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Monday, April 23, 2018

Analyze Your Life Journey for a Moment





I read a blog post by author Ken Reid that made me think of my own journey. 

He pointed out he was part of a large ministry for several years that had great momentum so much so it felt addicting.

He saw transformation every weekend, was surrounded by other passionate Christians, had camaraderie, and felt he was part of something important. His ministry made him feel he mattered. When he left it, he felt directionless. 

My Journey 

When I read that, I was transported to a time when I felt that way too. I was in a church of loving young adults. We had fun. We wanted to reach out to others and began a church transplant. I was a church greeter, and the formerly shy me blossomed. I loved being a representative of the church. When the leadership embraced my ideas, I felt I mattered. And then the church split. We dispersed, and for years my spouse and I felt directionless. 

On another note, after graduating college, I was an administrative assistant. My college mentor inspired a vision of what I hoped to accomplish. I went through many positions working for top professionals that included an executive director and bishop of a church headquarters, a company owner, and a corporate vice-president. I achieved my dream of working in a tower with glassed-in offices for top executives. 

Then, I left the workforce to be a fulltime mom. Being a mom was another dream, but it wasn't the same.  I didn't feel I was involved with anything that important. There were lots of other kids in the band, kids who took dance lessons, and kids who won awards. There were tons of other women doing what I was doing. I didn't feel I mattered. I wasn't with passionate people. I had no camaraderie. Even as I took on work from home, I felt alone and hidden away most of the time. 

As a young teen and twenty-something woman, I was a runner and fitness instructor. I had a great figure. It was hard to shop for clothes because everything would fit and look great on me, but I couldn't afford to buy them all. 

When I met with a post-childbirth figure, thyroid issues that led to weight gain, fatigue and more weight gain, my focus became a never-winning battle against obesity. 

No longer did I feel beautiful. I could no longer run as I used to. Then I came down with re-occurring knee injury issues and even trail walking came to a halt. 

The Common Hunt 

And so through life, my husband and I treaded water knowing we likely would never find that kind of church experience ever again. 

I treaded water as a mom, trying to enjoy life while knowing I may never feel as I did when I was a young working woman. I constantly searched the job ads for something that would give me that fulfillment I once experienced. 

Chronic restlessness and hunting for those good-time feelings drove me to into discontent. 

The Problem with Discontent 

Many women are on that hunt for fulfillment. It can be detrimental to our emotional and physical health though. It robs us of peace and joy. Living in constant discontent isn't good for any of us. 

So there comes a time to realize that parts of life that were great were for a season and to accept the idea that seasons end. 

It's funny how in the midst of a wonderful season, we think life will be like that all the time. We balk at anyone who says otherwise. Even when we walk away from something like a job, church, or business, we assume we will find something just as wonderful or better. And when we don't, life can feel bleak. 

What to Do

I don't have a one-size fits all answer but will say it's helpful to accept that there is a time and season to everything. There is a time to accept and to learn to live in contentment. There is a time to ask, seek, and knock, and a time to simply wait on God's next announcement for you.

There are times of great activity, and times of rest and recovery. 

There are times to hold the baton, and times to pass it to another. 

How about you? Has your life gone this way too? Does it help you to know that we all go through barren seasons? 

Does it help you to know it's okay if you don't have a clear sense of direction sometimes?  

Before I wrap this up, I want to challenge you to consider what exciting moments in your life are you still trying to replicate? What haven't you fully let go of? Do you need to? Is there a way to cherish it without having to continually grieve it? 

Is it time to accept a season is over? Is it time to wait on the Lord for his next invitation rather than try to push hard to make something happen?

Ponder and meditate on these thoughts. Feel free to comment below. 





Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Add a Few Role Models to Your Life


Do you have role models in your life? Do you have go-to people who bring you out of a pit or keep you motivated?

Every now and then you meet someone who inspires you.  It may be their smile, their friendly personality, their concerning demeanor, their thoughtfulness, their spiritual faith, and so on.

Role models can be picked up through books too. It's amazing how certain authors have impacted my life personally. I like to follow them on social media to stay inspired. I like to buy more of their books as they come out. 

We are always drawn to others who have something we'd like to emulate or who impact us in positive ways.

Social networking and the Internet are great ways to pick up mentors or role models that can come right into your home virtually at any time. 

It's good to keep a few good models in your relationship satchel, even if you only admire them from afar or through the pages of a book or their blog posts.  When we get side-tracked they will inspire you.  When you are lost, visiting them in person or virtually will help you feel "found" again.

