A Man’s Worth

30 minutes in I realized just how long it had been since my friend and I shared a table together. And I also noticed how the discussion had shifted back to me quite frequently. He stayed at the surface of his story about financials and friends. It was obvious he was dodging until I pressed into the personal parts, like relationships and dating.

“The truth is you are a good person and she is a good person and your dinner together was a culmination of two really great people coming to the table with charming souls to share,” I suggest. He is stunned by the honesty in this statement and we stare as these bittersweet morsels sink in.

She told him she wasn’t ready for a relationship. Those words shatter a man’s self-esteem with rejection.

My friend doesn’t want to accept a variable equation where good plus good includes carry overs to help us grow; he expects these exchanges to equal happily ever after.

“Don’t let the lack of her readiness speak rejection over your soul,” my voice whispers through the noise. “Look at me and hear these words, you are worthy. She is worthy, and she is not ready to receive that.”

Before he can salute this sage suggestion, I credit the man who simultaneously broke and mended my heart with these words.

Grasping to accept the brutal and beautiful truth, we stew over our menu. Or at least I was. In the silence, his heart was souring in light of my certainty.

Looking up from the insert of specials, I ask if he knows what he wants.

“What women want is a man who treats them less than they deserve,” he gathers.

It is clear bitterness has barged in offering a menu with some bite.

“Don’t go there,” I say. “Some women settle for less than they deserve.  It is a lost battle with self-esteem.”

The taste of a woman’s sabotage is pungent for a goodhearted man to hear, mostly to men like my friend, who have protected purity because of what he believes; she is the beauty and he is the beast.

He stares at his plate and stabs the Caesar salad with his fork, “it doesn’t make sense and now I don’t know what to do.”

Sadly, I’m afraid I stirred up more confusion in this conversation than where his convictions led him before dinner was served.

Buried beneath the bewilderment, I can see he is scared. He spent seven years waiting on a woman he concluded was ‘the one’. And now she’s not. The painful admission of his past associates his responsibility with her integrity; his willingness to stay with her decision to walk away.

We’re on to the main course as he finally cuts into the slice of sirloin and baked potato, “I just don’t know if I can wait on someone like that again.”

Contentment has been the centerpiece of this conversation, with self-esteem and pride dipping and dodging around the table to get a clearer view.

As a woman with more remorse than respect for the way she’s treated a man, I must say to you now, what she couldn’t say then.

The way your heart loves generously is how Christ loved the Church. Your words stir more healing and forgiveness than burden with hurt. Your reflection encourages the hopeless; your hand gives joy to the homeless. Your subtle strength to protect souls over sharing their stories is simply admirable. I see a man still mounted on his horse while blazing through his own battles. Yes, I see you clearly; a man after God’s own heart. I am in awe of you, and I’m scared.

If I accept your love, then I too must acknowledge God’s mercy. But my struggles are still in me and I’m just not ready. I don’t know when the slate of my soul will feel clear, yet having you wait is my greatest fear.

The tone in my voice grates through a generous wedge of his reality and shreds the truth into bite-size helpings he can digest.

Her fight with the former is not meant for his medal of honor in the future. She must find the bravery to face these mistakes in her own timeline.

Though every prince wants the privilege to gallop in on Goliath, every princess must stir up strength to stand and slay her own struggles.

And my friend, well, he must stand guard over his own heart, and silence the voices sizing up a prince’s value with the world’s vision of what it means for a man and woman to be apart.

Courage Can Be Quiet

courage, marriage, dream, job, commitmentHappy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! Today, I celebrate the courage behind 35 years of marriage with this couple.

Through the hardship and pain, they continued to choose life together over the path alone.

I learned that loving other things in life more than two people love each other only leads to hardened hearts. There’s an intersection in this road; I’m glad they chose to turn right.

I’ve witnessed moments when choices led to let downs and the conclusion of an argument was the slamming of a door; walls will repeat whatever you put into the atmosphere, for days.

