That Monkey Had My Answer

This is another post I wrote for Testify several months ago. I find myself right back in this state of mind today, so I thought it would be a good time to repost it. Sometimes I wonder if this is a lesson I’ll have to learn over and over again for the rest of my life, or if I’ll ever really get it and learn to live like I believe it.

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I’m just going to be totally honest with you.  Right now it’s 11pm and I’ve been sitting in front of this computer for 2 hours trying to come up with something to write.  I have a lot on my mind these days.  Many people I love are struggling with big things right now, and whether it’s finances, grief, or illnesses, there is really nothing I can do to make it better.  My mind just swirls with all of the problems, all of the worst case scenarios, and the desperation of wanting to help with things that are totally beyond my control.

And then there’s the everyday…stuff.  What I need to write about, the work I need to get done, the lunches I need to pack, the homework I need to help with, and the baseball game we need to get to on time.

There’s never a quiet moment in my head anymore.  It’s just a never-ending stream of noise.  I put on a good show, I keep a smile on my face, but I can’t possibly handle it all on my own, and more and more I find myself feeling hopeless.

As I sat here procrastinating on this post this evening, I was glancing through the pictures from my day at the zoo this week with my 6yo and his class.  It was a great day and we took a lot of silly pictures, but as I clicked through them, this one really grabbed me.

I know it’s just a monkey sitting on a hill, but he looks exactly how I feel.  Everyone expects the monkey to be having fun, putting on a show and making the people laugh.  And while his buddies are doing just that all around him, he just sits in silence, looking as though he’s deep in thought, and refusing to play the part anymore.

As silly as it sounds, it brought tears to my eyes when I realized that monkey had my answer.  Part of me envied him being able to just sit quietly and be alone, with nothing expected of him.  His silence looked so peaceful.

So I started reading, searching for scriptures about silence, rest, and peace.  And the very first one that jumped out at me was Psalm 62:5, “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.”

I realize now that the constant noise in my head is because I’m trying to solve everyone’s problems on my own, and getting angry when the solutions don’t come fast enough or on my terms.  The outcome of that can only be the hopelessness that I have felt so often this past year.  I desperately need to learn to wait quietly before God, because my hope can only be found in him.

My prayer for all of us this week is that, no matter our circumstances, we will find our rest and our hope in Him.

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One Mile

I have a confession. I find it very difficult to write when I feel like I’m failing. So, the date of my last post should be a good indication of how I’ve been feeling lately. I feel like I have lost all control of my health. Even though I know how to lose weight, I know what works, and I know what I am capable of, I feel like I get fatter every day. I have a good week, I lose a couple pounds, I follow it up with a bad week and gain them back, and repeat the same cycle over and over and over again. As a result, I’m not gaining any ground so I get more and more discouraged and it gets harder and harder to try.

The distance between me and my ideal weight is enough to make me want to crawl in a hole and die. It’s so overwhelming that it seems impossible. But a friend, the one and only Patrick Allmond, has asked me more than once over the past couple of weeks what my fitness goals are. At first it was what my plan was for exercise last week. This week it was a suggestion to blog my goals and revisit them at the end of the week. Don’t tell him, but he has really had my wheels turning ever since that first question, and I have come to a very important conclusion.

I have no attainable goals.

That doesn’t mean that my ultimate weight loss goal isn’t attainable at all, but it isn’t attainable right now. What I need are smaller goals, reasonable goals that I can meet and feel as though I’m accomplishing things that are leading me in the right direction, little things that, in the end, will culminate in me reaching that ultimate goal that seems so unreachable now.

Exercise? I had no plan. I haven’t exercised in months. Mostly because I am not able to walk the brisk three miles I could when I was at my lowest weight. I don’t want to be reminded of my failure. Fitness goals? Duh. To lose another 100lbs. That’s what I did the last time I succeeded at this, so I haven’t allowed myself to see any point in between.

No wonder I keep blowing this.

