Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Challenges Are Just Opportunities

I don't know how many times I have heard this in varying forms from all of those happy, smiley, life hands you lemons make lemonade people.  And I wanted to smack them.  A bad day is a bad day.  Someone yelling at you is just a mean person.  Obviously, despite a cheery exterior most of the time, I let negativity get a hold of me often.  I'm trying to change that.

Challenge 1: My last blog post.  I vowed to do something for myself to get active.  I put forth best and worst scenarios thinking in my mind that the "at worst" would be my best.  I proved myself wrong.  I've been running.  Go ahead, gasp!  I gasp at myself every time I lace up my hot pink shoelaces at 5 am.  I am now a runner and it's really awesome.  I'm proud of myself simply for doing it.  My dad ran with me for the entirety of the C25k program and I'm proud to tears of him too.  I have a drive now to keep going.  I actually enjoy it and I enjoy that it's "me" time to spend with myself (or my dad).  It's not a challenge anymore - it's an OPPORTUNITY to run faster, go farther, and get healthier.  It's also motivation when I have to do something I don't really want to do.  I just tell myself "Hey!  You ran 2 miles this morning before most people got out of bed and mostly uphill!  You can do this like it's nothing!"

Challenge 2: Money!  Isn't money always a challenge?  It shouldn't be.  This OPPORTUNITY is really a multi-parter.  We've been attending a new church for a couple of months now and really really like it.  Recently, God has been calling me to take a look at myself and my selfishness because we haven't been following His commandment and tithing.  As the family financial guru who writes the budgets and manages the bills I just kept telling myself that we couldn't afford it.  Oldest cop out in the book.  Really!  I'm pretty sure there's a scripture that talks about someone making some kind of lame excuse like that and then getting plagued by locusts.  Old Testament I think.  Anyway, yesterday I took a look at our bank account, saw some things that made me freak out, checked our credit card bill, freaked out again, and went on a mission to fix it.  And the whole time, God was back there saying "Hey, can you fit Me in there?"  I mean, how do you say no to God?  He's God for crying out loud.  So I took a look at it and fit it in.  Sure, it took "sacrifice" that wasn't really true sacrifice.  It was sacrifice of comfort and cushion - not real Abraham-take-your-son-to-the-hill kind of sacrifice.  I'll be honest.  When I figured it out I was pretty ashamed of myself and our family for ignoring a basic calling from God.  He isn't asking us to pick up and move to Zimbabwe on a mission and live in a tent.  He isn't asking us to sell everything we own and live like Him.  He simply calls us to further His word and His work by giving back a tenth of the income He blesses us with.  How can I know that and ignore it and then face Him when I get to Heaven?  All that said it makes me realize just how far from Him I truly live.  I mean, I pray (most) every day.  I have a strong faith in my salvation and what God and Jesus did and sacrificed for me to have that salvation.  We've gone back to church and feel like we've found the place where we want to stay.  That's about where it ended.  I don't spend time in His word.  I pray to Him for help and I thank Him for my family, my salvation, my home, my daughter, my job, my food.  But I feel like I only bring Him in where I feel like He fits instead of in EVERYTHING.
Psalms 24:1 — "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it."

So, if He is in EVERYTHING already, why am I leaving Him out?  So, I'm working on that.  All of that.  It's a journey and I've been praying A LOT!  Pray for me please, I need it!  I have an OPPORTUNITY to be closer to God - how can that be a bad thing???

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fresh Start

I've started and stopped this just a few too many times.  I will make no promises about the frequency of my posts moving forward.  Today, though, I feel as if it is imperative to my sanity that I pick this avenue of self expression up off of the shelf, blow off the dust, and embrace it.

You see, I had kind of an episode this morning.  I don't want to call it a break down.  It certainly wasn't an epiphany as it has offered me no answers to burning questions.  The best term I can use to describe it is a "brain explosion".  It sounds rather dangerous, doesn't it?  I suppose it could have been.  I did go into a tearful rage on the highway which could have ended catastrophically but it seems to have had many stages in a short amount of time and I'm not quite sure it is done.  I guess it could also just be Monday and I will wake up tomorrow feeling quite centered and normal since tomorrow will be Tuesday.  Let me explain (and hopefully organize my thoughts as they are still rather jumbled):

The fuse: I am going to go ahead and say this - this is going to sound silly.  Really silly.  But I've tried to trace where all of my thoughts, aggravations, and insecurities from today go back to and all I can come to is this.  Justin's alarm went off early.  He got up from his morning "nap" (the 15 or so minutes he takes to crawl back in the bed after we shower to snooze until we're both ready to go and get everything packed for the day and wake up our angel) earlier than I expected him to.  Typically he doesn't get up until I am finished with my hair and today he did not wait for me to finish with my hair.  He just got up and started getting dressed.  That's where it all began.

When he gets up before I am finished with my hair it makes me feel like I should be done.  Like a little kid ready to report to Mommy ready for school just before getting sent out the door to catch the school bus.  I know he doesn't care if I'm done or not.  I know he doesn't care if I walk into the kitchen at the same time as him.  I know he doesn't care if he has to start filling Callie's bottles or packing Callie's bag without me there.  But I care.  If I don't walk into the kitchen at the same time as him something is inevitably forgotten.  One day it was Callie's sippy.  Several days it has been my lunch.  Some days it is my earrings but it always seems to be SOMETHING.  So I really make it a point to be ready to move on to the next phase of our morning together and today I wasn't.  