The dollars didn’t always come in like they were supposed to, and sometimes we were counting pennies to stretch what we had.

Some of life’s greatest injustices happened here in this sphere of love, like becoming parents of four children, who now have only three.

It’s these two hearts and four hands that have made my green eyes to see that love is always the answer.

Courage isn’t perfect. That’s what I learned.

If given the choice, courage will stay standing when others sit down. Courage rushes in when others are walking out. Courage will look for a window of opportunity when every door has closed.

Understanding what it takes to hold life together isn’t my story to tell. Yet, here is a testimony of what courage behind commitment looks like.

After 35 years, most of the tears trickling down their cheeks come out of laughter and several times a day, you will find one reaching out a hand for the other (mostly Dad! Men are a mess without a good woman.).

 

Everyone Needs A Friend

trishakeehn.com, friendship day, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10Someone to depend on. Someone to invest in. They help each other succeed and are worth all the struggles to stay for. That is a friend. That is someone we all need.

Today is Friendship Day. A time to reflect on those who demonstrate their kindness and loyalty to helping us rise up when we fall and reach out when fear holds us back.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

 

Taking The Long Way Home

#contentmentisChrist

Contentment sometimes seems negative because we want to visually interchange it with complacency. But the word is simply just gratification. In fact, conversely to being complacent, I wonder if it’s possible that being content is actually what moves us forward.

After three summers of stubbornly braving the southern humid heat while sitting in hours of stand-still traffic with a vehicle that was only good for blowing hot air, I finally broke down against my financial will and bought a new one.

There was a sort of surreal sense the first time I turned over the engine and felt this frigid breeze blow briskly by my face. I swear the angels were singing.

With tears streaming in gratitude and unbelief, I reached for the phone and called home to my mom.

It was the first time I wasn’t mapping my location based on congested traffic to avoid.

“Mom, my heart is content. I don’t care what’s up ahead or how long it’s going to be. I’m taking the long way home.”

Isn’t it amazing how our circumstance can change the course of our drive? We no longer look for the shortcuts because our soul is satisfied. We are willing to wrestle with and withstand whatever roadblocks or barricades stand in the way of our route.

Contentment is deeper than this though.

I’m not claiming to know the key to contentment. Clearly I just let simple air conditioning in a car determine my satisfaction for several summers. Paul unpacks the crux of contentment in Philippians 4:11: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.contentment, trishakeehn.com, acceptance, stillness, circumstances

I will do my best to peel back his words and paraphrase in light of my own story: Your changing circumstance does not affect the declared strength of Christ. Contentment is a calm acceptance and stillness of heart in life’s pressures because of God’s sufficiency in your life.

Contentment unravels around our relationships. We’re selfish by nature. We survey our spouse for what he/she can do for us, or at least what we can get out of marriage. We sulk when we don’t get our way, and get angry because they’ve hurt our feelings. (I’m speaking out of my experience with marriage here. I could be the only one with this problem though ;-)).

But can we at least agree that for vows to last, it must be built on more than the happiness and well-being of two people. God’s plans have a much greater purpose. And that purpose needs to be greater than any amount of stress and struggle we experience.

We discover contentment when we take the focus off of the circumstance and put in on the needs of our spouse, trusting God for our own.

More frequently a lack of contentment cycles through our jobs. It’s easy to get so focused on our dreams and goals that we get to the point where we’re not going to be happy until we see those things happen.

out of balance, happiness, trishakeehn.com, contentmentIf we have to have something in order to be happy, our lives are out of balance.

When ambitions start to frustrate us, and we lose our peace and don’t enjoy life, that’s a clear sign that we’re holding on too tightly. If we find ourselves chasing the elusive, “if I only had a _______, I’d be happy” dream, we’ve made our destiny a disillusionment.

God’s purpose is greater than any dream or goal you could envision on your own. Your problems don’t define your purpose. They are simply obstacles of the devil that you need to get past in order to continue with your primary purpose.

