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Introspective Sojourner

The journey inward following Christ’s path to that person I was uniquely created to be.

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Shades of Blues; Into a Fractured Mind Book Release

When tragedy happens unexpectedly, it changes everything.

 

Shades of Blues Paperback on Amazon

 

Shades of Blues; Into a Fractured Mind by Vicki Pugliese is available NOW on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle eBook Formats.  Available soon on Kobo.

Set in rural Titusville, PA – SHADES OF BLUES; Into a Fractured Mind is a powerful and compelling tragic story filled with grace and redemption. Feel free to share! Be the first to own your copy.

I’ll Stand Beside You

Bullies come in all sizes. I grew up in a great small town, but it had a clique system and bullies. Those who were different or had lower self-esteem seemed to end up more frequent targets, in my opinion. I grew up when diversity wasn’t something that was relished or embraced. I had friends that were wounded, deeply, by unkind actions and words – wounds that have lasted into their adulthood. Bullying is not new.

I can place myself on the list of those who have experienced bullying; an unkind nickname, comments meant to injure, I’ve been picked last for dodge ball, and physical threats. I experienced the same, not only as a child, but in most places that I have worked, from the criminal to a minor slight. I am no stranger to bullying.

Standing up to bullies is not an uncommon stance. I have been a proponent myself. Although, when I was bullied, that was not how I responded. Instead I shutdown and withdrew. This is the behavior that you would think is the most damaging to someone’s soul, but it is not. The most damaging behavior, in my opinion, is when you find yourself on the other side. When you know how it feels to be bullied but for whatever reason, you find that you yourself are the one being dismissive or unkind to someone who just wants a friend or to be understood.

As a kid, one of my dear friends was frequently bullied by one of the kids who was more popular, more self-assured and more aggressive. What this bully didn’t have was more friends. When our little group decided that our friend had had enough and we were going to stand up to this bully together, we crossed that line. We became the aggressors and we confronted this bully publicly and in force. She had no option but to back down. All she could do was retreat. As a kid, we reveled in our victory. We congratulated each other in our success. We believed in our loyalty. But were we right?

It’s such a gray area, isn’t it? We all hate bullies. We love movies where the underdog standups up to his bully. We love the scene that I lived as a kid in support of my friend. But is that right? How did the bully feel – whether she deserved it or not? Didn’t we commit the same offense as her?

I hate new places of employment. I hate feeling like I don’t belong until I create friendships – that waiting to be picked for a team feeling. Those first weeks where I’m unsure and self-conscious, especially if I’m also struggling to feel competent, they are difficult for me. I’m often not fond of people who make transitions like that difficult.

Nonetheless, I can’t say I have never made someone else’s transition difficult. I have made snap judgements about new coworkers, and not treated them warmly, while they were struggling to fit in. I have withheld my friendship, for sometimes valid reasons. Still, I have committed the offense I so dislike. Where do I draw the line? I can’t throw the first stone.

Recently an old friend told me of the bullying that he experienced as a kid. We were decent enough friends as kids, yet I had no idea he was ever bullied. When he first told me, I was angry at my little town for being so unkind. He deserved better. He deserved to know that he is valuable the way he is, and that people loved and accepted him. He deserved friends who stood up for him as well, and to feel that he didn’t have to fight his battle alone. I wish he had believed in our little group enough that things could have been different for him. I’m not sure they would have – it was a different time.

I hate bullying but I am concerned about how easy it is to become the bully in return. How easy it is to hold someone else to a standard I don’t hold myself to. I want my own way, as much as the next guy, but I need to find ways that use compromise and consideration of others while protecting my boundaries. I need to respect the differences of others better. We all need someone in our corner, that group that says, “I’ll stand beside you.” I need to be in more people’s group.

Determining where the boundary is between self-care and our own bullying in return, may be the most difficult line to find, and one I find most damaging to my soul.

