Today I hit a bump in the road again...
I'm fighting the urge to take on too much again. To feel like I need to keep up with everyone and everything that is going around me.
I'm super busy at work and super busy outside of work it seems.
There is always something to do, something that frantically needs done, someone to call, someone to email, five events to plan.
It's hard, REALLY hard to find time to just-be-still.
Feeling like everything and everyone rides on me. Sinful I know because nothing can be done in my power... really it's all on Him. And that's where it should be.
I don't know why I get caught up in idolatry and thinking that "I" should take it all on on my own.
I'm not going there though. Not today. Not anymore. I've been there before... Last summer I was there. I fell.
I learned. And today. I pray. I repent. I take a breath and let the guilt, the pressure, the anticipation, the stress fall away.
I cling to my God. My Savior. The One who holds it all and who appoints it all.
He is, He was, He is always to be.
And instead, I think...
I need to fight for that place where I say no to doing everything all the time. To fight to keep the boundaries up that my soul craves. Fight for the place where my soul...
Go outside. Turn the TV off. Get some real rest with a little Vitamin D on top.
Say no to nonstop going. Put your 'to-do' list away for the day.
Unnattach your iphone from your hand.
Take a REAL Sabbath, a real day of rest each week.
Enjoy real friendships. You know, the ones where there are no cell phones, just laughter and REAL conversation over a cup of coffee.. Remember those?
Find a good friend who you trust and share the DEEP things that are going in your life.
Soak in life.
Soak in a beautiful sunset, a sweet word, a sweet moment.
Savor each hug, each kiss, each touch.
Savor life... don't rush past it.
Make time to spend alone with Him.
And find the quiet...
Fight for the quiet.
Address and deal with your pain instead of running from it.
Filling your life with stuff doesn't make the pain go away. It doesn't make the hard stuff disappear.
That stuff doesn't just go away. So instead of running... instead of filling every portion of your life with stuff... Instead... get in the Word, pray hard, consult godly counsel if needed and FACE it. Deal with it.
So that you can finally move forward.
Finally quiet the hurt.
Dream big. Fall hard.
Don't you see...?
Strip away the noise. Strip away the busy. Strip away everything that doesn't really matter.
And what you have left is what matters.
Run away from all of the junk that clutters your life.
Run away to Him.
Fight for the simplicity.
And realize that the quiet, rest, peace aren't something we can find.
Rather they are gifts that He gives.
Fight for it.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Today I hit a bump in the road again...
Posted by Stephanie at 8:11 PM
Monday, February 1, 2010
Tonight my thoughts come in pieces...
Tonight I'm thinking about FAITH.
Without Faith it is impossible to please Him.
Oh me of little faith...
Have you ever thought about how people always say they take a leap of faith. As if it takes faith to do something they fear?
How often do I resist doing anything outside of my comfort zone because I am afraid.
How often do we choose to stay where we're at IN SPITE of knowing it's not where we're meant to be because we're not really willing to move because we're scared.
How often do I decide that maybe I'll stick with this ministry because I know I'm good at it?
Have you ever stopped to think about how life is full of things we fear?
Hebrews 11:6 says without faith it is impossible to please Him.
And yet... still we sit instead of standing... then we stand instead of running.
we're afraid of falling.
... but so what if we do? If you are one of God's children it doesn't matter. He will pick you up, show you His way... All it matters is that you are following Him completely.
Have you ever thought about how maybe faith means facing the things we are most terrified of??
That it means stepping out of our comfort zone, stepping out of what we know, letting our plans for our future fall to the wayside so that we can step forward in faith to follow where the Lord is leading.
We need to live in a place where we are willing to take a step... a leap of faith.
And yet. Faith pleases God.
I stare out the window, blink back tears.
At a stop light I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and refocus.
-it's scary navigating relationships... what if they don't like me, what if they get to know me and change their mind, what if he decides he doesn't want me anymore, what if they realize how imperfect, how flawed, how sinful I am and decide they don't want me anymore... and what if I fail them? If I let them down?
-it's scary putting your thoughts into words for all the world to see... there is something permanent feeling about hitting 'publish'. Something about being vulnerable -even in the tiniest bit - in this way. About letting someone else read what is so close to your heart... navigating the tumble of words that spill out of my heart and onto the paper... Not to mention there is a heavy responsibility in all of our words... more on that to come.
we have a choice.
