Since January isn’t over yet, I think it’s still ok to talk about resolutions.

“LeeAnn Greenup Ramsey” and “New Year’s resolutions” have a love/hate….well, let’s just say an “awkward” relationship. We always have. Prolly always will.

Every stinkin’ year I make a list of whatever. And every year, I almost always totes fail at one or more (or all…) of the whatevers.

But just in the past few days, I have been presented with a whole brand-spankin’-new concept…a whole new way of looking at the goals that I, or we, set for a “new year”. Wanta hear it?? Do ya?? (You’re going to, regardless…)

Ok, here goes.

There are great big weighted-blanket goals I have for my life in this year:

• to be healthier
• to be closer to my Father God
• to have an even richer relationship with my husband
• to learn more about the Bible
• to improve friendships
• to guide others to grow closer to their Father God
• to read more books
• to get rid of clutter #mariekondo #thankyoutinywoman
• to live simply
• to invest in eternal things

Those are the big, over-arching things.

But the truth I recently learned is this: In order to reach giant year-goals like these, I have to be constantly reaching tiny daily goals…on the daily.

Here’s the gist of it:

• if I want to be healthier, then today, this day, I need to be making choices that support or lead to that goal of being healthier.

• if I want to be closer to my Father God, then today, this day, I need to be making choices that support or lead to that goal of being closer to my Father God.

• if I want to learn more about my faith, then today, this day, I need to be making choices that support or lead to that goal of growing as a believer.

• if I want to improve my marriage, then today, this day, I need to be making choices that support or lead to that goal of strengthening my marriage.

• if I want to improve my relationships with my friends, then today, this day, I need to be making choices that support or lead to that goal of improving relationships with friends.

• if I want to guide others to grow closer to their Father God, then today, this day, I need to be making choices that support or lead to that goal of guiding other to grow closer to their Father God.

Ok…….I’ll stop now. But you get the message, don’t you?

Most resolutions aren’t really imagined or fulfilled or resolved in a whole year’s time. Most of them are imagined, fulfilled and resolved…one single day at a time. One step at a time.

Individual moments in every. single. day.

So here’s my challenge for 2019…for me and for you.

When you wake up each day in 2019, don’t think about the next year, or even this week or this month. Think about this day. How, in this day, will you decide decisions and choose choices that will support and lead you to the big goals? Because big changes aren’t made in one swipe…big changes are made in incremental steps and stages throughout the living of life…every single day.

Let’s make 2019 an amazing year. Let’s make it the year that we make good, life-altering changes that affect us and others for years to come.

I’m in. Are you?

On Casting Cares



One (just one) of my all-time favorite Bible verses is 1 Peter 5:7. It says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (NIV) I’ve even performed a song called “Cares Chorus” in my past life, based on this verse. lol

In the Living Bible translation, it says, “Let Him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.”

Could there BE a better verse??

As a human/woman/wife/mom/sister/friend/etc, I could make a very long list of things that concern me. And whoever and whatever you are, so could you.

This verse is such amazing comfort when it says God is “watching everything that concerns you.”

How often do we, and I mean all of us, think that we are the only ones concerned about our concerns. We can rarely find another human that is concerned with our specific concerns…cuz they’re busy being concerned with their specific and individual concerns.

But, oh my golly, people!!! How wonderful is it that, as we are concerned about our concerns, we are most definitely not concerning about them all alone. God is right there with us….right there concerning about our concerns with us. No matter what they are. (Because honestly, some of our concerns are a mere blip on God’s eternal/cosmic radar, even though they’re a giant hurricane or tidal wave on ours!)

I learned this truth many years ago, when David and I and his parents traveled all across America, ministering to churches and people 40+ weeks a year for many years. Earlier on, “The Ramseys” mostly did the music, because we traveled with an amazingly sweet and dear and genuine evangelist/preacher friend, Dr. Bob Elliott. 

I remember Brother Bob (as we affectionally referred to him) giving a message on this very verse…and the way that he illustrated it was life-changing to me.

He would said it this way (because he always wore a suit with a fine jacket)… “Imagine this jacket is all of your worries and all of your concerns and all of your wonderings. The idea Peter is presenting us with is this: You take off that ‘suit-jacket’ of worries and concerns, and you ‘cast’ it upon Jesus”…at which point, he would literally remove his jacket and “cast” it upon a microphone stand or a chair or whatever was nearby. He would then say,That is the idea behind ‘casting’ our cares upon Jesus.”

