Tag Archives: writing

Why I’m Living My Book, Instead of Writing It

7 Sep

At the beginning of the year, I wrote about how I felt God was calling me to BEHOLD Him this year. “I need new eyes and new ears to see and hear God’s glory and power in my life. The glory of His presence already surrounds me; I just need help recognizing it.”

IMG_20160105_153553It has been AWESOME seeing God answer that prayer all year long, and I have plans to share all the different facets here on the blog. But today, I want to share about how God just recently answered this prayer of beholding Him, and of having new eyes and ears to see His glory in the life I already have.

I won’t mince words—this summer has been hard. Yes, full of fun things too, but mostly hard. See my meltdown post. See my posts on grief over my mom dying. Then one day, I was praying. I don’t even remember about what—maybe my desire to write a book? Feeling like I don’t have the time or energy for doing the things I’d like to do? Anyway, God spoke to me. He challenged me by asking, “Is this about My glory or is it about your glory?”

And I realized…

All this time I have been praying for the opportunity to write and publish a book because I feel so passionate about what I’ve been learning, and think that a lot of other Christians would benefit from these ideas. But truth be told, it has also been a lot about my glory. I spent years trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and finally a year ago, I had the courage to declare that I wanted to be a published author more than anything else. And the book I want to write is about how joy is found in embracing the life circumstances God allows.

I didn’t need my book to be a bestseller, or to make money, or be a household name, and I surely didn’t want to end up being a speaker to big audiences. I just wanted to hold a tangible book in my hand, containing my unique words with my name on the cover. Of course, I hoped that at least a few people would read my book, but I really just wanted to be faithful to God’s calling on my life. Whatever He chose to accomplish with it was up to Him. A noble, worthwhile purpose, right?

A few weeks ago, though, God showed me that even that noble, worthwhile purpose had to be surrendered to something bigger: His will. It may be His will that I am a published author someday, but the reality of my life is that I already have two daughters. I am already a mom. And in this stage of life, my girls demand it all. I have tried for a year to write a book in my free time, and I have discovered that for me, right now, it’s not possible. Trying to write a book only made me bitter, and made me feel like I spent all my time doing crap I didn’t want to do, with no time or energy left over for doing what I did want to do.

Because I have two kids, God has called to be a mom. And I feel strongly that He has called me personally to be a full-time, stay-at-home (and possibly homeschooling?) mom. Instead of viewing my two precious blessings as preventing me from what I am called to do, I need to see them as being what I am called to do.

It is the most humbling, soul-aweing challenge for God to show me:

If I truly desire to live for His glory, if I truly believe that God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him, if I truly believe that God is the one orchestrating my life circumstances, then I will be okay with whatever God has for me.

Being satisfied in God means wanting Him above everything. Even above my dream of being a published author.

God’s challenge revealed to me:

Is my life goal truly about getting more of God? Or is my goal being an author?

Nothing less than God Himself will satisfy.

So if my goal of being an author is causing me to be discontent in my current life, being bitter about the circumstances God has lovingly handpicked for me, I must lay even this good desire of telling about God’s glories in a book down at my Savior’s feet.

I must truly surrender all to get more of God. That’s the amazing truth in all of this: I can experience and enjoy God in any and every season of life, even amidst the challenges and mundanity of motherhood. The experience of God is not limited to doing big things. In fact, it might even be easier to experience God in the small things, because big things have a way of distracting. Even as “just” a stay-at-home mom, I can have as much of God as I want, because the curtain has been torn in two with Christ’s death and resurrection.

I was surprised to discover that surrendering this lifelong dream of mine into God’s hands was not discouraging or depressing, but freeing. I didn’t realize how heavy a weight I had been carrying around, feeling like every free moment I had needed to be productive because of all I was trying to accomplish. I felt jealous of other moms who seemingly had lower ambitions. Why couldn’t I be like them?

With the laying down of this dream came the freedom to just focus on mothering well. And as I focused on that, I realized it was what I had desired all along. Of course, I would still love to write a book, or ten. If it happens later in life, in a different season, great. And if not, that’s ok.

I have often found great comfort in the story of King David’s desire to build a temple for God’s presence and the Ark of the Covenant. In 1 Kings 8:17-19, King Solomon says, “Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. But the LORD said to David my father, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, you shall not build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name.’”