I have a choice - despite the fact I sometimes close myself off to the options.
When the fear comes we have a choice.
I've been watching LOST lately...
And I kept thinking as I watched that black cloud monster that chases everyone down...
Funny how people chose to react in two ways: most ran, but one stared it down. Looked it in the eye and it ran.
The show depicts him as a man of faith.
We can run or we can stand firm.
We can stand strong in our faith.
We can live through that terrifying space that gaps our comfort and truly living...
Press hard and push through...
And later... as I sit and wonder.
I realize that it begins now. It begins today. It begins by choosing to say YES to the Lord no matter what... in the big and the small...
Acting in faith in all things.
Not just the things that I think fit.
In all things...
Press through the fear, press hard into him, and begin to truly live.
How long have I wasted time He has blessed me with by being too afraid to truly live in faith?
It is in faith that I can please Him.
So today... right now I begin to move forward. To step in to that terrifying space... To live in it. To step out in faith and reach hard, push hard, breath deep.
And press into Him.
Posted by Stephanie at 9:15 PM
Sunday, January 31, 2010
I'm feeling my blessings.
Honestly, most of today I was painfully self-aware of my shortcomings. I messed up a few little things and then beat myself up most of the day for them. I regret it, because I could have turned it around, but instead I just let them hang over me... I let perfectionism reign.
Some days I let my insecurity reach in, take hold of me and take over.
I let my emotion and every insecurity I choose to let in become my King.
They are NOT my King.
And I will not let them rule over me.
I am painfully flawed to the core. Lost without my Savior.
But I HAVE BEEN REDEEMED.
And tonight one text message struck me to the core...
It was simple, short, and life giving.
Words meant just for me... Words that encouraged and touched me so deeply that they sent tears tracing their way down my face.
And I'm forever grateful to the sender of the message, because though this was in no way their intention with the message in less than ten words they are who reminded me...
That today I let those things come in. I let them take hold of me. And I let myself become saturated in them.
But no more...
I am not the product of my shortcomings... Rather I belong to my Savior, and my identity is in Him.
And tomorrow is a new day.
The Lord gives us a new morning every day...
And tomorrow is Monday and I'm thankful for a new day, a new week...
Tomorrow is time enough for a fresh perspective, a fresh outlook, and a fresh beginning...
Time enough for a new start, new day, and new time.
It's time enough for a new beginning.
Tonight I'm thankful for...
-sweet words of encouragement
-a godly boyfriend who goes out of his way to make soup for me when I'm sick, help drag furniture across the city, is always there when I need him, and is always willing to go do nearly anything with me... or just sit and do nothing with me... he's brought so much to my life and I'm so thankful for him.
-a great church that cares more about being Christ-centered than anything
-friends and family...
-an amazing LifeGroup
-a place to serve
-fresh beginning and fresh starts...
More to come...
Posted by Stephanie at 10:32 PM
Friday, September 18, 2009
Even on the worst of days Mrs. Patty could make things better.
Running late, feeling tense, she never failed to bring peace.
She has the best sense of humor, the prettiest smile and the grace of a woman who has truly lived.
She is wise with Grace.
And her sweet words touch me always.
As I hugged her tight today and whispered I'm sorry for the loss of her husband, tears threatened to brim over...
I never knew him, but just knowing her is enough to make my heart ache for her...
She holds me tight and pulls me back so that we're eye to eye and says "you know you are so special to me."
It touched me to the very core of my soul.
I was there to serve her and yet I walked away feeling like I'm the one who was served.
In that second when she said what she did it struck me and it's if everything stood still for a minute...
God loves us.
God loves me.
I know this is true, but sometimes I let my heart neglect to feel that truth.
... there's a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge. Heart knowledge MUST come from and root from the head knowledge, but there's something about those moments when both your head AND your heart know the truth.
He loves us.
He loves me.
That's all I need.
It's as though the Lord surprised me with a small gift today just to remind me that He loves me.
Don't you love it when that happens? The Lord isn't required to give us tangible reminders of His love, but like any silly girl I'm touched in every way when it happens. Just like when any flawed, sinful human gives flowers, a handwritten note, a gift, compliments... reminders that they were thinking of you. Reminders that they love you. They desire to do that for you for no reason besides that.
