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Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer 2012

This blog started out as a simple summer update, but became a rambling, stream of consciousness style piece about where I am right now spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. So, if you just want the summer update, just read the first paragraph and ignore the rest! 

There is a LOT going on right now. Like, muchas much! I am going to be preparing for taking on a few clients at a local Christian counseling center in the evenings (with all my free time, you know), and preparing for teaching my first GRADUATE level course in September, while holding down my full time job, and having college age summer missionaries coming to stay on my house for 4 weeks out of the summer (meaning it will have to be clean), going to Glorieta (yay!)  with the youth group for camp, going to the FIF concert in San Diego (Woot Woot!!!), and of course, taking care of my new kitten I procured three weeks ago, who is rapidly growing into a bigger, more agile and talkative kitten, as well as the dogs, that man I'm married to, and somehow in the middle of all this, maintain some semblance of sanity while everyone else in my family and friend group is hanging out all summer because they were smart enough to work at the school system instead of in Mental Health (where we do not get Summer, Christmas, or Easter breaks- that's right, students/school staff who are posting elatedly on Facebook; for most business people, summer is business as usual!).

Now, I am sorry that went in a complaining direction. The truth is, I have asked God for lots and lots of opportunities and activities in my life, and He has graciously given them to me- overwhelmingly, in fact. He has listened to my prayers and allowed me to be successful in lots and lots of things, and given me working opportunities other people would give a limb for. In a time of economic recession, I have been blessed with more jobs than I know what to do with, and more invitations to speak and sing than I can take.
As a young person, I prayed and prayed that God would use me in a mighty way, and give me purpose and a plan for the future. Now I sort of wish I'd prayed for rest and a little corner of the world all my own. People talk about "comfort zones" (a phrase I don't like because its overused, but I don't know what better to replace it with) and getting out of them- I'd rather like to find one. I don't think I know what this "comfort zone" thing is.  Every day is a challenge and I am never really comfortable.

But again, this comes back to what I have prayed for. I prayed for a different kind of life. I have prayed for opportunities to break out of the credit card and student loan debt which, sadly, identifies my generation. I have prayed for opportunities to work in a stimulating setting doing thing which make the world a better place. More than anything, I've prayed God would enable me to prepare our home to care for our future children, which means working- a lot- so we can be financially solvent enough to take care of them. God has given me opportunity after opportunity to prepare the way for them.

But He has not made it simple. He knows my tendency to do less than enough, to slack off, and to leave things undone. So He's been teaching me discipline, and what it means to keep going after I'm tired, not because I want to, but because the consequences would be so severe if I didn't. He's taught me that nothing moves without His hand guiding it, and I'm much less "in charge" than I think. He's taught me that life can be "on track" and still really hard, and that having so much doesn't mean struggles and challenges don't come. He's allowed me to experience what real despair, turmoil, and even terror feel like, so I am very aware of how people could commit major grievances and sins and "lose it,” in everyday situations. He's taught me that "how I feel" isn't as important as what I do, and often the right choices feel "wrong" because of my own emotional depletion. He's taught me I'm "as good" as the circumstances around me, and I have no righteousness on my own; push me hard enough and I will cave, like most people, into jealousy, deceit, and bitterness unless I am walking closely with my Lord. That is the most shaming lesson to learn of all. 

There is more to come, as well; He isn't done teaching me things from this period in my life yet.  I'm still trying to figure out the balance between what one can do and what one ought to do, and what it means to take care of myself when so many other people need me to take care of them. I'm still trying to figure out how to plan consistently for the future when there are obstacles in the way I can't see around. Things used to feel simple, the plan used to be simple. Work hard, marry well, avoid any majorly stupid life mistakes, and meet goals. Now, life looms ahead, uncertain. I avoided all the "big mistakes" and tried to plan things, but life still happens, even to us. And how much does God expect from me versus how much do I need to step out on faith and let him handle? 

So, here I am, standing on the edge again, not real sure how all of this will play out. I confess to you I have a real fear of going crazy because of taking on too much. But in my times of prayer and seeking of the Lord’s will, He keeps moving me forward. He is telling me to add, not to decrease, and I have hope that there is some rhyme and reason in the current chaos. Because I haven’t gone crazy yet, and if I’m going to go, I have to go all the way crazy, not just a little bit. All the way crazy means I would get to walk away from everything; a little bit crazy means having to apologize and pick up the pieces and deal with the big mess I made by deciding to lose it. And if I haven’t had a complete psychotic break by now, it’s most likely not going to happen. So I’m going to try to stay sane, instead, and go forward, believing that God has a hand in this craziness to fulfill the desires He placed in my heart, and do the mighty work He has planned in and through my life.