The Cave

by Debora M. Coty @DeboraCoty

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1, NIV

I don’t like this cave I’m in. Not one bit.

It’s dark. It’s uncomfortably damp. And it smells like rancid mushrooms.

I feel terribly alone one minute, and the next, I’m not sure I’m alone at all. I think I can hear someone – or something – breathing. If I strain hard enough in the darkness, I can make out the shape of a man on the far side of the cave.

Still. Silent. Facing me.

I feel my skin crawl. But I’ve no one to blame but myself. I chose to come in here. I slipped into the cave of disappointment on my own volition. No one chased me here or forced me to enter.  It just seemed the only place to go under the circumstances I was facing. Hard times. Heartache. Uncertainty.

So here I am. Hating the darkness and wishing I could find a way to escape this cave of disappointment. Disappointment over people I thought I knew and trusted. Disappointment in witnessing injustice and helplessly watching those I love suffer.

Disappointment with life itself.

I’m reminded of a biblical shepherd-king named David. He spent a lot of time in caves too. He was running from a man (Saul) he once trusted and even revered; a hand-picked-by-God king whom David had been honored to serve and comfort with music during his deepest emotional struggles.

A man who then turned on David and sought to take his life.

And so David fled to caves (documented in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel). Many different caves over the years. Many different disappointments. David was forced to live life on the run.

A cave-dwelling fugitive.

And there he must’ve shivered like me in the cold blackness, feeling the deep disappointments of life to the marrow of his bones.

The Cave is an awful place. It sucks light, joy, and hope right out of us. Drains us dry. Because it makes us overlook all the things we have to be grateful for, all the blessings of life that our Papa God has lavished upon us. Things we forget to notice when times get hard. When things don’t turn out the way we envisioned; when dear ones betray us and God seems silent. When we’ve lost jobs, security, mentors, friends, health, or the dreams we secretly nurtured.

And we cannot fathom the why of it.

We all spend time in The Cave. It’s where Papa God does some of His finest character-sculpting. The Cave is where He keeps his sharpest chisels and coarsest sanders. Where He meets us one-on-one, to shape and mold us into the beloved son or daughter He’s had in mind for us to be from the very beginning.

“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love” (Ephesians 1:4, MSG).

Mother Teresa, who spent quite a few of her precious years here on earth in The Cave, said, “You’ll never know Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you’ve got.” In her own barren cave of disappointment, she learned that when all else seems lost, He is enough. And He was.

You know, the more I stare through the murkiness of this cave, I can begin to make out the identity of the shape over there, patiently biding time, watching me.

It’s … why, it’s Jesus.

I get the feeling He’s been waiting there a long time for me to notice that I’m not alone. And now He’s drawing nearer. There’s a warm light radiating from His eyes. I think He’s got something in His hand. And He’s smiling.

TWEETABLE
The Cave – insight from @DeboraCoty on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

deboracotyAbout the author: Debora Coty lives, loves and laughs in central Florida with her longsuffering husband, Chuck, two grown children and four energetic grandbuddies. Debora is a popular speaker and award-winning author of over 40 inspirational books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com.

Debora’s newest release, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Momsaddresses the heart needs of moms drowning in the churning stress-pool of busyness. In her beloved mom-to-mom, grin-provoking style, Coty offers empathy, laughs, real-life stories, practical parenting survival tips, and fresh biblical insights to help you hear Papa God’s still, small voice through life’s chaos.

Join the conversation: Tell me, dear friend, when did you last spent time in The Cave?

Singing to Sarah

by Debora M. Coty @deboracoty

Encourage one another and build each other up.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

I recently attended a reunion at the small church in which Spouse and I raised our kids. It felt like a passage back into time. Very little had changed in the twenty-five years we’d been away – and whadayaknow? There was the same off-brand spinet piano that taught me to share my Jesus-joy songs in front of an audience without wetting my pants.

Well, most of the time, anyway.