But then he would go on to say this. “But the trouble with us human, imperfect people, is that we say, ‘Ok, thank You much, Jesus, for carrying that for awhile. But I’ll take it back now…” and we pick up our worries and cares and we put them back on us and we walk away.

Come on! That’s ridiculous, right!? Why in the world would we do that? We are so puffed up in ourselves that we think we can handles those things, when Jesus says, “Hey! You most certainly CANNOT handle those things. But I can! So stop giving them to me and then taking them back and putting them on!!”

So this is my prayer for this new year. When worries and concerns shove their way into my thoughts and my emotions, I’m going to find a way to physically represent “casting” those things onto Jesus. I mean, listen…He’s definitely big enough and capable enough to handle those things for me. And once I do that, all I have to do is sit back in His grace and watch Him do His thing!

And then the most wonderful thing happens. In the place of those worries and those concerns, He gives me a peace that surpasses all understanding. And I can breathe deep…and I can sleep well.

And my prayer is this: So can you!

Thank you, my Jesus!

Throwing Apples


A couple of evenings ago, as with most evenings, David and I were sitting in the living room, looking out our tall front windows at 12 deer (and yes, David counted.)

A few weeks ago, we had some small apples that were going bad (at least for humans…I wasn’t gonna use them for anything) so I threw them out onto our property where the deer usually come and graze. Sure enough, the next evening, they came up and gently ate the sweet offerings.

So last night, again having some apples that were just a bit beyond using, I decided to gently open my front door and toss them into the yard for the deer that were close to our house.

As you can imagine, opening the door, albeit very quietly, got their attention…ever-so-slightly. I gently lobbed small, sweet apples into the yard (not toward any particular deer) so that they could have a nice treat.

Well, the action of throwing anything in the direction of fragilely-motivated deer caused them to flinch and run a few steps in the opposite direction of the apples.

My human mind told me, “Hey, you silly things! If you’ll just stand there for a bit and then come examine, you’ll see that these are so much sweeter and deliciouser than boring old brownish fall grass!” But, nevertheless, they ran away from the tossed apples.

Their loss, I guess.

But this got me thinking. We as humans tend to be the fearful, skiddish deer that walk about looking for a yummy snack. And as we are doing that, our Father God is standing on heaven’s porch, lobbing delicious blessings to us. But instead of running toward them and enjoying their sweetness, we are startled and scared by them. If we would just stand still, examine the situation, we’d see that these are very sweet and satisfying offerings that God is throwing at us. He’s tossing them onto our path, into our world…not to harm us, but to bless us.

As a human, I want to take the deer by the hoof and lead her over to the apples. But they don’t know me. They’re not my pets.

But in the same way, I’m sure God wants to take us by our little hooves and lead us over to the blessings. The difference is, as believers, we know God. We can trust that what He’s offering is good and sweet. 

(Which by the way, the apples were all gone the following morning. Which is a whole other lesson in itself.)

The Holiest of Waters


I’m re-watching a fave Netflix series…and early in season one, this phrase was spoken: “Tears are the holiest of waters.”

This COMPLETELY jumped out at me and consumed my brain activity for quite a while.

One character said this to her best-friend character…hoping to give some perspective to the emotions she was experiencing.

I simply could not let this go unnoticed or unmentioned.

Why? Because this is gospel truth, y’all.

So often, we find ourselves in the deepest depths. Maybe it’s a lost relationship, or a bad health diagnosis, or a personal failure. And we find ourselves crying tears. So many tears.

We have all shed tears over something. And when we find ourselves crying tears over whatever, that is when we are closest to our Maker.

We have finally denied that we have it all together…that we can figure this thing out…that we’re 10 feet tall and bullet-proof! (By the way…we are not! Just saying…)

We can do and say a lot of things that make us feel (or act) holy. But when our hearts are hurt to the point of tears, that’s when we are most vulnerable…that’s when we are most holy.

Tears are okay. Tears are honest. Tears are admitting that life sucks and life hurts and life isn’t perfect in any way. Tears are saying, “Father-God, this totally sucks. And I need You to help me make some kind of sense of this mess!!!”

And here’s the ultimate good news: God WILL always make sense of it.

Immediately? Probably not.

Eventually? Oh, most certainly.

