My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for Challenges

What will it take to convince you that you are loved?

Dona_2-10-13I’ve always been convinced that you can tell people who know that they are loved – they seem to live differently, with a certain kind of confidence, an assurance of place and belonging. They are not easily perturbed by things or people. Their knowledge of being loved comes from some internal conviction that has been affirmed and settled.

On the other hand, questions and doubt seem to plague those who feel insecure in their relationships. They seem to need constant reassurance. They can be certain of love one moment then throw out accusations the next. They are unsettled by many things – challenged by always comparing and feeling the need to measure up to someone, some ideal, some image.

I found myself laughing uncontrollably one day as I listened to NPR as they played a scene from a TV show. What an imagery! As the girl broke off her relationship with the guy she told him, “Being in relationship with you is like being in relationship with a tread master – you are exhausting!” She was tired of his constant need to try to change her so HE would feel accepted and fit in.

How exhausting it must be to act the chameleon, changing to suit every person, trying much too hard to fit in. Convinced that if you do this or the other they might finally love you the way you want to be love. Being exhausted by your efforts, yet never seeming to measure up.

What will it take to convince you that you are loved? What has to happen? What must a person do? Would you cease from your exhausting efforts if you knew you were loved and accepted just the way you are?

I have no valentine’s romance to offer you but I can offer you a love that has been tested through the ages. Yes, you may have heard it many times before, but what will it take to convince you? That God love YOU so much that He did everything in his power to forge a lasting relationship with you – and now offers it to you freely this valentine’s day and every single day. You don’t have to work to be acceptable or change to fit in and be loved – just receive the big, abundant, unrestrained love that He offers you.

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From death to life, empowered to stand

For several weeks I had been praying a short, simple prayer, “Holy Spirit of Life, ‘life’ your people, that we may live! Breathe in us, Spirit of God…”

…Only to find myself sliding in a kind of despair I’d never experienced before. I struggled with doubt I would have never thought possible and questioned every promise from God that would rise up in my spirit. At times when it seemed that the light and life had gone out inside me and I chose not to pray, I’d awake during the night to hear my spirit praying, “Holy Spirit of LIFE, life me with Yourself. I want to live!…”

As always, after God speaks and brings breakthrough in my personal life, He confirms His word in some public setting, speaking though some other source.

At watch might service, the sermon was entitled, “Time to live again.” As I study Ezekiel 37, the scripture reference from last night’s sermon, I once again rest in the covenant relationship with a God who will come to us when we find ourselves in valleys of despair and death.

He commands only that we perceive, become conscious by the ear and give our attention to His word (vs. 4 – Dry bones, HEAR the word of the Lord!). He follows with promises of what HE will do — vs. 6 “I will attach tendons, I will bring flesh on you, I will cover you with skin, I will put breath in you, and YOU will come to life.

I’m very much aware that death requires nothing of us, but LIFE does. Even after the first prophecy – that produced the rattling and noise of the coming together of bones, that gave the dry bones the appearance of a healthy physical body – they were still lifeless, without any power to act. However, when The Breath was called forth and the Spirit of God surged in them they stood up, ready for action.

The good news is that no matter what causes us to give in to despair, if we can decide not to shut down and close ourselves off but instead to open our ears and perceive/discern that in the midst of whatever it is, God is still speaking and working – we can live.

KISS me slowly, sweetheart. In honor of breast cancer awareness month

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Find help to remain strong when dealing with the challenges of Breast Cancer

Kiss me slowly, sweetheart, she whispered. It was another one of their games she had invented after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Life had been such a whirlwind before. Their schedules hardly allowed them time together. They would dash off to work at mornings and fall into bed exhausted at nights. With schedules and functions and staying focused on that damnable goal they would throw each other a quick kiss accompanied by a sleepy goodnight and drift off to sleep.

Why does it take something devastating to make us reevaluate our lives? How do we lose sight of the really important things so easily?

