Baggage that I Put Down

I usually work into most posts that I’m a work in progress but think I need to start this one in that way.




I don’t always do this perfectly but I have certainly come a long way!  The more I practice what I’m about to “preach,” the better I feel.

Let me say that I love the forties.  Not the 1940’s era.  The being in the 40’s age group.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are a few things that I would like from my 20’s.  I wish my middle section was toned and would like to tighten up that five baby stretched out skin on my tummy.  Who am I kidding?  I would like to buy the entire line of Rodan and Fields to take ten years off of my crows feet and jowls.  A few less varicose and spider veins on the calves would be nice.

Ahh….I digress.  I was about to tell you why I love being the age that I am.

Even with the marks and stretches and lines in the wrongs places, I love this season of life.  With it comes a freedom.

There are some bags that I carried for so long and I have learned/ am learning to put them down.  With each one, my load is lighter and I have been given so much freedom!  I want to shout it at the 20 somethings so that they don’t carry it around for 20 more years unnecessarily.

Here are a few of the things that I have taken out of my bag and I feel so much lighter for it:

  1. The ability to let other people’s opinion drive me.  WOW!  That’s a big one to unpack.  My phases went like this:  I spent a lot of time worrying about what other people thought of me, came to the realization that people don’t even think about me as much as I thought they did, and then decided not to care.  If I start to feel that burden hopping back into my bag, I remind myself of who I am in Christ.   A little side note is that I have a handful of great friends who I trust to give honest, Christlike feedback and I listen closely to their counsel.
  2. The need for perfection.  This has permeated most areas of my life ( work in progress.)  I haven’t and won’t be a perfect friend, parent, spouse, daughter, aunt. teacher, housekeeper, decorator.  Any of it.  I can’t even say that I’ve done my best for all of my life.  But I do try to improve daily.  A few years ago I began saying it would be “just right.”  One of my friends had burned something that she was cooking and I said “Oh it will be just right.”  From then on, that became our phrase for it’ll be ok if it’s not perfect.  It has been used over and over and over.  Guess what?  It’s always worked out ok.  Because that small stuff really isn’t worth sweating over after all.   The next time you are stressing because it’s not working out just perfectly, try telling yourself it’s “just right.”
  3. The guilt of my past.  Man, that’s a big one.  I shoula’, coulda’, woulda’ but I did or didn’t.   This freedom has come from Christ and Christ alone.  I can look back at regrets from thirty years ago or even yesterday.  If I’m living intentionally (and I hope I am) then I am going to have to trust that God will work all things out for my good.  Satan is a deceiver and a liar.  When he brings up sins and failures that I’ve been forgiven for, I’m sending him right back where he came from.  I’m taking hold of those thoughts and living in the freedom that I now have.
  4. Fear and worry.  I’ve come so far. I come from a long line of worriers and that is a hard, hard cycle to break.  But I’m finally making progress.  Worrying about the present, the future (and #3 the past) takes SO much energy away from just living today.  Very little of what I could worry about could/can be changed.  So I pray.  I believe that God is for me.  I move on.

I’m sure my bag is lighter because of a million other things that I put out of my life.  Sometimes I have to put them out daily.  Sometimes it’s hourly.

However, I am so thankful that God has helped to settle my mind and allow me to unpack some things that have weighed me down.

Sometimes the struggle isn’t putting them down.  It’s leaving them there.

As always, I’m a work in progress.

 

Only One Little Bite

I think this post may be my confession of sorts.  It’s my public recognition of weakness if you will.




I always say that I’m a work in progress and that has certainly been true this Father’s Day weekend.

I’ll put a picture next and you can guess what might have happened here.  If you read my earlier post about Trim Healthy Mama, you can clearly see that these are the direct opposite of “on plan.”

We had family over to celebrate this weekend.  My white cake and chocolate buttercream frosting is just amazing!  I don’t take compliments well but when people oooohh and aahhhh over it…there’s nothing to say to dismiss them because it is just SO good.

Enter my weak moment.  I decided Saturday night that I would just have 1/4 of a cupcake. I made a nice little cut with my steak knife and oh my stars!  It was divine!  So I had the other little 1/4 of the half that I had cut.  Sigh.  It sounds crazy but I don’t remember eating the last 1/2 but I did.

Today after church, we went to another family celebration and I had a slice of pie.