Comparisons will leave us discontent while conventionality will construct a coffin around life. So embrace both the light and the shadow.

The journey through this life will involve ups and downs. Job changes, the economic ebbs and flows, choices you make and decisions determined by others. And sometimes just the good or bad timing of it all.

There are few ideal situations, even fewer vacations and no perfect people. There’s no use in wasting time visualizing a life of highlight reels when that doesn’t exist.

It is our responsibility to live out of contentment in God’s purposes and make adjustments so we can live joyfully, whether He gives a little or a lot.

Whether you’re in a season of plenty or in a season of less, you can live with contentment and peace.

Release your vision of perfection. Freedom comes when you say, “God, I’m turning it all over to You. You know my desires and what’s best for me. I’m choosing to trust You and Your timing.”

When we learn to be content whatever the circumstances, it takes away the power of the enemy. It takes away his ability to frustrate us. Not only that, but by our actions, we are showing our faith in God.

When you choose to trust His timing, you can live in peace, you can live in joy, and you can rest in Him knowing that He has good things in store for your future.

Find freedom in contentment and rest in His everlasting peace.contentment, long way home, trishakeehn.com

Father, today I choose to trust You. I release frustration over the dreams and desires in my heart because You know what’s best for me. I choose to trust Your timing knowing that You are faithful. As I wrestle with what it means to be content, take the wheel in my confusion and settle all doubt. I want to take the long way home with You, Jesus. You are my holy obsession and burning desire. In Your presence I find peace and rest. Lead my soul beside still waters. May I never lose sight of this contentment that You are all I need. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

If you know someone struggling with fear or frustration, send them a link to this message. Or maybe you know someone feeling like a failure. Share some encouragement. Contentment is a message about who Jesus is, and it has nothing to do with our circumstances.

Take A Vacation

Without leaving home

Sure you could be laying on the beach at some far-flung destination, not checking emails and sipping a cocktail at 2 p.m. rehearsing “I’m on vacation!” You don’t need to set an alarm to wake up and can follow all the whims in the world because time, my friend, is on your side.

Sounds dreamy, right?trishakeehn.com, vacation, staycation, state of mind

Well here’s a super surprise for you… It’s all in your head. Even on your couch, you can keep the beachside mentality by reading an entire book in one setting or download tons of music, and not move until you get hungry for chocolate chip cookies and espresso.

Not convinced?

I grew up in a family where having a good time was priority. Sure we lived paycheck to paycheck, but we were also at the lakes every weekend and living a good life. This is where I learned how to enjoy every day and live like it’s vacay.

Here’s a 1-2-3 for how you can to.

One: Live like the days depend on your prayers.

One day over coffee with my mentor, she mentioned she doesn’t use an alarm to wake up for work. This prayer warrior divulged that several years prior, she asked God to get her up on time without an annoying alarm and she’s never had to hit snooze again.

Her daily discipline was inspiring to me so I prayed that bold prayer too. And God has yet to miss a morning of waking me up.

Sadly, we settle for much less than God wants to give. We’re taught in Sunday School that He has the whole world in His hands but we get on our knees and ask for a little patience. Pray for bigger and bolder moves. Petition for the impossibilities to be made possible. No matter how little or big it seems, just ask. Your faith and expectancy won’t appall a willing Father. In fact, it will bring Him honor.

Get smart with your schedule and stop working to live. If you want God to give you those exhilarating gifts of not knowing what’s coming next, leave room for the interruption. At the very least, unwind some tension in your life by freeing up time from the daunting list of to-do’s. Breathe in some flexibility so you can bend when the whims blow instead of breaking under frustration. 

No one wants to feel like it’s work to be around you. Let those closest to you feel a fresh breath of freedom in your company and use your brakes to develop some boundaries with the burdens. If you’ve already crossed the line by bringing home your complaints and unending emails, commit to change the course or it will impact your years to come.

