I’m Sorry

What is it about these two words that make them so difficult to say?

I’m not talking about the cavalier kind of I’m sorry, but the deep, sincere, remorseful apology.

Is it fear, pride or ignorance that keeps us from owning up to our end of things?

As a kid growing up, saying I’m sorry was an admission of weakness.
Emotions were not validated and displaying any kind of vulnerability just set you up as a target.

Saying I’m sorry was equivalent to failure.

As I got older I continued to adopt that same philosophy. It kind of worked for a while until I became an adult and my relationships began to crumble around me.

It was a painful experience when a friend finally sat me down and explained my defensive stance and how I never apologized even when I was dead wrong.

I was stunned. It felt as if someone had slapped me across the face and yet I knew they were right.

I had been trying to hide my heart behind a glass wall.

The problem was that hiding was no longer working and all my defense mechanisms for self – protection were holding my heart prisoner.

Having to apologize is hard. Apologizing is humbling. Apologizing is healing.

I recently had to ask forgiveness from my 9-year-old daughter for the way I spoke to her. I had hurt her with the harshness of my words and her comment to me was that what I said made her “feel small”.

Ouch! Did I really just get called on the carpet by a 9 year old? Yes, yes I did.

At first I found myself trying to justify and rationalize why I didn’t need to apologize to a child, but quickly realized it was my responsibility to model to my daughter how to apologize and that there is no shame or weakness in admitting responsibility.

Matthew 5:23-24 says this:
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

My apology went a long way towards healing the hurt I had caused my daughter and helped set a good example of transparency and trust.

I hope that I helped to create an emotionally safe environment for my daughter to explore her feelings and share them without fear of rejection or negative consequences.

Our heavenly Father has demonstrated that He too is trustworthy of handling our confessions and apologies for the ways that we grieve His heart.

Ephesians 1:6-8
To the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One He loves.In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,

Who do you need to say I’m sorry to and what is holding you back?

Grace & Peace ~ Karen

Identity Crisis

There is an old proverb that says, “Pride goes before a fall”. What then do we say about self – deprecation?

Self – Deprecation is the act of disparaging oneself, being modest or self – critical.

I like to think of self -deprecation as a “preemptive strike”.
This maladaptive skill is used to prevent us from being hurt and to control the potential incoming damage either real or imagined.
What does it look like? Well, I think it takes many forms.

One way it comes out is in the refusal to accept a compliment. For example: a person pays you a compliment and your first response is to refute it with a negative statement.

Another form is when someone suggests that you try something new that might be a risk and your immediate response is something like, “I couldn’t do that – I can barely tie my own shoes”.

Self-deprecation is often it is used with humor, but the intent is the same. The person who engages in self-deprecation is seeking attention in a manner that forces the person they are engaging in conversation with to either agree with them or refute what they believe to be false.
When we do this, we unknowingly give others power over us and we continually look to them for approval and validation.

How did I come up with that you ask? Simple, I’ve been engaging in self -deprecation for most of my life and I would venture a guess that many people engage in self -deprecating behaviors without even realizing what they are doing.

For many this act of self -sabotage stems from childhood. Perhaps being raised in a highly critical home where expectations were high. For others it may be the result of being compared to a sibling or classmate and coming up on the short end. For most of us, I believe it is the result of an identity crisis.

Somewhere along the line, we buy into the lie.
The lie that says we are not enough, or that we are too much.
We are too fat, too shy, too loud, too tall, too skinny, too lazy or too _______(fill in the blank).
We believe what advertisers tell us. We belive them when they tell us we have to wash that grey right out of our hair.
We believe our worth is in what car we drive, what clothes we wear, how many wrinkles we have and if our teeth are Hollywood white.

We have forgotten who we are, and Whose we are.

So, if you find yourself in the middle of an identity crisis, take a moment and allow Gods word to remind you of who you are in Christ.

Grace & Peace…Karen Cook

John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:7
 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Philippians 4:13 
 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

2 Corinthians 5:17
 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Loving Well

In our modern culture we are consumed with efficiency, flash, mass appeal and political correctness. It seems that the idea of loving well is a lost art. It has become a thing of the past and something to read about in poetry books or see in a Hollywood blockbuster. The movies leave us with a gnawing sense of discontent with our relationships and ourselves because we can never live up to the unrealistic and highly romanticized ideal that we can create and sustain love.
Growing up in a highly dysfunctional home, I had no idea what loving well was or that the concept even existed. Life was about survival. When I was 16 I had the great privilege of being rescued by an amazing family. They took me in as one of their own. They taught me many things, but the most important thing I learned was to love well. 25 years later this family is still a crucial part of my life. 3,000 miles separate us but only one heartbeat stands between us. They helped me discover that it is possible to love and be loved in a way that Hollywood couldn’t write if they had all the best screen writers working overtime. There is a love so great and powerful that hell could not contain it. This love I speak of is the love of Christ. When we surrender ourselves to this love that redeems, restores, renews and even romances us – we are capable of loving others well. Apart from the love of Christ, we are seekers who search in vain for the one thing our heart yearns for…to love and be loved. The funny thing is that this love is so simple, that it is profound. We’ve all heard the verse about love. Often times it feels more like we are getting called out on the carpet for our unloving attitude. My intent here is to draw your attention to the fact that you are loved well by the one who created you, so in turn we can love deeply, unselfishly without reservation or pride. Here is my take on the famous love verse of the bible.
Love thinks the best of the other person. Love puts another’s needs before our own. Love forgives when we are hurt. Love does the dishes when we are tired. Love asks how was your day when what you really want to do is unload about your own hard day. Love does not rub someone’s nose in his or her mistakes. Love endures even when things are hard. Love is a choice. Love goes the extra mile. Love, because God loves you first and God loves you best. Love.