Patrick already had my thoughts swirling, when my accountability partner (Thank God for her!) said to me today that she didn’t want to obsess over past mistakes or the fact that she has so far to go, or that she’s not as far along as she’d hoped to be at this point. I realized that is precisely what I’m doing, and it’s the very thing that’s keeping me from moving on. Everyone in this town watched me walk my way to a 110lb weight loss just a few years ago. I’ve been so ashamed about gaining it all back that I didn’t want to walk again and let them see how fat I am. The Weight Watchers leaders I had back then watched me lose that weight in exactly one year, with only one minor gain during that entire process. I quit walking into those meetings as soon as I gained a few pounds because I was embarrassed for them to see I had failed. I have literally gone into hiding because of my own shame, and, in turn, have actually made the whole situation worse.

I can’t do that anymore. So today, I started fresh. It doesn’t matter that I have lost and regained the same pounds 5 times, it only matters that I am on a journey to lose them again. It doesn’t matter that everyone in town who sees me walk down their street may be inside discussing how sad it is that I’ve let myself go again, it only matters that I am out there walking.

It doesn’t matter that I can’t power through a quick three miles. What matters is the one mile I did power through today. Because it’s one more mile than I conquered yesterday, and it’s one mile in the right direction.

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The Ones That Stick With You

(Totally unrelated photo, I just needed something to get my mind off this heat)

Sunday was business as usual this week. We rolled out of bed and managed to have the whole family dressed and somewhat conscious in time for our regular 8:30 experience (that’s “service” for all of you non-Lifechurchers). The message was on community, doing life together, surrounding yourself with the right people, etc. Sounds great, in theory.

Something has been eating at me for a while now, and up until this point I have been able to push it aside. But there was a part of the message this week that focused on friends who’ll be with you “heart and soul”, through thick and thin, good times and bad. That did it.

I recently noticed I had lost a couple of friends from my twitter followers, friends that I had met in person several times, friends that had, perhaps unknowingly, played an integral part in improving my self confidence and making me feel like I not only belonged, but was actually wanted as a part of a great group of people. I asked another friend about it, and the explanation I got for their sudden disconnect was that I had become a Debbie Downer and had one too many negative tweets of late.

I was thankful for her honesty, but it hurt me to the core. If you know me at all, or even if you don’t, it takes all of five minutes to figure out that I am a happy person. I am never very serious, I see the humor in everything and I enjoy laughing and making other people laugh. It takes a lot to knock me low enough to let people see that I’m hurting.

But in the past year, my mom has been diagnosed with breast cancer and gone through all the necessary treatments it takes to beat it, on top of that she basically went blind for several months, our family lost two of the most incredible people I have ever been blessed to know, and we had a school year full of bullying, confrontation, and frustration.

It was just more than I could handle, and my “all happy all the time” facade came crumbling down. I guess that was enough to send people running in the other direction. I lost numerous friends in the process, and not just online.

Here’s the thing about me. When I finally reach a low enough point that I am willing to let you see my hurt, it also means that I am willing to let you in. It means I need your help, I need a shoulder to cry on, I need to know it’s okay to be real and that it won’t scare you away. But i’m supposed to be the entertainer, the one who cheers everyone else up. Thats what most people want me around for, and if I can’t be that person, they’d prefer I not be there at all. I don’t open up to people for that very reason.

There is a silver lining, though. There usually is if you look hard enough. In this case, now that I am settling back into my happy place, I am left with those friends who truly care about me. I know who I can be real with, I know who won’t go running when I let them see me cry or on those rare occasions when I get down and depressed about life in general. Those are the kinds of friends that will stick with you for a lifetime. They are also the ones you may take for granted unless life deals you some trials and reveals those people for the irreplaceable treasures they really are.

For that I am thankful. Not for having to go through the pain of this past year, but for what it has taught me, and the friends it has brought me closer to. And above all else, I hope that it has taught me to be that kind of friend when someone needs me, through thick and thin, high and low, “heart and soul”.

