Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pasture & Kingship - Grace for Mistakes

My first post this year, entitled "2015 in all of it's Glory" was the first post in a while... Actually in almost six months. In the first paragraph of that writing I told you about some "advisement" I received in 2014 to stop writing for a while... In fact, someone e-mailed me with some things they believed God was leading them to share with me, instructions, if you will. In another post from 2014 (I think, I just tried to find which one and I can't remember the name so....) I wrote about being careful with who you allow to speak into your life. I advised you all - and myself - to compare the words of others to the bible and other things we know to have been true that were spoken into our lives, sort of an "in the mouth of two or three witnesses let everything be established." At the time the advice to stop writing for a while was given to me, I was praying about and trying to figure out which direction to take a few things in my life and because of that I decided, though I normally wouldn't just listen and stop writing it couldn't hurt... Even if it wasn't advice coming from God, taking it would only show my willingness to listen to whatever God had to offer.  

Truth is, I've been meaning to write this post for a while and probably shouldn't have left it for so long...  In "2015 in all of it's Glory" I wrote "I spoke with someone I trust and was told I definitely didn't need to pause my writings.." Thinking now about my lack of clarification in the first post regarding this I fear it's left the wrong impression... What was said to me was not all wrong.. Actually, the mix of what I viewed as accuracy and folly was why I needed the second opinion in the first place. If I understood all of the letter I would have just taken it as it came: if I didn't understand any of it or though all of it to be inaccurate I would have ignored it from the beginning.  I was confused about how one message could have been so mixed and still be true at all but I also worried that maybe I just didn't want it to be true. 

I now would like to explain some advice of my own again. In this recent situation I called someone I trust, both to give me instruction and to know me, the real me and be able to tell me if it was just a "the truth hurts" situation... And that was the right step to take. We cannot just ignore anything we hear that pricks our skin, sometimes it is the things we hear that hurt a bit which end up shaping us into a more beautiful person... Sometimes the truth does hurt, it's a breaking process that must take place in order to change the end product and let's be honest here, we all would rather be broken and beautiful over flawed and irrelevant. We all want to be used in some way whether it is to help others; to mend a broken heart through words, art or song; to build a family or a home; in some way we want to be used to change our immediate world and if that is our desire, we must be willing to change ourselves.

Another aspect of this story is the person giving the advice... Should that person never advise again, never speak into the lives of others? Give up on trying to be a guiding light in a world of storms? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Here's the thing, I said it was someone rather new to advisement... Whether new as in the first or second time ever or as in the first or second time in a long time it matters not; speaking wisdom comes like any other skill, not all at once, there will be falls and setbacks in the process... Sometimes you'll make a mistake but none of that means you should stop working and learning and becoming!  The same person I called to ask whether I should heed the advice or not explained to me that just like in any other area of life, it's a learning process and often when someone is starting out or restarting as the case may be, there will be a mixture of accuracy and inaccuracy and THAT'S OKAY, it's normal.

So whether you're giving advice or taking it, just remember don't check your brain at the door. Sometimes we can all be a little mix of right and wrong but just because we say one wrong thing doesn't mean it's all wrong. Most of all I just want the person who gave me the advice and anyone who is trying to develop a ministry or new skill to remember, you will make mistakes, there is a learning curve and that's okay! Keep going, keep reaching and creating and trying! 

Sometimes we think because it's a skill to do with spiritual things or something we do in church that we should just have it conquered the first time or it's not really God trying to use us and that's simply not true, we all need to develop! We can all agree that David was developing his kingship skills in his father's pasture caring for the sheep, I'm sure he made mistakes then, we all know he made mistakes as a king... We also all know that God called David to become king, so if David made mistakes after being called you can't expect to be perfect after you are called. Accept the process of learning and give yourself some grace for mistakes and most of all, keep heading for the kingdom!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I Jumped Anyway!

