Letting Go



There is always something to let go of. Perhaps it is a completed project, a past role, or a person. Sometimes it is the urge to get involved in things that aren't yours to get involved with. Or maybe its your desire to manage or control others. 

For myself recently, letting go has included some of the ideals I have had as a mom whose main focus for many years was to raise Godly children. 

As I've seen my children take their own life paths I sometimes disagree with, at times, I've felt like a failure. But they are now of adult age, so my job of "raising" them is done. I've decided I did the best job I could. Now, at 23 and 25, their choices are theirs to make. 

My daughter in a leadership role at university.



Did I complete my motherhood calling to the best of my ability? Yes, I did. Do I sometimes feel disappointed that I wasn't able to create robotic children that always meet my expectations. Yes! Do I sometimes feel all my mothering energy has gone to waste? Yes, I sometimes do. 

But putting false guilt on myself is of no use. I KNOW I did an awesome job and I know God knows it too. That's what matters. Therefore, I am letting go of occasional self-inspection and hints of failure that try to creep up.

What Else Am I Letting Go Of?

I'm letting go of worrying about my children. I'm letting go of worrying what other people think. I'm letting go of trying to manipulate situations behind the scenes and of praying desperate worrisome prayers. I'm letting go of letting myself feel frustrated when I see them make yet another choice that displeases me. Who wants to live frustrated?

Do you see yourself in any of these sentiments?

My son age 8 playing in a corner of the basement in our Winnipeg home. They are so cute at that age.


But in all this letting go, I've noticed it's taken the children time to catch up. I'm not sure they like this hands-off mothering style. They also have to let go of their expectations of me. They have to let go of home and being parented as they stand on their own feet. Sometimes, I have to remind them not to expect certain things of me. I have had to set boundaries. I do NOT have to be at their beck and call. (beck and call meaning: responding immediately; implies subservience.) 

My husband has a little catching up to do himself--he's always been a pushover. I have to remind him of my boundaries when he expects me to jump at the children's command. He loves to do for his children and hasn't quite caught on that that is not necessarily helping them grow up. He has a little letting go to do himself.

Notice the "Peace" decor in the background.

PROTECT YOUR WELLBEING

There have been many stages to my letting go process.  Last year, I experienced anxiety. It was due to roaring tinnitus, but also compounded by my daughter's engagement and PTSD about events in my past when I was her age that were triggered. I signed up for counselling.

Together, we worked through many issues. I also told my counsellor that when my university student son was home, he was staying up until the wee hours of the morning. He was also sleeping through church time, never going to church again. 

When I knew he was still up, I was tempted to go downstairs and yell at him. I wanted to yank him out of bed on Sundays. On work days, I wanted to yell at him to get up and get to work. 

My counsellor suggested I accept that my son is an adult and needs to make his own decisions. He would have to bear the consequences of sleeping in. His church choice was between him and God to work out.  

He was still a university student so by no means was taking advantage of living with us, but it was time I allowed him to freely set his own schedule (as he'd done living in student housing the previous three years). 

For the sake of my health and wellbeing, I had to ignore the behaviours I didn't agree with. The next time I was up in the night and noticed he wasn't in bed I told myself, "It's not my problem" and went back to bed.

I practiced this letting it go behaviour every time I was tempted to step in.  Doing so resulted in more personal peace. I'm not completely cured, but I'm making progress.

LETTING GO

A Facebook friend posted this helpful summary of the idea of letting go. Read it for yourself:


To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it all for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off, it’s the realization that I can’t control another.

To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try to change or blame another, I can only change myself.
To let go is not to care for, but care about.
To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to effect their own outcomes.
To let go is not to be protective; it is to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny, but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue, but to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes.
To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone, but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more!
Source Unknown – from Charles R Swindoll’s book, “The Grace Awakening” 

A Unique Way to Live Each Day


Did you do the exercise on this page? Conceptualize yourself aboard God's cruise ship?

I've been doing it and it has changed my perspective just as I've needed! 

LET GO OF TOO MUCH WONDERING


Often, we get used to 'wondering.' We wonder what to do, where to go, who to call, what new thing to get involved in...and wondering can be very unsettling. 

Wondering sometimes leaves us feeling empty or pushed to make plans of our own imagination. 

Instead of wondering, I'm simply being and doing. I'm working on what I know I have to do, getting to my appointments, and keeping commitments. I'm trusting I'm on God's LOVE BOAT. I'm following His lead. 

DEVELOP CONFIDENCE

I was in a women's group where the topic arose: How do you develop confidence? I feel this exercise has helped my confidence soar. As I picture God as the captain, I have better trust. 

I listen for God's instructions and am confident I'm in His will when I've taken the time to ask. 

When nothing new is on the horizon, I write prayers, read, and work on my character. 