 

By Vicki L Pugliese

People, The new Big Business exhaust

Big Business exhaust, in terms of people, appears to be on a dramatic rise, in my opinion. That thing that factories use to do; taking the finest resources, changing them, stripping from them whatever the factory determined was valuable, and then spewing out the waste.  That is what Big Business is doing to its “Human Resources” today.  The problem is, once they have over used or devalued a human being, broken down a person’s spirit until this particular business or team no longer finds this specific person useful, they then label this person as useless or defective.  This is often so far from the truth it doesn’t even resemble the truth.  It’s just that team’s or company’s pride and puffery.

Layoffs have occurred for years and people, even good people would get cut. Teams would get eliminated and excellent workers would find themselves pounding the pavement looking for employment.  They would find work, occasionally they would end up in a job that was a better match because they had not been as good a fit in their previous job.  Perhaps they had been reluctant to leave and look elsewhere before the layoff.  Looking for new employment can be a scary endeavor.  Some people find even looking for new employment disloyal.  This is a good quality in an employee!

Turn the clock to current times, post housing bubble, post flooding the market with work immigration visas, post world wide web infrastructure, outsourcing and off shoring, and the job market is very small. Suddenly a reality that actually always was true is now right up in your face. We are all replaceable, like removing a branch that was sticking straight up out of a pond.  The water fills back in immediately, instantly, as if the branch never existed.  There may be ripples but overall there will be no difference.  We should not think too highly of ourselves, because we are like that branch, all of us!  It may take hiring someone new, or even two new people.  Perhaps someone who never would have stepped up while a rock star employee existed will finally find the courage to make their move.  Make no mistake, you are not different.  Your skills are not unique.  Someone out there will learn them.  It may be painful for a season but like a ripple, you will be gone.  Pride has sharp edges.  Big Business is an organism and it will move on without you.

At one point in my life Big Business invested in their people. They ensured they were trained and built good teams.  They had teams of professionals, “human resources managers” to work through problems.  These individuals were not primarily used to hire and fire people as they are in many businesses today.  Once you were hired, if you ended up a square peg, they worked to find a square hole for you.  They didn’t want human exhaust. They invested in people and their well being.  This has not completely gone away.  In some cases unions have preserved this.  In some cases smaller businesses work themselves to preserve this way of life.  But by in large, the tides have changed.

In today’s society if you aren’t a good fit, not only will we kick you to the curb, but we will label you as a bad fit causing it to be more difficult for you to find employment next time.  Never for a second thinking possibly, you might be a great match for a different business or another team.  Never for a second do we stop and think that our team might be unique in some manner, or have unique methods or processes, or even be difficult to get along with.

This human exhaust process is creating a workplace PTSD nightmare. Employees who at one point were excellent workers, who ended up in a job that didn’t match their best skills, or on a team with a person who lacked good leadership skills are being crushed by Big Business in droves.  Employees, who took a chance on a team or a project that was later cut, are being caught in this exhaust system as well.  They took a risk and then found themselves in a job that wasn’t a match.  Some of them go on to find a safe workplace environment and bounce back.  Then there are others who hit a second or third mismatch and their workplace PTSD spirals out of control.  The market is tighter now.  The search is harder.  Now they have multiple mismatches to either hide on their resume or explain in an interview.  The process gets harder and harder.  They could have years of successful service to a single employer previously but that won’t matter in the interview.  The recent bouncing around will look suspicious.  No one will take the time to bring the resource back to health.  It’s just business to Big Business.  It’s just a simple Big Business by product at this point.  A person is now a by product!

Who picks up that tab? We do!  The American people!  Health care costs, welfare and services costs, or worse yet, if they get desperate enough, crime costs!  It all stems from a lack of concern.  It all stems from an attitude that it can’t happen to me!  But it could happen to you!  The wrong boss and the right situation and we are all replaceable.  You say you are stronger than that, but for how long?  How many rejections that lack merit will it take?  What if there was no merit to why you were laid off in the first place?  Perhaps your boss had a best friend that wanted your job, so your boss piled the work onto your plate.  You complain but your boss manages to keep your workload too high and then sites that your quality is slipping.  Layoffs roll around and your record shows that your quality is slipping and out you go.  Like a stick in the water, we are all replaceable.  Months later your boss is out on her can too.  We are all replaceable.  Pride has sharp edges.

