Filter your words

I scrap a lot of posts…

There’s no telling how many times I get to 200 words and hit delete. (Maybe I should start a file of my “Almost got posted” words.)

Here are a few reasons I scrap posts: 

  • I’m thinking too negatively about a subject.
  • It’s just a really silly topic.
  • I’m simply spewing unprocessed emotions.

I started this blog to put into writing the everyday happenings and thoughts of my 25 year old self. 

Of course, my mind always wanders back to you, my reader, because I want these posts to be a source of encouragement to you as well.

Years ago, a friend of mine jokingly said she processes everything through her Jesus filter. 

I know she was joking, but I seriously do process everything through that filter.

What would Jesus say?

What would Jesus post on Facebook?

A lot of heartache would be avoided if we’d only think before speaking (or posting). In fact, just today I said the right thing in the wrong way.

Did you catch that?

It was the right thing to say, but I said it the wrong way, so I ended up needing to apologize to a good friend of mine for not being sensitive to her situation. 

Words are powerful.

Everything you and I say is either building someone up or tearing someone down. 

There is a time and place to share unfiltered words and thoughts–and it’s not on blogs or on Facebook or to any random stranger you meet.

For this reason, self-control is just as much about knowing when to speak as it is about watching what you say. 

 

 

 

Overcoming Off Days

I had such a hard time staying on track at work. While I was talking to one student, the name of a school course completely left my mind. 

One minute the title was there and the next?

Poof!

My want to vaporized so every task–even my interaction with fellow classmates–was an act of will. 
Things eventually turned around, but that wasn’t until much later. 
The smartest choice at times like these is to keep your mouth shut. You won’t get into trouble later that way. 

Plus, when I’m cranky, it’s easy for me to complain…

This leads to more guilt and only digs the hole deeper. 

The truth is everyday will not be awesome. You’ll be off kilter and need help getting back on track. 

Pray, talk to a friend, take a walk, nap–whatever it takes to work through the funk. 

The key is to not create unnecessary messes to be dealt with later when you’re back to normal. 

Not-so-fun lessons

IMG_1566If you know me, you know that I like when things are fun. The more fun something is, the better! 

And, today, I had to learn a not-so-fun lesson…

 

I had to bite my tongue and walk away from some unnecessary rudeness that was directed towards me. 

What I wanted to do was react–I was angry!

What I chose to do was to walk away and to forgive.

Everything within me wanted to lash out. The words were right there, aimed and ready to be fired.

Honestly! I’m a student at Rhema! I sit under the Word for 3 hours a day. And I can’t control my tongue? 

It was this thought that stopped me from doing something stupid, from tearing someone to shreds over nothing, really. The lady was being herself and I know her heart was not to send me into a frenzy. 

Why am I sharing this story?

Because words matter and reputations are ruined in minutes. 

And here’s a reason even better than not making yourself look like a fool:

Every person matters. Tearing someone down is destroying what God says is most important. 

This is why the Bible talks a lot about how to interact with others–and giving someone a piece of your mind is not one of God’s instructions.

Now, let me throw the grenade, the thought that had me repenting pretty fast: 

How many times have I been forgiven for being careless with my words? 

BOOM!!!!

Put down your weapons, Audra. This is no time to attack.

Some lessons are not fun to learn. The sooner you learn them, though, the sooner you can get back to helping and loving others, which is the most fun you and I will ever have. 

 

 

Say no to yourself

You don’t have to eat sweets everyday, Audra!

I like food. All food. 

Sweet. 

Sour. 

Savory. 

Salty. 

If it’s food, I like it.

Unless it’s liver…I draw the line at liver. 

Self- control with food is hard. Just take a stroll down the weight loss section of your local bookstore. 

Hundreds of books!!!

Yet most people fail their diets. 

The problem is not so much the food you eat, though, pizza and cheeseburgers everyday isn’t helping you. 

The problem is self-control. Gluttony is a real vice.

