Heart in the Clouds

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Grateful - 10/27/10

Amid the craziness of life and the multitude of things that pop up in a day, sometimes it's necessary to stop and rethink things. Whether it's a discussion, a thought-provoking book or an impression you have from God that sparks it, it's always good to take stock of what you have going on in your life.

You all know that I'm honest (sometimes brutally so) about when I'm feeling down-in-the-dumps or when I feel like something just isn't right, but that's not the case this time, thankfully. I guess what it is can be explained by saying that I sometimes get a sense from God about when something is about to change, and that occasional sense is often the catalyst for me to stop and really think about what I have, what I want and what I've learned in recent days. Taking opportunities like this, helps me keep my feet on the ground because I can reflect on God's faithfulness, despite my failings.

So to continue my track record of honesty, here are just a few of the things I've been learning and pondering.

--I have the tendency to make God too small.

--I am not an "institutional church" person...some of you are saying, "Well, DUH!" You who know this about me can attest to it, but I am becoming more and more aware of the fact that I've been questioning the whole idea of "institutionalization" in every way for longer than I've actually been conscious of it (church, education, society, religion, etc.).

--God is more than capable of getting me to step outside of my comfort zone, despite the fact that I often dig in my heels and make him drag me. However, once I've taken the first step, I usually know why God wanted to stretch me in the first place. He's smart that way.

--I am learning about who I really am. It seems like God takes me through seasons where I get to know myself more. I am learning to love myself. I am learning to accept my faults, and even embrace them. I am learning to be comfortable with aging (yes, I'm only 35, but it's hard for me sometimes...shut up.) They say the best way to get to know someone is to watch them as they go through different seasons in life. I think the same can go for yourself. Watch yourself and take note of the things that set you off or the things that bring out the best or worst in you. You can learn a lot about who you are just by stepping outside of yourself for a little perspective.

--I like crappy TV shows. I mean, I have some good ones I like, but honestly I like crappy ones A LOT! Mindless vegetating is the key to making my mushy brain even MORE mushy at the end of a long day. Don't roll your eyes!

--Humility HAS to be God-given. Perhaps this comes from my many years as a pastor's kid, but I can pick out of a crowd the people who are trying to appear humble. Humility isn't something you can do. It's a gift. It's a flower that sprouts out of what looks like rocky, barren ground. It often takes root when a person goes through trials or personal downfalls. It's the beauty that comes from knowing that you're loved despite the fact that you're flawed and imperfect. Humility is also coupled with joy and gratitude. If someone you know claims to be humble...well, first of all, that's a red flag right there...they're not. They're ESPECIALLY not humble if they spend all of their time complaining or whining or dramatically languishing whenever trouble comes. Humble people are happy servants who are fully aware and in awe of the grace bestowed on them. They know that God is faithful and they live their lives in that knowing. They aren't judgmental. They aren't self-seeking or self-absorbed. They have the ability to love, even when it's not reasonable to do so. I want that gift. I'm not there yet...I likely will never be, but God is working on me.

--Jesus is the reason. He is God's love letter to us.

--I'm content. Yeah, seriously. I know! I'm not complacent. I'm content. I like this. It took years for me to get here.

--I'm insanely grateful, but I have also been working on how to put it into practice more often. Lately, I have tried to make it a point in every so often during the day to stop and close my eyes and sincerely whisper, "Thank you." God likes to hear it just as much as we do. He doesn't need it (and neither do we, really), but I think it makes him smile.



With that said, I'm grateful for...

80 degree weather in October. Honestly, I needed it. I wasn't ready to dive right into Fall.

Perspective.

Making friends. For a long time, I kind of shied away from putting myself out there with new people. Maybe it's because there was a time in my life when I often felt misunderstood and pre-judged, or maybe it's because I got lazy...maybe a little of both. But I'm thankful that God is pushing me into more situations where I am meeting new people and realizing I'm not as bad at it as I thought I was. Yeah, I probably put my foot in my mouth a lot, but my filter has gotten better over the years. Thank you, Lord. Hahaha...

A good discussion. I love the open hashing out of ideas and thoughts with trustworthy people. It's the best. I love a good debate, too, but good, honest discussions are like gold.

Seeing Nicole again! I miss my friend, but I love when I get to see her. Thank you, Coley, for coming to see me. I loved hanging out with you. ((hug))

My messy house. When I get busy, it gets messy. That's just the way it is. But it's MY mess...I'm grateful for my home because it is truly a HOME.

My hope is that you keep your chin up. Re-focus yourself on what is really important. Everything is going to work out in the end, so don't sweat the small stuff. No, I have not been reading a self-help book...thank you very much. I do, however, think it's important to give yourself a pep-talk now and then. It's so easy to be negative, but talking yourself up and keeping yourself focused on the positive is HARD. Do it anyway. You'll be glad you did.

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