Houston We Have A Problem 

  
By now the world has heard of Houston, TX and the traffic distraction of the naked dancing queen. I admit I got a good chuckle out of all the Meme’s floating around the net. 

Interesting though that when I think of her… I feel this overwhelming sense of not only compassion but a sense of wonder and hope surrounding it.    

First I wondered how she kept her footing so well, as a larger woman myself, I know that was not an easy job, so I like to think she had some Divine assistance with that and protecting her from harm. 

Second, I wonder if the surrounding motorist were pissed because she had hindered them and taken up almost two hours of their time, or if they relaxed and just enjoyed the show or stopped and prayed for her and all the children that may have caught the show.  

Third, I even laughed because if you have been anywhere near Hwy 290 lately and the mess it already is with congestion and construction, it would make you want to strip your clothes off butt naked and run- not dance.  

I saw the lead image from a friends Facebook page that captured the shot of the lady’s pose with her arms stretched up over her head.  

I wondered….

Was she surrendering to the freedom she felt high above the other cars and distractions of her life, unhindered from the binding and restrictions of her clothes now shucked, and just experiencing the happiness of the breeze blowing away every care at that very moment? 

That was the thought that I wanted it to be for her, for me, for everyone watching…..

But sadly, I doubt she could grasp a hold of any thoughts. Her mind was either plagued by the demons that have been raging within her or possibly the drugs that altered her sense of acceptable behaviors when stuck in traffic.  

Rumors circled the net along with the meme’s that she was a psych patient that had left the hospital and other reports were that she was driving erratic and had caused two other fender benders before bailing out and baring all her goods before she climbed up that poor guys rig and began dancing to the music only she heard.

I can’t help but wonder, what music did she hear?

What message was this to deliver to us? 

Those offended and pissed, where was their empathy and compassion? 

All the YouTube videos, snap chats, tweets and Facebook posts swirling- but did anyone put down their phones, get out of their cars, and try to reach out to her instead of pointing and laughing? 

I am not sure why this is all swirling around in my head this morning but I do know that God has a plan for this. God has a message much deeper than all the surface skin level that we all saw and the world has seen now by all the media coverage.  

I believe that it just isn’t Houston, but the World that has a problem when others are not led to compassion or empathy for those hurting, regardless how they choose to express that pain.    

Dancing Queen, whomever and wherever you are I pray that in that moment of arms held high that you felt God in that breeze that hit you girl! I pray that the demons or addiction or just the mental break from whatever life’s events caused you to do this that you will come to know Christ, be delivered, set free and be renewed in your mind, and come to have the mind of Christ. I pray for the world watching that didn’t reach out or respond with empathy and compassion would get a good heart check. I pray for all the little eyes and others that just didn’t need to see all this that you would protect their minds. I pray that I will keep seeking the lessons you are wanting to share with me over all this.  Lord, forgive me when I only think of myself- let me be led to reach out more. 
                ~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

Empathy 

  

Define

Empathy can be defined as the capacity to understand what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference in other words place yourself in another’s shoes.

 

Affirm

Matthew 22:39 “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

Recall

On the evening of Monday, May 25, 2015 heavy rain was followed by a wide-spread life threatening flood that exceeded the flooding we had experienced during Hurricane Ike. That morning, I awoke to many texts questioning my safety and texts stating “stay home.” I had no idea what my family members suggested; until I pulled outside of my parking lot to see the bayou over flowing with water. I quickly returned home and turned on the news that morning to see many communities in Houston underwater. A few days later, we learned the subsequent flooding event impacted thousands of businesses and homes, damaged hundreds of vehicles, caused power outages for more than 100,000 residents, and led to nine local fatalities.  

 

Two weeks after the flood I met a woman at a work event—on a Saturday. The organization I work for partnered with a local company that offered free mattresses to families who experienced the devastation. Because it was the weekend, I didn’t have a sitter so my daughter, Lereine went with me. I really didn’t want to work on Saturday; especially with the sun beaming on me like I was a rotisserie chicken; but of course I obliged considering the partnership was valued at more than 1.5 million.

 

I saw a women in line by Lereine- of course she was entertaining the crowd. In an attempt to engage in conversation with her, I noticed she was wearing a shirt that stated “Rice University,” so I politely said “did you attend Rice?” I was not ready for her response. She said no, “I didn’t. Actually, I lost all of my clothes in the flood and a neighbor let me have this shirt.” Initially, I did not know how to respond. The only SILENT response was empathy.  

 

All of a sudden my entire reason for being there became clear. Early that week, honestly I was frustrated because my team was required to work long-extremely long hours. As I began to imagine what Carley’s family endured- I had to stop being concerned about how great of a job I was doing or how long my work hours were. Instead of complaining, I started thanking and praying. My family could have been the family needing help instead of offering the help. God again humbled me.  

