I’ve been evaluating my goals/progress on my word of the year for this year, and as is usual for me, I am failing miserably with most of it. The sad part is my goals and word of the year, on the surface, seem very simple. Attendance. Just show up to things. Be a willing participant and open to new experiences. That doesn’t seem hard to do. But it is. So. HARD.
There have been far too many days where I’ve called out sick to life. If life were a job, I’d probably be fired. If life were school, I’d have missed too many days to pass the classes I have. I fail at getting up early enough to study, pray and write before getting ready for work like I used to. I fail at making time to exercise, cook instead of eat out, and spend time with friends. Though I’ve had some successes, they are a drop in the bucket compared to all the times I’ve dropped the ball.
If I haven’t exactly been rocking the attendance goals, I’ve found that I’ve been learning and growing in other areas. Growth is good, right? Growth is necessary for life. I should be doing cartwheels over all the growth I’ve been experiencing. Here’s the thing, though: growth sucks. Nobody really likes growth. Growth is that nagging, pain in the butt, fault finding, always pointing out the room for improvement mean girl that no one wants to sit with at lunch but we do anyway because she can make our lives miserable if we don’t. Growth is the reason that vegetables don’t take like sugary, buttery awesomeness that we wouldn’t mind eating. She’s that friend that can’t compliment you forwards, only backwards and in a backhanded way. She is the bane of my existence, but you have to tolerate her life family. If I were her, I’d pack my raggedy duffle bag and leave instead of staying where I’m merely tolerated, but she doesn’t even blink. Rude.
What looks like growth for me on a sunny September day? Growth is moving, twice, each time parring down the number of your worldly possessions and making hard decisions about what you want to keep. Growth is also moving offices twice at work, getting used to the rhythms and preferences of different office mates. It’s changing job responsibilities and dealing with uncertainty with a smile on my face. It’s taking classes to learn things I already thought I knew and humbling myself enough to accept that maybe I don’t have a clue as to what I’m doing here at this stage of life. It’s figuring out that the reason people aren’t supporting some of the things I’m doing the way I want them to is because this isn’t the stage of the process where other people are involved. It’s spending most of my time realizing I need to get my crap together, and the rest of the time realizing I’m not the one who does the getting together.
Which brings me back to that pesky attendance goal. I have to show up where God told me to go and wait for Him to lead me. I’m in a place where many of the things I think I need to really be present and focused before God just aren’t there. I no longer have a writing nook to sit and write my books (see: moving/downsizing), a home I live in alone in which I can let the dishes pile up for days while I seek the Lord on this or that. I have much less physical space. I can’t spread out with Bibles, notebooks, commentaries and etc on every surface and work feverishly through the first draft of this book. I don’t have the luxury of hiring a cover designer or using a free trial period of software to format the new book. I have no outline of how this book should be organized. I don’t know what to do with my websites. Every time I peruse other sites, I’m assaulted by all the things my sight doesn’t have to make it look as nice or function as well. I don’t have the money or resources to put into this. I don’t even have a metaphorical ride to this place God is calling me to…and yet, He’s still expecting me to meet Him in the same place He told me to meet Him. So I have to get there.
I don’t know if any of my ramblings actually have a point, but if they do, it would be that perhaps we don’t need all of the things we think we need in order to do what God wants us to do. Maybe we don’t know how we’re going to do it. Maybe we don’t know where the help is going to come from. Perhaps we will have to give up some things before we are given others. I have to believe that all of this has a purpose. It can’t escape my notice that while none of this is what I planned for when I set the goal of attendance at the beginning of the year, it all leads me back to that very goal. It says, pay attention. Be here. Participate in this. Live in this moment–right here and right now.
Your two cents: Is there something in your life pulling on your shirt sleeves and trying to get your attention? How do you plan to attend to it?