Tuesday, August 28, 2007

When the going gets tough... the tough get growing

I've had my share of work experience over the years.... from life guarding to accounting and a variety of jobs in between. I've punched my time card in the Corporate, Small Business, and Self Employment machine. Still, I entered the world of music management ill prepared.

I recently reached a breaking point. My back and neck were constantly stiff. At some point each day my stomach would end up in knots. I thought through scenarios instead of falling asleep. I became a walking complain-a-thon. Work stress. fun.

I recounted some of the wretched details with a friend last week. Relieved that the stress is now only a bad memory, we laughed at the whole crazy situation. I'm not going to lie... I hope I NEVER have to deal with something that complex again. However, talking it over made me realize something. Something I don't want to acknowledge. Something good.

I came to the point where I realized I couldn't even do my job with out God's help. That was a new concept to me. Until that time,
if I needed God's help it was because I needed a better attitude towards the difficult people that came across my path. I'll just say it... the stupid people. I didn't really need His help to perform my actual tasks. Wrong-O. wrong. wrong.

I was so busy I wasn't getting to bed on time. Since I wasn't getting to bed on time, I wasn't getting any time to myself in the mornings. I was squeezing out every last nano-second of sleep before I had to get up. I was literally on autopilot- work, eat, sleep, repeat . The perfect formula for a meaningful life. Right.

I had to make a change. I had to get up earlier, exercise and hang with God. The prompting of a friend and my husband confirmed it. But, how could I possibly do that? I had no energy all ready. I was exhausted! The first week, I gave it a try. Wow. It worked. I don't feel terrible. The second week... the same... and so the cycle began. The past several months, these common sense steps have pulled me through.

Looking back, I had to live through the stress to understand my need for God at work. Sad. But, that's how I learned. I cringe to admit that the bad turned out for good. It's so cliche, I want to roll my eyes. But, it's true. To add one more to the cliche pile... I guess I've learned that when the going gets tough... the tough get "growing."


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Keepin' It Real

I laughed today when I found this very honest, very real prayer in an old journal entry. It kind of tied in with "The Thrill of The Chase." I thought I'd be extremely transparent and post it just in case anyone needed to know that it's ok to pray what's really in your heart.

"God- why do I feel like such crap inside? I need more of You.
You’re kingdom- it’s coming. What am I going to do with my life?
Why am I letting everything be so hard? Yuck- it’s all I feel.
Am I doing anything at all that is real? Eternal Reality?
God, give me a heart that honors You.
I want to seek You with all of my heart. "

I've probably prayed similar prayers a million times, maybe worded a little more reverently... but these are the questions my heart is always asking. I have a feeling that somehow even in these moments that there is more going on than I can see. I think my roll in eternity is developing more every day even when I don't "feel" it. I'm just trying to keep it real!


Friday, August 24, 2007

The Thrill of The Chase

Remember tearing wildly through the playground chasing after a classmate? The pursuit itself was the adrenaline rush, nevermind who was actually able to catch up.

Lately I've been feeling a little lazy, a little lost, a little left out spiritually speaking. It's extremely frustrating. Just a year ago I was hearing the voice of God more clearly than ever before. And now.... nada. zippo. Maybe an occasional twinge of His presence, but for the most part the silence has settled in. Where did He go? He was just right here and now I don't know where He went. What did I do? Maybe I "wandered away" or did something so awful He had to leave. So now what?

A few weeks ago my eyes fell on these ancient words "Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek Him" -I Chronicles 16:11. (Guilt and Shame enter stage right.) Unexpectedly, in the moment just before i began to beat myself up, a thought popped in my head that radically changed my understanding of the words. It became clear that if I'm being told to "Search for the Lord" then God must be the one on the move... or I wouldn't have to seek Him! Maybe it's not my screw ups that chased Him away. Maybe it's more like a game of chase that little children play and I'm the one pouting on the sidelines because I couldn't keep up. I got tired and worn out or just distracted from chasing Him... which brings me to the next amazing part of the verse that says "search for the Lord and for His strength." What? He knows that I get tired and distracted? I can find strength and focus to keep going? Ooops! I've just been searching for the Lord but definitely not for the strength to do it. It totally makes sense that I tucker out. Which brings us to the amazing ending of the verse. "Search for the Lord and for His strength; continually seek Him." If I really tapped into His strength, I would be able to continually seek Him. Wow.

- Continually seek Him = He is the one who is always moving.
- He's moving = I need to get up and follow Him.
- Ability to keep chasing = strength from Him.

I wish I could say that since this amazing revelation, I've conquered this. I've still barely begun to apply the lesson... but, I'm seriously thinking about dusting myself off and losing the pouty lip. Every time I see Him whizzing by, it breathes life into me.

Things aren't that different from when I was young. It's still the thrill of the chase that keeps me wanting more.