Monday, February 23, 2009

The Child Within Me

Do you remember learning to read? I don't.  I remember reading ask a kid, pronouncing words all over the place, but I can't seem to recall a time when I couldn't read.  Since I don't have kids yet, I have never experienced the entire process of a child learning to read from beginning to end.  Though I know children everywhere have or will learn to read, it seems so taxing to go from knowing nothing, to being able to form words, sentences and ultimately complex meanings.  The itemized process just makes me want to not bother.  
Did you catch the impatience floating around that entire thought? The precious gift of reading is something I never regret being able to do.  Reading is worth sounding out letters, guessing words and a furrowed brow! But at age 5, most kids would do without learning to read if they had their chance.  They don't realize what reading is worth, what it really means for them in the future.   Aren't we all 5 years old again sometimes?  We dismiss things that require 'too much work' and claim that we are fine in our current condition.  For a large part of USA's population, ADD isn't a physiological induced condition, but sociological induced problem.  In matters of relationship, health, finance, spiritual growth, etc., our society is experiencing crises everywhere. Having a fulfilling, healthy marriage does not happen because you found the right person.   Long-lasting health and weight loss cannot be found in a microwave and 10 minutes at a gym.  Money doesn't build up or keep flowing when you charge up credit cards and work part-time.  Greater love, compassion and gentleness aren't characteristics you're either born with or not.  All of these things take intentional work over the course of time.  Most of these things are continual processes that you will never just be done with.  Sounds kind of overbearing doesn't it?  That's what I always thought.  If it took too long, I knew it wasn't worth anything. Guess what? I was so wrong.  I'm not even a huge success at any of these or similar areas. I have seen small success and you know what I have found? Even a little success is worth all the discomfort and sacrifice I experienced, no matter how small or great.  Truth be told, I'm mesmerized a little by the process of change, how it comes about and all of the elements involved.   I'm not sure how to convince grown-up 5 year olds (like myself) that hard work is worth the bother, but I'm sure learning that it is.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

That Growth May Abound


Have you ever witnessed an accident of some kind as though it were in slow motion? You see everything coming and you want to scream or stop it somehow.  When I look back over some of the choices and decisions I've made, its as though I were a time-traveler and thought I could change the future and avoid accidents.  The trouble with that, as some time-travel epics illustrate, the mere act of trying to prevent sometimes is the actual cause.  All of my many years in college, my intention was to go after something I loved and felt strongly about. I did NOT want to end up employed in a industry or field where I did nothing meaningful to me.  Instead, I never quite followed anything through, resulting in qualifications that left just shy of any position most people were hiring for.  I have really painted myself into a corner.  It is true that I have two college degrees, a wonderful husband, friends, family, and don't forget two beautiful dogs.  So, there has been follow through at times throughout my life. But, when you foolishly in-debt yourself to a university for a tad more than a few bucks, doing something with your degree becomes important, if not necessary. 

Before the wailers and mourners begin, all is not lost. Today is always an opportunity to learn from mistakes and I'm already working on it.    My first lesson learned is to focus just as much (if not more) on working hard at something than avoiding all of your feared outcomes.  Either what you fear will never happen, which is the case most of the time. Or, your fear will happen eventually (death, separation, etc.) so you'd best get used to the idea now. 

Today I am trying to get rid of all fear by ignoring the ones that are silly and facing the ones that are my eventual reality.  The hope is that growing will abound!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Here Comes the Sun

Until this morning, I had not seriously considered the link between looking for easier ways and being impatient.  I've not been known for my sustaining patience and so it would stand to reason that easier ways would be my treasure.  The hard, day to day work is what I'm trying to avoid in the end. However, the truth I'm seeing is that giving into impatience AND waiting or searching for an easier way typically takes just as much time as being patient and working hard. The difference is that with the former, you  have nothing more to show for it when you never found an easier way or the way you found required work too.

Sometimes I get so frustrated and literally complain to God - "Why won't everything work the way I want it to?"  "When will things change?" or my favorite "It isn't fair.  Please don't make me learn this lesson any more!"  For a second this morning on the treadmill my emotions tried to stir all of that up, but thankfully, the Lord blessed me with some clarity and I chose to listen to it.  Even though sometimes all I can see is how imperfect my circumstances are, what God is looking for is growth.  In moments of sheer arrogance and pride, I've thought "I'm sure glad my life isn't like that!" or "I would be so miserable if I was that person." From a very fleshly worldly mindset, we all think that way. Otherwise, there would be no such ambition in the world to be good, better, the best.  But if we're looking through heaven's eyes, where you start has no bearing on your value.  Our value comes from and increases when we grow.  We are here to grow, to be prepared for heaven, to experience what God can accomplish in us.   
In writing this, I hope it will help me to remember to consider heaven's eyes before my own.  Any thoughts on ways to remember this better?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

There isn't an easier way.


Most of my life, somewhere in my mind I assumed most things had an easier way.  Find the easier way and you were one of the good people, the skinny ones, the pretty ones, the adored ones, the cool ones.  After all, that's what the industrial revolution and technological expansion gave us: easier ways.  So, imagine my shame and despair when I finally admitted to myself that in many matters worthwhile to me, there simply was not an easier way.  Relationships don't just magically maintain themselves, weight (especially with my genes) doesn't conveniently leave you just because you feel bad about it, and adulthood doesn't grab you by the throat and make you grow.   The silly thing is that my brain, as seen by my actions, really thought relationships just happened, weight fell off and growth was an automatic.  And really this is just the beginning. My brain has been believing the perceptions I have rather than believing the truth that is usually right in front of it.  The good news is that I'm starting to get it, the whole working hard thing.   The bad news is, the more I 'get it', the more I realize how deceived I was.  I can say with a confident heart, though, how painful and wonderful growth is.