Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Sure Thing

Breaking out the guitar after almost a year of not playing is hard on the fingertips. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, in the midst of all this confusion, and decision-making and general unsettled-ness, I am sure of a few things. One, that I have the most amazing, supportive, friends in the world. Two, ditto for my family. I am so thankful for them and I hope I never take them for granted. And three, that in all of this, God is there. He is listening, and counting every tear, and he is guiding me through the craziness of this life.

In my younger, more devoted years I would memorize scripture, and that dedication has paid off in my older years because it's those verses that strengthen me, the comfort me, and that remind me where to turn to. As I was talking to God today, I ended my ramblings with this verse, a verse that I normally end my prayers with, but it just really stuck out to me:

"Show me your ways, and teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth, and teach me. For you are God my savior, and my hope is in you all day long."  Psalm 25:4-5

I realize that his ways, and his paths are not necessarily what I might choose, or even see at this moment. And I know that that is scary. It's scary for me. It bothers me that I don't know where I might go next, and that I might have to give up all that I've worked for and spent my life doing. It makes me anxious to think that the plans that I have for myself are not as great as I thought they were, and in reality, are not the plans he has for me. But, but, but, he is God. And not just God, he is my savior. He is the one who never lets me be consumed, who has provided for me and pulled me from my darkest moments. So what else can I do, where else can I turn? My hope is in him.

I have some cards in my hand that I'm not quite sure are going to win the pot. They could, but I don't know. The cards he has in his hand, are a sure thing. I know it. So I'm folding my hand, and putting all of my chips in his stack. I'm betting on God. I'm betting on faith. My hope is in Him.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Searching For God Knows What

It's days like these, dreary, rainy, cool (er) Seattle days that make me want to write. I'm pretty sure it's not the weather.  Let's be honest. I'm still in that slump that I was talking about. Oh yes, I'm making an effort, and I'm happy that I have, but I'm just wondering, what do I want? I've come to a point where I have no idea where I want to go or who I want to be, or what even my purpose is in life. I'm feel like I'm at this crossroads and all I want to do is close my eyes and just point. I don't want the responsibility of choosing.

Do I want to stay in Seattle or move to Hawaii? I have built a wonderful, beautiful life here. I have wonderful friends, a job that pays with benefits, an apartment that I adore, a church that helps me to grow, and a social life that is only lacking when I want it to be. I have opportunities to do so much, and I see so many fun things on the horizon. But to be honest, I feel, stuck. I feel lonely, and I feel restless. I feel like I have all these things but that I was made for something more.

My whole life I have been dutiful. I got good grades, I graduated from high school AND college in 3 years, I landed a full time job that I've worked at for 5 mostly wonderful years, I have my own apartment, I work as a manager, I've had boyfriends, the whole nine yards. I've been responsible. I've achieved so much. I've worked hard, been loyal and diligent, and I have reaped the rewards. So why does it feel so meaningless and empty? What else could I want or desire?

Here's what I do know. I want to work with people. I want to help them, and I want to serve them, and I want them to know that they are cared for. I want to feed people. I want fill their bellies with food, and fill their hearts with confidence and love and self worth. I want to welcome people. I want to have them in my home, and I want my home to feel like their home. I want what's mine to be theirs, and I want to live openly and generously. I want to share life with others. I want to share my life, and I want others to have a happy and content life.

This post, is so mixed up, and so fuzzy. I'm struggling with so many thoughts and doubts and wishes and prayers and hopes and dreams and sometimes, many times, I just feel exhausted. I feel lonely. I feel scared. I feel hopeful. I feel full of life, and energetic. But mostly, I feel a burning desire for something bigger than I am, and more wonderful than I can dream. I don't know if it's in Seattle, Hawaii, or wherever. What I do know is that I want it, I need it, and I'm going after it. Even if it makes no sense. Even if it seems foolish. Even if it doesn't follow all of the rules. I'm going after life. A full life, a life that I can share freely and openly with others.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

End Of Summer Slump

There's always a point in my happy go lucky life when I decide to focus on everything I DON'T have. This results in me sulking and contemplating how I can change everything and basically wasting time being bummed out. I'm struggling with the whole 10k training, which is bumming me out. I'm missing my bff who's unavailable because of health reasons, and I feel loathe to make an effort to do or see anyone. Then I feel guilty about it :)

I can't change everything with a snap of my fingers. What I can do is focus on what I do have. I have friends who love me and want to hang out with me. I need to call them, and make an effort instead of declining invitations and being antisocial. I have people who want to be friends who repeatedly contact me to hang out. I need to return those calls and let some new people in my life. I have food in my fridge. I need to cook it (which I did make collard greens and fajitas today). I have cleaning that needs to get done (dishes...check!). I have a bike, I can definitely take it out for a nice ride. I have greenlake right next to me and people who want to run with me.I have community groups and game groups that I am a part of--I need to go, and I need to make an effort.

I want and NEED to get out of this summer slump. I think fasting is going to be a really good idea for the upcoming weeks :)


I listened to a teaching from Richard the other day about fasting, and why we fast. He said that consumerism has taught us to live by our appetites, but that this is a false kind of satisfaction. We need to control our appetites, not because they're bad, but because if we let them get out of control, they control us. It's an act of moving into freedom.

He made some really good points. One, that fasting is normal. It's something that's expected of us. In order to fast, we need to recognize where our appetites go first. Where do we go for comfort? Do we go straight to food, the internet, naps, sex, shopping? That's where we need to go first. I love that he says that our appetites aren't wrong, and that they're a gift from God. The point is not to destroy them, it's to let our spirit be in control rather than our bodies.

His next point was that when we fast, it's not just about "not putting on a gloomy face," it's about celebration. We fast with the intent of being a blessing to someone else. He said that when we fast, and quiet our hearts, God gives us agendas--ways to bless others--and that life becomes so full that we don't have time to focus and obsess over what we're NOT getting.

Lastly, that we can't serve our appetites and God at the same time. When we're led by our appetites, our hearts become hard, and he can't see the goodness and provision that is given to us. We always want more, and our appetite is never satiated. God calls us to this "upside down kingdom," this life of living generously with our time, energy, and possessions. Fasting, and other practices of discipline helps our focus to be clarified, and it helps us to see what God is doing and the fullness of life he is giving us.

I thought at first of shopping when I thought of fasting, but right now, with my new budget and the ways that God is changing my mind with money, it doesn't seem like something that I go to for comfort. I think right now, media is the one thing that I really need to take a break from. I need a break from facebook, from reading blogs, from watching TV on DVD while cruising the internet, from games that the kiddos get me addicted to, from craigslist and my eternal job search....I just need a break. I need to break away and engage other senses, as well as people.

So, after work, I give myself 1.5 hours a day to watch a T.V. show, or cruise the internet, or play games, or do whatever it is I do wasting my time on the internet :) 1.5 hours actually seems like SUCH a long time, but I know that some days I come home and just lay down on the couch and veg. And I want so much more than that. I need so much more than that. I don't think that includes workout videos--I'm actually doing something active and beneficial when I do those, but everything else is limited to 1.5 hours for the rest of August. Let's see what God can do eh?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cash Flow...

So this whole tithe thing is freaking me out a little bit. It's like I'm finding money everywhere in my apartment. I sold that phone, I just sold a nintendo ds lite that I got for free for $60, and I just got together a bunch of books and textbooks that I haven't touched in years (or know I won't read again) and sold them for $150. Well, I've tentatively sold them for $150. I'll have to see if they're all accepted. Good news is that shipping is free :) That's over $300 in the past 24 hours or so. Craziness. God is good.