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?