Why I Am Done With Jealousy and You Should Be Too!

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

I am done with envy.

Finished with jealousy.

Cleaning it out of my life. No more. Goodbye.

I never got a Cabbage Patch Kid nor was a part of Brownies. These two things have rubbed me the wrong way my entire life. Why didn’t I ever get that squishy chubby faced doll and why didn’t I ever have the opportunity to wear that cute little brown sash over my shoulder?

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I was left out. Less than.

I attribute my inability to snuggle and cuddle to not having one of those sweet dolls. I attribute my lack of fashion sense and in ability to work well with others because I was never a Brownie.

Ewwww. These are gross thoughts to even be saying out loud. But…we all have these spots in our lives that keep us stuck.

Yes, first world problems. I get it. But, I don’t believe I am alone.

I want more more more.

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Never enough, always striving and doing until we fall down exhausted in our beds. Living the dream right?

We as women often act like we are in the Hunger Games, as I wrote about HERE.

I could blame it on the media, blame it on how I was parented, but it really all comes down to how I view the world.

And the truth is…envy, jealousy, and always wanting more leave me feeling really sluggish. Not green like people say green with envy, but sluggish and mushy and slimy. Icky.

Spring break this year put me over the edge. Sent me back to the day of Christmas morning when everyone BUT me had a Cabbage Patch Doll. The Facebook feed was overflowing with beautiful sunsets, dolphin kisses, and fruity drinks. As a Minnesotan who has spent the last six months in the frozen tundra, it makes sense to get out and bask in the sunshine. But it felt as if the rest of the world was on a beach and I was stuck inside my dirty house with three whiny bored kids.

I was insanely jealous.

So why not stop looking at the Facebook feed? Why not make lemons out of lemonade? Instead I was paralzyed by my jealousy.

I started questioning myself and I realized that I was almost feeding off it; the pictures and the jealousy, letting it fuel my fire to prove once again these two things:

1. I was missing out.

2. I wasn’t good enough.

How does any of this pining after what others have or are doing make me feel good?

It doesn’t. And it is a big fat waste of energy.

So how do you stop it?

Turn your mind. Change the lens.

I sat my old self down and said, “Knock it off.”

Then I chose gratitude.

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I started looking around at what I had. I started paying attention to what was right in front of me. And my family got off the couch and went and spent time together.

We didn’t need a beach. That was an excuse for me to stay in my misery. We needed time together doing stuff. We went rock climbing, roller skating, and best of all had meals together. It was so much fun.

I stopped looking over the fence at what everyone else was doing, and began (again…as this is a process) to pay attention to what was in my fence and find gratitude for it.

Then I changed my view…changed how I look at the pictures and the stories of others. Instead of, “Why can’t I?” or “Oh I wish!” I look through the pictures and say or write, “Look at them! Look at what they are doing. That is so wonderful. Yay for them!”

Celebrating others successes, celebrating with others for their joys is so much more fun than wishing it was mine.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma- which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuation.”Steve Jobs

I am enough. I have enough. And I want to live in a world of …YAY YOU! Good Job and keep going friend! 

Not a world of competition and jealousy.

I am done with it. Kaput. Sayonara. Won’t you join me?

“To be nobody but  yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” – E. E. Cummings 

Here is a great article on this topic if you want to read more!

Press onward friends; be each other’s ALLY running together side-by-side saying YAY YOU!!

Xo

Lee

A Book Not To Miss – Jesus Prom, by Jon Weece

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Watch the news any night, any day and you will see it…fear.

We turned on the news last night and received a hefty dose of it. A dose of the Boston Marathon trial, repeated images of the bombing, massacres in Kenya, more speculations on the German plane crash and even the 911 call of a terrified Sandra Bullock while an intruder was in her house.

This is not new information that news is fear based and filled with “shock-and-awe” and as much attention getting as possible. To compete with social media and the instant news world we live in now, there must be an angle.

Fear is an easy angle.

