The B/S Chronicles: Aging

We grew up together; now we blog together. In the B/S Chronicles you’ll get to experience viewpoints from a brother/sister team…who may or may not always see things eye-to-eye.

THE B/S CHRONICLES:  AGING

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the number of women, ages 45 – 64, hospitalized for eating disorders rose 48% between 1998 & 2006.    On the television the other day I heard a statistic that the fastest growing percentage of eating disorders is with women in their 30s & 40s.

Societal pressures and media infatuation with stick-thin models haunt the minds of women of all ages.  Even with projects like Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” and new trends of celebrity women flaunting their curves, there’s still a prevalent attraction to skinny.

Add to those pressures the fact that, as we age, we’re forced to watch our bodies change, droop, expand, wrinkle, thin-out, discolor, snap, crackle, & pop – we have a perfect mixture for emotional disaster.  We try everything we can to stop the aging process.  While some people try to look and feel young through healthy habits (i.e. good nutrition and activity) others turn to unhealthy eating disorders, surgeries, and addictions…all for the sake of looking young.

I know it’s not easy getting older.  It’s hard still for me to believe that I’m…. shhh….30! (GASP). My knees crack loudly when I stand, and the unwanted weight refuses to come off my thighs.  Even last week during a conversation, I literally forgot what I was saying MID-SENTENCE!

I think what it really comes down to is “Contentment” – being content with where we are in life, being happy with who God created us to be, and accepting embracing the things we can not change.  For the things we CAN change, then change them (in healthy ways & with healthy attitudes).  For example, the flabs of fat that seemingly refuse to disappear…I can change that by working out and limiting the things I put into my mouth.

But as far as AGING is concerned – that is something we cannot change.  So why fret over it? If we learn to be content with life NOW, we’ll be prepared to be content in our growing age.

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What does the B of the B/S chronicles think about Aging?  Read by clicking Here.

The B/S Chronicles: Leadership

We grew up together; now we blog together.  In the B/S Chronicles you’ll get to experience viewpoints from a brother/sister team…who may or may not always see things eye-to-eye.

The B/S Chronicles:  Leadership

The art of leadership is saying no, not yes.  It is very easy to say yes. ~Tony Blair

There are many words that roll easily off my tongue.

No is not one of them.

For most of my life, as I’ve been involved in some form of ministry or activities, others could always count on me because I always said “yes” to their requests and followed through as best as I could.  Even when I realistically should not have agreed to take on more responsibility, the thought of possibly disappointing someone made me feel horrible.

Now, as a leader, I still find it hard to say “no”.    It’s that darned disappointment thing…

However, I’m learning that I must say NO, not because I don’t have the time or too much already on my plate (although, those can be valid reasons…& that’s when management and facilitation comes into play), but because I, the leader, am responsible for keeping the vision of the ministry pure and focused.  Many people have great ideas, but if they don’t fit into the vision or goals, then they are counterproductive.

A few months ago I listened to Craig Groeschel explain how at one time in the history of his church, LifeChurch.tv, they had a large amount of ministries.  Think of a ministry, they had it.  Sports, concerts, conferences, and a plethora of other ministry opportunities filled the church calendar.  To anyone looking at the wide range of ministries, the church appeared to be perfect.  But to Craig, “we added things we didn’t need, and strangled what we already had.  All these new things that we finally started doing didn’t contribute to the vision.  They competed with the vision.  We were directing tons of resources into nonproductive areas.”  Soon after, he and the church leaders ended all but 5 ministries.  Why just 5?  He explains, “because we believe those are the 5 things that God has called us to do and has best equipped us to do.  Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.”**

Soon after listening to Craig’s story, I was reading Galatians chapter 1.  I couldn’t get past verse 10, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”

Lord, am I saying “Yes” because I don’t want to disappoint those I lead or am I saying “Yes” because this idea aligns with the vision you have given me?  Who am I trying to please?

There will be disappointment whenever the word “no” is spoken.  It’s a small word that many people hate to hear…but if it keeps us focused on the vision God has given us, then it must be said.

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**It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It by Craig Groeschel

Leadership:  What are Jeremy’s thoughts?  Click Here to read!

Next B/S Topic:  Aging

operation beautiful

I found this note stuck to the bathroom stall door at work.  It was positioned perfectly at eye level once you sit on the commode. 

My first thought was, “oh, sad day…this person misspelled truly.  Too bad I don’t have a sharpie.” 

But then I scolded myself  for being so petty, because the message on this little post-it is powerful…more important than any spelling lesson.

I wish I had believed that message growing up; it would have saved me many years of turmoil.  Even today I catch myself listening to the lies of “you’re too fat”, ” you’re not pretty enough” and “you have the ugliest smile”.  

