Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years at the Mexican Bar

Tonight it is blaringly obvious to me that I just don't belong here anymore. I love my friends dearly but I guess we are just in different places now.

I spent New Year's at a Mexican bar. I don't know why I didn't just stay asleep at home. I guess I just wanted to be around friends, somebody, anybody on New Year's

But a bar? Really? I mean that's not me. I tried to feign happiness but quickly gave up and just used the excuse of being tired for my lack of enthusiasm and cheerfulness. But really it just made me uncomfortable. That comfort level really got chucked out the door when some guy hit on me. Now, truth be told, on some level the attention was nice since I'm not exactly the kind of girl that guys are knocking down the door to get. However, mostly I was annoyed and wanted to punch him.

About a year ago someone prophesied over me that God would give me the grace to be able to minister to people in bars. I looked at them probably quite skeptical seeing that I'd never even stepped foot in a bar nor had the desire to. In the past week I've been in two, both times because that's just where we ended up while out with friends. Both times as I looked around I questioned how I could ever possibly reach out to others in this setting. I'm not sure I even want to honestly. It all seems quite repulsive to me. I do want God's heart for the people though. To be able to look at them without judgment.

Am I too uptight? Too religious and out of touch with reality? How can someone like me ever relate to others, I can't seem to even relate to my friends these days.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Escape from La La Land

One week from tommorow

8 days

And I will load my bags in a car to leave for Miami

And one day later I board a plane for the Dominican Republic

And a new way of living

With a new family whom I barely know

I'm a bit reluctant to consider it and yet I find it bullies its way into my thoughts. I'm desperately trying to hang onto my denial that my life isn't drastically changing. Seems silly I know but I don't deal with change well so I find I bounce along in "it's no big deal" mode to avoid the onslaught of mixed emotions that lies boiling just under the surface.

In many ways it is like standing on the edge of a dream but reality has taught me to be careful of the expectations you place on such dreams. Maybe it's just my own knowledge of the faintness of my heart and the fear that so easily entagles me. The pressing "What good can you really do?", "You've duped yourself into this", "You're going to fall flat on your face and everyone you know will be watching" comments in my mind. I'm such a prideful little thing really.

So again, for the 50th time today, the 1000th time this week I lay aside the fear and pride and weakly squeak out my "Yes Lord" and try to reign my thoughts back into the present instead of the "what ifs" of what lies ahead.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I must be an alien

Family gatherings never cease to amaze me. I dread them actually. Every year I sit watching and listening, finding comfort in the fact that I am adopted into dad's family. They don't understand me and I don't understand them. I know it's wrong but mostly I've just given up even trying to relate.

Don't get me wrong, I do love them but I am undeniably a black sheep around here, well mom and I both are but even mom looks at me like I've lost my mind.

For instance. This morning at some point I was pulled out of my half dreamlike state and U2 tunes to discuss the probability of my finding "someone" while traveling the globe (of course since I'm the only grandkid not married). My mom quickly pointed out that I would be more than ok to meet an Australian (what can I say- it's the accent). A discussion then ensued that they wouldn't mind me marrying someone from another country as long as he is white. *sigh* I will never understand why the color of someone's skin matters so much, but knowing it's a losing battle in my family I just slipped back into my iPod world.

But there's more than just this type of archaic point of view that gets me. There's other issues like:

Who does hog hash for Christmas lunch? You might be a redneck if...

I've decided to use it as a training ground for life to come. At least here if I hate it I could complain, although that wouldn't be proper training so I'm going to try my best to eat and smile... report to follow later.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

listening. a lost art

"What time is registration?"
"10 to 3"
"You said 10 to 3?"
"Yes ma'am"
"That's 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.?"
"Yes ma'am"
(hang up phone)
(phone rings)
"Did you say I can come register at 10 a.m. tomorrow?"

I promise you this was one of my conversations today. I've had several of these conversations in the past week or so and they drive me crazy. The poor people in the office have had to listen to me growl and yell at the phone over and over. The associate pastor actually started taking some of the calls (I think he was afraid I was about to tell somebody off).

Why don't people listen? It annoys me to no end.

I'm beginning to believe that listening is a lost art. If people can't listen long enough to answer questions pertaining to their own needs/wants - do they ever actually stop and listen to someone else?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Come out of the Shadows

Come out of the Shadows

I just watched Nim's Island last night. If you haven't seen it, you should (in my humble opinion). The author in the movie writes about this fantastic hero, much like an Indiana Jones. His name is Alex Rover. The real Alex Rover however hasn't left her home in 16 years and is deathly terrified of the outside world. Someone desperately needs her help and she's afraid to walk out the front door. Many days I'm not far from being Alex Rover the writer instead of Alex Rover the adventurer.

