I LOVE my kids to the moon and back. Both of them. Even the independent, headstrong, determined toddler going on 16.
So how is it that they expose the ugliest traits in me?
- Crazy frustration
- That gnarly finger wagging
…making me a poor model of the 9 fruits of the Spirit.
Nobody wants to appear like a mean, scary monster. I’d like to think it’s partly attributed to sleep deprivation, but what about when the Princess:
- Doesn’t listen
- Refuses to listen
- Blatantly ignores me
- Is stubborn as a mule
- Sucks the energy out of the room
- Screams in my ear
- Doesn’t listen
- Refuses to listen
- Whines erratically
- Screams in my ear
- Tries and tries me
And all of the above in the span of 30 minutes?!
Yet, I can truly say, without hesitation that my children are the best thing that has happened to me. Although they bring out the worst in me, they also bring out the absolute BEST in me. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, hence my fascination with emotional intelligence (more here).
Just today my Princess was brushing her teeth and it melts my heart how she tried so hard to do a good job; her focus and determination were endearing. Not to mention her quest to “find happy;” she certainly inspires me to seek happiness.
If anything, my kids have helped me become more loving, patient, and emotionally intelligent. As a mother, I am now more:
So thank you my crazy offspring for being you, and for making me a better me!
Drip, drop. Splash, splash. It's raining. Flowers are blooming. Spring makes all things new.
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Forces of Nature.”
Take a good look at these gorgeous gerberas; their beauty is meant to counteract the ugliness you may encounter in this blog.
Think about the last time you caught a glimpse of your heart. Did you like what you saw? I’m not asking about the physical condition, but the spiritual state. The condition diagnosed in Jeremiah 17:9:
The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.
The heart is hopelessly dark
Sometimes a situation will arise that exposes the darkness in my heart forcing me to confront an ugly aspect of myself. The darkness may manifest as jealousy or envy, ugly qualities that I sure ain’t proud of. What’s frustrating is that my rational mind screams, “Eew, eew, get that away from me!” But my heart is a contradiction, accommodating these ugly emotions.
But I, God, search the heart … I get to the root of things
When God exposes icky behavior, it’s easy to plead ignorance and pretend that it doesn’t exist. It takes courage and vulnerability to acknowledge our dark passengers. We can only grow once we get to the root of things, and this demands work.
To quote my hubby, “Honesty to self is eternally rewarding; it allows us to frame the way forward on a cleansed platform.” So even though it hurts to confront our true emotions, in the end, the effort is worth it. Besides, we can’t hide from God—everything exposed by the light becomes visible, and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
Self-awareness: Know thyself
Whether good or bad, there is an upside to connecting with our emotions. It leads to high emotional intelligence—the ability to understand, express, and manage our emotions and the emotions of others. And we know that emotional intelligence is integral for:
- Effective leadership
- Happy and productive environments (families, homes, organizations, teams, workplaces)
According to Daniel Goleman (author of Emotional Intelligence), self-awareness—recognizing feelings as they happen—is a keystone of emotional intelligence; it is crucial to psychological insight and self-understanding. Other building blocks include self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill (discussed here).
Self-awareness: Know thyself
No wonder the Bible encourages us to build our self-awareness muscle (2 Corinthians 13:5):
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?
It’s scary to dig deep and come into contact with the real you. Many of us—myself included—don’t know what we really look like. But God doesn’t front; he will treat you as you really are, not as you pretend to be. God always speaks to the real you.
Being a stay-at-home mom, I sometimes feel stuck and envious of those who are advancing professionally. When this happens, I allow myself to experience the emotions in their raw, ugly state.
I know, Christians aren’t supposed to entertain envy or jealousy. But this is what “knowing thyself” is all about. The good news is that God’s spirit helps me manage my emotions responsibly. A combination of prayer, meditation, and self-learning are key to toning my awareness muscle.
What ugly emotions did you last uncover? What tools do you use to increase your awareness muscle?
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Quote Me.”