I can’t stand it.

But there are other people out there, other people who are doing the opposite of this fear infiltration.

Their stories aren’t on the news.

I wonder why we are hearing about the pilot who took down the plane, and not hearing about the other pilot who tried so desperately to rescue the plane. Where are his images? We hear about the terrorism in Kenya, but not the stories of the courage of those who stared down the barrel of a gun knowing they would die, yet still proclaiming Christianity.

I want to hear these stories. They are around, but you have to dig for them.

Bob Goff.

I was skeptical when I first started reading Bob Goff’s book, Love Does. “He is wealthy and has a lot of money, so he can love people passionately like that….I could do that too if I had a lot of money.” I said to my husband.

I kept reading and that book changed my life. I am fairly addicted to books and passionate about them, so I know I say this a lot. But this book, this book stuck with me. Slayed me. Challenged me. I wrote the review here about Love Does. I even had the pleasure of meeting him twice, and he is the real deal!!

Bob Goff

* My awesome friend Megan Hughes and the Jesus-Following-Love-Pouring Bob Goff hugging us strangers.  

The same skepticism was true when I was asked to review the book Jesus Prom: Life Gets Fun When You Love People Like God Does.

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Yes, I get it, the world “Jesus” turns many off right away. I wish the book would have been called “Joy Bomb” but then I realized, who the TRUE example of love is.

Jesus.

And that word, had people running away when he was alive and has people running away today. But the truth is, He (Jesus) Is LOVE. He is the best example we have of it, so he has to be in the title.

I was skeptical. I was judgmental about the book, once again saying, “He is a pastor who loves people. Well that is his job. Of course he is going to love people. I could do that too if I was a pastor. And he is Bob Goff’s friend, I could love people more if I was Bob’s friend!”

Oh friends, this is skepticism keeping us safe.

These messages we say to ourselves are what keeps us at a distance from others, and keeps us in our own heads.

Jon Weece, the author of Jesus Prom offers yet another Bob-Goffish-Jesus-like-love that ALL of us are called to.  A very simple and challenging message such as this:

Our role is to bring as much of heaven to earth today so that we can take as much of earth to heaven someday.”Jesus Prom

A challenge yet again, spoken in beautiful stories of a man who is living a life of love.

A radical decision to choose love over a life of fear.

A life of putting aside his own agenda, putting aside his own resentments and hurts and offering others one thing. Love.

Not Fear. Love.

The nightly news should be telling more of these stories.

I loved this book. I underlined and highlighted and even might read it again. I am a fumbler at love. It doesn’t come naturally and I am much better at being a judge. But books like this inspire and show me the way, so that I can hold my hands open in surrender asking the Holy Spirit for help, and then offer others the same gift that Jesus offers us.

We don’t turn our backs on people. We turn toward people, and we help them turn toward God.”  – Jesus Prom

Turn off the news. Get this book. You won’t regret it!

Jesus loved verbs. Find out why.”Jon Weece 

xo

Lee

Why Is It So Hard To Wait?

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Do you look at your phone while waiting at a red light?

I know you do, because I see you. Yesterday I watched a man reading his I-pad at a light, he was actually holding it up and reading it!

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We live in a have-it-right-now culture. Everything is instant. You no longer have to wait until you get home to know if someone called, or wait until you big sister stops giggling with her boyfriend to use the phone like I did when I was young. You can watch entire episodes of television shows in one sitting. You need an answer to anything…Google it. And now, the Apple Watch is coming, so you don’t even have to pick up your phone, it will be on your arm.

No more waiting. Everything now.

The demand for instant results is seeping into every corner of our lives, and not just virtually. Retailers are jumping into same-day delivery services. Smartphone apps eliminate the wait for a cab, a date, or a table at a hot restaurant. Movies and TV shows begin streaming in seconds. But experts caution that instant gratification comes at a price: It’s making us less patient.”  - Boston Globe

What would happen if we had to wait three days?

