I Hope You’ll Dance

I laugh when I see people swing dancing (or ballroom dancing) in the movies. It’s painfully obviously which couples are truly dancing and which memorized footwork. Sometimes in the movies actors are just taught the dance steps and the “moves” but aren’t taught how to dance. They are not taught about leading and following and the importance of connection.

I realized my relationship with Christ is much like a dance. Christ is the lead and I am the follow. As the follow, I have a few rules I need to abide by. Each dance has a structure to it. It’s important to learn the structure (the rhythm, the steps, the musicality). Once I have learned “the rules”, then I can play and add flair. As Christians we are given the “rules” in the Bible, but how we act out those rules can be done in our own unique way. How we spread the word, serve the church, and worship God can be done in a way that fits our style and our talent.  

Many people don’t realize that each move a couple performs on the dance floor is led rather than memorized. 90% of them are led through body movement. Hand placement, pressure, and stance tell the follow where she is supposed to go. The keys to being a good follow are attentiveness and responsiveness. As a follow I have to be able to understand what the lead wants me to do and then respond to it. Failure to pay attention and respond can result in pulled muscles, running into other couples, or even ending up as a pile on the floor (or elbowing the lead in the face – oops!). Our walk with Christ is the same. Through prayer, reading the BIble, and wise counsel we can understand where to go and what moves we should make. Failure to pay attention or going our own direction can result in emotional, spiritual and even physical pain. 

This life can be a beautiful dance, with tumultuous moments like in the tango, to happy moments like the jive or sweet, peaceful moments like the waltz. Live each moment with all you have, follow your leader, and you will end up with a fantastic performance.

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Steps to Less Emotional Decision-Making

Segregating knowledge in our lives seems pretty natural. We don’t consistently apply great tools we have in business to our home life. Last night I tried something new at home.

My husband’s Jeep broke down this week. It is a 1996 and has over 200,000 miles. Breaking down isn’t an unusal thing at this point. My husband’s job is 30 miles across town and therefore a reliable car is a must!

Money handling seems to be a sticking point in most marriages and ours is no different. We have very different approaches to money and how to resolve issues. I knew the Jeep situation could lead to an unproductive argument. I was determined to break the cycle by taking the emotion out of it. How did I do that?

1. Brainstorming – first, we listed out every possible option, without placing judgment on the ideas. We listed them out, no matter how likely it was
to actually implement.

2. Decision-tree – Next, we built a decision tree which laid out all the options we were going to consider.

3. Quantified all the decisions – After building the decision tree, we took each solution and quantified what the costs and benefits in quantifiable terms
would be.

Solution Potential Mileage Cost
Overhaul – At Shop 200,000 5,000
Overhaul – Self 200,000 2,300 (3 months)
Minimum Repair – At Shop 6,000 2,400
Minimum Repair – Self 6,000 900
$2800 Loan ($5500 purchase) 100,000 5,900
Car for cash 30,000 – 100,000 2700

The ability to look at issues logically and critically while suspending emotion allows us to gain insights and see the bigger picture.

Best Dinner Ever!

Making dinner is always a challenge in my home. My daughter, who is practically an angel, becomes a terror at dinner time. Knowing that mommy is preoccupied she does everything she knows she shouldn’t do. Normally, I put on Veggie Tales or Blues Clues and pray for the best. I decided tonight was going to be different.

I went to Target and picked up a step stool. In the kitchen, I turned the step stool backwards so the bar was away from the counter and set my nineteen month old on it. I then proceeded to teach her how to pour the ingredients and stir them. She helped sort the vegetables into different bowls. We successfully made dinner together in less than thirty minutes.

The ordeal was a little stressful (like how she would try lettuce, pull it out of her mouth, and put it back into the bowl) but far more productive than our usual evenings. It was messy but worth it. The key was to keep her doing things and to hold her attention. Now, instead of letting the tv babysit her during dinner prep, I am going to take advantage of this time to get in more together time and teach her how to contribute to the family.

Hello? Can You Hear Me?

I’m find myself frequently befuddled when people tell me God called them to move, or to quit their job and work from home. How does God call? Hopefully not collect. I don’t understand how people hear God. How do I get in His contact list? It would be so nice if God would look at my list of goals and let me know, “This is the one I have planned for you.” That’s never happened to me.

There are a few things I do know God wants me to do. He calls me to be a godly wife and mother. He calls me to be involved in His community of believers. He calls me to give happily and generously. These things are obvious, they are clearly written in the Bible. What about everything else? For me, the dichotomy I’m struggling with is His call for us not to live in debt and the burden I have on my heart to raise my children in Him. I also have so much passion I feel that God must have a plan for it! I just need direction.

How will I get direction?

Read the Bible and pray. When struggling with an issue, start with the basics and fundamentals.

Seek godly counsel. Bouncing ideas off of people seems to help me hear my own ideas, plus hearing their response let’s me know if I’m on the right track.

Wait. I will keep doing the little things and wait for God to show me which direction to go. I will keep writing, keep speaking, keep exploring ideas and wait for the breakthrough.

I feel there have been three messages ringing in my head. One, it is my responsibility to raise my children. God placed that on women. Two, it’s my husband’s responsibility to provide. And while I may or may not have been called to have a career for a duration to help our situation, the situation isn’t my burden to carry.  Three, trust God. I don’t see how everything can possibly work out if we don’t follow my plan. Yes, I am the oldest child and yes, I have a difficult time doing things any other way than my own.

Whether this is what people mean when they hear God talk, I have no idea. But I do know that God has a purpose for my life and as long as I seek Him first, regardless what path I end up on, He will be with me.

Me!

I started my other blog which focuses on business and leadership and realized how limited I was in what I could write. I really didn’t want to write more personal stories on the blog because that isn’t the audience. The only thing to do at this point, is of course, start another blog!

I have been married for 8 years and have a wonderful daughter. I struggle with many of the same things you do: how to find time  for everything you want to accomplish, how do you manage your finances, how do you glorify God in everything you do! I love to swing dance, scrap book, and go on marathon binges of crime shows (this is my weakness).

I did an exercise where I divided my life into 5 areas: Christian, Wife, Mom, Me and Leader. I set some long term goals for these areas which included getting more involved in the church and give back to the body of Christ; be a Proverbs 31 wife, really focusing on my ministry to my husband; prepare my daughter for her future by ensuring she has all the tools she needs to follow Christ and be successful, while creating memorable experiences for her; and getting involved in the activities I’m passionate about: dance, music and acting.

I would like to use this blog to share my journey and moment of revelations in hopes you can learn from my experiences.

In Him,

Jana