We came home to a rainy, lazy Sunday afternoon and I wasn’t prepared with any healthy snacks.  Sidenote: Does anyone else plan for a week, cook a ton of food for a gathering, and have nothing to eat once that one meal has been served?

So…..a few cupcakes were still on the tray.  Repeat the same scenario from last night (because that worked so well….insert eyeroll.)

I have spent the last few hours feeling SO drained and SO lazy.  I’m about to change into my tennis shoes and shorts and walk the neighborhood to make myself feel a little better.

So, what did I learn?

First, let me say that there is nothing wrong with having an occassional treat.  I do not plan to be so strict that I cannot enjoy my food.  Food is not my enemy. I just need to use good judgment and set limits.

But what I took away from this is:

Had I not taken the first bite, I wouldn’t be feeling awful.  Taking the first bite made the next one seem ok.  After I had eaten half, what’s the big deal. I’ll just finish it.  It’s just one cupcake.

What it did was create my desire for sugar again.  I have had very little sugar and that little bit made me crave more.

Somewhere I’m guessing there is an alcoholic with a similar story, a drug addict, someone who is an abuser and someone who gets abused who could probably figure out what their “first bite” was.

You may think that overeating doesn’t wreck your body like those “big offenses” but I am learning to disagree.

The lesson that I personally had revealed to me was that if I dabble in the things that bring me down, it makes going all in a little easier.

It is so much easier to stay away from the things that are my weakness.

Looking back over my life, and hopefully being a little wiser, it is easy to see where my weaknesses were and where satan knew to attack.

What did I learn?  Be prepared.

That doesn’t apply to only stocking healthy snacks.  It applies to my life.

 

Did I Hear You Right, God?

Do you ever deeply long for an answer to a situation?




Do you pray to have clarity?

Do you sometimes think you hear the answer but then wonder if you made it up yourself?

Those are the ways that I’ve felt for the past six years regarding the schooling of the girls.  Since having the twins, I have felt the deep longing to home school.  I knew for years that there was more that I was supposed to be.  However, by the time that I got done teaching and they got finished with school, we were all too tired to connect.

So, we started thinking of how I could stay home.  We did the budget.  It didn’t work.

We did it again.  We tweaked.  Not much had changed.  We were super frugal.  We still needed to come up with some additional income.

We heard a message at church one Sunday last fall that just stuck with me.  Sometimes, you don’t get the blessing until AFTER you’ve taken a leap of faith.  It was a message for me.

In February, we decided that I would quit my teaching job and home school the girls.  Keep in mind that the girls were in one of the best schools in the state.  People would think I was crazy.  I did not really share this information with many.  If I said it out loud, it made me anxious and doubtful.

Time ticked on.  In May, I finally did it.  I quit full time teaching.

The first few months of summer were spent in anticipation of what school would be like.  The first week in August, we started getting our classroom ready.  The girls were SO excited!  While everyone else was posting back to school pictures, I was posting a relaxed morning with my kids sleeping in.

We started school on August 8th!  We had an incredible week!  We felt immediately that we had made the right decision.

This picture was taken on Friday, August 12th.  Everything about this was peaceful.

The following morning, all of that changed.

My classroom is a little lower than the rest of that house and was the first room to flood.   Two days later, it looked like this.

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I said out loud to God, “God, did I hear you right?  I really thought this is what I was supposed to do!”

Five weeks later, the girls’ desks, still neatly labeled with their name and grade, were hauled away with the rest of our home’s contents.

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As I stood watching, I was sad.  Those were my honest feelings.  I haven’t been sad very much.  I wasn’t sad for the desks (although those suckers are not cheap on Ebay)!  I simply needed to hear God’s voice of reassurance.

This is what I’ve learned from this situation.

God is here.  He is good.  He cared that I cared about those desks.  He has reassured me more than he needed to over the past weeks in many ways.

He has blessed me with people who have restocked my home school supplies.

He has sent many, many encouragers along the way. I am making new friends with people that I already have grown to love in a very short time.

He has calmed my heart.

We have an apartment for now.

Little things don’t upset me much.

My body feels better than it has in years.

My husband and I are a team.  We grow stronger every day as a unit.

My girls still love our version of school.   This week at co-op, my eight year old looked up as we sat together on a picnic blanket and said, “I love this.  I love everything about this.”

If your dreams are being rearranged and your “desks” are being thrown out, believe this with me.  God has good things in store!  He does for YOU and for ME!

I didn’t hear him wrong.  I just didn’t know the path it would all take.  And that’s okay.