Three days for someone to text you back.

Three days to watch the next episode of Breaking Bad.

Three days for a response to an email.

It would be brutal. We can all say it wouldn’t, but we know it would be hard.

I have heard the story a thousand times, you know the one, the Easter story. The tomb was rolled away. He is Risen. That story. Yet, every year, a thread of the story stands out among the words and the vision and I see it from a different angle or a new light.

This year, it was the three days.

How hard it was for the disciples to wait three days?

Excruciating. Tormenting. He told them, he would be back. But they doubted, and feared and I bet they argued. I bet they were impatient and cross with each other. I bet they felt discouraged and frustrated. They couldn’t look on Twitter to find out the scoop, or hear others prohesize what might happen. They sat together in community, looking in each others eyes grappling with the questions. I imagine one of them saying, “What was all this for? All of this giving up of our lives, being fishers of men, and following this guy around…all of this so he could just leave!”

I bet they felt abandoned. I imagine they felt alone.

Yet, the answer was in the waiting. That Sunday was coming.

But three anxious, uncertain and depressing days had to happen first.

We had our kids put their devices away for a day and they could barely make it until 7:00 pm., we no longer stand in line and chat, but look at our phones, we have trouble waiting in this instant culture we live in. I can’t even imagine what the disciples would have been doing if this happened in 2015! Probably tweeting, googling, and maybe even playing candy crush while waiting. Instead of sitting in a room, and being together in their grief, worry and anxiety. It is hard for us to do that now, at least I know it is for me.

Three days is a long time.

But the world changed in three days.

Is it a long time? Is it a long time to wait? No.

Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be. – John Ortberg

So instead of wanting everything in an instant…I have been saying to myself, three days. The world can change in three days. Then instead of going to my phone, or scrolling through Facebook, I bow my head, take a breath, clasp my hands and pray.

And Trust.

And Wait.

Sometimes we need to give things three days, and Sunday will come.

Sunday always comes, dear friends.

Believe it will.

It might take three days, it might take longer, but have patience and trust.

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I am practicing this in my own life, won’t you? 

I pray to God–my life a prayer–and waitfor what he’ll say and do. My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning.” – Psalm 130:5-6 (MSG)

xo

Lee

Weighing In On Kelly Clarkson and Giuliana Rancic’s Weight

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Too fat. Too thin.

Pick your judgement, but in the end, no one wins.

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*Photos from Google Images 

I found it ironic as I was mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed to be bombarded with two news stories in the media that at face value seemed different but are actually exactly the same.

These stories focus on Kelly Clarkson and Giuliana Rancic for their weight.

One very cruel TV Personality said this about Kelly,

Look chubsters, Kelly Clarkson had a baby a year ago. That is no longer baby weight. That is carrot cake weight. Get over yourselves.”  - British Journalist Katy Hopkins

Kelly Clarkson Slams Body Shaming. 

And then Giuliana is blasted by this criticism:

#giulianarancic needs to eat a fully loaded baked potato on the fly. #GoldenGlobes,” one Twitter user stated, while another described the TV personality as “skin and bones” who got “sprayed one to many times with the spray tanner.” – ibtimes

So Giuliana responds to the weight concerns here.

Everyone has an opinion about how these ladies “should” look.

And both women are called to the carpet and the television shows to defend their weight. To reassure audiences that they like their bodies, or in Giuliana’s case, “I know I am too thin.”

Why do they have to do either?  

Kelly has an amazing talent and is on shows to promote her singing gift. Why then does society, and more importantly the media, need to criticize her weight?

Of course, I am overly sensitive to this as I work in the field of eating disorders. Every day I work with women and men of ALL sizes, whose lives have been tormented by an obsession with their weight.

In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS).-  National Eating Disorders

And then…

50.1 million Americans struggle to put food on the table.” - 11 Facts About Hunger In the US

And…

Nearly two-thirds of adult Americans are overweight or obese.” – Obesity Facts 

We are bombarded by the messages of our obesity crisis, and we are plagued by eating disorders, and yet many struggle to put food on the table.