Sabina and Sebastian had been stunned after they had received the diagnosis – Sabina had Stage III breast cancer. In the midst of the decision-making, surgery and treatments they had needed help to just cope with it.

One morning as Sebastian had brushed her lips with a kiss, she had wrapped her arms around his neck and whispered, “Kiss me slowly, sweetheart.” She hated this terrible disease and what it had done to her body but loved this person she never knew her husband could be.

It was he who had told her to ask for the KISS  principle or any variations of it when she needed it. When things got overwhelming, she would say, “Keep It Simple, Sweetheart.”  Shortly after, that had morphed in any request she could invent that involved the word kiss and they had found pure, simple fun even in their tragedy as they tried to out do each other’s level of creativity.

Sabina had excellent doctors, her faith in God had been challenged and strengthened, her love for Sebastian had deepened, yet she knew tomorrow was not promised. She had to love and live well, today.

So whatever you are going through:
Find the “simple” in the midst of it
• Allow yourself to be loved
Have fun with those in your space
Remember your faith in God CAN bear up beneath tough challenges
• …and if you have someone to share a kiss with – take it slow and savor it – tomorrow is not promised.

Don’t Judge Me!

That Sunday afternoon found me in the kitchen chopping veggies as I prepared Sunday lunch.
I was wearing my “intelligent design, interior shorts,” with matching green shoes and an orange floral top–exposing my shoulders, midriff and thighs.

The door opened and in walked my mom, Laura and Laura’s cousin. “I love your outfit,” she said, as she gave me a hug. I turned to her with mocked seriousness and said, “You know I did not wear THIS to church?” She laughed, then responded, “Even if you wore it to church, I would not judge you. I’d just figure if that’s how you want to do church, you should do you.”

What is it about that generation, I wonder, that make them so quick to state that they neither pass judgment or want to be judged. Are they correcting some flaw they saw in the generations before them? Is there possibly some confusion about values, right, wrong and the act of passing judgment? Or is there something that we all can learn from them?

Let’s explore…
Her name is Saffron. She’s deathly still as she sits in her car. There is no life in her eyes, except for the tears welling up in them. Until, as if suddenly jolted to life, she starts pounding on her steering wheel, crying, “My life HAS to change, I can’t live like this anymore…”

She turns on her car and starts driving, noticing for the first time how many churches she passes on her way home. In her 21 years she had never been to church except for weddings, and she’d never had a desire to go. …The HOPE Cathedral; New Beginnings; Changing A Generation; A Church For The Community; Whosoever Will Come; Lifesavers Ministries; The Love Center; Haven of Rest… She kept reading the signs, her heart yearning for what they all promised…

She pulled in the parking lot, slipped out of the car then with horror realized she had not thought about how she was dressed. She was still wearing her shorts and high heels from the previous night and shame gripped her once again as she debated returning to car and going home. She was so tired, tired of her life the way it was, tired of where her choices took her and so tired of feeling ashamed.

She slipped in the back door hoping to sit in the back pew, unnoticed. Instead, it took an eternity to get to the open seat in the middle of the church. As heads turned and eyes stared, she fought to hold back her tears. “Would someone just help me?” her heart cried?

…If this was “your church” how would they respond?

Would the Outreach Ministry present Christ to her? Would the intercessors be crying out on her behalf? Godly women who had been taught to be uncomfortable about their bodies and made to feel insecure in their relationships, would they view her suspiciously, wishing she had gone elsewhere? Would the older women, steeped with propriety be able to see pass her attire and discern her need?

Would the men offer her Christ or themselves? Would they be so comfortable with a life of continued sin to confidently offer her Christ AND themselves?

What would I do?

What would you do? Would our actions make it difficult for her to receive the Word?

Would Saffron find Christ at the Church or would she find selfishness and judgment?

Seize the little fox that threatens the vineyard – the bad is good for you

“…give into the temptation …..sometimes the bad is good for you, lol.” We had been messaging back and forth on Facebook and when this reply came through I felt an obligation to correct such faulty reasoning. However, somewhere between finding the right response and typing it I was distracted by a thought, “…hmm, he might be right, it will only take me about two minutes to drive there.