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Frustration and the Fat Frog

I guess this house is some kind of critter magnet, because they just keep showing up in my back yard. The latest visitor, however, was someone I could really relate to.

That, my friends, is the fattest toad I think I have ever seen.

Also? That is pretty much how I feel every morning when I look in the mirror.

Now before you start thinking this is some pity party where I want you to leave comments telling me a) I’m not fat, b) I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, or c) I’m beautiful “on the inside”, let me assure you I don’t want to hear any of those things. Ever. Those are the ultimate “yes, honey, you’re fat but I don’t want to hurt your feelings” remarks and they don’t really serve any positive purpose. Whether or not I’m fat is not the issue here. If I didn’t know it before, I knew it the day my 4-year-old smacked me on the rear and said, “Hey mama, why’s it so BIG back here?!” (You know you really love someone when they say something like that and still live to see another day.)

The issue, rather, is that I am tired. Tired of being the “funny fat” girl, yes, but mostly just tired of dealing with it. I’m tired of having to obsess over every calorie I put in my mouth, tired of feeling guilty for eating what I want, tired of shopping for fat clothes, and tired of being ashamed of the way I look and hiding away in my house. I’m tired of brats at school telling my son how fat his mom is, tired of “friends” who used to invite me to dinner when I was skinny, but are ashamed to be seen with me now.

I’m tired of it being the main focus of my entire life. Every.single.day.

But guess what? It doesn’t matter if I’m tired of it. It’s my reality. And it’s not going to take care of itself. If I ever want to be a skinnier healthier mom, I have to obsess over it. Every bite of food I put in my mouth matters. Every minute spent exercising, or not, matters.  Every choice, every minute, every day matters.

I think the hardest part of this, for me, is the fact that it takes time. I’m a procrastinator, I work well under pressure and I like things I can complete at the last minute. But, try as I might, I can’t shed half my body weight overnight. Oh I’ve tried those things that promise to make you lose it fast, but I just ended up very sick…and still fat. The cold, hard, truth is that I have to work on this daily and it’s going to take a lot of time. And it will never be something I “complete”, because I’ll have to work at it for the rest of my life.

Maybe you can relate to my weight-loss struggle. Maybe you’re a size zero who eats a Big Mac for lunch every day and can’t understand it at all. But the truth of the matter is, we can all relate to the struggle of having to work at something longer than we want, having to face difficult choices on a daily basis, and having to learn to love where we are, at any given moment, while we work toward a painfully distant goal. Maybe you’re overcoming an addiction, making sacrifices to get out of debt, saving for your first home, or working on a degree to better yourself or your family. None of it happens overnight, and none of it comes easily. The best things in life rarely do.

What matters is that we continue to work at it. Even when we’re tired of it. Even those mornings when you wake up and want to forget it all and give up. Even when it feels like you will never.ever.ever reach your goal. We have to keep trying for it, one choice at a time, one step at a time, no matter how tiny the steps. As the saying goes, you’re either moving forward or sliding back. I, for one, want to keep moving forward.

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A Promise Out Of Context

Repeat alert! Today’s post is another of my posts from Testify. I think for most of you, it will be the first time you are reading it. If not, it’s something we all need to be reminded of from time to time. 

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When you’re 8 years old, there are few things more exciting than getting a new pair of shoes.  I remember being so anxious to get home from the shoe store so I could rip them out of the box and take them for a test run.  I’d make the whole family stand there and watch as I raced across the yard, certain that I was flying faster than ever before.

Now, I have an 8-year-old son of my own, and this weekend we bought him a new pair of shoes.  They aren’t just any old pair of tennis shoes, they are Vibram Fivefingers.  A “goofy looking pair of shoes,” as The Canadian puts it, that have holes for your toes just like a glove has for fingers.  The idea is that they mimic going barefoot while protecting your foot the way a normal shoe would.  They are certainly different, and they come with a lot of claims about their “barefoot technology”.  My 8-year-old is one for reading every detail about anything he comes across, and he latched onto those claims, just as he does with every informercial he sees.  He was excited, so I wasn’t about to burst his bubble.