David had a desire to do something noble, selfless, BIG for God. But God told him no. David’s desire was good, but it wasn’t God’s will for him. The American Dream is still alive and well in our country, even in Christian circles. Somehow, the notion is that if we’re passionate about something and good at it, it must be God’s calling on our lives. And if we’re not doing something with those gifts, if we’re not using them for growing God’s kingdom, we’re not fully living out our faith. We’re taking our light and hiding it under a bush.

But even the desire to serve God doing good things must be subordinate to our love for and enjoyment of Him. Because often, God’s chosen circumstances for our lives don’t align with what we would choose, or what we envision. Am I serving God less by being a mom instead of an author? Am I serving Him more? No, I am just serving in a different way. I am serving God in the way He has chosen for me to serve Him.

The Christian life is not one size fits all. It is not rules across the board, applicable to every and all circumstances. We want it to be! We want the Christian life to be so cut and dry that we can take the rules and run off to accomplish the Christian life on our own without God. God knew that. So He made it necessary for the Christian life to be walked out in faith by depending on the Holy Spirit. The New Testament contains only general principles built on the solid foundation of the gospel; we need to walk with God daily to uncover what those principles look like specifically in our own unique lives.

God has called me to lay down my dream of being an author to truly embrace my calling as a mother. But He might be calling other mothers to take up their dreams and pursue them wholeheartedly. It is not about WHAT we do, it is about WHY and HOW we do it. Are we surrendering our lives to God?  Are we offering up everything we are, every dream, ambition and longing, to God and allowing Him to be the answer? Are we glorifying God by being satisfied in Him? The fleshed-out specifics will look different for everyone. There is a time for everything under the sun, and we are all in slightly different seasons and stages of life and sanctification. But we will united under the banner of:

SATISFIED IN GOD ALONE

The ironic thing in God asking me to lay down my dream of being an author is that He is calling me to put into practice the very ideas that I want to write my book about.

So for now, I’m living my book, instead of writing it.

 

“No good things does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11)

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” (Psalm 138:8)

Worth Repeating {5/13/16}

13 May

It has been a LOOOONG time (ahem, almost an entire year) since I did a Worth Repeating post here on this little blog of mine. This is a weekly whenever-I-feel-like-it series where I share quotes, sayings and verses that I enjoyed and found to be worth repeating.

worth_repeating

A month or two ago, I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic. While her notions about creative living and life in general are not overtly Christian, I found her book fascinating, and with a few giant leaps (like Inspiration being the work of the Holy Spirit), I think her ideas can apply to Christians too. Her book reiterated a message I’ve been hearing from sources on all sides over the past 6 months: We were created in God’s image. He’s a creator. Therefore, we are creative people. We won’t thrive unless we’re consistently creating.

To that end, I’ve been writing almost every day–mostly working on my book, some writing in my journal, and a little of putting thoughts on this blog. Elizabeth Gilbert’s book has inspired me to take writing seriously, entrust the results to God, and enjoy the journey, even when writing is hard and progress slow. Here are my six favorite quotes from her book (click on the images for sources):

what is creative livin

 

courage for treasures

authenticity vs originality

interesting

inspiration partner

creativity is sacred

I’m Losing My Mind: Monday Randomness

9 Jun

1) Proof that I’m losing my mind: I was convinced that yesterday was Father’s Day. I brought Travis breakfast in bed (eggs, bacon, toast and coffee), gave him his present (the book Lone Survivor, some gum and hand sanitizer – an inside joke), and let him sleep in both Saturday and Sunday until 8:30. I didn’t discover that it wasn’t Father’s Day until I told Trav’s dad Al Happy Father’s Day and he looked at me weird. Well crap.

2) I’m blaming the above on the fact that I went to bed at 11 pm every night this past week, which is 1-2 hours later than I normally do. After Emma went to bed, we used milk paint to refinish the hand-me-down table and chairs we received. They look awesome! We have 2 chairs left to sand and paint, but the rest are ready for distressing and waxing. We’re pumped about them. I have pictures, but I’m going to save them for a separate post. 😉

3) Even though my hair is still shorter than I’d like for putting up in a ponytail, it is the perfect length for air drying. My hair is naturally stick-straight but at this length, it flips out at the bottom when I let it air dry. So I haven’t used my hairdryer in over a month! Love it.

4) I was inspired by the writer/blogger/runner I met at the Park Rapids church several weeks ago to blow the proverbial dust off my book manuscript and start working on it again during Emma’s naptimes. It has been so enjoyable and I’ve made quite a bit of progress on it. It’s still too rough-draft for me to have any idea of a timeline on publishing, but I’m very excited to have a contact who has “been there, done there” with self-publishing and now with a publishing house. This is my dream!

