Thursday Tip: Vulnerable

Yesterday was certainly a surprise for me. I wasn’t anticipating such a strong response to my post about letting go. By noon it was the most trafficked post I’ve seen since April. After picking my jaw back up off the floor and mumbling… “wha?“, I quickly opened the post to read what I was apparently missing. And that’s when I realized I hadn’t actually read the post the FIRST time before hitting publish. Spelling errors, missing words – if you read the post before 8:00am MST I apologize! HAH! Only you know that I attempted to use cagaries as a word. (It’s not.)

Not two minutes after I cleaned up the mess and had a little laugh, but also some self-punishment: “Ginger! WHY didn’t you use spell check? THINK. Let’s not get lazy!” I poured my off-brand honey nut cheerios and heard the familiar ding from my phone. I wandered over to the counter and discovered a text message from one of my favorite lovelies, Meredith. I’ve known M since she was in 8th grade and I was a sophomore in college. I was her Senior Counselor at summer camp and she has been a faithful pen pal ever since! Here’s what greeted me when I opened her note:

“Thank you for your blog posts and thank you for allowing others to see your imperfections… Your post sincerely encouraged me today and I appreciate them. I just wanted you to know I am thanking God for you.”

At this point I put down my spoon and closed my eyes. Two minutes ago I had been agonizing over my imperfect post about coming to grips with imperfections. Y’ALL. It’s a disease. I have this need to control every bit of information about me. Even as I share my struggles I still want them to be wrapped up in the prettiest package possible. Photo edited: check. Spell-check: check. Relatively decent sentence structure and grammar: check. Sharing enough without sharing too much: check.

I quickly responded to M: “Thank you so much for taking the time to write. Perfect timing. I had just realized I never spell-checked the post OR reread it. OY! Your text brought grace at the right moment.”

One text and suddenly I realized how humanizing vulnerability is for the soul. It’s good for the writer and the reader, the speaker and the listener. When we are willing to share our imperfect skin, homes, wardrobes, hearts, and stories, we offer something better than perfection. We offer ourselves. We are essentially saying, “I don’t have it all together, but I’m willing to share myself just the same.”

As I sat thinking another text came through from M: Haha. I didn’t notice those imperfections, just saw all of the truth.”

Aren’t those words to live by? There’s no point in faking perfection. If we live in truth, the imperfections take a backseat to God’s purpose for our lives.

So here’s the tip: let your guard down. Allow your friends to walk into to your messy house. Honestly answer the question “How are you?”. Stop competing on Social Media. I’ll start. Here’s my perfectly messy living room as of right now. Laundry, baby clothes, bags, shoes, it’s everywhere. I have to step over my junk to get to the kitchen. I should put a really cool filter on it and Instagram that. ;)

living room“Authenticity occurs when real people say real things about real issues with real feelings. When you’re authentic you live what you are.” Chuck Swindoll

Following and failing… and then getting back up again,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Choosing to Remember

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Catching the theme this week? REMEMBER. Today’s Thursday tip is a retro video post with a ridiculous popped collar, but it holds truth for today!

We begin in Psalm 105 again:

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
    tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always.

Remember the wonders he has done,
    his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced…”

Let’s take the time to remember all He has done! Catch you after the video:

Remember from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

“I REMEMBER the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.”  Psalm 143:5

What will you choose to remember today?

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Ask for Wisdom

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God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, 
   his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning. 
   How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). 
   He’s all I’ve got left.

 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits
   to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope, 
   quietly hope for help from God.

Lamentations 3:22-26, MSG

Today I’m sharing a retro video post because I feel like the lessons from last spring are just as applicable to this current season. I still find myself looking for answers: waiting, seeking, and hoping. I hope you are encouraged by God’s promises for your situation today!

Thursday Tips: Silence from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

I’m still learning to apply those three things to my situation.

1. Passionately wait.

2. Diligently seek.

3. Quietly hope.

And I would add to that list:

4. Keep walking by faith.

Sometimes I forget to continue moving while I’m waiting, seeking and hoping. Jesus demonstrated leaving the throngs of people and going off on a mountain to pray… but after a few hours he came back down and kept loving those very people.

So how do I face the unknown future?

I walk in the truth that I know, I claim God’s good promises, and I confidently acknowledge that He will guide the life I have entrusted to Him.

Still learning,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Releasing Control

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Did the title make you shudder?

