Life is a journey of roller coasters, road trips, wave surfin' and sunset sailing. Okay, so I didn't mention mountain climbing, hamster wheels and well, the list is infinite. Fake it till you make it?  Naively march onward? Paralized with fear? Not sure of the "right" response? Me either. Despite the endless confusion of whirlwinds and indescribable emotional responses, I have found peace resting with this mantra:

"Thy will be done"

It works for EVERY life situation.


Dog die? "Thy will be done"


Dad unexpectedly died? "Thy will be done"


Receive a promotion? "Thy will be done"


Your boss received a promotion on Your work? "Thy will be done"


Fired? "Thy will be done"


Computer isn't working? "Thy will be done"


Kids acting up? "Thy will be done"


Unethical practices in church? "Thy will be done"

Brutality of women, children and families in the Congo? "Thy will be done"

Wait a minute, how can kidnapping, rape and murder be God's will? This is going too far... 

So the question we all face: How can God be good allowing or ordaining such awful things to happen? Is this God's will? Do I really want to support or endorse God's will? Yes, we are suppose to deny ourselves and trust God but let's be real here for a moment. If God is so powerful and loving, why is the world such a mess?


The words of Jesus in his Parable of the Weeds and Wheat Mathew 13 have been helpful to me when I find myself in this divide (which I often do)

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”.


Jesus later gives the following explanation:

1. Sower = Jesus

2. Field = World

3. Good Seed = God's Children (people doing good works?)

4. Weeds = Children of Evil (people doing evil?)

5. Enemy = Satan

6. Harvest = End of World

7. Reapers = Angels

The bad seeds or weeds of evil are an intrusion, to God's children. Removing these weeds from the field would remove good so we are called to live with evil and wait for the harvest to be siphoned. "Thy will be done" or more fittingly ""Thy will be done on earth and heaven."


Whether in the next 30 seconds or 30 years, your life is destined to hit a bump, tidal wave, train wreck, or dark spot. The possibilities are endless. Rest in the most basic Christian Mantra for ALL of Life's Happenings: "Thy will be done."


Hultgren, A.J. (2000). The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary. Wm. B. Eardmans Publishing Co. Cambridge, U.K. Pages 392-303.

Need GREAT faith in your life? Jesus tells us in Mathew 17:10, "if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you".

I remember a few years back when my baby was ill and his army of doctors were unable to keep him healthy. Thousands of dollars in testing and long lonely nights haunted me as the medical experts tried to figure out the cause of illness. I needed a mountain to move and it did...with 3 steps.

 

1. Envision the Outcome--The truth is that everyone has faith. Unfortunately, we often have faith in the worst possible scenario or negative outcome. During my son's time of illness, I had faith and believed he would be ill, because that is what I saw and nobody was giving me answers that were helping him. As long as I believed he would be ill, he remained ill. Finally it occurred to me that he could be well, despite the circumstances, I was able to believe he had the possibility of becoming a healthy, happy child that would play like a normal kid with the rest of the kids (he was significantly delayed in development too). Though Jesus was not around to heal my son (I would have traveled on foot many miles with a sick kid for this miracle), I remembered that Jesus left us the church with elders who anoint the sick with oil (James 5:14). We drove to Chicago to meet with the elders (the Bible said elders so I requested at least 2). Soon there after we met with a doctor who had a reasonable theory and immediately prescribed an easy but rare treatment. Within days my toddler son became healthy by taking an over-the-counter body building supplement 3 times a day. Who would have known his body does not produce enough of a specific amino acid essential for muscle development? I believe faith opened the door to find the answer.

 

2. Follow Through--Actions reveal our faith and desires. Wanting and finally believing my son could be better wasn't enough, I had to follow through on giving him his medication. Because of the illnesses, he did have other medications at the time. Being in the emotional state I was and having to take care of 3 other children as well as myself, house, husband and more, it was difficult for me to be compliant with the new medical routine. As a healthcare worker experienced in teaching people methods of compliance for a medical routine, this was embarrassing to me. I humbled out and got a home health nurse. She helped me develop a routine to dispense the meds ahead of time with a chart for the family. Yes I knew how to do all of this, yes I was too paralyzed to do it, yes I got help and yes it was worth it! Whatever your desired outcome, align your actions accordingly and this sometime takes sacrifice and a bit of humility.


3. Give Thanks--Most of the time results don't occur in a moment. Though my son's response to his new treatment was immediate with better health, it has taken several years to see him develop into a normal child. He is now 6 and runs around the playground, makes jokes and pulls pranks like any other boy. It's always a miracle to see him thrive and I give thanks! He still takes his medicine 3 times daily, fatigues quicker and requires a lot speech therapy to be understood. His doctor count has reduced from 5 to 3. He's still developing and the mountain is still moving in his life and mine. Giving thanks through the process allows me to enjoy the journey.

