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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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listen

Listen

I don’t always do it, but when I’m intentionally listening, my body tells me what it needs and my inner compass tells me which way to go. I’d say it’s usually spot on, but I’ll leave room for error because sometimes *read MOST times* I have my own agenda.

For example, the other morning I wanted nothing but coffee and something quick and sweet, but my body told me I needed water and chicken. Yes, chicken. So there I was at 7:30 AM, sitting on my couch with a plate of grilled chicken and a large glass of water. It wasn’t what I pictured, but my body was right. I’m stressed out and substance is something I am craving.

Nothing quick. No empty calories.
No shallow relationships.

I read an article this past year about the top five most stressful life events and it made me feel somewhat better in regards to my current state of inner chaos. They are:

  • Death of a loved one.
  • Divorce.
  • Moving.
  • Major illness or injury.
  • Job loss.

After reading the complete article, I felt like an over-achiever. 3/5 in one year. I can do hard things.

Truth is, we all have particularly great seasons of life and conversely, particularly not great seasons. When it’s your turn to get chewed up and spit out, you’re left feeling understandably disheveled and out of sorts (and for someone who struggles with control, it’s even more of blow when you feel you have none).

Resetting your life is both physically and mentally taxing and I’m not sharing my journey looking for sympathy because you and I both know how quickly the tables can turn. I share because there’s a difference between living “in theory” vs living “in reality”. We THINK things are going to go one way. We THINK we’ll handle things differently when they don’t. As much as I’d like to show up all pretty and pressed, real life is kind of rumply and it shows. No one is exempt. Life doesn’t have any qualms with randomly placing a bitter cocktail in front of us and telling us to drink up.

And to that, I say, “Hell to the no.”

We do not need to drink up, but we do need to listen. Just like how our bodies can’t function well for too long on only caffeine and cookies, our hearts can’t heal if we are out looking for the next quick fix. Listening to what we really need is important. I realize only now how much I filled my life with a lot of empty moments because I did not want to stay uncomfortable. My longing for ease created a bunch of short cuts that only delayed an inevitable process IN me. And all processes have their day. And their way.

Friends…please sit quietly in your heartbreak and listen. Sit quietly in your anger. In your longing. In your confusion. In it all. Listen.

Listen to what YOU need. There’s a time and a space for other people’s good opinions of what you should or shouldn’t do, but only you can choose how and when you get up and shake the dust off your feet.

Learn to trust the voice that is whispering inside of you. Learn to trust yourself.

Overheated

Since I made the decision to take the front two panels of my Jeep off this summer, I’ve been able to drive it three out of seven days due to rain. In lieu of my Jeep, I’ve been behind the wheel of a school minivan or my daughter’s car. If you want to live your best life, drive a school van through town.

The thing with my daughter’s car is that it used to be my mother’s car. And then it was my oldest daughters. Then temporarily my sons. And now another daughter. It’s been faithful but it is tired and says “To hell with the Meyers” and has officially given up.

But I didn’t know this. The truth, I heard that the car was having a lot of problems but I wasn’t really listening.

Yesterday I needed to take the car to a graduation party due to a storm. Sadly, when I got there, my engine was hot and overheating. When I left the party, my eyes were on the gauges and it didn’t take long before I had to pull over, not once, but three times to complete the five mile trek home.

I realized though this what a hardship it is for people with unreliable transportation because it truly was not only dangerous for me to be in that car, but most likely dangerous for others on the road with me not to mention money and time no one has. If this is your reality, I am truly sorry. I have a school van you could borrow.

I also realized that I had not really been listening to my daughter as she explained her car troubles to me. There was another car for her to take and she worked it out with her father but it was not affecting me personally therefore I did not really listen.

But I WAS listening *loud and clear* because it was affecting me and that reality put a bad taste in my mouth. I didn’t want to be that person who listened half-assed…and I was.