HOW IT WORKS

I commit my day to God and wherever I go in a day is my "Port of Call." It has included my exercise gym, my doctor's office, my mother-in-law's long term care facility, my pet store, the grocery store, and church (to name a few). I record these each evening in my cruise journal.

Even as I stepped off the curb heading to McDonalds for lunch with my husband after church, I began to sing the theme from The Love Boat. The port of call at that moment was McDonalds. 

At each port of call, I've been willing to do what I'm supposed to do there. 

BEING WILLING

My word for 2018 is WILLING. I want to be willing to step into new territory or to try new things. 

Not much new has been presented in big ways, but I'm being mindful of small challenges. For instance, in many of these situations, I've been amongst people that are new to me. I have been willing to converse with people. 

I urge you to try this exercise or one like it. Record your ports of call in your journal. Decorate the pages with stickers or colorful drawings. Have fun with it. Trust in God and do His will--that's what it's about. 

A New Year's Exercise You Might want to Try


Image result for cruise ship clip art


Many women go about their New Year planning by making a list of what they think will make them happy and then set goals to pursue happiness.

I have found it can be difficult for the midlife or empty nest woman to know what goals to set. From experience, I know that putting pressure on myself to set a direction for the New Year can bring on a feeling of despair. As a believer, I always want to follow the path God has laid out for me, not a path of my own design. I have found it more peaceful to take the approach of letting God lead. James 4:15 says this:

Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.

Relying on God to grant vision and direction can be exciting. The path he lays out is a surer path.

In the last few days, God granted me a vision. I'd like to offer it to you here as a personal challenge for yourself:

THE LOVE BOAT

Imagine the days of 2018 being one long cruise aboard God's love boat. Will you be willing to step aboard?

Will you be willing to keep an ear to the ground to hear what he says?

Will you be open to letting God decide the ports of call the cruise ship will stop at?

Will you be willing to step off and tour the port--or complete the assignment God gives you at the port?

Can you resist the need to know where you're headed?

What name will you give your ship?  My husband says I should call mine the LOVE BOAT. I'll bear that in mind, but I've already called mine CRUISE SHIP WILLINGNESS.

If you are truly willing to be used by God, let him know you're ready to step aboard. He may ask you to do things you wouldn't choose for yourself. You might be called to help someone else in an unusual way. You might be called to have a medical procedure you'd rather avoid. You may be asked to lead a group. You might be asked to take a long drive to get somewhere he wants you to go. Will you say yes to what you sense he wants you to do?

I watched a Joyce Meyer video clip recently where she tried on various clothing that didn't fit. She suggested to find our path, we might need to be willing to try on things that, in the end, don't fit us. The key words here are OBEDIENCE and WILLINGNESS. Are you willing to try new things?

I'd like to suggest that you'll fulfill a deep need within you when your gifts and abilities are used by God to meet a need in the world. 

Don't measure your willingness based on earthly payment you might receive. God will give you treasure in heaven and life experience goes a long way.

THE IN-BETWEEN

In between the 'ports of call' where you step off to complete God-given assignments, you will have quiet periods of hopefully smooth sailing. Continue to develop your passions and take care of what God has already assigned you to. Then choose eight or so character traits to develop. 

When nothing new is happening, work on one of the character traits by researching it in the Bible, online and putting it into practice. Here are some sample traits: 

Related image
credit https://www.fabtechexpo.com/blog/
2016/10/06/the-roles-responsibility-of-leadership-in-guiding-your-company

I suggest you buy a new journal and record where God sends you. Also record your study notes. It could be fun!

Please leave feedback in the comments section. Let me know the name of your cruise ship. Or join me on my Facebook page  Self-Coaching Tools for Women.  

Packing Up Mother-in-Law with Faith

I write two blogs and invite you to read the other one too.  I just updated the other blog with some New Year's Resolution ideas. 



I haven't written lately here because I've been busy. This hasn't just been preparing for Christmas busy, life took a severe direction. Just before Christmas, we got the call of a bed offer in a long term home for my mother-in-law. She has had physical issues since May 2017 and the need for a move became more apparent as time progressed. We accepted the offer which meant moving her within five days.  

I'd read before about being caught between children leaving the nest and looking after aging parents. I guess that's where I am. 

Fortunately, there are facilities available that can look after aging parents better than we ever could do on our own. 

MY GIFTING IN USE 

Since my mother-in-law had three sons, two of which live an hour and half away, my husband and I stepped up to organize this move. Daily, I went to her retirement home to sort through items deciding what to take and what to discard. 

I saw my organizational gifts spring into action. A few years ago I took courses for becoming a professional organizer. They have been helpful in many ways. My coaching gifts also sprung into action as I let her tell me stories about everything we picked up and prompted her to think about when or how she might use the item again.