The Thursday Tip I’m sharing this morning came out of a real life experience from this week.

  • I had something on the calendar.
  • I was looking forward to that event on the calendar.
  • One phone call an hour before the event and suddenly everything changed. The appointment was cancelled.

And by my response… you would have thought I’d been told that my leg would be amputated later that day.

I don’t like last-minute changes. I like to be in control. ALWAYS. I’m learning new lessons about this every day. Here’s what happened:

Thursday Tips: Releasing Control from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

I love this quote from John Newton. I’m copying it onto a card and placing it on the front of my calendar today.

“…If the very hairs of our head are numbered; if every event great and small, is under the direction of his providence and purpose; and if he has a wise, holy, and gracious end in view, to which everything that happens is subordinate and subservient; – then we have nothing to do, but with patience and humility to follow as he leads, and cheerfully to expect a happy issue… How happy are they who can resign all to him, see his hand in every dispensation, and believe that he chooses better for them than they possibly could for themselves!”

Amen. Amen. And Amen!

May this reminder serve to give us all peace in the midst of changed plans this week!

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Simmer Down Now


Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.
 -Ambrose Bierce

There’s much when it comes to how we used social media. I couldn’t help but think about this retro video post as I was writing this week. When we consider how much to share on-line I want us to also take a step back and think about WHAT we are sharing.

Note: It might have been 92 degrees in November during the filming of this, but it is currently 103 in May. Tell yourself wherever you live that your weather is delightful!

Catch you after the video:

A Challenge for the week: Think before we post. May our words (typed or spoken) bring joy and encouragement to anyone listening or following…

“Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.” James 1:19-20, MSG

“Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.”Ephesians 4:29, MSG

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14, NIV

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Get Real

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I think a lot of us are pretty good at acting and pretending. We smile through pain and maintain the image that we want the world to see. Sometimes it’s a conscious decision and sometimes… it just happens. That’s why today’s retro Thursday Tip is all about awareness. How do YOU answer this question: “How are you?!”

Check it out.

Thursday Tip: Stop Pretending from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

Do you struggle with fine-itis too? What would happen if you were to answer that question honestly? What if you let yourself feel AND be vulnerable with those feelings? What then?

“…If you are anything like me, then you know the fine art of how to be vulnerable enough so people believe you are authentic, but not so vulnerable that all your mess hangs out. You know how to be vulnerable with boundaries… We may be able to hide some of the mess with each other, but we have a God who sees and knows and loves no matter what. He is a generous, patient, compassionate God and his expectations of us are not the same as our expectations of ourselves.” (Emily P. Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl)

Even if you still struggle with sharing all of your mess with those around you, I would encourage you to allow yourself to be honest in your time with the Lord. Nothing will surprise Him… He knows and LOVES the True You. Find freedom in being totally honest without any pretending.

Following and learning,

Ginger

Thursday Tips: Snap Out of It

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We talked about worry yesterday, a topic I’ve touched on several times in the past years. So for today’s tip, I wanted to list some practical tools that I’ve picked up along the way to help combat worry.

Snap It.

This is not some form of weird penance. I take a rubber band and write a verse on it, usually Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Obviously you need a wide rubber band and some tiny handwriting. Stretch that sucker out and write the verse, or part of the verse. This allows me to meditate on the words, glance at the verse every time my eyes go to my watch, and occasionally pop myself with the band if I’m on a worry cycle headed to nowhere but anxiety. That little pop can sometimes pull me out and force me to acknowledge my anxieties rather than letting them take over my thoughts.

Face the alternative.

Take out your journal and open it to a new page. Write out Philippians 4:5-7. “Let your gentleness be evident to all, the Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Now translate this verse into your own version of worries. For example…

“Let your fear be evident to all for the Lord is distant.  Be anxious about everything, but in everything, by making lists and keeping yourself awake at night, with complaining, present your worries to yourself.  And the weight of the world and all the problems that could happen, and all the things that did happen, and everything that might happen, will keep your hearts and minds captives to worry.” (Ginger 4:5-7)

Refreshing way to live, isn’t it?  What would your verse say about the way you live your life? Is it plagued by worry, or have you come to the point where you realize your best chance is to give up and trust?

Read the book of Joshua.

Whenever I’m coming down with a case of mental “shaking knees” I spend some time reading about Israel’s worried leader. Over and over God tells Joshua to “BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS!”

