4/29/14 Morning Musing: Too Busy Being Busy

“Bekah! There are firecrackers in your back pocket!!!” Being just a scared little thing, it didn’t occur to me to just pull them out and throw them. My instinct was to run…as if I could out-run my own butt…*Pop – pop – pop – pop – pop – pop – pop* “Owwwwww!” The tears came down as I fell to the ground on my rear trying to make the stinging go away. Just another day of growing up with bored older brothers, I suppose…

I’ve thought a lot about the fight or flight response…even did some research on it in grad school for a bit. The thing about this response, is that although many of your senses are heightened, it doesn’t leave you a lot of room for deep thought. Your body simply goes into survival mode: stay alive, make it through, persist. There isn’t room in survival mode for beauty, joy, thriving, singing, community, peace, art, rest, celebration, dance, fun, thought…So, what is my point here? Well, I believe that I have lived much of my life in a self-induced survival mode: “Get it done!” “Knock it out!” “Finish strong!” “Be the best.” “Stand out!” “Keep your head above water.” While none of these thoughts are necessarily bad ones…none of them were good ones either. I was simply surviving my life instead of living it.

A few years ago, Stan and I started really thinking about Sabbath: God provided a rhythm for humans that would allow us to thrive…a time to be productive and work…and a time to rest. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. (Exodus 20:8-10 NIV) This command is right there along with “Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal” We never consider breaking those commands but we, for some reason, take pride in breaking the one about the sabbath. Seriously! We brag about being too busy to slow down, relax, and enjoy life…like it’s a badge of honor or something. (I love the United States but I think this is one of those times that the American way of life is in direct conflict with scripture.)
Over the past few years of studying sabbath, I have decided to take it a bit further. For me, once per week isn’t enough. I need time out every day. That is saying a lot for me: I’ve always been the hyperactive kid that never slowed down long enough to think about things…I would always just follow my knee-jerk reactions and act. Needless to say, I have had many instances of fire crackers going off in my back pocket because I didn’t think about my circumstances long enough to respond in an intelligent manner. It’s a little counter-intuitive…you would think that multi-tasking and getting stuff done would be the most efficient way to handle life…but not so much. What I have found is that taking a few minutes of quieting my mind and heart, spending a little time thinking each day…well, it has led to a happier, more productive, less frustrating, and less stressful existence. I feel better, I am making better decisions, I am more grateful, and I have better relationships. It is not at all what I would have thought but there it is.

All this said, I think that Sabbath is our cure for our busy, hyper-scheduled, stressful, and chaotic lives. How are you doing with this? Are you good at resting? Do you take time to quietly think and consider things? How might you incorporate this into your schedule if you aren’t already doing it? If you don’t do it, do you understand that this is a command from God? Does that change how you feel about it? Do you have any success stories about this?

Image taken from: http://www.bythesearealty.com/blog/lauderdale-by-the-sea-fl-never-too-busy/

4/28/14 Morning Musing: Lean In, Press Against Him, And Believe

I remember being a little girl in my bed, at the house I grew up in, and re-praying the prayer of salvation night after night after night. I was worried that the other times “didn’t take.” I was worried that my heart wasn’t in the right place before when I had prayed it…that I hadn’t meant it enough…that I hadn’t loved Jesus enough. I doubted.

I remember being in college, at Texas A&M, and running from God…sort of. I wanted to rebel…but within certain guidelines (have I mentioned being Type A???) Anyway, I had my mental list of things that I wouldn’t do…lines that I wouldn’t cross…but the rest was gray even though some of it wasn’t really so gray. (Yes, you read that correctly, I was controlling my rebellion…so I thought) I was getting smarter…maybe too smart for this stuff that seemed a little mythical…maybe it was time to start putting away these stories of Jesus. I doubted.

I remember being so sick after the poisoning that I couldn’t really function…every day sucked…I was draining my family financially…there was no hope of getting better…no hope…but Christians have hope…don’t they? Does that mean I’m not really a Christ-follower? Does that mean it isn’t real? He isn’t real? Has my whole life been a sham? I doubted.

