Keep your windshield clear!
It’s hard to see out of a dirty windshield. Plain and simple. But, one little bug here and there, or a little dirt doesn’t necessarily keep us from seeing out of our windshield, right? And sometimes, we can even let things build a little – maybe even a lot – before we actually realize we can’t even see where we are going.
There are so many issues when we can't see clearly - we might turn down the wrong path, we may even go off the path all together, we might end up traveling down a road we were never meant to travel. If we can’t see to keep our journey in check, we definitely can’t help anyone else along their journey. And heaven forbid we steer them in the wrong direction because we can’t see what’s in front of us.
So, what’s our windshield? We see, feel, touch…we experience life, we filter everything through our emotions. How we feel any given day at any given time for any given reason. As women, we tend to be quite influenced by our emotions. When we are living an honest life, the little bugs that seem to splat on our windshields can easily be wiped away. They still hit the windshield, but you have enough water in that little button in your wipers to clean it off. Even when it rains cats and dogs and we just want to pull over, when we are prepared with sharp wiper blades, the water brushes aside almost as quickly as it hits the glass.
However, when we hide what’s going on inside, when we don’t surround ourselves with close confidants who can “tell us like it really is,” stuff inevitably starts building up on our windshields. We push our feelings down and let the hurt build. Someone hurts you and you push it down, you pretend you aren’t hurt but really, you ARE hurt. Or maybe you get let down by a friend. Again, you push your feelings down and hide them. Maybe you find out your co-worker was recognized by your boss and you weren't. You know you SHOULDN’T be upset, but you are. You aren’t willing to admit that such seemingly insignificant things bother you. You lie to yourself. You don’t let anyone else know what you are dealing with. You don’t let anyone else help you get to the REAL root of any of those issues. Now your windshield isn’t only dirty, but the jealousy and bitterness that is building has caused you to take your eyes off the road entirely.
Now I’m NOT saying you SHOULD allow little things to bother you. As believers, we need to be spiritually minded and try to see the bigger picture. However, we ARE human and there will be things that hurt us in this life. What happens when you allow something that genuinely hurt you to sit? Something begins to grow. It grows and it develops roots. Then one day, somebody says or does something and you explode – you look up and you can no longer see the road, so much so that you now run the risk of wrecking the car. What grows is ugly and it’s dangerous. Jealously and bitterness are 2 emotional cancers that can destroy much more than your ability to lead.
Most of the time, it is easier to disguise what’s going on inside than to admit we are struggling with something. But, we have got to keep our windshields clear! Try your best not to hide your feelings and let disappointing emotions build up in your life. And don’t deny them in an effort to make them disappear, either. We’re talking about being transparent. You can’t pretend nothing is bothering you so you CAN pretend to have a clear windshield. The truth WILL come out – one way or another, your true emotions will emerge. Don’t simply DENY that you are struggling. That doesn’t keep your windshield clear – it only adds mud to it. And in the end, it will take a lot more to get your windshield clean.
Sometimes you can clean that windshield all on your own. If you admit what’s been going on, maybe even go to the person you are upset with and let them know they hurt you – they may not even know it. Sometimes, simply praying and confessing to God how you feel can make you feel better. Sometimes writing a letter that you trash when you are done helps – it’s a safe way to vent so nobody but God has to hear. :) Sometimes, praying for the person who hurt you will help since it's hard to stay mad at someone you are praying for.
But sometimes, you just can’t do it on your own. I wouldn’t suggest you share your challenges with just anyone, but find some peers, friends, mentors that you CAN be honest with, who make you feel safe to be transparent. These women can help you keep your windshield clear. They can encourage you as you cry and they can challenge you to see the big picture. It’s not always easy to get that windshield clean. It may take a little scrubbing – it may even take someone else helping you to scrub. It may be a little embarrassing that you weren’t able to clean that windshield on your own, but it’s ok. God has given us those friends – allow Him … to work thru them … to help you.
Being a "Christian" doesn’t mean you never struggle, never have questions, never lose your cool, and never make a mistake. Being a Christian means that even when you are struggling you have the hope in Jesus that you can grow thru your struggle and become a better person on the other side of it. Being a Christian is recognizing that you can’t do things on your own. It is discerning who to ask for help and then having the courage to do so. Being a Christian means keeping bitterness and jealousy off of your spiritual windshield so you can not only see your own path, but so you can help guide others as well.
Praying for us all to have clean windshields!!!
Thanks for being you,
and for allowing me to be me!
Pressures are everywhere and we deal with different pressures every day of our lives. It's important to acknowledge the fact that, just as tires lose a certain amount of pressure over time with simple wear and tear, so do we.
Let’s look at a few ways to make sure we have and keep the best balance of pressures in our lives - the best balance of pressure to keep us productive and effective for God.
First, when it comes to tires, we need to learn the recommended tire pressure for the actual vehicle, not just the tire. This isn’t found on the tire, but is found on the vehicle itself (or in the manual).