In fitness I frequently deal with people who want to change their health bodies. Often this task appears to be an unmovable mountain. The mountain can of course move but will not move overnight. Having the maturity and patience to envision a desired outcome, follow through, and give thanks through the process, will creat faith and move a mountain.

My dad was an Egyptian immigrant.  Unfortunately most of the Arabic I learned was cussing. As a child, I knew I was in deep trouble when dad's lecture turned Arabic. I never did hear him cuss in English, or at least until I was an adult.  After becoming a Christian, I made the conscious decision to quit cussing, at least out loud.  It took a few years for those serviceable four-letter words to quit running through my mind. They still come and go. Now-a-days I tell my prepubescent children that cussing is for people who aren't creative, calm, and clever enough to find something worthy of saying. I hope their pride will be stronger than their tongue!

Let's face it, cussing is negative and does damage.  As a rehabilitated former cusser, I would like to share some strategies that helped me quit cussing.

 

1.  Creative Words

Finding descriptive, creative words to use not only exercises the brain, but makes for more interesting conversation. Take for example you hit your finger with the hammer, which response is more others focused ?

  1. *&^#$, 
  2. Ouch, or
  3. Son, this is why you should learn to concentrate in school! (face very bright red with grunting undertones)

2.  Stay Calm

Easier said than done. A practical solution here is to take a breath before cussing, see if it stops the cussing reflex.  I'll see you in yoga and meditation here soon?  

3.  Earshot

What helped me immensely was staying out of earshot of cussing.  This is extremely difficult when all of your friends and itunes library cusses.  The songs are definitely easier to clean up than friends.  If you can't dump your cussing friends--unless their involved in illegal activity, I suggest you keep them around--I suggest mentally blotting out their cuss words.  For example, if they use the f-bomb, you mentally say to yourself "flower" (or other f-word) as you repeat the phrase to your self, mentally rewinding and rewiring your brain for a cuss-free zone.  

4.  Visual Assassination

This off-beat suggestion seems a little crazy but worked for me.  Whenever I would slip up to say or think a cuss word, I would mentally assassinate it with a knife.  Yes, I killed the cuss words visually

5.  Think Positively

Cussing is negative.  The more positive of an outlook you have, the less urge you will feel to cuss.  Did I invite you to my YOGATHEA® class already?  Okay, good...see you then!

Life is full of circumstances and events that often paralyze us. The repercussions of untimely deaths, abuse, injustice and more continue to resonate in our lives as if they are happening now. We believe the message our past reminds us on how powerlessness and insignificant we can be. The more I navigate life, I realize a growing need to accept Christ's forgiveness and grace; though, somehow it's hard to let go and let the past be the past.

Letting go of the past and knowing Christ's grace frees us to embrace the future, no matter our age or circumstance. This is an ongoing process as we are people with memories and baggage and some memories and baggage weigh heavy in our subconscious.  I personally am still letting go of who I was and embracing what I am and who God has called me to be--my voicemail is getting full, can I say delete?  From this process I share with you 3 tips of what has helped me let go of my past:

 

1.  Meditate

It's hard to know what you really think if you aren't taking the time to listen to yourself.  Meditation can be very scary for people for just this reason, we think some scary things sometimes.  Sitting still and breathing as we listen to our irrational and condemning selves gives us courage and teaches us to have grace upon ourselves.  Through meditation I have learned not to spend $500 dollars on a $5 problem from the past (even when it was a $50,000 problem at the time!)

 

2.  Gratitude

I often tell my son, "When you think of good things, you will have a good life; when you think of bad things, you will have a bad life."  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree and sometime the advice we give our kids is just the advice we need for ourselves!  Taking time daily to give thanks for the smallest of things builds the foundation to outweigh and push out negative things that ensnare our spirits.  Jesus gave thanks before each miracle which tells me miracles aren't going to happen without an element of gratitude.

 

3.  Vision

Whether you want better relationships, a new career or added blessings, it takes a lot of courage to believe the best is coming because that involves change and trying new things that we will likely not be successful in, at least at first. Creating a vision for what you want, even if cloudy and distorted, allows you to bring that to God and manifest in your life. When starting my business, I had to take the time to envision what I wanted to accomplish with my business and how this would fit into my life. My life was already full so it required letting go of some of my present, and well, dropping the weight of my past. Making decisions and working towards your vision is your responsibility in faith. 

 

Letting go of the past is certainly easier to discuss than do, it takes an incredible amount of emotional energy though allows you to find God's grace. Daily practice of these three tips will send your past to voicemail, filling it up--delete!