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Archive for October, 2007

Well, I finally came to the end the other night. I’ve been there before, and I don’t know why it always takes so long for me to get there.

I’ve been inside my head for a few weeks, hearing the lying, evil thoughts that say I’m hopeless, that I will never change, that I’ll never be organized, that my relationship with God will always be lacking, that I’m not a loving person, that I whore out my mental energy to everyone else but my family, that I have the flabbiest body ever–and on and on about what I’m not doing right, and how I’ll never get it right. I’ve tried to rectify these things by working on a plan to get organized, buying a planner, going to the gym, trying to stay home more and keep up with the laundry, but I was still feeling like I was treading water; running uphill with rocks tied to my feet; sinking slowly down into the Swamp of Self-Loathing. I was working so hard to get it together–and coming up short every time. It was just so loud in my head.

I went Sunday night to a ‘Reformation Sunday’ service at First Presbyterian here in town. It was the EXACT thing I needed. It pulled me up and out of my head, and reminded me of the absolute soverignty of God. It was like I was coming up from underwater, and I was looking around, and focusing for the first time in a long time.

OF COURSE I can’t do this life thing without help. I’ve been working and working and trying to get myself together, but I forgot about just ‘being.’ And resting. After the service, I found a place at a small park nearby where I sat at a picnic table and wept and wept. I whispered this verse over and over again:

“Come to me all of you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart. And you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

And it was there at the end of myself that I felt like I could begin again. I found peace by letting go–giving up–finally. It was so good to realize that I am not perfect, nor do I have to be. That I am loved ‘as is’, and anything good I can do will be coming from God anyway. I found this quote from a study I did last year by Andrew Murray:

“…entire surrender to Jesus is the secret to perfect rest. Giving up one’s whole life to Him, for Him alone to rule and order it, taking up His yoke and submitting to be led and taught, to learn of Him, abiding in Him, and to be and to do only what He wills–these are the conditions of discipleship without which there can be no thought of maintaining the rest…”

This is where I want to be in my life with God’s help.

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There’s this guy at church who plays the drums. He’s from South America, and according to his roommate, he never stops moving. Even when he’s not playing, he’s playing. He is Rhythm. During the songs, I watch him, mesmerized. He’s all there–fully engaged and attached to what he is doing–not even noticing that there are hundreds of people out in the congregation. The drumsticks are his arms and the big bass drum is an extenstion of his leg. Playing the drums is breathing to him. He looks like he is doing what he was MADE to do.

Watching him play makes me think about God way more than the worship songs do. He is beauty, and motion and rhythm and life. The guy has this gift, and he is using it exactly the way God seems to intend–pointing the way back to Himself. I’m blown away by this example of God giving us gifts and then using them for His purposes. And I’m hopeful that God does indeed have something that He’s given to me–something that I do or maybe will do that seems like breathing.

I want to live there–in the place where I’m doing what I’ve been made to do, and it doesn’t matter who’s watching.  I wonder sometimes if God is using me at all, or am I just waiting until I find my ‘calling.’ I think, maybe He’ll use me if I go to grad school, or volunteer at the homeless shelter. Maybe He’ll use me when I write a book or start a Bible study. What feels like breathing to me? What are the effortless things, the activities or ways of being that I’m fully engaged in, or that I love?

And then I think, God is probably using me behind my back. I bet He is sneaky like that. I mean, this guy was just playing the drums, doing something he obviously loved, right? I’m sure he has no idea that I’ve been thinking and thinking about God and calling and vocation and gifts just because he helped out with the worship band. He doesn’t know that watching him made me want to be closer to God and to serve Him with the best things I have in me.

Some people seem to have GIFTS, you know? It is obvious what they are supposed to do. But maybe it isn’t so obvious to them. Maybe lots of people feel like me–wondering, comparing, hoping for something good to do for God, and we’re already doing it and don’t know it. Maybe it’s not about gifts at all, but being faithful in the right now, doing what is in front of us.

What I do know is that God made us and prepared us for the good work He has for us to do. I just wonder what that work is.

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I was talking to my friend Ashley today over a lovely cup of tea, and she helped me remember to Be Here Now. To enjoy what’s in front of me, even if it’s hard or boring or stressful or house-worky. She’s in the thick of college right now and is determined not to let it go by without enjoying it (even if it’s Statistics…).

How often I have complained in the midst of my life, only to look back later and say ‘wasn’t that time awesome?’ Like right now, I feel a little lost, wondering what to do with my time. But here’s the great part: I have Time! I can go shopping or read a book or soak in the sun on my back porch or learn to crochet or take a class or volunteer or have tea with friends or read my Bible at Natural Falls State Park…this is a GREAT time in my life. The possibilities  are wide open, and I am determined not to focus on what I can’t do. I want to make the most of the gift of now.

I hugged Ashley as  she left and we shouted to each other “These are the Days!!”

Thanks, Ash.

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I have made a discovery. I know why I have an aversion to my own house. (Some readers may know of my long-time wrestling match with my house–I don’t like to be there, it doesn’t feel like my home, I feel like I’m just renting space in my own life, blah, blah blah…) I have tried to figure out why I have this house issue for YEARS now. I have talked to friends, mentors, counselors, random shoppers at Walmart, with NO answers, no insight. First I thought if I just decorated it to my liking, it would feel like home. I have done that, and I still am tempted to escape any time I can. Then I thought my issue must stem from my early unpleasant cleaning experiences. There was a lot of yelling and stomping–very angry cleaning. But that’s not it either.

Here’s what it is: I don’t have an aversion to my house; I have an aversion to the responsibility my house represents. When I’m here, I’m reminded in every direction I look that I am supposed to be owning my life. Being an adult. Growing the heck up. It’s like I’ve been yelling at the walls “you are RUINING MY LIFE!” and then I’m stomping into my room and slamming the door and blasting the Violent Femmes.

ENOUGH!

I have realized that it has taken more of my mental time and energy  to AVOID my responsibilities than it would to just freakin’ unload the dishwasher. Or to set a goal and meet it. Or clean my disgusting bathroom. Or to redo the spare room instead of opening the door, shuddering, then closing it again. It takes more out of me to have that mess living in my head. So just do it already.

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