 

Have you found yourself inadvertently complaining instead of thanking? Have you found yourself not empathizing with another person; because your struggle was not their struggle? Just know, GOD instructs us to have empathy and he wants us to love our neighbors as ourselves.  

The next time you see someone experience pain, heartache, and/or turmoil- I challenge you to for a minute try to imagine what life would be like if you too endured their situation and then ask GOD to bless them. When you do, you will feel amazing, and so will they!  

 

Exercise

Dear God, 

 Thank you for helping me understand the importance of empathizing with others. For at moments, when I choose to lack empathy, please soften my heart to show love to my neighbor as myself.  

 

Commit to the challenge. I DARE you. 

#mydearestsister #Idareyou #restoredministries #itstimeforachange #anewyou #LiveRestored
Le Reca Monik

Laugh On Laugh Off 




       When was the last time you just had a good laugh. I’m talking about the kind that you can’t stop and you start making weird sounds and high pitched squeaks. Then your eyes get in on the fun and start to drip tears of giggles and streams of silly. 

The worst is when you get a laughing spell at a place where your best manners are expected to be quiet and listen.   A classroom, church, graduation ceremony, funeral or a work meeting might be one of those places uncontrolled laughing might be frowned upon. 

But it has probably happened to most of us at some time or another. Possibly when we were younger or for some it was yesterday. 

Medical research shows that laughter is indeed good medicine. The Bible stated it first in Proverbs 17:22

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Amazing to me how science is always catching up with God’s unchangeable basic truths. 

God is reminding me this season of my “middle aged womanly self” to 
Laugh On 
and
Laugh Off

Remember the clap on, clap off lamps? Those were always fun to clap on the light and clap off the light from across the room. 

Now keep in mind, I’m not talking about ignoring and not addressing deep seated issues that need attention.  We all know the tragedy of one of the funniest comedians Robin Williams.  God rest his soul. This is not about putting on a happy face and hiding our sadness on the inside.  

Laugh On Laugh Off

You have a family member or friend who just tries your patience on a regular basis. Maybe they are annoying and are constantly negative. Instead of jumping up and down with them in their bouncy ball house of put downs……….
smile and say something super sweet about that person they are roasting over an open fire.
Go a crazy step further and suggest a prayer together for that person. 
Watch what happens!!
It will make you chuckle. 
Most likely they will stop trash talking or think you’re a Jesus freak cake and walk away. 
Problem solved!!
You didn’t get drawn into negative talk or stinking thinking about anyone. 

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Laugh On Laugh Off

Let’s clap onto one more example. 

This one requires your imagination and complete concentration. You may need to clear away some “I’m too old and mature” cobwebs to clearly see this on your visual screen of thought. 

This is a mind over matter deal. It goes along the line of the advice of your parents.  Remember when you had to give your first speech. You were completely scared and nerved out!! Did anyone ever say to you?  Just imagine the audience all sitting and listening to you in their underwear. (modest underwear of course) It really helped if your professor was like mine and looked like he stepped out of the 18th century with rim glasses and wiry hair sticking up and out everywhere.  I think that may have even included his nostrils. 
I only endorse this recommendation if your professor and audience resemble Albert Einstein. 

Okay, so here we go!!
Use your imagination, Barney!!

You are in a social setting and that person who just rubs you the wrong way walks up to you to say hello. They start into their conversation that always and completely centers around themselves and their other selves. 
Instead of falling into your usual false judgements about them. Which by the way they could be very valid and proven true!!
Just give them the benefit of the doubt. 

I used to watch Sesame Street as a young child and found Big Bird quite mesmerizing. Especially his big nest he occasionally climbed in and out of singing songs. 

Mind over Matter 
Back to our “me first” friend who pops into our social setting. 
Go there with your vivid wild imagination and visualize them as Big Bird from Sesame Street. They become quite tall and yellow with a bright orange beak. One that flaps quite rapidly without much hesitation. You watch as they take big steps of waddle and swag back to their nest. This being the biggest nest of human proportions which houses their soiled eggs of disappointment and rejection. 
Smile back at them and shoot that bird some blessings. 
Now it’s possible your silly Sesame Street thoughts of that person might actually turn into compassion and empathy for them. 
With God all things are possible!!
You can take the opportunity to privately pray for them as they widdle waddle away. 

With all things it takes practice to build back your imagination skills. 
Practice makes perfect!!

Congratulations you have made the choice to…….

Laugh Off
any opportunity for gossip, offense or judgements to stick to you. 

Laugh On
some new empathy, compassion and understanding for that person. 

I Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Everyone’s a winner!!

Big bird would be so proud!

Watch below 
Big Bird shares something little to help someone in a big way. 

http://youtu.be/pTXlrWumPqA

Laugh On,
Kelley Allison
Proverbs 17:22