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Life's Little Lessons

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." – Emile Zola

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Trust

A couple of months ago, I pulled into my driveway and made a conscious decision to step out of the spin cycle. I call it the spin cycle because that’s exactly what it felt and probably looked like. Life was spinning largely out of control, but I quickly found out that was just an illusion.

I had a say.

Sometimes we do not have a say with what happens in our life. Life just has a way of throwing us a curve ball every now and then because for the most part we are riding the waves of each others choices. You do A and it impacts me in the form of B, not to mention how I respond in the form of C. And so on and so forth.

I do it back.

Vicious.

And that was where I was at, spinning around and around and around…

Mostly it was feelings. Lots of thoughts which turned into talk added up to be a whole bunch of continuous negatives…

Waves.

And they were drowning me.

So one afternoon I pulled into my driveway and I thought to myself, “I have a say and a part. I cannot feed this anymore.”

No more feelings or thoughts. I needed a break so I could breath and make sense out of life again.

And I did that just. I didn’t think about it and if I did, I certainly did not talk about it. I asked my friends not to ask about it. Some were understanding and some, not so much, and that was ok. I needed all the voices to settle IN and AROUND me so ultimately I could hear HIS voice.

Not everyone understands this concept.

To some of my friends I was either building walls or not open-hearted enough which was so far from the truth but again, their disapproval was just a distraction trying to keep me tethered to the bottom of the unpredictable sea.

Jesus shows me that is exactly what He does. He often removes Himself from the crowd and intentionally wanders to the wilderness (lonely places) to be with and hear from the Father. And if He does it, so can I.

And it worked. My emotions settled. My thoughts became clearer and less jumbled and I began to rest again. I gained weight and began sleeping through the night, both which were a concern.

But I had to carefully guard my heart. Certain topics or thoughts were off-limits when it came to my entertainment. My life got turned upside down back in December and for months, it was such a huge topic of conversation, for everyone. I needed a time out and I was the only one who could make that happen.

So friends, take it from me, some curve balls are a little rough and a little too unpredictable. I don’t know how anyone navigates the aftermath that they bring with calm and ease. Most flounder around a bit till they get their bearings again.

At least I did. I still am.

Every now and then, I feel myself slipping, spinning. I want to feed the frenzy. I want to dwell and get a good mad on which brings on all sorts of not great feelings and thoughts. I have to remember to guard, diligently guard, like VICIOUSLY guard, and place my focus on what my part is and what is good.

So I ask God daily to show me His perspective and He takes me far above the things in life that are spinning out of control. He takes me to my children. He takes me to my farmer’s field, to my writing, to my friends and to puppies.

And when I feel like life is too big and too weighty and continuously spinning, I envision myself in His hands, on the potter’s wheel.

He knows what He is doing with my life and when I am afraid, I trust Him.

Rest

All my big work to-do’s are done and another crazy and hectic school year is coming to an end. One more Friday.

All school year I said I wanted to take one day and not work in between bus runs. No sitting in the office going through mounds of paperwork, no cleaning the house for the five hundredth time, no laundry, no book club reading, no running errands. To me that time looked like sitting on the couch catching up on Season 2 of Game of Thrones and this morning I did just that.

I physically rested both my body and my mind and my heart breathed a huge sigh of relief.

“Thanks.”

I understand now why God calls for a day of rest. It wasn’t just so we could show up to Church (because sometimes that feels just as much like work as work does). It was so we could reset ourselves to our very core, to Him. To ourselves. To one another.

I got two episodes in and understand now why my oldest daughter told me not to get attached to characters. I then leisurely made my way across town for a lunch date with a friend and was so excited for my time with her because I didn’t feel rushed to get to the next thing. Guess what she talked about?

Rest.

Now her rest may look different from my rest but the premise is till the same. She is hitting the reset button just the same as I am. We are all trying to figure out how to balance this thing called life. Juggling schedules and wearing numerous hats in a 24 hour time period leaves many of us exhausted, even if it’s jammed packed full of good things and people. I have discovered this year that I love being around people and most would classify me as an extrovert but the core of who I am is very introverted, requiring a lot of alone time and quiet. When I get up each day and jump into the next thing or don’t  establish healthy boundaries or don’t make time to give my head and heart a break, I stop breathing and find myself holding my breath hurrying from one thing to the next.

