Sunday, October 21, 2018

Starting Again

Today I got a text from a friend about a personal best in a 5K. I was happy for her, genuinely, because I know she's worked hard.

I got the text as I was walking, trying to force myself to put one foot in front of the other. I had logged onto my C25K app for the first time in a few weeks... and not because I had been using my C210K app instead.

I struggle with motivation. I am great at envisioning things, but not so much in carrying them out. I get excited, and do ok, but then sizzle out. And let's face it, when it's cold outside it's so much easier just to snuggle up on the couch and lose myself in Facebook. I'm usually not even doing anything productive, just numbing myself by scrolling down my newsfeed.

I started to write today I did what I'm good at, starting the app...

but realized that's not being completely honest, either. Part of my procrastination is sometimes linked to a hesitancy to start, because of fear or uncertainty or just downright laziness.

I sometimes start, but I don't finish well.

I don't like that about myself. I wish I had more motivation. I'm not sure how to get it...

but tomorrow is another day and I'll start over. We have to just keep starting, every day, sometimes, every hour... knowing that He promises that if we'll be faithful, He'll do His part. We have to start, but then endure to the end. Those who endure to the end shall be saved.

Sometimes endurance looks like a straight line, bulldozing ahead...

but sometimes it looks like a series of starts and stops and starting again...

This is a part of the write 31 days series, using free write prompts from Five Minute Fridays. Today's prompt was start.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Audience of One

Yesterday my Dad and I were trying to have a conversation and Mel Belle just wasn't having it.

"Talk to me, Lauren. Lauren. Look at me. I'm talking."

Kind of reminded me of stories I've heard of me...

My favorite present every Christmas for three or four years was a homemade microphone with stand that my Papaw Paul would make me in his woodshop in the basement. I would stand in the kitchen and belt out songs, fully expecting my parents and grandparents and aunt and uncle and cousin Brandon to listen to me endlessly.

I was also the kid who got a tip from a waitress for singing "Tomorrow" at Disney World.

You could say I loved an audience...

but as I got older, not so much.

Only in this selfie generation, where everything is about what we post on social media, it seems we live for an audience. I'm just as guilty as the next person, thinking of how I'll frame my posts.

There's good and there's bad in that kind of life.

Lately, I've been thinking about what I posted and trying to make sure it holds up to a Philippians 4:8 philosophy. I'm not saying that life should always be great on social media, because that definitely isn't true life. I think it is important for us to be vulnerable and to allow others to see our weaknesses, especially if it is something we can use to encourage others.

I just think that we should think of how what we post affects others...and also how it affects our witness... because ultimately we should be about an audience of One.

This post is a part of a series for write 31 days (even though I missed yesterday...grace!) using free write prompts from Five MInute Fridays. Today's prompt? Audience.



Thursday, October 18, 2018

Search Me, Lord, Because I'm Tired of Searching

This month-long series is all about telling my story. Sharing who I am.

It'd be nice if I knew the answer to that, right?

Our whole life is made up of a search....

a search for who we are.

A search for Who He Is.

A search for the right path, for what is expected, for where we belong.

Just when we get comfortable, something changes, and we are off on another journey, often without knowing where the path is.

Faith is taking the next step even when you can't see it.

Tonight, as I'm penning these words, though, I'm reminded once again that I don't have to have it all figured out. I will never know all of the answers, and that's ok, because He tells us that some mysteries are meant to be just that... mysteries.

Because there are no mysteries with God, and perhaps in order to find the answers to what we are seeking we should cling to what the Psalmist suggests. "Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting."- Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, Lord. 

Know my heart, and reveal it to me, especially the dark and ugly so I can allow You to take care of it. 
Test me... and give me strength to pass. 
Know my anxious thoughts, and help me not focus on them.
If there is something offensive, remove it, please. 

Lead me in Your way, to the eternal, to what matters here, to what will be everlasting. 


This is a part of a write 31 days challenge, using free write prompts from Five Minute Friday. Today's prompt is search.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

In the Pause

I'll admit. I'm a procrastinator. If I'm honestly telling you my story, it has to come out. One of my favorite movies as a child was Annie, probably because of the song "Tomorrow". My favorite line from Gone with the Wind? "I'll think about that tomorrow. I just can't deal with it today."

That procrastination, though, can get me in trouble, sometimes. I wish I had a dollar for every last minute paper I've had to write, project I've had to complete, email I've had to send...

where I write furiously until my hand cramps (because I still have to write papers free-hand and then type them).

And at times like those... or times like today when I have a student in my office and emails to answer and a lecture to develop and a poster to present in 15 minutes that I start to smother down.

That little voice starts whispering "You're not good enough. What are you even trying to do? You can't juggle it all."

And sometimes, a lot of the time, I succumb to it. I listen and allow myself to become even more overwhelmed.