For me, doubt has been one of the struggles in my life that has challenged me the most…challenged me but not broken me…not completely anyway. It came close a few times…there were times that my faith went into a tailspin because of doubt…but leaning into it ended up making my faith stronger in the end. See, I am a confrontational person…I don’t mean that I “love” confrontations…not at all…in fact, they usually make me vomit afterward. I hate confrontations…but I hate the mental/emotional battle that rages within me prior to the confrontation more. So, I am a rip-the-bandaid-off-and-have-it-out kind of gal. I’d rather just know where I stand than sit around wondering and expending endless amounts of energy “figuring it out” and still not really knowing anything. So what does me being confrontational have to do with doubt? Glad you asked! I’m confrontational with Jesus too. He and I have had some major throw-downs in my life. (I’ve mentioned before that I border on the edge of blasphemous…well, here is another example.) My experience is that when I wrestle with Jesus, I begin to find out more about him…I feel him…I can feel how big he is…how strong he is…how gentle he can be…how hard he can be…how persistent he can be. I can feel when he is about to whip my tail…when he is pulling punches because I am too weak to take the full force…when he is asking me “When are you going to get it?”…when he is whispering “I’m still here…I’ve got you.”…when he is wrapping his arms around me and crying with me and saying “I wish this part was over but it’s not just yet…I’m sorry Bekah…hang in there.”

Yes, doubt has been a tool that has actually strengthened my belief in Jesus…it’s weird right? I mean, doubt…the big “D” word that Christians don’t like to admit to ever doing…has been a tool for growing stronger in my relationship with God. How is that possible? Well, I figure that if Jesus is everything that the Bible claims he is, then he is big enough to handle my piddly little doubts and fears. He can handle my confrontations and questioning. He can handle me. If he is big enough and good enough to worship, then he is big enough and good enough to handle my arguments and questions. And in our throw-downs and through my temper-tantrums, he has prevailed. Every. Single. Time. I have learned more about him by leaning into him and having the confrontations than I ever could have by just bottling things up and letting them simmer.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have prayed to him “Help me believe you. Help me believe in you. If you want me, please pursue me and help me to believe.” And he has. Jesus is the greatest pursuer of my heart. He has never failed to show me more of himself…sometimes I have had to wait a bit…but he has always revealed more of himself to me through my struggles. Sometimes, I think that is why he hasn’t made the world perfect again…you know, I figure He is God! He can make the world perfect and make sin disappear…but he doesn’t…could it be because the mutual pursuit of each other…this dance between he and I…could it be more beneficial than if he just handed me heaven?

So what about you? Have you ever doubted? Have you been able to admit it or did it shame you into silence? How has it turned out on the other side? Worth it or not? Or if you are in the midst of the doubts right now, how is it going? Are you leaning into it or running from it? I am praying right now that if you have doubts, that you will lean in…press in…and feel him. Much love friends…

4/25/14 Morning Musing: Rants of a Type-A Lunatic

I’m just going to say it: There is a right way and a wrong way to load the dishwasher. (Ladies, back me up here!) As a matter of fact, there is a right way and a wrong way to do many things: toilet paper installation, folding laundry, driving, squeezing toothpaste…but, I digress. Now there are those who would say, “Hey, if people are trying to help, I’ll take it no matter what it looks like.” And to that I say “Baloney…do it right.” (I’ve mentioned before that I am rather type-A right? My roommate and friends in college (Becky, Summer, Terry) used to mess with me by slightly moving things on my desk in my dorm room just to watch me get all twitchy until I figured out what it was that was different!) I think that we need to look at what the goal is that we are trying to achieve…for example, with the dishwasher…is the goal to fill things up with dirty, mucky, soapy water and achieve a collection of filth OR is the goal for the items in the dishwasher to actually come out cleaner than they went in? The fact that there is a goal in mind tells me that there most certainly is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

There is a phrase out there that makes me roll my eyes because of its sappy inaccuracy: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”― Norman Vincent Peale. While this sounds sweet and encouraging, it is grossly inaccurate scientifically and in life…so the type-A science nerd in me gets extremely twitchy when people quote this to me. It’s wrong. I think instead of just giving people your sloppy, thoughtless effort…slow down, think about it for two seconds, and ask yourself what the goal is before you proceed. For example, take the picture on this post: This is one of MANY pictures that I have taken of how Caleb leaves the hand-towels in the half bath. Now, if the goal is to have nasty, mildewed, damp towels…well, he’s right on target. But if the goal is to have a dry, usable towel for the next person who goes to wash their hands before dinner…well…can we really say that we have landed “among the stars?” I think not.

