Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Life...In The Balance ~ Growth Unfolding

I don't appreciate my life enough.

I know this because I am the middle of  a season of loss...all around me...I have friends entering hospice, I have friends of friends entering hospice, I have friends scheduling major surgeries, I have friends losing uncles and wives and children, I have babies being born via a funnel of risk, I have mothers and babies living in a web of risk as they go through their day, I know marriages struggling, friendships dying, professional relationships damaged, and I, as is privy to my personality type, feel it....All.

I also feel the joy in a deeper way. I feel the joy of new life entering right when the atmosphere gives a five minute snow, winter's version of fireworks to celebrate the birth of a baby. I feel the joy of hope...however small....that God is in control of not one life, but two. I feel the joy of friendships holding on...digging in for the long haul. I feel the joy of employees who are learning and growing...their self-esteem building...every day. I feel the joy of new dreams springing up in 2015 where old dreams were laid to rest in years past. I feel it...All.

There was a time I didn't want to feel so much. Life felt heavy and too much. I still can feel that way from time-to-time, but when I do...I see it more as an urge....a burning need....to write. I am not a person who needs to keep things bottled up inside. If (or should I say when) I do, I tend to blow...Big. Tears. Big. Anger. Lets just say I can display....ALL of the emotions granted a human. I have BIG feelings, and I know how to express them.

Yesterday as I simultaneously watched one of my dear employees and my dear business partner, watching one out of each eye, tears falling out of each of them (and theirs)...go through the emotions of a lot of shockingly bad health news...I just prayed to God for control over my own BIG feelings in the moments and begged for the words and actions to take care of two dear people. God showed up...for them, for me. He just swooped in and showed up. Our God the great comforter...and he is.

Me. Last night. After I had crawled into bed and pulled the covers up to my chin. prayed, given thanks, and for a few seconds wished I was 4 years old again and life were simple.

A friend of a friend of mine wrote this post the other day entitled By Degrees - Living and Dying. Her name is Kara Tippett and I met her friend in Haiti in 2014 which is also when I heard Kara's story and started following her blog (i.e., stalking her). I hope my friends say a tenth of the lovely descriptions of me that Kara's friend shared of her. I didn't doubt any of it. Then I read Kara's blog. I suddenly questioned my friend's honesty...she had held back...Kara was even MORE amazing than she had described. So while I have been genuinely and literally undone since reading Kara's blog on the 29th...I hesitated to write about it...then Ann Voskamp wrote THIS yesterday. Well...basically I didn't have anything to add to the awesomeness of her words.

Until now.

An ambulance just drove past the window, lights and sirens on....

Life...In. The. Balance.

Do I live my life like it is in the balance?

I. Do. Not.

I live my life like I have nothing but time...and I don't. No one does.

I think some who know me and my past health issues would question don't I already know this lesson...well. I do, I mean I did, I mean...what I learned was to run faster, harder, get it all in....what the past year and these past weeks especially have taught me is that maybe the lesson isn't run faster, but slow the heck down. Slow. Down. Savor it. Every single moment. This requires, after the lobotomy, me to breathe...deeply...in....and....out. This is hard stuff.

I am four days into a 30 day experiment (okay challenge) by my IF:Tribe to spend 90 minutes (one 30/one 60 (am/pm)) in silence/prayer/meditation. Think daily covenant of silence. No music, television, computer, etc. during the time. I have been wrestling with doing this for four years. I am both excited and nervous. This is insane. INSANE.

So what has happened in four days? I am completely hooked. I feel like I have been let in on a giant secret that everyone else knew that I didn't.

My journal this morning (bear in mind all that yesterday brought)...

"Submission (to this time with God in quiet) = Preparation = Thriveability which looks more like living a life with Jesus and less like surviving a life and then pleading and crying to Jesus in the middle of the crisis, "Why?!?!?""

