Category: freedom

Journal: Changing a Life

I was sitting at the table cruising social media and this question hit me: how do you change a life without actually changing anything? What I mean is, when you are stuck, like super stuck in a funk and there really appears to be no way out, how do you change?

I’m a huge runner – but not the kind of runner in Nike’s – more of the mental and emotional type. When the going gets tough, all I want to do is figure out how to get going. Finances are rough, so I sit for hours trying to figure out how to make a job fit into my life right now. The house is overwhelming with projects, so I sit and stare at realtor.com and try to imagine moving. My children have too much crap, so I sit and peruse Waldorf, Charlotte Mason and other natural-crunchy-beautiful people blogs and dream of what my life could look like if we had less stuff.

But none of these things will ever change in that dramatic of a way. My pastor told me once that I keep wanting this really super big change to happen, but honestly what I need is just to rest in the little things. I wanted to yell at him (and actually it was via an email so in my head I sort of was) that I am tired of little rescues, I am tired of the bit by bit – I need something BIG to happen.

But it isn’t. going. to. happen.

No lottery is coming to my rescue. My house isn’t going to clean itself out without me. My children aren’t going to ever have less crap. None of these things is going to go zap! and change.

So what do you do? How do you change a life step by step when you are so crazy burned out of the steps. I mean honestly, if my life were a stair climbing machine I would have thighs bigger than a crossfit chick!

I guess you just keep going.

Day by day. And only day by day.

And I try to focus on what’s in front of me. And only what’s in front of me.

And of course my pastor is right – it is all the little things.

In the meantime I just have to take them each one by one (and maybe pretend I’m building the most amazing ice cream cone ever)

abandoning

Mondays are terrifically busy days for us. It’s a race from school to sitting in a crowded ballet studio to rushing home and trying to do a little homework, then dinner and then bedtime. It’s the day of the week that I feel like I’m standing on a lazy susan just spinning around and around and I don’t really stop until I hit the bed that night.

More often than not, I find myself with very little patience on Mondays. I try to spend at least 30 minutes before I start this little marathon in quiet. Trying to prep myself for the spinning that is about to start. And more often than not I find myself standing in the kitchen frustrated with the words I’ve screamed at my children, dinner boiling over on the stove and me thinking that this mothering thing just isn’t working out quite right.

But in the midst of all that what do I do? I do stand in the kitchen and want to give up. But what am I giving up too?  God calls us to abandon ourselves to Him. And that should evoke a sense of great freedom in us. Oddly though, I don’t want to give up control during those dizzy days. I hate the spinning, but to let go of it all means that I’m not in control of where I spin next. Letting go and abandoning my day, my moments, my mothering to those fighting children in the backseat and my wifeing to the husband that wearily walked in the back door, is what He has called me to. I can’t do all those things and I can’t spend my life condemning myself either.

In those moments when the world is running quickly past me are the times that I realize how much I’ve built my life like a box with God on the outside. Like the stuffing that protects a fragile item. I don’t really want Him to be in the box with me; I just want Him protecting me from the outside. The inside is never going to be quiet if I don’t let Him be in the box…be the center of that box. If I don’t break down the walls and step outside. Paul Miller in his book A Praying Life describes a life of prayer as a life that isn’t less busy, but a heart that is less busy. When the outer busyness bustles around us, we have an inner quiet. And when we have that inner quiet we are able to love greater.

We are no longer captive to the spinning that is going on around us. Will I still harp on my kids? Will I still jump on my husband with life concerns when he walks in the door? Will I still be terrified when the Lord continues to squeeze me in directions I don’t want to go?
Yes. But when I realize that all of these contribute to the greater story He is writing, I can rest in Him. I can go to Him. I can find my center in Him and break down the walls of the box I’m hiding in.

By this we know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before Him;
for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and He knows everything.
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whenever we ask we receive from Him because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment that we believe in the name of his son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in him and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. ~ 1 John 3: 19-24

fmf {after}

Five Minute Friday

Linking up with many others
Writing for five minutes without edits
One word
Today’s word is “after”

GO

I spend my life living too much with the word before and after.
Before is a place of memory. Sometimes beautiful and sometimes regretful.
The birth of each of my babies.
The frustration in my voice as the last words my baby hears before he walks into school.
Beauty and regret.