The same lies are believed by millions of women around the globe.  But, that’s not who we are…and it’s not who God says we are…We are wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14)

We are truely beautiful!

www.operationbeautiful.com

Social Gospel Tree-huggin’ Weirdo

My brother has called me a “Social Gospel Tree-huggin’ weirdo.”  Of course, it was done in jest in our B/S Chronicles,  but I’m a firm believer that there is an element of truth in all jokes geared toward other human beings.  Someone may say, “ah, i’m just kidding”…but, really? are you?

I did not take offense to his statement at all.  In fact, it made me laugh.  But then I started thinking Is his statement true?  Is it even partly true?

Let’s dissect:

TREE-HUGGIN’: I start with this one because it’s the easier of the two ideologies.  Often, I enjoy hugging trees.  Their rough, grooved surfaces against my skin bring smiles to my face, especially on those occasions where I’m in need of a really good back scratch :)

Seriously, I’m more of a wanna-be tree-hugger.  I think as Christians we are commanded to take care of the Earth God placed us on.  It is not good stewardship to litter the ground with cigarette butts, contaminate the waters with junky chemicals, and treat animals with disdain and apathy.  When the opportunity to be kind to our Earth is convenient and truly important to me, I take advantage of it.  If recycling, purchasing organic produce and meats, and using biodegradable products makes me a tree-hugger…then I guess this statement is true.  (However, my car is not electric, i don’t have my own garden [even though i want one], and I have no qualms about killing an animal for food [as long as it's done correctly].)

SOCIAL GOSPEL: First, it depends on the definition of “Social Gospel”.  My minimal research produced the original definition:

a movement led by a group of liberal Protestant progressives in response to the social problems raised by the rapid industrialization, urbanization, and increasing immigration of the Gilded Age. The social gospel differentiated itself from earlier Christian reform movements by prioritizing social salvation over individual salvation…social gospel advocates supported the labor movement and called for an interventionist welfare state. They differed from secular activists in that their ultimate vision was not just a more equitable balance of power within society, but a Christianized society in which cooperation, mutual respect, and compassion replaced greed, competition, and conflict among social and economic classes*

I admit that I am not an expert  on social gospel movement (SGM), but from my quick internet study i have learned that the social gospel movement has reappeared in our modern churches (being mainly associated with the emergent church).  Although the SGM is not out to save society as a whole, there is a huge emphasis placed on social issues…poverty, injustice, human rights, fair health care, etc.  One article stated that it’s a “vision that emphasizes tolerance and social justice more than sinners repenting and believing the Gospel of Christ”. 

It is because of that last statement that I can emphatically state I AM NOT A SOCIAL GOSPEL FOLLOWER

There is no greater message than the Gospel of Christ…that Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, came to Earth, was tortured, bruised, and sacrificed on the cross for the redemption of all sins.  He rose again and then ascended into Heaven, but one day will return to Earth.  Salvation is free and available to any person who acknowledges Jesus Christ as Savior, repents of their sins, and follows after Him.  It is through grace, not works or deeds, that a person receives salvation and eternal life.

Yes, I do believe in fighting for the rights and betterment of all human beings.  I take Jesus literally when he tells us to take care of orphans and widows, to feed the hungry, and to give to those who are poor.   It’s important to fight for victims of sex trafficking, unborn children who are murdered daily, and people who are bound in silence because of unjust governments…but I don’t do these things in place of the salvation message; I do them in conjuction with one another.  I’ve written before of my opinions & experience on this subject HERE.   

So, Social Gospel?  Nope.  not in the way that it’s commonly used concerning the emergent church.

WEIRDO:  I have no counter-arguments against this term of endearment.   But aren’t we all weirdos to some degree?

Now that we’ve dissected what I am and am not…we need to alter Jeremy’s description of me to…well…just WEIRDO.   :)

The B/S Chronicles: Sibling Rivalry

We grew up together; now we blog together.  In the B/S Chronicles you’ll get to experience viewpoints from a brother/sister team…who may or may not always see things eye-to-eye. 

The B/S Chronicles:  Sibling Rivalry

I admit it.  I have been spoiled all. my. life.

But I can’t help that I was born the only girl between two brothers.  I also did not choose to be the first granddaughter on my mother’s side of the family.  So, naturally, you can see why I was spoiled.  Grandmothers and Mothers love dressing up their little girls and Daddies shower their princesses with sweet pleasantries.   It happens….so, brother, GET OVER IT!

