Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Most Wonderful Day of the Year

This is my favorite time of the year. I love Christmas with all the pretty decorations and the opportunities to see the smiles of friends and family members. I love giving gifts and blessing others. But, very soon, it will be my absolutest, most favorite, bestest day of the year. January 1st.

It has been said, in this blog and in many offices and households which I frequent, that I am a perfectionist. I will grant you that this is not always a compliment, but overall, for better or worse, I have to own it. And there is something about January 1st that makes the perfectionist in me giddy (is that spelled right? Anyway...).

I spent today doing end of the year stuff in my office. I filed some finished projects, printed the end of the year budget report, created some new files for next year, and basically got my office cleaned up in readiness for the new year. It is my hope to do something similar tonight and tomorrow to my house...and my car. It's time to start anew.

I even gave this blog a new look!

2011 will also be the beginning of a new project for me. Becky Higgins' Project Life. Project life is basically a scrapbooker's dream and an OCD, photo-a-holic's nightmare. The goal is to take a picture a day documenting your every day life. You then use a very cool, color coordinated album kit to organize your photos with appropriate journaling tags, dividers, and so forth. By the end of the year, you have a (rather large) completed scrapbook of things that are important to you that you probably wouldn't have taken the time to scrapbook if it weren't for the project. I can't wait to see how it turns out. And, I can't wait to get together on a regular basis with several friends who are also doing Project Life.

I know that once 2011 has started, things will pretty much be the same as they are now, but there is something about the first day of a new year that reminds me that things can change. I don't think I am alone in that either. If I were, there wouldn't be millions of resolutions made on the first that probably will not make it until thirty-first.

So, in keeping with the spirit of the awesomest, bestest day in the whole wide world, here is my list of resolutions for the new year. :)

  1. I will complete my Project Life album.
  2. I will not freak out the first time I realize I forgot to take a Project Life picture on a given day.
  3. On a similar note, I will not get out of bed for the sole purpose of taking a picture so that I do not miss a day of Project Life.
  4. I will read at least two books a month.
  5. I will actively participate in the Scripture Memory Challenge with the women's ministry at my church.
  6. I will keep my car cleaned out enough that I can drive my friends to lunch on any given day without embarrassment.
  7. I will finish my Serbia scrapbook.
  8. I will finish the journaling and get my box of partially completed pages in a scrapbook.
  9. I will get my children's scrapbooks caught up to their current year of school.
  10. I will endeavor to schedule at least 12 family/couples/friends get-togethers - just for fun.
and on a more traditional note:

11. I will work toward having a more consistent, focused quiet time.
12. I will lose weight. (Goal is set, but will not be disclosed on this blog until it has been achieved.)

So there you have it. These 12 goals, along with continuing to work through personal issues while maintaining a positive attitude and strengthening my faith, and dozen or so other home and work related resolutions are the hot spots for 2011.

Even as I write this, a scripture verse is running through my mind...

In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9 NIV

There were many things in 2010 that did not go according to my plan, and there were many resolutions broken, but I also know that I would not change where God has taken me throughout this year. I am most excited to see where He will lead me in 2011. I hope that you will walk with me on that journey. :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Ah-Ha Moment

I don't know what else to call it. Something just clicked.

If you have been a reader of this blog for long, you know two things about me. I love my job and working for my boss (that's one - it's compound), and I battle insecurity (that's two). The first one I don't want to change. The second one, I didn't know how to change.

If you haven't read my last post, you might want to stop here and catch up. I'll wait...

You know God's timing has always amazed me, but this week, He has blown me away. I knew when I heard Sunday's message that God was trying to get my attention again. I had grown so much in such a short time in Serbia, and I had done a pretty good job of living in that new reality. But Sunday, I knew that God was ready to take me to the next level if I was willing to let Him.

I scheduled a meeting to talk with Eric on Monday. (Having a pastor as a boss can have it's benefits. :) ) I shared with Him my struggles with my shiny bricks and that I really didn't know how to move past them. He told me that he had sensed that there was something holding me back, but he had never known what it was. That took me a little off guard. I had thought I had done a pretty good job of hiding those pesky bricks. He called it a speed bump, and as I started to share a little bit more about my past, I hit that speed bump like a shiny brick wall (Kinda ironic, isn't it?)

