Archive | January, 2009

Maybe it’s not so bad after all…

30 Jan

So a very strange thing happened to me today: I had a busy day at work. It was amazing! I had something to work on the whole day. (If you don’t know, that hasn’t happened for about the past month).

Not only was I busy, I…enjoyed it.

I’m choosing to believe that it’s not just a side effect of me staying home sick yesterday. Nor a side effect of me looking for jobs as an editor, journalist, writer, or publisher and finding zilch.

I’m choosing to believe that it’s because when I’m being utilized for a full 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, I actually do enjoy my job. Marketing and media have always been interesting to me–that’s part of why I majored in Journalism.

Not finding any jobs in the area I’m interested in has also shown me that staying in my current job for the foreseeable future is probably the reality of my life right now. So I need to make the most of the job I have now, instead of bemoaning the fact that it’s not my “passion.” Sometimes I wonder if my discontentment is just selfish pride talking.

Sometimes I’m pretty sure it is.

Honestly, though, I’m thankful that I have a job, even if it has been a rocky road for the past couple of months. God gives good gifts to His children–and I’m choosing to believe that my job can be one of them.

Torn.

28 Jan

Yesterday after work, while I was making some scrambled eggs and toast for dinner (my go-to when I do NOT feel like cooking dinner), Travis innocently asked me if I had looked for jobs at all.

I shot him a dirty look and said “No, I haven’t.” I then elaborated, “I don’t need a new job because things at work are picking up and I have stuff to do. Last week wasn’t bad.” 

“Well, all I know is that you flip-flop between liking your job and thinking you should look for a new job. You go back and forth. And looking for a new job doesn’t mean you’ll actually take one. Looking doesn’t hurt anything.”

I was frustrated. Though they are unfounded and over-the-top, thoughts like these were going through my head: 

“How dare he suggest that I should get a new job?”

“Why does it matter if I look for a new one?”

“The kind of job I want [journalist] isn’t a great field to be going into right now anyway.”

“I just need to see my current job through. Things are looking up. I have great opportunities there.”

And it’s true. Talking to my boss, I think that I have real opportunities here. He’s talked about me getting to write more for product and marketing pieces. He’s talked about me getting more involved in the creative design and strategy.

But right now, that’s all it is. Talk. None of these promised responsibilities have appeared and as a result, my motivation and interest in what I’m doing here has dropped below zero. I am a person who thrives on being challenged, on balancing a schedule, on being just a bit too busy. I can’t handle idleness…when I’m idle, even getting up to go to the bathroom seems like too much work. The more idle I am, the lazier I get. Not good.

So today, when I was just at the point of either going home sick or stuffing my face with the delicious dinner rolls sitting in the kitchen, I went outside. I walked around our building and across the street to the gas station for some gum (my new fave: Mint Mojito by Orbit). I walked back, the long way around, pondering.

Maybe I should look for another job. I’m obviously not operating out of my strengths right now. Let’s be honest, I’m not really operating anything right now. Sometimes I feel like I should wait it out, that the changes are still being made and plans are being finalized–maybe things will get better. Other times, though, I feel like I can’t take another day of this. Writing marketing copy is ok…but it isn’t my passion. It isn’t something that makes me say “I was born to do this.” And D2S isn’t known for its quick changes. Simple decisions have been known to take days, weeks…sometimes even months.

For the first time, I realize that I should be praying about what God wants me to do. I have been making this all about me, even in a way that appears religious. I thought, “I don’t want my reason for quitting to be that I’m not trusting the Lord.” But in the same way, I don’t want to stay because I’m not trusting the Lord. Whether I stay or go, it should be from faith. Faith that the Lord has a plan for my life and that nothing I do can thwart it. Faith that God has created me for a specific purpose and that He desires for me to use my gifts for His glory and the encouragement of His people.

Too often I confuse meditation with prayer. I think about things and consult the Bible, but I don’t consult God Himself. Despite my desire that my decisions honor God and show His significance in my life, I so often act independently and according to my own judgment and wisdom. No wonder I feel lost! So instead of immediately starting to browse job listings, I will fall on my knees before the Father and ask for Him to guide me, through the Holy Spirit, to where He wants me to be. 

And if He wants me to be right where I am, Amen.

All I Have is Christ

25 Jan

I am proud to say that yesterday, I worked on my memoir for about 5 hours straight. I got into the groove and was on a roll. Hopefully I can keep this up so that days don’t turn into months and then years before this thing is finished.