I sat for a while, “scheming”. I had been at home sick for the week and the last thing I felt like doing was getting dressed and leaving the house.

Note to self: Beware of encouragement that pushes you in the wrong direction.

It seemed that was all I needed, a little encouragement. I pulled open the closet doors, Aha! pulled out a knee-length winter coat – thick enough to keep me warm, (I had a fever that was giving me chills,) yet short enough so that I did not look totally crazy – slipped it on, and headed to the car.

Note to self: the bad might feel good to you, (and sometimes only for a short while), so stop deceiving yourself, it is never good for you.

“I love ’em! I hate ’em! I love ’em! I hate ’em, I really, really hate ’em”

Now, if from the start I had been truly honest with myself I could have avoided this emotional roller coaster, the abdominal pain, the sick feeling in my stomach, the headache, the regret, and that voice that always comes after – “Dona, you’ve been here before, you know better, how many times will you repeat this cycle before you learn.”

Have you ever been there? That place of after, called regret. For before, you were certain you could not do without “that thing”. You listened to the desire that said “Oh, just try it, if you don’t like it you can just move on.” Now you are caught in this cycle. Long after you’ve started hating “the thing,” you find yourself unable to move on.

Note to self: be careful what you give yourself to. You may find yourself in a lifelong struggle driven by some physical desire or psychological connection.

Thank God it was only Cheetos, that crunchy deliciousness that makes me sick every time. And the Cheetos pusher? My nephew. But don’t miss the point, always examine the long view when choices offer immediate and short-term gratification. Learn how to seize and destroy those thoughts and suggestions that are planted to destroy your vineyard.

The Caterpillar and I

My first impulse was to step on it. I don’t like bugs. But as I watched it, the caterpillar’s body, slow, a little clumsy, yet beautiful, I was fascinated. It was out of its element, crawling, seemly getting nowhere — reminding me of life sometimes.

Sometimes it seems no matter how hard we try or how fast we move we’ll never get to our destination. The challenge? Remain steady and keep at it even when progress seems slow.

In your caterpillar phase remember that change is closer than you may think. Avoid the burden of comparing yourself to others who are designed differently than you.

Not everyone will recognize your beauty. Don’t be deterred by those who only see a bug.

Remind yourself that you are being transformed daily and soon you’ll leave the tedious task of crawling and take to the air doing what you were ultimately designed to do.

A worthwhile exchange: releasing it all for God

Max Lucado tells a story of this six-year-old girl who had a string of pearls – they were fake, she loved them — she wore them everyday, everywhere with everything.

She was a daddy’s girl – she loved her daddy. He traveled often and was gone for days, but the first day of his return was a day of celebration.

This particular day they had played all afternoon after he returned from a week-long trip to the Orient. That evening as he tucked her in bed he asked, “Do you love me?”
“Yes daddy, I love you more than anything,” she answered.
“Anything?” he asked.
“Anything.”
He thought for a moment, “More than your pearls? Would you give them to me?
“Oh daddy, I couldn’t do that, you know I love my pearls!”
“I understand,” he said and kissed her goodnight.

That evening and the next day she thought about what he had asked. That night, offering her pearls to him, she said, “Take them daddy, I love you more.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” he answered as he reached for his briefcase. “I brought you a gift.”

She opened the small box, gasping with surprise, her dad had bought her genuine pearls…

The challenge is to offer things to God before I wrap my emotional arms around them – relationships, things I would love and stubbornly refuse to release once I become attached. I’ve never seen relationships that seemed perfect gone wrong so quickly once offered to God. Things exposed that I did not want to see, words that revealed hearts I thought I knew, and the whisper of God made crystal clear – would you willing exchange what you think you have/need even though you don’t know what I have in store?

I ask you the question that Max Lucado asked me — What pearls is God hoping you will release?

Song: Burn it all down by Lexi

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