nancy williams

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Archive for February, 2011

God is Always Right On Time

It’s exciting when dreams and plans become realities, isn’t it? The satisfaction of completion and the joy of achieving goals. If you can relate, then you’ll understand why I’m excited to announce the release of my new project. It’s a book for parents of grown children titled Secrets to Parenting Your Adult Child. Certainly, I would like to tell you all about the book but this is not intended to be an advertisement. Instead, I want to share a bit about the process and a fresh lesson God taught me along the way.

A few years ago, I drafted a book proposal with this focus. Something to help parents understand the changes and challenges for themselves and their children. I explored possible interest in the Christian market and soon a company began talking with me about publishing the book. I had asked God to guide this process if it was what He wanted so I assumed we were on target with His plans. Then the door closed, leaving me asking, “God, what happened?”

I set the project aside and pursued other things. New doors opened and I thought I was once again on the way to book publication. Then those doors closed and God and I had that conversation again, “God, I thought this was your plan. What’s going on?” I was writing in several venues and hearing encouraging words from others so I thought I was on track. But the book contract didn’t come and I questioned if God really wanted me to write at all. Perhaps He had something else in mind. Maybe it was my desire and not His for me.

I have no doubt God loves me and knows what is best for me, so I would remind myself of that in the midst of my disappointment. When I would let discouragement creep in and consider setting aside a desire of my heart, God seemed to give me a nudge, telling me to not give up and to wait on Him. A call from a friend. A note from a reader. A scripture I’d read in the Bible. Encouragement to cling to as I pressed on. Doors for a book were not opening and yet the passion remained. So, I continued to set the project before Him while I turned my attention to the opportunities I did have to share those words of insight and encouragement with parents.

Then a series of major changes occurred for our family and I found myself in a brand new season of life. And, at a totally unexpected time and place, it came—a request from a publishing house to partner together on a book for parents of adult children. I quickly realized God kept fueling my desire because He did want to use me to do the very thing I longed to do. It was a matter of timing—His timing. And His timing is always perfect. While I was waiting, God was preparing me with new life experiences, new perspectives, new understanding of Him, and new connections with others. And He wove all those together in a way that far exceeded what I had envisioned.

Isn’t that just like Him? He knows what He wants to accomplish in and through us but we must learn to draw close to Him, listen to Him, commit the desires of our heart to Him, and then wait on Him with trust and expectancy as He works in our lives according to His plans. And while we may not understand what He’s doing, His plans are always for our good. This experience gave me a fresh reminder of a promise that has often served as a guiding light for me. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, New International Version of The Bible).

Now that the book is making its way into bookstores and on line, I pray it will be first a pleasing offering to God and second, a helpful tool for parents of adult children. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for the days ahead—in His time.

Taking Out Your Emotional Trash

We’re off and running toward what I hope will be a great year for all of us. We’ve set some goals and developed plans to turn our good intentions into successful realities. Healthy eating plans, exercise equipment or gym memberships, time management plans, and numerous organizational tips offer us tools to guide us toward healthier living. If you’ve begun putting your plans into motion, you know the great feeling of accomplishment and the satisfaction that you are moving forward in a positive direction with your life.

As we clean out our closets, cook healthier meals, exercise and organize our time, we also know we need to make certain our minds and hearts are ready for the experiences ahead. We may have tucked away special keepsakes and fond memories from the past, but we may also be holding onto negative things in our lives that we need to discard, clutter that’s been weighing us down.

Psychologist and author Georgia Shaffer cautions us, “Even the best intentions to eat well and exercise can be sabotaged by last year’s emotional trash. Emotional trash is any negative thoughts, feelings and attitudes such as petty grudges, long-held resentments, or destructive guilt. If not dealt with and removed, our emotional trash creates many problems in our lives and relationships. In fact, experts say avoiding, hiding, or soothing our feelings with food (emotional eating) is the main reason we fail to stick to our diets.”

In her book, “Taking Out Your Emotional Trash: Face Your Feelings and Build Healthy Relationships” (Harvest House, 2010), Georgia makes the point that while your emotional trash might be different from mine, the truth is we all have it. I asked her to share some tips to help shed the weight of damaging emotions as we work on improving our health and well-being. Here are three questions to help us become lighter and freer.

What am I ignoring that is weighing me down?

How often has someone made a hurtful comment that you brushed aside? “No big deal,” you tell yourself. “Don’t we all have times when someone hurts our feelings?” Or maybe you’re disappointed in your performance at work or ashamed of your overreaction to a co-worker.

Choosing to ignore or hide these seemingly little hurts, disappointments or shame allows them to pile up and create more pain. Unfortunately this only increases our tendency to eat in order to soothe our emotions. Whether you discouraged or disappointed, acknowledge your feelings and find ways of expressing them before they control you. Constructive outlets can include journaling, talking to a safe friend or counselor and going for a walk.

What have I grown use to that is weighing me down?

It’s a subtle, gradual process where one day you’re aware you’re holding onto a grudge but then slowly, over time, this resentment becomes so much a part of you that you don’t even know it is there. Like living near a fast food restaurant, at first you’re aware of all the smells, but after a while you don’t even know they exist. Forgiveness is a choice we make, not a feeling, and a process we work through.

Once you choose to let go of any bitterness, be willing to work through and resolve your sadness, anger or betrayal in order to heal on a deeper level.

What am I blinded to that is weighing me down?

We all have blind spots – our inability to see things as they really are. The best way to see our own junk is through prayer and time for personal reflection. Another way to see what you can’t see is to seek the advice of godly people who share your values, people you’ve learned to trust. Many times these people can help you identify the lies, hurts and pains you unknowingly still carry from the past.

As you take stock of your life and are committed to making a fresh start this year, Georgia and I encourage you to take the steps you need to dump that weighty emotional trash. Free yourself from whatever weighs you down – physically, emotionally, even spiritually – so you can experience all God has in store for you in the days ahead.