The issue is, do you care that Big Business is creating human exhaust? That Big Business sometimes promotes people who lack leadership skills.  Bosses who believe that people are resources to be managed and not persons to be lead.  They are demoralizing and crushing good workers in droves.  Do you care that these workers who were contributing members of society are now crumbling?  They are becoming a drain instead?  Do you care?  Or are you just going to watch it happen to your next coworker, leader, subordinate?  Could an investment into the resources that are the most precious in this country have made a difference?  Perhaps a different team or a different job or some assistance working through a conflict would set this employee back to their previous rock star status.  Wouldn’t that be worth the effort?  Is it really that easy to give up?  Maybe they just needed to be appreciated.

That Big Business resource exhaust group with workplace PTSD are growing in numbers. What is scarier is they are growing in dependence on our countries services.  They are getting angrier and Big Business has made them unstable!  We need to care.  We need to invest in the only resource that ever mattered, the human resource.  Selfishness and narcissism will ruin our country as it has all other great nations of the past.  Big Business has broken free from country boundaries, in case that missed your notice.  It’s eating up people for lunch!  When it does that in your country, then your country pays to pick up the pieces.

It’s time to start seeing Big Business for what it is. It’s time to care about the kind of exhaust it puts out.  We reined in factories in the last century.  We can rein in Big Business in this one.  We just have to care.

 

By Vicki L. Pugliese

Feel Free to Say

On Veteran’s Day in the wake of a close election, in a divided country, I am grateful for my freedoms.  As we realize that our friends, coworkers, fellow service men, and family, even our parents, spouses and children believe differently than we do; even vehemently different, rejoice in that freedom.  Because our beliefs, no matter what the topic, we do not have to be retrained.  Celebrate that right.   Value the ability to share differing opinions openly without reserve and without fear of retribution.

California had 17 propositions on the ballot, from an educational state bond, to legalizing marijuana and taxing cigarettes.  We had two plastic bag propositions, three propositions on incarceration and the death penalty, and one to limit guns and ammo.  While the debates over what passed in the propositions still hotly continue, thank you to those who serve so we have that right.

I am pleased that my children feel safe enough to argue their differing views, whether or not we should be kinder or more gentle with our words.  It matters less that we perhaps should choose our words more carefully than our ability to feel heard and validated by those with like views.  It does us good to be challenged about what we think by those with opposing views. 

It is a privilege paid for in blood. The blood of good men and woman who believe in that freedom. Morals aside, it is our constitutional right to have and speak our views freely.  The ability to argue tooth and nail for our beliefs, is a gift. 

On this Veteran’s Day, I thank all of my fellow service men, who serve today, in the past and those who will in the future.  You make America great, by allowing all Americans to be themselves.

God Bless America.

By Vicki L. Pugliese, U.S.N

I guess it’s time?

She was just four and a half pounds.  There was nothing left of her except her big beautiful personality.  Half her full weight. She had been in continent for a couple of years now.  She couldn’t see and could barely hear.  She struggled to breathe at times and slept a lot.  But she got up and nudged me at exactly the time I was supposed to leave for her final appointment.  Tears streaming down my face, I asked her, instead of telling her.  “I guess it’s time?”

She just wanted to be held.  I was putting things away, dilly dallying.

I’d spent the day trying to make sure everything would be perfect when I brought her home.  Her headstone and burial box all ready.  I should have spent it holding her but I couldn’t.  The vet commented that her box was set up like a princess.  She’d been our only female dog and indeed was a tiny princess.

She didn’t mind wearing a sweater as long as it was fluffy and pretty.  She walked with a girly swagger.  We’d even had her nails painted once and she loved it.

What she got annoyed with were the boys, our other dogs.  A couple of them just barely smarter than rocks but bubbly, they just didn’t get that she was the princess.  And that can be so annoying!  Especially in the end, when she would snap at them like, “I’m sleeping here!”  But I got it.

I made her a silk pillow and blanket.  I decorated the box and headstone.  She’d be laid to rest like the princess she was.  We had picked a nice spot under a tree.  Seemed like a great idea until we started hitting roots.  We would have hit rocks elsewhere on our property, so it didn’t probably matter.