5) The power cord for the baby monitor we got when I was pregnant broke so I bought a cheapy $25 set of baby monitors at Babies R Us to replace them (for some reason, they don’t sell just power cords.) Save your money. It’s the biggest piece of crap ever. We didn’t have the cadillac of monitors before either (maybe $50-60) but this one is horrible. We’d like to buy a video monitor when we have another baby so we were trying to hold out until then, but maybe we just need to break down and get one now. Any recommendations?

6) My mom’s side of the family has a reunion every 4th of July and this summer, the theme is Super Heroes. Emma is going to be dressed as the Incredible Hulk, but named Destructobaby. I’m thinking about going as a spinoff of Wonder Woman, but instead being called Wonder Mommy or Wonder Runner. I’d be making my own costume so it could really be anything.I also thought about going as Catwoman, as a joke since Travis is allergic to cats. Any other ideas? 

7) Emma and I are heading down to Pine City and then Rochester today to spend the week with my parents. I’m excited! But

Well, that’s all the randomness I have for today.

Memory Book and Goals

4 Apr

As I was driving to work yesterday, I realized that March was over and I had not yet completed my goal of trying Bikram yoga. Whoops. So I penciled it onto my training schedule for Sunday, April 22. (Next Sunday is Easter and the next Sunday is the Platte River Half Marathon!)

Since April is here, I need to start working on my April goal – finishing a memory book of our first 5 years of marriage.

Just last Thursday on our way to the airport, Travis and I were trying to remember the last time my parents had been out to visit us in Colorado. It took some digging around in our brains but little by little, we pieced it together. I had shown them our new bedroom curtains… we had Charlie… we spent a lot of time cooking and baking… Travis and my dad thought about fixing the car but decided against it… oh, they were out here for last Thanksgiving!

That happens often. Holidays and vacations blend in to one another and it’s hard to remember what you did one year. Or if you do remember what you did, you can’t remember which year it was!

Enter the memory book. I envision this being similar to the race memory book I created. I don’t have a picture but it’s pretty straightforward: I print out my race report from the blog, three-hole punch it, and stick it into a binder labeled “Race Memories”. I slide my race bib into a sheet protector and stick that in after each race report. Easy.

For the memory book, I’m going to include all of the big holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day – plus other special times like our wedding anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, vacations, etc.

Once I copy the blog posts, I’m going to read through each blog post and add any extra details I can think of, then go through my boxes of sentimental keepsakes and add any that pertain to the specific holiday/trip/day.

After all that hard work is done, the trick will be to keep updating the book. I am already failing on this account for my race memory book so the odds aren’t good. But that’s why having a blog is so handy! All those fun trips and times are recorded here on the interwebs, just waiting for me to put them in my book.

………………..

On another note altogether, I have decided that after the marathon is over, I am going to free my weekends up from workouts. I have so many projects and things that I want to do around the house, and to the house, that it’d be nice to not have weekends dominated by running and recovering. I do still want to keep running and biking (have to, if I want to accomplish my goals of climbing a 14er and biking 50 miles at once!) but I’ll try to confine that to after work during the week, so I can get stuff done on the weekends.

Running is fun, but it takes up so much time!

………………….

Quickly, an update on my other goals:

…get pregnant.

…run 700 miles.

  • As of March 31, I was at 179 miles. With marathon training, I think this is totally doable.

…finish writing my nonfiction book.

  • I’m still slowing chipping away at writing my book. It’s hard to get up early because I’m so tired in the mornings but I’m really trying to go to bed sooner.

…read 27 books (one more than in 2011).

  • I’ve been really slacking on the book reading (I’m only up to 5 completed, thanks to copious re-runs of NCIS) but I am still listening to Harry Potter audiobooks and am about halfway through the fourth book. I am also currently reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, which is really interesting. I want to read Blink too!

…consistently track my workouts so I have accurate totals on 12/31/12!

  • I have been obsessively tracking my workouts on MapMyRun.com but am contemplating switching over to RunningAhead.com. MMR has been stupid lately with not loading or mapping courses correctly so I’m kind of over them. But… I want all of my training records to be in one spot. So what I’ve been doing is continuing to track my workouts on MMR but mapping courses using RA. Whatev. It works for now.