Shouldn’t we be working to help, instead of picking people apart?

We have a problem. An epidemic.

A culture that continues to promote a message that says…

To live in America, you must be a certain size.

The judgement highlights both women in this place of, you are either too much or not enough.

What is the answer?

I only know from my own experience, I only know from how I try to live my life after almost losing it to a life threatening eating disorder. Instead of abusing my body, I strive to celebrate it, to take care of it, nurture it, and feed it.(And I thank God that I have food to eat.) In return, it offers me breath, children and life.

I find it precious. It is my friend.

For many years it was my enemy, but no more. We made up. I treat it with kindness and it in return offers me signals, intuition as well as a ride to wherever I am going.

Do you have a hard time with your body, because it isn’t what society says it is supposed to be?

Well I don’t blame you. You know why? Because to emerge with a healthy body image in a culture that is constantly telling us to mold and shape and fix…is rare.

But it is possible. I would say it is countercultural to do so. To say, hey …this is my body…thank you God for it.

To stop the fat shaming of ourselves and others. 

I applaud Kelly for having this view towards her body, but I find it obnoxious that she has to defend herself.

To expect ANY OF THIS to change starts with all of us.

It starts with YOU first trying even one little step to love your own body.

And in the process of loving your own, you might start celebrating others as well and then can offer grace and love to those who need it. Not judgement.

You might then notice the beauty and the majesty and wonder that God created so many different types and shapes and sizes. Just as we look at mountains and flowers… in wonder, awe and gratitude.

Won’t you do that?

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Won’t you give it a try? Your body will thank you for it.

In the meantime, tell these media people to knock it off!

Xo

Lee

The Gift of a Teacher

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

This amazing woman was just inducted into the Thespian Hall of Fame, and is now retiring. What a gift she has been to all of us who were in her class.

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I am the mother of three. And what I hope and pray for my children, is that other people would speak into their lives.

I was lucky enough to have an influencer in my own life. (Click HERE to read a recent article written about her.)

Her name was Ms. Davis, my theater teacher in high school.

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With her kind eyes and warm hugs, those of us who were blessed to know her, felt as if she was a mother figure to us.

A mentor. A guide.

You could go to her desk in the corner and whisper your secrets. You could tell her your pain and you could even tell her the jokes that most teachers would discipline you for. She was a friend to all of us and as I remember back, really embodied the ability to love unconditionally. I would try to work for her praise or adoration as this was the way love worked in my own family system, but I didn’t have to strive or perform for her kind words or for a gentle glance. It just was.

Yes, those of us involved in theater in 1986-1990 were a passionate and chaotic group, a bit of a brat pack, and I have no doubt we pushed her limits.

Yet, she always offered us grace.

I can’t remember my lines from the plays, I can’t remember the choreography, but I can remember that every day after school I could walk down the long hall, through the side door of the theatre into a world where people were accepted for who they were. A world where creativity was accepted and cherished. A place where you were free to be yourself. This doesn’t happen just because someone is cast in a play, nor do I believe it happened at every school.

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Those of us at Shawnee Mission North, were blessed, because of Ms. Davis. Because of her passion for teenagers. Because of her passion for the arts. And because she believed every single one of us mattered.

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I can only pray and hope that my children are blessed enough to be given a gift like the gifts Ms. Davis gave all of us as to usher them into adulthood feeling like, yes, there is one person out there who believes in me. One person who cares about me just as I am.

Now in my 40,’s I still carry around that gift that she gave us, the gift of love and acceptance, and hope that I as well can offer that gift to others. My time under her wing has helped me to do the writing and speaking that I do now.

Thank you Ms. Davis. You changed hundreds of lives, including mine, through your commitment to teenagers. I am so honored and blessed by your presence in my life.

xo

Lee

Are You Grappling With the “Why” of Depression?

