Friday, January 1, 2016

Winds that Always Blow

Funny how things can change so quickly.

In my last post, I was talking about how much I love the New Year, and now, I am already feeling a sense of dread. Maybe it's because I did a bunch of planning yesterday, and my schedule feels a little impossible. Maybe it's because my house is a bit messy, and I feel like I will never get on top of it. Maybe it's because some of my goals are kind of vague, and I hate feeling like I am not really accomplishing anything. Whatever this mopey feeling is stemming from, I had a good reminder of where to go with these feelings when looking out my window this morning.

It's been very sunny in Portland the past few days, and icy cold too. Today, the winds have really picked up. I can hear the wind over my kids watching Rudolph, playing with legos, and laughing together. It's louder than my clicking on the keyboard. And outside my house, there are thousands of dried up leaves moving to & fro, down the street, into the grass, and back around again. There are branches strewn across sidewalks and everything looks a little haphazard. And that's how I feel today.

I've been thinking & re-thinking over lots of decisions, trying to figure out how to accomplish all the things I desire. While I didn't love some parts of going to CrossFit the last year and a half, I miss having a very set, very effective exercise routine. I miss having time to meet up with friends mid-week for coffee without feeling the dread of getting behind on other tasks or schooling. I miss having a plethora of babysitters available, like we did several years ago. I miss carpet in my downstairs, an extra room for an office, and a fireplace. I miss the freedom I had with only 2 kids, compared to now having my extra-needy, extra-adorable 3rd child. My heart feels like winds are always blowing through, raking me raw and leaving me questioning so many of my decisions and priorities. Then I remember this verse from Proverbs 25:28 "A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls."

This is exactly how I feel. I've not been controlling what comes into my heart and mind, and now I've been left exposed to all these sweeping winds, raking through my thoughts and tearing apart my decisions. I have no real rock on which I stay steadfast in my mind, and every decision is up for evaluation over & over again. I have not "taken every thought captive" to see if it stems from God, from purity, or from a sincere desire to follow God. I know there are many times in life where we have to pick apart our choices, evaluate where we are and talk about where we want to be headed. But if you let other people weigh in on these choices uninvited, if you let social media make you question each decision every other day (or hour), and if you spend more time thinking about choices and options than you spend listening to God or searching his word, you will be left feeling raw and vulnerable, like a city without walls.

Now, it's good to be vulnerable to your spouse, to your dear friends, and those worthy of your heart. It is unhealthy to be vulnerable to the point of letting a 2x2" photo send you into questioning your entire life. You see where I am headed? We HAVE to put up some walls. Sometimes those walls look like deleting apps on our iPhones. Other times, those walls are just extra fortification efforts, like more time spent in God's word. And still other times, those walls are setting some boundaries on how often we spend time with people who make us doubt our decisions with hurtful words or constant questioning.

My soul is so sensitive these days. I've been doing WAY too much questioning in my own heart. Then, I've been looking to Facebook, almost hoping to find some encouragement and commendation for my choices. I know, so stupid! I will never find it there. Yes, I might find a few good articles, and probably some encouragement from friends, but will never find the deep, soul satisfaction God gives anywhere other than through Him. He is everywhere, and He often surprises me where He shows up, but I need to be far more intentional about seeking Him out. In Him there is freedom from worry about past decisions, current obligations and future problems. He sees where I am, He knows where I will go, and I'd much rather ask Him to shape me than find out what everyone else is doing with their spare time.

All of this seems really juvenile to me. In my mind, I know I will never find satisfaction in looking at other people's lives, just as they will never feel satisfied by looking at mine. But it is a tough habit to break. And for some reason, I have this constant urge to see what everyone is doing. This is where the need for self-control comes in. I have to decide to take action, based on what I know to be true, and not based on what my fleeting interests and desires are telling me.

This is not a call to perfection either. I'm not telling you all the do your 20-minute devotion every morning at 6am, or not to spend time on people with whom you disagree. I am telling you to guard your heart, guard your mind, and take decisive action to protect your soul. It will be worthwhile. I don't think I will ever regret swapping 10 minutes on Facebook for 10 minutes of reading God's word. It may not be easy at first. The invisible pull to open that app and scroll might feel stronger than the power of the Ring, but it will always be worthwhile to choose God over social stalking. You might not feel like it the first time, or the 2nd, or maybe even the 10th. But if you do it for a week or two, you will find yourself filled with more goodness, less comparison and FAR less negativity. Your soul will have God's words in it, which can then go out to the ones you love and are invested in. When I really think about this, I want to stockpile that kind of peace and security for a long time to come! We can all do this, but it has to start with a choice. And it is never too late to choose goodness. Never too late to knock on God's door and ask for help. It is truly never too late for redemption and faith. He wants you to choose Him. He knows you won't regret the sacrifice. And I promise to be offended if you don't like my FB post, because you were reading your bible instead :)

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