Resting Face Fix

We sat on the 52nd floor of Prudential Tower inside the Top of the Hub restaurant.  It was the last evening of a week-long training in Boston, Massachusetts.  The city lights twinkled in the night-time landscape.  My female co-worker’s fork froze midair ascent when he said it.

His name was Alan.  I had stored him in my contacts as Al from Nashville–met 2012.

Among the dark wood finishes and fresh flowers, we had a deep conversation about youth led substance abuse prevention and teen empowerment.  With intrigue and conviction, he points to me, “You are smarter than I thought you were.”  I am silent, then he continues, “Looking at your face this week I didn’t know you were this intelligent.”

Huh.

Now…I may suspect this was a moment of unconscious bias toward females in his life.  It could be.  But I chose to own my piece of it quietly because this was the fourth time in my adult life that something like this was said to me.  Four felt like a theme.  Even if the score is three males to one female who said something similar over the years, it is still a theme.  I’ve been back burner simmer thinking about this subject matter for a while.

Fast forward to 2018 when I’m getting ready to leave for a writer’s conference.  On my list to discuss with my Masterminds group was:  My Resting Face Problem.  I filled in the 4 women team on the issue.  They offered quality meeting people for the first-time guidelines.  Then we came up with the idea to have specific words in mind all week that would hopefully project on my face in the quiet times, walking around campus times, and all times.  They suggested I come up with 3-4 words.

Strategy Words So, I did just that.  During the drive I committed that the following words would be on my face while in public always:  welcoming, kindness, humble, confidence.  Each time I left my room I looked in the mirror and said those words.

Then a metaphoric resting face earthquake happened not 24 hours into the conference.  I received a punch you in the stomach kind of phone call from home.  The call was about work, co-workers and children I care about immensely.  It was a blind side and news of a likely short-sighted decision that could roll down hill in a painful way.  I turned my face toward the nearest wall because I felt the strategy words slide right off my face.

I quickly prayed for many things and did my best to acknowledge gratitude that no one was physically bleeding or worse at home.  I was minutes away from the next meeting with a literary agent.  Turning toward a wall may have morphed into bouncing off walls because someone noticed.  I strained for composure when the sweetest person scooped me up.  Her name is Janine Rosche.  This dear sister sized me up in less than 2 minutes and asked if she could pray me over the hurdle.  Uh, yes please, Jesus take the wheel, I’m thinking.  She prayed me from brain implosion WHAT!? to calm.  I am forever grateful.  She is a Christian Romance writer.  Her blog is JanineRosche.com.  [I will buy anything she writes–hear that publishers?!]

The shakeup was Monday.  I carried on prayerfully the rest of the week.  Mostly I could focus, but I felt my body stress while in a new situation and it hurt to know people were hurting at home.  Resting face words became even more important because I used thinking about the words to center myself each day.  I needed to remember who I am and why I was there.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday hummed along and I enjoyed connecting with people and learning.  Thursday afternoon I sat down before the long drive home to care for some business deadlines and emails.  The covered patio overlooking a pond was a comfort.  I knew I’d feel better if I knocked out the work rather than pause at rest stops looking for wi-fi.

So help me, the phone rings and during the call I hear another piece of work information that sours my stomach.  People can be cruel.  The details don’t matter, but it was a problem that led me to be concerned whether I could handle driving 6 hours home.

Most conference attendees were already gone.  The campus was quiet.  Along comes a husband and wife team from Alabama that I had met earlier in the week.  They run a marriage ministry.  They stopped to say hello.  I explained that I was concerned about making the drive.  They asked if they could pray for me.  Yes, please.  

And then the full circle moment zapped my heart.

This is a clip from their prayer:

“….Lord, every time we’ve seen Glenna this week her face is a welcoming face, a kind face.  She is weary right now before the drive, but we ask you restore her confidence that we know is in her.  We thank you for the humble spirit we’ve sensed from her all week….”

I almost fell to the ground.

God is good.  God looks out for us and all of our struggles.  He even helps with resting face fixes!