I’m not saying that my way is the only way to do things (although…it is probably the most efficient and effective way most of the time…probably because I think about it to no end and sometimes even blog about it – Ha!) but there are definitely wrong ways to do things. If the way you help is to impede the process of someone trying to serve you, you are doing it wrong!!!!!!!!!!!

So, this post had nothing to do with scripture or being holy…it is simply the rants of a lunatic who has reached the end of the week and is sitting alone in her dining room trying not to go into spasms. So here are the questions for today? Do you have pet peeves that make you get all twitchy? Are you the person impeding the effort of others? What kind of punishment should we, as a society, put into place to shame and discourage those whose sole contribution is to slow the progress of the type-A people of the world? Does anyone have any muscle relaxers that they would be willing to share with me?

But on a more serious note, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and got a little chuckle out of this post. Muah!

4/24/14 Morning Musing – Relationships and Go Carts

When Stan and I were dating and engaged, I had a girlfriend that I was really close with…so close, in fact, that I asked her to be my maid of honor. We had a very strong connection and shared really deep things with each other. But, she had a tendency to let me down. The majority of the times that we made plans with each other, I would show up to the meeting place (usually a restaurant) and wait and wait to have her never show up or answer her phone. It hurt. I felt dis-regarded and dis-respected and completely un-loved. Every time I thought about sitting down with her and having it out, I would think of these verses: Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21, 22 NIV) So, I would forgive her and make plans with her again just to have her stand me up yet again. I was stuck…I felt like I had to keep forgiving her but she was chipping away bits of my self-esteem every time I let her treat me as though I didn’t matter. Eventually, I decided that we needed to have a talk about it. When I told her “I think we need to have a talk…” she cussed me out at the top of her lungs in a public setting. That was it. I haven’t spoken to her since or kept contact in any way…that was 12 years ago.

It was hard for me to cut this friend out of my life because we were connected on so many levels. But, while we are to forgive people when they hurt us, what I didn’t realize was that forgiveness doesn’t mean what I thought it did. See, I thought forgiveness meant leaving something behind you and seeing the person for who they are…this was my friend…a girl that I loved deeply…someone that I shared intimate conversations with…I didn’t want to be at odds with her. But forgiveness does not mean allowing someone to practice evil against you. In fact, I think that when we allow a friend to continue in sinful and damaging habits, we are not being their friend either.

I think forgiveness has to do with our posture before God and actually has nothing to do with the other person. There are two sides to this posture: There is the side that is humble and wants to put forgiveness, grace, and mercy into action and there is the side that needs to see others and the self as the beautiful creation of the Almighty…an image-bearer who deserves basic human decency and respect simply because God saw fit to create us. See, I had the first part of this with my friend…I was being humble and wanted reconciliation and forgiveness to occur. What I was lacking was the self-respect to require that I be treated as a creation of God. As someone who has been through abuse-patterns in the past, this has been the area that I have always struggled with…the seeing the self as important enough to not allow mistreatment…not doing the pendulum-swing so that I see myself as all-important…but finding a healthy balance with an accurate self-view.

To many of you, this probably seems like common-sense…but to many of the people that you love, it isn’t. (Statistically, one in four women have been in abusive relationships in the United States. Incidentally, men can also be in very abusive relationships as well…it happens less frequently but also tends to carry even more shame with it.) The really weird thing is that to the random observer, I would have come off as cocky, if anything. That was how I protected myself. People really thought that I was secure and had no doubts about myself at all. I still go into this mode when I begin to feel overly-vulnerable to someone who might misuse it.