That is not living.

That is just getting shit done.

I am beyond saying that’s life and calling it a day.

The whole basis of rest goes back to this:

Guard your heart above ALL else for everything in life flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23)

This pretty much embodies listening to an Audience of One and an Audience of One alone. If you people please much, you will have a hard time guarding your time, your schedule, your boundaries, your everything. Seriously, if your gut says no…maybe it’s a no (and no one has ever died from saying no that I am aware of). Most importantly, a lot of things sound good, especially if you’ve got a lot of well-meaning people offering advice to you on what you should and shouldn’t do. I personally am finding, the smaller the circle of influence you allow into your life, the better. Fewer voices = less noise. Walk with people and have people walk with you whom you confide in and trust but keep that number small. I think you’ll find you are able to hear God’s voice more clearly when you do so because ultimately it is He that helps you guard your heart.

So long story short is this…make time to rest friends. One day a week pretty much needs to be allotted to nothingness which in the long run, adds up to a whole lot of happiness, wholeness and peace in your life. Give your day away to go, go, go and watch your frustration, anxiety and weariness grow.

Make the time for the people and the things you say are important to you…make time for YOU. If Game of Thrones is your way to chillax, then please. Permission granted. You won’t do anyone or anything good when you and burned out from top to bottom. I mean, you’ll look pretty and amazingly hot, but ouch.

Take it from me…rest is a healer and doing nothing is more than ok.

 

Her Heart Cry

A couple of weeks ago, I came into the office to find a frantic woman had left a message on our office machine. “Please call me back. I am so sorry. I want to come in and talk to you.”

About what? I had no idea.

So I called her back and left a message, disconcerted as I was, and three days a later a letter showed up in the mail.

“The other day I was traveling down Main Street and I past one your school buses when it had its red lights activated. A student was getting off and…”

She cried. About died. Went and saw her priest.

She went on and on in her three page letter about how sorry she was and how she will never do that again as she realizes now the damage she could have caused by not paying attention. She left me her name and her number and a copy of her DRIVERS LICENSE in case I felt the need to turn her in.

She would do it herself but she wanted to leave her fate in my hands.

I couldn’t even.

She is sixty-seven years old.

I’ve thought about that woman every day for sixteen days. At some point in my day, my mind runs to her and sits with her, for just a bit and I say,”

“You are forgiven,” because I hope she has left herself off the hook.

“Teach me your ways,” because her grieving heart is intoxicating and a commonplace abnormality. She had not just given me lip service. I FELT her sincerity and repentance.

And I bet all the school buses in the world, she will never run the red lights of another bus. She will be more aware and alert while she is driving because her actions told me she wasn’t just sorry.

Remorse is easy to muster in us all, especially if we are caught.

No driver turned her in that day. No State Police showed up at my door. No school called.

But she did.

If you take it upon yourself to grieve and mourn over your actions, good for you. I got your back and will cheer you on regardless of what it is that you did. Seriously, a heart that checks itself against itself is teachable and open to moving forward. It makes changes.

One that’s not, probably not. And those are the hearts you need to be watchful over…

Maybe

“Is there anything you want to talk about?” 

“No.”

And with that I go to bed.

OK.”

My daily communication attempts trying to delve past talk of kids and business fail. It is glaringly obvious, it is our only common ground. I long for deep and healing here in this place, this vast ocean that looks consuming and my continued asking feels like nagging and drudgery.

Maybe he is right. Maybe there is nothing more to talk about. Maybe this is as good as it gets. And with that, I walk up the stairs and step into the bath, delving below the surface of my life.

The water has become a drug to me. The heat is calming and soothing and numbs out my raw and achy parts.

I’m basing the whole of who I am and my happiness on this marriage. I forgave quickly. I thought I’d never mention our latest snag again. I immediately became a busy little bee who opened up her heart wide. I thought I’d work and he’d work and we would meet somewhere in the middle and this could potentially be THAT happy ending. The ending we all hope for and dream is possible and maybe for some it is, but it takes more than one to dream, maybe more than that to hope.

A mustard seed…and I had it.

