Life is about adjustments…

Change ahead isolated sign

We just wrapped up basketball season with our son, the seventh grader.  I like to say I’ve grown up in basketball as well, watching him play since the third grade.  If there was one major improvement to the team as a whole this year, it was the way they adapted their play when facing different opponents.  In fact, I’d go as far as saying the team who was able to adapt their style of play, to adjust the most, was the team able to come out on top. Every time.

Our fifth grade daughter is playing this year as well.  We’re very proud of her.  As my husband will say, she had to drink a bit out of the fire hose at first, being a “retired” gymnast, she learned lots very quickly, and yet now, she is one of the most solid defensive players.  As I’ve watched, I notice different things in comparison to the seventh grade boys.  Beyond the obvious, I can predict with a high percentage, what else girl will do with the ball when they have it.  Though they’ve been taught the words of plays, literally walked through the bodily placement of plays, and could even tell you the “whys” of plays, come game time, they have a propensity to get into a default mode.  The reason I know what they will probably do with the ball is because I’ve seen them do it over and over again.  Without the conscious choice to make a change or an adaption, the results continue to remain the same.  And might I say, the ball often gets taken away.

As I ran on the treadmill this morning, I found myself pondering this fact.  How do I react to adjustments that need to be made in my life?  Growing up and into my college years, I craved predictability.  I heavy weighed pros and cons, looked at all angles before making a decision, mostly because I didn’t want to screw something up, but truly I was afraid to take a large risk without “knowing” what consequences would result.  Because of this, I thought I was safe, I thought I was content, I thought I was relatively happy.  What I didn’t realize was that I was choosing confinement.

And then…

The Lord tells me in order to gain life, I need to lose it.  He tells me that He loves me, even before the world began, that He sent His son to a horrible death all while knowing every single sin I would commit in my lifetime, and that no-thing could ever separate me from this unconditional love, no-thing I could ever do would be enough to earn a place at his table, so He made a way.  And over time, I’ve come to believe this truth.  And now I’m a bit further along in my journey, and I can say that I no longer “worry” about these adjustments (most days).  And in worry’s place, know what I’ve found?  Freedom.  Freedom in that I don’t have to be God, play Good, nor handle the things that God handles.  And I have adjustments all the time.  And now I can flow with them, in them, in peace.  Do I KNOW the results of these adjustments before they happen, or even why they’re happening?  Nope I, don’t.  But I trust.

And when I’m floundering in weariness, confusion, or frustration, I stand on what I know.  Truth.  And I choose to trust.  And therein lies the adventures of life.  Had “this” not happened, I wouldn’t have known “this”, or had “that”.  Ironic, but as I type this, my husband comes out of his office, and he has something he wants to share.  I’m mid-thought, and yet I desire to give him my attention at the same time.  Choices.  And then I have an opportunity to see a pre-performance of my daughter’s music program at her school, and my household project vies for my attention to finish.  And I step into the next choice.  And at the end of the day, when sleep begs, I want to let my actions give credence to my priorities.  My daughter’s jump n’ hug was its own reward.  And when they do, sleep comes easily and peaceful.

And do I have this all figured-out?  Not even close.  But today, when faced with work adjustments before my eyes were even focused, I knew that His plan would live out, and I could trust that this was the best plan for the day.  Why?  Because in making the choice to trust over and over again, THIS has become my default mode.  And the fret, the worry, and anxiety just forget to show up.  They no longer are my first visitors.  They may make a guest appearance at the table, but they are easily dismissed, no longer invited to stay.  Others may ask to take a seat as well, doubt, negative-self-talk, and condemnation, but they are dismissed as well.  Those that remain are joy, peace, and contentment.  These, my friends, are the sweet fruits designed for us to partake in.  Are we willing to lose our lives, only to gain them?

Take it from a bad basketball player (and I don’t mean that figuratively), I’ve learned from both my Father and my children alike.  This team sport of life is better lived when seeing the betterment of adjustments.  What are your thoughts?


Burnt popcorn

I have a tried and true method.  When I make microwave popcorn, I don’t need no fancy button.  I don’t even care if the button says “popcorn”.  Every time I’ve made popcorn, 2 minutes works like a champ.  Two minutes, no more, no less.  Insert bag, and out comes perfectly popped, salty, buttery greatness.