She got up from where she was napping and came over to be held.  I had planned on using a dog carrier in the car.  She doesn’t ride in the car well.  She was no trouble today.  She just laid across my arm.  Struggling to breathe occasionally.

I sat in the car until our appointment time, unable to go in a minute early.

In a quiet darkened room, she fell asleep against my heart.  Her breath slowed.  The vet reappeared.  “I guess it’s time.”  I said barely audible, tears covered my face.  “She looks peaceful.” The tech said.  A few minutes later I gently laid her on her pillow in her box and brought her home.  Where she belongs.  Though this friend I’ve known for fourteen plus years will always be a sweet memory in my heart.  A heart so filled with sorrow right now.  A heart she laid her head against in her final moments.  A heart that loved this tiny little princess to her final breath and beyond.

Rest in Peace my sweet Roxy.  Rest in Peace.

 

By Vicki L Pugliese

People, The new Big Business exhaust

Big Business exhaust, in terms of people, appears to be on a dramatic rise, in my opinion. That thing that factories use to do; taking the finest resources, changing them, stripping from them whatever the factory determined was valuable, and then spewing out the waste.  That is what Big Business is doing to its “Human Resources” today.  The problem is, once they have over used or devalued a human being, broken down a person’s spirit until this particular business or team no longer finds this specific person useful, they then label this person as useless or defective.  This is often so far from the truth it doesn’t even resemble the truth.  It’s just that team’s or company’s pride and puffery.

Layoffs have occurred for years and people, even good people would get cut. Teams would get eliminated and excellent workers would find themselves pounding the pavement looking for employment.  They would find work, occasionally they would end up in a job that was a better match because they had not been as good a fit in their previous job.  Perhaps they had been reluctant to leave and look elsewhere before the layoff.  Looking for new employment can be a scary endeavor.  Some people find even looking for new employment disloyal.  This is a good quality in an employee!

Turn the clock to current times, post housing bubble, post flooding the market with work immigration visas, post world wide web infrastructure, outsourcing and off shoring, and the job market is very small. Suddenly a reality that actually always was true is now right up in your face. We are all replaceable, like removing a branch that was sticking straight up out of a pond.  The water fills back in immediately, instantly, as if the branch never existed.  There may be ripples but overall there will be no difference.  We should not think too highly of ourselves, because we are like that branch, all of us!  It may take hiring someone new, or even two new people.  Perhaps someone who never would have stepped up while a rock star employee existed will finally find the courage to make their move.  Make no mistake, you are not different.  Your skills are not unique.  Someone out there will learn them.  It may be painful for a season but like a ripple, you will be gone.  Pride has sharp edges.  Big Business is an organism and it will move on without you.

At one point in my life Big Business invested in their people. They ensured they were trained and built good teams.  They had teams of professionals, “human resources managers” to work through problems.  These individuals were not primarily used to hire and fire people as they are in many businesses today.  Once you were hired, if you ended up a square peg, they worked to find a square hole for you.  They didn’t want human exhaust. They invested in people and their well being.  This has not completely gone away.  In some cases unions have preserved this.  In some cases smaller businesses work themselves to preserve this way of life.  But by in large, the tides have changed.

In today’s society if you aren’t a good fit, not only will we kick you to the curb, but we will label you as a bad fit causing it to be more difficult for you to find employment next time.  Never for a second thinking possibly, you might be a great match for a different business or another team.  Never for a second do we stop and think that our team might be unique in some manner, or have unique methods or processes, or even be difficult to get along with.

This human exhaust process is creating a workplace PTSD nightmare. Employees who at one point were excellent workers, who ended up in a job that didn’t match their best skills, or on a team with a person who lacked good leadership skills are being crushed by Big Business in droves.  Employees, who took a chance on a team or a project that was later cut, are being caught in this exhaust system as well.  They took a risk and then found themselves in a job that wasn’t a match.  Some of them go on to find a safe workplace environment and bounce back.  Then there are others who hit a second or third mismatch and their workplace PTSD spirals out of control.  The market is tighter now.  The search is harder.  Now they have multiple mismatches to either hide on their resume or explain in an interview.  The process gets harder and harder.  They could have years of successful service to a single employer previously but that won’t matter in the interview.  The recent bouncing around will look suspicious.  No one will take the time to bring the resource back to health.  It’s just business to Big Business.  It’s just a simple Big Business by product at this point.  A person is now a by product!