I am currently writing about the time I studied abroad in Venezuela and one of the guys I dated, German (accent on the a), who was actually from Venezuela. I met him in Rochester, where I grew up, when he was studying abroad.

I won’t go into detail here, mostly because it isn’t relevant. But I am finding it difficult to remember really what happened between us and what our relationship was like, which is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I have been praying ever since I met Travis that I would forget everything about the “other guys” in my life. A curse because it makes it hard to write a memoir!! But I’d rather not remember for the sake of my marriage than remember for the sake of a book. 

To “research” what happened during those years, I’ve been reading some of my old journals. It’s amazing to see how I have changed. More than just maturing over the years, I have developed a hope and purpose for my life that can only be from God. 

I think of what my life would like right now if I hadn’t heard God beckoning to me that hot, sticky day in Venezuela: I’d probably still be basing my worth on men; hopping around the party scene; investing a fortune into fashion, fitness, and beauty; trying to climb the corporate ladder while secretly pining for a husband and a family. I would be lost, scared, and insecure. Most of all, I would be without hope. I would wonder if this is all there was to life, if no one ever craved something more. I would never be satisfied.

Reading Romans has really revealed to me how much we need the gospel–a Savior who demands nothing but faith for a gospel that is based on nothing but grace. Tim Keller said once in a sermon that there was a woman on the verge of becoming a Christian. She was scared to accept Christ because she knew that once she did, “there is nothing He can’t ask of me.” The gospel demands a full surrender of ourselves. There is nothing we can hold back from God.

This is my song right now:

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ!
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life!

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

A Scared Excitement

24 Jan

I’m sitting at Panera right now (I puffy heart Panera). Although I forgot how crazy Saturday mornings are here. I did manage to finagle a table near an outlet (my laptop is so old–7 years to be exact–that I need to plug it in for it to turn on…the battery needs to be replaced again but Travis and I are probably going to buy a new computer anyway).

I’m here for my 2nd day of writing. The first day (last Tuesday) went ok. I just stayed at home and hooked my computer up in the kitchen. I wrote for about an hour and then got sidetracked reading my diary from the time I studied abroad in Venezuela–when I became a Christian. It’s very interesting. But after reading my diary for a while, I got bored and started to get a sore throat so I copped out.

But I’m excited to write and after pondering (and re-writing) my memoir for a couple years now, I think I know how I want to tell the story. I don’t want it to be like your typical book written by a Christian woman (not that they’re bad…there’s just so many of them!!) I want it to be more like literary non-fiction. I want to show the story, not tell it. I want to walk through the experiences with my reader, instead of just recalling them. And I don’t want to explicitly analyze what happened and what I realized. Rather, I want to reveal it, let the reader see a few glimpses here and there, make them piece the story together as they read (though I can’t do that too much or else the meaning will be lost entirely).

Writing my memoir feels a lot like training for a race. Running makes me anxious with anticipation: I want to either run a certain distance or at a certain pace and am not sure if I’ll be able to do it. So I feel scared. But there’s also a real possibility that I’ll be able to pull it off. So I’m also excited.

That’s how I feel about writing. I want it to be good, to flow, to come together in the way that I imagine it in my head. But I’m not sure that I’ll be able to do it; so I’m a little anxious about writing (which has resulted in me avoiding it altogether…until now). I’m also excited because of the possibilities. I have a story to tell. I have thoughts to communicate.

Paul says in Acts 20:24, “But I do not consider my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

That’s how I view my desire to write about how God drew me to Himself–I want to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And really, that is every Christian’s purpose. We are all to testify to the gospel, through our words, actions, and lives. We just do it in different ways.

Writing is my way.

Pathetic little cold.

22 Jan

I think I’m getting sick. On Tuesday night, I started to get a sore throat. Yesterday my nose started to stuff up just slightly. Today was pretty much par until tonight when I got a headache and feel exhausted. I’m thinking that maybe aerobics tomorrow morning is out of the question (Fridays are tough so I have to be on top of my game to survive!)

I told my women’s group tonight that I’ve been asking God to either make me better or make me sick enough that I can justify staying home from work. 🙂 Then I could watch House all day long.

Glorious.

But then I realize I would only enjoy it for about 2 hours before wishing I was just better already. I am too active a person to lay on the couch all day long. Even back in July when we were just moving into our house and I went to the ER from work because I was having trouble breathing and my chest had stabbing pains (turned out I suffer from acid reflux!), I still helped paint the walls and trim and move our stuff the next day (never mind the fact that I couldn’t sleep at night because it hurt to lay down and I couldn’t bend over because it caused stabbing pains.) I’m tough.