I pressed through it, though, and as Eric and I talked, he reminded me that God has been with me through it all. God saw the good and the bad. He felt the hurt. He has worked through those situations to make me who I am today.

I did a lot of processing yesterday, and last night God and I had a long, tearful chat.

I realized through my conversations with Eric, with Amanda, with God, and through my reading that much of my fear is based in past hurts - those stupid shiny bricks. I am afraid that if I let someone get too close, they will abandon me. I associate relationship with risk. I long to be protected, but in most instances, the people whom I trusted for that protection were the very people that hurt me in the end.

But then I read a quote from Beth Moore in her book So Long Insecurity, You've Been a Bad Friend to Me:

Believe that He loves you and has you covered
and takes every one of your hits
as if they were aimed at His own skin.

God isn't like my earthly father who left after the divorce and chose not to be a part of my life. God isn't like the broken relationship from my freshman year of college. God isn't like the fiancée who chose to end the relationship rather than stand up to his mom. God has felt everyone of those hurts. He has been, and will always be on my side. Will I screw up? Absolutely, but He will still be looking out for me. He always has.

I believe that God has also shown me that some things that I have taken as symptoms of my insecurity are really just a part of who I am. I don't like to disappoint, and that is okay as long as I don't see my value in my successes. I don't like to be the center of attention, which is okay as long as I am not using the shadows to hide. I can be who I am without guilt. It's an exciting concept.

I am trusting that today has been a turning point for me. I believe that God has indeed taken me to that next step, and I hope that I have finally been able to scale that speed bump. I know that I have been able to let go of that bag of shiny bricks, and I am praying that I will have the courage to leave them in God's hands where they belong.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More than I can carry...

I have been mulling this post around in my head most of today. Well, not actually the post, but the thoughts, and I say most of the day because I took a rather lengthy, albeit unexpected, nap this afternoon.

I know that I have written before that I am blessed to work at my church, but have I ever told you how blessed I am to call Pathway my church home. It's not a perfect church, but I believe the leadership has a true heart for being obedient in their own personal walks with Christ and that ebbs over into the ministry. It's a great church.

One of the problems with being on staff at a church is that sometimes you can get caught up in the day to day functions as a staff and get a little, for lack of a better word, casual about the worship service. It's not that you don't attend, you can just get a little "distracted." Confession is good for the soul, right? :)

I have to admit that today was one of those days for me. Our senior pastor is doing a series on forgiveness. Last week I ended up missing most of the service because I wasn't feeling well, so this week, I was noticing all the decorations in the sanctuary, thinking that I should tell our worship arts what a great job they did. I was busy looking up the scripture passages on the new Bible I had downloaded to my NookColor which I am still learning to use, and in all honesty, I was only partially listening to what was actually being taught. And then he said it...

..."and we end up trying to carry more than we can carry"...

Those words, along with his visual of carrying bricks covered in shiny wrapping paper, struck a chord and reigned me in. From then on, he had my full attention.

I realized that is exactly what I have been doing. I have hidden each and every hurt that I have faced in pretty, shiny wrapping paper and carried it with me rather than dealing with it and leaving it at the foot of the cross where it belongs. I realized too, that I can't do it anymore. The weight that I have been carrying is more than I can carry.

I have to admit that I am not exactly sure what the next step is - and no, it's not because I wasn't paying attention. :) I am sure that there is forgiveness involved, but I don't know how to go about forgiving when the person I need to forgive is me. I just know that the weight of all those shiny little packages is overwhelming. I can't carry it any more.

The opening question for today's message was "What gift are you going to give yourself this Christmas?" I think it's time I gave myself a chance.

Several weeks ago I made the decision to lose some weight, but today, I realized that physical weight is only part of the problem. I need to figure out how to drop all those extra shiny pounds in a place where I will not be tempted to pick them up again. I need to live in the forgiveness that Jesus paid for through His death on the cross. I need to be free.

Today was one of many days when it feels as if my senior pastor preached a message just for me, and I am thankful for his obedience to speak from what God puts on his heart. God knew just what I needed to hear. He did his part through Ron. Now it is up to me to do my part. Whatever it takes.