I see relationships like everyone is in a go-cart. There is always that jerk-face who wants to rattle your teeth by slamming into unsuspecting people with as much force as possible. There are the people who refuse to get into the car at all and prefer to watch from the sidelines…occasionally getting a glimpse of what is going on, but not knowing how it feels to participate. And then, you have the people who want to go fast and feel the speed but not damage people more than is absolutely necessary…these people will look for open spaces to accelerate and will try to turn, brake, and lessen the blow when they are going to run into someone else.

I think we need to see accurately which go-cart driver (or non-driver) we are and also what kind of drivers are around us. Are you surrounded by the jerk-faces who take joy in knocking the wind out of you? Are you surrounded by people who stay on the side-lines? (Because that could mean that you are the person who knocks the wind out of others.) Are you the person who is cultivating healthy relationships that are allowing everyone to take part and have fun in a beautiful way? I’ve spent many years in the position of the two dysfunctional drivers (or non-drivers) and only in very recent years have I learned to be the one that takes risks but doesn’t destroy those around me. There is a balance to it…and it takes a lot of work to get from the extremes to the moderate, healthy place…at least in my experience. So, where are you? If you aren’t in the healthy place, what steps can you begin to take to move toward a better place?

image taken from: http://projectsproxy.internaldrive.com/2012/stanford-university/07-22-2012/matteo-z/web/index.html

4/23/14 Morning Musing – “The Great Plumber”

A couple of years ago, we decided to turn our play room into what it was actually designed to be: a dining room. We were finally hitting a stage in life where our kids didn’t destroy absolutely everything we owned anymore and we thought…let’s have a real room with “grown up” stuff in it. We planned flooring, color schemes, furniture…and then a thought came to me that I simply couldn’t get past: This room is to be our memorial…something to help us remember (and share with our children and others) some of the amazing things that God has done in our lives. (I had been studying Deut 6 – see verses below.) At first, Stan didn’t like the idea…I think he thought it was hokey or something…and Team Massey does not do hokey…but eventually, he warmed up to it (which is good because I was moving full-steam ahead with it regardless.)

I started researching names of God and came up with lots of lists…and while some of the names were perfect, some just didn’t work (not because they aren’t true…but because we had not necessarily experienced them personally.) So, Stan and I decided that the names of God in the Bible are just names that people came up with based on their experiences with Him…we could do the same. (Last week, I mused about how I sometimes wrestle with God to the point of bordering on the blasphemous…this might be one of those times…bear with me.)

Several Biblical names were fitting and we used them on the walls of our memorial dining room: Provider, Savior, Healer, Good Shepherd, Daddy, I AM. But, some names came from just our experiences with God: Plumber, God Who Sees Me, Keeper of Promises, Mechanic. See, we have very real experiences where God worked quite tangibly in our lives and so we want to make sure that we don’t forget the amazing things that he has done because when things are going well, it’s easy to falsely believe that we are “making our own fate.” For example, it would be easy to take for granted that when I turn on the faucet water would come out of it and would easily disappear down the drain. But there was a time when we were out of money and I had managed to clog the garbage disposal with about 3 pounds of rotten beans. (We were newly-weds…and clearly, I was an amazing cook.) We had tried everything we could to get the drain cleared and were about to call a plumber that we simply could not afford. I decided to pray over the drain and ask God to just fix it, please, for the love of him, fix it. I tried one more time to clear the drain before calling the plumber and…yep…it “fixed itself.” God is super-cool that way…you know…gives you no other choice but to rely on him and give him credit for what he does. This has happened with finances, auto repairs, our health, and much much more.

So, do you have special names for God? Has he shown himself to you in tangible ways? When you have cried out to him in frustration or pain or joy or grief or loneliness, what parts of his character has he revealed to you?

Verses used:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (Deuteronomy 6:5-12 NIV)

4/21/14 Morning Musing: Reverse-Snob?