But when it comes to work, let’s just be honest. Everyone needs a good sick day now and again. I mean, no one wishes for any serious illness of course. But a wimpy, day-long cold every now and then? Bring it on.

Then there’s the kind of cold I have–enough to wear me out but not enough to knock me out. In short, just annoying. Boo.

Ok, well I’m going to go to bed now in case I do feel well enough to go to aerobics. And if I don’t, I really hope I don’t feel well enough to go to work either. 🙂 Hey, it’s Friday. Can’t I dream a little?

Chocolate Sunday

19 Jan

After gorging ourselves silly on cookies, cakes, bars, and fudge over the Christmas holiday, Travis and I decided to limit our sweets intake to one day a week–Sunday. The first week was rough. I craved chocolate, candy, and ice cream just about every waking moment (but thankfully, I did not dream about it). The 2nd week was better. Last week was no problem. I can handle this no-sweets-until-Sunday thing.

That is, until Sunday. I tried to tell myself that just because I was allowed to eat chocolate, didn’t mean I had to.

I didn’t listen.

I blame Saturday. It got me on the wrong track. For some strange reason, I was absolutely starving on Saturday. I had eaten 1,000 calories well before noon. Finally, we got out of the house and went ice skating on a frozen lake up in Evergreen, CO. I am surprisingly a very good ice skater, considering I’ve ice skated probably 3 times in the past 4 years. Travis and I hit the hockey puck around for about an hour and then my toes had frozen so we left.

We had dinner at One World Cafe, on Charlie’s recommendation (Trav’s boss). I had a glass of Riesling on a how-in-the-world-could-it-possibly-be-empty-considering-all-the-food-you’ve-eaten-today stomach–meaning it gave me a little buzz. So after dinner, we mosied next door to Cactus Jack’s, a bar full of rough middle-aged mountain folk and a handful of no-good college students. I had 2 vodka cranberries and a basket of fries while Travis shot antelope and zebras on Big Buck Hunter. After about 30 minutes, Trav’s boss, Charlie, and his wife, Karen, showed up so we hung out with them for a while.

If you haven’t guessed, that basket of fries was totally uncalled for. And 1 glass of wine + 2 vodka cranberries is more than enough booze to get me slightly drunk (I am a total lightweight). So I woke up Sunday morning swearing off hard liquor (darn vodka!) and greasy foods.

Oh, but my delicious chocolate was conveniently exempt from those 2 categories.

After a sensible breakfast of Cherrios with a sliced banana and 1% milk (and possibly a coffee topped with about 4 inches of fat-free Cool whip), we went to church. After church, we went to Walmart, where I proceeded to buy my absolute favorite Easter candy: a Reese’s peanut butter egg. They are delicious. I decided to share the egg with Travis so that I wouldn’t feel SO guilty about eating the 180-cal egg-shaped bundle of chocolatey, peanut buttery goodness. There was one little chunk left and I was going to let Travis have it. At the same moment that I held it out to him, he grabbed the gum out of his mouth and flung it in my direction into a garbage can…

…effectively hitting my hand so that the Reese’s chunk flew up into the air and then down onto the Walmart parking lot.

I stood there making a pouty face for about 30 seconds before I deftly picked the chunk up and popped it into my mouth. Hey–I wasn’t about to let it go to waste!

Travis later told me that when he saw me do that, he realized how desperate I was for chocolate and knew that there was no hope for me.

I finished what I started by eating a minty chocolate layered bar, a chocolate-covered peanut butter ball, and 2 heaping bowls of Moose Tracks ice cream.

It was a quite a feat, I tell ya. I mean, not everyone can eat an entire day’s worth of calories in CHOCOLATE (although I’m willing to bet that any female could!)

It makes me wonder if I’m really benefitting from this whole sweets-only-on-Sundays plan or if it’s just turning me into a chocolate craving maniac? I guess we’ll find out next Sunday… 🙂

Clarity and Hope

17 Jan

I’ve been wanting to blog for the past couple of days but I’ve been [shocker] busy at work and [bigger shocker] busy outside of work this week. So here I am on a nice little Saturday, taking time to read the Bible, pray, and blog.

[Side note/Update: My resolutions for this year are going well. I did create a little reward system for meeting my goals each week and so far, I’ve been doing really well. The hardest thing has been to exercise 6 days a week (my body isn’t used to it) but other than that, I have been consistent in getting in the Word and praying daily as well as memorizing one verse a week. We won’t talk about eating… 🙂 I’m not expecting complete consistency there.]

