09 February 2012

You know you're 38 when...

1. You start to be thankful for birthdays instead of regretting them. I have a feeling this has something to do with facing a life-threatening illness and then standing back in amazement (and desperation!) while God restores health and healing. Birthdays should be celebrated, not lamented. Life is a gift!
2. A night spent alone at the casa reading a book, eating leftovers, walking the dog, playing Scramble, checking blogs, posting on Facebook, reading some more, straightening just a tad, and blogging is actually a night to be relished! Sabbath rest is often elusive, but when it arrives at last is such a blessing!
3. Mornings become slightly more bearable. Okay, still not early mornings, and still not immediately upon waking. But! Once I have risen out of the bed, taken my morning walk, and sat down with a cup of coffee and opened God's Word...ahhh, the unhurried pace of a morning is bliss.
4. After years and years of putting it off, you finally succumb to drinking coffee every single morning...and you make it yourself...at your house...and you love it more than you think you ought.
5. You scoff inside when a 30 year old says they are "old."
6. You are relieved when trendy middle school girls compliment your purse. At long last, you are now adequately convinced that your purse isn't matronly. :)
7. You actually cook something in that crockpot that's been collecting dust. And, it tastes good!
8. You find yourself enjoying looking at dishes and cooking utensils when you're out shopping.
9. You file your taxes early, as in I-filed-them-yesterday-early. Wahoo!
10. Your nieces are nephews are pre-teens, teens, and young adults. Oh my, what happened to my babies? And yet, you still think they are as cute as ever.
11. You may not have actually mailed all your Christmas cards, but you're getting closer and closer every year. Purchase cards-check, collect addresses-check, order Christmas stamps-check, address envelopes-check, put stamps on them-check, sign cards-check. Sadly, this is where my good fortune left off. But still, high hopes for actually sending some next year!
12. You become a bit more of a high maintenance traveler. I hate this one! Granted, I'm still highly addicted to packing lighter than most, but find myself with more and more items I can't seem to live without for a few days.
13. You decorate your condo for holidays...incuding Valentine's Day...even when you're single. Okay, so maybe this one has nothing to do with being 38 and is simply because I'm a crazy fun person. Yes?
14. Your idea of crazy fun is a lot different than it used to be.
15. You may not consider yourself wise just yet, but you are grateful for enough life experience and grace to be able to look back at years past and see all the ways God has been faithful. You have less fear of the future when you remember struggles and triumphs of the past and what He has done through it all.
16. You enjoy historical fiction more than the latest trendy novels.
17. You think of middle aged as young. Very young.
18. You feel hip driving a honda civic.
19. You still dream of adventures, but you are so much more practical about it! Ugh.
20. You realize that you still have a lot to learn, a lot of life to live, and look forward to all that God has in store!

And with that (I was determined to finish with an even #) this young 38 year old is going to get my jammies on and read in bed to my heart's content! Good night!

12 January 2012

Life Lessons

Here are a few things God has been teaching me lately...

1.  God will not be rushed. Period.

2.  Repentance is good for the soul.  It's even better for keeping a right relationship with my Father.  As my pastor said last Sunday, "Repentance prepares us for the next thing God will do." I had a long list of things that God exposed in my heart the past couple weeks.  I had monsters rising up in me like...worry, idolatry, unbelief, seeking to please people more than God.  You know, just small stuff! Ha!  Not small stuff at all, in fact it was really big stuff that was displeasing to God and wreaking havoc with my sense of peace and purpose.  

3.  I need the gospel. Everyday.

4.  I can only do one thing at a time.  Bringing even more freedom to my soul is the realization that God only calls me to do one thing at a time.  One thing. This sounds so silly, but it has been revolutionary to me this week.  I get so stressed out and anxious when I try to think about what I am expected to accomplish the next month, week, day.  It doesn't seem to matter which task I am doing - I always seem to feel distraught, overwhelmed, behind, even guilty because I'm not working on X, Y, and Z that are also clamoring for my attention.  This isn't healthy. Trust me.  It means that I cannot focus on  the task I am doing. It means I'm not enjoying that task. It means I'm not trusting God. It means I'm distracted. It means I'm not aware of God's presence with me. It means I'm even less productive.  Often times, it means I'm paralyzed by my anxiety, making the current task a chore instead of a delight. Yes, I need to be a good steward of my time. I need to be diligent. I need to work hard. I need to invest in relationship. I need to worship.  I need to be quiet. I need to rest. I need to sometimes do things that I don't particularly enjoy.  I need to be sensitive to God leading me throughout the day.  But wow, the freedom that has come in acknowledging that God is pleased by my one thing.  I can do one thing in an act of obedience and worship to Him.  I can rest in doing that one thing. I can do that one thing well. I can choose to silence those pesky voices that say, 
"You're never going to get this done on time!"  "It's going to be a mess!"  "You should be able to keep it all together."  "You are going to embarrass yourself."  "You are a bad person because your apartment is messy."  "You should have responded to this e-mail weeks ago." "You should be better at this." "You're going to fall apart." "You don't have what it takes." "You are a failure." "You aren't good enough." "So and so isn't going to be pleased with you." You're not going to do a good job." "You don't deserve to rest." "You should be better at this or that."  
Ah yes, those are the voices that mess me up.  However, when I accept that I can only do one thing at a time and that God only wants me to do one thing at a time, my peace is restored.  It is admission that I am not in control.  I repeat, I am not in control. I am not in control.  Jesus holds all things together.  Many are the plans in a man's heart, but the Lord's purpose prevails.  God is sovereign.  God is good, and I can trust Him.  He gives grace moment by moment, not month by month!  His grace is sufficient for one thing. One thing at a time.

5.  God sees me.  He likes to remind me that He sees me.  He gives me just the right verse at just the right time, knowing I need it's prick of conviction or I need it's balm of healing or I need it's burst of encouragement.  He sees me and it makes me feel loved. 

6. He is working out His plan for me. In His time. See #1.

7. Single middle-aged men are becoming more attractive than they used to be. How did that happen?!