I’m just going to come right out and admit it: I don’t identify with perfect, sweet women at all. I’m not saying that none of my friends are sweet…just the opposite…they all have sweet moments…but if they get into my inner-circle, they are more likely to be feisty and challenging than they are perfect and sweet. The problem with this? Well, I live in the Bible Belt…there are stereotypes that exist about women from the South for a reason…I ought to know…I’m a Georgia Peach and I can do the hospitable, demure, good-natured, agreeable, Southern Belle thing to a tee. But in truth, I’m ornery, strong-willed, independent, and I get my highs from thinking about stuff and working with my hands. (I spent my childhood playing football with the neighborhood boys, with skinned knees, and wearing my brothers’ hand-me-downs.) Although I am good at it, I hate pretending and I feel like people who do are cheating the people around them…if you are pretending to be someone else, then the people spending time with you are only getting to know a facade…what a waste to invest time and find that the person you invested in doesn’t even exist.

The problem? So glad you asked. I don’t know if I simply prefer people who are deeply genuine and authentic or if I’m just a bigoted person who doesn’t like nice people. I tend to think that it’s the former rather than the latter because my friends rock and they are nice…but there is just such a level of depth and sincerity to them that I am drawn to. I don’t know if this is true or not but, it seems to me, that their depth (along with my own) seems to stem from hardships that they (and I) have endured. Some of those hardships have led to depth of character and true learning of life’s lessons. Overly-sweet people bother me…I think I have decided that they are either false or shallow (you know…have led such a charmed life that they haven’t learned any lessons the hard way…thus, haven’t developed any calluses in their personalities) and that probably isn’t fair but it’s what happens in my head.

I prefer to hang out with women who admit to having faults or short-comings and sometimes even flaunt them. I love to spend time with women who don’t keep a perfect house and whose kids don’t behave perfectly all the time. I like women who look at the ideal created by pinterest and say “Nope…that ain’t happening today!” I love women who say “I’m sorry…I screwed up…and boy howdy, let me count the ways…” I can not get enough of women who say “I struggle in this way; help hold me accountable to taking it to God.” I absolutely adore women who walk around in work out pants (whether or not they work out) and have animal fur on their clothes along with baby spit up, lint, and/or part of tonight’s dinner. I am so strongly drawn to the imperfect…maybe because I identify so strongly with the imperfect. I have a very difficult time identifying with people who have it all in place…maybe it’s because that is so far from my reality that I think it can not possibly, in a million, zillion years be reality.

I know that much of my depth and real-ness are rooted in lessons I learned in the hardest-possible ways. So, maybe that makes me a reverse-snob of some sort…but, it’s me…the real me. Sometimes, I don’t know if that is something I should embrace or something I should try to fix. I don’t know if it is beautiful imperfection that leaves room for Jesus to work or if it is simply feeling over-whelmed when I look at the “good people” and trying to put a positive spin on my lack of pursuing that type of lifestyle. Does anyone else identify with this? Or am I just a weird version of bigot and didn’t realize it until now?

4/18/14 Morning Musing: Good Friday

Sometimes I start to wonder about things…it’s possible that I end up bordering the on edge of blasphemy…but, I figure God created me as an extremely curious person for a reason…today is no different. Anyway, since today is Good Friday, I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus and his being separated from the rest of the Trinity while He took on the sins of all humanity. I think we tend to focus on the taking on our sins part and minimize the hell (quite literally) that it was for Jesus to be separated from the rest of the holy trinity. So, today, I’m wondering about what that was like for the trinity.

The interaction of the trinity is described as “perichoresis.” If you aren’t familiar with this term, let me help you out: Perichoresis comes from Peri (around) and Chorein (to make room for, to go, to step, to approach.) Chorein is where Choreography comes from…which gives a beautiful image of dancing. So imagine that the trinity exists in a beautiful dance with each member inter-twined and dancing around each other. But unlike most of our current dances with two people, it actually is more intricate and beautiful because involves three persons.

As a former dancer, I know the importance of each member of the dancing partnership. One member can not say to the other “I don’t need you.” or “You aren’t important.” I know how important trust is in this relationship…if trust is missing, injury happens. I understand exactly how much one-ness plays into this relationship. When it is done well, it is amazing and beautiful and exhilarating.

