Friday, January 01, 2016
I didn't intend to blog today. I didn't wake up with the idea of a "Fresh, New Year" and a commitment to write more, to be a better person, or to lose weight. (Well, maybe a tiny bit of weight...) I wasn't working out all my New Year's goals, and even though it's definitely in my nature, I wasn't obsessing over everything I want to change in the new year. I was just having a cup of coffee...oh, and a little chat with God.
It's always interesting to me how God consistently and gently reminds me that we're going to do things His way, not mine. So, here I am. Writing.
I've written plenty of posts in the past about my struggles with New Year's. By nature, I love goals. I love planning. I love lists and motivational material and all the things that make New Year's the perfect time for a new beginning. But over the years I've found that New Year's is not always my friend.
I easily turn those things I love into things that ensnare. I turn opportunities into pressure. I let the weight of what could or should be, crush the blessing and the beauty of what is. So I must consider whether or not these things are really friend or foe. Do they help me or hinder me? How do I take the good with the bad and have the wisdom to demonstrate balance?
That's what God and I were chatting about. And, in His consistent and gentle way, he reminded me of the answer.
"His mercies are new every morning."
Every morning. Not just New Year's Day. Not just Monday mornings after weekend failures. Every morning. So New Year's Day can be my friend. We can hang out together, un-decorate the Christmas Tree, write a blog post, drink coffee, and maybe even make some good plans for the days ahead. I don't get it all perfect. I can dream and plan and God can cover me with His mercy.
May God's mercies be yours today and every day in 2016.
Happy New Year!
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
There are a few things in life that I love to do. I mean, I know we all have things we enjoy, but I’m talking about those activities that we absolutely love. The ones that somehow minister to our own souls and maybe, like Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire, cause us to “feel God’s pleasure”. Those things.
I have a few of them, and I suspect you do to. I won’t name them for you because surely yours are different from mine and this isn’t about mental comparisons of the activities themselves. But let’s just all agree that we have them and can identify them.
The question that rattles around in my head is, “Why do I rarely do them?” These passions seem lost in the everyday ebb and flow of my life. They are the things I love most, but can never quite get to. If you’re old enough to know who Jim Croce is, you know this isn’t a new phenomenon because “There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do, once you find them”.
But there are plenty of instances where I have the time, but still don’t make the effort. Surely there has to be something else at play. Here are three possibilities that keep me from my passions and a few reminders to myself on how to overcome them.
Help, I’m Drowning!
Overload and mental fatigue are likely my biggest deterrents to fulfilling lost passions. When there’s so much of life that I can barely keep up, and I finally have a quiet moment to myself, I don’t want to fill it with anything…even something I love. Maybe it’s stress or simply lack of motivation. It’s just too much effort to do one more thing. Being so overloaded that I begin to lose desire, even for those things I love, is a warning sign that I need to throttle back a bit. I need to alter my “full steam ahead” pace and slow down. Take inventory of your days. Is your stress load drowning you? Are you so exhausted that even the thought of doing something you love sends your circuits into overload? Make an effort to lower your pace and make space for yourself and the things you love.
Get it Right!
I often fall into the trap of thinking, “If I can’t do it properly, I’m not going to do it at all”. For those of us with perfectionistic tendencies, we don’t want to tackle our passions if we can’t do them properly or perfectly. So we sacrifice the whole thing and reassure ourselves we’ll get to it when we can “really do it right”. Don’t let perfectionism hinder you. You don’t have to devote all weekend to your passion. You don’t have to buy more gear before you can begin or watch hours of YouTube videos to make sure you have correct technique. Start small. Work with what you have and do it for a few minutes. Get started. Do what you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
No, No, No…After You!
As women, wives, and moms, we often give in to deciding that we will take care of everyone else’s needs, and if and when there’s any time left over, we can do something for ourselves. This way of thinking crosses a subtle line between loving and serving our families and falling into martyrdom. Hours turn into days that turn into weeks that we fill with the activities of others, but not our own. Maybe I’ll get to that on Saturday. I might have 10 minutes before bed next Thursday night. But those times never come because we continually fill them with our to-do list for other people. We tell ourselves, “After I finish taking care of everyone else, I will allow myself to do something for me”. But, we get tired and the passion gets lost, or at best, relegated to lowest priority. We’re afraid that by taking time to enjoying our passions, we’re shirking responsibility in other areas of our lives. Guilt creeps in, so we go back to serving to soothe our conscience. By all means, take care of the loved ones in your life, but don’t trick yourself into thinking that somehow you’re being a better person by always putting your own passions last. Martyrdom will leave you bitter, especially at those you are trying so hard to serve.
Whether your passion is a hobby, a relationship, or maybe even your walk with God, don’t let overload, perfectionism, or martyrdom be the reason you don’t follow through. God is the author of our desires and passions. He created them in us for a purpose and He is pleased when we properly put them to use for His glory!