So when you find yourself crying over some something, remember this: God knows we hurt. God knows we feel things ever-so-deeply. God knows we look for the purpose in our problems. God knows we need a reason to keep keeping on.

And when you realize that, then keep on keeping on. Fix your eyes on Him. Fix your eyes on how He handled the yucky parts of life already. 

And if you do that, then you can realize that you can overcome any and every stinky situation that comes your way!!

You are the King’s kid!

Believe that.

And act like it!!!

9/11/01….or today.


Today is 9/11. Today is September 11, 2018. Today is a day in history that changed everything: September 11, 2001.

On that day, I was just a few days from my 40th birthday.

On that day, my son…my only child…was at the beginning of his 6th grade in school.

On that day…..everything seemed alright in the world.

But then………………..

Oh, my stars, then……………

In those days, David was always the one to get CD up, get him fed and take him to school. His first year of junior high/middle school. David was kind to work the morning shift. I always worked the night shift.

On that day, I remember very clearly David coming to wake me up. His [almost] exact words were, “Babe, wake up. America is under attack.”

Wait, whaaaat? I immediately awoke. This wasn’t good news.

David left our house ASAP to pick up our son and bring him home to us. The local schools had shut down and were asking parents to pick up their kids and bring them home.


Not long after, I started watching the tv coverage of anything and everything…my jaw dropped to my chest…my mouth agape, I’m sure. I’ll be honest and transparent with you…I believe I spent the literal 24+ hours, sitting on our couch, glued to any reasonable, logical informational news show that I could possibly find.

Guys, I mean listen, my mind was all over the whole place.

How is it even possible that just a few hours ago, families went to sleep in total peace?

How is it even possible that normal, everyday people were getting ready for some morning flight to somewhere for some thing?

How is it possible that people went to sleep ready to face tomorrow’s normal day at the office?

How is it possible that firefighters, police officers, paramedics had drifted into the night, ready for their morning shifts…and whatever that entailed?

Not. Even. One. of these very special people could have remotely imagined what would come to be at 10am on the morning of NINE-ELEVEN.

In one tiny, single moment, LIFE WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME.

For you. For me. For those individuals. For America.

In one tiny single moment, something can happen……and life may never, ever, be the same again.

That’s why James wrote this: “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” 

Can I just tell you how much I hate this verse? Cuz I totally and completely hate this verse!!!

But just because I hate this verse doesn’t make it any less true.

In the past week, we found out that the daughter of a very close friend died. I believe she was about 19 years old. THAT, my friends…….THAT… too dang soon.

Too often, especially in the ministry of pastor/pastor’s wife, we hear far too often of a life cut short. And it doesn’t even matter how or why it was cut short…it just was!

I’m looking forward to eternity…ETERNITY…where life is never, ever, ever, ever cut short. For any reason! Life is never ended abruptly or suddenly or unexpectedly.

Because life is forever!

So, what can we learn from 9/11/01?

We can learn that life and time are precious! And what you and I do with our life and our time is worth more than the most precious earthly whatevers…[fill in the blank]!

So today. People……..


Look at the world around you. Look at your home and the family and/or friends that you have been blessed with. Take deep, deep breaths. In fact, focus on every deep breath that you take. Relax your body, mind and emotions. Kiss and love and snuggle on the ones that you love so deeply and couldn’t live without.

And never, ever, ever take one single breath for granted!




David and I got the precious opportunity to make a road trip this past weekend, to see our one-and-only son and his fiancé-girl. As we traveled the boring roads, I continued reading in a book that I had started reading out loud with him several months ago. This was a good opportunity to read some more. Haven’t finished the book yet, but we’re a whole lot closer.

In one of the chapters I read, the author talks about “the biggest jerk in the bird world”…and that, as he pointed out, would undoubtedly be the cuckoo. In your particular part of the earth, it may be something completely different. But hear me out….

This particular author explained that when a mommy cuckoo is ready to lay an egg, this “wildly irresponsible cuckoo bird” will look for a nest that some other bird has built. This morally-deficient cuckoo momma wants another bird to raise her cuckoo so she can focus on more reproduction. (Sounds all too familiar today, sadly!)

The other bird species doesn’t immediately suspect anything at all. Probably because the color patterns of the “new” egg are very similar, and, let’s face it…birds aren’t all that skilled at math, so the extra egg escapes their attention.