And lastly, it showed me to pay attention. I drove the whole way to the party oblivious only to realize when I turned the engine off and had smoke billowing out the front that the car was majorly overheating. I did not make that mistake twice. I drove home with my eyes glued to the temperature gauge.

Awareness is key. Once you know something, it is hard to unknow it unless you simply don’t care and in that case, you might as well say good bye to your car, or the relationship you say you care about…maybe even your job.

It you want to avoid massive blow-ups in life, it is wise to take the time to listen, even if it doesn’t personally affect you. Listen not just so YOU can be prepared, but so that you can be the type-of-person that really cares about what SOMEONE ELSE is walking through. Then from there, pay attention to the gauges on your dash and be present. There are all sorts of “gauges” in life that indicate what is right and what is wrong.

Save yourself some heartache and unnecessary frustration. Take it from me, listen and pay attention.

To Church or Not to Church

Last Sunday I woke up early and came down stairs. I made a pot of coffee, took the dogs out and found myself standing before the jelly cupboard, reaching for the candle. I wanted to light it but anymore, lighting candles in our home usually means company is coming or the house is occupied for more than just a few hours.

And we did not have company coming.

I felt it in my soul, the need to stay home and it burned in me with an intense longing for a friend you haven’t seen in a very long time. I wanted to stay in my pajamas, to make breakfast and to stroll around in my home all day long at my leisure. I quickly opened the calendar on my phone and looked at the week ahead. This would be the only day where I could be here and every ounce of me needed it because life has grown big and I’m finding if I don’t take care of myself and purposefully slow it all down, I suffer. WE all do.

“Is it ok if we don’t go to Church today?” 

I didn’t think he’d argue and he didn’t so with that, I made my husband and my son breakfast and proceeded to enjoy my day at home to the fullest.

I cooked.

I cleaned.

I watched a movie.

I wrote.

I cooked.

I cleaned.

And I ended it all with a bath.

Glorious.

Years ago, I would have never intentionally skipped Church. If we wern’t there, it’s because one of us was home with the flu and I was afraid if we came, someone would throw up in the middle of the message. I remember having babies and going to Church with a bundle in my arm just days old. Church, to me, was everything. I had to show up and be present; to minister or preach or teach or smile. There was praying to do and love to give. I was always present. Always up front. Always. And now here I am, many years later and far from most of how these things all looked and I see Church in a whole different way.

It’s no longer a place I go to. It’s WHO I am.

With that all being said, the question really isn’t “To Church or not to Church?” The question is, “To Jesus or not to Jesus?”

Am I going to listen to Him? Plain and simple.

When Church is not a place that you go TO, but is WHO you are, you find yourself thinking out of the box about everything. I realize now, Church used to represent a checklist and if I showed up and attended, check. Over the years it’s became more and more relational with the people inside of the building till soon, relationships began to bloom inside AND outside those four walls. Now days if I know my connection level with others is good and Jesus is my focus, I don’t feel the pressure to check Church off my list.

You can’t check something off that is ongoing.

Jesus knows my heart and what I ultimately need most. He knows when I’m taking a short cut or calling it quits or hiding. He knows when I’m physically tired and when I’m mentally exhausted and when I just miss the comforts of my own four walls and need a break from the rat race of life. Seriously friends, especially those of you IN the Church…if getting up on a Sunday morning and going is just something that you DO because it is part of your regular routine…

WHY?

I can’t answer that question for you but I do encourage you to ask yourself, WHY am I doing what I am doing? Going to Church is good. IT IS NEEDED. Anytime we all come together, it is a beautiful necessity but you must take the time to regroup and take care of yourself and sometimes, for me (Mark 6:31), that day only falls on a Sunday. When does it fall for you? It is a holy experience when you intentionally reconnect not only with what you need most but with the One who provides ultimate rest.

Know what YOU need.

Jesus is your ultimate audience.

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.” -Matthew 11:29

 

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