So, today was no different.  Insert bag. Correct side up.  Shut door.  2 -0 -0, start.  The machine beeped.  I removed bag.  I opened bag.  My nose smelled.  My eyes looked… black.  How could this be???!!!  My tried and true method.  One that has worked every time I’ve used it!!!  Until now…

What went wrong?  My logic went into motion.  Did I have it wrong side up?  Nope.  Did I enter the wrong time? Nope.  Was the bag punctured or old?  Nope.  No explanation, no reason, just burnt popcorn.  I was shocked.  I was bummed.  I was perplexed.  I had to let it go.

It’s it that way with so many areas of our life.  Things don’t always go according to our “tried and true” methodology.  Things let us down, people let us down, we let others down.  Tried and true may not ALWAYS be tried and true.  As I took the dog for a walk today, my mind seemed to ponder this seemingly insignificant incidence in life.  Why do we get surprised when  a constant suddenly stops being a constant?  As grown adults, we can know life changes, but somehow it still catches us off guard.

Could it be that we were made to have walked in a garden with One who is forever constant?  Could it be in our nature that this does still surprise us?  Do we even grow accustomed to this ever-changing world that we have come to even expect the disappointment?  Perhaps we forget there is one who never disappoints, who never lies, who keeps a promise from now into eternity.

Lord, I want to thank you today for my burnt popcorn.  For, without this lesson, I might have missed an opportunity to thank you for being the constant in my life.  Thank for being the Rock on which I can stand.  In a world that shakes and rattles, where today’s promise, it tomorrow’s, “I’ve changed my mind” – I thank you for this stability in my life.  Forgive me when I forget, when I start to grumble and complain.  Today, I thank YOU for being my tried and true.  I love you.

Just being honest…

I’ve been putting off this post for a few days now… okay probably more like over a week (I did title this being honest, didn’t I?)  I had a thought.  It was early morning.  I decided to jot it down, think about it more later.  So here goes my feeble attempt to explain… in raw honesty…how I used to draw conclusions about my identity.

I actually scheduled an appointment, and actually went in to undergo an annual physical (only 3 years in the making).  I knew I needed to go, never really prioritized it.  So I went, pretty painless, yet I had one experience that was quite different for me this time.  For the first time in a long time, when the assistant asked me to step on the scale, I didn’t experience the “feeling”.  You know, the “oh boy, ready or not, time to face the cold-hard numbers” thing.  Now, in full disclosure, I did choose to wear clothes of “lighter weight” fabric this morning, I just wanted to take away any reason for a justification.  Perhaps, if you know me a bit, you’re a bit surprised.  Why would I be concerned about my weight? Today, I honestly wasn’t.  Ahhhhhhh, freedom.  For years and years of my life, the number on the scale would dictate to me if I was a good person, or if I was failing at a goal I had in mind, one I thought I could control, yet ironically it took control of me.  I allowed the scale to dictate my true worth and true beauty.  I started down this path in college, and it continues to be an area that only the Lord has been able to fill, whispering words of true worth, and helping my eyes see a less distorted mirror-image.  Trusting the Lord through my running journey had brought tremendous healing in this area.  With the help of my amazing husband, I no longer entertain thoughts of skipping meals as a good thing for myself.

Secondly, I used to live my life with decisions weighed on performance-based love.  I thought that people would only love me based on what I could do, give, or simply take from them.  By nature, I love to listen.  So, I became the best listener anyone needed me to be (mask #1).  I love to observe, problem is, I drew conclusions based on false perceptions at times.  If I ascertained that a good person is one who always speaks kindly, smiles, and says, “That’s okay” to everything, than by-golly I wanted to please people so that’s what I would do in all situations, even if I disagreed (mask #2).  The kicker was, people complimented me on these “roles”, thus encouraging more of the same behavior.  I could list a million more characters I played very well, bottom line, I no longer owned an identity, I simply morphed into whatever anyone else needed me to be.  The problem with pleasing people, is that they’re never consistent, they constantly change, so I constantly shifted my role in reaction to theirs… very exhausting and confusing.

Thirdly, in filling the roles of listener and observer, I heard and experienced lots of others’ pain.  My conclusion – never share anything!  Why?  I would be burdening others, I would be risking much (remember those high-school days!), and I would have to look at some serious fears in my life – no thank you!  I simply thought, if I just keep these plates spinning, if I just keep pleasing, if I just keep up my appearance, life would work out just fine… right?