Who picks up that tab? We do!  The American people!  Health care costs, welfare and services costs, or worse yet, if they get desperate enough, crime costs!  It all stems from a lack of concern.  It all stems from an attitude that it can’t happen to me!  But it could happen to you!  The wrong boss and the right situation and we are all replaceable.  You say you are stronger than that, but for how long?  How many rejections that lack merit will it take?  What if there was no merit to why you were laid off in the first place?  Perhaps your boss had a best friend that wanted your job, so your boss piled the work onto your plate.  You complain but your boss manages to keep your workload too high and then sites that your quality is slipping.  Layoffs roll around and your record shows that your quality is slipping and out you go.  Like a stick in the water, we are all replaceable.  Months later your boss is out on her can too.  We are all replaceable.  Pride has sharp edges.

The issue is, do you care that Big Business is creating human exhaust? That Big Business sometimes promotes people who lack leadership skills.  Bosses who believe that people are resources to be managed and not persons to be lead.  They are demoralizing and crushing good workers in droves.  Do you care that these workers who were contributing members of society are now crumbling?  They are becoming a drain instead?  Do you care?  Or are you just going to watch it happen to your next coworker, leader, subordinate?  Could an investment into the resources that are the most precious in this country have made a difference?  Perhaps a different team or a different job or some assistance working through a conflict would set this employee back to their previous rock star status.  Wouldn’t that be worth the effort?  Is it really that easy to give up?  Maybe they just needed to be appreciated.

That Big Business resource exhaust group with workplace PTSD are growing in numbers. What is scarier is they are growing in dependence on our countries services.  They are getting angrier and Big Business has made them unstable!  We need to care.  We need to invest in the only resource that ever mattered, the human resource.  Selfishness and narcissism will ruin our country as it has all other great nations of the past.  Big Business has broken free from country boundaries, in case that missed your notice.  It’s eating up people for lunch!  When it does that in your country, then your country pays to pick up the pieces.

It’s time to start seeing Big Business for what it is. It’s time to care about the kind of exhaust it puts out.  We reined in factories in the last century.  We can rein in Big Business in this one.  We just have to care.

 

By Vicki L. Pugliese

A Vow of Respect

I vowed to “Respect” in my wedding vows.  My husband vowed to “Cherish”.  We went with those traditional vows.  We actually fought to keep them more traditional.  That was nearly 27 years ago. Perhaps God saw the people we would become and tried to assist us by making us promise!  Back then it didn’t seem like any big deal to either of us.  It was just who we were.  It also was important.  Not as important as it would become, as we became more strong willed or stubborn, if you will, after nearly 27 years.

People in general, tend to try and show our love and affection for each other in our own love language.  The five love languages being Affection, Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service and Words of Affirmation.  That last one is not the same for men as it is for women, so it is misleading.  Then my husband and I went and put that last one in our vows and promised to do so!  Both my husband and I have different love languages.  I know, that’s shocking, right!  He likes quality time.  I like acts of service.  Those can be directly opposing.  It’s hard to do something for someone if you are just sitting there spending time with them.  My little A.D.D. brain feels like I am monopolizing the quality time, which I probably am.  Then I want to show him that I love him by running off and doing something for him; MY love language.  Then I get hurt when he doesn’t reciprocate.  He got hurt because I left while we were having quality time.  You see how this works.

God tried to help.  Both of us have a second love language of Words of Affirmation.  Here is where there’s a wrench in the system.  No one told me that the expression of love that men need is different from that expression needed by women.  I’m a slow learner.  How you show Words of Affirmation to a man is different from how you show Words of Affirmation to a woman.  For years my husband would complain that I didn’t respect him.  I didn’t understand.  There it was in our vows all along.  God tried to help me.  I just wasn’t paying attention.  Neither was my husband because that whole cherish thing had been borderline at times too.  Not paying attention, that’s normal for me, but a little surprising for my husband.  He usually misses nothing!