The problem came when he went to school and began telling his friends about all the amazing things his shoes could do.  He got more excited and his stories got bigger, until he had convinced himself those shoes would make him run faster.  Inevitably, one of his friends finally told him, “You’re just as slow as you were yesterday.”  He was angry and frustrated when he got home, insisting that the shoe box said those shoes would make him faster.  It was a claim which, of course, the good people at Vibram never made, but he had convinced himself that it was real and he was expecting the shoes to live up to that expectation.

You can chalk it up to him being a child, but the truth is, there is a nonexistent claim that I hear adults make all the time.  Adult Christians are the worst offenders, and if you look hard enough on twitter or Facebook you’ll find at least one example of it daily.  It’s my biggest pet peeve, and I cringe every single time I hear someone say it.  The claim?  “Just remember, God will never give you more than you can handle.”

It’s the go-to line most people use to comfort someone in the midst of crisis or tragedy, when we have no way to make it better, and we just want to give that person a ray of hope.  The intentions are good, but as great as it sounds, that is a promise God just never made.

It most likely stems from the promise He give us in I Corinthians 10:13 where it says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”  But we have taken that promise out of context and changed it in such a way that it provides false hope.

The truth is, God will absolutely give us more than we can bear.  We have a tendency to think we can handle life on our own, and there will be times when God allows the trials to pile up until we are forced to admit we’re in over our heads and hand it all over to him, to lean on him and let him carry our burden while he brings us through it.  By telling people anything else, we are causing them to expect something from Christ that He just never claimed He’d do, much like my son expected those shoes to live up to a claim their creators never made.  We’re setting them up for anger and frustration with the one source that can provide them peace and comfort.

We are all probably guilty of using that line at some point in our lives, but the best thing we can tell someone in pain is the truth.  While it may not be pleasant to hear that things might, in fact, get worse before they get better, teaching someone to lean on the Lord while they go through the worst of it is the greatest gift we can give.

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The 4-Foot Photographer

I have always been one of those people who love to take pictures. I think it began as a safe way to ensure I was never in front of a camera, but over the years I have learned to love photography and my camera has become my faithful friend, never far from my side. It has also become a means of income as my hobby has slowly turned into a paying gig, so I am rather protective of my camera. That being said, when 4-year-old asks to use it to take a picture, the answer is obviously “no”.

But 4-year-olds are persistent little boogers. So persistent, that you blink and they suddenly become 6-almost-7-year-olds asking to use your camera. So a couple of weeks ago when Dex asked, yet again, to take a picture, I had a moment of weakness and handed him the camera.

I was expecting him to hold it in the wrong spot, bump the lens on something, or even have trouble getting it to take a picture at all. I knew it was coming, so I was right next to him, ready to jump in and take the camera back before he destroyed it.

But that time never came. He put the strap around his neck, got down on one knee and started shooting.

“Do you need help?”

“Nope, Mama, I got it.”

“Do you know how to zoom in?”

“I just turn this part right here, right?”

“Yep. That’s the one. Do you need help with the button?”

“NO, Mom, I think I can take a picture!”

And that was it. There was no stopping him after that.

From landscape to portrait, from wide angles to zoom, he was snapping photo after photo as though he had been using that camera his whole life.

“We may have finally found his ‘thing’,” I thought to myself. He’s obviously interested in it, he’s been asking to do it for almost 3 years. Most of the time he gives up after I tell him ‘no’ one too many times. But he stuck with it, and guess what? It didn’t kill me or my camera to let him use it.

