Saturday, November 22, 2014

Life.... It just got real.

My kids are small. I work part time and I am nearing the need to go full time, life is crazy and busy. Robbie and I have been married for 10 years and it’s not always easy. I’m nearing 31 and my expectations are too high…. 

Life is not a walk in the park. Life has not been “easy” for several years now. I struggle-- more as of late. I know others know what I mean when I say I feel like I’m walking up hill… in the snow…. With 47 pound boulders in each arm. I mean- I fed my kids cereal for dinner the other night and I sat there hungry because my brain and my body could not scrape up a meal idea. Ideal living? Nope. Did my kids think it was fun to eat breakfast for dinner? Yes. Yes they did (thank, God) But sometimes the feeling of “survival mode” lasts longer than one would hope. I DO NOT want to come off as sounding all sad and depressed. Because I know how blessed I am. I love God- who is ever-forgiving. I have a hardworking husband who is knee deep in chores and childrearing with me. I have healthy, happy kiddies.  But, that doesn’t stop my feelings of being overwhelmed. Of questioning what I need to do right now to “mold and shape” my tiny beings into great people. (they already are, by the way) of questioning how I can be better, how my  life can be more impactful. How I can answer that ever burning question of “what am I doing with my life?!?”

I legit feel like I’m trying to sort through a 100 year old attic of questions, feelings, contemplations, and events.  Cobwebs, dead mice, dust and all.

Brutal honesty? I’ve been dealing with feelings of inadequacy- allowing my thoughts to tell me that I’m failing in literally every aspect of my life. Through it all, I keep hearing the whisper that Jesus knows. He knows what I’m going through. He understands life. It’s struggles, it’s challenges, and it’s triumphs. (I referenced this briefly in my last blog…) He is SO MUCH MORE RELATABLE than we give him credit for! I mean, in the very, very beginning Adam and Eve lied right to the face of God. They were forgiven.  Abraham lied by saying that his wife was his sister. He was forgiven… and specifically chosen by God to do amazing works.  Moses murdered someone before he was called to rescue hundreds of thousands from slavery! Peter lied by denying Jesus (THREE TIMES!!) and he was chosen to spread the word of God an he was forgiven. Saul tortured and abused people who believed in God and he was forgiven- and look what he went on to do!! (He became Paul and wrote 13 books of the Bible and became the 13th apostle even though he was a liar, a murderer, and a hater of Christ).  Zacchaues was a traitor, but Jesus singled him out of a crowd of hundreds (maybe thousands??) Jesus was on the cross in an amount of pain and suffering that is unable to be put into words. And do you know what he said? Forgive them Father for they know not what they do….. FORGIVE THEM!!  Yet, I’m a failure? Nope. I belong in the exact same category as these great men of thousands of years ago. Because I’m forgiven. And God says so.

I may be doing a hundred things wrong a day. Am I trying to do right? Yup. Am I working with my own limited knowledge? Yup! Am I working off of my own experiences and trying to make educated decisions on what is right for myself and my family? Yup. Am I gonna screw up? Yup. Every. Single. day. Am I forgiven? YES!!! Do I have a free pass to make poor choices and decisions? Absolutely not. (that conversation is for another day! :o)) Does Facebook (and ALL social media) contribute to my struggles and feelings of inadequacy? Yes. Yes it does and I would like to look into that a little bit…

When we post on Facebook… who is it for? Me and myself? Are there posts out there to educate and alert others? Yes. Are there posts to update far away relatives of the goings-on in our lives? Yes. Are there posts for pure humor? Yes. Are there posts to glorify God and His amazing works? Yes!! Is 89.6% self-righteous and self serving? Probably. Do you feel instantly (even though it may be ever so slight) insecure when beautiful people post beautiful selfies? Or check in at the gym? Or post a family pic? Let me give you some truth: most people who post selfies take 13 pictures before picking the perfect one to post.  (I myself cannot believe the wrinkles around my eyes when I take one!!) Super fun family outing pics? There was probably some hollering and bargaining milliseconds before the pic was snapped.
My family’s instance? “Avery!! Stop hitting Addie!! “ “Addie!!! Stop picking your nose!!!” “Avery! Why did you take your shoes off?? We are in the parking lot and about to get out of the car!” “Addison Reese!! Stop rolling your eyes when I’m talking to you  This is the truth, folks. We post our best selves on Facebook and we could be making others feel inadequate and insecure while doing so….
you’ve done how many loads of laundry today?!
You cooked what for dinner?! (you mean you didn’t feed your kids cereal for dinner?? )
You went to the gym, the grocery, the post office, Target, and the bank today?!
You are all finished Christmas shopping and you bought everyone amazing expensive gifts without even batting an eye?!
Your family just returned from an utterly amazing week long vacation to where?!
All while my carpets need vacuumed. My fans need dusted. My kids need genuine, quality one on one time. My laundry needs put away.  And I’m working a ton of Saturday’s because Christmas is knocking on the door…

Have you ever noticed how often people are on social media when they are out to amazing dinners? Or on amazing vacations? Why is that? Why are people so afraid to disconnect? To be present and real in their own lives? I don’t have the answer for that…. All I know is I can no longer let this crap weigh me down. Life is dirty. Life is rough. There are bumps in the road. There are hurt feelings and broken hearts. I will no longer allow Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to be the measuring stick for which my happiness or success in life is measured. Because I know that I’m a hot mess of a person. I’m turning 31 in less than 2 months. I have a job, a husband, 2 small kids, 2 dogs, a cat, a home, and extended family that all require my attention. I’m not successful at life on the regular. I get that. BUT. I’m forgiven. God’s mercies and His grace are new every. Single. day.  He has specifically chosen me. He’s numbered the hairs on my head and I am worthy in His eyes. (and so  are you!!!!)

