Monthly Archives: August 2013

Protecting Myself: Cynicism or Stewardship?

I’m having a beautiful week in which I’m struggling deeply.

You see, throughout the past year, God has been teaching me to take care of myself.  He’s been teaching me that I am a person of immense value, that He has given me gifts and talents that He expects me to use and grow in for His glory. He has been showing me that what I do to glorify Him is not always visible to others OR for the benefit of others; in fact, this past year, most of what I’ve been up to hasn’t been seen by anybody. It’s on display to Him and it is done for Him. I exist for Him, so neglecting myself, neglecting my talents is NOT glorifying to Him.

Somewhere during the past year, I have become a fierce protector of my time, gifts and talents, energy, and resources. (Full disclosure: I have family and friends who will tell you I’m not fiercely protecting anything, that I’ve just gotten better at protecting these things. But I feel fierce, so…) Most of the time, I’m so thankful that God provided in such a way as to give me time to focus on my writing and producing, that I have time to be present for friends, and that I have freedom to pursue these things without being bogged down by this pressure to perform. Other times, like this week, this accusatory voice in my head tells me I’m being self-centered and cynical.

After all, I’m really selective about the church ministries I take on and there have been times when I’ve stepped away from involvement in ministry altogether, so I have the time to recharge my relationship with God and to work on things I enjoy. I feel cynical establishing boundaries in ministry, like if I don’t look out for myself, people will walk all over me. I feel bad doing things I enjoy when they aren’t church and ministry specific.

But.

God is a good Father. He gives us good things to enjoy. Writing, reading, producing are all things He has given me to enjoy. I’ve been blessed for a season to be able to use these gifts in tandem with my spiritual gifts for the benefit of the church, but these gifts are not exclusively for the church. They are to bring my Father glory and delight, and I believe on some level, they are intended to bring me joy as well.

So I’m not being selfish, even though the church is not likely to benefit much (that I can tell) from this upcoming season in my life. I’m just trying to honor God and enjoy the life He has given me; whether that benefits the church or doesn’t is in HIS hands.I love the church dearly, but my life does not exist for the church. Of course, I’ll still be involved, but just as with this past year, I’m going to be selective about what I take on and cut-throat about what I let go of.

I don’t set up boundaries to be cynical and defend myself from people who would walk all over me. I do it to protect the good things God has given me. Things I don’t want to waste or destroy. I think that’s called stewardship.

 

 

 

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The Elephant and the Mountain

This is one of those intensely personal posts.  At least, it’s intensely personal to me.  It’s both metaphorical and literal, but it comes from a deep part of my heart. 

I don’t believe in soul mates or “the one.” In fact, when it comes to matters of love in relationships, I am completely unromantic. I’m practical. I believe in choices.

This week, I made a choice.

If I believed in soul mates or “the one”, I might have made a different choice. Because if I believed in such things, I just walked away from mine.

But I don’t believe in soul mates or “the one.”

I believe in choices.

In the case of the elephant and the mountain, neither choice was blatantly better or worse  than the other, more or less God’s will. In fact, they are both excellent options. Both give me peace, and both come naturally.

I didn’t know it was a choice until the elephant was gone. I was a little bit panicked, at first, having lost the elephant. I wanted to retrace my steps to find the it, but in my heart, I already knew where I lost it. The elephant could not come with me where I had resolved to go.

I didn’t actually see the mountain until after the elephant had disappeared. I didn’t even know there was a mountain, but when I saw it, I just knew. I was made for this mountain.

This choice puts me in a different trajectory than what I had planned, and yet, it’s somehow exactly what I’ve dreamed about and imagined.

My New Year’s Resolution for 2013 is Psalm 37:3-5, 7a: “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass … Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” As I have trusted, delighted in, committed my plans to, rested in, and waited on God this year, I realize more and more who I am created to be. And as I grow more and more into that, options begin to disappear on their own.

It’s a beautiful thing!

“God gives us a vision and then puts us in the valley in order to sift us, sand us, discipline us, prune us – in other words, to rid us of all that would be a hindrance to us climbing or living on top of the mountain.” ~Dr. Charles Stanley, The Source of My Strength

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In Failure or Success

Teach me Your way!

It’s been two years since I graduated with my Bachelor’s today. Sometimes, I feel like my life is not coming together. I don’t really have a career, still live with my parents,… If I think too long about it, I can start feeling like a failure. I have to remind myself that during this time of being between full-time work, I am getting to do things I haven’t been able to do in years. Things like writing and making serious progress in the novel I haven’t touched for three years (because I was in school and working, and then working and working). Things like reading for fun, and not for school or analysis. Things like producing video. I still want a full-time job, and am earnestly seeking one, but I’m also trying to enjoy this interim.

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That Awkward Moment When…

That awkward moment when a character in your story opens her mouth, and your mother comes out. Gotta’ love writing.

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Writing Problem #231,546

Writing a funeral scene with critical information in it for one revision, keeping the character alive in the next revision, eliminating the need for a funeral, but also no way to relay the critical information.

Rats.

I think I need to stop revising and just keep writing.

Or else I’m going to give myself writer’s block like nobody’s business.

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Not My Show

“If You wanna steal my show, I’ll sit back and watch You go
If You got somethin’ to say, go on and take it away
Need You to steal my show, can’t wait to watch You go
So take it away.”

~Toby Mac~

Dear Heavenly Father,

This is not my show. This is not our show. This is YOUR show.

I have so many big thoughts, dreams, and desires of how I want this show to go. And I have these thoughts, dreams, and desires because I really want to honor You, at least that’s what I tell myself.  Sometimes, though, I think I’m really just concerned about my reputation and how the execution of this show makes me look.

And, Father, I confess, that’s where I’ve gotten completely off track. Because this is not my show. This is YOUR show. And You have something You want to do with it. And that something might not be what I’m thinking at all.

So, please, Heavenly Father, take this show back where I’ve taken it into my own hands. Please say what You want to say through this show, and make me a willing vessel to bear Your message to the world.

I love You, Lord. And I thank You for this incredible opportunity!

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Enjoying Life

“A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,  for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?  To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness” (Ecclesiastes 2:24-26a NIV).

I am so happy to be at a point in my life where I’m not completely obsessed with all of the details, and to be able to just enjoy the work God has given me to do. Knowing that it’s all from Him, and that He delights in giving His children good things. And I think He delights in us when we enjoy the things He’s given us to do.

Good stuff.

 

Eternal God

I love a quote from C.S. Lewis about God existing at all points across time and space simultaneously. (I can’t find the quote or I’d put it here in its entirety – it’s either in The Screwtape Letters or A Grief Observed). God is eternal! He walks beside me in everything I’m going through right now, yet He is also ahead of me making my paths straight, and behind me, protecting me. At all times, in all places, He is!

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