Monday, July 27, 2009

It is a cloudy Monday morning here in Oklahoma City and I'm thankful for that. I don't know about you, but I have this crazy love/hate relationship with routine and changing things up. When I don't have a set routine, I become very undisciplined and things fly quickly out of control, but if life strolls along so rigid without ever a variation, I want to die inside. Most jobs I am ready to quit after 3 months. If I could I would change around at least one room every 3 months or so. I love working on plans and come up with a new one for something every 2 or 3 months. But if between those 3 months there isn't some real form of regularity I get overwhelmed and end up doing nothing.

I worked this weekend to get a lot of housework and chores done in preparation for a new routine starting today. Perhaps new is incorrect. A routine was re-established this morning and boy does it feel good.

I do have a special request this morning. Please pray for Randy and I this week. Its growing critical that we find some success somewhere (job search, tutoring business, etc.) and we have had an extremely rough time not giving in to depression and anxiety. More than anything, making decisions about what to do or what to have faith in (that God will bless this direction or that, etc) is weighing down hard. So, please remember us when you pray.

This was on my day calendar recently and I loved it.

"Touch the earth, love the earth, her plains, her valleys, her hills, and her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places. For the gifts of life are the earth's and they are given to all..."
-Henry Beston

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What's the Point?

I've heard it most of my life from the pulpit and in late night chats. "We baptized dozens and where do they go? If everyone we baptized were still here, there wouldn't be enough room for everyone." And then a discussion about what's wrong with the world, the church, the christians, etc. ensues. I've been there in the middle of that conversation many times. Yet, here we are still witnessing this phenomenon in most areas and congregations. Evidently all of our talk hasn't produced much fruit, has it? I've had some things nagging me in the back of my mind lately having to do with why people struggle or leave and what it means to really help and be there for someone. Think of 3 people who are struggling or have left God completely. Why are they living like that? Do you have any idea? I think sometimes we truly don't have any clue, mostly b/c they are probably not like me. They don't respond like me, they don't talk like me or feel like me. So, its safer to just say they don't want to do what's right so they left or they sinned or gave up or whatever.

I'll tell you what I'm seeing and thinking. I think that, at least here in the midwest/south, there are emotional problems multiplying like cancer and are largely being neglected. Pain, anger, alienation, lack of skill, insecurity, you name it, people struggle with it constantly. The struggle is common to man, of course. But a spiritual family is designed to fill in those gaps and help heal the past. But how can any of that growth happen if no one is talking about it?

How aware are you of what kind of emotional struggles the family in the pew next to you have? How comfortable are you with asking your brothers and sisters how their struggles are effecting their emotions, relationships or habits? None of us want the entire world knowing our business, but we all need somebody. Often when serious problems arise, everyone is shocked and had no idea there was even a problem, and certainly not that bad. They never said anything or asked for help. They should ask for help, that's true. But when life is crumbling around you, that can be one of the hardest things to do.

I guess all I'm saying is that it makes sense that people flock to places and people that are genuinely interested in their lives - the good and the bad - and do their best to understand, even if they can't exactly help. If I or the group that I associate with am not creating an environment where people can lay their burdens down and be fed, what's the point?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Are You Important

Is what you do important? Do my plans for Friday night matter in the grand scheme of things? We live in the city and are constantly bombarded by billboards, annoying radio commercials and relentless pressure to buy, buy, buy. It doesn't take long to be convinced that your purpose in life is to make more money to buy more things. There's new stuff every day that you just 'gotta have'. At very least, it makes it easy to have no purpose at all. If it were up to me, I'd be content with 10 acres out somewhere, growing my own food, writing to my heart's content and having visitors every couple of days. I'm okay with that purpose. :) Randy's heart has big plans for him I think. He longs to do something really important. Not so much like changing foreign policy or anything, but something really helps people, really matters. After a discussion about such things, I got to thinking about about it all and considered something I hadn't thought of before, at least in regard to myself. As Randy's wife, the only one he has, I am important. Any conversation we have and the role I play is potentially very important. What kind of man will he become after he's been with me? Whether it is a marriage, parent-child or friend relationship, consider just how important you could be! What kinds of things could they dare to do in the future? How much does your belief and encouragement in them matter? I guess that depends on what you say really, but it could matter a whole lot. As we all do, its easy to get so comfortable with those you love that frustration is the most common emotion we share with them. But what if it wasn't? What if we believed, encouraged and helped them to dream bigger? When I think about it that way, I want to take a little more pride in my 'position', not because its highly esteemed among men, but because of how much it could matter, at least in his life.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I'm Just Not Ready