Too often, I think we tell our kids ‘no’ because we assume they are too young to try something, and, let’s be honest, it’s just easier that way. But how many things are they missing out on because we’re unwilling to let them try? Tiger Woods was 2 years old when his father first put a set of clubs in his hands, and by the age of 11 he beat his dad in a round of golf for the first time. What if he had assumed a 2-year-old was too young to play golf and that he’d just end up damaging the clubs? I know if I put myself in his shoes, I probably wouldn’t have even thought to let my kid step on a golf course until he was 11, forget having 9 years of experience under his belt by that time.

My point is this. While our kids are young, they may not know exactly what it is they’re going to love doing. They might not have any idea what sort of hobbies they’ll stick with, or what dreams they’ll follow into adulthood. But it’s our job, as their parents, as role models, as teachers and friends, to allow them to explore everything, within reason, that they show an interest in. Yes, there may be a broken camera or a couple of bent up golf clubs along the way, but if it opens the door to the very thing they excel in, it’s worth every replacement part, every repair bill, every single dime. When they discover what they’re good at and it becomes what they love, they’ll be equipped to change the world.

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Super Summer Shenanyagans

I know the date on my last post might make it look as though there have been no shenanyagans going on around here the last few days, but, on the contrary, there have been so many shenanyagans the last three days, there just hasn’t been enough time to write about them. (Or take pictures of them, apparently, so enjoy my cell phone photos.)

School starts tomorrow. I’m not sure where the summer went, really, but it’s gone. We didn’t take a fancy vacation, we didn’t read like we should or practice our math facts, we didn’t go to Chuck E. Cheese or the zoo, we pretty much didn’t accomplish anything we set out to do when this summer break started. So this weekend, being our last official weekend of freedom, had to count for something. And count for something it did!

The festivities started Friday night, quite unintentionally, as we got wrapped up in watching Batman until 1 o’clock in the morning. Saturday morning, in turn, came much more quickly than usual, but we hit the ground running. The Canadian made a 7am run to the fabulous Missy’s Bakery for the greatest donuts in the world, which were quickly devoured by two half-asleep boys. By 11:00 we were on the road to cram as much awesomeness into one day as we could.

We hit up Curly’s for lunch, where we found the longest curly fry ever in the history of curly fries! (Just go with it, it’s easier that way.) Once we had full bellies we headed for the movie theater to watch The Smurfs. And let me just say, as a lifelong fan of the little blue guys, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the movie.

But I digress. On with the adventures.

After the movie, we headed for Orange Leaf. The boys had never been before, and they were pretty sure they had walked into some sort of frozen yogurt heaven. They immediately informed me that we would be returning. Often. We waddled out of Orange Leaf and headed for Wal-Mart to pick out movie snacks for home. Turns out, picking out snacks when your belly is full doesn’t work so well. We had to make a run to the gas station for more later when things actually sounded good again. Then we headed home and watched Rio right in our living room. Even poor buster fell victim to the party and ended up wearing a coffee filter for a hat. Once the movie was over, it wasn’t long before we were all ready to crash.

Sunday morning always involves church at the crack of dawn. We are those “8:30 service” people, but only because that means we’re napping by 11:30. Church is usually followed by breakfast at Braum’s, grocery shopping, and then a well-earned snow cone. (Grocery shopping is hard work when you’re only 6 and 8.) But this week, the boys skipped the grocery shopping and headed to the OSU Botanical Garden with their Poppa and wore themselves right out. All of this was followed by a magnificent 4-hour nap and a relaxing evening of television and games.

Whew! You’d think we would be drained after that. You’d be right. But we only had two more days of freedom, there’s no time for rest at that point!

We headed off to see the fabulous Julie for one last big adventure.

There are no words for how much those kiddos love her, so they’ll follow her anywhere. They spent the whole afternoon riding a zip line, causing trouble, exploring through canyons and making me feel old and fat while I tried to keep up. They spent the first half of the car ride home giving me 500 reasons why it was the “most awesome day of the whole summer” and the second half sleeping it off.

