Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Resolutions found in the depths of Show Holes and Empty Wells.

I've been pondering New Years resolutions for a couple of weeks now, if not longer.

When one is dissatisfied with things, New Years resolutions are enticing, they elicit a new version of you that you wish you could be. They usher in hopes and dreams and wishes for a skinnier, richer, happier, smarter life.

And when one is feeling fatter, poorer, sadder, and dumber, the promise of a new year and the "if I make them, they will happen" mentality is VERY enticing.

But, then January 1st arrives and we realize that sitting on a couch watching marathons of NCIS and envisioning the skinnier, happier, smarter, and richer Shelly doesn't change anything.

What the heck?? You mean you have to do something more than just make the resolution?!?!?

That stinks!

Wouldn't it be great if we could just lay out all we "wanted" for the New Year and for one day experience it, get a taste of it, so we would have the motivation to actually work for it??

Ahhhhh, if only...then it would work.

Ya, who am I kidding. It still wouldn't work.

Because I desire a product of awesomeness with a path of least resistance.

And there in lies the problem. Least resistance is my MO.

Nothing truly beautiful comes from least resistance. It's impossible.

But that doesn't stop me from wanting to magically become someone who isn't sitting on her couch entering a show hole on December 28, 2016, all the while being the person who's sitting on her couch entering a show hole on December 28, 2015.

Impossible dreams.

Least resistance puts you on a stream that doesn't take you far. It might be pretty and calm and at times scenic, but you end up seeing the same scene over and over, because you refuse to paddle passed it. You're stuck amongst the same weeds and flowers and brush with nothing new on the horizon.

You're stagnant, refusing to paddle and avoiding any waves that might actually take you somewhere.

Stagnation is only satisfying for a short while, because you will inevitably realize you're no longer in a stream, but in a puddle, at the bottom of a pit.

You either have to numb yourself through it to convince yourself you want to stay there, or you have to pick up your boat and go find a river.

I've been stagnant for a long while, and I'm having to acknowledge I'm now in a puddle, that can quickly become a pit.

God has been gracious to put all sorts of rivers in my path this year, and I hopped on them and rowed as fast as I could because I saw His river and I knew I didn't want to miss a few of its waves, but as soon as I could hop off it this fall, I picked up my boat and went back to the calm of stagnation.
It seemed safe.
It had little resistance, required minimal output, and I could sit in the sun and let the small ripple push my floaty along.
Stagnant water doesn't even require a boat, just a floaty. I can just sit and do nothing...

but then those pesky gnats come along, the view is deathly boring, and the water is murky.

And the cycle begins again...get numb or get moving.

But the thought of leaving my puddle and going to His river is overwhelming. The thought of resistance, of the unknown of the waves and direction, and the amount of output required of me is I continued to choose my puddle.

I numb myself by watching something distracting.

This break I chose to watch marathons of dark, creepy TV shows that take me from the pinnacle of "I have hopes and dreams and by golly I'm going to go for them before I turn 40!!" to "What's the point? Nothing ever changes. I'm worthless. This world is dark and creepy and I never reach a goal, and I'm a complete loser."

Thank you producers of Mr. Robot.

The best commercial I saw was the Netflix one...or maybe it is Amazon Prime...but it's the "Show hole" one.
Holy Schnikees is it accurate?!?!
The ironic thing is that it's advertising for something that will take you from one show hole and plunge into a hole that is deeper, darker, and 5 days further down the path of "you're wasting your life away".

I usually choose to do this to myself after Cade leaves for an extended amount of time. It seems to be inevitable. I tend to need 24 hours to process, moan, groan, and be depressed while numbing myself with watching television.

I'm aware of it every time. I beat myself up about it every time.

When the marathon of my latest show hole was ending after only 10 episodes, I actually looked up to the ceiling, raised my hands, and exclaimed, "Thank you God! It's only 2:00 in the afternoon!"

I needed Him to miraculously end my pit of despair. I needed Him to save me from myself by making this TV show end.

I needed Him to show me He had a river awaiting me, and I was stuck in my puddle.

I changed the channel and wandered in my puddle a bit longer, but I could hear the birds chirping and the Light was breaking in again.

If I did get anything from my hole it was that as I watched the creepy, dark show, I was greatly aware of the twisted nature we humans get ourselves in, especially if we are separated from the Light.

As I watched and saw how the writers of the show were trying to create this scenario where "If only all the debt was erased, then we'd be free", "if we scheme and can get to the top, then we can be our own god", "if we can take away the pain through drugs, alcohol, manipulation, sex, money, then we can escape the pain and reach this pinnacle of something I'm not even sure of." it made me keenly aware of how lost and confused we many of us are choosing stagnant puddles found at the bottom of deep, dark pits.

As I watched I kept wondering, what are they thinking will be accomplished by any of this? What is their end?

I want to sit in a room and ask the writer, to what end are you taking this? What will be achieved? What greater good is coming? What truth is being exploited here?

What's the point you are making?

And the answer would be, there is none.

The world is pining for, scrambling for, grasping at the idea that there's this big conspiracy to keep everyone's happiness locked away in a box somewhere and only the richest, darkest, schemiest of those have it, and the only way you track that supposed happiness down is by delving into the darkness of finding it, by enslaving ourselves to the very base of human desire.