Well, it's winter in Canada and we are getting so much snow in such a short period of time... I was e-mailing a friend today who had asked if I've ever gone skiing and I wrote out the story of my one and only ski escapade! It is such an... Inspirational?.. Yes, inspirational story I had to share! ha!
Crabbe Mountain
I have gone skiing... It was not really successful, hah. I had never been on skis before and I went with friends, two guys, three girls... NOT a good plan for a beginner, haha! When we first arrived at Crabbe Mountain we went straight into the rental building, the young workers gave me snow-blades because they are shorter and easier to handle because they don't cross over as much as original skis would... However they neglected to mention snow blades make you go faster... Once we were all suited up in our ski gear our to the hill we trudged.  The guys and one girl immediately left us (we told the they could, I didn't want to be the newbie to hold them up while I was "getting a feel for the slopes." 

I went down the bunny hill seven times that day and when I reached the bottom on my seventh run my friend, Melissa, said “oh yeh, you are definitely ready, it’s really not that hard..” she smiled with all the support and excitement I should have been feeling but I didn't. I decided, however, Dave's Dream would be like the bunny hill but longer and maybe just a bit more steep, right? WRONG! Dave’s Dream? More like Suzie’s nightmare! Haha. 

Here are the things I didn't know at this point in my skiing experience: 

  • How to turn/weave (I still don't even know what the technical term would be) to make myself go slower down a hill or to steer around anything in the way, a child, a tree, a dear, it wouldn't matter, I'd most likely hit it... 
  • How to stop, I just fall over... 
  • They don’t powder any hills other than the bunny hill so the actual skiing hills may or may not be covered in jagged ice depending on last week’s weather... I got "lucky," it had been an ice storm two days before we went... 

I will stop this list here so I can tell you how I made out "skiing" down the first half of the hill... Not well. 

While skiing down the first half of Dave's Dream, I kept having to throw myself over every few feet because I was going too fast for a beginner, watching the shards of ice fly by was more than a little intimidating... You can imagine the thoughts of injury running through my head almost as swiftly as I was speeding down the hill... Of course the fear made me crouch down a little, which as you most likely already know would only make me go faster.  So, throw myself down, at least that's a controlled fall?  I would rather that than a bad, uncontrolled tumble down "the Dream" and break something or rip my face up. I fell so much it got to the point that I felt bad enough for my friend that I made her ski to the bottom and wait for me so she could at least have some fun... I then proceeded to try to make my snow-blades and bum a slide by spreading my feet a little more than shoulder width apart and dragging my hind parts in the snow... I also drug my poles behind me to slow me... Sorry to all of you skiers who are cringing at the thought of how ripped up I would make your precious packed down trail but I was trying to save my life here! ha! It worked! I almost ripped my arms out of the sockets but it worked, I made it to the bottom of the first half! 

Oh yes, one detail I cannot leave out of my "skiing journey" on the first half:  the snow patrol stopped to ask if I needed help.... That's right, you know, the guy on the ski-do (usually cute and this one was no exception) apparently thought I was flailing around enough to look like I should be helped and/or evacuated.  Of course, embarrassed, I blurted out “no, no, this is how I do it...” Yep... Proud blonde moment there. 

SO I get to the bottom and they have what looks similar to a cow corral... My friend tells me, with a smile and encouraging tone “okay, so, now we ski over there, in the same ‘lane’ and jump on the [always moving, never stopping] chair lift.”  Continuing on with the list of things I didn't know: 

  • How to cross country ski, I just high-stepped sideways to get anywhere to this point.. Which I couldn't do in the "cow corral" because even though I was wearing the shorter snow-blades, they were still wider than the lanes... 
  • I didn't know the chair lift never stops you just get to sort of jump on, kind of like jumping into a double dutch skipping challenge, except with way greater potential of injury.
  • That the part of the chairlift you bring down over your lap to hold you onto the chair wouldn't actually lock in at all so you just hold on for dear life... 
  • I didn't realize (although I should have.. of course, at this point it’s too late even if you do) the chairlift also does not stop when it’s time to get off.