Saturdays are my favorite day of the week. That’s why I would love to be a writer by vocation: every day could be a Saturday (except Sunday because I’d still have to go to church in the morning). But I love being able to get up early (today I got up at 7:30…I’ve been trying to get up relatively close to when I get up for work so that I don’t mess up my sleep cycle on the weekends) and eat breakfast, read the Bible, pray…just be very relaxed. It reminds me a lot of college. Every day was like this…I loved it back then too.

Anywho…can you tell I’m more upbeat today than I have been in some of my recent posts? (I was being a total Debbie Downer…but I was also being honest.) The reason for my mood/outlook change is that God has been faithful in giving me insight into the past few months.

I was living in my failures and sinfulness. Even though I “knew” I was forgiven, I was still carrying them around as my personal burden. Especially in my marriage. I saw my sin affecting Travis and I was terrified that I was going to ruin our marriage, drive him away–that’d we’d wake up one day in 15 years and realize we no longer knew each other at all…and that we’d be able to trace it back to something I did or said that set the ball in motion.

I was also hating myself. For sinning again and again. For (from my perspective) never learning or advancing. For being a coward and a hypocrite.

But this past week, I remembered that there are many stories in the Bible that depict God using sin or using people in spite of their sin to accomplish His purposes. That means I can’t thwart God’s will or purposes by my sin. That means He can make our marriage thrive even despite my constant threats to kill it. I was making my sin and failures all about me…when nothing is all about me. It’s all about Him. And HE is so much BIGGER than my sin. Who am I to think that my failures will deter Him from His will?

I also realized that I have been holding myself back from God. I felt like a failure and a pathetic sinner who would never learn. When reminded of God’s love,  a tiny voice inside me said, “Yeah but, I’m still doing X and struggling with Y. God’s love is great but first I want to stop doing all these things that I hate.” Silly girl, it’s God’s love that enables you stop doing all those things you hate.

BarlowGirl’s song “I Need You to Love Me” sums up my realizations well:

Why? Why are you still here with me?
Didn’t you see what I’ve done?
In my shame I want to run,
And hide myself.
Yeah, but it’s here I see the truth,
I don’t deserve you.

But I need you to love me,
And I, I won’t keep my heart from you this time.
And I’ll stop this pretending that I can,
Somehow deserve what I already have
I need you to love me

I, I have wasted so much time
Pushing you away from me.
I just never saw how you
Could cherish me.
Cause you’re a God who has all things,
And still you want me.

Your love makes me forget what I have been.
Your love makes me see who I really am.
Your love makes me forget what I have been.

My favorite line of that song is “Cause you’re a God who has all things, and still you want me.” Me, a sinner. Me, a girl trapped in self-pity. Me, an unremarkable person. You want me. You want me. You want me. How powerful each of those 3 little words is.

I have also been reading “God Has a Dream for Your Life” by Sheila Walsh. It’s a good book. Very easy reading. There are 2 passages that stand out to me regarding the whole questioning-life-and-purpose thing I’ve been going through for the past 6 months or so.

On discovering who I am and what God’s will for me is:

“So what are we to make of this God-given promise that if we delight ourselves in him, he will give us the desires of our heart? I love what C.S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity: ‘Your real self will not come as long as we are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.’

“My own journey has taken me away from trying so hard to find the will of God for my life. It has taken me to the place of brokenness and letting go of everything I thought I needed. I found peace and purpose as I lay exhausted at the feet of the Lion of Judah. It took me many years to understand that God wanted my heart, not my schedule.”

God wants my heart, not my fine-tuned plans for aiding His kingdom. He wants me to be who I really am in Christ, not try to be someone I’m not.

On my desire to write but feeling it’s prideful to want to do so:

“Don’t turn your light down just because it seems to burn brighter than the one who stands beside you. Let it shine and hold it high. The liberating truth is that none of this is about you anyway–it is all about God. If God has given you a voice to sing, then sing out for him. If God has given you the gift of mercy, then pour out that mercy in Jesus’ name whether anyone gets it or not. If God has given you a heart to serve, then serve with your whole heart even if no one stops to say thank you. If God has given you the ability to teach, then teach with vision and passion.

“Whatever God has placed in you, use it.”

I’m planning on starting my weekly writing retreats (to Panera, Starbuck’s, or a cute local coffee shop if I find one) this week on Tuesday. I have a lot of books on writing to read, old journals to review, and a long way to go. But it’s my dream and I’m going to pursue until God slams the door in my face. At least I’ll know that I have been faithful in using the gifts God has given me.