Sunday, April 29, 2012

Not Job (long O)

I've taken a bit of a writing hiatus.

The reason is simple and complicated all at the same time.  I realized that who I am "here" and what I'm going through "out there" are not in sync.  

When people tell me I seem peaceful or like I have it together I feel... like a big, fat liar.  I also found out that sometimes it even intimidated people...until we had a conversation and they saw me in scary, living technicolor hot mess.  (Then we were cool.)

  Often I write to work through things, which makes it seem all methodical and peaceful and clean..which is what I am doing now except...Life, my friends, is often very messy, especially when lived fully and with risks and mistakes.

When I started this blog I had this "pie in the sky" idea that I would someday get a book contract and maybe even get to speak from a Christian perspective.  The reality is, the real me probably wouldn't fit in so well with what I perceive to be what they are looking for.

I know that if I filled my life with only things deemed pleasing to God, I would be better off and I know in my head that God loves me flaws and poor choices and all.  (That's grace.)  My heart is not on the same "God loves me" page.  Ironic because I spend a lot of time telling other people something that my heart cannot believe for me.  

It really hit home for me last night as I was saying The Lord's Prayer with my kids...and my words felt stuck in my throat and I felt like my stomach was full of rocks...

You see, life has been kind of rough all the way around for years..and sometimes I feel like, "Why even bother?"  We've spent a lot of time and energy trying to follow Gods will and I'm kind of in a "What the hell?"  mood.  Nothing I do seems to make a difference.

I come from a tradition that espouses, "Saved by grace through faith and not by works of the law."  so I do not necessarily believe my actions result in salvation, but sometimes, it would be nice if my actions would result in a little good news in the "here and now" not only in an "end time" which I cannot even begin to imagine.

I understand and believe that faith is reflected in how we handle adversity. I am trying hard to see silver linings, but to be honest...the tarnish is getting to me.

I do not have the patience nor the faith of Job, it would seem.  I feel it's obvious I do not even have the faith of a mustard seed...I have the shaken and  fractured faith of a woman who doesn't ever have to wait long for the other shoe to drop...on her head, as the can of spaghettios falls on her bare foot.

This is me.  It's real.  My kids struggle and sometimes the only help I can offer is hugs and love them with everything I have (and it doesn't ever seem to be enough).  I like to listen to (sing along with and dance to) loud rock music with lyrics I wouldn't want my kids to sing along to (that's what ear buds and car rides by myself are I either sing along at the top of my lungs in the mom van or I'm dancing around the kitchen to music no one else can hear), I enjoy a cocktail, good books (good being relative), walking by the ocean (had to throw that in, hehe) and lots of other things.  I struggle with problems and questions.  My home is in a constant state of clutter. There's never enough time or money or peace.   I am imperfect and rarely truly "at peace".  I am seeking my true self instead of fulfilling the expectations of others and trying not to be selfish and hurt the ones I love in the process.  (Talk about a delicate balance...)

To steal a dear friend's phrase, "I'm seeking the balance between edgy and respectable."  I am certainly not Job (long O).

-Peace (in whatever measure you can find it.)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Roll Better Than a Flat Tire

Frequently I find myself saying, "Life is what happens when we're making other plans."

This morning I planned to go to the park for an early walk, then meet a friend for coffee. It is chilly so I even got proper clothing together.

As I left my driveway I saw an unfamiliar light gleaming on the dashboard but I thought I'd just deal with it later. (You're cringing and shaking your head, aren't you? That's what the Husband is going to do when he reads this.)

"What IS that noise?!" I searched for a place to turn around or over and as I pulled into a parking lot it clicked. Flat tire.

So here I sit, waiting to be rescued. The lug nuts are stuck so roadside assistance just arrived. Yahoo!

This was not part of my plan. The time spent getting the tire fixed or replaced and the money it will cost was not in the plan either. That is life. I can whine about it or roll with it.

---Spare on, Husband takes it to be fixed--

I will confess that "discussing" replacement options (how many tires to replace..because they're all shot?!) meant that the Husband attempted to discuss and I ranted about how it's never just what we bring it in for and yes, I was yelling and no, I may not have said, "Goodbye." when I hung up. (Sometimes my conversation skills are sorely lacking.)

