Monday, September 7

[let's sit]

Today, I felt like Laura.

Do you ever get off track?

I know I do.

Especially in seasons of busyness, it is hard for me to remember truth. For some reason it seems to get covered up & perverted by the to-do lists and the ‘I don’t have enough time to get up in the morning to pray or read or process’ thoughts.. when that is exactly what I need.

This morning I was reading Leviticus. It’s a real hoot – let me tell ya. Anyway, I began reading about the Sabbath.

It is a Sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves.
-Leviticus 23:32


It’s crazy for me to think [and to acknowledge] that I control very little – that God is omniscient and omnipotent – yet I still tend to get off track time and time again in worrying.

He knows.


He knows that we are like this – that we are flawed because of our sin. That we ache to control our circumstances by overdoing, over-worrying, over-thinking. He knows that rest is good for our soul since he created us in this way. He knows what we need and wants to give us these things.

That is why he commanded the Israelites to take a Sabbath and then goes on to tell them that this would be hard for them – that they would have to deny themselves in order to take the Sabbath.

Doesn’t this speak to you?


It doesn’t matter what season of life you are in.. it’s a constant struggle to sit and be. You’ve got a 3-pager to-do list to complete by October 1st? I guarantee you that you need rest in the midst of the ticking off of items. I can guarantee you that you will be able to accomplish more after some down time. I can guarantee you that you will gain new perspective.

Sabbath.


What it looks like for me consists of coffee shops. It’s not so much of the coffee that I’m after – even though it’s warm & tasty and makes me feel at home;  it’s more so the atmosphere of the shop. The people – the strangers – surrounding me laden with their laptops and their Beats headphones (I’ve been meaning to buy a pair of these ever since 2008), their determination to complete what they came in to work on.. but mostly their anonymity. Knowing that I likely will be unbothered for the coming hour [or two] while I’m reading and journaling, processing and planning.

It’s in the bits and pieces of my Thursday – breakfast with dear friends before going into work.. talking about the happenings of our lives: the excitement, the stagnant ongoings, and the fears. It’s getting things out in the open and realizing that we are happiest and most full when we are known.

It’s the workout at the gym [that I put off days & days in a row until I own up to my goal] when I don’t bring my cell phone – knowing that I am there to focus on my own health and my own thoughts while neglecting to fill myself with social media/texts/phone calls for that hour.

I got all of these things in [in some way or another] this weekend, and it was g-o-o-d.

He knows us. He really knows us. And it’s good.


Cheers to a 3-day weekend and rest in whatever form(s) that may be.

Sunday, August 2

[all that I know is I'm breathing]



You're playing dodgeball.

Balls are being thrown at you from every which way. That boy with the killer arm- the one that's going to knock you right off of the court and put you right down on the bench if you're not careful- he's got his gaze on you, and he's waiting to disengage.

Then there is the the quiet girl with her stealthiness- you can't tell when she's going to let go but you remember that her aim is the best of all your opponents. And her consistency.. second to none.

Which ones do you attempt to catch?
Which ones should you dodge & never turn your back to?


This is what my life currently feels like. Now, please take this post with a grain of salt, knowing that I can be somewhat of a pansy, as well as slightly dramatic- oops. However, this is the one image that I keep coming back to- over & over again- replaying in my mind when I think about the current season I am walking through.

I hate this.

I hate making out my life happenings to be bigger than what they are when there are people out there experiencing things I could never even think about experiencing myself.

But for some reason it feels good to type out your worries & fears- handing them out like a free pamphlet on the street corner to the endless users of the world wide web, hoping they will find some sort of use out of them- while the writing somehow urges me to come back to focus on the Constant.

Like all seasons- good & bad- this season requires a daily refocusing. I'm reminded of a dancer who is spotting on her turns- knowing that the only way she will stay upright is if she comes back to focus on that one seemingly far spot on the wall as she inches closer and closer to it with each spin.

I always say that I hate change.

My roommate doesn't believe me. She thinks that I am good at it. Apparently I put on a good front.

This season is bringing about all sorts of change. All sorts of topics that I would have never thought possible 6 months ago.

Behold.


He says it when he wants us to listen- when he wants us to hurry up and come back to the realization that he is in control when we forget [or rather neglect to remember].

And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment."
-Revelation 21

A lot of life is choosing, I am finding. But what these clean cut words fail to show is the presence & reality of growing pains that these choices naturally bring about. Nevertheless, I am choosing to believe that he is working for my good. I am choosing to believe that I am outrageously l-o-v-e-d by my God who loves each of us with a passion so deep. A passion that urged him to give Jesus as a sacrifice to die for us so that he could get to know us.. he sees us as THAT valuable.

