Tagged growth

Needing My Space…Or Not

long hair meI’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.

Reading book

 

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. 

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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?

 

You’re Doing It Wrong! The Waiting Edition

So, I had this idea for this blog. I wanted to do all of these wonderful features and have all of these awesome interviews and guest posts. I really wanted to make this website into a space for single women to come together and share and learn. Sort of a single Christian women’s lifestyle blog. Dreams of building a brand danced in my head. I just knew I could call together the right women to make this happen. I wrote out what I wanted to do. I sent out emails to women that I thought would be interested or might know of some interested women. I got in touch with any women I thought may be like minded and wanted to help. And I waited. The response was immediate. Yes! That sounds amazing! I’ve wanted to see something like that come together! Of course I want to be a part!

Then nothing. It all kind of stalled. Everyone got busy with other things. Life intruded. I looked up and it had been months since I’d written down those goals and I still hadn’t put up another post, let alone lined up any of those special features. I was deep into writing–a manuscript for a fiction contest and my second non-fiction book. I was taking Altered to different events and trying to line up other events. I was doing my best to make fetch happen with a brand, looking at cost comparisons to bring out other products and figuring out how to sell things from my site. Maybe I just need to let this idea go, I thought to myself. I’m tired of trying to force this site to be something it’s not. If it’s supposed to happen, the people will come and the features will fall into place.

But see, God is good! He always has a ready word exactly for your situation. While working on book 2, I began to study waiting in the Bible, and the difference between waiting and wasting (time). I found an interesting thing. The Bible says a ton about waiting, from how to wait to when to wait to what happens when we wait. But the waiting is almost exclusively connected with waiting for God. Sometimes, as with Saul, it was waiting for the man of God to give a sacrifice so that God would go with them, but the wait was for God and His presence, His deliverance. When the children of Israel waited instead of taking the land, God wouldn’t let them enter it, even when they changed their minds and decided to do what He said. I say all of that to say the waiting we do should be waiting for God. We can wait for God to move on our behalf. We can wait on His instructions for the next step or stage of life. We can wait for His peace. Whatever we want to wait on God for, we should. But nowhere is it endorsed that we should be waiting on people or events or for things to line up a certain way, and I was guilty of waiting for someone else to be as excited about what I thought God was calling me to do as I was. No bueno.

I feel as if I need to say this so no one misses the point: I’m not upset at anyone who wasn’t able to help out when I first started looking for collaborators on this project. In fact, it is my personal belief that some of them got so busy because God needed me to see that I needed to do what I needed to do even if no one else was ready, willing or able. Thank God folks were busy doing what God told them to do and not what I wanted them to do! God got me out here in the wilderness by myself, so to speak, for the same reason He had the children of Israel in the Wilderness:

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.- Deut. 8:2, NIV

And it wasn’t for God to know what was in my heart and whether or not I would keep His commandments, but for me to know it. How amazing is that? God wants me to know what I can do, how strong I am, how weak I am. He wants me to see where I fall short and when I ask, He gives me more grace to become stronger in Him. Awesome.

So what does that mean for this site and all my other ones? What does this mean for my idea of a “single Christian women’s lifestyle brand?” To be honest, I don’t know. I am starting over. I am waiting on Him to tell me what He wants me to do, and I’m going to obey that. I still think that interviewing is one of my strengths and I still want to highlight single Christian women doing amazing things on my blog. But what shape or form that’s going to take is still up in the air. I do know that I plan to post more here and elsewhere. I also know that I plan to import some Altered before the Altar related content from my other sites here as well.

I’m working really hard on book 2 (translation: the Lord is taking me through some things so I can share some of His marvelous truth with you). Unlike book 1, I don’t have a cover designer and will have to do some other things myself.

I want to start helping others independently publish as well, but I’m not sure what that will look like for me. Many of you have asked me about publishing when I’ve met you in person, and I want to address the need for educating people on publishing and helping others to publish. We will see where the Lord leads me on it.

I’m still praying on some opportunities to share Altered before the Altar with a wider audience. Please keep me in prayer that I’m able to do do what I need to in order to be in the best position to be used for God in whatever capacity He wants to use me, and I pray the same for you.

Your two cents: Have you ever waited on man to cosign something instead of God? How did it turn out? What would you do differently this time around?