A couple of months ago I woke up several times one night and over and over all I heard was "It's time to come out of the shadows". I would go back to sleep and wake up only to have the same thing happen. Being slow it took several times before I got up and prayed about it. After some prayer and reading the Bible I knew God was calling me out of that fear I had walked in for so long. Of course why wouldn't He, but I knew it was more than just for me.

I've been reading Red Letters by Tom Davis, president of Children's HopeChest. He knows first hand what it means to work with those considered the least in the world's eyes and how much they mean to the heart of God. At the same time I've been going through The Art of Listening Prayer by Seth Barnes, because I'm always intrigued by books on prayer and I look up to him for what he's doing to disciple others.

Anyway as I was reading Red Letters I came across one paragraph that made me stop in my tracks. Actually there were several paragraphs that have done that to me so far and made me have to consider a few things, but this one was quite personal. The paragraph? Page 91 as follows:

"So why don't we do more to help others? Sadly, many of us live in a world of shadows. In the realm of shadows, we seek only those things that help us to remain in the fog of comfort and safety. This isn't to say that comfort and safety are bad things, but when we fall into the trance of believing they are the only things, we become isolated from greater truths. Two things keep us in the shadows: discomfort with interruption and fear."

The first thing that I was reminded of was that night I woke up so many times to the words "It's time to come out of the shadows." Because I'm sure God knows my tendancy to think, "I so didn't hear that right" it was like a "just in case you didn't believe me the first time, I'm telling you again" moment.

Who wants to be the person living out life through a fictitional character or even through someone else's experiences and writings? I don't want my fears to stand in the way of lives being saved. I want to come to a place where it's ok if you interrupt my day, where change doesn't throw me into panic and where knowing God has called me there is enough and no fear is powerful enough to hold me back. I'm not there but I'm quite certain I'm about to get a few lessons in all of those.

God calls us out of the shadows into His marvelous light. It may not be comfortable and it's probably safe to say that it won't be. It's like waking up in the morning - it takes a while to adjust to the bright light. It's not comfortable at first. It's almost painful and you may feel like hiding from it but after a few minutes you can see so much clearer.

Friday, July 25, 2008

an update on life in random yet numbered form

For those who haven't heard all the recent updates let me give you a few things to laugh about:

1. About two weeks ago I found evidence of rodents making a playground out of my closet. Upon inspection I discovered a good size hole in the bottom of my closet, which of course in my opinion had to be taken care of right then. Since I was home alone that meant I had to do the handy work. One can of spray foam insulation, minus work goggles, later I was in the bathroom for 2o minutes rinsing out my eye. The spray thing got clogged, it went everywhere and conveniently missed the glasses and went into my eye. I managed to get it out myself but still had to make a trip to the eye doctor the next morning because of the irritation.

2. I'm now taking aikido lessons (a form of Japanese martial arts).
Amazingly this has not been the cause of any of my injuries so far, but has definintely caused more than a couple of laughs at my lack of balance and general clumsiness. Watch out world!

3. My latest injury happened this week and I'm still trying to get over it. I, apparently, pulled my calf muscle (a leg muscle) while playing the djembe (a hand drum) at church. I'm enjoying the irony of this one entirely too much. At least I'm off the crutches now but it's still being a pain.

4. Epsom salt blesses my life!

5. My desk has become World Race central and is covered with support letters, things to read, and a bunch of art supplies which recently feel quite neglected. (Steph I have not forgotten about your logo!)

6. I really, really, really miss the prayer room!

7. I think the Middleman is the best show on tv re-gosh darn it!

8. I'm supposed to be doing a yard sale at 7 a.m. tomorrow.... who wants to bet I'm not on time?!? :)

9. My new favorite workout dvd has become "Yoga for Wimps". How appropriate!

10. I can no longer think in sentence form so I must now retire to my bed.

Teach me to speak

Every once in a while you find yourself quiet before God and what He reveals to you isn't very fun. Instead you find it's very true and painful. And it's not revealed to you to condemn you and make you feel horrid, but to confront you with the truth so you will turn to Him and grow in your relationship.

The other day as I sat to just listen God spoke to my heart:
"You value the opinions of those around you more than the truth I am constantly singing over you. I am the good Father. I do not do things to make you fearful or embarrased. The things I ask of you are for your good."

As I dialogued with God over this issue, I came to realize that often I don't speak what's on my heart or do things I sense God is speaking to me because I don't want to offend others and I don't consider myself "skilled" enough to handle a not so positive reaction.

Exodus 4:12 "Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." (NIV)

God has promised to give us the words if we will step out in faith to be obedient to Him. He is in me and that will not always make others comfortable, but it's because the light in us confronts the darkness in them.

Walking it out and overcoming the insecurity is like playing drums. When you want to learn you listen to those who are masters in the art and you take note of the inricacies of what they play - dynamics, timing, etc - and then you practice. Over and over and over and over. And you mess up over and over and over and over. Then one day you find you can play the rhythms and it just naturally flows.