So is it really this simple?!?! I consecrate and sacrifice and give him my time daily and he gives me the tools for my toolbox to survive whatever comes at me which now looks like, "Hey God this is all yours (giving it up and my control with it) and then he shows up (and that looks like what he wants not necessarily a full healing, etc.) and then I praise him for it and we do it all over again the next day.

#mindblown

I sat in my bed this morning reading my journal since Sunday and the chapters and verses in Psalms where I had felt drawn Sunday and Monday night...and then reviewed again in my mind all that had occurred yesterday...and then last night as I was pulled back in again to read again those same verses in Psalms....and I am wondering has this been the lesson all along? Did I just find some sort of secret society/national treasure code and break it?!?! I wanted to cry, but all I could do was laugh at the enormity of my new knowledge..in all of its simplicity.


So then I sent eight text messages to my C7 detailing the past four days and closed with, "What do you think? Have I finally lost my mind?!?!"

I wish I wasn't so selfish...but I am....so I will not share their beautiful, hysterical text messages. Those are for us, and they are priceless to me.

They didn't think I had lost it. In a nutshell, they see it as...Growth. #bless

One said, it is like watching "growth unfolding" to which I wept right after I laughed.

On my bathroom there is a post-it note with four words from Psalms 51: pure heart, renew, joy, willing spirit which I put on my mirror Tuesday morning (before Tuesday's storm)....last night as I was re-reading Psalms 51 and Psalms 7:17, God was reminding me that praise must follow deliverance as surely as prayer springs from need...I do a lot of the praying, but do I follow it with the praising...yesterday I got the follow-up/word problem in the lesson of a lifetime. I am just hoping I was praising enough...

So what does all of this mean???

There is this place that you and I reside between life and death. It is filled with seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and if we are given it...years. There are many ways to live it....but lets narrow it to two: one that has you reacting to every change in the wind direction and reacting in short-order, or a second that has you resting in the knowledge that someone bigger and more powerful than you has control over everything and if you give it up to him, it might not come out exactly as you want, but it will come out and you will learn lessons, live fully, love well, and see things in this world that only someone who is looking at this world....this life...not through their eyes, but through their heart. The place where Jesus truly abides in us.

The truth is that I don't want to see my terrified employee with a health crisis through my eyes which are clouded with selfish concerns and questions. I want to see my terrified employee with a health crisis through the eyes of Jesus. My reaction, shocker of all shockers, is completely different depending on the lens I choose (his or mine).

I choose his.

Mine are getting weak and short-sighted anyway...and even the glasses to help don't fit right. ;)

I choose Jesus.

I need his wisdom...discernment...grace...for others...and then #bless for me.

I am growing..no doubt. God has sent me a tribe that is challenging every "comfort" I have making me dig in the uncomfortable and the results are leaving me breathless. What God is also doing is teaching me how to live life in the balance. A place that has been more like a fairy tale or something I read about...not necessarily something I have actually experienced or know anything about really (#blessmyheart). I thought I knew...but running this race...well lets say running is not the speed or method with which I was meant to live. Imagine...it only took me 43 1/2 years to figure it out. *Deep Sigh*

So here I go diving into this new pool of knowledge. Balance.

I am grateful that God gave me the years needed to learn these lessons. I may be the slowest learning still taking up oxygen on this planet.

So...I ask you....are you living life in the balance? You tithe or give money to church or charities....but what are you tithing of your time to God? A tribe member asked me that Sunday and I was too ashamed to answer. If you want him to lead you, how can you be led if you spend no time with him? Make the time. I am looking at the time I spend with my team at the office. Individually. As a group. What is my individual investment in them as it pertains to time? The answer for me was sobering. God is in our relationships. What are you bringing to the table...the one with him, the one with family and friends, or the ones at work. Who are you doing life with? What are you investing in those lives? Your life? This isn't to shame you. It is to ask the deeper question. As John Eldredge would say, "...the next question."

....and just in case you were wondering #growth sucks

It is also the most wonderful gift I have ever been given.

BTW...thanks and praise to God for that. I appreciate the time given me.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)