Sunday, November 15, 2015

As for me...

If you can see this post because we're Facebook “friends,” it means I know you in a way that connects us enough that I don’t mind sharing parts of my life with you. It means I don't have a problem explaining to my husband who you are or why we’re friends. It means I don’t mind telling my son why you’re on my Facebook feed. It means I don’t care if my parents see what’s posted here. If I care about you enough to read what's going on in your life when you post, it’s safe to say I care enough about you to pray for you. So I want to tell you what I did for you today but I need you to know straight off it really has nothing to do with me and everything to do with what I believe.

Today we hit our knees at church and we prayed for a world in need of hope. Of peace. Of a Savior. We prayed for a local family whose lives were torn apart and we prayed for a government of leaders that have rendered themselves useless in their attempt be politically correct. When time grew quiet and we had a few minutes to pray over our own concerns, I want you to know you crossed my mind. I know you're struggling with aches and pains and some days it’s hard to get out of bed. I know you're struggling with your finances. I know you're struggling with your grown child battling addiction. I know infidelity has ripped your marriage apart and you don’t know what’s coming next. I know you're struggling with a new business venture. I know you’re wondering where you fit in at your current job. I know you're worrying about the coming empty nest as your child decides on a college. I know you feel the anxiety that comes with your high schooler starting a new trimester. I know you’re battling life-changing illness. I know you're exhausted working three jobs. I know you're wondering how you're going to put a Thanksgiving meal on the table then turn around in less than a month and pull off Christmas. I know you’re disappointed at the report card your child recently handed you. I know you’re trying to fit in at school. I know you're struggling with a family member that you’re not sure you want at the table this holiday season. I know you're struggling with your weight and self-image. I know you’re worried about your child’s diagnosis and that upcoming IEP. I know the situation with the move across country is extremely exciting and equally terrifying. I know you’re worried about being rejected by someone you want to like you as much as you like them. I know you have bills you can’t pay. I know you're struggling with pending retirement and downsizing. I know you worry if putting your mom in a memory care facility was the right choice. I know you're struggling to understand what's going on in the world and you’re worried your little corner might be next on a terrorist’s checklist. I know you don’t have health insurance although you’re sick, again. I know someone close to you betrayed you.

I believe we live in a broken, fallen world and as such, I believe the promise wasn’t that life would be Heaven on earth. I believe that hurting people hurt people and we stand in the paths of the broken everyday. I believe the Devil is alive and well and he has one end game in mind for us, to kill, steal and destroy.  But I also know that my Redeemer lives and in the end he will stand upon this earth (Job 19:25). 

So whether you believe in what I believe in or not, whether you pray or not, whether you think it's all just bogus or not, know that I believe enough for both of us.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Joy in the dust...

When I need to chew on a particular problem in my life, I often find I end up cleaning.  While my close friends will tell you that I clean all the time—don’t listen to them.  They’re lying!  No, really.  Contrary to popular belief, I don’t clean all the time.  In fact, my husband and son often complain I don’t clean enough.  Which brings me to today and the current problem on my mind, thus my latest round of obsessive thinking aka cleaning.

I have an antique bookcase that sits atop my desk and every time I dust it, I wonder why in the world I bought the old thing.  Why did I spend hours lovingly restoring something that gets so dusty in what seems like only a matter of days?   It’s that very question that brings me back to the problem at hand.

One of several bookcases in my studio.
In case you didn’t know, I’m a type A personality, a real “all the way A” as my dear husband likes to remind me.  And while many of the character traits of A’s are a very good thing, the easiest way to topple us isn’t to yell or move a deadline or double book us.  Ha!  We A’s can handle that.  Disable our Wi-Fi or hide our phone and we get a bit more upset, but trust me, we rebound fast.  In my experience, we A’s get our knees knocked out from under us when we find our lives out of balance.  We like the world just so and have a strong sense of order, we A’s; a trait not unlike our analytic brother’s in arms that find themselves on the other end of many a personality test scale. 

So when I say I’ve taken to calling 2015 the year without balance, you can probably understand my angst.  I pride myself on doing the things I undertake well so I’ll be the first to admit when issues arise within my finely honed system, I don’t respond with any amount of grace.  None.  But I’ll also be the first to admit that after forty five years of life on this planet, I think I’ve finally started to realize I don’t need to be doing everything I currently find myself doing.  It’s an A thing, you see.  We rarely say NO.  In my case, I usually pride myself on seeing just how much I can juggle.  But I can assure you this isn’t always the wisest plan.  And I can assure you juggling comes at a cost.

I've been locked in my juggler mentality throughout spring and summer.  It wasn’t until I started pulling out my fall decorations (of which I have five Rubbermaid containers full!), that I scanned the landscape of my life and looked at everything I was juggling and realized where I was coming up short.  The more I cleaned around the house, switching out summer items for fall favorites, the more I reflected on what’s been a hectic and stressful year.  Then a revelation washed over me.  I really don’t like juggling.  In fact, as of late I feel most at peace NOT tossing five plates into the air and seeing how fast they can turn.  Truth is, I never set out to become a world-class juggler.

For me fall is a time of renewal and new beginnings.  While some folks enjoy a good spring-cleaning, a fall cleaning energizes me.  This year the purge included tidying extraneous responsibilities and trimming my ever-growing to-do list.  Seriously, some of the stuff I have written in blood so to speak really just isn’t that important.  I have books to write and new ventures to launch and antiques to refinish.  I have a family I adore and I’m grateful I’ve finally realized they’re far too precious to juggle.  I have friends I cherish and I’ve realized they aren’t for tossing about, either.  At best, I think I’m in for juggling as a hobby.  Besides, I have a bookcase to dust.