Living a Different Kind of Dream

Recently I have been unable to consciously give anything of myself and so I started to label myself, ‘selfish’! I noticed the sacrifice of others around me and the many compassionate lives I am fortunate to rub shoulders with and felt uncaring; Even the written word, usually a comfort, has made me feel inconsiderate and lazy… and so I have been experiencing great inner turmoil….
You see, my life has always been one of action, of doing. It has been fun and glorious. The last ten years were an eventful period of intense labour during which I thrived. I was living ‘the dream’. I never needed to go easy on myself. This was not a victory over selfishness but more the result of an energy that was not my own.
And then….. I entered a time of God engineered rest!
So the question for me is, why does this time of rest not feel like “the dream”? Why am I feeling as if this season of sitting on my hands is an indulgence? Why is the quality of solitude, that is bringing healing, starting to feel uncomfortable? Why do I feel as if my behaviour is confusing and is hurting the people I know and care about, but do not move towards? How do I know that I am not over-protecting myself from burn-out? How will I know when I am once again meant to move out of my comfort zone to actively love those around me?
For a performance-based-flesh-person trusting that He is saying: “Yes, my daughter. Rest, relax, and seek rejuvenation” is so much harder; I feel so much less prepared to believe Him than if he were currently calling me to another season of self-sacrifice.
Yet I do believe this is a season of allowing His Spirit the opportunity to rebuild Hope in me. I want to live this season fully and abundantly. This isn’t second best… this is what He has for me (and it may not be short lived). So the challenge is moving to a different way of viewing my interlude with solitude and quiet….
Three fellow Divine Divas helped point me towards truth this past week, reminding me in different ways, and with different words of encouragement, that there is never a time, never a situation, where God shuts out the potential for us to thrive, to have influence and be used of Him!!
I am beginning to understand that “living the dream” isn’t limited to my previous narrow definition.
I am asking Him to show me what “thriving” means for me in my current situation….
I want my real life to matter…
but more than that, I want to be able to count it all joy….
Because God is always working and I am always a container for His life, even when it feels like it’s a season of inactivity!

Wonder to Worship

In recent months everywhere I go I find myself wanting to take my camera out of its neoprene skin and use it to try and capture some of the wonder I am experiencing at having my eyes opened to the simple things around me. I am constantly looking for the insignificant things to photograph, and as I do I uncover the joy in the regular and in the unusual and find that suddenly all my senses are informed as to the Glory around me. Stopping shows me that there is so much more than just the original subject matter and in that place I discover worship in its truest sense as all my senses are awakened….
I have discovered for myself what Addie Zierman in “The Daily Work of Wonder” (http://deeperstory.com/author/addie/) says is true: “There is nothing passive about true wonder. It is not dependent on bigness or limited by smallness; it is not the response to entertainment or to spectacle. Wonder is a choice. It comes only when I choose to stayIt’s that thing that happens when doubt and astonishment and mystery converge. It happens when I stand in one place long enough. When I stare out at the broken cattails or the winter-bare branches or a dew drop until it stops being about me. Starts being about the branch. And then about more than the branch. And then about God.And it doesn’t always feel like epiphany or the climax of a hit movie. Sometimes it comes and goes so quickly that you almost can’t believe that it was there…. But in that moment, something in your heart reaches towards God. And for a small span of space, you believe Him to be all He says He is, and you know it is enough…and this is the true heart of worship”.
Attached are some pictures some of the things I have been marveling at…… although I cannot share the smell of the roasting chestnuts, the sounds of the squirrels in the leaves, the touch of my friend’s skin as we hugged or the wet in my shoe after the puddle…..but I can share that in everything I saw God…
 20130303-091730.jpg 21. 2012 December 2nd - Wonder to Worship 3  20130303-091817.jpg
 

Fighting Floating

I currently find myself in a season of “soul breathing“: I am doing more looking and more thanking. I am taking the time to notice patterns in the sand, the way the sky looks in the middle of the day (not just at sunset), appreciating lines of character (previously called wrinkles), the different way people see the world and other daily gifts that previously went un-noticed. I am looking and marveling how I got to be so very privileged, so many daily gifts to enjoy – I am full of wonder and give thanks.
  

After reading my last blog post, the man I love commented about how overly fortunate my life looks right now. It wasn’t a criticism, just an observation. Yet, it spoke directly to my fears. I have done nothing to warrant my being worthy of the life I live, I have tried to live it generously and with my hands wide open, but it’s a life of privilege…. “part of the 0.01% of the world“. A phrase the same man reminds his family of constantly.

