Monday, May 28, 2007

Ready. Set. GO!

As I reflect on what has happened in my spiritual life over the past 7 months, I'm experiencing a range of emotions....shock, sadness, guilt, embarrassment, relief, encouragement, and fear. I've felt so distant from God since November. That's when it all started going downhill. I hit a low in February, when I realized I didn't want to be in my job anymore, and was at the bottom of the pit just over a month ago. I'm talking serious depression because I didn't get a job that I had placed so much hope in. Thankfully, and this is where the relief is coming from, I'm making my way back to solid ground.

Why have I felt so distant from God? Did He leave me? No...He never leaves me. I have become quite good at building a wall between He and I, especially when things aren't going my way. (I feel like such a brat even typing that, but it's good to be able to admit it!) I could hear Him whispering to me, but it became muted due to the wall I was building.

The wall started coming down when things were looking up. I found a job that I was very interested in, had two interviews and was positive they were going to offer it to me. I was reading my Bible again and praying more. I even heard His whispers during that time, a little louder because I started taking the wall down.

Then came the realization I wasn't being offered the job, followed by the letter stating I wasn't being offered the job. I have not been that upset in many, many years. I cried for two days. I went in to work on the third day and my boss told me to take it easy and go home as he could tell I wasn't doing as well as I was letting on. More tears. I pulled the bricks out and started building the wall again.

Since then, I've really been ignoring God. I refuse to spend time with Him. I'm not real interested in talking to Him. I don't want to hear what He has to say to me. His voice, however, was loud enough to make the wall fall. It's the same thing I've heard Him saying the past times. "TRUST ME! Just trust me."

My current prayer is if God has me in my current workplace for a reason, to let me be there 100%. I'm always one to be fully committed to what I'm working on and with the possibility of my leaving being a factor, it's been very hard for me to fully be present in my job. I've had some hurt feelings over the past few months, mostly from my supervisor, and hope to reconcile these this week. He's always been one to be open to hearing me and working with me. He's moving soon and I'm hoping these things can be addressed before he leaves the office, yet remains my supervisor.

So, here I am...committing that I am ready to trust God, 100%. This has been something I've said in the past, numerous times, in fact, yet I'm really hoping I mean it this time. I feel like I do, but my record has been to avoid areas when the going gets tough. I figure if I avoid it, it's really not there, right?

Here's to trusting God. I have no idea how things are going to work and am ready to make sacrifices, but I'm looking forward to the journey with Christ!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Vacation!

"Vacation
All I ever wanted
Vacation
Had to get away
Vacation
Meant to be spent alone"
Words of wisdom from The Go-Gos

I'm so excited that I'm on vacation this week. Sad that my original plans of heading back to Oklahoma for a week and a half of fun fell through, but I'm pumped about having a week off. It's definitely much needed time off as the past few months have been super emotional.

I've started the week off right by being out of bed by 7am this morning. No, I didn't set my alarm. I'm just a natural early bird. That just means I get more out of my day, right?

This past weekend actually started off my vacation. I took off early from work on Friday and hung out with a friend that evening. Then Saturday, I was up early (ok...9am this time) and went down to the local farmer's market, then did some shopping and sat outside next to the lake with my lunch and a book. It was BEAUTIFUL, as you can see in the picture to the left! Sunday morning started with church (what a great way to start the day!) and then proceeded to be the best day as I got to take a nap in the afternoon. I caught the Bulls/Pistons game (I'm calling that the Bulls will come back and win the series!) and caught up on some emails.

What's on my scheudle for this week:

  • Spring cleaning, which is much needed at this point...

  • Washing and cleaning the car

  • Reading books that are stacking up on my bookshelf. I doubt I'll make it through many of them, but it's a goal, right?

  • Purging items I don't need anymore, like clothes that don't fit anymore (because they're too big, I'm happy to report!)

  • Staying away from my work email as much as possible. I'm such a workaholic that I really hope I can break the habit this week of obsessively checking my email.



Any suggestions on other things I should do this week? I'm open to suggestions...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Messy

I read the following article on the Relevant Magazine website the other day. After reading it, I was scared. I could've written the article as it completely describes me, especially lately with everything that has been going on. I'm reposting it here, so I can refer back to it later. Oh...and I've added my own comments in italics.

Messy by Rebecca Mayer
I am a complete mess.

That is how I’ve felt lately. I don’t think anyone else thinks so, which in some ways is maybe what is so tragic about it.

I have a friend who doesn’t hide it from anyone that she's got issues. It seems like every time I talk to her I feel like I’ve been puked on. She tells me the trashier details of her life. She tells me about the guy who she went home with last weekend after a night of clubbing. She calls me frantically when she is afraid that she is pregnant or contracted an STD. She complains about the squishy part of her hips that never disappears despite her obsession with aerobics. She asks me if she should consider liposuction. She shows me her latest round of credit card purchases from Nordstrom’s, and then tells me she’s considering filing for bankruptcy.

I look like a porcelain doll compared to her. But, the porcelain is beginning to crack … I've been cracking for a while and have just recently tried applying superglue to fix it up...