Remember, we are each UNIQUE! We are all different! We are created that way! We all work differently and we can all handle different amounts of pressures. YOU need to learn how much YOU can handle. Don’t overcrowd your schedule or take on more than you know you can handle, just because someone else seems to. Be honest about how much you can handle. Be honest with yourself and be honest with others. Just as the vehicle’s recommended tire pressure is on the vehicle, YOU are the only one who can decide what your schedule should look like. Listen to what the Lord tells you – He’ll guide you!
2ndly, choose a time to check your tire pressure regularly and stick to it. You can’t check it once and never check it again.
Situations change, so does our ability to handle pressures. Keep evaluating your life, your situations, your job, your family's needs, your needs, your areas of contribution in the community and all of the things in your life. Again, you won’t be as productive or effective as you could be if you take on more than you are created to take on, OR if you choose to take on responsibilities that someone else is better suited for.
The 3rd tip is to use a high quality pressure gauge and ck the pressure when the tires haven’t been driven more than a few miles, AND when the tires are at the same temperature as the air around them, in other words, not in extreme temperatures.
Find quality women who can help hold you accountable. They can help you gauge when you don’t have the proper balance of pressure in your life. And don’t be pressured by extreme situations that can influence you to make extreme decisions.
Lastly, remember to check all 4 tires. Don’t assume any one of them is ok bc the others are. And don’t forget to check your spare tire – that’s just plain good advice. :)
I’ll end with a quote:
“Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.” - Thomas J. Watson
Again, we are going to lose some steam at different times of our lives simply due to normal wear and tear. Whether you realize it or not, others are watching you and you have influence in their lives. We need to make sure we aren’t out of balance with over or under-inflated tires. It’s our responsibility to make sure we don’t get in our own way by overcommitting and underperforming so we can be as productive and effective as we were created to be.
Thanks for being you!
If you've been to any of our SHE events, you've know we love the JOURNEY concept. We are all on a journey - this life is our journey. It's not as much about the exact destination we are trying to reach as it is about becoming who God uniquely created each one of us to be.
So, if we are on a journey, then we must have a vehicle. I'm not referring to the vehicle you have to get you from your house to Hobby Lobby or Lowes or your church. :) I'm talking about your very own personal vehicle that God designed for you in which to travel thru life - YOU! Sometimes our “personal vehicles” need some maintenance - an adjustment, a tweak, a tune up. While there is definitely a need to maintain our physical vehicle - our body itself, we want to discuss some maintenance for our Spiritual and Emotional vehicles. For the next few weeks, we're going to be blogging about this type of "Maintenance" and we hope it blesses you!
Our first area for maintenance is TIRES.
How many of you have ever experienced a flat tire? We all know we need to have some air in our tires, but did you realize that just as under-inflated tires can slow you down, over-inflated tires can keep your car from traveling at its best and can even be dangerous?
Many things can affect tire pressure. Some things include normal air loss thru the tire itself, payload, temperature and damage to the tire. Tires lose a % of air every month just due to regular wear and tear.
What happens when the pressure is too low? Pressure that’s too low leaves too much of the tire in contact with the road. These tires wear early and have the potential to overheat. That under-inflation can lead to tire failure or reduce the tread life by as much as 25%!
Tire pressure that’s too high results in less tire touching the ground. This can create a harsher ride as well as compromised traction. The tires can be damaged more easily when they run over potholes or debris. And, over time, over-inflated tires lead to excessive inner tire tread wear which can decrease the overall life of the tire.
Balancing pressures in our lives works much the same way. We need pressures in our lives, but we need to make sure they are balanced - we can be neither under-inflated nor over-inflated. We automatically have a level of pressure on us daily. But we can allow these pressures to help us grow personally and help sustain us or we can allow unncecessary pressures to overwhelm us and keep us from becoming all we were created to be.
BALANCE is the key!
We can choose to highly reduce pressures in our lives by reducing the things we do. We can delete everything from our schedule, sit at home, and do nothing. BUT, this kind of lifestyle could leave us UNDER-INFLATED, and we weren’t created that way! God, Himself is relational. God, Himself created, Jesus walked the earth and did miracles and spoke and led others. But we see God and Jesus both set examples of balance for us. God rested on the 7th day and we see Jesus pull away from the crowds plenty of times.
Yes, we are human “beings” and there’s a time for just BE-ING, but we need some level of pressure to help us grow and become all God created us to be. Under-inflation (too low of pressure) can significantly reduce our productivity for God.
On the other hand, OVER-inflation (too many pressures) can create a much bumpier ride and can reduce our effectiveness for God. Putting too many things on our calendar and not knowing how to prioritize can leave us feeling overwhelmed and frazzled.
Again, BALANCE is the key! We each need to find the balance that will work best for us! We were created unique and we each have a unique amount of pressure that we are capable of handling. It takes time and intentional effort, but if we can take the time to figure it out, we will be further along our Journey to becoming ALL God created us to be!
We'll talk more about ways to stay balanced next week. :)
Thanks for being on this journey with me!
Thanks for being YOU!
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