A different kind of Follower

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What's the first thing that comes into your mind when you think about being a follower?  Do you think of that term positively or negatively?  If someone said they wanted to follow you, would you be honored or annoyed? Outside of the Christian mindset of being a follower of Jesus, in my mind, I've given "being a follower" a negative connotation.  Maybe I'm channeling too far back, thinking about being a follower in the middle school days which was more likely referred to as being a copy cat...but I can vividly remember being annoyed when so-and-so would do something exactly like I did it, or literally follow me around on the playground when she didn't really ask me if she could do that.  One of my friends even went so far as to get super mad at me because she thought I cut my hair to be just like her!  For whatever reason, that idea has left a bad taste in my mouth about being a follower.  Like I want to say, "Why don't you just do things your own way?  If you're a follower that must mean that you aren't cool enough to be unique and do things your own way."

But really, isn't being a follower more like saying- "hey I think you are cool! So much so, that I want to be like you!" When someone follows you on Instagram or Twitter, are you annoyed or going to call them a copy cat?  No, you'll probably think it's affirming- that they like what they see.  And same for this space.  If someone started following me on bloglovin, I wouldn't be annoyed, I would be thrilled!  It would be an encouragement that someone likes what I have to say, right?

What got me thinking about all of this, was a discussion I had with my new bible study group where we were talking about what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  A part of our study was reading an article called Following Christ, by a man named Joseph Stowell.  In his article he talks about his relationship with his wife as compared to that of being a follower.  He talks about how he loves his wife so much that he continually wants to get to know her, he wants to care for her as best as he can, he wants to be where she is, and he is so compelled by her that he has been with her for 32 years now (as of 1996 when the article was written).  He says, "It is the pleasure and power of that relationship that affects not only my conduct toward her, but also the way I live all of my life."  That's one of the things that got me thinking, because doesn't that make following sound really awesome?

Instead of it being a negative connotation it's more like- I like you, I think you're really great.  And because of that, I want to get to know you so well, to understand how you live so that I too might live like you.  The way Stowell writes this, really put it into perspective for me.  He said, "the New Testament word for 'following'..."involves identifying so intimately with the one being followed that we incorporate our lives with his."  Based on this perspective of following, I most definitely want my relationship with my husband to reflect this idea; for our relationship to be so strong and so intimate that it affects how we live our lives.  And even more importantly, I want this to be so true of my relationship with Christ.

I think this is an area that I have been a little flat on lately.  I love Jesus and I know and value the fact that through Him I can have a relationship with God, but it's like I have put that relationship on the back burner.  He's still very much a part of my life and my thoughts, but I have not been intentional about pursuing the relationship, learning more about Him, and making it stronger.  And yet I still ask myself questions like, "why do I feel so far from Him, and why am I making stupid choices when I know that I want to live like He is living?"  Well, I mean, duh!  If I'm not as close to Him, how am I going to more easily walk in his ways?  (Same with my husband- how am I going to know how he needs to be cared for if we never talked to each other or something!)

Thinking about my relationship with Christ in this light, is the motivation I have needed to kick it back into gear.  Stowell encouraged this thinking by saying, "When I am far away form Him, replicating His character and conduct will seem like too tough a chore.  When, however, He is the central relationship in my life, radical reformation becomes the intriguing adventure of life."  I don't want to be so far away from Him that living like Him seems impossible.  I want to be up close and personal, getting to know Him more and more so that the essence of who He is just pours out of me.

Although this summer is crazy and sometimes it seems like there's not enough time in the day to be intentional about relationships, my hope and prayer is that this will be the encouragement I needed.  That the desire to be closer will truly motivate me and push me forward.

How Lavender Changed my Life

Monday, July 14, 2014

For as long as I can remember, I have had trouble sleeping.  I've always been a night owl, so that probably plays into it a bit - but there comes a time when your body can't handle the college student hours of staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning.  After college, trying to dial back my hours to be a bit more normal just did not work for me.

Wayyy too many times I would go to bed around 11 or so, and lay there forever.  2:00 would roll around, then 3:00, sometimes 4:00 and by then I'm so frustrated with the fact that I am not sleeping that it's almost impossible to sleep because I'm all worked up.  Any time I had a big event for work, I could almost guarantee that this would happen.  Before going on a retreat, when I would really like the most sleep to help prepare for a work trip, I would not sleep the night before.  Then I would just pray that the fact that I'm so tired would make me be able to sleep the next night.  

