This is just a quick post to remind everyone that Thanksgiving comes before Christmas, just in case the retail stores have you confused. It is so easy to get caught up in the hectic, high-energy commercialism of the season I think it is easy to forget why we celebrate these holidays in the first place. I am certainly thankful for my family and friends and for all the niceties I’m able to afford even though my social life feels like it has completely tanked right now because of work. Welcome to the holiday rush. I am thankful for both of my jobs and for the opportunity they afford me to not have to work this hard later in life when the student loans are paid off. Whether you are a holiday fanatic, a Scrooge or somewhere in between think of at least three things you are thankful for and tell somebody. Happy Thanksgiving. I’m taking next week off for the holiday so I’ll see you in two weeks.
The past two months have been difficult for me, especially the last week or so. We’re moving unstoppably into the holiday season and as things get crazier I wear thinner. I’m tired and my emotions are less in check than normal. I’m a highly emotional person to begin with and I get so frustrated when I dread the holidays that should lift my spirits and bring me closer to God, friends, and family.
I need to work on stapling my feet into today, taking life one day at a time. I keep trying to look ahead to see an end, to find relief, but it’s too far ahead and all I can see is the distance and the struggle. I need to just do what I normally do when I walk: watch my feet. One step at a time, one day at a time. It’s exhausting to think about how much is left to accomplish. I feel like I was asleep all last week. I’m not comatose yet but if I don’t change something, I’m heading there.
I can’t let myself get too tired to spend time with God. He is my recharge. It’s like when you’re too tired to sleep. Being highly emotional I need to surround myself with positive people to counteract the negative. That is one of the reasons I go to church regularly. My church is like a family. Our philosophy is that we don’t judge because God loves you the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way. It comforts me that I know my church family will accept me as a hot mess just like my biological family but they won’t let me wallow in it.
Someone told me last week, “Trust God and your heart will catch up.” I like that. I can’t let myself get so caught up and tired that I can’t pull myself out of my pity party. It’s too easy to stay there. I feel like I’m rambling again so I’ll wrap up. If you feel like you’re burning out take a breath, trust God for the strength to get through it, and take it one day at a time. Feel free to call me out of you see me doing otherwise. Be blessed.
God’s beauty doesn’t make the world look dull by comparison. No, the world is all the more beautiful for his presence. We all have special people in our lives where when they walk into a room it lights up. God does that with continents, billions of rooms at once. His voice, His smile, His affection radiate from Him, making the world rich with good things, chasing out the shadows and overcoming them.
I’m in a stage of my life where things are looking up. The stage where we dare to hope for big things believing they are possible. We are in an upswing and loving it. I have been trying for a while now (even before the upswing) to thank God for the little things every day, the little things that add up to the big things. It is amazing how much more I see God in the little things, in everyday ordinary things that we take for granted.
I’ve also notice an increase in unexpected frustrations in my life lately: the car having to be fixed, things not working as smoothly as they should at work, forgetting to pay a bill and getting a late fee. On my way to church I went to unlock the car and it wouldn’t unlock. My key doesn’t work well in the lock so after fighting with it I finally go into the car to discover the battery was dead. I had left the headlights on. I know no one else has ever done that. But as I started to swear in frustration it twisted on my tongue and in mid complaint I started singing that old song “This is the Day.” It sounded awful because I was singing it through my teeth. Even when it may sound awful or insincere or make me look crazy I’m trying to change the words that come out of my mouth when I’m upset.
What we say matters. I don’t believe in swearing casually. I will occasionally us a choice word to emphasize a point when angry but lately I’ve been getting worse so even when it sounds stupid or insincere I try to balance the negative with the promises of God. When my car wouldn’t start and my husband had already left for work I was grateful for three friends in particular, two who helped jump my car and the woman who gave me the jumper cables. I was also thankful that I was on my way to church and not on my way to work. God is a lot more understanding of tardiness than my boss.
Something I realized that morning was if I was enjoying the prosperity God was pouring out on me and suffering increased frustration, shock of all shocks, I must be doing something right! I don’t feel like that happens often but on occasion I do something right. I must be learning. There is hope! The Devil can’t stand to see us succeed and God can’t bear to see us atrophy so he allows the Devil to aggravate and frustrate us so we will call on God’s name and not just defeat the enemy but take ownership in our victory. I find I enjoy something more if I’ve had to work for it. Oh sure, if you ask me I’d rather have the world handed to me on a silver platter but would I enjoy it later? Probably not so much. Let the Devil frustrate me all he wants, it will only make me run back to my faithful partner in life, my God. Let him try and trash the life God is giving me every day and it will only backfire because God translates every curse into a blessing. It doesn’t mean I’ll never be frustrated, hurt, or afraid but it does mean if all I do is run back to God and tell the Devil where he can stuff it I’ll come out a better person. I’ll come out closer to the person I was born to be.
I love that God doesn’t keep his presence, strength and beauty to himself but shares it with we who believe. I get to be a part of something bigger. I have to work hard but the end result will be worth it and I’ve already had a taste. Just try and stop me now! Be encouraged!
Life is hard enough without adding complications. But I would rather add someone else’s to my own and have help working through them than having only my problems and myself to rely on. I would much rather have my issues plus God’s, or my husband’s, or my best friend’s issues and have a hand to hold and another mind to process with. I’d rather have twice the complications and a share in the victories than to only have my issues, my solutions, and my failures.
Working 60 hours a week between two jobs is hard. It is exhausting and frustrating but, although cliché, the old adage is true: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Why can’t life just be easy? Short answer, because we’d atrophy. This is not where I pictured myself after college. Something that I’ve realized though is I’m tired and frustrated and liberated and happy. Go figure. I don’t do one emotion at a time. I can’t. I’m not wired that way.
I’m motivated to do what I have to to get out of debt and provide for my family, for the children I don’t have now but will. I need to get my stuff in order now so when it is time for me to add my complications and successes to my children’s lives I have more successes than complications. My parents will tell you: you do what you must. It doesn’t matter how difficult or impossible. We do what we must to make the world a little bit better even if we never get to see the fruits of our effort. But God is good and most of the time we do get to see a measure of our efforts but they go so much further than we see.
So be strong and courageous. Make connections with people even though it’s scary and it hurts, and do what you must. Do more than you think you can because in Christ you are more than a conqueror! What kind of conqueror doesn’t have anything to conquer? We are capable of far more than we think. All we need is no other choice but to soldier on when we think we can’t. Do what you must and change the world! Lean on me and let me lean on you. Be blessed in and through your struggles today.