Who do you have on your list?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Buttons We all Have


I wrote here about anger issues I recently needed to deal with. Theories on unravelling anger issues has been something I've been paying attention to lately.  

When Our Button Gets Pressed

A couple of speakers I listened to not so long ago pointed out that sometimes anger results when a button inside ourselves is pressed. This button may have nothing to do with the person who made us angry. They may not know anything about our button. The result is an over-reaction on our part. And if we're not careful, we might lash out at them, at others, or show a side of us we may wish we hadn't.

Say, for instance, I'm sensitive about my weight and you make a weigh-related comment to me. What you say may be true. It may be about you or something you've learned. But as you say it, my weight-sensitive button gets pressed. I feel you're directing your comment at me. I end up angered and hurt.

That's merely one example of a multitude of examples I could give. 

The point is, it is more constructive to recognize our button and to take ownership of it. We need to address our relationship to the button. We need to pass the test of filtering the issue. We need to learn how to not let what's been said take us down. 

When you feel your button has been pressed, take that as a sign God himself is allowing you to be tested. Ask him to help you and ask yourself what you need to deal with. 




Monday, March 12, 2018

Going Through Transition

I've spent a full year helping my 93 yr old mother-in-law downsize, declutter, pack, sort, and shop. I've stored her items and moved other things. I've been her advocate while also seeking to lift her spirits with visits while in 2 hospitals, a rehab center and a long-term care home. Of course, her sons and their wives helped, but since I live the closest, it became my project. 

She passed away a week ago and her funeral was yesterday. 

As the dust settles, I know I'm out of a job. It's over. 

I sense a time to switch gears--to focus on my own family, home and career. Thoughts flood my mind about what I might do next.



I realize to jump ahead too quickly, though, would restrict myself and the greater good God has planned. I like how he surprised me with this recent assignment.

I backed away from some paid writing to be free to do this.

I couldn't know how long this phase would last. I needed wisdom to navigate it.

Helping her and mingling with professionals and other elders allowed me to experience a new sense of ministry.  

Ministry

I learned that ministry means helping others as Jesus might. As I gave her a cup of cold water the day before she passed, I sensed I was being Jesus to her. And that felt fulfilling in an odd way. 

I now wonder if I should change career direction and become a caregiver of some sort. 

Moods 

When going through a phase as I just did, including the days between her passing and funeral, strange moods arose--in myself, my husband, and those around us. We said things we shouldn't have said. Our tongues got looser. We gave ourselves permission to swear. Our minds were fuzzy and confused. We lost track of time. 

Fortunately, God gave me grace to get through this long year of transition and the funeral.



Side Effects

But while I sense it's now time to move on, I also know I need a pause. Though I've been pacing myself, in many ways I've been overtaxed. I need to unwind and decompress. I need to get back into my rhythm of hearing from God. I need to discern what to let go of and what to allow. I need to re tame my tongue, thoughts, and moods. 

Do you ever feel that way? How do you do that?





What Now?

I know I need to decompress. I need to let go of all the pent up frustration not just from recent events, but from years of being daughter-in-law. 

I need to creatively unravel my feelings. 

I need to find healthy ways to let some things go. 

I need to get rid of the martyr syndrome I'm being tempted to fall prey to since a couple of insulting things happened that made me feel unappreciated. 

I need to let my adrenals, mind, and routine shift back into balance. 

I need to set boundaries. I may put up a sign that says, "I'm Done!" 

I may say no to the garage sale idea for disbursing her stuff.

I may stop helping and let her sons take care of the rest. 

I need to find my centre. 

I need to feel balanced.

I need to rid my mind of resentment.

I need cleansing from being around toxic people.

I need God's peace.

As I address all this, I will trust God to reveal my next assignment at the right time.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

More on Completing Assignments


Since posting about completing your assignments, a reader has shared that she is looking back at last year's calendar and reading through last year's journal to analyze what God was saying to her then. I suppose she wants to complete all the assignments God has given her that aren't obvious. 

Tucked away in the pages of a journal may be treasures. Little hints of things God has in mind for her. 

Do you keep a journal and calendar system? If so, a review can be enlightening. You may see your wild ideas and have a better sense now whether they are for today, another time, or to be scratched off the list completely.

If you are in a PAUSE where there seems to be no forward movement, look at what else you need to finish. 

Right now, before moving onto new things, I'm finishing a season of helping my mother-in-law pass from this life to the next. I'm growing weary, but death and frustration have no time schedule. I must finish this taxing assignment before adding to my daily routine.

How about you?