I haven't wanted to do much of anything. I've been cutting back, making space, prioritizing, etc. But, most of all, with everything I have, I've tried to pinpoint where this is all coming from!
I have a couple of ideas. But, I honestly believe the majority of it comes from one thing....
I NEED THE SUN! Why does winter last so much longer and look so much darker here in North MS? When my body does without the elements the sun provides, I begin to settle into irritation over less than meaningful issues. For instance, WHY is there not a TARGET within 20 miles to at least give me THAT as a little bright spot in a couple of my DARK days? It's been long enough, right? Target stores have been around a WHILE.... Even long enough to make it to Mayberry? And, yet there truly isn't a sign with giant red letters anywhere around me.
So, yeah... I have been in a rut. Maybe this rut isn't any bigger than past ruts. It's just that I feel as if I've come alive over the past few years in so many areas. Attacking life and it's challenges is so much more appealing than going through the motions to me now. This makes me much more aware of the rut. Even just the winter 'blahs' aren't acceptable. I need answers. And, I need to move on! In other words, I'm experiencing BURNOUT, and I need a BREAKTHROUGH!
At some point last week, I thought about this blog (literally for the FIRST time in forever), and I knew I'd feel better if I could just write out some thoughts. But here's the thing... No organized thought comes to me in a funk. It's all RANDOM! If you're up for completely random thoughts, carry on. If not, you may need to close your computer and find something else to do. Maybe, you could go and visit your local Target store in my honor. :)
In LESS THAN A MONTH, I will be 40 years old! What?!?!? How can this be? I'm not depressed about it. I've never been one to be bothered by my birthday. I LOVE to celebrate them! FORTY isn't depressing or scary, but it is WEIRD! It just doesn't see possible. And, this strange feeling has led me to evaluate life.... my life and how I've changed. Yeah, yeah.... I'm older, I'm slower, and all the other natural things. But, the majority of changes I notice are less likely to be noticed by anyone on the outside.
Let's start with the fact that, in my older age, I have WAY MORE questions than answers to just about everything. And, most of my questions have to do with things for which I ONCE thought I had PERFECT answers. Strangely, many of my questions have to do with spiritual things. For instance, knowing that the Gospel of Christ is HUGE and covers all people, all sin.... is full of mercy and grace, WHY are Christians much more comfortable splashing social media with EVERYTHING we are AGAINST when the PERSON we know says, "If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto Me?" And, if I believe the Holy Spirit is the only One that can change a heart, wouldn't I be much more likely to share Christ while cultivating a soft heart in RELATIONSHIP rather than SCREAMING my beliefs through a giant megaphone on the other side of a computer screen? Maybe I'm missing the point somewhere. Remember, I AM experiencing the 'blahs', but it just seems there's a better way. When I begin having these kinds of questions, I typically head to the Gospels and read about Christ's walk here on Earth. Strangely, I see such different responses. Oh... He held people to a HIGH standard, He boldly spoke AGAINST sin and FOR repentance. It's just that He was speaking to the RELIGIOUS and not the LOST. To those caught in the snare of sin and the world, He spoke kindness and love, He visited, He went out of His way to DEMONSTRATE the love of His father. I want to know how to do this and do it WELL. How? Questions.... Only questions.
Since I began with the spiritual, I'll stay there. My feelings on CHURCH are much different than they used to be. Stick with me here. I still LOVE the Church. LOVE! THE! CHURCH!!! I owe many churches and pastors a great deal of gratitude. I'm not about to LEAVE a local church or decide my family is better off doing this Christian walk alone. I just want so much more from the Church. I want REAL! I want DEPTH! I want to lock arms with a group of people who understand we have an ENEMY. Scripture says "our adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion LOOKING for someone to devour." We've been given all of the tools to fight him! In the end, we win the war. But, he's winning daily battles in the lives of believers, and we don't talk about them in our churches, because they aren't pretty! We dress up, go to church, sit and stand when we're supposed to and go right back home to the MESS! I'm OVER pretty.... I want BEAUTIFUL. We may just have to trudge through a lot of UGLY (with others) to get to BEAUTIFUL! But, wouldn't it be worth it?!?!?
Then, there's marriage and romance.... Yeah! This one's pretty HUGE. Once upon a time, I thought romance in marriage was all date nights and flowers, anniversary trips and sweet gifts. Those are alright. But, at almost 40, I am much more moved by the reality that I'm married to someone who desires DOING the hard work to leave behind a legacy of marriage God's way. Believe me, there's a number of things that could have been swept under the rug. We could grin and bear it and move on. However, that wouldn't get us anywhere. Some days, there are TOUGH talks. And, we are navigating our own way, because intimacy in marriage is not something we've been taught. But, we share a common goals for this life we're living together. At the top of that list is EXPECTING GREATNESS in our marriage and REFUSING to settle for less. There's just no easy way to do it. So, romance now includes difficulty. Hmmm.... I didn't see THAT coming almost 20 years ago.
Parenting our children has shifted TREMENDOUSLY. I care a LOT less about Caleb, Collin, and Claire LOOKING like a million bucks everywhere we go. I'm even getting over the desire for them to be the "good kids" in every situation. Now, don't get me wrong! I'm not wishing for my children to be problematic, constantly in trouble, or outright REBELS. However, my BIG dream for them is that they each have hearts CAPTURED by God. And, I've come to realize that kind of devotion doesn't come naturally. We have to be DRIVEN to it. Our mistakes are excellent drivers, because they demonstrate our great need for a loving Savior. There have been a couple of instances just this week where one of our children has made some TERRIBLE choices. It breaks my heart. But, I'm not at all concerned with the external, what this LOOKS like. All of our discussions with him have been related to his HEART and relationship. I could (and we did) enforce some consequences and stricter rules. Hopefully, those will serve to drive him to the end of Himself. But, ultimately, only God can change his heart. Only God can show him that HIS BEST is the goal. Otherwise, this Christian life will ALWAYS feel like RULES and MISSING OUT! I want our children to trust that God's heart is FOR their happiness (YES! I said "happy")! His way is the BEST way and the ONLY true road to happiness, freedom, and joy. Humanity typically learns this lesson the hard way. So, I'm less likely, at 40, to shield my kids from all of their mistakes and failures. They just might come face to face with their Savior there.
I could go on and on.... I really could! Life is interesting! Honestly, these are only a FEW of the things that have changed for me over the years. Internally, I'd say I'm a COMPLETELY different person. Forty years from now, I'll have changed EVEN MORE. I hope so, at least! Life would have been so boring if things had panned out just exactly like I'd thought they would when my adult life began.
So, bring on 40! I'm ready! I've never really been able to back down from a challenge. As great as the past few decades have been, I'm planning for the next one to be the best yet. The internal/external shift in God's design is interesting. As a younger woman, I was physically stronger than I was mentally and emotionally. Here, I find myself SO MUCH STRONGER internally, and physically (big sigh), I'm getting weaker. YUCK! "Best yet" may be a HIGH goal, but I'm not giving in yet....
Ear buds in, praise music on, and maybe I'll run some stairs. However much life I have left here, I WILL make the most it. This means, I'll continue learning, changing, FIGHTING, loving, teaching, serving, PRAISING, and anything else the LORD calls me to. Because.... There's a LOT of LIVING left to do!
Praise God! And, although I don't know what kind of living will come, I'm comforted by Joshua's leading of the Israelites into Canaan. He says, "Do not come near it (ark), that you may know the way by which you should go, FOR YOU HAVE NOT PASSED THIS WAY BEFORE."
Then Joshua said to the people, 'Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.' Joshua 2:5
Tomorrow..... I'm ready! Do it, Lord! :)