Here is my new truth.  I wish I had learned this years ago.  Men need words of affirmation that include respect.  Ephesians 5:33 says “let the wife see that she respects her husband.”  Telling a man that you love him, cherish him or adore him is like the wind.  He doesn’t hear it.  He thinks, “Of course you do we are married!”  What he needs to hear is words of respect.  Those words he craves and his soul needs for growth and strength.  Instead tell your husband, “I’m proud of you.” “I admire that.” “I respect that.” “Thank you.” Also you should throw in those occasional “You’re hot” (especially after all these years, he needs to know he’s still hot) and “What a stud muffin you are.”  Those are the language that men, my husband included, craves.  He wants me to see his accomplishments and to be proud and grateful for all his efforts.

I said I would in our vows 27 years ago.  He needs that to be his full self as God created him to be.

Here is the rub, to support him fully, I need him to cherish me like I am fine china, beautiful but fragile.  It’s hard sometimes to be respectful and admiring when I have been treated like paper plates or everyday wear that’s chipped and stained.  When he starts noticing my appearance and not my heart or who I am inside then I get chipped a little more, because I am fragile.  I am just like fine china, I chip and crack easily.  Those chips and cracks do not repair well, it may take years to heal.

But when he does treat me like fine china and care for me, then it is easy to respect and natural to reciprocate.  What a terrible Catch-22.  When we are careful to go back to our vows, others outside of our marriage always notice how well we are getting along.  It only took me 25 years or so to figure it out!  I’m a slow learner.  I can still be stubborn.  If you haven’t been told the secret, I hope I saved you 25 years!

Guys if you want her to care about her appearance, cherish her.  Cherish the person she is inside.  Love her with all that you have like she is fine china, fragile and precious.  She will respond and before you know it, you really won’t care about the outside, but maybe she will.  1 Peter 3:3 says “Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.  For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves by submitting to their own husbands.”

Girls respect him, even if sometimes he doesn’t earn it.  God told you to do so.  He will become the leader of your home that you are looking for.  Even if that isn’t his love language, he still needs those words of affirmation as well.  His soul needs it.

It’s just a truth, like women all need to be cherished.  Marriage makes us stronger, better when done the way God intended.  That’s why we say vows before Him.  That’s why we ask Him for his blessing on our union.

 

By Vicki L. Pugliese

 

Media by @agphotographysd

 

Be Still

Social media is filled with motivational quotes, tips, and tricks. We are obsessed with fulfilling goals and moving ourselves toward our idea of perfection. In some cases we do actually need to be better stewards of our time and gifts, as well the portion of the world we can impact; at the top of which is ourself. It’s my opinion that all of those motivational tricks really make very little movement or that the movement is not long lasting. That was our goal, right?! We want to make life long changes. Those things that were life long changes in my life were rarely anything but the hand of God. Oh I was willing! I stepped out in faith. I made those first timid steps and said, “Lord use me!” or “Lord change me.” Sometimes those were daily prayers. Once that was a moment by moment prayer. Never in my life have I made significant life changes that lasted on my own.

Be Still and Know that I Am God

Not me! I am not God! I can want and desire and pin up motivational vision boards all day long. I can make resolutions and promises, but I am not God. Now, I can switch one habit for another and start making progress in a positive direction, but by the grace of God, I manage to avoid major life incidents. Those incidents can send you spiraling backwards and knock you on your butt. If they do, then I know the God who has the grace and mercy enough to see me in my downward fall. I know the God who has the love enough to gently pick me up and help me start again. I know the God who knows the hairs on my head. I know the God who knows my name before my parents ever spoke it. I am not Him, but He has my back.

