So, even though no one can know why I keep saying this... here we go (again!)...
Without further ado...
What We Learned in January...
12 Random Things That I Have Learned.
1. I learned that this year, God is wanting to guide us to New Discoveries and more Adventure... I have a standing date with God on the first day of every New Year. I meet with Him and pray and wait... I lean in and listen and ask Him for a bit of insight into what He may have in store for us for the new year ahead. This year, He spoke to me about New Discoveries and more Adventures and really, who doesn't want a bit more of that? You can read the post (linked above) to get the whole story - but basically, this:
"What we need... He has, and He gives and He is standing before us this year with a twinkle in His eyes and His heart in His hand..."Come play with Me!" I can almost hear Him saying... "Come Abide and let's just see what new things we can discover!"
What an Invitation! What an Adventure!"
2. I learned that when your husband says he wants to be more spontaneous and his One Word for 2015 is Change, just don't fight it... Yeah, so this is what My Honey said to me on New Years' Day and since that was before I told him about what I had heard during prayer, well--immediate confirmation makes it harder to give in to fear. I love that my husband is steady and true... that he is reliable and stable. Of course - Change and Spontaneity will not change that, but those were the fears that surfaced right away and caused me to want to hesitate. Still... how can we lean in to New Discoveries and Adventure and not dance a bit with Change and being more Spontaneous? I'm staying open and hoping to just not fight it, but lean in to whatever doors He opens up!
3. I learned that sometimes going to the movies is hard work... For two weekends in a row we went to the movies, but it felt more like work than entertainment! First, we went to see Unbroken. We went with family and they had all read the book. We had not. They knew what to expect. We had hopes of --well, a little more hope. We knew the overview of Louis Zamperini's story and understood the heaviness of this film. Still - we also had read about his testimony and really, about the rest of his life AFTER surviving this horrific event. We were hoping for a bit more freedom... a bit more after-the-fact parts of his life. Our family said that it was true to the book and while they didn't say that they enjoyed the movie, they did say it was well done. We agreed and yet... Hope! Lord, we are hungry for Hope!
The following weekend, my girlie and I went to see Selma. Again... hard work, not entertainment. Part of why this one was hard work was because we went in knowing we wanted to put ourselves in the midst of the story. We didn't want to just watch history and remain far away from it. I have written about it around here before, but I am just awakening to the fact that things have not changed as much as I thought. I live a rather sheltered, segregated life. I didn't realize it until last year... I want that to change and part of how that happens is to stop embracing ignorance as bliss. I heard my friend Deidra's voice as the movie started... and it reminded me to put myself in the movie... to think about where I would have been standing back then if given the chance... and where I want to stand now. Most often, it's the hard work that has the biggest pay off in the end. May we be willing to do the hard work of staying present, of opening eyes and hearts and hands, of bridging the gap and being the change. Both movies reminded me of the harshness of this world and of just how much the human spirit and body can endure. Both movies caused me to cry out to God... to give thanks... and to pray for humankind and how we must remember that we are called to be Kingdom people. Let's live like it!
4. I learned that I love what I do, even if/when I feel like it maybe doesn't matter... I know. I know that it matters. And it is not lost on me, the humor of how I came under the heaviness of questioning while researching why I believe what I believe about Identity!
Yeah. That. "Crafty," I believe is a name for him. Stupid enemy.
I was gathering Scripture and organizing my thoughts in preparation for an upcoming workshop I am leading on Identity and suddenly, I felt the cloak of self doubt wrap itself tight around me... the heaviness pulling me down. I had received an invitation to a group on facebook and was so honored, but suddenly the talk was all about co-workers and callings and life in the workplace and oh my goodness, I haven't had co-workers in nearly two decades... my thoughts turned to my inadequacies and lack of degrees, when suddenly, whispers of how I don't really have a job anymore (read = empty nester guilt) and nothing that I do 'counts' anyway... Now, I'm not prone to depression or negative thinking much but it was a battle to not spiral down to darkness, and give in to a bit of Netflix marathoning and binge eating in the middle of the day. I fought it off and reminded myself that of course the enemy doesn't think it counts. I prayed... I cried out to the One whose opinion matters most and He reminded me this:
"I am not to devalue that which He has put before me to do.
He has put me here, in front of this screen - and it is an honor and privilege and oh my goodness how I can forget that it matters.
I can forget because it doesn't always feel like sharing the gospel. It doesn't always feel like it counts.
I can forget because it doesn't compare to the way others are doing it or it isn't risky enough in real life... Maybe. Maybe it isn't. Maybe you feel this pulling too... the strain between real life and online ministry... the strain between how it's always been done, and how He is calling you to do it!
Maybe He IS calling us all up higher and out further from our comfort zones... (Probably. He probably is!) And yet... in the stretching and leaning and standing up into... let us not forget the value of doing what He puts before us and trusting that He is working in it and through it and all around it... Really... whatever work or ministry or calling 'it' is - we can't really lay claim to it anyway!
It's gospel... it's sunset... it's wonder and glory... and it's ours to share!"He also reminded me that I LOVE doing this. I love to write and encourage and make space... I love to talk about identity, and God and prayer and His presence. I love to share from my own life and inspire others to Be Love... to Speak Life... to Shine On!
