Five Minute Friday #35 – AFRAID

I link up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays for a writing flash mob…throwing caution to the wind and gathering to share what a few minutes of free writing can buy. 

Today’s topic: AFRAID

GO.

Poise

The scales are evenly balanced and I’m just waiting, waiting for one more ounce of truth to fall to tip them in one way or the other so I know. Do I let go or push through?

Time and resources and circumstances are all dispersed on the scales and it’s so heavy — I can’t lift or carry it anymore and I just need that one whisper of  a feather to fall on one side or the other.

Is this God’s way of telling me to let go? Or is it His way of testing whether or not I’ll push through and persevere?

Discouragement has convinced me to give up. Let it go. Put it to rest. But trust in what He’s told me tells me to set my face like flint and keep moving.

And the more I question, the more fear sets in:

  • I’m afraid of losing momentum
  • I’m afraid of letting go
  • I’m afraid if I let go it won’t come back to me
  • I’m afraid of losing ground

And then the truth rises from the center of the scale in a whisper but I hear it as a shout:

You don’t trust me.

And I try to convince myself otherwise but the words ring hollow even in my own ears.

AFRAID-FMF-01

And I’m reminded of Sarai and Ishmael and that’s not how I want this child to be born. I want a better story than that. Deep down, I truly do want it to be God’s child and His gift, not a fabrication of my own handiwork. (<= tweet that)

So the scales still sit there, perfectly balanced because the pound of truth that came didn’t fall to the side that said quit, and it didn’t fall to the side that said go.

It fell to the dead center that says not to let it go but to lay it down. And to trust Him for today. To be still and be free and know that He is God. To be unfettered and careless in the care of God. And to just do what He has for me to do today. And to enjoy life.

“Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.” (Matthew 6:26, The Message)

STOP.

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Five(ish) Minute Friday #34 – AGAIN

I link up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays for a writing flash mob…throwing caution to the wind and gathering to share what a few minutes of free writing can buy. 

Today’s topic: AGAIN

GO.

TRUTH-2

I’m tucked away in the corner where my back can be to the wall and I’ve got a great vantage point of the room. Straight ahead of me is a hipster couple in their early 20s enjoying bread bowls and pastries. Just past them are the group of three friends who’ve been laid back in their chairs and laughing in between every sip of their coffee/tea/water, respectively.

Next to them is either a mother/adult daughter or mentor/mentee combination — I’m leaning toward mentor and mentee by how engrossed in conversation they are, and how it seems like quite a deep discussion and the mentee is picking absently at her bread while studying each word that comes out of the other woman’s mouth.

Then I notice how the adult daughter/mentee is wearing tight-fitting yoga pants a cool shirt and I wish I had her body. And one of the girls in the group of friends has amazing bangs and I’m not sure I could ever pull that off. I watch the hipster 20-something eat her pastry and her bread bowl and get annoyed at my apple and low-carb salad because I don’t have her metabolism. I wish I looked as good in a hat as another woman I hadn’t noticed until this very second and then her…a tall brunette walks by tall and poised, and there’s just no way I will ever be that graceful or look so poised.

And there it goes again, the broken record stuck on repeat of self-loathing. The never-enough, always-too-much, quit-pretending number one hit that is so ingrained, so comfortable, so normal to me that it takes at least half an hour of it replaying in my mind for me to even recognize it.

And by then it’s too late.

In that moment the three miles I ran earlier in the day doesn’t matter. The healthy food choices I’ve made for the past month doesn’t matter. The increase in energy and amazing sleep doesn’t matter. All I can focus on is I’m not enough, I’m not doing enough, I’ll never be enough and the cycle repeats again and again and again.

I hate that song. It’s a stupid, redundant, uncreative, overplayed, wore-out, dead wrong, untrue, lie-filled, ear-deafenting tune and I hate it. How did it get to be so popular? I never requested the stupid song, not even one time. And yet is just shows up uninvited and barrels its way into my subconscious and like hypnosis causes me to act and react without my knowledge.

I need strength to break the record in two and throw the pieces over the edge because this? This tango-samba-two-step? It isn’t working anymore. There’s no room for it in my playlist of gratefulness or my playlist of joy or my playlist of goals. It’s outdated and archaic and on vinyl and no one uses that anymore. So in order to drown it out I crank up the song of Enough and it blares through the speakers of Redemption and fills my mind with notes of Beautiful. (<=tweet that)

SONG OF ENOUGH-01

grab this

Because that’s the truth.

STOP.

*I’m pretty sure I went over five minutes. I kept getting super-distracted by amazing people-watching.

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Five Minute Friday #33 – CHERISHED

I link up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays for a writing flash mob…throwing caution to the wind and gathering to share what a few minutes of free writing can buy. 

Today’s topic: CHERISHED

GO.

He used to be fuzzy and bright red but now after three years his fur is matted and the color is dark and even though I wash him regularly, there always seems to be some sort of an odor to him. Paxton can’t go to sleep without him. His name has even changed  — he’s not just Elmo anymore, he’s Better Elmo.

ELMO 1 copy

Oh, be still my heart.

We walk into school and he’s always hesitant at first, saying he wants to go home with me. We hang up his backpack and take off his coat and he greets his other friends and gets excited about playing dinosaurs. “Mommy, look! It’s T-Rex! Rawwrrrrrr!” and before he speeds off I remind him to give Elmo a hug and a kiss and put him down for a nap in the backpack. He cradles him close and kisses his head and lays him down.