Be Still and Know that I Am

I know the God who is everything that I need. He is the God of mercy when I fail. When I choose to fail. When I just can not get it right. He is the God of grace who gives freely what I never deserved and could never earn. I was born in this wonderful country, to a family who valued education, music and arts, and a good work ethic. All of those things play a part in who I became. I can’t take credit for any of that. The Great I Am has given me this amazing blessing. I am grateful for this start and those values and the life they have given me.

Be Still and Know

I know without any hesitation that I am loved! That the Father loved me beyond all I could imagine. And as we head into Lent, our response is to know; our response is to remember that unfathomable love for us. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13 I know. “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 I know. Every belly laugh from my grand children, I know. Every smile and hug from my kids, I know. Every inside joke, knowing glance, soft touch or kiss from my husband, I know. I have been immeasurably blessed.

Be Still

As I wake up or lie down, the momentum and motivation that has been the most lasting and life changing has come from Him. It has come in prayer. It has come in the waiting, in the stillness of my soul, when I am willing to just be. That is when I find the Lord changes me.  I just had to be still. The rest was up to Him.

By Vicki L. Pugliese

Media by Melanie Brooks

Participate in Creation

We are all made in God’s image.  One of the first truths about mankind that God tells us about ourselves.  Genesis 1:26 says “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”  Our very nature is a reflection of His nature at our core.  Sure we have our human side that is always bent on wandering away, but there is a part of us that innately points toward our creator.

Our soul has a compass that points to truth.  There are plenty of gray areas but there are some things we all just nod our heads at and agree on.  That’s a truth that God wrote on our soul and we know it without being taught.  People who go against that truth are not tolerated by anyone.  There’s something wrong with that person.  Their compass is bent.  We blame the fall.  We blame man’s selfishness.

But before that we know that God created.  God created.  Each time God created, He sat back evaluated His creation and determined it was good, or very good.  He created such intricate, amazing and mind blowingly complex creations that we are still figuring them out and learning how they work.  We are still learning how our actions affect His creations. We are still learning how to be good stewards and properly watch over and have dominion over the creation He entrusted to us.  We are still fixing the portions of creation we inadvertently broke due to our lack of knowledge, laziness and selfishness.

We get caught up in the two part gospel, the fall and redemption.  These are very important parts of the story without a doubt.  But we shouldn’t lose sight of the four part gospel.  We can’t forget the story starts in a garden and continuously moves toward the city, the new Jerusalem of Revelation . Sure Adam and Eve were sent out of the garden during the fall but we were never meant to stay in the garden.  It was always the plan to move toward the city!

We were always built to remain in His image; that creator image!  We were built to work, to create to build.  We aren’t satisfied or fulfilled without it.

Don’t try to tell me you aren’t creative! Creativity takes on so many forms.  You might be creative in poetry,  writing, or music.  You might be creative in art, decorating, or my new favorite repurposing. You might be creative in cooking.  If so then you should come to my house!  Perhaps you have a less traditional form of creativity.  Perhaps your creative skills lie in organization or people skills such as discussion skills.  Perhaps you are creative in your ability to research.  All of these creative outlooks are simply a way for your soul to reflect that image of your creator.

Take a moment and sit back and think about your creative side.  See how it is good.  How can you use and nurture that compass?  How can you show the world the image you reflect?  How can you point to the one truth written inside you that won’t stay inside you because it just has to be like its maker?  How are you participating in creation?  How are you moving creation toward the city?  How can you be a light to a broken, fallen world that needs a compass leading them to the city?  How can you point them to your creator?

It’s truly all about the restoration of the world.  It’s not a two part gospel, it’s a four part gospel.  If we don’t participate, we lose the end of the story.  We are redeemed but now what?  Our hearts explode with gratitude and that gratitude has motion.  It has a need to give back.

God’s plan always included not only redemption but the restoration of the world, and to that end we are on the team! You have been given a creative side and asked to be a good steward over God’s own creation.  You have a desire to give back for the amazing and overwhelming gift of redemption.  Go participate in creation!  Reflect that image you were designed to be like.  The world, the broken fallen parts will be drawn to it naturally.  They will recognize their compass.  Creation and restoration call to each other.  They are the rest of the story.  We are part of the story.  Make your part awesome!

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