I have ten Talents

I have ten Talents

What do I do with them? (Reference Matthew 25, or Luke 19- take your pick)

After 19 minutes on the phone with my best friend, I’m on my knees in gratitude. The LORD has used her so many times to bring me back to zero, in the best way possible. The ugly emotions I hide seem to just evaporate when I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have this life, and how far from my daydreams others’ lives really are.

I’m blessed beyond what I’ll ever hope to deserve. God’s given me so much, and I’m convicted for what I know won’t be the last time for not thanking Him, or using my gifts. I get so easily caught up in wishing I was somewhere else in this journey that I don’t appreciate where I am.

I’m not saying that I’m an amazing specimen of Yankee goodness, nor do I profess to be little more than a worm. And, I won’t spout the cliche of being “not perfect, just forgiven.” I’m ordinary. Unremarkable, but important to God. He’s given us all something to do while we dwell in this world, and I’m pretty darn sure that I’m not abiding in that promise with my incessant kvetching. How can I go on wasting the opportunity to be a city on a hill? **

I have no idea what my mission is, but I’m certain that gratitude is the beginning of re-discovering my worth and identity in the LORD. He’s the one who knit me together, and He’s the only one who can refine and polish me.

** How arrogant does that sound? I battle my own rhetoric so often when posting these thoughts; I refuse to say what I’m thinking in plain English, and then lose my fire by the time I’ve crafted the flowery goodness I love so much. What I want to convey: God is amazing, and I’m glad that He’s the only real source of Grace. He’s given me heaps, and I know I’m not doing anything with what I have.  I want to be a benefit to His Kingdom, rather than a needy child. The words “get off your ass” seem to be pretty clear in this case.

 

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I’m a writer with nothing to say

I’m a writer with nothing to say

There; I’ve said it. I’m a writer, a journalist, and a memoirist who can’t think of a single interesting thing to blog about. Admitting this brings tears to my eyes. When nothing else is certain, I’ve always had something to say. I’m not sure what part of this makes me sadder: that my creativity and awareness is depleted, or that I’m desperately clinging to a “me” that might not exist anymore.

Everyone who is close to me knows how I just love personal drama. Whether it’s a situation with my mother-in-law, concern for my mom and sister, dissatisfaction with my weight, an injury, or just feeling lonely, I’ve always been someone who has “something” going on. I’m beyond tired of being that “someone.” So, in my quest to not spill my heart to the world on a weekly basis, I’m left with little to say.

I want to be better- I want my words back. The thought that I didn’t use my gift, so it’s been taken away, presses on me. The wait is an agony. I’ve always been waiting; ready to be done with where I am, and move on to better days.  I carry so much regret for wasting the life God has given me. My university years are a blur- I counted the days until I was done. I couldn’t appreciate how precious my sister was until it became obvious that I failed her. I didn’t go birthday shopping with my grandmother because I wanted cash for my upcoming study abroad semester, instead; three weeks later we found out that cancer that was ravaging her body, and would ultimately end her life in just over three months. Today, I’m itching to move out of our Shoebox and start a family, when I’m not ready for either.

I miss the “me” that I was when I began college. I was dedicated to academic excellence, motivated to succeed, an accomplished youth advocate, and so careful with money. Ideas flowed from my fingertips and into academic, personal, and professional works. In stark contrast: I forgot how to spell “judgement” last week. It’s pitiful, but I miss the person I was. I don’t know that she exists anymore. She’s been replaced by someone she would have considered a failure.

A few years ago, I told my mom through hiccupping tears that, “I’m not depressed. I’m just really sad.” Maybe that’s still true. I’ve failed at all the things that matter: relationships, academics, finances. Still, I want to believe that the Lord will refine and restore me. But, restore me to what? To some factory setting that I can pile programs and apps onto until nothing loads the way it should, and I need to be synced again? (Forgive the iPhone imagery, please.) Will He give me my words back?

The worst part: I don’t know if I know how to be OK. Encouraging, exciting, lovely things grace my world, and I can’t enjoy them. It isn’t that I’m miserable, just a bit too even for comfort. How can I expect to passionately profess wonder at the Lord’s creation when I don’t feel much more than relief that the fertilizer isn’t hitting the fan?

God is good, even when I don’t know how to be thankful. Perhaps it’s time to just relax into His blessings, and stop trying to micromanage their distribution. Maybe then my words will return.

Sleepy Thoughts

Sleepy Thoughts

The last few months have been a bit of a ride in this corner of the world. Extra mouths to feed, family dramas to navigate, and bills to pay have knocked us around a little, and it’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve slipped back into some very shady habits. (As shady as a Caucasian, middle-class, Christian girl from Iowa can get.)

As I tossed and turned in my mildly uncomfortable bed last night, beating myself up for enjoying too much bad food and negative chatter, the thought to pray about it slammed its way into my thoughts. Why my prayer life is always the first thing to go when life gets hairy is beyond me, but I digress.

For the first time in memory, I prayed for the desire to stop. For food to become nourishment, rather than an experience. To feel “full,” even if I’m not. To not say more than I should in order to gain some favor at work. For the ability to feel valued without feeling “important.” To put on my big girl pants, and grow up a little.

Maybe it’s completely inappropriate to take such selfish concerns to the Lord, as I know He has bigger things going on than my self control issues. But, here I am, begging for the discipline to keep my hand from picking up another piece of pizza, and my mouth from running off.

Just when I think I’m making progress, God has reminded me that refinement is a dynamic process, and isn’t going to end until His return. I love that about Him- there’s always room to grow in the relationship.

So, on that cheery note:

I pray to be a better friend- encouraging, honest, and sacrificial.

I pray to be a good wife- helpful, supportive, and kind.

I pray for wisdom to deal with what the world tosses my way.

And, I pray to become “less.” To make Him the center of all, and His glory the credit due. I pray to get out of His way 🙂

That Post I Didn’t Do

That Post I Didn’t Do

Hellooooo… So, I never did that post asking for advice on how to handle a particularly sensitive situation. Every draft I did seemed terribly whiny, and not very Christ-like, no matter how hard I tried to be gentle and non-judgmental. Taking that to heart, I’m seeing that I haven’t *been* very Christ-like in my approach and thought process.

There’s no gentle way to complain about another person. A “beneficial” vent doesn’t exist, and a “helpful” whine isn’t really possible for me. Outlining why Person Q is so irritating isn’t going to do anything for anyone, so I won’t be doing it. Gathering up some courage, and following Ephesians 4:29, is what needs to happen.

Instead of laying it all out for your eyes, I’d like to ask for your prayers. Please pray that my tongue is controlled, my lips willing, and my heart open. (While you do that, I’ll pray that I can find a less ridiculous combination of images to convey my hope that I’ll say what needs to be said without being unkind.) Please pray that this situation can be softened, and resolved, without drama or hurt feelings.

God is so much bigger than any earthly situation I encounter. Still, this is beginning to get the better of many of my relationships, and it’s time to quit obsessing and ask for some help.

Prayers…go!