MIDLIFE EMOTIONS

When all was done, I was mentally and physically exhausted. New emotions arose. Fear being one. Fear of my own future. Life for seniors at 90 and upward can appear so bleak. 

FAITH MAKES A DIFFERENCE

But does it have to be bleak? My own mom stays joyful as much as possible. She's an inspiration. 

I'm choosing to believe that for Christ-followers, the end of life days can be different than it is for most. We can stay under God's soft encompassing wings. We can renew our mind with his Word. 

This exercise I was called into emphasized just how much we need to stay vigilant about renewing our mind and not letting circumstances get us down. Life balance is imperative to get through challenges God calls us to walk through. Faith makes a difference.

SHARE FEELINGS

I realized some of my emotions beyond fear included grieving. As I packed her items, I realized an era of life as we'd known it had ended. 

I felt guilty throwing out her favourite items behind her back. The truth is, she is no longer who she used to be. Her body is shrinking and too large clothes are tripping hazards. The sorting had to be done.

I shared my feelings of guilt, grief, and even resentment of having to do this with Facebook friends. I had a cry and am now turning my head toward God for re-filling.  

Not all God calls us to do is easy or pleasant. But there is reward in being willing to venture into deep places he sends us.  


Feeling Antsy? Try this Exercise


Intellectually, I know all is well. I know God is in control. From experience, I know that God will keep me busy. There is always something to do. 

With the amount of study I've done and the things I've tried, I know it's pointless to strive to find that one new thing I think will make me feel more fulfilled. Yet that temptation is right there, a step behind me.

I humbly acknowledge too that it's arrogant to complain about life while I search for something better. Yet many of us do this.

I have a great life and am thankful for much. Are you?

I have faith in God. But that doesn't mean I don't get awash with waves of doubt, boredom and questioning just as many women do. Tonight, for instance, my questioning has revolved around whether I should augment my education, apply for a new role, and so on. I'm known to be hard on myself and tonight's theme is that I don't feel I'm doing enough to help others. I'm not using my gifts in expansive enough ways. 

Part of what I'm feeling stems from something that happened recently. I met a career woman at her business office who was wearing a cute little Christmas outfit. She was attractive and had what I would consider a serious career. Her behaviour was very professional.

Part of what I'm feeling as I think about her, is jealousy. When I compare my life to what I imagine hers is like, I feel I've short-changed myself.  I want to examine why I'm not more motivated to have a job like hers. I need to go to God with this because my understanding is that God has been in control of my life choices all this time. I need to ask him if I'm still in his plan or if I'm cutting corners. 


PROJECT ENDS

My husband and I have been busy with his mom and touring long-term care homes.  I've poured myself into this gap because he and his brothers have all been busy working at real jobs. 

We file an application this week. Then we wait for what comes next. I suggested to my husband I might feel lost once this time-consuming project comes to an end. I'll need a new project. 

He has assured me I will find one. Unfortunately, I've been at this crossroads so many times before that I fear it. If I don't find new direction quickly, despair may easily taunt me. 

Have you ever felt that way? A little lost after accomplishing a goal? A little lost when the dust begins to settle? 

PRAYING, FASTING AND NOTE-TAKING

In the past when I've felt like this, I have gone on what I call "A God's plan hunt." 

Sometimes I start this hunt with a new journal to write in. Often, I will choose to fast something, or I'll make a schedule or habit alteration. 

I'm sensing it is time to do this again. Sometimes that is how the books I write are birthed. Other times, I identify a step to investigate or project to work on. Most times, I gain some insight from God--which is what my soul really craves. 

THE PAYOFF

The reason for going on such a plan hunt is to allow myself to hear from God more specifically. Sometimes, I jot down big prayers and seek to move the hand of God. 

Most times, I receive peace from the process. I like to say, "When you don't know what else to do, you can fast and pray." 

Mostly, I don't want to miss the mark and waste my life. I need to ensure I'm on course. 

THE METHOD

When life is flowing and I'm preoccupied, I am lazy to write out prayers and insights. 

Sharing a house with my husband and grown son, I don't holler prayers out loud very often either so it feels like I've hardly prayed. 

A great way to work around these prayer issues is to  write out questions for God. Writing questions is a form of prayer.  Have you tried it? Would you like to do that too?

Then, I usually also have about three Christian books and a Bible handy. I will read a paragraph from each and jot down the theme of what I learn. Often the themes coincide. Sometimes I see/hear nothing in what I read. Other times, God grants me an answer to one of my questions. 

If you're in a phase of wanting to hear from God about what direction to go next, I urge you to do this type of exercise. 

Let me know how you make out. Feedback is very helpful to me. 

Purpose is Found Daily


I just read another woman's post on 'life purpose.' It was a Facebook post and I hesitated whether to "like" it or not.