Embrace the good and let go of the bad. Raise a glass to liberty and give the boot to negative nancies. Spend more time celebrating and less time stressing. Set yourself up for success by building a balanced life.

Two: Relish in Relationships

Focus on the quality of your hours alone with yourself. Spend time building a solid foundation in your heart for the future. A little loneliness goes a long way in creating a richer, deeper, more vibrant life. Sit with yourself and discover your worth.

Ask God to show you His supremacy in all things and teach you His sufficiency in the silence.

During the quiet hours, God’s still, small voice often breaks through the void and speaks the loudest.

Be intentional about taking this opportunity to get to know you. And take initiative with others. Dig into the pockets of your friendships and splurge on going deeper.

God has richly blessed me with homegrown girls who have weaved their way into my regular routine. But there was a day these warm hearts were few and far between and my soul ached for women I had never met. So I began advocating morning and night in prayer for specific friendships to join in my journey.

Today, I have more than I could have ever imagined and I’m madly in love with each of their raw emotions. God gave me the gifts and now I make it intentional to meet monthly, diving headfirst into the deep end of life as we wrestle through the wonders and worries together. Then I eagerly dig out my calendar to schedule when to do it all again.

People like to be pursued. I selfishly love their stories. Sometimes I wonder if my excitement over shared company is similar to what God feels when we come to Him spilling all our stories from the day.

Here’s the other thing I noticed. When there is nothing anchoring the heart for attention, I’m more apt to make small talk with anyone and everyone. You’re probably more carefree with your conversations over a campfire with a complete stranger than you are in your own coffee house, right?

One day I realized how ridiculous it is that I’m more shy in my community than I am willing to make connections in planes and trains on the first ticket out of here. I get so focused on what’s in front of me, it’s as if I pull a string on imaginary blinds and don’t want people peering in on my privacy.

Boldly embrace relationships. Commit to their hearts. It’s the silent cry your soul is longing for.

Three: Dream On.

Last lesson for living like you’re on vacation is to make your work work around your dreams. Live for what you love to do and let everything else fall around it. Let go of every limiting fear that says you can’t create the life you desire.

Reading and writing are bookends to my day. I spring out of bed in the early hours, eager to lift a finger on my dream. Then I make time in the middle to get paid for marketing, but it’s meager compared to the minutes I spend living my dream.

For me, there’s just something about learning new things that inspires a refreshing ‘ah ha’ moment like a much needed vacation. Regularly I run down the New York Times Bestseller list to discover new ‘must reads’ that have been reviewed and raved about. Then I click over to my library account and reserve a copy. Some books are only worth a browse, but the point is, fresh content is available to check out or download at your disposal.

Maybe taking a nosedive into literature hardly feels like a vacation to you (hey, there’s audio books and magazines too… just sayin’). Chances are your daydreams look a lot different than mine. But the point is, I’m giving you permission to pick something to splurge on and go for it! Sleep in. Dream on. Dream until your dreams come true. Mosey on into the next moment and be deliberate. Don’t just take a vacation. Live like you’re on one.

Happy Father’s Day

There are so many wonderful fathers to celebrate, and no doubt, deserving of our outpouring affections. There’s one who stands above the rest as the granddaddy of them all. And even if you find yourself “fatherless” today, He’s never left your side.trishakeehn.com, happy fathers day, father to the fatherless, father

He loves to lavish His children in unfailing affections and enjoys giving graciously when we ask. He exceeds all our expectations even when we don’t. His strength can move mountains and His reach will cross the ocean to find us wherever our feet may fall. We never have to go looking for Him. His grip won’t let us go.

The model of our earthly father’s heart pours out of His wellspring of forgiveness and mercy. No matter how far we run, His arms remain open wide, welcoming a return. He runs to us in the depths of our desperation and stands ready to defend us, even when it requires death on a cross.