It was all I could do not to rush up front and hug that sweet old piano. I remembered Sunday after Sunday, quivering like a leaf in a hurricane, standing before the same long-suffering group of believers, sharing the myriad of songs that Papa God popped like praise popcorn in my head.

Some were good, some not so good, but all were from my heart. They were my best attempt to intimately worship my Creator through the creative outlets He provided me.

I learned so much there: I learned how to perform in front of a crowd (which I now know was training in becoming the professional public speaker I am today). I learned not to attempt to liberate your wedgie while on a platform. I learned how to worship Papa God with the gifts and abilities He’d given me.

And I learned to watch Sarah.

Sarah was a dear, soft-spoken woman a decade my elder. Sarah was an encourager. And she took on a ministry of encouraging me in a very special way.

When I mustered every shred of courage to share one of my newly written songs with that small congregation, Sarah’s was the face I sought. I could count on Sarah’s smile beaming at me, her head nodding, her shoulders swaying to the beat of the music. She was right there alongside me – my biggest (and sometimes only) supporter. At least that was my perception, gazing out at all the stern, serious faces of the frozen chosen staring back at me.

When I feared I would faint, I sang to Sarah.

When I couldn’t remember the words to the song I had written, I made up words for Sarah.

When I made epic blunders and felt judged and choked with tears and thought I’d never make it to the end of the song, I sang to Sarah.

My experience on that platform taught me to always react when someone is putting themselves on the line, sharing something meaningful from their heart.

“Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today’” (Hebrews 3:13 NASB). Encouragement via engagement is such a small thing. It doesn’t hurt to smile; it only helps. Them. You. It costs us nothing to give but may mean the world to the person receiving it. It might even change their life.

It did mine.

To this day, I make it a point to emulate Sarah’s smile whenever someone is sharing from their heart – whether it be preaching, singing, sharing their testimony, or juggling pot-bellied pigs. If they are trying to honor Papa God by it, I’m right there alongside them, and I make sure they know it by my body language.

I wouldn’t have had the guts to pursue a public speaking career (and occasional singing too!) if it hadn’t been for those broad smiles of encouragement from Sarah. Little bits of sincere encouragement at the right time can help someone more than any sermon, Bible Study, or well-meaning self-help book.

Everyone can have a ministry of countenance encouragement. Even you. It’s such a small thing but truly an ENORMOUS impact. Won’t you join me as a smile minister?

“The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped” (Proverbs 11:25 MSG).

TWEETABLE
Singing to Sarah – thoughts on #FollowingGod from @DeboraCoty on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Debora M. Coty is an inspirational speaker, columnist, and award-winning author of over 40 books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series, with over one million books sold in three languages around the world. Debora lives, loves, and laughs in central Florida where she tries to encourage via engagement every single day. Join Deb and her fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com

deboracotyDebora’s newest release, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Momsaddresses the heart needs of moms drowning in the churning stress-pool of busyness. In her beloved mom-to-mom, grin-provoking style, Coty offers empathy, laughs, real-life stories, practical parenting survival tips, and fresh biblical insights to help you hear Papa God’s still, small voice through life’s chaos.

Join the conversation: How can you offer someone encouragement via engagement today?

Woman Interrupted

by Debora M. Coty @deboracoty

Interruptions. We hate ‘em. Let’s be honest and call them what they really are: a pain in the royal rumpus.

That’s how we react to interruptions, isn’t it? With teeth gnashed and face grimaced. Because we don’t like unexpected, unpredictable, unwelcome surprises. We want to do things our way, no muss, no fuss; we want to follow our carefully laid plans to predetermined outcomes.

When our plans are thwarted, our attitude drifts toward that of a two-year-old whose lollipop was hijacked by the Rottweiler.

