Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
I used to blog all the time. I used to read all the time. They are directly related. So I'm reading again, and that means I might be blogging again. So I'm sorry and your welcome. You can choose what one you fall under. Side note I'm writing on my new MacBook Pro so I feel very trendy and educated. I am neither. But I am reading again....
I started reading the book of Jeremiah which I have never read. All I know from Jeremiah is 29:11 -For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
I like this verse a lot and so I figured there must be more where that came from. Jeremiah was sent by God with a message to Judah of judgement. They had turned from God and were worshiping idols. That's an extremely simplistic explanation. Today I was reading Jeremiah 2.
The chapter starts with this -
1. The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord,
“I remember the devotion of your youth,
your love as a bride,
how you followed me in the wilderness,
in a land not sown.
The chapter goes on to ask why Judah turned away from God and why they turned to idols.
And then these verses really hit me. -
13 for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
And this verse which has a sarcastic tone-
33 “How well you direct your course
to seek love!
What are your broken cisterns? What is the "love" that we're seeking? Mine? Fear. Control. I was afraid of getting hurt to the point that I couldn't feel anymore. If I didn't feel, I didn't hurt. If I didn't let people get close to me, they couldn't hurt me. If I could just stay in control of what people did to me or in control of my life, I wouldn't have pain. Peace was a non existant concept. Here is God offering living water and I'm drinking out of a cesspool. I didn't believe the Jeremiah 29 verse. "I know the plans for you.." I understood the concept but didn't take it to heart. Meanwhile I made myself miserable and hurt people around me. For this I am deeply sorry. It's sad to think of the life that I could have been experiencing if I was only willing to realize that God was in control. I'm not dwelling on it, just learning. A friend posted this on Facebook - What you know today can affect what you do tomorrow, but not what you did yesterday." -Condoleezza Rice
So this is my prayer for us all-
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21
Because this love changes everything....if we allow it to.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Yesterday I made the 8 hour trek from Nashville to Chicago in my little Honda Civic. I woke up at 7:30 a.m. paid those corporations that needed to be paid and like a grown up, packed my clean clothes and my dirty clothes that I didn't have time to wash because I'm a grown up and I have other grown up things to do like watch a movie. I finally got on the road at 10 after making a detour to vacuum the unused loose leaf tea that spilled all over the floorboard of the passenger side of my car. The gas station didn't have a vacuum so I still have tea on the floor boards....because I'm a grown up....
Everything was going great. I was making good time, listening to Good Wives (the sequel to Little Women) audio book on my iPod, and enjoying the euphoric feeling of driving home for Christmas. Am I the only one that get's that feeling?
I stopped in Salem, IL to fill up on gas and use the rest room. I stop at the same gas station every time I go home. At first I didn't even realize I was doing that, but now it's become a tradition. Like the good nurse's daughter that I am (and civilized human being), I washed my hands after using the bathroom and like the paranoid nurse's daughter I am, I used my coat to shut off the faucet. As I did this my iPhone slipped from my coat pocket into a full sink of water and was completely submerged.
They say in times of emergency your adrenaline kicks in and you have super human strength. I once heard a story of a mother lifting the end of a car off the ground to save her son. Well my iPhone is not nearly as valuable as a child, and I didn't do anything that dramatic but without thinking twice, I whipped that phone out of the sink and shoved it under a hand dryer. Driving home by myself is not a good time to be without a phone.
Miraculously, I could still text but was unsure if I could make calls. I called my mom to see if I still could use the phone feature and my mom couldn't hear me. Great. Because I just wrote checks to those corporations and I'm off of work for a week there was no way that I was going to be able to buy a new phone and beside that, I still had 5 hours left to go. Like I said, my texting still worked so in my despair I sent my boyfriend, Jonathan, a "I hate my life" sort of text and he responded by saying "Get a bag of rice right now and put your phone in it." because that's his stock answer whenever I have a problem. It's like his Windex. (That was a reference to My Big Fat Greek Wedding and no, Jonathan does not tell me to shove my phone in rice anytime something bad happens.)