Please watch this short video of my old buddy Lamar and I dancing forever ago:

So, now, back to the theology of all of this…I think the trinity exists like this but more seamlessly…without a near drop…and more beautifully…without ever tiring. And I think that they are so One that it is excruciatingly painful for them to be apart from each other. When Jesus came and took on the sin of the world, he not only took on the physical pain of that moment…he was separated from the oneness that he and the rest of the trinity existed in…all three parts of the trinity sacrificed part of their one-ness for us. All three parts of the trinity was in agony for us. All three parts of the trinity defied who they are for us because they are meant to exist in one-ness and unity and beauty. With all of this said, I don’t think we are to take lightly what Good Friday really means: the beautiful sacrifice that was endured by the trinity…the defilement that they accepted…the payment that was made for us.

Good Friday and much love to you all!

4/17/14 Morning Musing – S.O.S.

I’ve already surrendered the house to the tiny terrorists…I’ve was up less than 30 minutes when I silently waved the white flag. Between the dogs and the kids…I just had to run away…there was noise, milk spilled everywhere, (expensive organic milk at that) mind-numbing kid tv shows, fussing, begging for food (from dogs and kids,) more noise, muddy paws on the floor…I ran away and didn’t tell anyone…apparently you don’t have to be all that stealthy and jungle-cat-like when the house is full of noisy kids and puppies…you can just stroll out the front door! (I’m going to remember that!) I’m currently sitting outside drinking my coffee and looking at this beautiful view. I’m not even being deterred by those crazy people who are trying to ruin this beautiful peace and quiet with…exercise. (I think there is an insanity class or boot camp or some other such craziness going on at the park…they keep playing loud music, flailing, throwing stuff, and screaming what I guess is supposed to be encouragement….something about pain and pushing…at each other…I don’t know…it certainly is not appealing to me.) Anyway, I can ignore these people because…well…I don’t have to clean up their mess and I can make out the sounds of the birds over their noise.

I didn’t used to be this way at all. I never tired of being in the middle of everything and everyone…never tired of dancing…never tired of noise and chaos and people and “fun.” Now, it is all different. I enjoy coffee, quiet, writing, more quiet, nature, stillness, and solitude (especially in the morning.) I love being outside despite the allergies and asthma…it somehow feeds my spirit…nature and beauty and space to think…it’s like having a little bit of heaven embracing me.

With the kids being off school from today through Sunday, I’m going to require a lot of escaping to wherever they are not. So, call me a bad mom if you must, but I will be telling them to entertain each other and work out their differences using “playground politics” often. I will recruit them and their child labor to clean up the chaos. I will be the mom that requires them to read books on their days off just because I want some peace.

If any of you want to go for a walk, force our kids to play outside at the park together, have a cup of coffee, or a mimosa or three together (if ever there was a booze created just for breakfast…it’s a mimosa) or anything else…let me know. I’m here in my workout pants, slippers, and sweatshirt…and I’m just not yet prepared for the chaos that is my life on my own yet. I think I could use a little figurative hand-holding and support and company today. So, hit me up! It might just save my kids’ lives. (And I’ve already put the champagne in the fridge!)

P.S. I just re-read this and I know how whiny it sounds…I’m sorry but I’m posting it anyway. This is why S.O.S. is done with Morse code…there is no whining in the dots and dashes.