I’ll admit I’m not a happy girl when my plans are impeded. I praise Jesus and stomp my foot at the same time. Why, oh why, can’t I adapt to change with more grace? A scripture passage that’s helping me handle interruptions better is the story Jesus told in Luke 10:33-35, NASB (emphasis mine):

“But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him [the traveler beaten by robbers]; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

And on the next day, he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.

Okay, let’s look a little closer at the parts related to interruptions:

  • He saw him. Compassion usually begins with the eyes; you can’t care until you’re aware. You must see – and often personally experience – a problem before your heart is engaged. Papa God has a way of using unscheduled, divine appointments (we call ‘em interruptions) to divert our eyes from our relentless to-do list to what’s really important.
  • He came to him. It’s easier NOT to help someone when you keep your distance. But once you open your mind to possibilities you haven’t yet considered, you’ll begin to feel the Holy Spirit’s elbow jab of guidance. When He keeps poking, it’s time to step up to the plate, even if you left your best bat at another ballpark.
  • He took care of him. The odds are slim that this dude was a career health care professional galloping off to a medical convention; he very likely had no more emergency wound care training than you or me, but he did the best he could with what he had. He probably ripped up his own perfectly good clothing for bandages, used up his personal stash of wine for wound sterilization, drained his essential oils for healing, and trudged the dusty road on foot so that the wounded man could have the choice seat atop his donkey, the ancient version of EMS.
  • I will repay you. There’s always a cost for kindness – are we willing to pay it? Might be money, time, energy, or worse yet, falling hopelessly behind on our tyrannical to-dos. The ultimate sacrifice.

Although he was hastening down the road with his own pressing agenda, the Samaritan stopped. He saw. He felt. He allowed himself to be interrupted for a greater cause.

You know, despite our meticulous planning (Ha!), we never know when Papa God has scheduled a divine appointment. We must expect the unexpected. Don’t resent interruptions; they’re part of your Creator’s to-do list for your life. Try to view them as opportunities to serve others.

And believe it or not, Papa God is standing by to bless your mess.

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9, NLT

*Adapted from Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms with permission from Barbour Publishing.

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Woman Interrupted – insight on how to cope with interruptions from author @deborahcoty on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

deboracotyAbout the author: Debora Coty lives, loves and laughs in central Florida with her longsuffering husband, Chuck, two grown children and four energetic grandbuddies. Debora is a popular speaker and award-winning author of over 40 inspirational books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com.

Debora’s newest release is Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms addresses the heart needs of moms drowning in the churning stress-pool of busyness. In her beloved mom-to-mom, grin-provoking style, Coty offers empathy, laughs, real-life stories, practical parenting survival tips, and fresh biblical insights to help you hear Papa God’s still, small voice through life’s chaos.

Join the conversation: When has God interrupted you lately?

Guilted by the Shoulds

by Debora M. Coty @deboracoty

The dental hygienist fixed her accusing stare on me after a not-so-stellar appointment. “You should floss more,” she leveled. “What are you doing to clean your teeth daily besides brushing?”

“Um …” I groped for something. Anything. “I use the doggie biscuit technique; I chew on extra crunchy chocolate chip cookies.”

She was right. I really should floss more. But sometimes should is a dangerous word. It’s a stress-filled, pressure-packed slave driver. It ruthlessly inflates the bulk of a woman’s to-do list, often crowding out healthy sanity-essentials with guilt-induced clutter.

  • I should go to that meeting; they really need my help.
  • I should cook a big dinner every night like my mother did.
  • I should clean my house so the kids won’t write notes in the dust.

Seems there’s always something more we should be doing.

But as every woman struggling to squeeze into last year’s skinny jeans knows, more isn’t always better; sometimes it’s simply overwhelming. You know, my friend, we can be whelmed without being overwhelmed. Whelmed is livable; overwhelmed is strangling.