Anyways, as Bill Cosby says in his Noah skit- Riiiiiighhht. I'm in Southern IL. It's 50 miles to the next town. Immediately was not going to happen. But then there was Effingham. Yes. Effingham.
I pulled off in the fair city of Effingham, ran into Walgreen's and when they didn't have any rice, got directions to the nearest grocery store. Save-A-Lot. Yes. Save-A-Lot in Effingham where the customers in the parking lot all wear cameo and the clerk at the checkout asks me why I'm buying a bag of rice..... at the grocery store.
I purchased the rice and carefully inserted my phone in the bag and let it sit there for a couple hours. I would have let it set longer but I had to fish it out in order to call my dad to find out if I missed my exit. This fishing caused rice to fly everywhere so now I have tea on the floor and rice in my seat which sounds like the title to an Asian country song.
And guess what? It worked! My phone works and I'm home and enjoying not feeling like an adult and feeling like a kid at my parents' house. I hope you enjoyed my little adventure.
Have a very Merry Christmas and stay turned to the premier of the chart topping hit "I Have Tea On the Floor and Rice On My Seat".
Saturday, November 7, 2009
A friend of mine when talking about their very painful situation said "Christ is ever present in this pain. May I come out of this a stronger more faithful child of God."
At one point this is where I was too. I thought "This, this is what God is going to use." And he did but then I stopped allowing myself to be directed. Somewhere in this journey from pain to redemption I allowed the healthy self-protective mode to do the directing. I don't know when. Somewhere along the line my self-protection moved to self-preservation which has become an large increase in self centeredness.
Self self self self.
Somewhere on this path of one week, one day, one moment at a time it became one person and her survival.
Don't get me wrong, there is a time to be protective. You need to stick up for yourself, but it's funny how the moral of my recent chapter of life- trust God...no need to try to be in control- has quickly faded into the background.
I've stopped paying attention to how God can use my hurt. I stopped paying attention in everything. It has become about my survival, but this survival is lonely and the passivity of my nature right now does not encourage growth and I let it be this way. Time to change huh?
Pastor Jim talks about how prayer is one of the first spiritual disciplines to go. I think that he's right and I know that it shows in my life right now.
Monday, August 10, 2009
All of us have walls.
All of us cope with our insecurities, our life circumstances, our pain, our hurts, and our battle scars that we feel come from others.
Little by little we allow brick by brick go to be added and the wall of protectiveness grows in height and depth keeping us safe from the hurt that is waiting around the corner. Little by little we allow that wall to become a daily part of our personality. Brick by brick our reactions to uncomfortable, bad, or even good situations are established and ingrained into our hearts.
Pretty much everyone I know has coping mechanisms that involve their walls. Some hide it better than others, some are defensive, some make jokes.....
I moved to Nashville in the spring of 2007 and self-absorption protected me. I found that it was easier to just to worry about myself rather than trying to cope with the uncertainty around me. It was easier to retreat within myself. I eventually got out of that phase and made amazing friends and probably experienced the best months of my life.
I was the new girl again recently. For a few months I worked at the Opryland Hotel.
My self absorption had taken hold again. I've been hurt and so I operate almost as a dog that has been beaten. Before people had a chance to get to show me who they were I cowered and ducked, but the way that I did this is (and I still do) is by talking about myself and not asking anyone any personal questions. If I don't know, I don't have to care, I won't get hurt.
I'm working with a lot of people that don't share my faith. How is this attitude portraying the love of Christ? It's not. How am I being a witness to the wonderful things that God has done in my life if I'm so concerned about people hurting me that I can't see past my current wounds and my potential wounds to the hurt that others feel? I'm obviously not paying attention to the wonderful things that God has done in my life. If I was, I would be secure in the fact that he's taken care of me thus far and will continue to do so. I guess as soon as we stop looking at how we've been blessed and start dwelling on how we've been hurt, we start building those walls. God forgive me for all the times that people need hope and I fail to deliver it because I'm lost in myself.