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

A well loved man, a Principal, recently took his own life in our Minnesota community.

Read the story here.

Family, the Wayzata community, and the tender hearted children at his school are left with more questions than answers. My children heard the story on the news as well.

They asked, as we all ask…Why?

My heart aches for those asking “the why” and my mind knows where he was. In the dark suffocating arms of depression.

I have been there, and not only have I been there, but I have gone back to the edges of it its grip many times. It makes no sense to those on the outside looking in. Why would someone who appears so successful, so happy, so normal, be depressed? Why?

Because depression is a disease. And if you struggle or have struggled with it, you understand.

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If you haven’t I would encourage you to think of it more like a cancer that has no source, except a body that produces it. A diagnosable depression is not fixed by a better relationship, a full bank account, or a happy job.

It is like a cloak that you can’t get off.

Like a heavy blanket that you want to rid yourself of; because you are sweating and it is hundred degress outside, and it itches, but you can’t squirm out of it. You can feel it behind the smile, you can feel it in your toes, it creeps on the edges of your mind whenever you are awake. The only place where it goes away is during sleep. If you can go to sleep. And when you do, you find relief. There is no heaviness, there is not palpable pain that is tapping incessantly on your heart. There is no wakeful wonder of asking why you can’t step out of this heaviness. And when you can’t crawl out it, when the itching and the pain becomes too much, depression whispers in your ear with sweet tender words, that it will be better to end it all. And the person in depression, the person who can’t push through another day belives it’s lies and succumbs.

And a community, a family, a city, is left in shock. In terrible horrible pain of asking, “why?”

I have been there and have written about my struggle through depression in my book, Table In The Darkness – A Healing Journey Through an Eating Disorder. Not only have I been there, but depression pokes it’s bony finger at me still when I least expect it. It ebbs and flows, but there are times when it tries to cover me. Times when despite my circumstances, it is there, in my mind, in my soul and in my bones. I know it’s tricks now, I know it well enough to scream out for help when it gets close. But, it isn’t easy.

Why?

Because people don’t understand it like they do cancer. There is a stigma that says it is a way of thinking, or you just need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, or you just need to look around and be grateful. Don’t say that to someone struggling ok? (I wrote more on this here, or check out this great article here.)

Do you know someone struggling with depression?

Be a listener. Be a friend who sits with them.

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Then encourage them to get professional help. Encourage them as you would if they broke their arm, to see someone who can help. When the brain isn’t working, and the mood is sending a warning light to the body saying something is wrong, we need to get help.

Asking for help isn’t weakness, it is courage, and it is strength.

And we need each other to have the courage to do so, we need community to help us feel safe, vulnerable, and to share our pain.

There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.” - M. Scott Peck 

Yes, it takes courage. Going to see someone and tell them you are depressed takes courage. It is scary, but it is worth it. It allows someone else to help you get that wool and itchy cloak off of you. It is the hand pulling you out of the pit. You can’t think your way out of it. You can’t pray your way out of it, ask for help.

Another teacher who knew this man, wrote this on Facebook, and I agree.

I would like to propose that instead of saying “s/he killed himself” we instead name the disease that killed someone. So the answer to “how did they die?” would become “depression” or “mental illness”. – Stacy Sullwold

He died of depression. Not of suicide. But, by the disease of depression. Which is real.

If you or someone is struggling, please get help. Please.

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Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen

Xo

Lee

There Is Nothing Mundane about Mundane Faithfulness

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

You never know what God has in store for you around the next corner or the next curve.

When you open your eyes in a patient expectation, in an openness and with your palms held open, He can fill them.

I try to live my life like this in an open expectation.

This is the opposite of how I lived most of my earlier years.

Perfectionism and my eating disorder made me rigid and very unbendable. I don’t like that old me, because she misses the wonder and the whimsy of God when she is stuck in her own plan.

Oh and what God lets us see when we actually open our eyes and when we wait in patient expectation!