 Now… I have to go because I have a sink full of dirty dishes and a litter box to empty.
Glamorous? No.
Facebook worthy information? No.
Real life. Abso-friggin-lutley…..

Monday, November 10, 2014

Remaining faithful

I completed my 4th half marathon in September. It was pain free!! But I ran very tentatively. My slowest pace yet, but also one of my proudest runs. :o) I had the honor of running with my aunt- who says I inspire her?! Give me a break. She is the inspiration! :o)  I told myself to take the rest of the year off and cross train. I now know the importance of cross training, so I’m doing P90x3. It is so intense. It makes me cry and I want to quit. LOL. I’m 5 weeks in and I am going to stick with it! I can do a 30 minute workout 6 days a week! I don’t care how bad it hurts! 

 As far as not running? That didn’t last long….  (runners are beyond stubborn) Robbie got the 13.1 itch so he has been putting in some serious runs, and I’ve been bitten by the full bug. So, after a brief 4 week hiatus, I’m a runner again. It’s for the best, too because (I’ve said it before) my mental well-being and overall outlook on life is way better when I am actively running.  Every run brings clarity because it’s my church!  I can tell you, I’m not running enough because I’m stressed and frazzled. :o/ 

So much has happened that has left me disappointed in myself. Bad things happen. People say mean things. People let you down. This is a fact. I’m learning I’m far more sensitive than I realized. I’m also (unfortunately) learning that my faith is shaky at times.  I try to be logical- to solve the problems and figure out my role in situations and how they should be handled moving forward.  I don’t know why I run out of the faith pool like someone yelled “SHARK!!” I mean, really?!? I picture myself completely submerged and 100% trusting in The Lord and His plan. Then, someone says or does something that surprises me and upsets me and I try to run away from God. I try to take the reigns and right the wrongs. IT IS NOT UP TO ME!!!! I AM ONLY HUMAN. I NEED GOD. I need to surrender all of my hurts and stresses. Whether it’s in the realm of finances, careers, or relationships. I realize that relationships are strained and people are…well, human.  I realize that finances can be stressful. A dollar only goes so far and it seems like there are a million “needs.”  My jobs (yes, I have several) have been roller coasters lately. I don’t want to readily admit that I fail. But, I do. I panic. I stress out. And I fret. And for what cause? What good does it do? Why do I run out of pool shrieking when I can quietly pray? I revisit this lesson over and over. Sometimes multiple times a day.  Am I stubborn? Is it simply human nature? One way or another, I know there is peace to be had. A deep breath to be taken. A prayer to be said. I feel like I am really late (or unusually early?) with a new year’s resolution of sorts. Along with whole body strengthening and diet alterations I need to strengthen my faith and trust. In God as well as people.  Jesus is such a forgiver and I struggle with feelings of inadequacy and failure. Then I laugh because Jesus is way more relatable than most give Him credit for. Including me. I mean… Jesus was hurt and betrayed. People let Him down. People hurt Him. He suffered more before the crucifixion  than most do in a lifetime. So why don’t I trust myself to be real with Him? Why do I feel like I have to be polished to perfection before I can deepen my relationship? I DON’T! As I typed that I took a deep breath.  A sigh of relief? Makes me wonder if I truly believe my own words. Can I be really transparent for a moment? I’ve been frustrated lately because I tell myself, “Give it to God” what does that mean exactly? I can picture myself “handing” Him my stress and worries. But it doesn’t last very long before I’m chewing my bottom lip and worrying. (another deep breath…)

It’s going to be ok. This is a season of change and discipline for Robbie and I. We have been working with people at church as we go through the process to join the marriage ministry. It’s been such an amazing experience! We’ve been married almost 10 years and we’ve had some of our best conversations in the past 3 months. I’ve never really thought about it, but it’s crazy comforting to know that he has my back.  He can put up with my small doses of occasional crazy and I know he’s there. And he will be there. We have watched sooo many marriages crumble (especially over the past 12 months) and we are so excited to be a part of this ministry. I hope that through the ministry I can really work hard on consistency with my trust. Not all in one day and a freak out the next, LOL

I feel like I will look back on this season and be proud of how far we’ve come.  I know I have a lot to learn, but I'm praying that through the marriage ministry and through REACH (local outreach ministry) I will increase in humbleness and steadfastness. I can’t waste another minute stressing about money/work because when I do I miss the blessings right in front of me.  I can’t stress about how quickly the calendar fills up because then I’m not fully present at any event!  I have to let go of MY ways. My worries. My fears. My stresses. My hurts. And I have to embrace the warmth that is all around me.  Last deep breath. I already feel a little better. ;)

Isaiah 55:8  "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

Philippians 4:6 “Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”

Psalm 18:2 “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.”