But there needs to be communication and not just for a day. Not just for two. We need to cultivate intimacy and by default, I’ve been crowned conversation initiator and my initiator is tired and worn out.

I no longer volunteer as tribute.

My brain tells me all sorts of good and needed truths and I know I am full and overflowing with knowledge of WHO I am but my heart tells me another story. My heart tells me I don’t feel valued or loved, that I’m sitting around waiting for scraps and someone else’s left overs. My heart tells me if I was more important things would change and go another direction. My heart tells me a lot of things…

And if I stay here, stuck in a place that continually perpetuates these lies, that is exactly where I’ll stay.

An orphan.

Actions or lack thereof speak pretty loudly.

I’ve got to get myself healthy, for indeed I am sick. I hear the voice of my counselor in my head, “Your heart is broken. You need to heal,” and I know he is right. It is broken and I need to give it time and trying to help someone else mend who perhaps isn’t quite ready is not helping…me. I am pouring way more into this then he is and I’m beginning to feel the strain of my expenditures. I just don’t have it in me to ask one more time, “Is there anything you want to talk about?”

Because essentially my tired refusal comes from a deep and hidden heart cry, “Would someone please pour into me first. I am empty. I no longer want to fix.”

And under the covering of the hot water that fills the tub, it becomes obvious.

The last time I turned someone over to the Lord with such resolve, my oldest son was six years old and was about to be airlifted to Hershey Medical Center for a skid loader accident. I remember standing over him as he was screaming, a mother whose heart was torn between what she could and couldn’t do, realizing, “There is nothing here I can. My very best works won’t help. But Jesus, if you exist, if you are alive and real, I believe you can help. He is yours.”

So I say it again, just the same.

“He is yours.”

I refuse to settle for anything less than what I know is possible.

the places I cannot afford to visit 

In my prior life, I was a sales representative  for a company that awarded its performance team with luxurious trips. I could sit here and name all the different countries I’ve traveled to and all the five-star resorts I’ve stayed at but I won’t. I will say this, they all have something in common:

On my own, they are not places I could afford to visit.

Fast forward to this life, not a lot has changed. I still travel but lately it’s been to military bases to see my kids and I rarely frequent airports and seldom hail cabs but one thing transfers from one life to the next and remains consistent and true: I still can’t afford to visit certain places.

Location is just about everything, ask any realtor. Location location location. Is it high traffic, high population…what is it’s draw that determines its value and worth? To each person, that answer may be different. What I am looking for may be different from what grabs your attention, that’s why it’s so important to ask yourself what’s important to you. If you don’t, you’ll end up somewhere that’s important to someone else and you’ll find yourself in a location that is miserable at best.

Ever been to the beach with someone who hates the sun and the sand? Miserable.

Our daughter called today from the Navy’s boot camp and it’s been over a month since I’ve seen her. As we all stood in the kitchen, gathered around my phone, I felt sadness taking up space within the room. I not only felt it within me, but I heard it in her voice. It’s Christmas. Her brother, who is a Marine, is Home for a short leave, and it’s her first Holiday Season away from us. The phone call was a happy one despite the underlying sadness but when the call was over, I turned to my husband and cried.

I felt sad for several hours afterwards and I realized my location wasn’t really the best. I was slipping, and my mood was beginning to match the weather…cold and dreary.

As a feeler, I often hole myself up in some shack, dodging bullets and trying to stay out of the enemy’s line of fire in the worst parts of town. I truly pick some of the worst locations to camp out in, within myself. These shacks have given me the illusion of safety even though the foundation was crumbly and I knew it. If safety’s my goal, I most certainly have found myself hiding out in some of the most unsafe locations.

My mind or my feelings left unchecked tend to wander and create scenarios that aren’t even accurate and I end up assuming the worst. I do not recommend this. AT ALL. It’s really not fair to you because it creates such heartache and agony and it most certainly is not fair to the other person. Want to talk judgement? Assume something, anything, about another and there you have it.

I’m recognizing the feeling I have are normal…it is more than ok to be sad. I AM allowed to miss my daughter. I AM allowed to be angry over situations. I AM allowed to not agree.

It’s when I choose to stay sad and angry. It’s when I choose to care more about being right than being in relationship that gets me into trouble.