What I have found from this posture is He usually responds by placing people and relationships in our lives.

I have been blessed so tremendously by the most unexpected of relationships. A few years ago I went to a writer’s conference in Colorado and sat next to a woman named Jill, who I felt as if I had known my whole life. We immediately connected and proceeded to hang together, encourage each other, and giggle like old friends through the conference. Over the years we have watched each other go from aspiring writers to published authors. What a joy it has been to be blessed by the most random of friendships.

But, it wasn’t only this relationship, but another.

A woman named Kara Tippett. And if you haven’t heard about her. You should. Stop what you are doing. Take some time to read her story.

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Read her story at her blog Mundane Faithfulness.

Buy her book, The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life’s Hard.

I don’t know her you see, I only know her through my writer friend Jill’s Facebook page. But this woman, this woman has impacted not only my life, but millions of others. On days when I swear I will quit Facebook as it makes me feel so inadequate, I scroll to see her light filled eyes staring back at me.

I stop what I am doing, read her story and take a breath.

She might not have another breath, her days are being cut too short, but her grace and her faith …her ability to encourage others when she is suffering is beyond what I can imagine, that is heroic.

While I grumble and complain about pieces of my life falling apart, I read her story and am reminded (not shamed for my experience), but reminded of a God that is bigger than I can ever fathom.

I cry for her children, I cry for the ache of her husband watching this beautiful woman fade, but I watch her faith and her encouragement and I am spurred on. Spurred on to stop and live the moment I have right now, and to praise God for each breath.

Today I wanted to share with you in hopes you too will be encouraged.

You too will find perspective in this woman’s story. And that you too will open your palms in wild surrender and say, “Yes, God.” And then you will hug your children, your spouse, and your friend. That you will throw off the things that hinder you and celebrate the gift of life today.

Thank you Kara for being such a good and faithful servant!

Here are some other articles on her:

In Dying, Kara Tippetts Shows Us God Is Present In Pain 

Kara Tippetts Documentary Trailer

Xo

Lee

When You Feel Like You Are Falling Apart…

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

“Slow down. You are going too fast. Can’t you just slow down!”

Yeah yeah yeah. I have heard these words my entire life. Too much energy, too much talking, going too fast. Words that meant to slow me down to someone else’s pace and words that shamed me.

I don’t do well being told to slow down. In fact, if you tell me to do that…I often do the opposite. If you tell me not to do something, it makes me want to do it more. Remember those tests they gave you in grade school that tell you not to turn the page until the teacher asks? I mean really…they expected me to wait to turn the page?

As an adult I know better than to be defiant like that, yet in my own life I tend to not take the cues. Even when I know I am being Martha-ish. The cues telling me it is time to slow down. Until my body does it for me. Until my body says, “Enough. I need a break. You are going too fast for me, I want to rest.”

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“Aww come on,” I say, “there is so much to do, we will rest later! I want to write another book, I need to answer this email, I need to call this friend. There is so much to do!”

Have you said this before?

Until life stops you in your tracks. Maybe through a job loss, or an illness, or a death in the family. Life forces you to take a step out of the arena and take a rest. This is so hard to do, at least it is for me.

This happened to me this week when I toppled down the stairs like a ragdoll and tore things that aren’t supposed to be torn in my ankle. Well actually it has been happening the past two weeks, this was just the final straw that broke it all down for me.

My plans out the window. My life slowed down to a screeching halt.

“Oh this is good. This is so good!” My massage therapist said with an almost gleeful-high-pitched-joy in her voice.

She said this as I lay on her table balling my eyes out. I don’t ever cry in front of her, she was happy to see me opening up, breaking open like cracked egg, the yellow goop seeping out.

She is right. I know she is right, but oh do I not want to hear it.

Every year I pick a word of the year. I meditate on this word, pray about this word, and write it everywhere. This year I picked the word, RESTORE.

Restoring my soul, my family, and myself.