4/16/14 Morning Musing – Not Measuring Up

I was putting together my to-do list this morning and noticing the piddly little stuff that is on it…stuff that nobody notices that I do: Go to Aldi’s to get hormone-free milk and hormone-free eggs, buy Easter-basket stuff for the kids for this weekend, wash everyone’s sheets today, buy bagels at Einstein’s for stocking the freezer for breakfasts, morning musing, cleaning the coffee pot, disinfecting the kitchen counters…and I started to feel self-conscious. See, Stan is home again today (working from home yet again because he still has pink-eye) and I was comparing the work that he does every day to the work that I do every day. He gets to help improve healthcare in a way that allows hospitals to save money…which in turn means that individuals seeking help can save money…which in turn means that lives are changed or even saved. I, on the other-hand, am making sure that we have clean hand-towels in the guest bathroom and making sure that the backyard gets pooper-scooped. It’s not the same. And, if I’m honest, I was feeling inadequate in comparison to this man that I love. I actually thought “I have a master’s degree in Integrative Physiology…did I really need to get that to make sure that our counters get cleaned properly?” It is not Stan’s fault that I was feeling this way..in fact, he won’t even know about it unless he reads my musing on Facebook…but, there it is. The ugly, honest, real me…insecurity up to my eyeballs at times.

So, as I was putting laundry into the washer and realizing that my family doesn’t even know how to run our washer…and thinking “If I died, how long would they use the same dirty sponge in the kitchen or the same hand-towels in the bathrooms before washing them?”…and it hit me…this is so unattractive. I started thinking about it (are you surprised? Me? Over-thinking something? Shocker!) and decided that I am not questioning this because I feel under-appreciated. I’m not thinking this because I feel un-loved. I feel this way because I have temporarily lost sight of my mission: My mission is to selflessly love the people that God has put into my life by whatever means I can. My family and friends don’t need me to move mountains and walk on water…they need me to wash mountains of clothes and put water in the coffee-maker. They don’t need me to be presented with a nobel peace prize…they need me to be present and they need me to provide a peaceful environment in which to thrive and grow.

I should not compare my calling to the calling of others…because my calling is mine…it is from God. I am not called to be Stan, or you, or anyone else. I am called to be me…and that is enough…sometimes I forget that…but it IS enough…and enough IS good. It is sometimes difficult to remember that I don’t have to justify my existence when I am faced with people (who I love) who are doing earth-changing things…but I keep hearing the sweet voice of God telling me to “be still…be present…be where I have you.” So, today, I will fill the car with gas, sweep the floor again, and make a dinner that my kids think tastes like crap because it includes vegetables…but, I will do it knowing that it is my calling and the best thing I can do is honor the calling that God has chosen for me.

Every time I think I have this under control, it sneaks up on me again and I have to re-set. What about you? Do you struggle with this or am I the only ingrate that “has it all” but still whines about my purpose?

4/15/14 Morning Musing – Laughter is the best medicine…unless you have lower GI upset…

Yesterday, Stan’s co-workers sent him home from work because he has pink eye. He’s been on antibiotics for it and was not planning on giving anyone butterfly kisses but…to these people who work in health care…it apparently is akin to the plague. This morning, his eye is still a bit pink so he sent this email to his team, co-workers, and boss:

“I won’t be coming in to the office again today as I continue to battle pink eye.
Don’t worry about me though, I’ll be fine. After wandering the streets yesterday, yelling “unclean” to those that were approaching and being shunned by society, I started a small village outside of town for people like me. We are a small group, but together we have found community. We have fashioned spears for fishing and hunting as we learn to live off of the land. It may sound like a sad existence, but really…it’s better this way. Perhaps I’ll be able to rejoin you tomorrow.”

I have been giggling about this email all morning long. Having a good sense of humor about life’s curveballs is so important. Stan has been receiving humorous responses from his team and co-workers all morning and I think it actually bonds them all more tightly and it makes them dread work less…which leads to more productivity.

So, as per my usual, it got me thinking…and researching…about laughter and the health benefits that accompany it: lower stress, release of endorphins, cardiac health, immunity boost, decrease in pain, improvement in mood, relaxation of your muscles, and results in better relationships (people tend to be attracted to people who make them smile and avoid people who make them feel badly.) And, as far as I can tell…aside from when you have lower GI upset…laughter is always the best medicine.

So, how do we get more of it? I think we should spend more time with people who laugh or make us laugh. We will bond with them more and feel a deeper sense of community. Laughter brings down our barriers and makes us less defensive so it will result in healthier relationships. So, who do you need to be spending more time with? Is there someone that you need to bring laughter to? Is there someone that you need to bring laughter to you? How can you be enjoying life more?