…grow in being a loving, supportive wive to my amazing husband.

  • I helped Travis with yardwork the past two weekends so I think that counts as being a loving, supportive wife. 😉

{Sidenote: I also realized yesterday that I was quite ambitious when making my goals at the beginning of the year. Especially with wanting to get pregnant, I need to be open to the fact that some of these may or may not happen (ahem, 50 mile bike ride and 14er hike). I’m going to give it the ole college try but I’m also aware that things change and I need to adapt.}

Are you sticking with your 2012 goals/resolutions?

Happy Hump Day!

400th Blog Post Giveaway

7 Nov

Here I am at Blog Post #400.

My first blog post ever was on January 15, 2008. I started this blog as a way of being intentional about my writing passion – because as many will say, to become a better writer, you have to write. You have to develop the habit of writing, just like with anything else – very similar to running. Any advancement in running, whether distance or speed, requires that you actually get out there and run. You can’t just think about running. Or think about how great a runner you would be if you had time to run. Or watch runners outside, longing to be able to do what they do. Runners run. Writers write.

My blog has come a long way from what it once was. In the beginning, I never posted pictures. I never expected reader participation. I wrote for myself and didn’t care if anyone else read my blog. Now, I view my blog – and other people’s blogs – as places to connect, to share thoughts, opinions and laughter. The popularity of the blogging community is growing and I really enjoy being a part of it. My husband still thinks it’s weird that I know so much about people I may never met in real life but I think it’s weird that he enjoys hunting so much. I mean, killing an elk for the meat is understandable (I have to admit it’s delicious). Killing an elk and two antelope is a little overkill. Killing an elk, two antelope and two deer in the same year is just plain ludicrous. (Oh yes, he did.) Not even a straight-up carnivore needs that much meat. 

Anyone want to come over for dinner? And take a cooler of meat home with them?

Anyway, in honor of my 400th post, I am doing my first-ever giveaway! (I’m a little late coming to the game but hey, better late than never, eh?)

A lululemon tote bag, 2 Luna bars, 3 Hammer gels (raspberry), 2 Hammer electrolyte tablets, a Brooks bandanna, and a pair of RedStar WorldWear polarized sunglasses.

 

To show you how rad they are, here’s me modeling the sunglasses:

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and let me know if there is anything you’d like to see more of (or less of!) here on my blog.

I will randomly select a winner on Friday, 11/11/11.

Thanks readers for making being a blogger so enjoyable and rewarding!

A Morning Routine.

6 Oct

Last weekend, when I was going through all my old files at my parents’ house, I came across novels I had written in junior high and high school and a sheet that said my life goal was to publish novels. Seems I’ve  known for a while that I wanted to be an author someday…

I realized a while ago that I just need to buckle down and write already. I just have to put my nose to the grindstone and get ‘er done.

I had actually forgotten about my BHAG of finishing my book by the end of this year. Whoops. It might still happen. But it might not. I’m not going to get rid of that goal completely, but I’m making it more concrete by shooting for writing for 45 minutes, 5 days a week. 

So I am going to implement a new morning routine (bet you haven’t heard that before!). I am going to get up at 5:30 and after feeding the dogs and eating breakfast, get in the Word from 5:45 to 6:30, then write from 6:30 to 7:15. After that, I will resume my regular morning duties, such as showering and making a lunch. All workouts will be pushed until during lunch or after work. So far, I’m 1 for 1! It feels good to be productive in the morning and be able to relax with God and the Bible before heading to work.

And I’ll just leave you with this hilarious pic:

 

 

A New Blog Name

23 Aug

Because it’s been a while since I lasted changed my blog name, I decided to change it again.

Just kidding.

But seriously, I did change it again.

Here’s why:

I decided on the name Joy in Being Broken back when I was really questioning my life, my relationship with God, and learning some hard lessons. 99% of my blog posts were about what I was learning and struggling through – I used this blog like a public journal, a space to put my thoughts into order.

While I’m still (obviously) a broken person in need of a Savior, I expanded the scope of my blog when I decided to stop maintaining my old triathlon blog and I just didn’t feel like the old blog name was the right fit anymore.

I have been trying to come up with a new name for the past couple of months. A few ideas I had:

From the Inside Out

My Whole Self

Healthy Inside and Out

Girl + God

But none of them screamed “This is it!” Until I had an epiphany today with this current name: Life, Really.