After is a place of the unknown.
Yet it is a place where I think I can grasp control.
Where I can change what might happen.
After is a place of fear and worry.
What ifs…

It’s the here and now; the present that is hardest to live.
To engage with the now.
To engage with the minutes before me.
How easy it is the sit with the before and try and control the after!
And it is the present where I can move and live and make choices.
It is engaging with what is in front of me that I can change the after.

But in the after there is also forgiveness and grace.
There is resurrection in the after.

There is Jesus.

STOP

lessons from Much-Afraid {a new name}

muchafraidbutton

I have to be honest that the end of Much-Afraid’s journey didn’t have as much of an impact on me as the process. When I came towards the end of her story, I was excited for her and glad to see her restoration but it didn’t resonate with me. Perhaps it is because I’m not quite there in my journey yet.

Much-Afraid climbs again and as she is climbing up this huge mountain all of her enemies run past her. They are screaming for her to turn back because of a great storm that is coming. Much-Afraid and her companions stay put and find themselves in a cave. The storm rages on and while in the cave she goes through her bag of stones. She remembers each place and each part of her will that was sacrificed as she goes through these stones. Her bag of gifts. Each stone represents a promise of the Shepherd.

The storms stops and the three of them pick up their climb and they reach a chasm. Much-Afraid realizes they must go into it and at the point she realizes this is the end of her journey. Every step of the way she has given more and more of herself; more of her human will and desires. At each point she thought that it was enough. But it isn’t enough. The Shepherd didn’t want just part of her will, he wanted all of it. She knows now that this place will be the place of her last offering…and the end of Much-Afraid.

She sees an alter and she tries with all her might to wrestle her will out of her. She can’t do it. She pulls and pulls and while it aches and pains her, she hasn’t the strength. A priest comes forward and offers to do it for her. He binds her to the alter and he pulls it all out of her himself. She has come into total abandonment and a death to herself.

She wakes up and sees a stream in front of her. As she climbs into the stream she begins to see that her feet that were all cobbled are not straight. She washes her face and it becomes soft and beautiful.

Then the Shepherd appears and her gives her a new name. Grace and Glory.
Her companions are given new names also. Joy and Peace.

There is much more to the end of the story, but this is where my part ends. I’m still processing through what this means for me and my walk with the Great Shepherd. He has given me a new name and he has restored me. Yet I keep looking for other ways to make myself perfect. I keep trying to find my own healing stream. But like Much-Afraid trying to wrestle her will out of herself, it can’t be done. I keep trying to rename myself.
And that’s the whole point of this story. We can’t do it ourselves. We can keep on trying to make the journey fit the way we think it should go, but in the end it won’t get us anywhere.
Faith isn’t blind. Faith is opening our eyes and trusting the path in front of us…no matter if it leads us into the desert, into the valley or up into the greatest peaks.

fmf {remember}

Five Minute Friday

Joining with many others in a practice I’ve sort of given up on. Today I write again for five minutes on a word prompted by the gypsy mama. Writing with grace, freedom and no edits.

GO

Funny that the day that I decided to join in on FMF the word is remember. I’ve been reading Hinds Feet on High Places and it seems that is the theme of the book.

Remember.

When the path seems to take you away from where you were headed…
When the way is unseen and shrouded in mist…
When it’s too much; the voices of the enemy whispering, the constant giving and going…
When the way is filled with sunshine and flowers and amazing beauty…

Remember where you have come from, what you have come through and who leads you by it.
Engage with life and cement that in your head.
Stop and be with those around you and be in.that.moment.
Forget the camera, forget the status updates, forget the potential blog post and just be there.
For the pictures are great, sharing with friends is so much fun and “giving” a taste to the world can be such a blessing too…but it’s that moment; the right here and the right now that really can stick in your mind. When you engage with the here and now, you don’t have to depend on the photo or the blog to help you remember. Because it’s there, because you were there.

STOP