October 25, 2013 “over committed”

Lately I have gained a heightened awareness that I have said yes to too many weekly commitments. By the time I finish each work day and then head to an activity, I don’t have the energy to even try to just be with God.

And forget impromptu hangouts…something that my married friends have appreciated about me is the flexibility to say yes at a moment’s notice.  What if a great guy asked me on a date…I’d have to say a day in December at this point.

Ok who and what can I blame:
* too many friends?
* too many hobbies?
* too much people pleasing?
* too much loneliness?

How about some ther excuses:
* I’m an extrovert. I need to be with people all the time…right? Isn’t that the stereotype?
* I’m single.  Shouldn’t I enjoy this season before marriage and babies steal my time?
* I’m lazy. If I stay home, I’ll need to be responsible and actually clean!
* I’m adventurous.  If I say no to that convention or weekend visit then I will miss out on an opportunity.

At this point I need to ask some tough questions:
Who am I living for? What motivates my choices and lifestyle?
Something inside says: ME

Oh crap, I feel the need to change coming again. Lord,  this is the kind of pursuit from You that reminds me that You are sovereignly showing grace. Reminding me of You… looking inward is meaningless if I do not find You there battling amidst my sinful desires. Show me the “how” to go with all this “what” and “why”!

October 15, 2013 “I Finished And Started”

Yesterday I anxiously looked at the clock from about 4:30am until I finally pulled myself out of bed at 6amish.  I was going to run/walk 5k that day after 6 short weeks of training.  The longest distance I had gotten to was 4.1km and I wasn’t even sure how long it took me.

Why did I even decide to start such a journey?  Relationship.  How do you build relationships?  Well, I’m sure there is no blueprint for getting to know someone better… What I have learned is that you often need to try something new or step out of your comfort zone in order to break the ice. You never know what God might orchestrate in that new connection!  I had an awesome time with the woman I went with and found we had more in common than I thought.

Back to the race…At first I was keeping up with an older woman for almost the first km, but then realized I was being prideful and needed to run/walk at my pace.  Having spectators watching on either side for the race probably should have gotten my adrenaline going…but I was awkward and embarrassed.  In hindsight, I think that I can often be insecure in my athletic abilities.  In grade 7, I would have played any sport.  I was on the basketball team. a volleyball team, and even tried cross-country.  I didn’t care that I wasn’t tall or super good, I just liked being part of a team.  Running alone was tough.

That being said, it was also extremely refreshing.  I listened to music and gave myself a couple pep talks to get to the finish line.  A friend said today that what fuels him in these races is the sense of accomplishment, completing something you started, finishing.  What a joy to be able now to look at yesterday as accomplishing something I started.

I will ill keep up running, at least once a week…and I will keep looking for opportunities to start new relationships.  Perhaps my next post will be about another new thing tried in the pursuit of relationship. We’ll see 🙂

October 7, 2013 “Mentoring Night 1”

Tonight was the first mentoring night.  It was a chance to meet some of the kids and do a fun team-building activity.  I was a bit nervous as I waited for the grade nine’s to arrive but somehow the natural extroverted instincts kicked in. 

A couple girls arrived early and one spilled her pop so I helped clean it up which gave me a chance to be used to put them at ease. I was hoping they would be in my group, but found out otherwise.

We did an ice-breaker activity in our smaller group and I quickly realized that some of the kids had grouped off.  I purposefully sat in the middle of some of the kids that seemed quieter rather than sitting with the other mentors.  Two truths, one lie… 1. I hate cilantro 2. I have the smallest feet ever 3. I have a pet snack.  Too obvious for the kids but glad I’m not a good liar. 

We then moved to building forts.  I suggested we break up the boys in our group as I noticed the split was all boys and one girl vs. all girls and two boys.  I didn’t realize that the other two mentors had also stuck together leaving me with a group of nine to lead.  I also didn’t realize until now that that did not scare me in the slightest.  I enjoyed the chance to take some leadership.  I was absolutely amazed at how the group took turns asking for tape as we built the fort.  At first, they were scattered and going in all directions but soon their was some real cohesion.  One of the coolest things I noticed was that because we were one of the two “banana” teams, the kids called our team the “Food Fighters” with a banana on our crest.  So imaginative!  So witty!  Another awesome thing was that the one kid seemed to enjoy giving me a hard time when I was cutting tape.  I love seeing quick wit and although I’m quick to label it as “smart-ass”, it shows a great amount of intelligence. 

I tried to make conversation with a couple girls in my group and hope to continue next time.  One girl in particular I didn’t actually talk with, but we connected with eyes and a smile.  She looked familiar and though appearing as shy, I think there is something more to her that I hope I get a chance to draw out.

All in all, it was a good night.  I thanked God that I made it into the community center before it started raining and that it wasn’t raining on the way home.  The walk was beautiful and such a peaceful way to transition from mentoring to doing my own thing.

October 5, 2013 “Quality Time and Other Thoughts”

Quality time is something I can often take for granted.  The other day I only had a short amount of time to spend with someone.  I was toying with the idea of disappointment, but realized, thank God, to be grateful and intentional with the time given. I valued the half hour or so because I had waited for it and gained an understanding that it was precious. Making a judgment call: a half hour of mutual encouragement is longer and more worth while than several hours of superficial banter. It also got me thinking about friendships/relationships where I am not always available to give quality time because my schedule is so jam-packed.

When I got home, I decided to use the extra time I had to spend with my Mom. Although we live together, I don’t often intentionally take the time to just be with her. I think I have been avoiding spending time with her lately because she often wants to talk about a variety of logistical processes surrounding the death of my Dad. I have really been missing him lately and can only carry so much. The details are not him… they don’t paint a picture of the man I miss so much. I shove the details under the rug because then I don’t have to think about him, feel his absence, and cope. And of course, when I see that look on her face – you know the look that says “you’re hurting me” – I feel like an absolute jerk. I tried to explain it the other day: it’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I care so much that I cannot handle much more. My heart is always involved!!!

Praying for the discernment to know how to listen and support while admitting my own needs. Asking God to teach me how to recognize when to give time in an intentional way that He would use me to encourage and spur others on to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24). Seeking Him for comfort as I learn how to live without the availability of an earthly father to chat with.