I’ve blogged off and on for years now. I’ve written commercially about fitness, how to grow your gym, and how to motivate your clients. Somehow when it came time to write this blog (my first for #ThisIsLiving) I lacked the ability to motivate myself to do it. I’d write a few sentences here and there that I’d quickly go back and delete. I’d stare at my computer screen with the cursor flashing, daring me to write something. I even got a whole paragraph in comparing the spiritual pursuit to running- something that has way more parallels than you can imagine. Yet, I still found every excuse under the sun not to write a blog entry – something I had volunteered to do. Why?
After staring at the blank page for the better part of two months, I came to realize the reason I couldn’t write this is that I feel inadequate to impart any type of spiritual wisdom. I am in no stretch of the imagination what you’d expect a Christian to be. I am tatted up with a half sleeve, live in yoga pants, I curse more than I’d like to, I’ve been divorced, and I loathe the societal stigma that has somehow attached itself to being an Christian. So, who am I to write to you about anything to do with holiness?
…I came to realize the reason I couldn’t write this is that I feel inadequate to impart any type of spiritual wisdom.
On Sunday, the message at church was on Jonah. During which it became abundantly clear that like Jonah, I had been running from doing something that I feel God has called me to do. Don’t you hate that? When people say stuff like that? “God told me.” I used to hate that, too. It sounds totally cliché, but I assure you it is also totally legit. When I say that God called me to write this, I don’t mean I audibly heard him say it. It is more like something on my mind and in my heart that I can’t quite put into words. Obviously, it wasn’t something of my own creating. I’ve fought hard against it. Where is all this leading you’re wondering? Don’t worry I’m finally getting to the main idea.
Like Jonah, I was afraid and I had taken hold of a pagan idea and pretended it was true. I was afraid to put myself out there by writing and being vulnerable. I had taken hold of the pagan idea that Christians are supposed to be perfect. Since I don’t fit that mold, I felt I had no business in writing this. Then I recalled how Hebrew literature depicted some of the best of the best: David, Abraham, Jacob. None of these men were painted to be holier-than-thou and perfect. God used them in their imperfectness, and with their many sinful blemishes, to do amazing things. They knew what I’ve come to realize in writing this and through the message I heard…what I hope you’ll explore as well: “We can keep trying our plan, or we can yield to God” and “Sometimes, the thing you feel uncomfortable doing is the thing God’s called you to do.”
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you” – Isaiah 43:2
This verse has resonated with me a great deal recently. I feel like the Lord just kept saying it to me over and over again this past week as my anxiety crept up in the way it usually does. This anxiety is not necessarily due to any one certain thing, but everything–the small and the big. I like to be in control of all aspects of my life, and when I realize I’m not, it can feel so immensely halting. The unknown can feel truly crippling at times. I’ve struggled to give this control over to God for so long. For too long I’ve fought this battle by myself, not letting anyone else take control. Especially not the One who wants to take it all from me. I am only so strong.
And as I let this verse from Isaiah settle in my mind and in my heart, I realized I don’t need to be afraid anymore. I’ve struggled with this burden for as long as I can remember and I don’t want to fight this battle alone. I don’t need to fight this alone. I can keep trying my plan…or I can yield to God. His grace abounds in deepest waters and I feel God’s grace most when He settles the storms inside me. I know He can use these struggles to draw us closer to Him and this includes the anxiety we may feel in life.
Admitting I struggle with anxiety has been such a rough battle in itself. Anxiety at it’s depths is ugly, and I didn’t want to burden others with my struggles. But that’s where I’m learning about community as well. I’m slowly growing a community around myself that encourages me to draw closer to God when I feel weak. He will never abandon me when I’m afraid. He knows my struggles and fears, and He holds me anyway.
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” – Colossians 3:13
Forgive. It’s such a small word that packs big a punch. When dealing with ourselves, we want forgiveness to be offered to us freely. When dealing with others, it’s not something we quickly jump to or even want in moments of hurt.
For such a small word, Jesus has big thoughts on the matter. This year, He has taught me just what it means to forgive. Not the passive, “I want to move past this conversation and get over this awkwardness,” forgiveness. But the kind that brings you to love the person, to see them as Christ sees them, and ultimately hope for their good. So, below are just a few things God has revealed to me on the topic of forgiving others and letting His love heal those dark and hurting places. Continue reading “3 Important Lessons on Forgiveness”
A few Sundays ago I was really struggling. The week before had been awful with long days at work, unpleasant drama in some close relationships, and unforeseen and unbudgeted expenses. Think of all the things that drain your energy, and they were probably a part of my week. The weekend hadn’t brought any more rest with it either, so by Sunday morning I pulled into the church parking lot with my emotional tank on E.
I sat through the sermon, and I tried not to cry.
I didn’t tell anyone how down I felt. How hard things were. How in need of prayer I was.
Because I didn’t want anyone to know that I was a hot mess. Continue reading “Gaining Strength Through Vulnerability”
We don’t always see the fruit of our prayers right away…
When I was a very young child, I was diagnosed with a genetic defect that could cause me all sorts of problems. I was given an uncertain future; heart problems, kidney problems, learning problems. One thing they thought was certain was that I would never have children.
Continue reading “No Big Magical Moment”
Most of us live in a rather sheltered and comfortable community, and sometimes it can be easy to hear intensely difficult stories and think, “That is so foreign to me. I can not relate at all.” And maybe we write it off because we didn’t find it relative to us, or maybe we glaze over it because we don’t want to hear those kinds of things and expose ourselves to that level of hurt and pain. We want to protect ourselves from the heavy, dark and painful things in this world.
Well, I want to speak into that self-protective tendency in us all. Cause I can do the same thing, especially when my own life is feeling pretty heavy. However, I have a unique perspective on this, because I actually have one of those intense stories as my own story. It has often been difficult for others to hear. It makes them face the evil that exists in this world. An evil that I never had a choice in knowing about.
Continue reading “Uncomfortable Love”
Some would call me an artist. Though, I don’t believe I am dedicated enough to claim that title. I would say that I have been gifted with artistic skills. I have been drawing since I was a little girl and have grown and stretched my creative abilities in other artistic channels as well. While I primarily work with graphite, I’ve also enjoyed working with oil pastels, chalk, charcoal, throwing pottery with clay, wood working and have even painted one oil painting. I went to school for Interior Design and learned to use my skills to create spaces, products, light fixtures and furniture (actually building, from scratch, the furniture piece I designed…I even learned to weld!) I also made digital and mixed media presentations to communicate my designs to clients. Most of what I do now is graphic design for work. But there is something special about picking up a pencil and sketchbook and just spilling out what is stirring inside. Usually I give away all of the best drawings and paintings I create, forgetting to even take pictures of them. So, I don’t always have much to show. Over the years, I have gotten busier and don’t spend much time creating things just for the sake of creating. However, there have been times that God actually puts a picture in my head that I can not stop thinking about until I get it out onto paper. This was the case about a year and a half ago.
Continue reading “Drawing Birds”