As I can imagine, perhaps you are recalling the “day” that everything simply crashed in your world.  Too many plates, too many fibs to cover up the other white lies, too many character roles and hats and masks to keep shifting… thus, a fall.  If you are reading this today, and you’re simply flat wore out.  If you have just tried and tried to figure this thing out called my life, and where exactly I fit in to this world.  Let me leave you with a few truths, and finally, let me encourage you to simply go there – stop, look at, dig in, read, evaluate, and ask for help.  I’m telling you, this freedom  is worth any of the pain you’re either imagining or fearing.  I can’t stress it enough.  From one recovering performance-based, people-pleaser to another, there is freedom available, there is hope, there is an abundant life offered to us every day.  It comes with some surrender, it comes with some heart-break at the disillusionment… but it all stems from love.  From one who created you, who defines you, who frees you.  You only have to ask…

Lie #1 – I was a mistake from the beginning.

Truth – “Psalm 139:14 – God does not make mistakes
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Lie #2 – I am in control of my life

Truth – We can let go and trust in His plan for us.

Jude 24To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Lie #3 – I can trust in myself.

Truth – Proverbs 3:5, We can only trust in the all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful Lord.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

From one fellow sinner to another, I implore you to acknowledge your fears.  We all have them.  We don’t have to be ruled by them.  Freedom is waiting just on the other side of your fear.  Romans 8:15 says that we have not received a spirit of fear but a spirit of sonship.  An inheritance with the saints.  We are seen as righteous, white as snow because of the price Jesus Christ paid for our sins.  He took our penalty and we are declared not guilty.  There is power in Him, the Spirit who resides in you, as a sister or brother in Christ.    I implore you to step out of the dark and into the light where everything is exposed, and where freedom lives.  I have been transformed from one who sought control, to one who daily lays myself at the Cross.  I have been transformed from a people-pleaser to a God-pleaser.  I no longer fear what people think of me, but humbly seek Him so that others may be free to think of my Jesus.  He is in passionate pursuit of you.  He knocks and waits for you to open the door.  He is infinitely patient, and forever loving.

Will you seek His truth today?

Swirling thoughts

Ever have those moments, part of the day, or the entire day sometimes where random thoughts just bombard your mind? Well, in an attempt to unload a few, here we go…..

  • Wow, the clouds today are something to behold!
  • The kids and I had a great day at Zoombezi Bay yesterday, trying to hold onto the summer. I can’t seem to get enough, maybe that’s why I have this physical exhaustion today?
  • School shopping – supplies – check, everything else – nope.
  • A dear friend will watch her 20 month old endure another surgery on Monday.
  • What should we grill for dinner tonight?
  • Our friend Stef just returned from a week long stay at the hospital – Happy Birthday Friend!
  • The Olympics – wow! Opening ceremonies… simply amazing! Who has enough creative juices to think up these things? While taking in all the artistry, I couldn’t help but be antsy in anticipation of the athletes to enter and the show to begin! I love learning about the history and culture through the commentators as well. The sheer numbers, the costumes, the coordination, the practice, the amount of money spent – yikes! Luckily they re-ran them again this morning, my big mistake was to lay my head down on a pillow. Without DVR, we gotta catch things as they’re happening.
  • Our home sale has been pretty quiet lately…
  • My heart goes out to my best friend, my husband, still experiencing some unrelated pains.
  • Still experiencing my lactic acid build up from a run this morning (ugggh).
  • I just came back from my sister’s home, going there with the intention of walking their sweet dog Bo. After searching every possible place I could think of – no leash. No cell phone either, what to do? Decided to try the no leash thing..he’s a great dog. Started off with a walk, turned into a jog, a pause to water the bush, then there were barking dogs… okay… a three-house walk will have to do for today.
  • The kids are anticipating another trip to Jungle Jack’s landing. Gotta love running from ride to ride for 5 hours, all for the low price of $6 – summer-time!
  • Planning on packing the bags once more for a trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s this week – we all love it, spoiling comes so naturally for them.
  • Meet-the-teacher this coming Friday – YIKES! This year, I will see 2 of them off for a full-day, and the little one off for afternoon preschool – bittersweet.
  • We picked all the pears from our backyard tree today – anyone need some? (please!)
  • I’m thinking about finally getting around to that final post on the Armor of God… maybe later.

Lord, of all the details that need to get taken care of as a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, and a friend, I praise you for being the Rock through it all. I thank you for the many “pictures” of life that flash across my computer screen throughout my day. What a gift to be able to capture a moment in time, and to remember them in the days and years that go by (especially with this short-term memory brain of mine). This is the strand of yesterdays that make up the tomorrows. Thank you for allowing me to trace your faithfulness by looking back, erasing the doubts I have today. I commit to you my passionate pursuit of you.