Can I really afford to visit these locations?

No. The answer is vehemently no. I cannot afford to. Visiting leads to wanting to stay. There is comfort in old friends and sometimes, hanging around old friends leads to holding onto old habits…I have to choose the higher thought.

So yesterday, as much as I missed our daughter and as much as I FELT sad because she is not home, I chose to think of how proud I am of her. She recently passed all her physical fitness tests. She is strong in both mind and body. I focused on all the friends she’s making and how lucky they are becuase she is packed full of maturity and wisdom and loves havng new expereinces through people. I chose to think of any other thought except the sad ones and slowly but surely, my mood shifted.

I’ve been practicing this in every area of my life, not just with my children. I’ve been packing up my bags and (sometimes begrudgingly) putting my feet on another path even though my thoughts and feelings tell me it’s ok to stay in my shack because it’s justified. I recognize there are places within myself I want to go, but they are places…memories or thoughts, that elicit negative feelings and pretty much put me in a bad mood. I want to bring healing there. Why? Because I know Jesus does.

I absolutely believe He chooses the higher…

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

I’ve often said that perspective is a superpower and it is. One of the greatest revelations of my life is: I can choose my thoughts and think things on purpose. What the hell? Did you know you are THAT powerful? In other words, I don’t have to just think about whatever falls into my mind. Just because I think it doesn’t mean it is true. This was a life-changing revelation for me because as Proverbs 23:7 says, As he [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he. SeriouslyWhere the mind goes, the man follows.

Friends, there ARE places you and I both cannot afford to visit. Quick jaunts here and there can be exciting and they can feel good and right but be careful about dwelling there too long, especially without proper perspective.

Merry Christmas! Choose to think the very best this Holiday Season of the people in your life. Choose to forgive and forget.

Choose to love…

You may not always want to but I think you’ll find if you don’t, you’ll find yourself in a place you ideally don’t want to be.

Set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things… (Colossians 3:2 AMP).

 

 Upside Down

Rejection.

I think I’ve battled it since the womb and I’ve wondered if it’s the first thing people see when they looked at me. Has it been something I’ve hidden behind or has it been a shiny little pin I’ve worn on my lapel and I’ve used it as an excuse for the things I’ve done?

Probably both.

My parents dated in high school and my mother was a year older than my father which made him a Senior when she announced she was pregnant with me. He was honorable and gave her a little ring, which I store in a little wooden box in a chest in my room since their divorce, and I choose to believe they went in, full of hope, that a baby would save them.

But rejection was rooted deep in my family and everyone had their own baggage long before I was born. Unfortunately, as much as I love them both, their baggage became mine and sooner or later I had my own and before I knew it, everything was jumbled and it became very difficult to sort what was theirs, what was mine and what was ours.

I took it all.

Fast forward to my own marriage and here we are, all jumbled. Maybe we are normal. Maybe jumbling takes place in every marriage. Maybe every couple has their share of heart aches and breaks. Maybe it’s part of being human and being in human relationships. I am not really sure but one thing I am sure of is this:

I have continually allowed myself to feel rejected based off other people’s responses TO me. If it’s not what I had hoped for or what I had envisioned it would be…if their words did not match their actions and I found myself in the presence of a good talker rather than a good walker, I’d allow the perceived lack **of whatever** to pretty much obliterate my identity. I become worthless and not enough. Not valued. Not really liked or loved. I essentially allowed man to take the place of God and I’d worship the opinion and the approval of flesh and blood rather than The One who already says I am…

And I tell myself it’s easy. Too easy. “Anybody who has been through what I’ve been through within the span of my short life would be looking through the same clouded and muddled lens.” As soon as I have that thought, I realize I’m double-minded and rejection IS the shiny pin I wear on my lapel. I use it as an excuse. Rejection has been an old friend and as much as I loathe it, I don’t know how to live without it.

So over the last two weeks, I’ve been waking up each day choosing to intentionally posture myself to see how God sees.

How God sees me.

“Who am I?”

I need reminded because I’ve obviously forgotten.

I think of Jesus and I think of one of my favorite verses in scripture:

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

This is WHO HE is. This is ME.