It didn’t take much to talk them into going to bed last night, and they slept hard until almost lunch time today. I’m guessing bed time won’t be met with as much excitement tonight, and tomorrow morning…well…that will be a different beast. But for now, we have squeezed out every drop of fun this summer break had to offer, so bring on the school year!

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The Toad Who Misses Everything

After what seemed like eleventy billion days of 100+ degree temperatures, yesterday began with a few glorious summertime thunderstorms, and ended up a gorgeous, cool and breezy day. We spent almost our entire day in the back yard sitting on the porch, playing some baseball, fishing bugs out of the pool, you name it. We weren’t about to be cooped up in the house all day when there were so many other things we could be doing.

The rain brought some critters out of hiding, and it wasn’t long before we noticed we had some company on the back porch.

He looked like the happiest little toad, sitting there taking a break in some fresh rainwater. We of course had to stop long enough to take some pictures of him. (It’s the only thing that keeps Dex from picking them up and trying to keep them forever.) But then I told the boys to leave him alone so he could venture out and continue on about his froggy business. We played for another hour or so and went inside to have some lunch.

When we came out an hour later, there he sat, right in the same place. Three hours after that, when The Canadian got home from work, he still hadn’t moved. He wasn’t taking a break at all. He had found a safe place, a comfort zone if you will, in the broken bumper of a toy car, and he didn’t seem to have any immediate plans to leave it.

I can’t say I blamed him, it did look pretty cozy and secure. But what he couldn’t see is that literally two feet away from him were the biggest, fattest, juiciest grasshoppers I had ever seen, a steady stream of other random bugs crawling across the concrete, and an old kiddie pool with three times as much of that fresh rainwater he seemed to love so much. Yet he was missing it all, because he refused to leave his safe place.

He and I have a lot in common. I’ve missed out on a lot of things in life by being unwilling to leave my comfort zone. And now, I have no right to complain about what I don’t have or what I haven’t accomplished because I made the choice to fall victim to my fears instead of pursuing the things I really wanted.

Mr. Toad finally left his bumper late in the evening when the chaos of a rowdy game of tag scared him away. It wasn’t because he was finally brave enough to venture out, it was only because his comfort zone wasn’t so comfortable anymore. The sad thing is, when you have to make a running escape, there’s no time to enjoy what’s been around you all that time. I don’t want that to be me. So every day, I’m making very deliberate moves toward stepping outside of my box, voluntarily, before I’m forced out in a dead run, missing out on everything around me in a desperate search for the next safe place.

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Kid vs. Tree

As we’re nearing the end of summer break, and 3 months at home with my children, I have become painfully aware of how often they completely ignore what The Canadian and I tell them. Oh we’ve had all the talks, the “We tell you no because we know what’s best for you” chat,  followed by the “We’re saying this because we love you” lecture, along with the frequent time-outs, the removing of toys and privileges, and anything else we can think of. But lately, and I hope I’m not outing myself as a horrible parent here, it seems like they never listen. And not only do they not listen, they have gotten old enough that none of our usual punishments seem to be enough to deter them from disobeying over and over again.

Sometimes, you just reach that point of desperation where you’ve tried everything, sat them in a corner, turned off the television, taken away every toy they own, and still just want to throw your hands in the air and give up.

And that, my friends, is where I was today, when a power bigger than I stepped in to run interference and save my sanity.

I posted earlier this week about the storms we’ve had, and while we didn’t get a lot of damage, there was a lone tree in a neighboring lot that couldn’t stand up to the winds. The boys spotted it lying on the ground shortly after the rain had passed and they’ve been dying to go see it ever since. We told them to get ready for church this evening, and that The Canadian would take them over to investigate before he went to drop them off.

“Don’t go over there without your dad. There could be snakes or you could get hurt.”

Famous last words.