What I didn’t expect? That in order to come back together, to be whole and restored, I have to fall apart.

“I have already fallen apart,” I said to her in my defense. “I have already had my breakdown, haven’t you read my book?”

“Yes, but your body is doing it for you, your body is allowing you to break so that you can be put back together. Not put back together the same way, but different, better. Whole and restored.” She said gently.

And here is the deal, it isn’t just my ankle that fell apart. Some other things are too. Things like beliefs, old thought patterns, and old habits. They are breaking too.

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I loathe every moment of it. It tastes like green beans, so awful it makes you shiver and almost gag.

But in the process, a process I hate, I know in my soul that God is piecing me back together better.

He is sanding off the rough edges, he is pruning away the parts that don’t work anymore, and making me new.

He does that doesn’t he? Makes all things new.

Oh but friends, it is uncomfortable. This season, this season of pruning. It hurts.

Physically. Emotionally. Mentally.

I don’t even want to write about it. I don’t want anyone to know. I want to be tough. I want to be strong. Yet, holding on only delays the process.

So I open my hands, I wait to turn the page, I surrender so I can become more of the person He created me to be and less of the person I think I should be.

When life is heavey and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions. Wait for hope to appear.” (Lamentations 3:28-29 MSG)

I trust in his promises. I trust he knows what he is doing.

I whine the entire way, but I surrender.

I surrender as I know that what he has for me is always better than what I have for myself.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, planst to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

So how about you? Are you being pruned, slowed down, changing? I know it is hard. It is uncomfortable. But we can do it.

I love how Glennon Melton says, “We can do hard things.” I would add that “We can do hard things with a God who loves us AND who has the steering wheel.”

So I will rest in his arms. Rest in the knowing that he has this all under control and I will fall apart and be all messy and broken, so I can come back together RESTORED.

Won’t you?

Xo

Lee

Are You A Slave To Your Scale?

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Imagine you were born in another country, let’s say a country that trained you from a young age to believe that a certain population was evil.

Imagine they placed guns in your hands from the moment you could walk and you believed that killing yourself for your country and your family, would lead you to eternal life.

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It is hard for us in America to imagine this because we know that is crazy. We know it creates children who grow up to be terrorists. We know rationally that it doesn’t make sense and that it is wrong. What we can’t fathom is their inability to see the truth that murder and suicide are wrong. How can they not know?

We scratch our heads in utter disbelief.

But, if you look deeper into your own life, into our own society, we do it too. Not the murdering and the suicide bombings, but the belief in a mirage.

The belief that something will bring us transcendence, happiness, power, and control.

Belief that if we weigh just the right weight, we will be happy. Belief that a certain size, a certain number on the scale will make it all better.

Then our life will begin. Then we will be happy. Then we will feel in control.

Am I stretching this comparison? No. I see women, men, and even little boys buy into this mirage. This vision of a shining light that says, come to me. I will make it all better. You will see. They sacrifice their lives, their relationships, and their health for control and a semblance of peace in a chaotic world.

Holding on to a target that is always moving and continues to demand more and more until you whither into nothing but a servant to its demands.

I bought into this game in my early twenties and barely escaped from the grip it had on my life. I almost lost it all, almost sacrificed myself for the number on a scale. And it was so much more than the number on the scale I was wanting.  I was wanting to not feel and to control, because my life was so out of control. If I could control my body, then everything would be ok.

I believed in a lie.

It doesn’t make sense, it isn’t rational is it? No. It doesn’t.

But, what I know for sure, now having escaped the torture of the eating disorder and the game…I know that it is a lie.

I know that it does not satisfy in the least bit. I know that you get on that scale every day, hoping the number will offer you something, hoping it will determine your day.

Hoping it will make your life better. And it doesn’t.

It kills. It destroys. It controls you and berates you and makes you miserable.

Don’t buy into the lie. Don’t buy into what the world is selling, what our culture is selling. Control and perfection are not something to be attained, they are not within our reach.