Moderation is key, but where’s the fun in that?

Not everything has to be fun. 

I want ice cream and chocolate right now. There will be no delicious goodness tonight. 

Am I happy about this deprivation? 

Absolutely not!

Saying no to yourself is not always fun, but it’s the small choices that snowball into big changes. 

The thing about advice

Beware of “If it was me” statements. 

You know the ones I’m talking about…

  • If it was me, I wouldn’t go there. 
  • If it was me, I wouldn’t do this or that. 
  • If it was me, he/she wouldn’t have gotten away with that behavior. 

I am bad about making these blanket, hypothetical statements. 

There’s nothing wrong with different temperaments and personalities. Being different is not the enemy. 

On the other hand, doing stupid, sinful things is a problem and I’m not condoning bad behavior. 

Not everyone, though, is asking for my advice and not everyone cares what I think. 

Sharing these kinds of thoughts in conversation with others can quickly morph into gossip and criticism sessions as well. 

Just be careful with your words. 

I can’t stress this topic enough because it’s of utmost importance. 

Being rude and tactless is not an effective tool for anyone who wants to have a place of influence in another’s life. 

I’ve also seen these rash, unfiltered comments slam shut the door of the gospel. 

Every word counts, every word is powerful, and every word either builds or destroys. 

Think about that the next time your mouth gets away from you. 

Guard your response 

Be careful who you offload on….

Have you ever waited on hold for longer than 30 minutes and no one has a solution to your problem?

Talk about a frustrating situation. 

I’m not proud to say that on many occasions my response was not what it should’ve been. 

Yes, I repented and felt guilty–the whole gamut–but you can’t take back your words.

Let me say that again: You can never take back your words. 

The quicker you learn to surrender your tongue to the authority of the Holy Spirit, the better. 

Getting frustrated at the customer service men and women–most of whom are from India–will not make your problems go away. 

Frustration only begets more frustration. 

I’m not trying to excuse companies with poor customer service or faulty products. 

It’s just that our angry dialogues to customer service representatives aren’t changing anything. 

So why waste your breath?

Why work yourself into a frenzy?

The only person who ends up looking bad and feeling worse is you. 

When comfort doesn’t come

I struggle with being assertive.

Being nice? Having fun? Keeping things light and fluffy?

Welcome to my comfort zone or my discomfort zone, depending on the day.

Lysa TerKeurst says it best:

Having a comfort zone doesn’t mean you’re always comfortable.

I’m being stretched in this area at work. Accountability in the work place, especially for those of us in management positions, means holding meetings to discuss progress.

Guess who’s the bearer of bad news?

Yeah. Fun-loving Audra.

And most of the time it’s not terrible news. Managers are just trained to notice things that are not going well–and then come up with strategies for improvement.

I’ll be really honest with you. I have to pray a lot when receiving instruction and correction. When my thoughts are allowed to go off alone, I take it personally–and even my controlled thoughts find me vulnerable.

Receiving instruction with grace is always a choice I have to make.

This is one struggle that can send my emotions and relationships into a tailspin. One of my goals for next year is to deconstruct this area and come up with a battle plan.

IMG_1566For now, though, I’m sitting in a hard place. Things have gone wrong and all I can do is clean up the mess.

Can I give you some advice?

Don’t ignore warning signs.

Don’t put off conversations.

Pretending everything is okay, will be okay, can be okay is not helping.

Which brings me back to being assertive in the workplace…..

If management teaches you anything it’s how to conquer fear, especially when your fear pops up as a subject in a meeting about your personal performance.

Here’s what I’m learning as I face up to my insecurities about giving/receiving instruction and correction:

Dealing with a problem is always uncomfortable. Stop waiting for comfort to come along. It won’t.

Don’t fall in the muck hole

IMG_1566When did being raunchy become the new standard?

The filth that spews out of music and television….

Trying to find a decent comedian to listen to or a movie to watch is nearly impossible.