In the shower this morning I was going over the things I needed to remember to do today and felt much like juggler. Which ball do you throw first? The muscle we use to focus on several things at once is a special one isn't it? At that moment, I realized how much of my life I wanted things much sooner than I was ready to deal with. Probably the most common example of this is young ladies longing to be matched up and married, ready to create a home and tend to it. No matter the age, most feel afraid since it hasn't happened yet then it might not happen at all and then despair enters the heart. I was no different, except that while I wanted everything, I didn't want any cheap imitations or rushed orders. I wanted it with all of my heart, but I didn't want to mess it up even more. Of course, blatant perfectionism can get you in a whole lot of trouble. I'm not advocating such standards that no one can match, least of all you! But, sometimes we're just not ready for things and God knows that. No matter the age or the object of affection, sometimes we're just not ready. A 3 year old is not ready for the sole responsibility of a dog. Most 16 year old boys aren't ready to care for an entire house all by themselves. I spent several years as an official 'adult' in college and didn't marry until I was 26 (which by some standards is an old maid!). I am 29 and have yet to birth children. I am now so grateful for all of that. I cherish being able to consider my roles, consider my capabilities and desires before being thrown in them. We can't always be so lucky, but in so many ways we have that option in life and choose to ignore it. Because others around us, whether our age, circumstance or whatever, start doing things, its so easy to get caught up in the idea that you probably should too. Moving out, going to college, getting a pet, marrying, having children, etc. are all things that requires a certain level of preparation and responsibility. These undertakings, without some preparation and readiness, can blow up in your face. In the shower this morning I was so thankful that I did not get what I thought I wanted several years ago because I flat out wasn't ready at all.
I know, when are you ever really ready for adulthood and all it holds? You might answer never, but I wouldn't. There is a scale I think rather than ready or not. We're taught to seek wisdom, especially in our youth. To me that means there are wiser choices and less wise choices. When I say ready, I don't mean 'can perform task perfectly.' I mean informed of and grasp the gravity and ramifications of task. No, the world doesn't stop turning because someone does something prematurely, but ripe, juicy tomatoes are so much better than green, hard ones.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Nice to Meet You

Hi Everyone. My name is Amy Butler and I am introverted and shy. I always get a chuckle or a 'Yeah, right!' from that statement, but it is true. Have you ever learned a skill or displayed an attitude because you thought you were supposed to? As kids a lot of things like that we learn from parents and other adults in our lives. I, subconsciously I guess, always thought I was supposed to be extroverted and outgoing. So, for all of adolescence and first part of adulthood I was. It took me years to see the connection between my 'necessary extroversion' and absolute exhaustion, borderline sickness and withdrawals from my bedroom (where no one else is and I can shut the door). Its no wonder I had panic attacks every so often.
Of course, the experience isn't all bad. I can hold a conversation with most people (eventually). Sometimes I'm funny. That came from the sheer nervousness I felt (feel) in the middle of a group and to cover that up I did what my family does best. (Enter Sarcasm) So, maybe I can make you laugh on occasion and I can make nice. But I'm not your frontman. I'm an analyzer, get to the root of the issue, behind the scenes kind of person. I say that more as a declaration to myself than to inform someone else. Its common for me to feel pressured into 'fronting' something and then wonder why I'm on the verge of tears and falling apart. As much as we'd like them to help us out sometimes, hands just aren't very good ears.