But... You see my 'frayed-by-10:30-am' nerves are part of what happens when life happens and my plans don't. I get a little (or a lot) agitated, especially when it is about money I have not budgeted to spend. It was much easier to roll and not whine when I wasn't hearing, "4 new tires" on the same day I am taking 12 yo for new glasses and there are other expenses looming large on the horizon and...

Oh hello, God! I'm supposed to trust you and to have faith that You will provide... and where does that fit in with the tire scenario? Some will say that we should not expect such things of God and others will tell you that God has a way of providing. (FYI no surprise checks arrived in the mail today lol). I am going to tell you that I know it will work out in the end but right now I'm a little bit in knots trying to figure out how. I think it is safe to say that I trust God with the big salvation stuff but the little, big stuff...I feel like I am constantly panicking over and trying to figure out.

I have learned that NOTHING ever goes as I plan it. And when it plans are not all that splendid. Sooo...I need to learn to roll better than my flat tire. I need to just quote my old supervisor who used to say, "They can't kill you and eat you." (Obviously she was never in a land of cannibals.) I need to see the gifts of warm safe house, food to eat and basic health. I need to trust in God and see that it's better to roll with it than panic and whine or *ahem* yell at the messenger. (Yes, I am ashamed.)

I ask God to forgive me when I do not roll better than a flat tire. I also ask my family and friends to forgive me for that unpleasant trait, among the many others I possess which show my lack of faith, patience and character. Sigh.

I pray that I will learn to roll better. If you have some flat spots, I hope you can smooth them out and roll better, too.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Thanks, But...

So yesterday I woke up in the wee small hours of the morning feeling all anxious about things out of my control. (What is not out of my control, other than my responses?) All day, even as I acknowledged that handing it over to God was the thing to do, I worried and wondered and found new things to add to my pile of anxieties.

It was tiring. I think the only time I wasn't worried was when I was doing homework.

At some point it hit me that I am thankful for God's provision, for His hand working in my life and yet...I don't trust Him to follow through. I was still on guard and I was still trying to think through and plan for worst case scenarios. I wonder if next to the phrase, "What are we going to do if fill in the blank happens?" there is a picture of my 'deranged-with-anxiety' face.

I don't trust God? Really? Is that where I'm going?

You see, I offer Him my life, but then I want to be sure to micro manage as much as possible. I feel responsible for anticipating all the worst case scenarios, expecting them even. After all, anticipating them means I will have a plan, right? WRONG! All it means is that I have missed out on the joy of today worrying about possible sorrows of tomorrow, most of which never come to pass.

It also means I do not trust God to take care of me. I say He has my life. I say I am thankful for His provision and then I doubt His goodness. I say He is my portion and then my heart and mind and actions show how little I trust in Him.

I remember exactly where I was when this clicked in my head last night. I was turning the corner to walk up the stairs feeling the weight of so many things on my shoulders when I realized I was saying I trusted God, but never expecting Him to follow through.

That realization took my breath away. Am I all talk, no faith? I didn't think so. I mean I have faith. I believe He is enough and that He will provide. He always does. I just don't always walk the walk.

I worry everything to death. I over-analyze, prepare and plan. I want to do something, to have a hand in things and be in control.

In effect, whenever I recognize and am thankful for God's blessings in my life, it is my habit to say, "Thanks but, fill in the blank with whatever could go wrong."

What I should be doing, what I could be doing, is rejoicing in the blessings, living in the moment and letting God handle things. My worry is not going to change a single thing and will end up sucking up my joy and the joy of those around me.

Last night, I went to bed saying, "Thank You, Lord, for Your provision and blessings. You have provided me with enough and I am going to lean on You and trust in Your word." It is a tough habit to break, to not say, "Thank You, but..." .

Do you have times when you ask God for provision and then can't just be happy when He responds, but instead wait for the other shoe to drop? If you are faced with those worries and fears, check out Matthew 6: 25-31. Jesus says it better than I ever could.