My fear has me wondering what have I to say that would be worth reading. It immobilised me from writing but not from wondering and appreciating even more the many gifts contained in life. So, I am still ‘breathing’ and trusting that when my world looks less pretty and my life less blessed again, I will still be able to appreciate the shape He makes, the beauty of the shadows He allows that are then cast across the picture.
Today I read a story by Alece on “Deeper Story” posted on October 25th  (http://deeperstory.com/home/story/) and it touched me deeply:
“I’M THAT GIRL WHO IS DROWNING”
Due to severe trauma Alece suffers from ‘Fuzzy Brain Syndrome’ … My worst nightmare. I am not drowning, not right now, instead I am struggling to float, wondering what to do with the calm, feeling in every way that I don’t deserve this season of quiet waters (and I don’t). Yet, I know in my heart that fighting or fearing prevents me from being able to completely enjoy Life and all the gifts contained in this season. Hiding or pretending would be un-grace and my attitude an ungrateful one to the One who Loves.So for different reasons to Alece, this season is a matter of surrender for me.

This is what my life IS right now – an undeserved gift for to enjoy!

Holding onto Beauty

 
While browsing the web recently I came across a challenge by a lady called Lisa-Jo Baker on her Blog “Tales from a Gypsy Mama“. In it she encouraged other bloggers to join her every Friday for what she calls a “FiveMinuteFriday”. In her words she says this is a “pause to do a kind of mad, flash mob celebration of the written word“. Each Friday “a beautiful crowd spends five minutes writing on the same topic and then shares them“. She encourages people to just write, without worrying if it’s right or not.
 
At the end of September the word was “Grasp“. I was in Canada at the time and not able (and perhaps a bit too intimidated) to sit and join the crowd in the writing experience. Nonetheless, it was a perfect word for what I was experiencing and below is what I mulled over in my mind:
Grasp
The beauty before me in Canada this Fall is engulfing. I find myself wanting grasp and hold onto it in my heart and mind.
My overwhelming emotion as I have had the privilege of a short trip to Alberta has been one of thanksgiving and yet also loss. More than once as I have taken a photo I have said that the problem is that I want to take more than just the image home with me, that the picture will not do the scene before me justice. A still representation will not allow me to fully evoke the scope of the glory in the scene before me. The sight of the magnificent, clear, cobalt blue sky….or the yellow leaves translucent with the soft, fall light… or the wonder of creation in the combined effect of river, mountain and sky….is not all that my heart experiences as I reflect on this beauty.
My heart tries to take it all in, my mind tries to contain the fullness of the image but it is too big, too beyond this world…. I am unable to explain my emotions, I am left speechless only able to bow my knee and praise Him.
For more information about joining the mob on Five Minute Fridays go to:

Distraction Disorder

Moving around and between different places a great deal sounds exciting but brings with it a lot of confusion and noise. In addition, no matter where I am, I have things I am responsible for that do not go away. I also have friends and relationships that I love and that need nurturing and a deep desire to cultivate my creative side. The question is one of budgeting and management. How and where must I invest my time? Where can I add the most value to what matters most to me and the people who care about me?
 
I have been blessed in my life to be partnered with a very wise husband. He has the gift of discernment and strength. It’s a gift that I have come to rely on. He sees things and understands the world in a way that is foreign to the way I was created but is essential to my health and survival. For a while now he has been talking about the fact that in this age of technology the commodity people are most short of is attention. He has said that having focus and attention is going to be the one thing that sets us apart. It’s taken me a while (ok at least a year or two) to really understand what that means for me and why its so important.
On my Face Book Page I have posted TED talks about harnessing technology and not allowing it to rule our lives, but I have been slow in following these recommendations. Recently I read a Blog posting by Ann Voskamp in which she quotes David Murray ‘s summary of the book ‘Digital Leader’. It struck a chord. This is why it matters.
This is why I need to master technology and not allow it to master me:
“A study at The British Institute of Psychiatry showed that checking your email while performing another creative task decreases your IQ in the moment by 10 points. This decrease is the equivalent of the effects from not sleeping for 36 hours—and exhibits more than twice the impact of smoking marijuana”.
 
“In a study of 1,000 of its employees, Basex, an information-technology research firm, found striking data showcasing inefficiency. It was determined that 2.1 hours per day is lost to interruptions. This figure indicates over 26 percent of the average workday is wasted due to multitasking and unwanted interruptions”.
Jordan Grafman, chief of the cognitive neuroscience section at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, explains, ‘There’s substantial literature on how the brain handles multitasking. And basically, it doesn’t …what’s really going on is a rapid toggling among tasks rather than simultaneous processing’”.

“Almost everyone has too much to handle in this complex, digital age. The average person receives 41.5 texts per day and sends/receives 141 email messages per day.”

I have justified my distraction with technology by the fact that it has allowed me to stay in touch. In the last eight years it has changed so dramatically that the experience of being connected with my first child when they went off to boarding school is very different to the experience of my baby starting boarding school last year. It has become easier and even more interactive. I have come to depend on it. I need my BlackBerry attached to me and want to be able check it every few minutes. It’s like an insatiable itch!

I am, however, coming to realize that if I want to move ahead with the plans God has for me I am going to have to stop technology ruling my life. I need to be free. I want time free of distractions to be creative. I desire to learn the discipline of allotting my time, simplifying my life, regaining focus for what is important and perhaps if I get brave enough I will even institute a technology Sabbath.