; I can try to make better choices in life NOW so that ten years from now, there will be less regret and angst about missed opportunities.

 These days I am extremely motivated when someone says, “No, Theresa….I don’t think you can do that…..or….No, Theresa….it doesn’t seem possible that anyone could…..”  It arouses determination in me and I am so incredibly empowered by   “REALLY…..you don’t think I CAN….. go back to college at my age; ride a bicycle again after 30 years; jump on a trampoline; climb a dune; move that big log by myself.”  The “I’ll show you…..” mindset empowers me on a daily basis.

That same motivation, powered, first by GOD-POWER, then by intense willpower, has brought me to this day. Human beings thought….. told me….that it was impossible to lose a massive amount of weight without medical intervention, diet pills, or surgery, but GOD said, “All things are possible….”  My rheumatologist said, “Well, Theresa, there isn’t anything else I can do to help your RA,” but God said, “I will make you strong and help you…”  I had days when I doubted my ability to……finish college in my 40’s; get through the  times  of sorrow and grief; ever walk again without a walker; feel free from fear, pain, and the weight ….physical, emotional, and spiritual….that nearly killed me; but GOD said, “I will NEVER leave you or forsake you….”  Today….and for each day to come… I remind myself that, “I can do ALL things in Christ who strengthens me”….and……”Greater is HE that is in me, than he that is in the world”…..and….”Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  My journey is on-going and I have to continually rely on those promises to get through each day.

I am grateful today that I did not get everything I wanted in life, because ultimately, many of those things that I thought I couldn’t live without would have done me greater harm than good. Many of those people in my life that hurt me have ultimately empowered me to be better.  Many of those ‘No, I’m sorry….that’s just the way it is…..too bad/so sad” experiences have shaped my thoughts, built my character, and taught me life lessons that helped me become the person I am today.  I am grateful today for the challenges I face; the moments of doubt/temptation; the clouds/storms in life, because they make me appreciate the good times, victories, and peace and joy deep within, and have taught me that many of the things in life that I seek/desire/want can be realized….IF and only IF…..I am willing to cooperate with God and surrender my thoughts/life to Him on a daily basis.

I know that so many of you are in situations that appear to be hopeless. Some of you are dealing with issues, pain, illness, and concerns that almost seem unbearable at times.  You are struggling with addiction and habits. You have a long journey ahead. You are dealing with doubt, despair, depression, and/or grief. You may be ‘sick and tired’ of being ‘sick and tired” and you may even be bitter, angry, frustrated because you always seem to hear “NO, you can’t…..” and you don’t understand WHY.  I can’t tell you WHY some have heavier burdens than others; why some seem to have drawn the ‘short straw’; why life is so much harder for some than others….but I can tell you that, “You CAN….change your life…. Maybe not EVERYTHING in your life that you want to be better…..but you CAN change some things, even if it is just how you think/react/feel about the reality of your life.” 

 Likely, many of you don’t share my faith perspective, so I won’t tell you that GOD said…   but perhaps you will find strength from the words from Winnie the Pooh: “You are braver than you believe; stronger than you seem; and smarter than you think!”  Once you determine what things you CAN change….never give up believing….never give up trying to change those NO’s into YES’.   Say with me….YES, you can……but it is going to take work, effort, practice, and a combination of God-power and willpower!

I hope you have a wonderful day today…..