[Listen to me. I know what you're thinking. I've already thought out every detail of your life. After all, I did create you. Beloved, you're going to be fine. This is going to be good. You forget that I make the most perfect masterpieces- and that is exactly what I want to make out of you.]

Monday, July 6

[a gold mine of a mouth + insufficiency]

There I was.. tearing up in my 8' x 5' corporate space (otherwise known as a 'cubicle'), glaring at 2 words on the computer screen written by an acquaintance:

Thank you. 


Let's just back up here a minute.. The day was Monday, June 22nd - also the 5th day of my stint with Hydrocodone - and the pain was making its presence known through intermittent pulses in my mouth due to the placement of 2 temporary crowns (and an unruly dentist..).

My coworkers are really the best. REALLY. A fairly large group of us have a prayer 'chain', if you will, going on. I had never emailed a request of my own. My thinking: in order to come to such a large group (with a good portion of the group being people that I have never met), I better have a pretty 'significant' issue.

Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
--Philippians 4:6

..so that was flawed thinking. Oops.

I then sent out an email noting my terrible pain over the past week and asked for their prayers - that the Lord would use the same power that he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead.. on my mouth.

Yes, I felt a little bold asking this, but isn't this what we're called to be?

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
--Ephesians 1:18-21

And what types of responses did I get? People THANKING me for giving them the opportunity to pray for me. What is this?!?!!?!?!?

This, my friends, is Christ Jesus' work on the world. It's holy, and it's pure. It's sincere and for our good.

While the pain from my dental issues has not quite ceased completely & I may or may not have also had a root canal since my 2 temporary crown placements, the pain has been much more bearable. What has lifted my spirits the most is the encouraging prayers + love from others.

What I am continuing to learn is that weakness is a prerequisite to becoming a follower of Jesus. We need other people looking out for us. We need prayers. We need encouragement when life gets us down and the dental bills come a rollin' in [and every other day]. It's plain & simple: we need true community in the form of vulnerability coupled with the forcing of truth.. because quite frankly, truth is sometimes hard to hear.

Repeat after me: I am not sufficient on my own.

You might have to say it a couple of times before you actually start to believe it. At first, it won't feel good. It will feel somewhat similar to that feeling you experienced as a young 4-year old when your mom forced you to say you were sorry to your sibling, when truth is- you really weren't sorry. But then, after a couple more times you will feel relieved when you come to the beautiful realization that you don't have to carry your burdens alone! In fact, God prefers that you don't do this because he knows wholeheartedly that this is unhealthy.. simply because, he made us this way.

It is my selfish belief to think that I can do everything on my own. Whether our motivation is our distrust of others, our fear of vulnerability, our control-freak tendencies, or all of the above.. we act as though we have the largest stake in our life and our idea of good is the only one that matters.

This is not so.

Let's share those burdens so they don't take hold over us.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
--Psalm 133:1

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
--Galatians 6:2

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in [insufficiency]." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses.. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 
--2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Ready, set, GO!

Monday, April 20

[dreams & gym breakups]

"And why do you want to end your membership?"

"..because I never come here."

It's that easy.. when you join a gym in January 2015 and use the facilities one single time in total (the day I joined) in 3 and a half months, a gym breakup is essential.

At least I learned my lesson.

..or did I?

Sadly, I can say with truth that I have quit a total of 3 different gyms in the last 3 years of my post graduate life. Oops.

Let me set this straight just in case you were confused (because the good Lord knows that I am for signing up for gyms again AND again): I'm not a gym person.

I don't like gyms. In my opinion - for whatever it's worth - pretty much all exercise should be done outside. I don't prefer to run on a treadmill on a path leading me to nowhere when I could be, say, running to the nearest coffee shop to journal. I don't prefer unleashing the beast that is my sweaty-ness to a group of my 50 [non]closest "friends" at the gym - the ones who glisten in the fluorescent lighting while I'm racing to the nearest water fountain to "splash some water on my face".. you know who I'm talking about. And it's probably you.

Annoyingly so, this little gym mishap thing that I've got going on.. makes me somewhat of a quitter.

I know that I want to be healthier. I know that I want to be able to walk up my parking garage's flight of stairs without getting winded on the way in to work..

But what am I doing about it?

So I've been reading this awesome book by Jon Acuff called Quitter. It's a gem. I would highly suggest it, even though I'm not done.

What I'm learning so far is that if you truly want something, you have to actually try to get it. I know, I know - how much more common sense could it get? But really. Ask yourself how many times you have said that you were "too busy" to do something you love.

You know, the conversation that goes a little bit like this:

Me: "What's your favorite thing to do outside of your 8 to 5?"

You: "Well, I LOVE to paint. But I just can't ever find enough time to do it."


NEWSFLASH: if you love something, you can and will find time to do it. I promise.

This is what I'm learning.