What’s the most important holiday in May? Obviously it’s Mother’s Day.
I had fun journeying through Twitter to see what the world had to say about this special day. Continue reading for my top 10 picks from around the world.
1–It goes without saying that I am eternally grateful for my mother’s love and support. Though I didn’t post my sentiments on Twitter or Facebook (she doesn’t own either account), this tweet sums up my feelings quite nicely.
2–These days, it seems like social media love carries more weight than face-to-face affection #fronting.
3–Remembering and honoring the angel mothers who are no longer with us.
4–A mother’s love is alpha and omega—from beginning to end.
5–Giving props to the single dads who step up and slay both roles as mother and father.
6–Empowering women empowers a society. Let’s recognize and reward women’s work every day, not just on Mother’s Day #genderequality.
7–Tribute to this Canadian woman and all others who offer free grandmother services to young mothers and their children who need mothering.
8–Mom always knows best #hindsightis2020.
9–Endearing how Justin Bieber thanked his mom for ending his stupid phase. Haven’t we all been there?
10–This is a sober reminder to always treasure our mothers!
What is an important lesson you’ve learned from your mother?
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Journey.”
You whom the nations await in eager anticipation
Quit laying under the sun
Daydreaming of days gone by
Listen: Dive into the deep wide ocean
There is no reward for failure, only regret and fear of tomorrow
You who sits comfortably
in your perfectly designed box
Reluctant to step out
Afraid to fail
Listen: There is no reward for chronic hesitation, only delayed purpose and missed opportunities
Wake up O sleeper
Wondering where time
rests her head
Walk with purpose
Maximize each moment
Press for the prize
Love light and be wise
As birds flying,
So will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem;
Defending also He will deliver it;
And passing over, He will preserve it.
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Motion.”
Kingdom intelligence: Renewed mind, spiritual perception, and emotional intelligence
We all know that the mind needs to be grown/renewed. Cultivating our minds connects us to purpose and helps us become effective leaders in our spheres of influence.
And so the renewed mind is a huge driver of success. We learn more about this concept in the Book of Romans:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
By renewing our minds (changing the way we think) we gain access to the will of God, and so are better able to perceive/discern what is good and acceptable in various situations. In other words, we increase our emotional intelligence—the ability to understand, express, and manage our emotions and the emotions of others.
Together, the renewed mind and emotional intelligence converge into a concept I like to call kingdom intelligence. We’ll talk more about kingdom intelligence in future blogs, but you can visualize my interpretation of it below.
Renewed mind. Renewed Connections.
Then I saw the heavens open and the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mind. He released a wave of electricity and re-circuited my synapses. He extended neuronal connections and opened up networks to pathways that hadn’t existed before. I saw him increase neurotransmitters in my mind. I saw him breathe into my grey matter. I saw my brain pulsating as neurons fired.
The Lord God released His glory into my mind. He gave me the Mind of Daniel and the Wisdom of Solomon. He unlocked gateways. He connected knowledge to compassion, wisdom to justice, and understanding to implementation. The Lord declared a time of renewal and refreshing, a season of transformation.
Education and training
I closed my eyes and opened my ears attentively. The Lord spoke to me of education. He gave me the keys to education. He unlocked curriculums and programs and information systems. He wrote books within my heart. He released volumes of material.
Train people. Teach people. Release knowledge. Be faithful in seedtime. Seed for transformation. Release the message of understanding and wisdom of the kingdom of God.
Making the Message accessible
Make the Bible accessible to folks. Transform it into a tool for practical living. Your mission is to restore the very word of God into society.
The word of God is living. Active. Transformative. Though it is life altering, many don’t have access: their minds are not open to discovery.
Like water, the word is abundant, but access to it is not universal. Only some have hearts for discovery. Only few have minds for understanding. Fewer still have fortitude for implementation.
Create tools. Create resources. Create programs. Educate. Teach. Empower. Unlock the truths of the Bible. Make known its accessibility. Make known the principles, the laws that stand firm in the heavens forever.
Write it down and implement.