Since the cuckoo bird has a shorter incubation rate, it tends to hatch first. And once it’s finally broken through its shell, you know what it does?? Do you!!???

It kills the other birds!

Using its sharp beak and probably some non-savory vocab’, it destroys any other eggs in the nest. And if the other eggs have already hatched, no worries! The baby cuckoo bird just pushes the other baby birds out of the nest while their mommy is out gathering food.


Granted, there are some mommy birds that realize there’s a “new and different” egg that has suddenly appeared in the nest. And some of them will just get rid of the “foreign egg” right away, and there are others that will simply build a nest on top of the cuckoo egg to suffocate it so that it dies.

We all…you and me and everybody else…have cuckoos in our nest [life].

What are the cuckoos in our lives? Well, it really depends on who we are and how we were raised and what people have said about us at one time or another.

For us human-folk, the “cuckoos” in our lives tend to be all of the thoughts and beliefs that kill our purpose…our dream…our goals.

• What is your purpose?
• What is your dream?
• What is your goal?

There is a “cuckoo” part of you that tries to kill those things. 

If you’re trying to lose weight/get healthy/get strong/avoid disease, your cuckoo will tell you, “Don’t even try. It’s in your family history. Besides…you’ve failed every, single other time you’ve tried. If it was gonna happen, it woulda happened by now. You can’t do this!”

If you’re trying to start a business, your cuckoo will tell you, “You can’t really make any “real” money doing this. Besides, it’s alrighty been done before. And besides all that, you don’t really have what it takes anyway!”

If you’re trying to save or improve your marriage, your cuckoo will tell you, “Dude! It’s too far gone. There’s nothing you can do now to make this work. Just give up! Go away….get over it”

If you’re trying to write a book, your cuckoo will tell you, “Who do you think you are?? An author?? I mean, for real legits??? HAHA!!! What makes you think anyone will ever read even 5 words of anything you write? You’re just fooling yourself!”

See what I mean? Stupid cuckoos trying the crush your dreams and goals. Trying to kill them.

Don’t let the mean cuckoos mess you up. God gives us a purpose; He gives us our dreams and our goals. Nothing can kill those things…unless you let the mean cuckoos get into your nest and wreak total havoc!

Take a good strong inventory of your thought life and uncover those often hidden cuckoos. And when you find them, DESTROY THEM! And after you’re destroyed them, replace them.

When the cuckoo says, “Don’t even try. You’ve failed every other time!”, replace that with, “Maybe so. But God’s not done with me yet. I may have blown it previously, but I most definitely CAN do this right now!!!”

When the cuckoo says, “You can’t make money doing this,” say “Maybe not at first. It make take a little time, but I’m gonna give it everything I have to eventually make it a success.”

When the cuckoo says, “Your marriage is too far gone. It’s over!”, say “No way!! No it’s not! With the help of God, and counselors, and close, caring friends, we can fix this seemingly-irreparable problem. And in the end, we will be stronger for it!”

When the cuckoo says, “You got laid off? You lost your job? Big WHOOP! You weren’t good at it anyway! And now you’re too old for anyone to even want to hire your sorry behind,” you say “I WAS good at that job. And getting laid off may be the jumping off point to getting my dream job or starting my own business. This isn’t the end by any means!”

When the cuckoo says, “Nobody’s gonna be interested in anything you create,” you say “That doesn’t even matter, stupid cuckoo! The creativity I have was given to me by the Almighty God Himself. So if nobody is interested…and nobody buys or reads or cares…SO WHAT??? I still know that I’ve done what God gave me to do!”

Cuckoos are bullies. And we all hate bullies! 

As the author said in the book I’m reading, “Is it a coincidence that ‘cuckoo’ is another word for ‘crazy’?” Well, I myself would say a definite no…no coincidence whatsoever! But these cuckoos will definitely make you “cuckoo” if you don’t take care of them.

These cuckoos are killing your heart.

Don’t listen to their outrageous, ridiculous lies.



Broken. Bruised. Scarred.



Yesterday, David and I listened to a Steven Curtis Chapman song from way back called “The Great Adventure.”

We used it at Rock Springs years ago in attempt to inspire and encourage and excite the believers in our sphere of influence to look at life and God’s work as very much a great adventure!

As we listened, old familiar feelings bubbled to the surface. David and I so much wanted our church family to jump all in to this Great Adventure! This was our mission!

