Monday, November 23, 2015

Wrestling

When I was a little girl, my dad introduced me the world of professional wrestling. I was a 'hulkster' all the way, and wanted to be part of 'hulkamania'. I didn't really understand it at the time, but I loved watching the matches. Anyone out there remember wishing your dad would wear rubber bands in his beard, or think Elizabeth was SOOO pretty?

As I got older, I was sad to learn that it was staged and there were tricks used to make it all look real. Years later I watched again, still being entertained, but now more interested in story lines and the men behind the costumes. Then more years went by and I met real wrestlers. You know the kind that wrestle on mats in gyms.... no special costumes or story lines.

I learned some other things as I got older though too. I learned that wrestling wasn't just a sport or something to be entertained by. It was something that I had to do in life. Wrestling with toddlers, vacuums, pets, and the very real struggle of cleaning up after all the above.

Wrestling doesn't just apply to objects. I had to wrestle with thoughts, feelings, emotions, circumstances, ideas, and sometimes people. These wrestling matches seemed to be less entertaining than even the physical battles with toys. They required patience, perseverance, wisdom, and understanding. They tested my beliefs, challenged my ideals, and ultimately made me face who I really was.

We all wrestle with life. Every hard thing and challenge becomes something to be overcome or beaten. We see them as matches to be won or lost. Is it always about winning or losing, or is it sometimes about the training? Every good wrestler must train his body, work out, learn all he can so he doesn't get injured or injure his opponent. 

I think sometimes we need to view our life circumstances like practice sessions. Preparation for the bigger matches, bigger opponents, wrestle mania. This past year I have seen more practice than I could shake a stick at. Yet, I wonder if maybe I wasn't supposed to be involved in the match at all. Maybe I was supposed to sit and watch and cheer. Maybe it was about watching the opponents and learning from them before my own match.

What are you wrestling with today? Did you pay attention to the opponent when watching from the sidelines? Are you listening to the Coach? Is this your match and your opponent....or does it belong to someone else? This match may not be about winning or losing, but simply about learning and growing. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Simplification

My family has been in the midst of deciding what simplifying our lives looks like. Who knew that it would be so difficult to create a simpler life!

On the surface it's quite easy to see how busy we are, or what occupies our time. Our priorities are often decided for us - we have to go to work and school, get dressed, eat, etc... So many things are optional though. They seem to be good ideas or seem to be important in the moment, but we find ourselves wondering just how important some things really are.

Comfort is a word that keeps cropping up. Our comfort often gets in the way of what could mean a simpler life. Gadgets and hobbies can occupy our time. That favorite game or television show could provide an adequate amount of 'down time' necessary for stress relief. They can also be huge time and brain wasters, leading to a more complicated schedule. 

Gadgets that make our lives supposedly easier, end up requiring maintenance, storage, cleaning, time, and often seem to create more work than they are worth! Cell phones make us more accessible, but also foster the idea that we can NEVER walk away from the endless texts, tweets, emails, and notifications. 

Then of course there is what I will call the 'judgement factor'. This is the response from other people when you downsize your life, or create a less hectic schedule. It seems that everyone else has an idea of what your life "should" look like and when you don't meet their expectation, they create their own version of your reasoning. Everything from you must be freaks or weird or anti-social or lazy or mis-manage your resources or irresponsible, or whatever helps them feel better about your life.

As we continue to walk through what simplifying our life means to us, I find myself becoming less concerned with what I may miss out on. I'm not sure that running all the time, or working to achieve another's definition of success is really all that worthwhile. 

We only have so much time to live our lives.....so are we living life or managing life? Are we appreciating what we have or killing ourselves to fit in? Are we simply living or living simply? Big questions for sure. It's easy to say we never want to take any day for granted since tomorrow is not promised, but how many of us actually life our lives this way?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Teachable Moments

What a wild ride the last few months have been!!!! There is no one place to start, so I'll condense down using just the last few weeks....

In what can only be described by my hubs as 'unsettled', our family has found the last few weeks to be filled with highs, mediums, and a few things that are just, well, things. Unsettling, restless, searching, praying, praying, praying.

I choose to label the last few weeks as 'teachable' moments. They should really be labeled 'learn-able' moments, but who says that? Each new thing has given us the chance to process, pray, discuss, laugh, learn, and grow. 

We are feeling this unsettling in our souls. What new thing is coming? What old thing needs to pass away? Which way? In what time? Gah!

Ordinarily, I would find this all a bit too much. I don't do well with patience, the unexpected, and REALLY don't do well with chaos or unsettled restlessness. Yet, throughout all of it, I have found myself actually becoming clearer, more peaceful, focused, and even, surprise, patient!

We are searching for the great, not just the good. Why move ahead into good, when great could also be there. Is this the best plan or idea, or just a good plan or idea? If we truly believe God is in control of all things, and will work all things out ultimately for our good, then we can sit for a bit and pray and discern what the next step is right?

Some have caught us off guard, some appeared overnight, some have been a long time coming, some have been challenging, some have just been. Some could easily be over-spiritualized into intentional sabotage or blessing. Not every flat tire is the devil attacking or God protecting. Sometimes tires go flat because the stems are bad, or you run over a nail, or whatever. (You should ask my hubs about all the ways tires go flat...who knew?!) 

We find ourselves waking up every day with an attitude now of 'what might happen today?' It could be awesome, so-so, yucky, or just be. And we are discovering these teachable moments might just be okay after all!

I Must Confess - Day 3

Confession time here. Be prepared. Last night, after a fairly emotionally charged day, I snapped at my husband. I shall pause to let that s...