After the death of Moses the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant:

“In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” (Joshua 1:1,5-9, MSG)

Fight like you mean it.

Resist the urge to simply flick your hand at worry like a gnat. If worries take more of your thought life than prayer or gratitude, take a firm stand and commit to working on this struggle. Take your thoughts captive, don’t let them run you around. Wake up each morning with a song of thanksgiving in your heart rather than worries on your lips. (Easier said than done, right?) Just like any discipline this will take practice. Don’t give up- it’s worth it.

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Transitioning Transitions

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“We have no idea what lies ahead or how God will open doors of potentiality when we consciously choose to get out of the ruts we’re in and start moving down new paths about which we can be excited–even passionate.” 
― Luci Swindoll, I Married Adventure

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite video posts with you. I wrote about shaking knees in the midst of big changes and this clip was a reminder of how life is one transition after another. I hope you are embracing uncertainty and running full speed toward opportunities on the other side of possible.

Thursday Tips: Transitions from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

Here’s to transitions!

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Eyes Up

Yesterday we started walking through M’s complex thoughts about self-worth, anxiety, and what to do when we don’t like how we look or feel. Obviously it’s not something that can be answered in a short blog post or with a pat answer.

Acknowledging the truth, that we will never live up to the world’s standards is essentially step one. Step two is to then choose to live and see ourselves through God’s loving eyes. But step three involves our eyes.

When I get so focused on my own worries, imperfections and failings I get caught in a crazy cycle of self-loathing. One long look in a mirror, a step on a scale, a harsh word from a classmate… any of these can send our self-esteem reeling out of control. So we ground ourselves in truth, and then we look outward!

The truth of the matter is that joy flows most often when we take a step back from ourselves and notice those around us. Joy comes from blessing and encouraging others, rather than focusing on our own needs. When life is “all about me” it leaves little room for the joy that emerges through loving people.

The next time the tears threaten to overtake you, try one of these tips before you give up.

1. Make cookies and give them to friends and neighbors.

2. Write a letter (snail mail!) to a grandparent, relative, or teacher who has been instrumental in your life. Thank them for the role they have had.

3. Leave a flower for someone and don’t tell them who it’s from! Instead just include a note that says, “You matter. Thank you for being you!”  Have fun encouraging from a distance.

4. Go for a walk outside!

5. Turn on some music and dance in your room.

6. Offer to help your mom cook dinner.

7. The next time a volunteer opportunity is presented to you, say “yes”!

8. Go through your closet and collect clothes to donate to a local charity. That sweater you wore once last year might just make someone else’s day.

9. Take time to collect runaway shopping carts in the parking lot and return them to their homes.

10. Commit to only use texting and social media to encourage other people. No more lamenting, moaning, or complaining.

11. Invite someone in your family to go out for lunch, your treat! Plan the “date” and even dress up to make it more special.

12. This list could go on and on, so start making your own!

I know that counting my blessings is a huge kick in the pants when I need to refocus my gaze, but this list can also help in those moments when the hurt threatens to knock us down. We each have so much to give to a world in need!

I pinned this photo on Pinterest this week. I love the thought behind it. Let’s find our passion and get to loving others!

purposeful

Happy Thursday.

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Ammo

I was recently asked by a friend for some of my go-to verses when it comes to trusting truth rather than our ever-changing feelings. It’s a question I’m asked often so I determined to write a post on the very topic.

This Thursday, my prayer is that you will develop your own list of well-known verses for the road ahead. But for now, I present to you my own list of ammunition for taking thoughts captive and staying my mind on what I know to be true

verses

(*NIV 1984 version unless otherwise notated.)

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2nd Corinthians 10:4-5

“But you O LORD are a shield around me. You are my glory, the one who holds my head high.” Psalm 3:3

“He rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 22:20

“But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:18-22

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your love, O LORD, supported me.” Psalm 94:18

“Then they cried to the LORD in their touble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.” Psalm 197:13-16

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go.” Psalm 143:8

“Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.” Isaiah 14:24

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:3-4

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime–until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” Isaiah 46:4, NLT

“Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24

“You came near when I called and said, ‘Do not fear.'” Lamentations 3:57

“It does not depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy…” Romans 9:16

“He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

“…Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

“I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” 1 Timothy 1:12

This is just a start, but I hope you will add your own favorites in the comment section.

Following,
Ginger