As we looked back to that era, we realized that there were many among us who said that they wanted to be a part of this Great Adventure, but when push came to shove, they actually wanted nothing to do with it.

As David and I “unpacked” our emotions related to this song and this idea, we came to the conclusion that there are just some who want nothing to do with this great adventure of life…this great adventure of living for and following Christ. They’re perfectly ok with living the Christian life as minimally as possible…not big commitment…no big changes…no big risks.

As I said, this song was the catalyst to a brand new way of ministry almost 10 years ago. It was basically the “theme song” for Rock Springs Community Church in Cortez, Colorado.

Much has happened since then.

During those early years, many times we felt bruised…broken…scarred. Listening to this same song brought up brand new emotions, totally different than in the early days. The Rock Springs family is now a huge part of the Great Adventure…and I couldn’t be happier!!!

Ministry isn’t easy in any form of the word! Don’t enter it lightly.

Don’t get me wrong…ministry is so very rewarding. But it will also leave you bruised, broken and scarred. Be forewarned!!

Our very good friend Travis has been in the rodeo “business” for many years…a career that is so foreign to me and David, being that we are city-folk at heart. (Although I did love me some Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in my growing up years.)

We recently were blessed to take a road trip to California with Travis and his sweet wife, Staci. Believe me, we were very much informed to the life of a lifetime rodeo dude…and I loved every minute of it. Almost made me want to do some rodeo-ing. Almost.

This past week, Travis went to participate in a rodeo about 3 hours away or so. For some unknown and unexpected reason, the family horse that he rode, bucked him and left him broken, bruised and scarred…and almost too sore to walk the next day.

David and I made the connection rather quickly.

If you’re bruised, broken and scarred, that just means that you took the risk of getting on the horse in the first place. The only way to NOT be bruised, broken and scarred is to not get on the horse…and stay on the sidelines or behind the scene or up in the bleachers watching what’s going on.

Would you rather be a spectator or a participant in this GREAT ADVENTURE??

This Day.


This day.

Today would have been my sweet father-in-love’s…Brad Ramsey’s…80th birthday. 80!!! I can hardly even imagine it! On the other hand…I can totally imagine it.

I was so stinkin’ blessed with my birth-daddy, Charles Wayne Greenup, who loved, and to this day, loves me unconditionally. I’ve got stories. I’ve got proof. Out of kindness and time management, I’ll spare you.

But 36+ years ago, I was also so stinkin’ blessed with a father-in-law/love who also loved me unconditionally…to his final days.

It’s been 5 years, minus a month, since I lost my sweet father-in-love to a freak, unexpected accident. And I grieve to the core of my being still to this day.

Tonight, I was catching up on a tv series that I love but had fallen behind in watching. In tonight’s particular episode, a daughter-in-law reached out to her father-in-law with great love and great compassion…as a true daughter…for he had been through a tough patch in his life. To say it touched me deeply is a grand understatement!

After the father-in-law’s serious operation, this daughter-in-law encouraged him to get up out of his comfort zone and just go for a walk. Just experience a change of scenery. Forget the limitations of health and surgery, and embrace the healing and new experiences.

I cannot EVEN tell you how I long for that to be with my 2nd father. I often question God’s wisdom and timing with taking my father-in-law sooner than I wanted. Sooner than I cared for or preferred.

But, hey…that is not for me to question. God is the God of all time and purpose. His will comes into play in all circumstances, whether I get it or not…whether I like it or not. My only comfort is to trust that God’s plan trumps my plan…or anyone else’s plan.

So what’s my point??

PEOPLE! Listen!! Make the most of the time you have in this very moment…in this very minute. You and I are not promised anything!! I mean NOT. ONE. THING.

And because of that fact, there should never, ever, ever be a wasted minute or moment. Don’t leave anything left unsaid or undone. Because there may never again be a minute or a moment to make a thing happen. So do it right in this minute.

“See what happens when you open your mouth?”


Last week, me and 12 of my besties went to California for the PDC…Purpose Driven Church Conference. I will leave my learnings, findings and gleanings for another time. Suffice it to say…it was the bestest!

One morning, we had arrived on the church campus to find our place in line to enter the auditorium and get our preferred seats. Since I am not a morning person, I never made it down to the hotel breakfast area to get any breakfast and/or coffee while we were there. So each morning, as we got to Saddleback Church (so early that God wasn’t even awake yet), I had David and friends go get in line and I went to the coffee area and got David his second/third cup, and got myself my first cup.

