Sunday, September 15, 2013

Somewhere along the way I forgot . . .

Last night I watched a truly great man be honored for his contributions as the president of Compassion International. It was very emotional and challenging to see person after person stand up and show what this one man's answer to God's call meant for their lives. When it was his turn to speak, Dr. Wess Stafford told a story about the building of the Notre Dame cathedral. A journalist comes to a worker with tools and a rock and asks what he's doing. The worker replies, "I'm hammering on this rock." He comes to the next worker who is doing the same thing with the same tools and asks him what he's doing. The worker replies, "Well I'm trying to make the side of this rock smooth so it will fit into the foundation somewhere over there" He walks over to the next man who's doing the same thing and asks him what he's doing, what his job is. The worker stopped and looked up with tears in his eyes and said, "I'm building a cathedral for my God."

I think somewhere along the way I've forgotten that I'm in the cathedral building business and I've moved on to just beating on rocks so that they fit in place. That's on a good day. Some days I think I might not even have that much of a clue as to what my purpose is. I'm more likely just blindly beating on a rock. It's time for that to stop. It's time for it to build the cathedral in my marriage, in my parenting, in my relationships, and in my advocacy. I knew this walking into church this morning where the message was basically that this isn't even done by me, "but Christ lives in me."

This seems unfinished because it is. It's right here, right now and I don't have further answers or plans. I don't know how to build a cathedral. I don't even know if I know the right places to hammer on the rocks. "But Christ lives in me."

Watch Compassion's service as they honor Dr. Stafford and pass the torch to the new president, Jimmy Mellado

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Voices in the Dark

When the lights are low and the breaths beside you are slow and rhythmic, sometimes you hear things. Not things that go bump in the night, but voices. Voices in your head that remind you of things you've done, things you've thought, and lies you've believed. And it's  hard, because the voices are as accurate as a history text. 

It's easy to find yourself back in the negative cycle of accusing yourself and remembering even more wretched behaviors, feeling the guilt pile grow higher and higher. But sometimes, even if it isn't often, you remind yourself that these aren't yours to carry anymore. You've asked for forgiveness and been assured numerous times that your sins have been covered, and nothing has or even is allowed to change that. And you find yourself asking forgiveness for forgetting. You think this might be a good time to catch up a few days on that Bible reading plan. You read in Luke, "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” 

And maybe you've never seen it this way before, but you start to apply these words not just to your relationships with others, but to the way you see yourself. Suddenly you find that you really can't even afford to slip back into that self-condemnation cycle. Too much rests on your ability to forgive and move forward. Tonight Light wins and the voices quiet, leaving only peace and sleepiness in the dark.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

A Family Chosen

Anyone who knows me would call me an introvert, and it's very true. However, I'm an introvert with a pretty strong need for people. I don't want to organize the people or feel comfortable introducing them to each other. I certainly don't want to be at the center of the people. But I definitely want to be in the group. And obviously not all groups are created equal, but there are those groups where you feel comfortable in your own skin without fear of what will happen if those dialogue filters in your brain fail you and you say something embarrassing or inappropriate.

I got my first taste of these groups with a few friends that I had in grad school. Around the same time, we watched and read Bridget Jones Diary. I don't remember if it was in the books or the movie, but somewhere in there she referred to her tight-knit group as "urban family", and it made perfect sense. In these groups there is a connectedness that you typically think of as reserved for family. I think in some cases, you can be even closer to this "urban family", depending on your own family dynamic. I'm not saying that it should supersede your blood family, because I don't think it should. However, I don't know that I can think of my own groups as less like family. Sometimes "friend" seems too commonplace and "family" more accurate, especially when they are friendships within the Church (big C Church, the whole thing, not necessarily your local church). I have hundreds of people under the label "Friends" on Facebook, but I would said that the relationships I have with most don't feel like family.

My kids are the ones who bring this to my mind most often. They seem to get this concept so well in the way they choose people to really let into that inner circle, the people they allow to really love them. It comes out in their celebrations and in their prayers. For my youngest, it shines all over her face when she sees one of "her people", especially unexpectedly. I love that we share people. Mostly I love that she hasn't learned to temper her excitement. She never worries, "What if you don't like me as much as I like you?" That idea would seem absurd to her four-year-old diva brain even though it's something that I've struggled with as long as I can remember. And all we can do is try to unlearn the fear, to decide that family is worth the risk. The idea of being called to love has in my head for a while, and it occurs to me that I can't do that while holding other people at arm's length. So I have to keep trying. And it isn't really a task of trying to love people, because these people are completely lovable  The task is in deconstructing walls that have been put up over years and years of rejection and fears of rejection (and, let's face it, perceived yet nonexistent rejection). And it's not easy, but so far it has always been worth the effort.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Words on a Page

You can let a lot of time go by without doing something. So much time that you then don't want to come back to it because you're embarrassed about how much time you allowed to pass without doing doing the thing. So more time passes. More regret piles on. I do it with lots of things. Contacting friends, scheduling appointments, Bible reading plans, cleaning a closet, and, obviously, writing a blog. I can say that I haven't had much to say. That wouldn't be entirely untrue. But there have been things written in my head that have never found there way from there to the laptop. Today isn't much different. I still don't have much to say, but I figure that if I just say something that I've broken the cycle of a regret-filled silence.

And just like when I do most of those other things I keep putting off because I delayed for too long, it's not as bad as I made it out to be. I'm betting that the organization of my homeschool shelves (that I've talked about doing since Christmas) will be much more painful! So what about you? Where are you most likely to procrastinate? How do you stop the cycle?