There was one period, a couple years ago that it got so bad, I really thought I was going to lose my mind.  Two weeks, two really long weeks- I got maybe 1 or 2 hours of sleep a night.  It was terrible.  I would get so frustrated, move to the couch, try to watch TV, read, do anything to make myself get tired.  And then the cycle just continued, until I got so frustrated, was basically in tears and made an appointment with my doctor.  Long story short, I got little to no help, was sent home with a low-dose anti-anxiety medicine to try to help me get back on a cycle and then I was left on my own.  Thank God I got through those weeks of not sleeping, but my battle with sleep was definitely not over.  

That is until I met Lavender.  

Having tried essential oils here and there when my mom would pass something my way, I was a little skeptical.  But all of that changed when Lavender essential oil changed my sleep life.  My mom had at one point passed a bottle of Young Living's Lavender Essential oil, and for awhile it just sat in my cupboard.  But one night, when I was laying there in my lack of sleep I decided to look up a few remedies with essential oil.  I googled "lavender essential oil for sleep" or something of the like.  And praise God, I found the information that made an amazing difference in my life.  2 or 3 drops of lavender dropped into my left palm rubbed clockwise with my right hand and then rubbed on my spine, is all it took to promote restful sleep, turning me into a good sleeper.  

When I say Lavender changed my life, I know that it sounds like one of those over-exaggerated statements to which you'd want to respond with an eye roll and "yeah okay".  But I mean it.  Sure, I still have a few nights here and there where I have a hard time falling asleep, but it has never been the same.  Before Lavender, I was skeptical about the power of essential oils but now I am believer, and I'm hooked.  (And Lavender is for much more than just sleep!! It's great for helping maintain a healthy life in regards to anxiety, cuts, and burns- including sunburn!)  It was like my gateway drug because now I'm all about trying different oils to better my physical and emotional health.  

If there's something that you're struggling with in your life, like I was with sleep, I highly encourage you to check out the amazing resource in essential oils.  If there's any way that I can encourage you or help you learn more about what they could do for you, please don't hesitate to contact me.  I am very much still learning but love being able to share what I know, in hopes that I might be able to help others get connected to this amazing blessing that the Lord has given us.


July is here!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Good grief... can anyone tell me where June went?!  I sincerely apologize for my absence on lovemin - life has been crazy!!!  Things should definitely think about slowing down this summer.  Despite the craziness, June has been an awesome month.

Here's where I came out on my goals:
  • read "Where'd you go, Bernadette?" - having a hard time getting into this one, we'll see
  • host a Young Living class!!! - TUESDAY this is happening :)
  • get some quality water skiing action in up north, as much as possible 
  • change up my hairstyle  I'm a blonde again!
  • go on a date with my man - this NEEDS to happen. We have been basically passing in the night
  • soak up my favorite TV show - So You Think You Can Dance - love love love this show
  • make the front yard pretty- aka pull out most of the greens (there's too many) - I'm crossing out half because I definitely made progress, but I'm still working on this.
Not everything I wanted to do got done, but one amazing thing happened... we took my mom on a surprise trip for her 60th birthday and it was so great.  I'll tell you more of the story later (and share some pics of the beauty in Maine- check out a few on my Instagram) but it went off without a hitch.  Every day she kept saying, "this is so surreal" and "another beautiful day in paradise." So I am thinking that it was a success.

As for July.... I feel like I am just trying to keep my head on straight.  As much as I love summer, it is just so busy.  Every single weekend from now until September is booked.  They are all great things, but yikes- it's nice to have a little freedom in the schedule here and there.  Oh well, I am going to do my best to soak up all the goodness and take free moments to create spontaneous fun.  Here's what's on the docket for my goals.
  • go on a date with Chris- for real this time
  • soak up warm summer days – go to the beach or sit out on a patio
  • find peace amidst the crazy – take a day for me to breathe
  • read a novel
  • get dressed up and go out- dinner, dancing, wine, or something
  • think more about blog stuff – what do I want to make of this space?

That's all I've got for now!  Looking forward to re-energizing and gearing up for another crazy but awesome month.  Praying that yours may be equally amazing.

Want to share your goals? 
Join me as I link up with Hayley over at The Tiny Twig.

The Tiny Twig

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