I've lived a pretty naive life, with very little exposure to the dark and paranoia this life can involve and is so easily accessed by any and all of us, but I got a glimpse "over the wall" several years back.

I was in my own pit, and it was a dark one...but I was dealing with someone who had crossed over the wall found in another realm of darkness...a wall that I didn't really know about, but one I had only read about or watched on TV, but this person had gone there.

 And because I had to deal with some things with this person, I got a glimpse over that wall. I had to be drawn to the window of it, and I saw in.
Even if it was just a skewed, foggy picture of it, I got a glimpse, and the glimpse was enough for me to take a whole lot of steps back and do all I could to not ever get close to the window again.

I now knew there truly was a twisted, dark, paranoid life out there, and I knew that I never wanted to get entangled in it.

I've known pits, destructive, despairing pits, but I now knew there were darker ones, where the desperation is so deep, it scared me to even get a glimpse in.

All that to say, I know those pits are easily accessed by any of us. I know that various pits in life are just a succession of daily missteps and wrong turns and the ignoring of that sweet whisper inside of us beckoning us to turn around, to reengage, to not believe the dark nor the schemes, nor the idea of how pursuing the lies will bring an ounce of satisfaction, of contentedness, or hope.

The end those all profess is an illusion of a temple, but that temple is made of matchsticks.
It won't withstand a simple wind, and if you make your way to it, you will be destroyed by its own inevitable fire.

One way to find yourself in a pit is to let your well run dry. Without the life source of the well, it just becomes a deep pit.

This last year, I let my well run dry.

I ran until I couldn't run anymore. And instead of choosing to refill and stay connected to the source of life for my well, I chose to let it start becoming a pit.

In many aspects, 2015 was like a marathon for me. We all have years like that. Big opportunities, great responsibilities, lots to juggle, and even though so much of mine were incredible blessings, I refused to stop and refuel...I didn't do what I'd been trained to do. I stopped being disciplined about how I ran and became haphazard about it all, and I let myself think it wouldn't matter that much.

I turned my back on my number one rule in life: Rule #1 IT MATTERS!

I chose to eat metaphorical donuts, to run until I crashed and then get back up and sprint some more.

I rarely refueled properly or reconnected myself to the very source that gives me life.

I just kept running on empty, while wondering why I felt empty or why I felt like I was going in a circle.

When one's well is dry, stagnation is the go to. There is nothing to give it the energy to choose the river that's going somewhere.

Plopping seems to be the only choice because to get out of the pit would require matter the gnats, the quiet, or the murky water...climbing out and picking up my boat to head to the river would require something I began to believe I didn't have...purpose.

Purpose was becoming elusive because I kept choosing my stagnant puddle, and purpose and meaning require movement, and I was losing the motivation to move. I was beginning to believe the lie that I didn't have it in me to move again, to pick up my boat and go find His river.

And even worse, I had started to believe that if I didn't know where His river would take me, I'd rather stay in my puddle, right here in my pit.

So, what's my 2016 New Year's resolution?

To lose 15 pounds? To pay off debt? to get smarter? Be a more present mom? To turn off my stinkin TV?


It's not.

My resolution, what I am resolved to do is to not let my well run dry.

I am resolved to acknowledge that I'm floating in a stagnant puddle down in a pit because I've let my well run dry, and in 2016, I'd like to get my well filled up again, so I can pick up my boat and go find His river.

My goal is to wake up each day and ask God to help me let Him turn my pit back into His well, and then to give me the determination to stand up and have the courage to find His river and row where He leads me.

To stop believing the lie and believe His truth and His plan matters in my life and to pursue it each and every day.

What would happen if I let Him turn my pit back into His well?

How is life different when I choose His well of truth and beauty over the pit of dark and creepy?

It becomes a life full of light.

"For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.
For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us.10 Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever.
So encourage each other, build others up.
Honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you...Respect them.
Live peacefully with each other.
We urge you, warn the lazy, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, and be patient.
Don't repay evil with evil.
Seek after the good for all.
Rejoice always.
PRAY without ceasing.
Give thanks, for this is God's will for you.
Listen to the Holy Spirt, don't ignore it.
Consider prophetic teachings but examine everything carefully.
HOLD FAST to what is good, abstain from every form of evil...

What happens when I choose to listen to His voice and ignore mine and go find His river?

"Now, may the God of peace sanctify you entirely, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete."

And the greatest of all the lines...the reason why pursuing this has such a beautiful outcome. It's because the river of God takes you somewhere miraculous.

Faithful is He who calls you and He will also bring it to pass. 1 Thes. 5

In 2016, I just need to remember that the guarantee is with Him. It's His promise that will come to pass, not one from Gillian Michaels or Oprah Winfrey.

So, what's my New Year's resolution?

To stop ignoring that whisper inside my head, the one inside my soul...

because it's in the whisper...the answer is always in the whisper, found at a well so deep, it's goodness never ceases.

"When I'm afraid, I will put my trust in You...You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call; This I know, that God is for me."

This I know, that God is for me.

In Him,

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