5. I learned that God is all about Wonder... I am loving my #OneWord365 so far this year! I have blogged about it a little bit. I have created a few pages in a One Little Word scrapbook album. I even painted a canvas to give me a visual reminder to hang on my wall. This is what I have learned so far: God is all about Wonder! As much as Meghan Trainor may be All About That Bass, our God is All About That Grace - and I am finding that gloriously, wonder and grace are so closely related! For we need both in our lives... and oh how I pray we find them, and we give them away!
6. I learned that many are hearing the call to stop doing All the Things... that less Productivity outside just may mean deeper roots inside... (This is not an excuse to be inactive, indifferent, or sleepy in the real world... but when we are rested and allowing God to do a work that is yet still unseen, we are building faith and letting hope arise to be the change that is needed all around us.) I have been feeling this call since my Summer of Silence and still, I get a bit fidgety and restless when too many days pass and I have nothing tangible to show for them. However, I feel Him at work and I know, always, the wait is worth it! He is at work... things are shifting and there is productivity happening beneath the surface... and honestly, even on the days that I feel nothing shifting, and I am not so convinced that anything is being produced in me or by me or through me... I am learning that this is good and right and beneficial, too. It is not a lifestyle... it is not forever, but it is for a purpose. Rest. Sabbath. Silence... they are all so closely related and all so created FOR us. Sometimes those unproductive days are just that: a gift. Unwrap them slowly and enjoy them for what they are... a bit of respite from this chaotic, fast-paced world!
7. I learned that every single time Bethel Music comes out with a new CD, I'm gonna need to get it... Seriously... I need this!
8. I learned that just maybe I get a little too involved with tv shows and forget that they are not real people... I touched on this a little in last months' post... how I love all of those Bravermans and how I was heart broken to not get to spend the holidays with them. Imagine my sadness now that they have all packed up and moved away. I love all of those guys and except that Lorelai will forever be Lorelai, I like to think that the actors ARE their characters and that I AM a Braverman, too. I don't want to say goodbye!
I loved what this show stood for and how it dealt with real life issues and no matter if you agreed or not - the bottom line was whatever they faced, they faced it together. We are #BravermanStrong and as much as I love a good, creative hashtag, this simple one will be one of my favorites for all time: #BravermanForever
9. I learned that apparently I need to do stuff with LinkedIn... I set up a profile years ago and never went back to it... but I keep getting Friend Requests and when I finally decided to accept them, --well, I couldn't remember my password and my email had changed and at least according to Logan, LinkedIn is a real 'thing' and people are using it. Hmm... who knew? (Yet another Social Media to boss me around!)
10. Also... I may be the last blogger/writer to find out about Sniply and Scrivener... and by 'find out' I mean, I should probably look into learning about these tools some time soon! I keep hearing rave reviews and I have signed up for Sniply and I am convinced that I must purchase Scrivener now but I can't remember why! (Did I mention that I'm in my 40s? Yeah. There's that and new tricks and bouts of chasing wonder instead of sitting in front of a screen... but still, are you a fan? If so, tell me why I need them?)
11. I learned that Mini Muffin Tins just make food fun... Apparently, I had asked my girlie if she had a mini muffin tin one too many times because when we were out shopping, she convinced me that obviously one of us needed one, because --well, Pinterest! So with the SuperBowl and a Baby Shower and, you know, just about any occasion around the corner, I bought this lovely pan and lookie what we made:
12. I learned that our God - He is SO dramatic... This one is gonna hurt just a little! (Yes... I came up with these 12 Random things pre-Super Bowl... but my point remains the same so... Deep Breaths... let's go!) Our God really IS the best Author... He is so creative and He writes a great story filled with twists and turns and tests and redemptions and while He doesn't always appear to be writing a Happily Ever After (ahem!) ;) ...well, we really don't know the fullness of The End this side of Heaven, right? You may or may not be a football fan. You may or may not know that I AM one... but that game a few weeks ago that clinched the Seahawks return to the Super Bowl was so full of drama, of crazy faith and hope that wouldn't quit... so full of, seriously ya'll, wonder and dare I say it, miracles, that you almost had to believe! Now I am not saying that God made the Seahawks win. Clearly - if that was the case, well - we would have won last night too! (I kid, I kid... you know, mostly!) But isn't it just like God to take something that looks impossible, and with seconds counting down and the end drawing near, and turn it around and show up and show off and stir up wonder! Even the Packers were left in shock and awe. Last night? Well, last night we got a taste of our own medicine, I guess! What looked like a given win... we had the ball, and time and more than one attempt in our pockets. We had BeastMode on the one yard line and we had the taste of a Repeat on our tongues... but for whatever reason, as Chris Chase penned this morning, "Seattle snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and New England had an improbable win that will make fans finally forget about David Tyree."
Now, I am (clearly) not a New England fan... and the Seahawks? Well, we had that game. The trophy was ours and the rings were being slipped onto our fingers... but... Butler. But a bad call or an unexpected pick... or... or... or...
But this is just football, only it isn't. Because all of the above and then, but God! Don't count Him out... don't come to a conclusion before it is actually all over. Don't get ahead of yourself, or worse yet - ahead of Him!
He is constantly writing a better ending, and while I am not so much a fan of how this one wrapped up... well -this was an end to a chapter, not the whole story!
And it would do us all good to remember that in our own lives too! As long as we have breath, He is still writing our stories!
I am Linking up with EMILY FREEMAN
Linking up with these lovely ladies:
Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday
Linking up with these lovely ladies:
Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday
Kelly Balarie for #RaRaLinkUp