Saturday, January 2, 2016

Rule #3: Up to date, Keep your passport. (Yoda Dad) New Year's Resolution: Follow a few simple rules.

This morning I sat for coffee with one of my very favorite people. She asked me what my resolutions were for this year. She knows that even if I don't verbalize my goals, I have them.

She knows I don't function without goals. She too is a goal setter, and even if we don't have the same path, we are both strivers...we constantly strive for the betterment of ourselves and our families. We both see how movement is required and we both believe in the sentiment, to quote Shawshank Redemption, you either "get busy living or get busy dying".

I opened my book of lists, (yep, you heard it, a book of lists) and I shared a few with her.

After I told her (my seemingly impossible) book reading goal, she asked me why. "Why is that so important to you?"
Because this question was coming from an AVID reader herself, one that could school me on volume and breadth when it came to this arena, I knew it wasn't truly a why question but more of a friend investigative one.

My answer: my complete lack of intellectual tenacity...the very reason I beat myself up over my TV watching. I've become the slug who's letting her brain become slow and mushy, and this year, it ends.

Tenacity is a lost art on me. I've given in to the laissez faire attitude of our culture, and just how easily that attitude is my default, completely scares me.
I'm like a 5 year old when it comes to the need of structure. If it isn't there, I'm hanging from the chandelier, over my bed that hasn't been made in weeks, covered in cookie crumbs and dirty dishes.

I go from 38 year old to pre-K student in less than 3 days of no structure.

One of my hang ups when it comes to my lack of tenacity is that I know I'm missing opportunities...not any known ones per se, but the ones I'll never know about because I wasn't prepared, I hadn't gotten myself ready for "the call", so "the call" never came.

Several years back, my dad gave me GREAT was more of a parental, "you should do that" moment, but man, did God use that moment to speak a life lesson into my heart.

Upon some random question about one of my various trips to Seattle a few years back, I had said I really wanted to go to Victoria and British Columbia but my passport was expired so I wouldn't be doing it.

In shock and horror, my dad gasped, "You should always have your passport up to date. You never know when an opportunity will arise and you never want that to be a reason you have to decline the opportunity."

At the time, I rolled my eyes. Such a dad thing to say...

Except it was a total yoda moment for him in that to this very day, as I veg or procrastinate or exercise total intellectual decay, my yoda dad's voice rings in my head and heart, "You're not going to be ready Shelly. You're not preparing yourself for the unknown adventure that awaits you and when the opportunity arrives, you'll have to decline it...Don't let your passport on life expire."

In divorced life, there's LOTS of down time. Alone. quiet. no one seemingly exists. what do I do with myself? having a full blown conversation with your fridge. if a Shelly fell in the forest, would anyone notice? kind of moments.

These moments can be both a blessing and curse, just like family time can be. The constant surrounding of human beings can drive you batty, and well, being alone a lot, can definitely do the same.

Several years back, I decided that I wouldn't let my singleness define me. I'd live in the time I have and not let my preconceived notion of what my life "should" look like dictate my future movement. Hence, I traveled a lot...even on my my own. I made the decision to live out what my heart desired even if it's different than how my mind had pictured it.

I'd pick myself up and live...even if I had to do it on my own.

I'd walk into church alone, go to concerts alone, sign up for races and conferences alone, go to parties alone.

I saw that I had 2 choices: stagnant bitter hermit or get busy living

I chose the latter. I chose to face the beast of "single mom" and trust that God would teach me something in the alone of it all.

He has. Very much, He has.

On the days that I'd feel desperately alone and desire so much for something to change in my life so this nagging feeling of "waiting for my life to begin" would stop, I'd remember 2 passages.

"Tremble, and do not sin; meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Do what is right, and trust in the Lord." Psalm 4:4

and the second,

"Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness." Psalm 37

In other words, in whatever it is that you're facing that is seemingly confusing, hard, incongruent with how you thought things would work out, just breathe. Breathe, do the next right thing, and trust God.

Or, as Mary Engelbreit would say, Bloom where you've been planted.

As a child, I loved Mary Engelbreit and this was one of her more famous quotes. I was always intrigued by it, but I had no idea what it meant.

Not a clue. And not even that I didn't have a clue, I didn't understand how it could possibly be true in life.

See, I was ALWAYS about the end game. Always.

I was a "decide where you're planted and go after it" kind of girl. I was the "if I don't like it here, screw this, and I'll make my own patch just the way I want it" girl.

There was no middle for me. There was no journey, only an arrived. I only wanted to live in the "arrived".

I had my picture of how it would turn out, and I was about getting to that point as fast as possible.

No middle, no figuring it out, no wrong turns, no gray, no waiting, no grace. None of it. I wanted nothing to do with it, and I was completely ignorant to its necessary existence.

And to answer your question of, ummmm, lady, how on earth did anything in your life turn out? Well, we now see one of the many reasons for the necessary and horrific detour of 2008.

My illusion of a life came tumbling matchstick temple burned to a crisp, and I was left...I was left in need of being planted, because I no longer knew, well, anything.

I no longer knew anything.

I'd finally accepted the conclusion that I was a little seed in great need of a planter. I was not god, but I was in desperate need of the real One.

When you're reduced to a seed, life becomes pretty simple. I slept, ate, mothered, and spent time with God. And in that, God and His beautiful grace got me to a point where I could grow again, and during this seven years of singledom and quiet, God has taught me the art of blooming where I'm planted.

Take one day at a time, do what you're supposed to today, and let Him orchestrate the tides of life.

And for a recovering anxious control freak, that's a pretty good lesson in life. Before, I lived in the land of 2 weeks, 2 years, and even 2 decades down the road, and never in the present.

I can't even fathom how much I missed in the presents.

That's why such a simple card that read, "Bloom where you're planted" made no sense to me.

If you've been planted that means you're not in control. It means something else has dictated where you've been left. Control freaks can't comprehend that, and being forced to grow and bloom where you didn't say you wanted to go is unfathomable.

Taking my tightly bound hands off the illusion of the wheel, and let life play itself out is something I couldn't comprehend.

That madness in my life had to stop. It had to.

So, in 2016, along with my seemingly impossible reading goal, I shall also do my best to live by Rule #2: Bloom where you're planted.

Keep your tank full Shelly, your passport up to date (Rule #3), and keep paddling.

Be tenacious in your pursuits, and some how, some way, God's plan for your future, His opportunities, will find you along the way, and you'll be ready.

Wherever you are today, bloom. Show up and do what God has called you to do today.

This I know, that God is for you.

In Him,

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