Don't worry about me, I'm a problem solver, I just high-stepped over to the cow corral and then drug myself through with my, now maimed, arms.  I swallowed my fear and jumped on without incident, hey, John Wayne said "Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway." so I did.  Once we were mid air, Melissa kindly informed me “so, see where it’s turning up ahead? We just jump off there and you’ll automatically be skiing down the next hill...” again with one of her trademark smiles. That sentence, apparently, was my breaking point, my eyes welled up with tears and I cried “I CAN’T DO THAT, I don’t know what I’m doing!” I should probably now mention there was some poor snowboarder kid stuck in our chairlift beside me, the crazy, blonde, crying lady.. Oh, but again, no worries I consoled him “It’s okay, I am okay, I’m just scared, I've never done this before..” as I smiled through my tears... It probably scared him more and he didn't respond.  All I could think was, "what if the never slowing chair cracks me in the back of the head and I get knocked out!? People will just have to jump on me until someone moves me out of the way..." or "What if I jump a little too soon and go backwards down a non-ski hill?" "What if I trip someone else?" "What if I just can’t get going?" Soon enough my thoughts carried me to the top of the hill and............... I jumped anyway! I made it over to the lift pole to take a minute to gather myself and skied down the bunny hill to safety.  Thankfully, it was lunch time and the guys were waiting for us to go into the lodge for some much needed nutrition. After they ate they all went back out to enjoy the rest of the day on the slopes while I enjoyed a live acoustic band and hot chocolate by a fireplace in the chalet.

So the point of all of this, and the reason I decided to share is because I've been scared of lots of things, some more serious and others not.  Some things I've been afraid of have held me back and now I wish I would have jumped anyway... You see, the point is, I didn't know what was going to happen, I only had scary experiences to compare it to... And no, I didn't start something I will probably ever really enjoy or maybe even do again but I did it and I was fine... Now I know what skiing is to me and I'm glad I do. So whatever it is that is scaring you out of possibly moving forward into the unknown, whatever leap you're not so sure you're willing to take, this post is just meant to be a little push. I jumped anyway, will you? 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

In Process: Type A and Getting Comfortable

Well how's this for honesty, I've found myself telling someone a few times in the past couple of weeks that I can't be pressured into decisions... The more I feel you want me to make a decision (especially if I know what way you would like to sway my decision) the less I want to make it. Ugh, what an undesirable quality to admit to... Nevertheless, it's just something I deal with. Now, I don't always let that stop me from making a decision but I have to admit, it's sometimes difficult to make the decision expected of me simply because I don't like expectations in general.

Another of my decision irritations is not having all the information I would like... Many times in life I've had to make decisions with less information that I felt was needed, I know, "you take what you have and go with your gut" but I am a little type A (a little, yeh, we will pretend that exists) I analyze and try to use logical thoughts and basis. I don't like the whole world of no guarantees or grey areas, I want black and white, if I need more information I want to be able to get it immediately.  Even if I'm planning a trip I want to just mention it once and book it right away, that's not how it ever works out and I resent that, ha!

It's a strange thing for me to be so adamant about decision making timeline and process because in many ways I am a "go with the flow" type of girl... When I'm on vacation I don't want a timed itinerary, maybe an idea of the day but if we are driving and see a cute restaurant I want to be able to stop and explore, if there's a beach just around the corner I may want to stick my toes in that should, and if you try and wake me with an alarm clock you may not make it back home..... 

Lately there's been some decisions in life that don't need to be made now but I want to make them now, it's all I can do to just let myself experience the process of "finding out." There are people around me who think they already know the decisions I should make and others that don't understand why it's so difficult for me... When I say difficult I mean, I can actually make myself feel nauseous just thinking about it for too long, ha! Okay, I don't understand that one either actually, but apparently it runs in the family? 

