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Hi! I'm Carrien.

Flying Termites - Nuisance or Blessing? It depends on your story.

Published 11 months ago • 4 min read

Dear Reader,

Here in northern Thailand, just after the rains begin, a type of winged termite emerges from whatever holes in the ground they’ve been in all year, and swarm. They flock to whatever light they can see, flying into everything and invading houses by creeping through any gaps in doors or screens. In the morning we sweep their dead bodies into piles on the porches and balconies where we forgot to turn off the light and attracted swarms of them.

For a long time I thought nothing of them except what a nuisance they are.

But many of my local friends, especially those who grew up in the jungle or small village, look forward to these termites. They turn on a light on purpose and make it into a trap for them. Because for them, the termite is food. It’s a gift that the rains bring, another source of nutrients, and they say it's delicious.

One only sees nuisance. Another sees blessing.

****

On Monday nights I meet with a group of friends. We’ve been meeting together for several years. I love this group of brave women, living out their lives and raising their children here on the Thai/Myanmar border. All of them are in some capacity serving the great needs of those in need in this region: refugees, migrant workers, trafficking victims, and children at risk.

Sometimes we do something together called Lectio Divina, an ancient Christian practice of prayerfully and meditatively reading the scriptures. I often lead us in it. I don’t choose the scriptures for reading, instead we follow an annual schedule of readings. So I wasn’t expecting to read Psalm 23 last Monday before I saw it on the reading list. It’s been a while since I looked at this familiar Psalm, and I found the first verse somewhat confronting.

“The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing.

"What a ridiculously audacious claim," I thought. “I lack nothing. How can that possibly be true?"

What if it is true? What if all that I need is already here? What if just have to reach out and take it, instead of batting it away in annoyance, like the cloud of termites that my friends know could be a tasty meal, a treat even?

****

A few weeks ago a friend asked me what my biggest need was at the moment. “I need a quiet place to work,” I replied. “I have so much I’m trying to get done, and I’m struggling to focus while working at home with the kids around. But when I go into the office there are distractions there as well.”

A different friend asked my teenage girls to house sit for her for a week, and watch their dog. My girls decided not to. They didn’t want to spend a week alone in a strange house, in spite of the lure of air-conditioning and compensation. I don’t consider myself a dog person, unlike my daughters, and I’m definitely too busy to check on a friend’s house and take care of her dog every day. But just as I was messaging my friend to tell her I hoped she could find someone else, I remembered that I had just been saying I needed a quiet place to work.

What’s more quiet than an empty house with no one living in it? So last week I went over to my friend’s house every afternoon for a few hours, made sure her dog was ok, and in utter silence I finalized all of the content for my new Big Story, Big Life course, AND recorded all of the teaching videos for it!

What if I have all that I need? What if I am just failing to recognize it?

What if the only thing keeping me from accessing all that is there and waiting to help me is that I am not looking for it?

Maybe the psalmist’s claim is less audacious than it seems. Maybe changing my story to “I have all that need” helps me to notice what I have, to see all the good and abundant things that are present in my life.

I have all I need. I just have to notice it.

In a co-writing and sharing session I was in this morning, one person shared how she sometimes wishes for a different house, in a different place. Her response to this feeling was to write down everything she loves about the house she has. When she read her lush and vivid description of her home, it made me wish that I had her house too. She deliberately interrupted her dissatisfaction by listing all of the beauty and blessings of the home she already has.

What if our true story is that there is more abundance in our life than we have yet noticed?

How many good things are already in reach of our hands, but we don’t see them because the story we have in our heads is one of lack? What if we don’t see what we have because we are telling ourselves, “I don't have what I need."

Changing the story changes what we can see, and do, because the story in our heads is more real than our actual circumstances. The story in our heads shapes how we experience everything that happens to us; tells us if we have enough, or keeps us dissatisfied.

Change one part of the story, change one little piece of your mindset, and your experience begins to change as well.

This is why I’m so excited about the course I’m working on, designed to help you shift your inner story, and be able to help your whole family shift their inner story as well.

The more I work on it and dive back into the materials that I’ve written and taught in the past, the more I remember how powerful a tool it is for building resilience and courage. I’m excited to share it with you when it’s ready.

Is the phrase "I lack nothing" confronting for you? What would happen if you explored it a little? Ask yourself if what you think about it is true or not.

What would it look like to lack nothing? Where do you feel like you don't have what you need?

It's an idea. Play with it. Explore it. See what comes back to you. Could the statement, "I lack nothing" be true? And if so, how?

I would love you hear your thoughts on this. What happens in your heart and mind when you try on this idea, this version of a story? Let me know.

Love, Carrien

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Hi! I'm Carrien.

I help parents raise resilient children, without feeling overwhelmed, so that they can be brave to try hard things.

I'm a writer, parent mentor, and resilience coach. My passion for helping parents to protect their children and raise them to be resilient has extended to creating resources that have helped thousands of refugee and migrant families on the Thailand/Myanmar border through my work with The Charis Project. - I am also the mother of 6 amazing and rather resilient humans, who have managed to thrive in spite of their unconventional upbringing and being dragged around the world by their parents. - Join me here for words to heal and fill your parent heart and shape the words you give to your children.

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