This name resonated with me for 2 reasons:

1) Like I mentioned last week, I am committed to being an authentic blogger. I don’t sugarcoat things, I don’t hide things and I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not. This blog is about my life as it really is.

2) Jesus said in John 10, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” I didn’t know what life was really about until I knew Jesus. So my spiritual posts also reveal what life is, really.

As for the tagline, I chose:

  • “Authentic” for Reason #1 above.
  • “Journey” because, like I mentioned in my last new blog name post, life is a journey: “You grow, you shrink, you step forward, you step backward, you succeed, you fail. But through it all, those who have Christ, have ‘a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain [into the presence of the Father], where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf…’ (Hebrews 6:19-20).”
  • “Faith” because Christ the center of my life and my reason for living.
  • “Fitness” because I love being active and blogging about my athletic feats. 🙂
  • “Fun” because I believe God wants us to enjoy our time here on earth with our family and friends

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

What do you think about my new blog name?

The Future, as Yet Uncertain

17 Aug

I feel a buzz of anticipation in my life. Some of it comes from goals I am looking forward to accomplishing. Some of it comes from major life milestones being realized. Some of it comes from knowing exactly what I want to do with my life.

There are 5 things in particular:

1. Running my first full marathon in 2012

I tried (and failed) last year because I was stupid about training. Not next year! I will train smart and I will cross the finish line! (Which marathon is TBD.)

2. Moving back to Minnesota (in 2013?)

As we were driving home from our Minnesota vacation, Travis and I started talking about seriously moving back to Minnesota. We thought about what we would need to do to our house to make it sellable, where he would look for jobs, what cities we would be interested in moving to, when we would shoot to move (anytime but the winter!), etc. These practical considerations made the idea so much more real and got us both really excited. While we love Colorado, our hearts belong to Minnesota (and to our families).

I most look forward to seeing our family more than twice a year and even seeing our extended family on a more regular basis (instead of every 3-4 years!). These also have me excited: seeing more fall colors than just green and yellow; spending time on the lakes; having a bigger yard for the dogs to run around in; and watching lots and lots of hockey games.

3. Getting pregnant (in 2012?)

Starting a family has been one of those things that over the years, Travis and I have continued to put off, saying, “It’ll be a few more years.” At that rate, I’d be 40 before we’d have our first! Since we are in agreement about wanting at least 3 kids, age 35 marks the start of high risk pregnancies, and I just turned 28 in July, I told Travis it’s getting to be “about that time.” So we are tentatively planning to start trying in July 2012 and who knows from there?

Along with that…

4. Being a mother (in 2013?)

I don’t know how long it will take us to get pregnant but this would be the ideal timeline. Then, I’d be having our first child at 30. Which is old enough, I say.

Having kids feels like the last real step in becoming an adult. Even though I am 28, I don’t feel 28. Sometimes, I’m still shocked that we own a house, we’ve been married for over 4 years, I have a well-paying job, and I am old enough to be a mother (and have been for some time). Some day, I could be entrusted with a kid of my own (here’s asking God!). It boggles the mind.

As a mother, I am hoping to either stay home full-time or work only part-time. My mom had the privilege (and yes, I consider it a privilege because not every family can afford it!) of doing this when I was growing up and I have so many great memories of being with her all day, every day.

5. Being a published author (in ????)

Being back in a 9-to-5 in corporate America definitely has its perks. And for the most part, I enjoy what I’m doing (regardless of the fact that I’m crawling the walls with boredom). But it’s not what I really want to do. I’ve had countless conversations with my mom about this. She’s offered me many helpful ideas that I’ve seriously thought about. But none of them seem to be it.

Then I listened to the audio book of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. He wrote (read?) something like, “When you find what you’re really supposed to be doing, you’ll encounter resistance.” That is exactly how I feel about writing. Anyone who has read my blog from the beginning (I am probably the only one 🙂 ) knows that I have always wanted to write, but have continued to listen to the doubts, the fears, and the reasons why I will never be a published author.

But if you asked me, “If you could do anything with your life, what would you do?” The answer hands-down, 24 x 7, no doubt in my mind: “I’d write.” And not just write anything (because as a copywriter, I am currently writing for a living). But write about what I feel passionate about, what I feel like God has given to me to tell to the world — which happens to be mostly about my life and the lessons I’ve learned.