While the Bible may not talk about the term “resting face”, I do cherish the following verse because rest and God’s presence is vital through the ups and downs of life.  In our facial expressions God can give us rest and focus.  In our struggles the greatest theme above any of our own life themes is the fact that God can weave the words and people we need into our current challenge.  We have His presence and we have His kind of rest available.  He will go with us.

And he said, “My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.”  Exodus 33:14  NKJV

Glenna

Feel the Feels

Pic Feel the Feels

You might think that someone who was a psych major would already know this, but what I am about to share is something I’ve only figured out how to do in the last 18 months.  I am not an expert, but I am getting better and practicing.

As children many of us are taught to suppress undesirable emotions.  For example, we may be told don’t be mad, sad, cry or demonstrate feelings that might make someone else (like a parent perhaps) feel uncomfortable.

Nowadays in my work I find more and more information that states it is important to validate a child’s emotions.  Tell the child it is ok to feel what they feel, and then encourage them to think carefully about what actions they will do next while being aware of their feelings.

Sidebar:  Jesus had all the emotions while on earth that we have too.  It’s how we utilize those emotions that matters.  We can welcome the feeling(s) and still be in control of our behavior choices.

Recently I told a friend, “Not that you are…but be enraged if you need to be.  Use it.  Maybe you need a little mad to keep moving.  Feel the feels and let them pass through your body.  Then get back to work.”

I have found that if I fight the feels, then it takes longer for me to get on track.  I have learned to:

  • Pause.  Allow myself to take a time out when I need it.
  • Identify the emotion or emotions.
  • Say in acknowledgement “I feel _______ (fill in the blank).”
  • Visualize the emotion(s) pass through my body.
  • Repeat as needed.  Breathe and exhale through the process.  Release the pain if needed.  Sometimes I thank the emotion for stopping by and for reminding me that I am human.

This process validates rather than fights the feeling.

Key:

  • Fighting or suppressing emotions derails my time management.
  • Validating and identifying an emotion normalizes my feelings and takes much less time to address.

Another time saver is when I pray, “God here is________.  Take it.  Lead me in the direction I should go.”  I am done figuring out anything that my Higher Power can bust through walls and decipher for me.

We have grace for others, we need to have grace for ourselves too.  I’m trying to do so anyway.  It is hard!

God has adamant love for you.  You are not alone.

Proverbs 3:26 …for the LORD will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.

Hebrews 4:16   Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

All the above being said, emotions that get in the way ongoing should be addressed with a professional.  Be brave and seek help from your doctor or therapist as needed.  There is so much power and freedom to be found in tapping into the truth about ourselves.

Glenna

 

I’m Back!

13403913_1222450987766693_5381139162687587115_o

Hello.  The last 3 years were almost more than I could handle–and this after I thought I’d had plenty of other challenging times in life over the years!  What did I know?!  I have accepted the fact that life involves continuous learning opportunities.

Fortunately God has provided support in every corner of my heart and mind.  I’m thankful for scripture that speaks louder and stronger than life circumstances.  And I’m grateful for friends who have never given up on me.  What a blessing!  I suspect too many people are isolated these days.  If you don’t have the kind of friends who would drive 2 hours to rescue you from a hospital after your body totally locked up while you were alone in a hotel room and had to be carried out while screaming by 6 EMTs…[Yes, that happened.  Story for another day.]…then here are a few ideas about how to seek more friends:

  • Join a small group or Bible study at your church.  People who grow together over a topic or activity may connect in a lasting way.
  • Sign up for Meet Up groups in your area.  Curious about a craft, hobby or crypto-currency?  There’s a group out there somewhere for you.
  • Show up for community events or causes in your neighborhood.  Being helpful can lead to whole new relationships or interests.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10  9Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10If either of them falls down, one can help the other up….

Of course, building friendship(s) takes time.  And it can’t be all about you.  When you are brave to try any of the above ideas, remember to be genuinely interested in getting to know other people.  Listening is one of the best things you can offer to others.

As the title might suggest, I am back to blogging.  And this time I think my confidence has grown enough to stick with it.  The picture in this post is from a special trip in 2016 when I ran away to seek God’s guidance from the highest mountain I could find with the help of 4 other ladies.  Now that is a story & a half!  We’ll get to it.