So how do we shush that should guilt threatening to overwhelm us? Here are four suggestions that work for me:

Be stress-smart. When you’re slammed into a stress mess, sit yourself down with a calming cup of your fave hot beverage. I’m talking five mere minutes here, not five hours. You can afford it. Close your eyes. Tune in to Papa God’s loving presence … His heartbeat … His peace. “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul” (Psalm 94:19 NIV).

Avoid BOOP (Boiling Oatmeal Overflow Phenomenon). BOOP is one of my Coty Near-Facts of Science (theories not yet proven by actual scientific studies but nevertheless known by women to be true). I postulate that women are like pots of oatmeal; at the beginning of the day we simmer – little manageable bubbles of stress rise to the surface and harmlessly pop. But as the day progresses, the heat escalates and the oatmeal boils higher and wilder and meaner until it overflows and spoils everything around it with a nasty, ugly, sticky mess. The key to avoiding BOOP is to know when to remove the pot from the heat. And speaking of burners …

Promote yourself off the back burner. Don’t argue girl, just do it. You may sacrificially place yourself there routinely, but your Creator doesn’t. You’re a front-burner person to him. He wants you to enjoy this marvelous gift of life He’s given you, not sludge through it. So it’s time to add a little fun to your day.

Write yourself into your schedule for an hour of something you really enjoy a minimum of twice a week. Walk in the sunshine, bike a woodsy trail, sing opera, join a roller derby team, boogie your bad self down, get your nails done – hey, whatever tingles your toes. Put the beautiful smile back on your face. Your fam will be ever so grateful.

Be a dipstick. The Lord puts only enough fuel in your daily tank for you to arrive safely at the destination He’s routed out for you. All the detours you add will either run you out of gas or land you in a ditch. Check your tank, review your destination, and then engage in the Three Ps: Prioritize, Plan, and Pace yourself.

Achk, I know. So many things we must do. A few things we want to do. And countless things we should do. We just have to recognize that we have the power to choose which shoulds are potential coulds … and then unapologetically embrace the woman our choices make us.

I will strengthen you, surely I will help you.Isaiah 41:10 NASB

*Adapted from Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms by Debora M. Coty. Used with permission from Barbour Publishing.

TWEETABLE
Guilted by the Shoulds – tips for coping from @deboracoty on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

deboracotyAbout the author: Debora Coty lives, loves and laughs in central Florida with her longsuffering husband, Chuck, two grown children and four energetic grandbuddies. Debora is a popular speaker and award-winning author of over 40 inspirational books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com.

Debora’s newest release is Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms addresses the heart needs of moms drowning in the churning stress-pool of busyness. In her beloved mom-to-mom, grin-provoking style, Coty offers empathy, laughs, real-life stories, practical parenting survival tips, and fresh biblical insights to help you hear Papa God’s still, small voice through life’s chaos.

Join the conversation: What stresses you out? How do you give yourself a break?

Quagmires

by Debora M. Coty @DeboraCoty

On our anniversary tour of the Scottish highlands, Spouse and I were fascinated by tranquil green moors that disguised deadly secrets.

Quagmires, they were called.

Our guide explained that you could be hiking along, enjoying a peaceful moorland stroll, and suddenly come upon a wee sodden patch of mud camouflaged by brush. Another step, and your boot would be sucked right off your foot. If you’re a bit more unfortunate, your entire leg might sink into the hidden quagmire, followed shortly by the rest of you, never to be seen again.

We women have hidden quagmires too – stressors not visible to others: festering wounds camouflaged by our everyday “game face,” unresolved relationship rifts, consequences of poor choices, leftover childhood damage, gouges hacked by hurtful words, lingering pain, or emotional scars testifying to previous bloody encounters.

Hidden wounds are tough to heal because we tend to keep them covered rather than exposing them to light and air.

But in order for healing to take place, debris must be cleared away, the wound cleaned, healing balm applied, and sufficient time allowed for the protective scab to form and do its restorative work. If a wound is left unattended, the risk of infection increases, and it may become septic. Even more painful. Crippling. Possibly deadly.

