Sunday, October 28, 2012

Uninspired Inspiration

It's been one of those weeks.  You know, the weeks where you feel like you're just plugging along, uninspired, and that nothing is quite going your way?  You're one step behind (sometimes two, or three, or fifteen) and each time it looks as though there might be a light at the end of the tunnel, it was just a firefly and you're still stuck in the dark with no real direction.  Yeah, one of those weeks.

But you know something? I've come to a place of quiet acceptance inside.  I realize that things aren't always (maybe ever) going to be rosy.  I understand that each day I live will be filled with trials and blessings, and it's my choice to focus on one or the other.  I accept that, no matter how hard I try, I'm going to fail at certain things and no matter how little effort I put into them, I'll excel at others.  It's simply the way this life is and I've come to embrace that.  I don't always like it, but there it is.  A wise friend keeps telling me it's all about acceptance.  He's right. 

So my challenge today -- this week -- this lifetime -- is just to continue along that path.  One of my favorite 80s movies, "Better Off Dead", had one guy telling another guy how to tackle the ski slope:

"Go that way.  Very fast.  If something gets in your way?  Turn."

I've never skiied, but it sure seems like great advice for life.

Stephanie Jean

Friday, October 19, 2012

I'm Letting Go...

It's funny how my life always goes in circles, and the center of the circle is God.  It's like an orbit -- I'm scurrying around trying desperately to go my own way, but when I focus on my center and let go, He takes me on the orbit I'm already meant to be on, and everything falls into place.

Today, it got to a point where I just stopped.  I stopped trying to scurry, stopped panicking, stopped planning, stopped thinking... and just got on my knees.  I stayed there for a very long time and the first thing I said to Him is that I knew that was where I belonged.

It is, isn't it?  It's where we always belong.  Even if we can't physically get down on our knees, or we're not in a position to close our eyes, the bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to "Pray without ceasing".  I tend to pop out a quick prayer in the morning and try to get myself to fall asleep by praying in the evening, but it's rare that my heart is really in it.  Fast grace over a meal, rapid lists of blessings I want for friends and family.  But to spend real, heartfelt time in prayer?  Only when someone's on their deathbed, usually.  It shouldn't be that way.  It should be my way of life.  It should be 'my thing'.

One of my best friends is a prayer warrior.  In fact, I call or text her just to pray.  Sometimes I don't even tell her why.  I just tell her I need it, or someone needs it, and she's all over it.  He listens to her, too.  You know those certain people that just seem to be more in tune with Him than others?  There are times I even feel kind of jealous, but I know it's my own fault.  This is a relationship she's worked on with Him for many, many years.  What makes me think I can just try to jump right back into the orbit and have Him listen to me, too?

Oh.  Because He promised me He would.  "For the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him."  --Romans 10:12

He doesn't listen to her more than He listens to me.  She just listens to Him more than I listen to Him.

What good does it do if I ask Him to direct my life if I go the opposite direction?  It's like telling your GPS it's wrong.  I know, I know -- sometimes it IS.  Well, God's NOT.  He's always right, never fails, and knows way more than I can possibly even think of in my tiny, little, narrow-minded human brain.

I wholeheartedly STINK at giving things over to God, which is ironic because the few times I've ever succeeded at doing so, He's fixed everything.  (You'd think I'd learn, huh?  You'd also think my dogs would learn that the vacuum cleaner has never harmed them and will never harm them.  You'd be wrong.)

Look, sometimes humans can be just as stupid as the other animals seem to be.  (Most of the time, even dumber.)  But the truth is, I know inside that God can handle everything.  I know He's waiting for me to give it to Him so He can handle it for me.  Whether it's stubbornness or selfishness or arrogance, I always think, "I got this."  And then I don't got this.  But He does.  So I tuck my tail between my legs and go back to him when that's where I should've been all along.

Stephanie Jean

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Just Another Piece of the Puzzle

I hate to harp on it, but I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason.  I've said it time and again.  Trials and blessings and milestones and tragedies -- they all come together at the end to create the perfect masterpiece they're supposed to.  It's why I have a puzzle piece tattoo on my foot: you look at a puzzle piece and it's a meaningless blob, sometimes ugly, but if you put it with the rest of the pieces, something beautiful comes together in the end every time. 

I still don't know what my masterpiece is going to end up looking like, but I'm putting more and more stock into it each day.  The things I've learned or am learning, the mistakes I've made or am making, the people I've met or am meeting... there's a purpose behind it all.  There are a few select people that I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, are supposed to be a major part of what's coming.  There are some from my past that, I am positive, I would not be the person I am today without.  And I know there will be more coming into my future that are integral in putting all the pieces together.

So often in my life, I've felt like giving up.  I have struggled so hard with something only to have it fail miserably and, in turn, I viewed myself as a failure for not being able to make it work.  I've learned I can't blame myself for that.  Like sitting down in front of the puzzle, it doesn't matter how often you try to shove two pieces together that don't fit -- they DON'T FIT.  It's never going to work.  So, you move on and try new things until you find the right combination.

Instead of wasting time trying to get the wrong fit to work, we have to open our minds and hearts to the possibility that we're not always right.  We don't have all the solutions.  Our path is not gospel.  It's the path OF the Gospel that is right.  The good news should be our leader, and we have to humble ourselves to find the right way to go.  Humble means to 'make low'.  When you're almost finished with a puzzle and you're missing a piece, where is the first place you look?

On the floor.

Down on your knees.

It's the first place we should start when we're trying to find the right path on our Journey, too.

Stephanie Jean