God bless you!

Glenna

 

ASK GOD; THE STORY OF MY FLIGHT WITH DAVID

Last week I was blessed to go to a conference out of town.  The conference was incredible; however, the two flights on the way to Boston were “eventful”.

Flight One:  The couple sitting next to me vomited into a cup the whole flight.  Gross.  They had to get replacement cups a couple of times.  Yep.  Yuck.  Thoughts of movies like Contagion came to mind.  The row of people in front of me was obviously sick with colds.  Snot, sneezing, watery eyes. 

Are you still with me?  I wouldn’t blame you for running.  At the time I wanted to run too, but there was nowhere to go!  Every seat was full. 

Flight Two:  The pilot announced that we had a mechanical.  We sat at the gate on another full flight for 40 minutes until the issue was resolved and the flying part of the flight began.  On this flight I sat next to a man who looked like he may have had a rough life so far, but he is not puking or sneezing so I’m good to go, I thought.  His rosy face looked like someone who might have issues with alcohol and I may have smelled similar indicators.  I cautioned myself not to judge.  He seemed quiet and I imagined we would get along swell in the serenity of our silence.

Until he was no longer quiet. 

I was playing a game of chess on my Nook® when he observed my (lack of) chess skills.  Side note:  I have not won a chess game against our 10 year old for over 10 months.  My seat buddy began to provide several chess tips that I plan to try at home.

And then he began to share stories from his life–a lot of stories.

I should point out that I really do enjoy hearing stories from people.  I believe that every story counts and is interesting.  I like to listen.  I liked listening to him.

But there are moments when you meet a talkative stranger when you pause to wonder if once the faucet is running…if it will ever stop running.  You feel me?

Logically I knew the flight would end one way or another, but I was in stranger land and there were many acres to hear about.  The more comfortable he became, the closer he was to me and occasionally he would rub my arm.  Meanwhile, spit flew from his mouth several times to land mostly on my arm.

I felt that uneasy trapped feeling.  That’s when the thought entered my mind you better ask God what to do with this situation

So I did:  God, what do you want me to do?  What does this man need from me?

My immediate reply thoughts which may have been answers straight from above were:  He is lonely.  Encourage him.  And my next thought was And somehow tell him that God is there for him and he should–if he feels he needs to–catch up on his relationship with God.

Oh, man.  My throat gets dry and my stomach nervous when I feel the need to mention God to a total stranger!

The life stories played on.  He used to own a title agency and lost his business.  When he was a kid his family moved around a lot.  He currently does not have a home.  He flies to work for a couple weeks for a car promotion company and then returns to crash on various friends’ couches.  He lived in Florida for a while, but has decided he no longer is a fan of the state.  He was picked up for a crime he didn’t commit and spent time in jail.  Before going to jail he spent five awful days in a prison van picking up other prisoners.  He never had kids, but wishes he had.  I could go on….

I was at a loss for words until the pilot asked us to prepare for landing.  I asked my stranger friend, “What is your name?”

He said, “David.”

“Ohhh,” I replied and shared my name too.

“Nice to meet you,” David said.

I shared, “You know…in the Bible, David reinvented himself several times.  He wasn’t just about killing the giant and then life was peachy.  David endured a lot.  He made mistakes.  He bounced back.”

David’s eyes seemed to brighten.  “I forgot about that.  You’re right.”

“I bet you’re in the middle of reinventing yourself too.  Correct?”

“Yes.  I am.  But I’ve been away from God for a long time.  I’ve been thinking about getting back in touch with God and maybe going to church.”

“Good for you,” I agreed.  “God is just a prayer away.  He’s here for you today.  And you’re wise about church–that would be a good place for fellowship and to grow in wisdom.”

Before we left the plane, David determined that he would reconnect with God and with a church he had been thinking about going to visit. 

David also stated that he had been wishing for encouragement that day.

You never know who you’ll meet any given day.  And how many times do we not know what to say? 

I’m going to ask God more often what to do.

I do not have all the answers, but I know who does.

Love,

Glenna