Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Brand Name

I have been fumbling through 2011 like a lost puppy and I have not been able to figure out why this year has been so difficult. I used to manage school, work, social life, church and working out all at the same time. Now that I am on a regular 9-5 work schedule, I can’t seem to get anything done. Yes, I had some unfortunate events early in the year, but that cannot be my crutch for ruining the rest of it.

I haven’t been able to find time to go to the gym, to do chores around the house, or to run errands. Why am I floundering? I used to be so motivated all on my own. My upcoming vacation is the only thing motivating me to work out. Yet, I couldn’t work out for the past 5 months so I’d already be at my goal weight.

Someone just floored me with the question, “What is your brand name?” I had to ask for an explanation because I knew they weren’t asking what kind of jeans I was wearing. He explained that people size us up before we ever say a word. They look at us from a 20 foot perspective (our outward appearance) and by the first 20 words we say to them (20/20). What is the image I project for others to see? Where do I want to go? What is my next step? What is my long-term goal? Does my “brand name” accurately depict what I want others to see?

The answer to all of those questions is simple: “I don’t know”. Plus, it answers why I’m struggling to find motivation. I have no direction. I have no goals. What a concept. All those years of hearing “you need to set goals” or “plan for the future” are finally making sense!

Now the problem is that I don’t know what I want out of life. When I was younger, I imagined my life differently than it is turning out. Now that I’m old(er), I need to somehow figure out where I want to go and how I want to get there.

This whole idea is just profound. I want to write more, but I have to wrap my brain around the concept and figure out what my goals are. I just love how God puts people in our lives to help us with exactly where we are. (((hugs))) to God!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Friday the 13th

For my followers who are not on Facebook (you know who you are and yes, you should hang your head in shame), here is how I spent my Friday the 13th.

Watch if you dare...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Worth the Wait

I'm beginning to feel that the only time I write is when life sucks. Without over-analyzing it too much [ha!], I think it's just due to the fact that I find writing therapeutic. When life is good, I don't need to run to the laptop for a distraction. When life is bad, I desperately seek for something to get my mind off the pain.

Mother's Day 2011. Today was the day where I called my mother up, apologized for sending the card late, and told her that I love her. Yet, I can't help but be selfish on this day and grieve for what I do not have.

Do you ever have one of those moments where you know that something said at church was said just for you? We didn't have the typical "Children obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord" or "Husband's love your wives" sermon. Our pastor interviewed Gene, a woman that has been married for 53 years. It was refreshing to hear that she was strong-willed and made mistakes! Not that I wish for any trouble on her or other believers, but I get so turned off by women that exude perfection in their family and spiritual lives.

I suppose I should eventually post my testimony, but let's just say my life has had it's share of ups and downs when it comes to my relationship with Jesus. The last time I hit a low like this, when I finally turned to God (as mentioned previously, he tends to be my last resort), I turned to the Psalms. Chapter 27 just blew me away. It discussed the pain I was going through, my plea to restore my relationship with God, it gave me hope and encouragement, and finally, it gave me instructions on how to make everything come together!

Psalm 27 (NIV)

Of David.

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.

3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.

4 One thing I ask from the LORD,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.

6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.

7 Hear my voice when I call, LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.

8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.

9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.

10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.

11 Teach me your way, LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.

12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.

13 I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

I remember praying those verses back to God so many times. Pleading with him to make my pain go away and give me peace. He did eventually, but it was such a long and arduous process. Many years later, those verses would show up at unexpected times.

When my mother moved back to Ohio, I inherited random things from her. One item was a blanket with lighthouses on it. She had that blanket for at least 5 years. We both liked it and when she wanted to get rid of it, I asked if I could keep it. One day while cuddling under it, I realized I had the picture facing me and I finally read the words after using that blanket for countless years. It says, "The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalms 27:1"

When those verses pop up randomly, it always makes me stop. Every single verse in that chapter speaks to me. It is either a prayer of mine for God to rescue me or give me strength, or a prayer of where I want to be - high on a rock singing songs of joy!

When Gene closed her interview by encouraging us with verses 13 and 14 from Psalms 27, "I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. ", I sat there in awe.

God has not forgotten what He has promised me. God hasn't forgotten my prayers for the past 10 years. God is not punishing me for my sins. He is patiently asking me to stop trying to do everything on my own and in my timing. Find strength in Him. Just wait...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Giving Up

I hate a life filled with drama. I try to keep things simple and try to keep it all together. I have a hard time opening up to people and admitting when I am going through a hard time. Yet, I find myself drowning in never-ending troubles. As soon as I feel like I’m getting back on my feet, I get kicked down again. I don’t even feel worthy to ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” I feel like somehow I deserve some of this drama. Some of it, not all.

The details aren’t important. Everyone goes through hard times. Why do I feel the need to fake the funk and act like everything is OK? Why do I find it so hard to trust people? I have so many loving friends and family in my life. I am one of the fortunate few. Yet, letting someone in is a terrifying thing for me.

To add to my stress, I know that God is always with me. He promises will never leave me or forsake me. Again, I don’t feel worthy of this love. I want to hide from it because I know I’ve pushed Him away. I use God as my last resort instead of first response. I live my life the way I want to instead of a life that honors Him. Then to run to Him when I screw it all up just seems unfair. I’m taking God for granted.

The Bible study I went to last night talked of God’s measureless love. It is mind boggling. The Bible says it surpasses knowledge in Ephesians 3. The study described how God measures everything. He measured where to place the galaxies, sun, moon, and stars. In the vast universe, he placed our planet in the precise location to support life. He gave precise measurements for temples that humans would use to worship him. Noah received the particular dimensions for an ark in the middle of dry land. God even gives measurements of cities that will exist after the earth is destroyed. Yet, God’s love is measureless. The height of his love cannot be calculated. The depth of his love cannot compare to the depths of the oceans. The width of his love is farther than the eye can see. It is everywhere around us, yet I push it away.

I choose today to embrace His love. I choose today to give up my control over circumstances I never had control over. My stress and worries are all my own doing.

John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Jesus, I embrace your peace. I give you my life so that you can do exceedingly abundantly more than I could ask or imagine. I’m giving it all to you.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Step by Step

I'm not entirely sure what this blog will hold, but I am excited to have a writing outlet. New beginnings are good, especially when they are therapeutic.

While I have been renewed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, I am still a work in progress. 2011 has proven to be an exceptionally difficult year. However, I hold on to the hope that I will be victorious over all my struggles. Not by my power, but with the Lord's strength working through me.

I still have questions and doubts about my faith, some of which will be posted here to help clarify thoughts in my mind and receive feedback from others. I think the most important part of the spiritual journey is remembering that we aren't going to arrive at a destination here on earth. We must constantly learn, grow, and be teachable.

Every journey begins with one step...