It's difficult for me to be open to learning and experiencing when I don't know the outcome... I so wish I was one of those "throw caution to the wind" and "just don't think about it" types but alas, I'm plagued with an hyperactive mind, haha! I'm trying to learn, forcing myself to realize that not knowing outcomes is part of life and it can actually be an exciting part.  We cannot hold ourselves to account for allowing a process to take place only to be disappointed in the end, because even when we are handed a less than desirable outcome we've learned to be open to possibility in the process. Sometimes we must make decisions one step at a time and if one day we end up leaning in a completely different direction then we had thought at the beginning, that's okay too.  

There have been a few things I've been telling myself lately (and that friends have been telling me) that have helped me to just go through the experience of "finding out" in a situation I might normally cut off too quickly... First, "don't over think" - trust me, I'm the queen of thinking and this is much easier said than done, but at least for the first part it helped me to repeat this to myself internally each time my mind journeyed a bit too far. I would distract myself with other thoughts and make myself forget for a minute and it helps.  Second, "It's okay not to know and to find out, even when things don't work out as you have thought." It's a normal part of life not to know everything and to proceed cautiously with what you know in the moment. Give yourself space to find out you were wrong, or too positive, it's better to have found out that way than to find out you halted a blessing from being poured out into your life. Third, "treat it as training" - at first glance this may not make sense in all situations but if you take a minute it will... Even when things don't work out we learn, we are better next time... And even if there is no improvement to skill with respect to the situation we can improve in dealing with trust, with experiencing, with being comfortable in process.

The experience, journey and process is life and if we are avoiding the process because we want (or don't want) to make decisions we are missing the point.  Sometimes life requires we take the scenic route and sometimes we never reach the intended destination... But who's intentions are they? If they are only a destination we thought we should end up in then it may be okay not to end up there... We need to pray more about the process and trust that if we take it one step at a time with prayer guiding us we will end up in the destination God has planned we should go and that's better than any place we could imagine in the first place!  The bible says in Psalm 37:23 "The steps of a good man [or woman] are ordered by the Lord..." so if you're praying and actually talking to God asking Him for his opinion and direction, if you are taking the Word you know and searching for His will than your steps will be ordered and you shouldn't be worrying about it! Put your faith not in the process itself but in the God of the process. There is also a second half of that scripture "and He delighteth in his way!" God delights when we are experiencing the way, the journey, the process... Trusting His direction brings Him delight even when it sometimes brings us Type A people an ulcer! ha (okay, it's not quite that bad.) So here's to being comfortable while still in process!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015 in all its Glory

Hi all, it's been too long! I'm sure you've noticed... Well, I was "advised" to take a break by someone rather new to advisement... And, although I spoke with someone I trust and was told I definitely didn't need to pause my writings, I decided it couldn't harm me... I had been needing some time for my own private thoughts and prayers and personal growth and it would show God that I'm serious about my relationship with him, no matter what he asks.  At first I planned to take one month but one turned into two, into three, and well, you know. It's a strange thing really, I feel so much has changed yet the surroundings are the same. 

So what's the plan for 2015 in all its glory? I have no idea, and that's okay.  I have no real new year resolutions or set-in-stone strategy written out but I will experience everything the year has to offer in its fulness! My intention for the year is to live heart wide open! I will move forward with purpose and passion! I will work on myself and change the rough edges. I will pray and worship with all my strength. I will focus my mind on good things and remember the grace given me. I will extend grace to those around me. I will continue to learn how to love myself better and motivate myself into a kinder, stronger, wiser self. 

You may not notice change immediately, maybe not ever, but I will continue to change and you should too! Whatever it is that makes you a better person, you know what it is, take time for yourself to think about it, be intentional about your actions, don't give up as soon as you slip back into the old way of your mind, appreciate the fact that you now recognize that it is your old way and get up the next day with new resolve to move forward. It's okay to have a bad day, we all do and will, give yourself room to make mistakes, the road to success always passes failure.