So how do we go about ripping off nasty old bandages to expose our hidden wounds to light and air?

Nail it. Identify the real problem. Are any of your current behaviors driving you nuts? Do they seem out of control and you’ve no idea why you act this way? You’re in good company. Even the apostle Paul, lamented, “When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway” (Romans 7:19 NLT). Examine your past for clues to the source. Ask Papa God to guide you in sleuthing out and confronting the cause of your perplexing behavior (which, by the way, is merely a symptom of the underlying real problem). Unearth and expose your wound. It might be buried layers deep.

Air it. Admit your secret to Papa God; wait for His response. “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22 NIV). Then confide in one or two trusted friends … not your entire women’s roller derby team.  Allow these soul sisters to help tug off that filthy, embedded bandage bit by bit. The act of uncovering (confessing) your hidden problem is the first step toward healing.

Bathe it in light.  Invest in a good Bible concordance/reference book and several different Bible translations. Look up words or phrases related to your specific wound and do a personal Bible study (taking notes on passages and journaling your thoughts about what you’re reading) on all related Scripture. Ask Jesus to reveal His perspective to you (it will likely be quite different than yours) and to initiate rehab from the inside out. “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:19 NIV).

If you’re in a quagmire now, be assured that your heavenly Father’s mighty hand is extended, waiting to pull you out. Despite your deepest, grossest, most putrefied hidden wounds, His “power is strongest when you are weak” (2 Corinthians 12:9, CEV).

In the lovely, lilting words of our Scottish guide regarding the hidden perils of quagmires, “Larn what treach’rous terrain looks like. If ye know what t’look fer, ye need fear n’moor.”

And on the moors of life, we need fear no more either. As long as we know what to look for and follow our ultimate Guide, we won’t be sucked under.

*Adapted from Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms by Debora M. Coty with permission from Barbour Publishing.

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Thoughts on Navigating the Quagmires of Life – @DeboraCoty on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

deboracotyAbout the author: Debora M. Coty lives, loves, and laughs in central Florida with her longsuffering husband, Chuck. Debora is a popular speaker and award-winning author of over 40 inspirational books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series. Her newest release is, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com.

Join the conversation: Have you ever had a hidden wound exposed to the light? Tell us your story!

Secondhand Forgiveness

by Debora M. Coty @DeboraCoty

“Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. ‘I’ll do the judging,’ says God. ‘I’ll take care of it.’” Romans 12:19 MSG

My daughter Cricket came home from second grade in tears. Again. Her teacher had rebuked her in front of the class for asking another girl for help with a math problem. Cricket felt humiliated and stupid. And it wasn’t the first time.

Because of a learning disability, Cricket had difficulty with some subjects, particularly math. I’d already spoken to the teacher – new to the school and extremely harsh in her control tactics – about Cricket’s special needs.

Cricket began tearfully wrapping herself around my leg at school drop-off. I had to pry my sobbing child off my leg and force her into the classroom. My fury flared toward this insensitive teacher. I simply could not forgive what she’d done to my previously happy little girl.

I knew that secondhand forgiveness is important to Papa God, but my angry heart balked.

Like secondhand smoke afflicts innocent bystanders, secondhand forgiveness is necessary when somebody hurts someone you love. The injured person may forgive the offender, but you continue to harbor resentment indefinitely. And like cigarette smoke, unforgiveness pollutes and corrodes internally.

Secondhand forgiveness is especially hard for us mama bears when somebody messes with our cubs. Our protective instincts kick into overdrive. And we tend to hold grudges far too long.

We forget that that how we feel has nothing to do with forgiveness. We forgive as an act of the will, because Papa God asks us to, not because we feel forgiving. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NKJV). 