It speaks volumes because well, sometimes in grind of the day to day we start to forget and we start to wonder.
But God... God doesn't need to do that.
He could dictate everything without an ounce of love toward us and He would still stand as the One true living God. He doesn't NEED to remind us of His love, because His Word says it's true... That makes it all the more amazing that He cares enough to remind us because we all know it's not about us...
Really it's about me and about us glorifying Him and representing Him WELL in everything.
That's what she did.
That's what she lives.
Mrs. Patty knows WHO she represents. She knows the Lord loves her... And it's evident in everything she does. Everything she says. And everyone around her knows it.
She represents that kind of beauty and grace to me.
She's the type of woman I aspire to be.
Thank you Mrs. Patty...
Posted by Stephanie at 10:56 AM
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Today I was thinking...
How often do I neglect to just be still before the Lord.
How often do I choose to not spend time in prayer with Him?
Some days my world is rocked with the noise and thunder of chaos quickly followed by the lightening of the busy.
I choose to let it rain on my day.
God has blessed me much more than I deserve by not taking away my perspective and by not letting me lose sight of Him, but far too often I carry things that aren't mine to carry...
The rain should be cleansing, not building residue on my soul.
But most often the storm weighs because I neglect to spend time alone with Him.
I neglect to spend intentional quiet time focused on Him, in conversation with Him, in praise of Him.
I may say a million little prayers throughout the day, but somehow it's just different than when at the beginning of my day I begin with praise. When I begin it with just sitting with Him over a bowl of cereal. Just me and Him for a little while.
It changes everything.
This week - by no strength of my own - I've been intentional about getting time with Him alone - time in addition to time in the Word, in addition to Bible study, in addition to worship. Just time sitting alone in prayer with the Lord.
It's been amazing. And I've been so grateful for it.
Father I pray you keep me in this place that You've brought me to where I intentionally spend time with you...
Pray for me and that I'll stay in this place...
And I'll be praying that you are too...
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.
Posted by Stephanie at 9:23 PM
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Sometimes things don't feel permament.
Do you know that feeling?
When everything and everyone important in your life just doesn't feel solid. It feels like it could all slip out of your fingertips and come crashing to the floor in a second?
I hate it.
I love possibilities, ideas, and opportunities... but at the same time even though it doesn't make sense just the very thought of change makes my stomach churn and my mind prone to wander...
When I find something I like and am comfortable with part of me just wants to cling to the familiar. I don't want to trade in the old tattered blanket for the new. I want to keep my old faded blue jeans. I want to things to stay.
I guess like the feeling of the known.
I like feeling known.
I like knowing where I stand, where I'm going and where I am.
Transitional just isn't fun for me... It's a struggle.
But my God... my God is bigger than the transition.
He's bigger than the feeling of not knowing where or when or how or why.
He tells me to follow Him... and maybe not by sight this time.
Just like Abram... The Lord didn't tell him where to go, how to go... He wasn't specific. He said leave and Abram left.
That's where I need to be.
And that's where I want to be.
I know I'm safe in His arms. My Father who loves me, holds me... I'm constantly in the arms of the One who knows me and loves me far more than anyone else on this earth possibly could; and He holds time in His hands...
And that's why I can sleep in peace. That's what calms my heart and sooths my mind.
Because I'm not alone in the transition. Rather the transition is held by the same One who holds me in His hand.
Posted by Stephanie at 8:51 PM
Monday, September 14, 2009
Behind the big brown eyes...
Behind the desk...
Behind the counter at Starbucks...
And behind the checkout line at Albertons.
Behind the car going ridiculously slow on the freeway when you are in a rush...
Behind the mean exterior...
There is a person.
Just like me, and just like you.
Sometimes I forget.
I forget the people...
I hate that I forget that sometimes...
Jesus never forget the people. He doesn't forget me, and He doesn't forget you.
He remembers us always. He cherishes us always. He loves us always.
He sees behind our eyes, into our hearts that betray Him daily, and still...
He remembers us as His children... as being HIS.
Lord, help me to remember that my hope that comes only from You can be shown to them because of Your love, Your truth and Your mercy...
You'll use me if I just get out of the way...
Help me to remember...
Posted by Stephanie at 9:51 PM