I read further and know I’ve been thinking like a child. I looked up the scripture “Do unto others and they do unto you,” and all I find is this: 

“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Luke 6:31

Damn.

I think again of Jesus. My thoughts always go back to Him and I realize that deep within me, what I’m really longing for is to become Love. Not just a little bit here or there. Not just in pieces and parts or to have characteristics of but to BE…

So I give up my childish ways and I show up and it hurts. It hurts more than I thought it would.  It makes me feel naked and exposed. It feels all upside down. It sears my flesh and feels like salt on an open wound and it is not always reciprocated and as much as I want to adjust myself and alter WHO I AM based off of how someone responds to me, I do not. I choose to believe I’m worth someone’s time and attention because I know that I am and that knowing allows me to give freely without strings.

Until I stop reacting to my circumstances and start responding to the love of Jesus, my circumstances will not change.

And I know it.

Don’t stop showing up and being you based off of how people respond to you. How you love anything is how you love everything for love is a quality of relationship more than a statement about the worthiness or deservedness of the object loved. -Richard Rohr

Protect Your Fruit

I used to think he would come and steal away my possessions. That he would kill my children or those close to me or destroy my home in fire from a burner that had been left on overnight, and though I pray and believe that will never be the case, I am increasingly aware of what it is he comes for. He comes disguised in the natural, camouflaged in my everyday life, in ordinary things. My relationships. My money. My possessions. Things I can put in my hands, people I can embrace.

I think that’s all just a farce. An invitation to look beneath the surface and go deeper.

John 10:10 says “The thief comes only that he might steal and might kill and might destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Now interesting enough, the word MIGHT and MAY are used several times which tell me, either side is not a definite WILL or WON’T. Insert our will which is free and ta-dah…we have a choice. And if we have a choice if we are stolen from or killed or destroyed, then we also have a choice to live the life that Jesus has given us, and not just any life, but an abundant one.

So what exactly does the thief come for?

Our fruit.

And truth be told, it is not even O-U-R-S. It is Holy Spirits. When we partner with Him, it naturally produced IN us as a byproduct.

Galatians 5:22- says “But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, SELF-CONTROL; against such things there is no law.”

Our circumstances are going to be what they are. Life is going to continue to say, “because I told you so” and our circumstances will be like happenstance’s that seem to just flutter in from the air and land in our lap, forcing us to engage. Some circumstances, and I would say MOST, are going to be the result of a decision we made along the way…and not making a decision is STILL making a decision. Either way, it is the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT that thief ultimately wants.

He wants us to hurt and become offended so we wall up our love and box it up tight.

He wants us to dwell on our circumstances and get trapped by our feelings so we can lose our joy, our peace and our patience.

He wants us to see others, even God, as evil and unkind. That they are against us, that He is not FOR us so our kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness can slip quietly between our fingers like sand till it’s all together gone.

He wants us to react so we don’t activate our self-control.

He wants a lot of things, but we can CHOOSE to say, “No way. Not today.”

O.K. Sounds great, but HOW?

  1. Take authority: Authority doesn’t beg, it doesn’t ask, it doesn’t just hope the thief eventually bores and goes away…it commands.

Mark 13:34: “For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commands the porter to watch.”

Matthew 8:9: “For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”

2.  Exercise your authority through the spoken word. Seriously, eat well, speak life.

Proverbs 18:21: Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

3.  Thoughts come and thoughts go, but be careful what you dwell on. And yes, every means just that…e-v-e-r-y.

2 Corinthians 10:5: “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Proverbs 23:7: “For a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”

4.  In John 16, Jesus said it was for our good if He went away…he wasn’t lying. Holy Spirit no longer is in our midst, somewhere out there floating around randomly coming upon people and maybe occasionally talking to us. He lives IN us which means EVERY need we have, EVERY answer we seek…is IN us through HIM. We just need to listen and trust His voice and believe His truth.

John 16:13: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”

In theory, ALL of this sounds so good. Even if you don’t follow Jesus, seriously…these are good and grounded principles that work, IF applied.

IF.

At some point in this life we live, our “in theory” needs to become our “in reality.” How we make that work is up to us; it is up to me, it is up to you. I just know for myself how I lose hours of my day, days of my week, weeks of my month when I ALLOW the thief to come and steal the fruit right off my table, right from underneath my nose and I for one am tired and worn thin having an intruder in my house that is more like a friend than a foe.