I’m very thankful for my father on earth. And when I stare through his reflection, tears of joy and utter amazement flood my heart as I see the most beautiful Father of them all.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.

The greatest mystery of all

Everyone has a story beneath the cover of a smile.coffee cup in hand - resized

Often, it’s listening to unhighlighted chapters in another person’s life that peels back fresh pages in our own.

Dig deeper.

See past the boldface and bookmarks.

Don’t be afraid of a little dust.

Therein lies the secret to the greatest mystery novel of all; Life.

So what’s missing from your story?

Explore the unknown. Inhale the enlightenment. Embrace the unraveling Truth.

Lift back the folds in every face you encounter to discover how deep your heart goes.

 

The Dream Team

Accomplishing a dream isn’t just about how we spend each day but also with whom we’re spending it.

Everyone needs a dream team. A team of people you dream with; a core community who encourages dreams into reality.

I believe who we surround our life with reflects what we believe about our own heart. Who they are, is who we will also become.

“He who walks with wise men will be wise.” Proverbs 13:20

It is okay to be selfish and hang around people who will make you better.

Pruning off relationships that are not adding to your life is essential to pushing through the problems and pressing into the promise.2015-03-04 15.20.09

It’s easy for my days to become unfocused, distracted, and wasted. Yet, I have responsibility to use my time wisely. So I hand-selected wisdom as accountability, while I hustle out the details of my dream.

Together, we expect breakthroughs and snafu’s. We climb the mountains side by side, and scout new horizons ahead.

2015-03-04 15.25.37We’re the high-five waiting after a cleared hurdle and a strong hand reaching out through the struggle. We speak sunrises into the storms and cast vision and victory into perceived defeat.

Everybody is dealing with something. There will be things that frustrate you, things you don’t understand.

We can’t see God’s best if our team is weak. Evaluate your inner circle and who you’re investing in. Get the right people in your life. Those seeds you sow will create the harvest you need that will not only take you out of the valley—It will lead you to a new level.

2015-03-04 15.30.41You need a crew to help you navigate uncharted territory. You need aviators to co-pilot the rise out of ruins.

When you have a great team, no matter where you are in life, no matter what comes against you, you won’t be alone. You will not be forgotten. The star of the team, God, remembers you. He never forgets the dreams He’s put on the inside.

Stack the deck of your dream team and prepare to soar into your destiny.

Cultivating Calm Among the Christmas Chaos

Whoooosh!

A cold breeze blows by and bites the skin with a bitter, rushing reminder; it’s the season of cluttered calendars followed by scrambling steps just trying to keep up.

There’s a stream of shoppers scurrying with frantic concern to check off a list that is only growing longer.

The inbox and mailbox multiplies with messages by the minute; invites, greetings and the lure to splurge on one last spending spree.

Anything slow-moving or stopping is a buoy to weave around.

Pressing the peddle just to keep up, this speed increases now by the second, beyond limits that are warning to slow down; signs of a sneeze and sniffle, or worse, the numbing compassion for an unshaved man sitting on the corner with his newspapers in hand trying to make a dollar for the day.

There are no seconds to spare to silence a restless soul.

The beats of my heart tick with urgency to cross off a competing list for attention, and tock with a wrestling soul caught up in distracting demands. My prayers grow heavy and deep; the tears wet with sorrow that I’m not just living in the world anymore, but have become the world.

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 131:1

How can we cultivate a calm, quiet, peaceful soul that lives at rest in the swirl of insanity that encompasses Christmas? King David figured it out.

  • Make peace the desire of your heart.

When life gets busy, it’s easy for our emotions to get trapped in a timetable tornado plotted out in people, parties, and plans. Recognize the hurricane of hurry and ask yourself, How is my soul? Am I at rest? Do I have peace? Is there a quiet heart here? Earnestly pray for this peace.

  • Worship where you are.

Do you want a quiet Christmas spirit? The starting place is to get into position. To find sanity and clarity for his soul, King David set the world aside and worshipped the majesty of God.

