Wednesday, January 26, 2011

For Reals

Today has been a most interesting day. I am not really sure how to classify it.

Bible study tonight was A-MAY-ZING. I am doing a Beth Moore Bible study on the book of Daniel. We are in the 2nd half of the study which deals with prophecy and end times, and I have learned SO much. I realize that Beth is giving us only one interpretation, but it makes so much sense. I find myself putting things together before she gets to her points at times. It is really exciting to see God's hand at work in such a precise way as Beth details the prophecies and their fulfillment.

Which is really pretty humorous considering the downside of my day. The best way I can describe it I totally allowed myself to go to a dark place which spiraled out of control in a split second. It is a place I never wanted to be again, and have been trying for over a week to avoid. I literally allowed myself to get so spun out that I made my stomach hurt, and when I left for Bible study I was having mild anxiety attack. In fact, I almost didn't go at all.

Will I ever be able to avoid this?! I am beyond tired of being this person. I thought I was past it. I really did. I realized, even as I was spinning out of control, that it was totally stupid. I have all the head knowledge in the world when it comes to who I am in Christ. Why can't I get it to my heart? Why does it have to be so hard? Why can't I just trust that who I am is okay? Why do I always have to feel like if I do something wrong, no one will like me, and I will lose the respect of those I care about?

I want to believe that God loves me and is proud of me, and that He feels my pain and is sad when I am sad and that I can make Him smile. I want to believe that in His eyes, I am a princess. But I can't seem to see me through His eyes. I can't get past the hurt in my past. I know that I can't go back and protect myself from the damage that has been done. What I don't know is how to live outside of the walls that I have created to protect myself. And I have tried.

Yes, today has been an interesting day. My security has been shaken yet again. I believe the God of the universe can orchestrate to the day the times and events of the past, present and future that impact all of humanity, but I can't seem to trust Him with MY past, present and future. It's beyond sad.

So, for tonight, I will trust that tomorrow is a new day. I will pray that those who were aware of my anxious thoughts today will be able to forgive me for letting those thoughts take control, and I will begin at square one. Or maybe, if I am lucky, square two. I will once again try to trust my head even when my heart doesn't feel it, and trust that my friends are still my friends. And once again lay my shattered heart at the foot of the cross - trusting that God will make it new - this time for reals.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Great Questions of Life

Have you ever taken time to ponder the questions of life? There are many. Who decided what the appropriate height and weight proportions are for the perfect body? What is the point of diet caffeine free Mt. Dew? Where did that lady at Bible study get those awesome boots? Why are there polar bears on a tropical island? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? On a more serious note, there are questions such as, what is the meaning of life? Why does God allow suffering? When will Christ return? What will Heaven be like?

There are a ton of questions that beg for answers, but the one that most often plagues me, and the point of this post is, "When will I ever learn?"

I almost entitled this post "too much of a good thing." I have seriously over committed myself - again - and it isn't just for a one week time frame. Many of my commitments are long term, or at least relatively long term. Let me give you a sampling of this past week. Last Wednesday I started the second half of my Beth Moore Bible study on Daniel. On Thursday, I packed my office and moved most of the boxes to the new office location. On Friday, we packed and moved all the furniture to the new office. On Saturday, I spent the entire day at work setting up my new area. Saturday night was Intro, a newcomer's opportunity at our church that our staff is encouraged to attend. Sunday was church. Monday I started a four-week photography class. Tuesday is our regular small group night. That brings us full circle to today, which was Bible study, and tomorrow my son has his first indoor soccer game, and Friday I am kicking off my Project Life album with a get together with friends. Wow. Even my fingers are tired.

Granted, the move was a one time thing (thankfully), and Intro is only periodic, but the Bible study, the small group, the photography class, and the soccer season are relatively long term. And, starting in a few weeks, Jay and I are planning to do a 13-week class on finance.

I would venture to say that all of these things are good things. We love our small group. This is my first ever Beth Moore Bible study. I am learning a lot and making new friends. The soon to be monthly scrapbooking events and the photography class are fun. And I love watching my kids participate in extra-curricular activities. But I will be honest, I am exhausted.

I know that in reality, I probably need to make some hard choices, but it is difficult (hence "hard" part). Each of my activities serves a different purpose. The problem is, when all those good things happen at the same time it is overwhelming - especially when you factor in work and other responsibilities like being a good wife and mom.

The next few weeks are going to be crazy, without a doubt. There will be a lot of driving, and a lot of homework, and a lot of quick and easy meals. But there will also be a lot of laughs, a lot of great conversations and a lot of spiritual growth.