Guard your heart and protect your fruit…the fruit is where abundant life flows from and the world around you is waiting, just waiting, to eat from your table.

Say No to Say Yes

I’m kind of sensing a theme in my life lately. Maybe it’s the fact that last weekend I was on crutches and had to wipe my calendar clean to rest or that Friday night our son ran over his little sister with the four-wheeler (she is A-OK) and we had to call it a night and cancel plans. I am not positive, but there has been a definite knocking taking place on the door of my brain that’s saying, “Hey McFly?!?!”

Slow the hell down.”

Recently I bought a PAPER PLANNER for many reasons, one being that I actually LOVE crossing things off my list (don’t judge me, it actually boost my productivity). Yesterday I took it out and opened it to March and actually X’d out most of my weekends with a highlighter. I am finding that my weeks are often busy with work and other events that when the weekend comes and I don’t have at least ONE day that is S-L-O-W, as in H-O-M-E, I easily lose my shit.

So think this through with me people. If one knows that they cannot do ALL things and that they are wired for reprieve, as in a BREAK, you would suspect that they would be proactive in making time for that to happen, right? Right, but wrong. I HAVEN’T been proactive. I just thought it would HAPPEN, as in osmosis. Like buying and carrying a planner would help me become more productive and organized, right? Bawawawa…

I was given a white, silk ribbon years a go at a woman’s conference. It had these words written on it, “Proverbs 4:23” I looked up the verse and this is what it said, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do in life flows from it.”

Now I have a tendency to be sort of gray, not so much black and white, so I try to keep in context content, but the long and short of this is THIS verse pretty much is black and white. If you can give me another perspective, I am all ears, but to me it literally means, “This is incredibly important, so pay attention. Before you do anything, do this FIRST. Rank this as your highest priority. Your heart is your prize. It is the core of WHO you are. Watch carefully everything that goes INTO it and watch carefully everything that comes OUT of it, every thought, every emotion… because everything, AS IN ALL, will filter through your heart. You will not be able to compartmentalize. It will ALL be attached. Attach it well.”

That’s my synopsis, my cliff-notes of Proverbs 4:23. Perhaps someday I will add another tattoo and THIS will be the verse. I say it out loud multiple times a day, no lie. It feeds and nourishes my soul and reminds my spirit the importance of walking in my identity.

Guard. Be intentional and diligent. Be mindful. Make your word count; your yes be yes and your no be no. Ask yourself the hard questions and then have the guts to honestly answer and assess so you KNOW how to say NO so you can say YES.

Part of guarding for me is being mindful of my time. Why have a home and a family if you don’t actually take the time to enjoy them? Appreciation leads to gratitude and it’s hard to be offended, jealous or defeated when your heart is full of gratitude. If you need practical, THIS  is it. You can actually put feet to this little nugget. Say no more. You may have to give up good things, but my friend Roni reminded me that there are a lot of good things, but we all have our quota for the day or for the week.

Know yours.

Much Love-

August

 

The Day I Cancelled My Week and Saved My Life

I could feel it coming on, the urge to cancel. To hole up and escape. Every now and then, I find myself longing for slow, for home. I actually find this quite crazy since our home is a complete hub of continuous activity. We have children, five of them, but they aren’t toddlers. They are KIDS, as in TEENS who eat more than my husband and I combined. Kids who are active and stay up later than I do at night. Kids, whom for the love of God, talk ALL. THE. TIME and have their own opinions and schedules. Plus, we own our own business, a couple cows and a pig and home is where it’s ALL at, like literally.

And home is where I most like to be.

So when I get out of sorts and only get to spend snippets of time here, I pray for God to encapsulate our county with a snow storm so we are all forced, as in mandated by law, to stay put. When a snow storm doesn’t hit, I day dream of a real life zombie apocalypse without the zombie’s so I can hunker down for long periods of time and regroup in order to survive. Both thoughts secretly bring a smile to my face and also strike me as somewhat concerning. Is this thinking the onset of my becoming a flesh eating hermit? I call my therapist and schedule a visit and then I check the weather, just to see. Snow is in the forecast but not good snow, just nuisance snow that won’t bury us deep and that doesn’t count. Besides the whooping cough that recently hit our county, everyone seems to be in relatively good health and for this, I give thanks.