But in the throes of furious indignation, how do we carry out this biblical mandate? Let’s unpack this verse:

  • Be kind to one another. Our kindness as Christ-followers isn’t dependent on anyone else’s behavior. We don’t wait for someone to be kind to us; we show them how it’s done. Kindness is similar to forgiveness in that we don’t necessarily have to like someone to be kind to them. Writer Samuel Johnson said, “Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.” Likewise, we can forgive someone whether we like them or not. But we might end up feeling quite differently when we’re on our knees.
  • Be tenderhearted. Heart tenderness is the willingness to enter someone else’s world and share in their suffering; it’s the step beyond kindness, usually motivated by compassion.
  • Forgive one another. Forgiveness is the element essential to finding inner peace. Resentment is poisonous; the poison gradually spreads and chokes out the Son-light within you, leaving dark bitterness in its place. Forgiveness isn’t about changing someone else; you don’t have the power to do that. It’s about changing something within you. You don’t have the power to do that either, but Papa God does.
  • Even as God in Christ forgave you. To truly forgive others as the Lord forgives us, we must tap into our Savior’s vast supply of supernatural grace (undeserved favor). He specializes in grace – He proved that at Calvary, when Jesus willingly paid the price for our sins and died in our place. He forgives you for your wrongs and wants you to do the same for those who wrong you.

Through much prayer and Papa God’s grace, both Cricket and I forgave the insensitive teacher, although she left the school after three months due to extensive personal problems.

Forgiveness becomes a little easier when we realize there’s always something going on beneath the surface of other people’s lives that we can’t see.

Say, my friend, is there someone who needs your secondhand forgiveness today?

TWEETABLE
Offering Secondhand Forgiveness When Someone We Love is Hurt – @DeboraCoty on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

*Adapted from Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms by Debora M. Coty with permission from Barbour Publishing.

deboracoty

About the author: Debora M. Coty lives, loves, and laughs in central Florida with her longsuffering husband, Chuck. Debora is a popular speaker and award-winning author of over 40 inspirational books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series. Her newest release is Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com.

Join the conversation: When have you had to offer second-hand forgiveness?

Marvelous Mundane

by Debora M. Coty

“Where there is no wood, the fire goes out …” Proverbs 26:20, NKJV

I recently read about a woman in India who was bored with her life. After fifty-five years of marriage, she was tired of the same ole same old, so she began hormone revitalization, had invitro fertilization and gave birth to a baby girl at the age of seventy.

You can bet trading in prune juice smoothies for apple juice sippy cups jacked her excitement level up a notch or two.

Our daily grind can sure seem dull. You get up in the morning, throw back a cup of caffeine, and launch into the same routine day after boring day: work, cook, clean up, repeat. Seriously, isn’t life made up of 90 percent routine? All of it so easy to overlook as Papa God’s intentional blessing.

Yes, I said blessing. As in no catastrophe is currently occurring, your health allows you to get up at all, and Papa God has generously allowed you to live to see another sunrise. These are blessings we often take for granted.

Gratitude for the mundane keeps our Creator-creation perspective intact. It’s the acute awareness that the Source of our everyday blessings – such as a warm breeze, lungs to draw it in, senses to feel its pleasure – is here with us every second, enjoying our enjoyment.

When we look at it this way, the mundane becomes downright thrilling! We see annoyingly noisy kids as happy, carefree children; work duties become a privilege many are without; household chores wouldn’t take so long if we lived in a grass hut swarmed by flies.

Sure, routine can be boring at times, but we really don’t want to resort to extreme measures like the Vermont mother who thought hanging onto the cargo rack of her car with her five-year-old son while traveling fifty miles per hour would add a little zip to her day. Now she’s zippy in jail.