Yes, I’ve struggled with the whole “That sounds really vain” objection. Who cares about my life? Who am I to say that I’ve learned enough to teach others? But I can’t escape the fact that writing is my passion and so is God, faith, and what I’ve learned from making SO MANY mistakes. I honestly believe that God has given me this desire and my writing material, and I have to step out in faith to pursue the dream He’s inspired.

So what’s different this time? How am I going to overcome the tendency I have to get wrapped up in the busyness of life, push writing to the side and say, “Yeah, I still want to write but I just don’t have time.” Well, self, I have news for you:

If you don’t make time, you’ll never find time.

And if you don’t find time, you will never be an author. An author, by definition, writes.

Are you really willing to compromise your dream in order to do the dishes? Are you really willing to long for this aspiration to come to fruition but never work for it? Are you willing to put hours upon hours of training into a race that is done in 2 hours instead of investing in what could become your career?

This is life fulfillment we’re talking about here.

The reason why you were put here on this earth, the person you were created to be.

Don’t you dare take this lightly.

I am done with making excuses, with being half-heartedly invested in writing. I don’t care if I get published by Crossway. Or Doubleday. I don’t care if I have to self-publish or print on demand. I don’t care if I only make an e-book and sell it for $.99 to Kindle users. The bottom line is, I need to take my writing ambitions seriously. Because if I don’t, no one else will. And I will continue to gaze through the misty cloud of future hopes, wishing I could be a writer.

And I have a plan. Once triathlon training is done and I have 4-5 more hours a week, I am going to write. I am going to determine a set time, most likely in the morning when I’m most apt to stick with it, and sit down and force myself to write for at least 15 minutes. This is great advice for writers. Don’t wait until the inspiration hits you. Write now. Even if it’s crap (which it probably will be). Eventually, something good will come out of you.

Another great piece of advice I’ve heard (that I might even frame and hang up at my desk) is this:

The Secret to Success: Disconnect Yourself from the Outcome

Writer’s block often comes from worrying that what you write will be crap, no one will read it, and you’ll just be a writer wannabe. This happened to me when I was working on my book at the beginning of this year. I was too concerned about the outcome to focus on the process. So I just need to let it go, trusting that God will help me write my best.

So here’s my BHAG (Big hairy audacious goal):

Be done writing my book on walking by the Spirit by the end of this calendar year.

There will be more on this once my Olympic triathlon is over (just a little over a week left!).

Of course, in the midst of all these exciting goals or milestones, I recognize that God is the one in control of my life and that any one of these things could not happen, or happen differently than I am anticipating right now. But this is my assurance through it all:

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

 

What are you looking forward to over the next couple of years? Any big life changes or BHAGs?

A Blogger’s Manifesto

16 Aug

This morning, as I was contemplating writing a post about why I love blogging and what I strive to be as a blogger, I stumbled across the Blogger’s Manifesto website. They read my mind! So of course, I had to sign their honor roll and grab a badge for my site. If you’re in Reader, check it out.

The tenet of the Blogger’s Manifesto that I agree with the most is:

Be Authentic.

This has been the driving force behind my blog since Day One (which happened to be January 15, 2008). Do I understand that my religious beliefs might not appeal to (and may even repel) those who happen upon my blog for triathlon-related information? Yes. Do I realize that my crazy exercise habits might inspire some yawns or cringes from those who had been reading for my spiritual insights? Yep. Do I believe that there are other people out there, just like me, who are dedicated to both faith AND fitness? Definitely!

Instead of catering to the masses in an attempt to garner a bigger following (and believe me, this is definitely tempting!), I have resolved to remain true to myself and my beliefs by being honest and by sharing the truths about the gospel that not everyone wants to hear. I believe God is more honored by my not wavering from the truth than  by my chasing after subscribers for my own ego.* If I stopped blogging about God and my faith, I would no longer be authentic. Because God is my life.

This is also what I love most about reading other people’s blogs: authenticity. Getting a glimpse into other people’s lives. Connecting over common struggles and sharing in their victories. Offering advice and support. Being inspired to appreciate beauty and music. Having my horizons expanded. Gaining the courage to go after goals and challenges that once seemed impossible.

Travis thinks it’s weird that I read other people’s blogs, specifically people that I don’t know in real life and probably never will. He looks at it the same way as being obsessed with celebrities – that I must be so discontent with my own life that I have to live vicariously through reading about other people’s. Totally not true. In fact, I love my life. I feel very blessed by God to be where I am, doing what I’m doing. But I also love hearing about other people’s lives. I think this is a natural thing. Humans long for connection. We want to hear that other people are going through the same things we are. We want to have our voice heard. By blogging, we’re putting our thoughts out there, for all to read. I hope that others are inspired and encouraged by what I blog, as much as I am by what they write.