The crazy schedule? It's a season. Unfortunately, it seems like in my life the "crazy schedule" season for me is as regular as football season, basketball season or the ever popular construction barrel season in the Midwest.

When will I learn? Hopefully soon. Although I love the positives shared above, this girl needs a little down time. I can feel myself headed for survival mode, and that is not a place I want to be. In survival mode, I put up walls and barriers and tend to revert to old patterns of thought and coping mechanisms. It's like constant fight or flight, and I have come too far for that.

So for now, I am taking one day at a time. In doing so, maybe I will finally be able to answer one of the great questions of life. And, hopefully my answer will not involve a Tootsie Pop.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Project Life Might Be the Death of Me

They say the first step toward overcoming an obstacle is admitting that you have a problem. I have a problem. I am pattern challenged.

For several years, I scrapbooked with two friends one day a week every week. It was awesome and I was caught up - emphasis on was - but that is another post. My point is that each of us had our strengths that we brought to the table. Denise was the queen of card stock. She could pick perfect shade of card stock to match any layout you could throw at her. My specialty was journaling. I have put my creative writing abilities to work on numerous layouts for each of us. But Susan...she was the patterned paper expert. Hands down. She could take multiple totally random patterns and make them work. I have been, and will forever be, in awe of her ability because one thing is certain...I don't have it.

Enter Project Life. As if remembering to take a picture every day isn't hard enough, I have this huge box of multiple patterned journaling and filler cards. Each page requires the use of at least 8 different patterns on one page. and that doesn't include the 7 different pictures that make up the weekly layout. I am truly paralyzed at the thought of putting together a page.

The creator of the project, Becky Higgins, is an amazing scrapbooker. I am sure that her albums are beautiful, and I am sure that she would never steer me wrong with her products. If she says they work together, they must work together. But, to my pattern challenged brain, it all looks a bit chaotic.

I love to design stuff - I mean really LOVE it. I also love to decorate and to create order. And, although my designs used to be very symmetrical, working for a pastor with a graphic design background has taught me to step outside of the comfort zone of the proverbial box. My designs still tend to be fairly clean and linear, but that is why I chose the turquoise version of Project Life. It is very graphic. Lots of lines and circles. LOTS of lines and circles. So many different lines and circles...

So for now I am being held captive by a literal box - my Project Life box. Would it be cheating to purchase a color coordinating card stock for each of the patterns and use only one pattern per page? Probably - and it would be a lot more expensive. I am guessing it is time for me to step out of my comfort zone and man up - or woman up as the case may be - to the task at hand. All I know is that this year long project could be a lot more difficult than originally anticipated.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Missing Break

Today is January 7th - officially one week into the new year. So far, MOST of the New Year's resolutions are still in tact. There was one humorous incident that involved a work related resolution, but we won't go there...

I have to admit that I got a little spoiled over the holidays. Our offices were closed for several days over Christmas and New Year. It was nice to have a break, but the bestest part was that I got to read...a lot.

I am not sure why, but I think I have always loved to read. I can almost picture the library in my elementary school, and one of only a few flashbacks of high school involves looking for books in the library. My senior year of college, my course load included 19 novels. (That was NOT a fun semester.) And yet, I don't consider myself well read.

Maybe it is because I am not a big fan of adult fiction. I tend to lean toward teen and tween fiction. I have read the entire Harry Potter Series, but I have only read one Twilight book. I have read several books by Cornelia Funke. I have read Eragon and Eldest, and I started Brisingr a long time ago, but I have not read it yet. I also read a lot of Christian literature, but usually it is either a popular writer or someone that I have heard speak either in person or video.

I have a library card, but I must say that I think I have only checked out a handful of books from there. I am not sure why. I tend to buy the books I read - even though most of them I have only read once. I think there is something about the look and feel of a new book.

And then came my NookColor. I love my NookColor. I mean really love it. I have an entire bookstore at my fingertips! With just a click of a button, I can download any book that catches my interest, and I can carry as many as I want IN MY PURSE without worrying about damaging them and no matter how many books I carry at one time, they will always weigh the same! How COOL is that? :) Just a little excited. Sorry.

Over break my Nook and I had a lot of bonding time, and I loved it. I felt like I was growing as a Christian through the books I was reading and I enjoyed the time just being quiet. Now that break is over, I am finding it more difficult to find time to read. Part of it is schedule, but part of it is also that I have other things that are calling for my attention - this blog for instance, and decluttering my house - which is always a new year's resolution of mine. I miss my reading time.

So if my blog posts are a bit delayed in coming, I apologize. It's difficult when two of your favorite things to do to are read and write. They are a bit mutually exclusive. I guess as with everything there is a balance, but I have to be honest, I am looking forward to my next day off... :)