This evening, as I was driving home, I thought about the last 90 days challenge I'm half-heartedly participating in... (half-heartedly because one of the things to do is to drink 1/2 your weight in ounces of water and I'm pretty much floating through the day, and another part is to get up early and we all know how that goes because there is nothing like sleeping after the snooze button... see? I even procrastinate getting out of bed! ) Part of that is being intentional and figuring out your priorities in life...which I have been trying to do for all of my adulthood unsuccessfully. I mean, I know what my priorities are, but I don't always act on them.

And I thought of how in the hustle and bustle of the mundane... as one writer called it, the tyranny of the urgent, that occurs as we are writing our stories every day, so often that feeling of being overwhelmed can be solved with one act.

When I was working on my DNP, and I was feeling that time crunch in finishing papers, I would often get overwhelmed and get writer's block. I'd rewrite the same paragraph over and over, scratching through and rewording...

until I got up and took a break. Took a walk. laughed with Caleb. Read a little.

Because in the pause, that's where we breath in new life.

In the pause, we can become refreshed, ready for the next chapter of the story.

Writing using a prompt from Five Minute Fridays (although this one took longer than five minutes) for the write31 day challenge. Today's prompt? Pause...

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Pray It Out

Every story has an author.

A cast of characters.

Interaction between those characters, or at least intrapersonal interaction within the main character.

Our stories are no different. As Donne said, "No man is an island."

We were created for relationship, even though some of us have to be dragged kicking and screaming.

Relationship with one another... and relationship with God.

A post earlier in this series was about communication... inadequate or inappropriate or whatever other negative connotation it can take.

For any relationship to be successful, communication has to be open.

The ultimate form of communication is with the author of our story, and through this communication we can know which direction we are headed. Yet too often we fail to reach out.

I'm just as guilty. I often plan and plot and complain and worry and obsess before I do the one thing that is the most effective...

Pray.

Prayer changes things. Prayer gives us the ability to feel His presence. Prayer enables us to pour out our hearts and get rid of our burdens. Prayer humbles us, reminding us that God is in control... which can be a comfort if so many of us weren't control freaks.

As I write my story every day, day in and day, full of mundane events, may I remember to seek You first, Father. To pray without ceasing and allow You to take the pen.

This post is a part of the write31 days series using prompts from Five Minute Fridays, where we free write, unedited, for five minutes on a one word prompt. Todays prompt? Pray

Monday, October 15, 2018

In the When

It's funny, these stories of ours.

How our lives can change in a minute.

How so often we can be seen as a victim of circumstance, if you believe in that...

Or if you believe in destiny or in God's will.

We like to think we are in control, but there are so few things which we actually control.

For example, my life would be different if I had been born 50 years earlier... or 50 years later.

Our lives are framed by the times in which we are raised.

Journalists are often encouraged to ask questions... who? What? Where? How? Why?

When?

We ask when a lot, too, as we wait for things to happen.

When is it going to be my turn, Lord?
When will I get my heart's desire?
When will I find peace?
When will I understand?

And the answer isn't always clear.

When can seem like a long time...

Endless, especially if you are in the wait.

The glorious thing that we have to realize, though, is that our story is never over as long as when is important. As long as we are drawing breath, our story is still being written. We are being made into God's image, being perfected, here in the when...

And there is coming a time when our story will be perfected, when the last I will be dotted and the last t crossed.

The when won't be as important, because it won't have an end.

"When we've been there, 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun... we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we've first begun."

Writing today on the free prompt from Five Minute Friday provided for write31days. Today's prompt is when.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

It's OK to Ask

Just this evening I was reading my devotion and one of my favorite verses was the key verse. From Proverbs, "Commit your way to the Lord...."

I'm not always good at doing that. I tend to make all kinds of plans and then jump in feet first, only to get frustrated when I'm too gungho and waste all my energy.

I'm not great at asking what I'm supposed to do. I'm not the best at asking for help...

Part of telling our story is telling the past... where we came from and what brought us to where we are...

but it's also a means to help us know where we're going. What's next?

I've been asking that a lot lately... where do we go from here? What am I supposed to be doing? What's Your purpose in all of this, God?

This summer I participated in a Bible study with some other ladies in my county, where we worked through The Quest by Beth Moore. She's one of my favorites, and I find that I always learn something.

This study was different, though. It was centered around the questions in the Bible...

how many times have you been told not to question God? Beth actually encouraged it...

One of the key verses was 'Ask and you shall receive."

Ask...

when you don't understand. When you don't know where you're going. When you feel like you need something. When you feel all alone.

Ask... and you shall receive.

Not you may receive. Not you should receive...

you will. 

Because when we commit our ways to the Lord and acknowledge Him, giving Him the reigns to lead us and guide us, and when we seek His will for our lives, He will give us the desires of our heart...

because we will be in tune with His desires, and they will become the same.

Not sure where you're going? Oh, friend... I can relate...

but He has gone before us and He is behind us and He covers us.

Ask Him, and He'll answer.

This post is a part of a write31 days series about telling my story, featuring free write prompts from Five Minute Friday. Today's prompt- ask...