Actually, when it comes to competition and rivalry – whether vying for attention or differing life viewpoints – Jeremy, my younger brother, and I remain fairly civil and equal.   We definitely do not agree on certain issues, but the key is that we don’t let them come between us.  We either talk them out, or we just keep silent and deal with it on our own…a.k.a. forgive and move on.  My older brother, Michael, is quite a bit older…so by the time I had grown to develop my own ideas and ways of doing things, he was already out of the house.  We, too, do not agree on many things…actually i’d say we disagree more than agree…but we have matured and learned to not let disagreements interfere with our relationship.

Growing up, things were much different between me and Jeremy.  For starters, we lived under the same roof, had to share the same toys, and fought over one-on-one time with our parents.  Like most children who do not know how to properly express their emotions, we had moments of explosive “disagreements”.  Often, the house resembled more of a boxing ring than a comfortable home.  And…there was even that one time where I chased him around the house with a butcher knife. (I wasn’t going to hurt him…promise.)

I clearly remember when it all changed.  It was a normal day in our household…full of screams and hurtful words.  It escalated quickly and ended with slamming doors and tears.  We were then in our teenage  years, and we both had had enough.  When all calmed, I remember sitting down with him and just talking.  TALKING.  No accusations.  No shouting.  No flying fists.

We expressed our hurts, our frustrations.  We admitted our wrongs and made amends.  But then we did something very wise beyond normal teenage thinking…we made a plan to end all the strife.  We wanted a home and a relationship built on friendship and respect.  Home had become a house of stress, but we were ready to turn it into a refuge of peace.  

Of course we didn’t achieve that peace 100% of the time…but life was drastically different in the Wheeler household after that.  Even as our family struggled over the years in different ways, Jeremy and I pursued to make our home one that pleased God.  Together, we exchanged ideas, watched movies, attended church, did mission work…and most importantly we studied Scripture and prayed together.  I had best friends, but Jeremy was the best of them all…and, today (other than my husband) he still is.

Read:  Sibling Rivalry – Brother’s perspective.  Click Here to read His Side.

What would I do?

Today I read about the recent massacre of over 370 Christians in Nigeria.  If you have not read this news article…read it now by clicking HERE.

The entire story saddens me deeply and, at the same time, makes me grateful for being born in America, where extreme persecution of physically violence does not occur.

The most troubling aspect of the story is the following lines: 

The weekend’s attack appeared to be a reprisal for violence that claimed at least 300 lives in January, when Christian villagers targeted Muslims in a separate, nearby village, according to rights groups.

and

A village chief chastised area youth for not being ready to fight. “This is a lesson,” the chief said. “Now is the time for everyone to wake up. Elders are calling you youths to come out.”

An elderly woman prayed at the edge of the burial pit, chanting. “By God’s grace we will enter their villages and kill their women and children,” she repeated.

“We will do much worse to them,” one baby-faced man said.

As a Christian, I believe in peace, unity, and love for all my “neighbors”, no matter race, religion, beliefs, or lifestyles.  I am to put others before myself and forgive continually.  I am not to seek revenge, but still look for justice in the correct manner.  I do not condone violence or any type of horrific treatment against anyone, no matter what they’ve done.

I do not know how these acts of violence and revenge began between the Muslims and Christians in this area of Nigeria.  It’s apparent, from the first quote, that the violence has been happening for some time…from both parties involved.  It seems to be this ongoing circle of revenge. I do not know the entire situation.  Their way of life, their government, and their justice system are all foreign to  me.  I don’t know what the Christians are taught about peace, unity, love, forgiveness, and revenge…so I cannot judge their salvation or their level of relationship with God or knowledge of His Word.  And I sincerely pray that they can stop the circle of violence and revenge.

Other than pray, the situation has made me think.  What would I do if my family was slaughtered?  If my children and husband were lured out of our home and hacked to death, would I be able to sit back and trust that God would bring justice?  Especially if I knew who did it?  Would I be able to restrain myself from retaliation? 

Our human nature is fragile.  If allowed, it will react solely on emotions and circumstances, ignoring the Truths that God has called us to trust and obey.  That’s why our foundation in Christ MUST be strong…so HE can give us wisdom and guidance through the turmoil, and give us strength and grace to forgive.

Be Thou My Vision

Last night I went to sleep singing the old Irish hymn “Be Thou My Vision”.  When I woke up this morning, i was still singing it.  It’s definitely one of my favorites, as its words are so intimate and prayerful. 

Be Thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart
Nought be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me Lord
Thou my great Father and I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one

Riches I need not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine inheritance now and always
Thou and Thou only first in my heart
High king of heaven my treasure Thou art

High king of heaven, my victory won
May I reach heaven’s joy, bright heaven sun
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, oh ruler of all

 

What is your favorite hymn?

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