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Everyone wants to be perfect, but no one wants to be with perfect. That isn’t fun.

Today, go out and be you. Be the hot mess you and I are! Be real. And if you have a scale and are using it to control your life, throw that thing out your window! Now!

If it is controlling you, tell someone, get some help! I promise you, life on the other side of being controlled like a little soldier by something that will never satisfy, life on the other side of that is FREEDOM!!

Xo

Lee

One of my favorite artists, JJHeller captures this so poignantly in this video.

 

Are You Missing The REAL Story?

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

The Theory of Everything is a compelling movie with fantastic acting. The story though, based on a true story, was all tied up in a nice little bow. One story reduced to a Hollywood plot line; two people, they fall in love, he is diagnosed with a life threatening illness, they struggle, and they overcome. Tied up and sweet.

After I watched it, I went on-line and researched the REAL story. I found a different story that detailed his complex and demanding personality, their explosive fights, how they really met, the difficulties with the in-laws, and the intrusive nurse who he had an affair with. Some of this was subtly hinted in the film, but most of it was removed from the movie. Hollywood knows that audiences want the plotline to make sense.

But, when we reduce stories and people to the ideas of how we WANT them to be, we miss the full messy, complicated, and often unlikeable truth.

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We do that in life. All of us.

Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” 
― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

We can’t be authentic if we have these labels covering us.

We see someone and we assume we know the story. Or we look at Facebook and create a story from what is shown to us.

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Or we create a story that fits our paradigm. I did this for many years when writing my book, told only part of the story. Because what did it mean to put on paper all the stuff I didn’t like? It meant I was telling the truth, and the truth was scary. The truth made me and others look bad, or gave others an opportunity to label me. But, I knew I had to tell the true story. The real story. Not one that fit all pretty on the shelves of a Christian bookstore, but the real ugly, messy, unflattering and hopeful story.

Often times we do this out of fear, because what if we were like those we are criticizing, and what if there is something I see in that person that I might also see in myself? Yikes!

So we categorize and put people in nice tidy boxes. We all do it.

But when it is done to us and we know it is done to us, we often end up in the murky pool of shame.

I am not who I want to be in shame. And neither are you. But when I am in shame, when I am in the place of never good enough, a place where my stomach turns and the thoughts in my head berate me, when I am in that place I can be perceived with unwanted identities.

I reduce myself to these unwanted identities and sometimes you do it for me.

And then we miss the story. You and I both. Brene Brown explains it like this; If you reduce me to ____you will miss the fact that I am_____.

Here are some examples of how we do it to others:

     They are thin, they must be successful.

     They are fat, they must be lazy.

     They are rich, they must be happy.

     They are beautiful, their life must be wonderful.

Here is how I do it to myself:

     I made that same mistake again, I must be a failure.

     I yelled at my kids again, I am such a bad parent.

     I write such stupid things, I am not really an author.

When we do that to ourselves and others we are no longer curious, we are no longer exploring and open to life.

We miss the story. The entirety of it.

When I do it to myself, I land in the pit of shame.

Stupid Shame. Shame, in my experience, reduces me to unwanted identities. Then I miss the fact that God has something in store for me, something around the next corner, because my eyes are clouded in grey and my mind peppered with negative labels.

When we reduce ourselves and others to a label, or a diagnosis, or even a judgment we miss the story.

We miss the adventure.

I would prefer the movie would have told more of the real story. But what I really would prefer… that the rest of us walking in our lives would authentically tell our real story, either to ourselves or in a safe relationship with others. It is a risk for sure, but it is how we connect, how we grow, change and live.

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” 
― Brené Brown

I am working on this. It isn’t easy, I find I am most critical of myself and most forgiving of others.

I am working on it. Won’t you try too?

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Xo

Lee

Great books to help with this:

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are,  by Brene Brown

The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God’s Best Version of You, by John Ortberg

I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough”, by Brene Brown

A Million MIles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story, by Donald Miller