Heart in the Clouds

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Three things...

"He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?"

If you look at the top of my blog page, there's a little Scripture reference on the bottom right of the header. Micah 6:8.

My favorite verse has been coming to my mind again. It usually pops up when I start to notice I'm over-complicating my life or my faith, and filling it with too many unimportant things. It's like God's little whisper to remind me that my goal for this year is simplicity.

I'm grateful for this little reminder. Amid the expectations I pile on myself, the obligations I accept from other people and the desires I have for more life and meaning, I can lose the knowledge that simplicity is best. More isn't better.

It's a process. Simple isn't a destination, it's a journey. Gradually peeling off layers of junk from my life is not easy, though. It's a cleansing of the mind, of the spirit and of the emotions. It's a refiner's fire. For me, "simplicity" has meant cutting off toxic relationships and cutting back on bad habits. It has meant throwing out trash and clutter, even some things I had deemed "important." It has meant cutting out the noise of the world and the voices in me and around me. It has meant losing some of the mental and physical weight that had held me back from seeing some of the true potential of my imperfect human body.

When I gradually start to fill up my life again (and the lives of my family) or get religious, I hear a little whisper, "Three things."

Do justly.

Love mercy.

Walk humbly with God.

The rest of the stuff doesn't matter.

It's a big eye-opener when I remind myself. It's the measure for my behavior, my thoughts, my attitude, my spirituality.

I feel like true gratitude brings these three things to the forefront and forces us to see and appreciate what's important--all the little, quiet moments and opportunities we might miss in the noise and clutter of a busy life. It cuts through the messes and the obligations. It separates the meaningful from the irrelevant.

So while you're going about your life, stressing about the expectations put upon you or those you put upon yourself, or you find yourself over-complicating your faith, breathe and remember...three things. Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Change begins...

Remembering to feel and experience and live gratitude is going to be something I have to remind myself to do daily because I've gotten out of practice. But so far I'm off to a good start.

Today was a good day.

I spent time with my older son, just the two of us. I spent time with friends. I finally met (in person) an online friend I've had for years. Lots of moments to smile about!

Today I'm grateful for...

Blue sky. I needed to see it, and it was there.

Wisdom. I needed to use it, and it was there.

Confidence. I'm learning to live in it and to help bring it out in other people.

Knowing when to keep my mouth shut. Sometimes maturity is about knowing when to keep thoughts, feelings and opinions to oneself, even more than it is about sharing exactly what's on your mind. That's something I've had to learn the hard way, in some cases, but I'm grateful for the many opportunities I have to put it into practice.

Imperfection. We all have our faults and issues. We all have our insecurities and fears. But we are beautiful in our imperfection. In our weakness, His strength is perfected.

Firsts. My younger son had a big first today--his first day at Cub Scout day camp. He was nervous about being without his big brother, but I have wanted him to have opportunities to find himself and have fun outside the family bubble. He loved it and can't wait for tomorrow. He's taking more steps into the world and growing more confident each time. I love him and can't wait to see the man he becomes...even though I'd sometimes love for him to stay my little boy a little bit longer.

Waiting for his ride on the first day of camp...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I woke up this morning...

and I immediately thought to myself, "I need a change." Do you ever get the feeling that you're stuck in a rut, it may be a happy, mellow rut, but it's a rut nevertheless? No big highs or lows, and you're just happily putzing along?

There are times when I'm stuck in a rut and I don't notice it, usually meaning things are moving along fine, but I'm not really connected with my life. Yesterday, I noticed the days are flying by. Before I know it, a week has gone by and I have nothing I can say that has really moved me or made me think or put me in awe.

Part of it, I'm sure, is my medication. I am SO happy to be on meds...oh, you have no idea! They're not for everyone, but they have turned me around. My anxiety was overwhelming, which was causing me to be depressed. That has turned around for sure. But medication also has the ability to mellow me out to the point where I get comfortable and I coast. 

If you know me at all, you know I don't just like to coast. I want to feel. I want to move. I want to know that what I'm doing and how I'm living has meaning, and I want to give off a positive light in the world. My light has been pretty weak lately, if I'm honest with myself. Not much fuel in the fire. I'm just "here." A comfortable lump. While I love my comfort zone and would probably stay in it forever if I could, I need to give myself a swift kick in the hindquarters now and then.

So this week the training period for my second marathon is beginning (Columbus in October--woo hoo!). I'm already a few days in, and will be making physical changes, obviously, and eating less sugar, drinking more water, and sleeping more. But along with that, I am wanting to make some other changes, emotionally and spiritually.

Gratitude has long been a theme in my life. It's obvious to me that when I'm recognizing the people and circumstances that God has put in my path and the little things that I often don't take time to notice, I am more connected with this journey I'm on, I'm more "in the moment" and I find joy in the small things. I'm able to pay attention to what people are saying with their hearts, more so than what they're saying with their mouths. I'm able to have compassion when I would have only had judgment. I'm able to speak blessings, where I might have only spoken curses. I'm more focused on what I truly desire (God), and I'm not brought down easily.

So I've decided to reconnect with my gratitude. Not sure how it'll look, but I'm going to do it, as part of training for my life, not just my next marathon. 

If you look at your life, what is a change you'd like to make? Something positive you can incorporate into your daily routine that will connect you more? I encourage you to think about it. It's easy to be negative or just coast along. Being a positive light is a lot harder if you don't have the emotional and spiritual fuel to keep it bright.