On this particular morning, as I was filling our cups with coffee, I heard a couple of gentlemen talking at the cream & sugar “doctoring” table to my right. And I’ll just say, they were two very handsome African-American men…the older was probably my age or a tad older, and the younger was in his 30’s, I would guess.

I heard the younger tell the older, “I’m from Houston, Texas.” Well, that immediately sparked my interest and attention, because I, too, am from Houston, Texas. I didn’t want to butt in and let them know I was eavesdropping, but I just couldn’t resist.

“Hey, I’m from Houston, too,” I turned and told the younger gentleman. He asked what part and I shared that I was from the southwest side of Houston…Missouri City. He was familiar. 

I walked over to the “doctoring” table and began fixing mine and David’s coffees. The younger gentleman went on to say, “Well, I’m not from Houston originally. I am living in Houston now, but I grew up in Nashville.” My attention was quickly alerted again, and I told him, “You’re kidding? I went to college in Nashville. Belmont College,” to which he replied, YOU’RE kidding?? I grew up just a few blocks from Belmont…on 15th Avenue South.” I told him I lived only a block from Belmont while there…on 18th Avenue South. We laughed and felt an immediate connection.

I quickly introduced myself to the older gentlemen who told me his name was Juan, and then to the younger, who introduced himself as Charles Wallace. I almost had to sit down. “My father and my son are both named Charles,” to which the older man said, “Y’all have just GOT to be related somehow.” We all three had a laugh at that, after agreeing that we are indeed related because we have the same heavenly Father.

Charles said, “Actually, my last church staff position was up in New Hampshire,” to which I replied, “Well, you got me there. I’ve never even been that far up in the northeast.”

And then Juan, the older gentleman, said something extremely profound that I will always treasure. 

He said, “See what happens when you open your mouth?”

Oh my! If Charles had not been talking to Juan, and if I had stood there at the coffee dispensers all quiet and introverted (which is my default) and had not shared that we had something in common, I would have never met these two fine gentlemen…and my life would be the lesser for it.

That statement Juan spoke is a mile-and-a-half-deep in gospel truth.

So often, especially those of us who are more introverted, stay out of conversations and groups and crowds. And in so doing, we many times miss moments of critical connection…a connection that could literally make someone’s day. Make them smile. Make them laugh. Make them think.

The Bible speaks about this kind of interaction at least 59 times in the Bible, in what’s referred to as the “one-anothers.” And as my father-in-love used to say, “You can’t ‘one-another’ if you’re not around one another.”

Here are just a few:

Love one another (John 13:34,35; 15:12,17)
Be devoted to one another(Romans 12:10)
Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16)
Accept one another (Romans 15:7)
Greet one another (Romans 16:16)
Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
Speak to one another (Ephesians 5:19)
Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11)

So many one-anothers. Yet so many of us stand over by the wall at the dance or at the party or at the church service, and we rarely if ever engage with other people, especially people that we don’t know.

It seems silly that Jesus would have to “command” us to “speak to one another.” That’s a pretty simple task, even for the most introverted amongst us. Yet a good plenty of us would rather stay in our own comfy cocoon, over in the dark corner (or the restroom) where no one will engage with us or talk to us or ask us anything.

But that’s how we grow, isn’t it? Stepping out of our comfort zone and being like Jesus? Meeting people where they are and engaging in meaningful…or hey, sometimes not-so-meaningful…conversation? And it doesn’t even have to be very difficult or terribly “intimate”…just convos as simple as finding out their name and where they grew up. Not complicated at all. But for shy/introverts?………overwhelming.

At last year’s PDC, I met an amazing man who has now become such a dear, dear friend. His name is William, but everybody calls him “Big Wil”. He is a very present and involved member at Saddleback…and he, too, is an African-American man (seems to be a theme here). I met him during last year’s Wednesday night worship night, and because I spirit-sensed that he was a strong man of God, I humbly asked him to pray for some tough stuff in my and David’s life at the time.

He was sitting in the row behind David and myself at the worship night, and he immediately leaned forward, put his head between David and me, placed his strong hands on our shoulders, and began praying one of the most powerful prayers I’ve ever heard spoken outloud. 