Lately, life has been overwhelming and incomprehensible, and it scares me. I’m afraid to even have a plan or a dream because I’m afraid of being wrong. I’ve been wrong so much lately it seems. I don’t know as much about what I want as I think. Ding, ding, ding. This is me!

My compassion occasionally grants people the right to walk all over me. My ambition sometimes chokes my relationships, because I forget to slow down and really see people. My goal of excellence pushes me too far, and before I know it I’m expecting perfection from others and myself. My optimism causes me to be hurt by life’s disappointments and failures. My feisty character sometimes causes me to say or do things I regret later. My thirst for knowledge often turns to arrogance. My desire to be known sometimes causes me to act self-important. My self-consciousness prompts me to hide. My independent spirit sometimes alienates people when I actually really need them.

It seems like lately I’ve been erring on the wrong side of my personality, like life is all leaning in one direction, like gravity is pulling me downward when I’d really like to learn how to fly. I’m discovering more and more flaws, more and more things I need to work through.

And I cry out to God to heal me, to give me wisdom in the complexities of life, to grant me the courage and humility to apologize, to allow me to see myself truthfully. Yet, I’m still wrong sometimes. I hurt other people. I hurt myself. I hurt God. I've actually had the guts to appologize to a few friends for things God has brought to my attention. What a freeing feeling to be able to do this.

It’s never made sense to me that God would guide me to be wrong. So, I’m surprised at how often I muddle up the things I feel very strongly that God has led me to do. But, at the same time, I don’t regret any fumbled steps. I know God was there with me for each stagger. Maybe it’s possible for God to guide us to do things even though He knows we’re going to flounder and blunder our way through it. Maybe that’s what God’s grace looks like—it fills the gap between our bumpy, messy lives and His glory.

My faults, my failures, my fumbles and my messes … That is where the glory of God comes in and illuminates, not for the sake of my knowing or understanding life, but for my seeing the greatness of God. AMEN and PRAISE THE LORD!!

Maybe my mistake is in thinking I have to look like porcelain in order for God’s glory to be evident. Maybe I actually have to allow myself to be seen as the mess I really am. Because in my weaknesses, in the cracks in the porcelain, others may see the power and goodness of God.

I doubt I’ll ever think it wise to spill the messy details of my life into just anyone’s lap like my friend does. But, do I spare people the details just to maintain a fa├žade?

I let only a select few into the mess, and I’ve realized that sometimes I shut out the very ones I want in just because I’m afraid that their own lives which look so neat on the surface would be soiled by mine.

And the friends I admire the most are the ones who have allowed me to see their flaws. It is their transparency and their struggle with the mess that I respect. They don’t deny it, but they don’t excuse it either. They fight to be sure that God’s glory can shine even brighter in their lives.

Like me, they would probably claim to have messy lives. But, I don’t see that. I see God’s goodness, His power, His mercy.

May we all give God room to get the glory in our broken, messy lives.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My heart breaks

I found out today that a friend of mine has been struggling with some major things in his life. Probably doesn't sound like that big a deal, right? Add to that the fact that he is a major leader in a church, was unfaithful to his wife and because of his problem, he has resigned from his position. Now is it a big deal?

My heart breaks to think of the pain and hurt this is causing; not only for him and his wife, but also for others. The people who were deceived by his secret. The people who hired him in to his position at the church. The church has handled this quickly, and in my honest opinion, as best as they could. They sent letters to the members of the church alerting them of the situation. One letter was from the Senior Pastor and the other letter was from my friend. You can truly understand the hurt, pain, embarassment and shame when reading both letters.

The pastor will be addressing the situation after each service on Sunday. My church has a large congregation...a lot of people who come, but aren't really involved and don't know the leaders of the church on a more personal level. One of my prayers through this whole situation is for those that don't really know my friend. His dirty little secret is about to be exposed to hundreds and hundreds of people who have no idea how good of a guy he really is. I pray that they can accept him in love instead of through judgement. I'm guilty of looking at others and wondering who they think they are and how bad they are. For instance, O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson. Actually, I think they both need help, but still judge them for things I don't know as fact. Do you see my point here?

A little more insight for you in order to express my next thought...the situation deals with pornography. This is such a taboo topic in the Church (notice the big C), yet is very common. Why is this not being addressed? I really pray that my church will recognize the need for a program or help or something for this problem. I'm being very careful not to narrow it down to just men who struggle with this, because I know this problem is larger then gender lines.

I'm extremely glad to hear his wife is standing by him through this. As a child of divorce due to an affair, I've seen the hurt that comes from it. Even though my parents divorced almost 24 years ago, my mom still hurts because of it. She has never fully healed. I hope that my friend's wife will be able to heal from the hurt of this situation. I also pray that the church will have resources available for spouses of those who have the same problem. Notice again I'm not limiting this to the wives as I'm sure there are husbands who are hurt from their wives struggles.

My heart breaks. Not only for my friend, his wife, and this situation, but also for the sin in my own life. More about that in the next post...