You see, Roenick is just like his father, and his grandpa, and…well…pretty much every man on the face of the planet, in that his way is the best way, or at the very least, better than your way. There seems to be some confusion as to whether or not his brother told him they had permission, but either way they ended up at that fallen tree, all by themselves.

Literally three minutes later, Roenick burst through the front door…

…looking like he had been in a fight with a bear. But there was no bear, not even an angry raccoon, he had just climbed on the tree and promptly fallen off.

(The best part of this whole situation? Roenick yelling as I took his picture, “This better not end up on Facebook!! Oh mom, I know you’re gonna put this on Facebook!” At which point I assured him, “No it won’t. It’s going on my blog.”)

It was one of those moments where I didn’t even have to tell him he was in trouble, he knew it as soon as his face met the tree on the way down. So I walked him to the bathroom, cleaned him up, made sure he was okay and, like any good mother, I laughed at him.

Okay, so he may have gotten pretty mad at me for laughing, but it was worth it. He had finally learned his lesson. Mom and Dad really do tell us things for a reason, and when they say it’s because they love us, they might actually mean it. You can tell them those things until you’re blue in the face, but nothing really drives that point home quite like being attacked by a tree.

Kid vs. tree? Tree wins. Every.time.

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Whatever You Do

This post will be a repeat for some of you, as it was originally written when I was contributing to Testify. But I was reminded of it today while I tried to work on two different jobs, keep the kiddos fed and occupied, and try to come up with a blog post. My work wasn’t finished until 8pm, the kids were thoroughly bored most of the day, and the blog post never happened. I *know* that I need to take a few irons out of the fire, but every time I do, I just end up putting new ones in. I needed a refresher on this one, and I bet I’m not the only one. 

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If you could read my mind right now, it would look something like this:

“I really need to get some work done. Oh but I have a blog post to write. Hey, it’s time for my favorite show! Okay I’ll watch that and then I’ll work. No, I should probably write that blog post first.  What? There are new Angry Birds levels in the App Store? I’ll just download it, but I won’t play until I’ve written that blog post. Oh wow, that first level was easy! Maybe I’ll just play one more, and then I need to write that blog post. If I don’t get that blog post written I’m never going to have time to get my work done tonight. Oh crikey, 30 levels completed? I could probably just finish these levels and still have time to write that post. Oh that other show I wanted to see is on! What time will it be over? Will that be too late to get everything finished before bed? Okay I’m putting the Angry Birds down and I REALLY have to start writing!”

And guess what? Three hours have gone by and I have nothing to show for it.  I only devoted half my attention to those shows I wanted to see so badly, I flew through those Angry Birds levels and didn’t even take time to enjoy them, I haven’t touched my work, and I’m just NOW starting this blog post! I haven’t really finished a thing, and what I HAVE managed to do wasn’t done with any level of quality.

While playing Angry Birds or watching television aren’t exactly of great importance, I have realized that this is pretty representative of my thought processes lately. Whether I’m playing with my kids, organizing an event, or proofreading a transcript, I’ve got so many other irons in the fire that I’m not giving 100% of my effort to any of them. The worst part is, my prayer life, my Bible study, my time spent serving, you name it, are all suffering from my lack of attention as well. So not only am I taking on too much at once, I’m trying to do it all on my own rather than putting God at the top of my list and letting Him help me through the rest.

Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,”

Go ahead and read that again. “Whatever” is a pretty powerful word, isn’t it? “Whatever” tells me that no matter what I’m doing, now matter how important or even insignificant it may seem, I am called to do it with all my heart, not half of it. The second half of the verse tells me if I’m working at it for the Lord, I could probably significantly shorten my to-do list, because a lot of those irons I have in the fire are for me and not for Him, and certainly not because I’ve sought His will before I jumped in and started yet another new thing.

My prayer this week is that the Lord will show me where I need to be focusing my efforts, and that once I see that, I will have the courage to say “no” when necessary, and the willpower to put the more selfish desires on the backburner while I take care of what’s important.

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