Another great thing about blogging is that it’s a great way to easily connect with other like-minded people. For instance, I love triathlons, but I only have 2 other friends that do them. So I read about the triathlon feats of Erin, Kelly, and SUAR, and the running feats of Brie, LisaKate, SkinnyRunner, ChicRunner, and Kier. Camaraderie at my fingertips!

Which brings me to:

Be Appreciative.

Link love! This is something I am trying to do more, because I do really enjoy these awesome blogs and I think other people would enjoy them too. I also try to comment on several posts a day because everyone likes to know that something they wrote resonated with their readers, or was at least enjoyable enough to elicit a response. And I read a lot of resonating, enjoyable posts! This kind of connection isn’t always possible in day-to-day life. I mean, how often do we get to sit down with friends and talk about what’s going on in our lives in detail (and with pictures)? In my opinion, not nearly often enough.

So I’d like to know: Why do you blog? Why do you read other people’s blogs (like this one)? What is the main principle behind your blogging style?

*I am most definitely not saying that every blogger who has a large following is doing this. Just that if I were to do it, that would be the motive.

God’s Perfect Timing

7 Apr

I’ve been very anxious and overwhelmed this week, feeling like there is so much more that I want/need to be doing with my time than I am able. I just recently took on teaching ESL to a couple from our church for 2 hours, 2 days a week. It’s not a huge amount of time, but it does put a dent into two of the days I had with nothing going on. In addition to that, I am still editing curriculum for a nonprofit, writing a book, applying for jobs, doing house projects, reading voraciously, training for a triathlon, and managing my household by doing laundry, grocery shopping, dishes and cleaning. Who knew I could be so stressed out without a job? (I’m that good.)

I am seeing (yet again!) that my anxiety comes from me concerning myself with the big picture and How It Will All Work Out. And the reason I do that is because I am scared of failing. I am scared of letting things fall through the cracks, of appearing like I don’t have it all together and actually not having it together. I let all of these good things settle on my shoulders, until it feels like I am carrying around a 75-lb backpack everywhere I go. I also make all these good things into My Standard for the Christian Life and if I fall short by even one thing, I am racked with guilt and a I-completely-suck mentality.

It is so hard to live in dependence on God in the practical matters of life! It is hard to entrust God with the things you feel responsible for, the things you have on your plate, all the while knowing that for them to get done, you’re the one who actually has to do them. I mean, my dog is not going to send my resume in to potential employers. Travis is not going to train for the triathlon. The book is not going to write itself. I’m the one who has to do those things.

But I’ve discovered that it all comes down to timing. These things have to get done…but when? My answer to that question is usually something like, “Right now. Yesterday. Two weeks ago. Don’t even get me started.” It’s the illusion that I’m constantly behind or that there’s not enough time to do everything that is stressing me out. It’s not the amount of things to do, but the apparent lack of time.

That’s where God comes in. Since He is outside time, He knows what to do with it. I like to imagine God sitting at a table with all of my goals, tasks and chores spread before Him. As He looks over the things on the table, He grabs one and hands it to me. “Do this one now,” He says calmly. When I interject about another thing on the table and how it’s going to get done and when, He doesn’t answer my question but rather reaffirms His initial instruction. He knows what needs to get done and when; I have to trust His choice and instruction.

I have to believe that if a day flies by and it feels like I have not accomplished even a quarter of the things I wanted to, or if I truly feel like reading a book instead of writing one, or if something unexpected happens like the car breaking down, or the Rec being closed, or me getting sick, these things do not throw God for a loop and derail His plan. His plan is not g0-go-go without rest stops or potty breaks. He is a loving God who cares more about my spiritual state and relationship with Him than He does about what I accomplish in a particular day, though I continually run to Things I Got Done to prove my worth and validate my existence.

Ultimately, I have to believe that God’s timing is perfect and He is working in my life in mundane, everyday ways that sometimes I don’t even notice (though I want to notice them more often!). God’s ways are so much higher than my ways that He is coordinating even the slightest, smallest details in my life to accord with His plan.

“For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart Him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:27)

“The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.” (Psalm 138:8)

“This God–His way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true.” (Psalm 18:30a)