But damn. I recently bought milk, bread and eggs. Please don’t let it be for nothing.

I open my calendar and I begin. I cancel everything possible to negate, even the therapy appointment I JUST scheduled. Lunch with a friend. Errands. Doctors appointments. GETTING MY TEETH CLEANED. You name it, if it did not involve my work or the health of my children (like feeding them), it was wiped off the face of this weeks planet. Then the voice of reason rises within me and says, “Was that all really necessary?”

Um. Well yeah. Maybe no.

Years ago I did a personality test that clearly labeled me as an EXTROVERT. It made perfect sense and actually FED my need to GO GO GO. The striver in me LOVED being an EXTROVERT. It was like some little badge I wore, all shiny and freshly pinned. I loved being known as outgoing and involved. It was as if I was an octopus with my right hand in it all but it soon became a crutch and an excuse. Overtime I found myself living in a vast vacuum of contradiction. GO GO GO is not at all WHO I am and I KNEW it. After years of struggle, I realized that SLOW or FAST has nothing to DO with my external environment but my internal one. I realized that guarding is necessary because my internal environment is vitally important and influences my outer environment, just as my outer influences my inner if I’m not careful.

Such a tricky, sticky balance.

Maybe it’s because I’m starting to grow up after all these years. Maybe it’s because I’m settling into my skin and getting comfortable with being ME. Perhaps I’ll be THAT older person; contrary and odd, but I love the quiet to think and just BE as I pine for a slower pace. I crave making time to REST and RECENTER and REGROUP and when I don’t make time to RESET my internal alarm, I get all discombobulated and begin praying for snowstorms and apocalypse’s.

That’s when I hear His voice chide.

YOU did this sister. YOU.”

Because you know, I have a tendency to blame…

And He is right. I forget sometimes that “no” is a word and not just a word in some sentence but a COMPLETE sentence. A COMPLETE paragraph. A COMPLETE book.

No. I cannot be concerned with what someone else thinks when those words cross over my lips. I cannot be bothered with guilt or riddled with shame. The only person who has to live my life at the end of the day is ME and if that truly is the case, then I am the one who will have to live with the choices that I make. Heaven on Earth or hell as a reality…the choice is mine.

Learning to say no when no is needed has actually led me to my YES when my yes is needed. BUT…if I’m tired and have expended all that’s inside of me, I have little to give to my YES and those are very sad moments in my day that take my feet out from under me like quicksand…

My biggest YES are these fine people living in this house I long to be in.

I know now why the Lord created Sabbath (Genesis 2:2). THIS is why He rested. He wanted to enjoy WHAT He had and WHO He had created. He wanted to appreciate them and be filled with gratitude and proper perspective. He RESTED, RECENTERED and REGROUPED. He modeled how to take a day, ANY DAY, and just BE. Jesus often gave up being the center of attention to purposefully retreat to “lonely places” to be with the Father and pray (Luke 5:16). He knew. We need to say NO in order to say YES.

We ALL have a YES and our YES overflows from WHO we are.

Our RESET button continually changes over time and looks different from one another. What brings me REST might not to you and vice versa. Let’s just be ok with that. For me, it is being home. Being HERE, in my crazy house, cooking dinner for my hungry kids. Living in my car as a I zoom kids around. Taking a bath at night and slipping sleepily into bed by 9:00…

We NEED that one day, I most certainly DO. I just totally canceled my whole entire week and all I needed was ONE day to reboot and recharge so guess what? Tomorrow’s back on, I won’t cancel it. I’ll show up confident that I can do whatever is in it without incident. I LIVE in a better place when I make time for a slower pace (ok that was just weird rhyming that I did NOT intend, but I’ll leave it). You get my point?

Guard your heart. Seriously, those are LIFE words. In the end, it is how you will save it. (Proverbs 4:23).

Much Love-

August

Round Table Discussion:

*Do you intentionally set time a side each week to REST, RECENTER and REGROUP? Why or why not?

*What is a RESET button for you?

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