And then I read up on the Miley Cyrus incident. (Need I say more?)

Sometimes I think we’re living in the time of the cavemen. People behave like they have to respond to their every feeling and impulse.

“I’m an animal with no self-control!” is the new mantra.

For a culture that’s supposedly “civilized” we enjoy muck a bit too much.

Our obsession with sex is out of control.

What I find ironic is that no one wants to get married but everyone wants to hop into bed.

This craziness has seeped it’s way into Christian circles too. (Though no one is willing to talk about it.)

Today, it’s almost like you have to make a choice:

A) Be as crude and vulgar as you possibly can.

B) Be a Puritan.

I’m neither brazen nor puritanical in nature.

I just don’t want to abuse a gift from God.

I’ve had more single friends tell me, “Oh! It’s so cute you’re still a virgin.” or “Loosen up. You’ll never find a guy who’s a virgin anymore.”

Since when did the concepts of virginity and purity become “cute”?

It’s time we stop believing the cultural lies about sex because these lies are leading us to a dangerous place where even the most “civilized” and “evolved” among us can’t reason their way out.

Internet 101: Nothing can be erased

If you grew up in the ’90s, chances are someone in your family watched a talk show.

Jenny Jones, Oprah, Ricki Lake, Maury, Montel…..

As a kid, I thought your life had to be pretty bad to go on a talk show.

  • You had a kid and after three paternity tests you don’t know who the father is?
  • Your biggest fear is a jar of mayonnaise?
  • Your husband/wife had how many affairs and you found out on a TV show?

Somewhere along the way talk shows–like Furbys, Beanie Babies, and Lisa Frank–lost their popularity. Sure, they still exist today but who really watches them now?

And then the internet came along….

  • Businesses hire and fire based on your Facebook page.
  • Cyber bullying is rampant.
  • Ashley Madison was hacked.

The internet is a great tool, but it can wreck your life too.

Imagine your worst mistake being used as the punch line for a meme, being wrote about by every blogger in the blogosphere, and becoming a viral video on YouTube.

nothingerasedWelcome to the dark side of the internet, my friend.

There needs to be more talk about using discretion on the internet. The information you put online can’t be erased. I don’t care what anyone tells you otherwise. Take a look around.

Welcome to the biggest global talk show.

Everyone is watching.

A quick Google search, a little digging, and a lot of sharing is all it takes to ruin a reputation.

This is the reason why the Ashley Madison scandal breaks my heart. No doubt about it. The people who were exposed are in the wrong. I’m not defending their actions.

But their spouses and children are caught up in this mess too.

Keep this in mind as you use the internet.

The consequences of your actions really do affect others.

Internet 101: Think before you post

It’s really easy to be mean on the internet.

You can leave a comment or tweet anonymously.

You can post sarcastic memes in an attempt to be clever.

The sky’s the limit in the worst kind of way.

I know that the internet has a lot of good purposes, but that also means it casts shadows as well.

There is–and always will be–two sides: good and evil, right and wrong.

Be on guard as you use social media platforms.

Be on guard as you send emails.

Be on guard as you blog.

There are many days that I could get on here and share all kinds of things. My emotions and feelings can kick into overdrive faster than I realize.

But not everything has to be shared with the world.

Self-control is needed in this area.

My newsfeed on Facebook and Twitter is a mess…

Some things are mean, others are just silly and pointless.

Nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to what people will and will not share online.

This oversharing pandemic happens because many of us have never experienced the depth of a tight knit community.

Our culture’s tendency is to walk through life alone, without friends and family there in the crucial moments.

So we get online and start blabbing and blabbing and blabbing.

Or we hide our anger and resentment behind clever statuses and tweets.

This bad cultural trend will lead us down a dark path if we’re not careful.

Beware, my friend, of what you share.

Think before you post.

Get some real, two-dimensional friends who offer support–not just likes and re-tweets.

I am not a hater of technology, but we have to get a grip.