Many have their own idea of what finding life purpose means. I've traveled that road of discovery over many years now, and I have my own 'take' on it. 

One of my takes is to not get too bogged down on it. Some seem to think we each have one big purpose. That one big purpose is what people are always trying to figure out--what big thing God wants them to do--what big rewarding door he will open. That idea can bog women down for years though, in my opinion. 

Most of us have many little purposes to fulfill. Not all of them will be pleasant either! (When I cleaned my preschooler's pants, I was living my purpose, but it wasn't pleasant!)

Most of us are already fulfilling them. If we abide with God, we know he directs our steps without a doubt. We merely need to stay involved. 

The author of the Facebook post suggested we identify our purpose, write it on a piece of paper, put it on the floor and practice taking steps toward it. 

I'm sure this exercise has some merit. It might be helpful for setting steps toward goals. But as for identifying one big life purpose to walk toward, makes the tiny purposes we fulfill daily seem like they don't count. 

FEELING PURPOSEFUL

Sometimes we don't feel purposeful because no one has acknowledged our contributions. Sometimes we don't feel we're living our calling because our calling comes so easy to us that it doesn't feel noteworthy. 

Yet the simple little ways we go about life, blessing others, helping others, pleasing God, getting errands done, doing chores, and using our skills, are all part of fulfilling our life purpose. 

If you are hung up on yours, why not start a habit of listing what you accomplished in a day whether in your own home or with or for others. Learn to appreciate the small tasks. 

You may not receive earthly reward or recognition, but you are storing up treasure in Heaven!

Diagrams to Aid in eBook Exercises



In the Kindle eBook pictured below, are several exercises to help a reader narrow down her top 5 passions. 

This post contains samples to help readers complete their exercises. 


What's Next in Midlife: Identify Your Top 5 Essential Passions:  A Self-Coaching Tool for Christian Women (Self-Coaching Tools for Christian Women Book 3) by [Garde, Rose]

Exercise #1 Ask Readers to List their Current Roles

These are things God has asked you to be part of right now.
You will use your passions within these roles. Here is a sample of the list created by fictitious "Wendy"

ROLES


Exercise #2
A reader is asked to predict her Top 5 Passions.

Fictitious Wendy has listed several passions. She assumes her top 5 are included in this list. 



Exercise #3

Please read the instructions in the eBook for this exercise. You may have several more pages in your results. 

Exercise #4
Again, please refer to the eBook.


Exercise #5
(may be coming soon)

Exercise #6

Your list will probably be longer if you answer all the questions. Here are sample answers by fictitious Wendy.



(more coming soon)

Now, fictitious Wendy will eventually look at all her lists and circle common words. For instance, here she has mentioned "travel" a couple of times as well as the word "organize." She mentions a few outdoor activities as well. Eventually, she will choose the words that make her feel most alive. 

I would like to add the tree and fruit diagram if time permits. Thanks for joining me.



God will Prompt You to Develop Your Passions


My pet dog has been my best friend and personal prompter for the last 11 years. The other day, she insisted I take her for a walk. It was a cold crisp day, so I put on warm clothes. 

Once we got moving, the air temperature no longer mattered. I breathed in the fresh air and enjoyed being in the outdoors.It had been far too long between walks. 
 
The result was I felt refreshed and renewed, ready to get on to new tasks with more energy. 

While outside I remembered why it felt so great--because being in the outdoors is one of my top five essential passions

When I had worked through the tests that are listed in my eBook on the topic, I coupled enjoying the outdoors with gardening since I don't garden in the winter but still need to get outside. 

My personal top five passions at the time I wrote the book (and still now) are:

  • Creating beauty through art and decor
  • Writing                                                     
  • Exercising                                                
  • Gardening and enjoying the outdoors  
  • Taking care of my home and family      

YOU'LL CRAVE YOUR PASSIONS

A few days later, I pushed myself outdoors again to work on Christmas lighting. Again, I enjoyed the new burst of energy that resulted. My body just seems to crave that fresh air combined with activity.

WHAT ARE YOUR PASSIONS?

The ebook talks about finding the passions that have been common themes throughout life. They are things you can't not have in your life to feel balanced. 

Your passion might be completely different from mine. Maybe you are energized by shopping in the core of a busy city. Maybe you love choosing fresh vegetables and cooking new dishes. Maybe you love the look and feel of fabric and have a need to quilt.  

LET GOD PROMPT YOU

Matthew 6:8b says, "...our Father knows what you need before you ask him." 

I believe the Father prompted my dog to annoy me enough to go outside because He knew I needed it.


Have you narrowed down your top five passions? You most likely have more passions than five. But you should find some more predominant than others.

Serving God and doing Bible study are givens, so when you make your list, choose passions outside of those. 

Feel free to share yours in the comments section.