I hope this makes sense. I'm practically falling asleep as I write this.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Waiting has been a huge part of this trip and I'm not good at it. I have been described as a mover and a shaker. I don't know what that means or if I am one but I do know that I'm always on the the move. Supposedly I have been that way since day one when I decided to lift up my head not long after I was born.
I'm 5' 1.5" and my normal walking pace is faster than most, even those that with a good 6 inches on me. Fast food here in the South is not fast enough. In a group of people I usually end up making the decisions because I don't want to wait for people to make up their minds.
I don't like to wait.
I like to know what the plan is and what it will take to execute it.
But that isn't always how life works...if ever... and that causes me great anxiety.
I've been reading a lot about waiting. Waiting for God, waiting for life, waiting for change. I'm starting to think that although waiting on the Lord is a must, maybe constantly waiting for the next opportunity to happen is really not good for us. I don't mean that we need to be reckless, careless, or irresponsible, but maybe we're missing the point.
I think I've been missing the point. All I have is here and now and most of here and now I'm spending on wondering what is going to happen next and what I need to do to get there. Most days I'm so worried about what is going to happen 3 days from now that I miss the beauty that is going on around me.
We're taught to plan for our futures, our college goals (boy did I fail there!), our future spouse, our retirement, our future children. None of this is wrong in itself! But when we are no longer present because our life revolves around the future, then there is something wrong.
I've noticed this as a problem for me especially in the special someone category. When I am worrying about how I'm going to find that person and worrying about the years ahead being alone, I'm missing out on the joy that God gives me today. He has everything taken care of. I can pine and fret about the fact that I'm 27 and still no sign of Mr. Right which means I'm not going to be Mrs. Right anytime soon which means there won't be any Right children for awhile, but what the heck does that solve? What it does is it keeps me from enjoying the life I have now and that is the only life I have. I'm not promised anything but now and now is what it is supposed to be and what it is good.
I have finally finished Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning. I have to say that it has been absolutely instrumental in me crawling out of the dark pit that I was in and it is probably the most eye opening and life changing book that I have ever read. It spoke to the heart of my anxieties and helped me find peace in my Father's arms.
I read the last few chapters in the Atlanta airport on my way to Florida. I write this now on my way home to Nashville. I never imagined when I started this blog that my "safety net" would be unsafe or be pulled out from under me. Thankfully I didn't wind up splattered on the sidewalk. God doesn't allow that. He does allow for us to free fall for awhile though.
I don't want anyone to think that I have this all down or think that I have this all together. I still wake up occasionally in a panic or am driven to tears. I still feel like I should be blessed in the ways that I feel that I should be blessed. I'm human.
Let me leave you with a few things that touched me from my friend Brennan (I've never met the man but someday, we will get coffee. I will see to it!)-
We formulate plans to fulfill what we perceive to be the purpose of our lives (inevitably limited), and when the locomotive of our longings gets derailed, we deem ourselves failures..... Our disappointments arise from presuming to know the outcome of a particular endeavor.... Entrusting ourselves to Mystery, we move forward fearlessly, knowing that the future of the planet probably does not depend on what we do next....
However, in our faithful listening to God's Word, we often neglect his first word to us--the gift of ourselves to ourselves: our existence, our temperament, our personal history, our uniqueness, our flaws and foibles, our identity. Our very existence is one of the never-to-be repeated ways God has chosen to express himself in space and time. Because we are made in God's image and likeness, you and I are yet another promise that he has made to the universe that he will continue to love it and care for it....
Trust yourself as one entrusted by God with everything you need to live life to the full.
Thanks for reading.
Enjoying the moment and dancing with Michelle in the streets of Savannah.