David and I wept.

So this year, I told Big Wil I was going to be there again…and we found each other at the worship night and reconnected, praising God for the work He’s been doing in William’s life and in ours. And sharing the passion we have for God and His work and His praise!

And lookie, kids…….I woulda missed this precious eternal friendship had I not listened to God…and opened my mouth.

Here’s what I’m saying: you simply cannot neglect opening your mouth and connecting with people. People need to hear you…and you need to hear other people. I know being an introvert is very powerful in our lives and will keep us on the bench and on the sidelines and against the wall. But the benefits and the blessings and the beginnings of opening our mouths and engaging with other people, whether they are like us or not, far outweigh the benefits of the safety of the wall.

Open your mouths, my friends.

And see what happens!!

Shoulda. Woulda. Coulda.

David and I have been through some tough stuff. Some of you know what tough stuff. Some don’t. But years ago, amidst the stuff, we weren’t doing well as a couple, and we sought help through an amazing Christian counselor that we have recently reconnected with again…and thanked him for literally saving our marriage. To which he replied, “Oh, I didn’t do anything.”

Gary, what?????? “OH, YES YOU DID!”

(As a side note, if someone thanks you for something you did for them, just say “You’re welcome” or something like that, ok? Please, for the love, don’t deflect.)

During that time, he counseled David and I together as a couple, and also separately/individually. And something I dealt with at that particular time (and sadly still do sometimes) is a case of the “shoulds.” He pointed out that he noticed that, as I talked about my feelings about whatever, that I often used the phrase, “I should” or “I should have.”

He very simply and kindly said to me… “LeeAnn, just please remove the word ‘should’ from your whole entire vocabulary.”

Ok, lemme ‘splain.

Have you ever found yourself saying things like this:

“Oh, I should have gone by and seen her while she was in the hospital.”
“I should know
her name by now. I know I’ve met her.”
“I should volunteer for that ministry.”
“I should keep the kitchen clean at all times.”
“I should remember to pray for that family.”
“I should be a better [whatever]
“I should work harder at ‘that’.”
“I should be more patient.”
“I should be more loving.”

My top-notch counselor reminded me that that simple 6-letter word “should” is very powerful, because it implies that there’s some kind of “law.” And that’s not only powerful…but a smidge dangerous.

Laws aren’t bad or evil, if they’re the right kind of laws. For instance, Jesus had a few “laws” that He insisted upon:

I “should” love my neighbor as myself.
That’s a Jesus-law.
I “should” love God with all my heart and all my mind and with all my soul and with all my strength.
That’s a Jesus-law.
I “should” pray for my enemies.
That’s a Jesus-law.
I “should” go the extra mile.
That’s a Jesus-law.
I “should” turn the other cheek.
That’s a Jesus-law.
I “should” be outrageously generous.
That’s a Jesus-law.

But we tend to make our own personal “laws”…
I “should” have remembered that woman’s name? Not a law.
I “should” know better than to do that.” Not a law.
I “should” go by and visit him? Not a law.
I “should” be a better wife/mom? Not a law.
I “should” eat right/exercise more? Not a law.
I “should” pay more attention to people. Not a law.

Fill in the blank of your own personal “shoulds.”

How do I fix that? What my counselor shared with me was just a simple change of a phrase. Instead of saying “I should,” exchange it for “I would like to” or “I would have liked to have…” or “I hope to be…”
“I would ‘like to’ remember her name.”
“I would ‘like to’ be a better wife.”
“I would ‘like to’ weigh less.”
“I would ‘like to’ pay off our debt.”
“I would ‘like to’ be a closer friend.”

When you have a lot of “shoulds” in your life, then you have a lot of laws. And when you have a lot of “laws” then you have a lot of “law-breaking”…a lot of disappointments and failures. Because when we break our own “should-laws,” we feel like we have failed. But when we set them up as “want-tos,” then we don’t necessarily fail…we simply don’t reach a wanted goal. And that’s not a failure. That’s simply a life-lesson…cuz we try again…and again…and again, if we need to. And eventually, we make it happen. We reach our God-given goals.

So here’s my challenge to you: If you find yourself using the two-word phrase “I should” more often than not, then change it to “I would like to.”

It changes everything. Believe me. No, really…seriously…believe me.

PS: And then…after that…just don’t never go back to any shoulds…ever!! Never. Ever.