I'm learning that dreams are fun and all.. but that is exactly what they will stay if I do not choose to proactively pursue them. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure what that looks like, but I'd be lying to you if I told you that I didn't make an Excel spreadsheet mapping out part of "The Plan" this evening.

I'm also learning about being vulnerable. And vulnerability is never fun. I am beginning to think that the reason a dream is "a dream" is because we're too scared to pursue it. What happens if I fail? What happens if it's not everything I thought it would be? It's always nice to have a plan B.. and then maybe the other 24 letters.

My hope & prayer is that this coming season will be one of creativity + trust. Offering up my dreams & plans in the hands of an almighty, loving, omniscient, and sovereign God - the One who offers up grace upon grace continually.. He never quits. In fact, "quitting" isn't even in His repertoire.

At the heart of a dream is change.

Sitting and resting in change right here with you.


Wednesday, March 4

[meander]

Life is complicated.

This I have come to discover through multiple avenues, but more so, over one very long avenue that has had me driving for miles. And when I say miles, I mean m-o-n-t-h-s. Convoluted directions and restricted left-hand turns.. mirages out on the open desert road..

Where’s Google Maps when ya need it?

When you’re young, everything seems unbelievably simple.
Effortless;
Straightforward; &
Clear-cut.

So life’s decisions are simple, right? Turns out.. this is not always the case. Joke’s on this girl. Turns out.. very likely is this ever the case.

I remember just how painless my youth ‘problems’ were – if you can even call them that. They were centered around slumber party guest lists, basketball team tryouts, spelling bee jitters, and babysitting schedules.

Now my problems have more to do with salary negotiations, living out my dreams in life, finding out if the guy I’m dating has the potential to be my husband, figuring out my ‘5 year plan’ – whatever the FREAK that is – watching my friends get pregnant while I sit here and watch Netflix home alone on a Friday night (..and am incandescently & shamelessly happy about it).

So where does that lead me? To surrender & trust. Not the simple answer I was looking for to get me out of the not-so-simple complications of life. The older I get, the surer I am that I’m not running the show. And it’s a DANG good thing that I’m not.

P
A
U
S
E.

^^so this little snippet of stress; ball of nerves; whatever you would like to call it – was written in June of 2014.

It is now – as you know – March 2015. [Sometimes I have a bad habit of leaving things halfway done.]  I found this unfinished wannabe blog post while going through files on my computer a couple of weeks back. When I read it, I laughed.. a good laugh. Mainly for the fact that it is complete + solid evidence that the ways of the Lord are second to none – that he truly is sovereign. But what’s even better than that? His sovereign ways are GOOD. He is GOOD. And now for the best part.. he LOVES us.

What?!?!?! That is mind boggling, incredible, awe-inspiring.. and, most importantly, true. So back when I wrote this, I think you can gather that I was a little confused – I was in a stage of life where I felt the need to test the waters, if you will.. see what was on the other side of the pasture in hopes of finding something excitingly luscious and green. No such luck. In my wandering (“prone to wander, Lord I feel it”.. those lyrics ring annoyingly true), God stayed.

So I was reading Genesis 38 this morning. It's a real knock-you-right-outta-your-seat-jaw-dropping-way-down kind of chapter. The main character, Judah (Judah is Israel's - formerly known as Jacob - son) is living quite the life.. um, sleeping with prostitutes, selling his brother to the family’s enemies for some extra cash money.. just a little brotherly love here - nothing out of the ordinary. Nope, I am lying. This was an interesting Saturday morning read to say the least. However, what I found exponentially more interesting is that God chose Judah’s line to bring Jesus into the world. Say whaaaaat?

Judah clearly has some issues. Let’s be real. Homeboy is a bit confused about the meaning of “righteousness” and the goodness it brings us – but aren’t we all, really?

But God.

I love the coupling of these two words. But God uses Judah, a sinful + flawed person, to bring about a most perfect Messiah. Crazy. Throughout the Old Testament, New Testament, and in my daily life, I am assured of the truth that I cannot lose, even when I am faint of heart or go my own way through disobedience or rebellion when he is on my side. As I said earlier, God is sovereign. And so incredibly GOOD. And he LOVES us.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in [me] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
--Philippians 1:6

Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.
--Romans 5:20

So basically, on this 4th day of March, walking into a fresh, new month.. I am out of the wandering – in this specific instance at least.. personally, I believe we are annoyingly + subconsciously always going to wander until Jesus comes back. But God uses this wandering to slowly reveal to us that he is working on our behalf - for the g-o-o-d of those who love him. 

And today, on this 4th day of March, I choose to believe that God is constantly at work in and around and through me. I choose to fully acknowledge that there are many surprises in store for me that are leading me to the wide open arms of Jesus Christ, my completely good + sovereign + loving Sweet Lord.

Won't you choose to believe with me?