I plopped down in my chair in the sanctuary, bad attitude in check. While I was excited to get my worship on and learn with my friends, the events of the past week had my panties in a wad. I felt hurt, annoyed and angry. Some people and situations had pushed my buttons and I was thoroughly enjoying my pity party. I enjoyed it so much, I was considering sending out invitations. I even added God to the mental invite list in my head. Then worship began.
I love being home. Just putzing around or creating in my kitchen while the kids run around in their jammies. It’s peaceful. It’s relaxing. It is home. I don’t have to wash my hair or shave my legs. I don’t have to put on real pants. Or any pants at all, for that matter so you should probably text before you just drop by. Most days, I am perfectly content here. But sometimes, I notice a stirring in my soul. It starts small but typically grows more noticeable over time. I don’t know how to describe it other than there is an angst in my guts. Unsettled. It’s not my favorite, so I start looking for answers. Is it something I’ve forgotten or someplace I’m supposed to be? No, it’s deeper.
It is inevitable. It is universal. And in my best approximation, it is the single most influential factor in the decisions we make on a daily basis. Pain. What we do with it and what we do to avoid it really makes up the plot line of our lives.
Food. Let’s talk about food. If my relationship with food were Facebook official, our status would say “It’s complicated.” It has been the longest relationship of my life and definitely the most unhealthy (which is really saying something because I’ve been in some pretty jacked up relationships!). Food became my comforter and friend at a very early age. It was a safe place for a little girl with big feelings. And what a good friend! It never let me down, never left me and never failed to bring a few minutes of peace in the midst of the storm. Food never hurt me…unless you count those extra 50lb’s, but who really wants to talk about that?!?!?
This week, I spent some time getting ready for a trip to the zoo with my Kindergartner’s class. It has been a while since I’ve taken the kids so I was preparing for all things necessary to make this trip a smooth one.
Then I moved on to a list of all the animals that topped the favorites list and which ones I planned to avoid (because snakes). As I was mentally running down the list, I suddenly had this thought…what if there were no cages? What if the animals just walked around zoo all willy nilly like?!?! Would we still go?
Growing up, I was always good at anything I tried, because I didn’t even attempt things I knew didn’t have a shot of success. I didn’t like losing and failure wasn’t an option. So I created a safe little life for myself that made me feel good.
Poop. Fart. Junk. Butt-face. All words I hear before 10am every day. I currently have an adorable 4-year-old boy in my house and potty words are all the rage. If he would actually poop as much as he talks about poop, our world would change for the better. But that’s another story for another day. Let’s just say laundry is my new hobby. Said boy also likes to use these potty words on his older sister who still has not figured out that engaging this behavior is unproductive. #blessherbones
As someone who grew up in church and was required to take 4 semesters of bible classes in college (FOUR!), I have a lot of bible stored up in this noggin. And as someone who met Jesus for the first time 15 years ago in a room full of addicts, I also have a heart full of awe and gratitude for the ridiculous, scandalous love of God. (I’m tearing up just typing that. It still wrecks me every. single. time.) But even with all that, I was excited to jump in and really have a chance to see or learn something new.
It’s 10:41am on Jan 1, 2019 and I am already struck with how much I hate change. I tend to be a bit like a duck on water when it comes to moments or seasons of transition. All may look cool and calm on the exterior but my insides are paddling like mad to get back to some place safe. As I sit here drinking my coffee and perusing over the new cookbook I got for Christmas, I feel an impending sense of dread.
I found myself on the floor, face in the carpet, feeling nothing but numb. Life had been so hard for so long that I just gave up as I hit the dining room and collapsed into a heap. I laid there in the quiet of that little apartment for a while, not saying a word. Husband had gone to work and the boo was at preschool so I knew I would not be disturbed. I had nothing left. My marriage was hanging on by a thread. We were so broke, we couldn’t pay attention. Being a mom was a heavy load to carry. I was done.
Now that you’ve unraveled, here is where everything gets topsy-turvy. All that time and energy focused on yourself flips and you now realize that it wasn’t all about you to begin with. It’s about you, but it’s also about them. The ones you love and the ones that love you. It’s about the future; it’s about legacy. You found freedom so you could take others there! #purpose
“But did you die?” I know that last leg of the journey of unraveling wasn’t the most fun thing you’ve ever done, but did you die? #nope
You just did a really big thing and not only has it opened the door for healing, it has set you up for success in what comes next.
Still breathing? Good! Now that you have owned up to the mess, it’s time to take the next step in the process of unraveling. It’s time to get to work.
“But HOW?” she asked over chicken fingers and ranch. We had been discussing my most recent blog about the unraveling and what that meant in her life. What my dear friend was really asking was “what will get me outta here?!?!” My answer was simple. “It’s a process.”
The room was cold, the lights were fluorescent, and the coffee was strong. I don’t remember much else about that night. It’s almost like I was so aware of myself I didn’t have the bandwidth to be aware of anything else. Person after person paraded across the front of the room as they muttered something along the lines of “Hi, my name is BlahBlah, I am a following of Jesus Christ finding freedom from suchandsuch.” This was, for me, the beginning of the unraveling.
I LOVE a good list. The unhealthy kind of love. I make lists of all the lists I have so I can be sure to keep track of everything that needs tracking. Also, I am now 40 and I forget crap all the time. Not only do I love lists, I love checking things off my list. If I do something that I forgot to write down, I will add it to the list JUST SO I can check it off. I think you are starting to understand why I spent so many years in therapy.
“May I see your ID?” the cashier asked. YES!!! YES YOU CAN, kind sir. And THANK YOU for asking!!! As someone who passed 40 a few years ago, I was almost giddy with excitement that the clerk wanted to see my identification to prove my age. He needed to see that little plastic card I carry around in my wallet to confirm who I am and how many years I have been on this planet. And while it did give that cutie patootie behind the register some pertinent fact about me, it doesn’t tell the whole story. That isn’t really who I am.
On a road trip this summer with my family, we stopped at Panda Express for lunch because, well, the Lord speaks to me thru Chinese food. Ok, so maybe that’s not WHY we stopped but it doesn’t make it any less true. We parked, walked in just in front of the lunch crowd and waited. And waited. And waited. It was close to 10 minutes before a sweet young girl rushed over from the drive thru line and took our order. Someone had obviously not shown up for work. Now they were short-staffed for a typical lunch rush, and both staff and customers felt the absence. As I stood in line with a cranky toddler and a whiny 6 year old, I heard the Lord whisper “show up” and I was reminded once again that showing up matters.
One Saturday over Thai food (because obviously) an old friend and I were talking about life and death and God and pain. Ya know, typical Saturday lunch talk. Our convo centered mostly on the church and our experience with who the church, in general, tells us God is. I asked my friend to describe Jesus in one word. While she thought on it, I offered mine: scandalous