The spark: I hate to be rushed and this situation led to me feeling rushed.  I would honestly rather wake up a half hour early or drive to work with no make-up than to feel rushed.  Unfortunately I had not forseen that Justin was going to get up early today and so I had no remedy in hand.  I just had to GO.  So off I went into the kitchen.  THE KITCHEN.  Our messy, dishes in the sink, flour on the cutting board, full trash can, dirty floor kitchen.  I hate walking into a mess like that.  I hate being rushed.  Walking into a mess + being rushed = flashes of red going off in my head.  Danger Will Robinson!  Danger!  Justin makes bottles while I go to fill up Callie's bag for school.  But her bag for school is full of toys that she shoved into it.  She was able to do this because the bag had previously been empty.  It had previously been empty because milk had leaked from a bottle and it smelled horrendous.  So, I had to again empty the bag, wipe it out, and then fill it.  From scratch.  I had to sneak into her room to get extra clothes for her to take to school.  I had to put the bottles that Justin filled and the fruit he had cut into it.  I had to make sure she had a sippy and sunscreen.  I later remembered that she had to have a sun hat.  While I am doing this Justin starts getting himself ready by making his coffee, folding his jacket, and putting everything together for him to leave.  I feel rushed again.  I need my lunch packed.  I need my lunchbox to then be put into my blue work bag.  I need to make sure I have what I need in my purse.  I need more coffee.  I need more hands!  I need a clean house!!

The Explosion:  The rest of the morning goes normally.  Callie gets up, I get her dressed, give her a bottle, put her hair up.  She played very independently while I loaded the dishwasher to at least try and make a small dent in the kitchen problem.  I changed her diaper and off we went.  All of these things went without issue but something just kept plaguing me.  The mess.  The time.  The rush to get Callie to school.  My job.  My upcoming review at work.  How am I going to pay for my speeding ticket?  Why did I even let myself get a speeding ticket?  What is my 5 year plan?  What are my goals in life?  What do I need to get done today?  It all just jumbled around in my head until ... BOOM!  The tears flowed and I hadn't even gotten Callie to school yet.  What a way to start a week.

I got Callie into school as normal.  I didn't unload my anger and aggravation and frustration onto her teachers.  When I got back into my car it surged again.  I wanted to get to work and crawl in a corner and cry.  I felt like I would never be able to be adequate.  My house would never be clean.  My child will never learn to talk.  I will never make enough money.  I will never excel at my job.  I was a horrible wife to my husband.  I am overweight and out of shape and will never again be attractive.  Everything felt like it was crumbling.  The longer I drove the worse I got.  

This was a full blown pity party for myself.  And it dawned on me how selfish I was being.  How could I think that (as Jennie would say) I was suffering from a terminal case of uniqueness?  I am so infinitely blessed.  I have a beautiful and healthy daughter who will learn to talk and probably sooner than I think.  I have a home no matter how messy it is.  I have a pretty good job even if I don't know what my goals are.  I have a loving and supportive and truly fantastic-in-every-way husband who I couldn't live without.  My life is awesome!  

The Congressional Hearing:  That solved the pity party quickly.  I had no need to have all of this anger and frustration.  It did not however mop my floors, fold my clothes, fill out my Individual Development Plan, fill my bank account, make me a size 5, give me 6 more hours in my day, or make my hair resistant to frizz.  I did give me a more objective platform from which to address my problems.  Now I have to figure out my plan of attack.  How do I decide what to work on first?  How do I know where my life is going to go?  How do I do anything??

I prayed.  It's what my mom has ALWAYS told me to do when I didn't know what to do.  It's what my heart tells me to do when I am still enough and quiet enough to listen.  I prayed for guidance.  I prayed for strength.  I praised God for that swift kick in the rear to remind me of what He has given me even though I don't deserve it.  His answer was clear: just let Me take care of it.  Let Him.  It's all I ever need to do in life.

That being said, I certainly don't expect to go home and have had God cleaned my whole house with a band of angels and a Swiffer.  I don't expect Him to suddenly make the Earth turn slower just so that I can get more done each day.  But I do know that He has a plan for my life.  He knows my goals even when I don't.  So that's two questions down.  I still don't know the answer but I know that all I have to do is wait and all will be revealed to me in His time and for His purpose.  In the meantime I will trust in Him.  I will also create an organizational chart for myself to get my house clean and try to keep it clean.  I will try and find some time - even if it's just 15 minutes before Justin gets out of bed - to put in some physical activity.  At best I might take up running.  At worst maybe just use the fitness app on my TV.  I have GOT to be better for my daughter.  I will simply have to answer honestly in my review and say that no, I don't have a 5 year plan right now.  I do not have aspirations to move up in the company right now.  I do, however, have a drive to do my job to the very best of my ability because that's the only way for me to get an increase in pay.  I do take great pride in my work and although I don't know exactly what I'm working towards I am committed to my own personal development, it just might have to be generic development for a little while.  The most important commitments I have right now are to getting myself in order, my relationship with God stronger, my marriage stronger, and to be the very best mommy I can possibly be to Callie.  Those are my priorities.

I may have to add blogging back in there somewhere too because this post in and of itself has helped me feel tremendously better.  It has been a great Monday.  And, in the words of the song on my cloud player (and the Zac Brown Band) 

I'm gonna make this day a little better than the last! It's amazing how slow a day like this can go.  Find a way to wash away any regrets you have.  Don't let this moment pass but live inside this day!