His hand quiets the restless heart. His breath calms an aching spirit. He is the sure and steadfast anchor in swirling soul, a hope that can pierce the innermost place. His arms of peace wrap around every pain and rein in the racing thoughts.

In His warm embrace, find a place with no agenda. Of all things in the universe, you are the object of His obsession and designed to crave time with the Maker. This is where contentment is kept. When we abandon the world’s fractured appointments and embrace His calm and quiet spirit, the companionship of our Creator quenches this thirst for rest and frees an enslaved soul.how to cultivate a quiet soul

  • Relinquish control.

I have a tendency in the midst of my turmoil to take matters into my own hands. I struggle with the pressure of pride, It’s up to me. I’ve got to do something about this. I’m going to get it done. I’ve got to work it out. I’ve got to handle it. I’ve got to take care of it.

The only safe and sane place to be is in surrender, yielding all control, ambitions, dreams and desires to a God who stitched your soul and is still seated on the throne over creation. God, I trust that you have my best interest in mind. This is peaceful, healthy living on the inside.

Realize you’re not in control. You’re not in charge and ultimately, you’re not dictating your days. God has numbered the days. I may make my plans but the Lord directs my steps. Release the stress of trying to control the uncontrollable.

  • Keep Christ the center focus.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. 3 John 1:2

We did not earn God’s love, we were born into it. This relationship with God is not on worth, it’s by birth. Like a child in its mother’s arms, my soul is calm and quiet because I am content in who God is and the royal family image I am sewn in.

Sometimes the unsettling of a soul comes from living out of other people’s perception of who you should be, how your hours should be spent or even, how you want to be perceived by peers. But the truth is we cannot occupy ourselves with everything that offers itself to us. We are stewards of our own soul. We must set limits and lines to cultivate the calm and quiet soul.

Heavenly Father, Almighty God… You are my desire in the midst of all the craziness surrounding Christmas. Cradle this soul as a weaned child within me, where we can experience and enjoy the embrace of a Father as I tackle the traffic, run my errands, and finish these last few days of work. When the demands increase and the noise gets louder, I ask for this collision with Christ in my soul to change the world instead of it changing me.

I pray for profound peace, the calm that quiets the soul during this season of my life. Spark a fire of unshakable joy in this space carved out for my resting soul. Infuse clarity and sanity in this place. Help me to engage hurting hearts and not get caught up in looking for a good time. My heart is steadfast and sold out for your people. Remind me often this holiday season to remain committed to connecting others with You, God. My desire for the broken soul is that your love be glorified in the leaning of a listening ear. May I live from the genuine, and authentic spirit, devoted to the design You dreamed of. I just want you, God. Only You, Jesus.  

Reconcile Every Relationship

One of my dearest friends today is my ex-husband.

I don’t have words to describe the pain I’ve felt in the awareness of my faults that led to our separation but I can tell you what Jesus asked me to do next.

“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24

Reconciliation doesn’t mean you rush into the room, yell, “I’m sorry!” and run away… it means a relationship.

I took responsibility for ripping us apart and acknowledged the pain I put him in. I asked for forgiveness in hopes that his hurting heart could begin to heal.

He and I don’t have children together. We don’t work together nor do we live in the same town. BUT, reconciliation means every relationship!

As believers, we don’t realize how much the enemy plays a part in setting up roadblocks to reconciliation, in hopes that we will continue living a life of excuses, instead of one that radiates love and forgives everyone, as He forgave us.

What does this look like for you? Who do you need to seek out and help in the healing process? Not because you have to, but because God wants you to. Where does your heart need to reconcile?

Father God, you see our hearts and know the truths we’ve been hiding from. Those we’ve been running from. Reveal the relationships that need reconciling in our lives. Soften our spirit to accept what you’ve asked us to do. Give us strength to walk through the pain and accept responsibility with no more excuses. I ask this in the name of love, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Quantcast