ELMO 2

Oh, be still my heart.

I pick him up from school and he bursts forward from the throng of kids with a “Mommy!!!!” loud enough to rattle my heart just enough and he leaps into my arms with the biggest hug his little arms will give. And after a snuggle and a kiss he is as predictable as my mediocre cooking and says, “I want Better Elmo.” And we pull him from his quiet slumber and Paxton squeals with delight and gives him the biggest hug Elmo’s worn out body can handle and plants a huge kiss on his head.

ELMO 3 copy

Oh, be still my heart.

His love is pure and simple and unwavering and his joy is pure when he’s with his Elmo. He doesn’t care how tattered and beaten he gets; when his mouth is ripped open at the seams and he looks a bit like Santa…when the back comes open and the lost stuffing leaves him skinny and emaciated…when he’s covered in leaves and dirt from bringing him with him to play…it just makes him love even more.

Because right there, before my very eyes, is God’s love for me. He has never let me go. He squeals with delight when I’m with him. Even though I’m tattered and beaten and often ripped open at the seams, He doesn’t care. It just makes Him love me more. In fact, He calls me Better, too. (<= tweet that)

Oh, be still my heart.

I joke often that Elmo is going to be hidden in his wife’s bouquet someday when she walks down the aisle, and that she’ll tip her flowers to him just enough to see Better Elmo smiling at him once again, mouth wide and matted fur even darker red than he will have remembered. A reminder to him and to me that cherishing the broken is simply being like Jesus.

STOP.

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Five Minute Friday #32 – DIVE

I link up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays for a writing flash mob…throwing caution to the wind and gathering to share what a few minutes of free writing can buy. 

Today’s topic: DIVE

Raised arms woman

GO.

I stand at the edge and peek over and see the reflection of her. She’s strong and confident and gentle and wise and loves Jesus with her whole heart. She sets goals and reaches them and she doesn’t get lazy or self-sabotage herself. She taunts me unintentionally just by being her and me just being me.

It’s the pattern of my almost-40 years. Get close…so close to the person I see in my mind’s eye, the person who I’m dying inside to be but get close enough to the edge but then cannot will myself to go over. The fear comforts like an child’s old blanket and I look at her and whisper someday and then turn and walk away with my blanket wrapped tightly around my shoulders keeping hidden from the Me I’m meant to be.

He asks me regularly if I’m going to have the courage to live a life true to myself or the life I think others expect of me. And he texted it to me the other day for me to read over and over in black and white. My husband sees her too and even though he’s in love with me he sees how much I desire her and it kills him. Kills him that I can’t just dive in and let the waters wash way my blanket of fear and allow myself to float in the peace of God’s unknown. What started out as silly joking about his white shirts turned into an hour-long conversation with me in tears wondering why I can’t just dive in.

I erase goals from my lists because it’s easier to not see them than to see I didn’t reach them. There are dreams I stare at from across the room and admire the ladder that reaches them. And then I walk away and instead pursue the mundane because it’s easier and less work and less failure and less success.

But each time I walk away, it leads me right back to the edge where I peek over and see the reflection of her. And she’s strong and confident and gentle and wise and loves Jesus with her whole heart. And then I see she’s not perfect, not in the least. But she walks in peace instead of fear. And regardless of failures or successes or work or difficulty she floats in the pool of peace.

And it’s then I realize the pool is made up of the tears I’ve shed wanting so much to be who she I made to be. And it’s made up of tears she’s shed, sad that I’m still afraid to swim.

And it’s made up of tears God has shed watching me self-loathe and decide I’m not worth it.

It’s time to drop the blanket of fear and shout today is the day! and dive in. (<= Tweet that)

STOP.

Five Minute Friday #31 – OPPORTUNITY

I link up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays for a writing flash mob…throwing caution to the wind and gathering to share what a few minutes of free writing can buy. (And after missing quite a few, I am so ready to be back to this!)

Today’s topic: OPPORTUNITY

Pencil in book

GO.

I open the journal and inhale its pristine pages deeply. The lines are clean and light and perfectly spaced, and my pencil (always in pencil) is poised, ready to write whatever I bid it to write.

The first words are always the hardest. They set the tone and the pace and the method and the tone for the rest of the pages and I always begin a new one with a mixed sense of eager anticipation and intense pressure. I feel like I owe so much to those clean lines that are light and perfectly spaced. They deserve fluid and concrete thoughts that are written in perfect penmanship in that pencil. Always pencil.

As I write my dreams and hopes and goals for this year, I hold them loosely, like a balloon tied around my wrist, with the knowledge they can float away at any time if The Dream Maker bids them to go. Maybe that’s why I always write in pencil…for Him to know I’m not tethered to them unswervingly. That I’m willing to change direction should He need me to. That my thoughts are just that…thoughts. I am not beholden to them. They are beholden to me.

The past 12 months proved more challenging, more exciting, and more surprising than I expected on that first day of the year…as I opened the journal and inhaled its pristine pages deeply. It proved to be a year of coming face-to-face with my own faults, dreams, aspirations and shortcomings. And as I reflect on what was written on those clean and perfectly spaced lines just 52 weeks ago, I’m so grateful that I wrote with something erasable. Changeable. Because God had His way in my year. He took my penciled-in plans and rewrote the story His way. It was harder and more difficult and required more of me. But it was also clearer and more definitive and more focused.

So I bid my pencil to write my unbeholden thoughts for 2013 and release the tether and watch them fly away to divine opportunity. (<= click to tweet this)

STOP.