There are ways to morph the mundane into everyday adventures that don’t require bail:

  • Look for the laugh: Peel away a few layers to see humor in everyday situations.
  • Plan getaway-cations: Save your pennies for a special trip to a special place. But in the meantime, plan monthly, restorative, low-cost mini-vacays for long weekends. Anticipation is half the fun.
  • Get your bad self down: Add more music to your life’s soundtrack. Whether you’re listening to it or making it, music lightens, brightens, and heightens your spirit.
  • Get dirty: Yahweh created dirt. He likes the stuff. He designed plants to live there and human skin so that it washes right off after we work the soil. So create a sweet-scented garden, even if it’s only a few pots circling a concrete light pole. It will calm you, beautify your living space, and connect you with the Master Gardener.

Sister, we can’t let thankfulness be a casualty of boredom. Let’s choose to feel blessed, rather than entitled, in our marvelous everyday mundane. Maybe an injection of gratitude is just what the Great Physician ordered.

“This is the day that the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24, NLT   

(Excerpt was taken from Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms by Debora M. Coty with permission from Barbour Publishing.)

debora-coty-250x250About the author: Debora M. Coty lives, loves, and laughs in central Florida with her longsuffering husband Chuck. Debora is a popular speaker and award-winning author of over 40 inspirational books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series. Her newest release, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms, hits booksellers September 1. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com.

Join the conversation: How do you fight the boredom of the mundane?

Photo by Braydon Anderson on Unsplash

Peeling Off the Apathy Suit

by Debora M. Coty

I answered the maddeningly persistent phone with a poopy-diapered toddler shimmying up my leg (you don’t even want to know about the trail she was leaving), a preschooler wailing about his lost Legos (which I – ouch – found), a pot overflowing on the stove, and a dog howling to visit his fave tree.

I could barely hear the bill collector on the other end of the line.

Okay, I’d had it! Done. Epic fail. I was mom-mom-mom-mom’ed out. I felt myself tumbling face first into the joy-sucking dully-funks.

You know the dully-funk pit all too well, girlfriend – it’s that black hole, when our minds fog, emotions go numb, eyes glaze over, and we move like autotrons in a perpetual state of spiritual and emotional dullness.

A mom-ed out woman can spend days, weeks, even years in the joy-sucking dully-funks, functioning, going through the motions of taking care of her family, but not really living. She’s barely eking by, not experiencing the abundant life Jesus promised to believers in John 10:10 (NKJV): “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

The way I see it, the abundant life is like a Snickers bar – rich and satisfying. Is that how you’d describe your everyday life? If you’re like me, you probably have an occasional rapturously abundant moment, but that feeling is hard to sustain. Why?

Because chronic fatigue tries to encase us in a rubber suit of apathy, whispering, “This will keep you safe. You can’t be hurt if you don’t care.” So in self-protection mode, we muffle the barrage of emotions. We don’t allow ourselves to feel.

 But beware, my friend! That rubber suit will block Jesus-joy too. And happiness. And the exhilaration of feeling Papa God’s pleasure in you – His beloved daughter.

Apathy is a Son-block that numbs you to the wonder, excitement, and joy of living … the abundant life Jesus offers. And that’s a cocoon none of us wants to inhabit.

So how do we peel away the rubber suit of apathy?

I call it the Bread Dough Rule. In the same way dough rises to fill whatever size bowl it’s placed in, we fill our daily to-do bowl up to the brim, whether it’s salad bowl size or a mega mixing bowl.

So start with a pudding cup. Limit your must-dos today to three major items. You know good and well that the Bread Dough Rule will swell your list and overflow that tiny cup as the day progresses, but by starting small, you can afford unforeseen expansion, hair-ripping interruptions, and even a Lego or two embedded in your heel.

Hey, when your cup runneth over, sip from the saucer!

“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9, NLT

(Excerpt was taken from Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms by Debora M. Coty with permission from Barbour Publishing.)

debora-coty-250x250About the Author: Debora M. Coty lives, loves, and laughs in central Florida with her longsuffering husband Chuck. Debora is a popular speaker and award-winning author of over 40 inspirational books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series. Her newest release, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms, hits booksellers September 1. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com.

Join the conversation: How do you move yourself out of the joy-sucking dully-funks?

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