Posts Tagged With: future

Conformist Success?

I like to think sometimes that I am a nonconformist, but really I work within the system, and today I am tentatively excited to announce that I’m taking what I’m hoping is a step up within that system. I’ve gotten accepted for a new job. I don’t expect it to be perfect. Nothing is all it’s advertised to be, but I can say that the workers there that I saw through the large glass window while I waited in the lobby for my interview, well…they seemed happy. Happiness at work is something I value highly…though a laid back dress code, flexible hours, and benefits don’t hurt either. I wonder what the names of those people are? I wonder, what are their stories?

I’m taking a risk. Today I have to tell the owner of the grocery store, see if he’ll keep me on part time or not. Today I’m taking a tangible, somewhat scary step forward in response to my restless spirit, of late. I’m accepting the possibility of leaving my comfortable, routine job entirely after my two weeks’ notice is up. I’ve always appreciated the lyrics to the Carmen song that defines faith as “Stepping out on there and finding somethin’ there.” I feel like I’m stepping out on air right now, and I really hope that I do, in fact, find something there. Yet I realize that I may not. And, if that is the case I’ll have to find something else, maybe a lesser job. Performance based employment is risk. Telemarketing isn’t  exactly what many would consider to be an honorable career. But, for me, it is at least a refusal to settle. I see so many people who have given up and settled for a job at the store permanently. Sometimes I see the sentiments that caused them to content themselves with this lot in life in myself, and that scares me. So yeah, that’s what’s new in my life. I’m becoming a doer, and not just a talker. We shall see how it all turns out. Not many people would consider a job of this nature an adventure, but for me it is, and I’m setting out to prove all the naysayers wrong.

So, that’s the long and short of where I am right now. Actually, it’s the short version. There’s more that it isn’t ready to be written yet. But I can’t leave a post as short as two paragraphs, so I’ll share this poem of St. Francis that I happened upon framed on the wall at my sister’s future college. I may write on it more on the future, I know not. For now I shall commentate only that it was thought provoking for me, and I would love to hear your reactions…

 

” 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.
                                                                                                 “

 

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Awakening

“I want to wake up kicking and screaming.
I want to live like I know what I’m leaving.
I want to know that my heart is still beating.”
~Switchfoot

I get so lost in the haze these days. Granted, I probably remember the past as being more simple than it truly was, but still… I’m looking for answers in what feels like a half-asleep daze, yet I dislike both those who claim to have simple, pat solutions and those who say “Your choice…I don’t want to sway you.” Why don’t we all come with instruction manuals?

I complain too much. I’ve got it good compared to many, both in mental and physical ways; to grumble about feelings of stagnation and apathy really doesn’t do anyone any good, but then what does? Someone told me “You did come with an instruction mainual– God’s Word.” It isn’t that simple. I don’t like change, but neither do I like rutstuckedness. I think I would take change over these feelings. Maybe I’ll meet God at camp and He will tell me what to do, but I have my doubts.

Doubts…I think I have all of the disciples’ weaknesses: doubting Thomas, impulsive Peter, wanting God to do what I expect is his plan and remove my troubles (for him the Romans) Judas. So many weaknesses and so few strengths. I wish I got directions in visions like Paul. “Go here. Do this.” But I guess we all have different versions of the thorn in the flesh to remind us of our humanness. That’s something I hope never to forget– my unworthiness and God’s grace. Our camp theme is going to be “It’s Not About Me”, something this grumbler could use to be reminded of. It’s about Him and His glory and His plan, even when I see no semblance of an organized plan in my life.

I need to get out of this fog. I want to wake up, know what I’m leaving, feel my heart beating, and really live, whether that means leaving the humdrum and mundane behind or learning to live voraciously in the midst of routine I do not know. I rather hope it is the former. Care to share any ideas of what has helped you to break out of spiritual ruts? I would love the help of The Body. Tell me, how do you keep from losing heart? How do you stay spiritually awake?

Categories: My Life, Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Future & My Now

What is the point? Who will I be? Where do I want to go? Because the wild child with the gung ho heart, creative apparel, and feathers in her hair OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwasn’t much for getting jobs. Unpredictable equals don’t hire. Makes sense. Though I finally did get a job, by the grace of God. I suppose I’m not grateful enough for it. The people there are nice even when I mess up, and I don’t have to work with numbers. But it fences me in; it pulls me down.  A Christian workplace means I’m not meeting new desperate people, forming new relationships. I tell myself I don’t mind the work, know I don’t mind the money, but it drains my time with the old people (I’ve had to cut off seekers’ deep, late night conversations because I have to wake up and function the next morning) and prevents me from meeting new ones. Someday I am afraid there will be none left… I was right–the connections here are surface level, except for a couple. One I already had. I rock the boat here. (“You are crazy. I have no idea what goes on inside your head.”) I don’t mind it. But it isn’t where I’m supposed to be, at least not for long.

But people say stay, and I know that is wise. I’ve got my foot in the door here. This is a steady job, and I’m not good at acquiring jobs, remember? It’s not like I want to start anew, stress anew, learn anew somewhere else, but I do not fit here.  I was right before, predicting I would live for my days off, weekends, and time with the people. Everyone says “It’s work. You’re not supposed to enjoy it.” Maybe they’re right; maybe I’m not being a realist. But I need to have the people now and always, and soon these old ones will grow up and move on. I’m not meeting the next generation at the people place this year…What to do?

God has been working. He has been exciting me with the people lately. I’m seeing more to make me hope than ever before. Talked to one I hadn’t seen in months online, and he said he got baptized that day. I asked if that meant anything to him. “Yes…”He talked about how he had changed this summer, lost a lot of friends because of his new beliefs. Another one, an agnostic I’ve known a while was going through dark times. I prayed, asked another lover of people who is seeking truth to pray. Next day the dark times aren’t as bleak, and he wants to read the whole Bible; he can’t wait until I get him one. He’s giving God a chance. Then there is the atheist from the family I’ve cried many late night, intercessory tears over who’s band mates have converted, want to “glorify Jesus” with their music now, and conversations with a stubborn member of the same family over why I’ll gamble my everything on eternity and let that effect my now. So many more… God is working. He is alive. He is amazing.

To be clear, I don’t see the people as projects. They are friends, they mean a lot to me, and they will continue to do so regardless of their decisions. I get excited about their considering Christ and about His pursuit of them because I want to see them happy, I want them to know truth, selfishly I want to spend eternity with them. I love pouring myself into people. It is what makes me thrive. Sometimes I feel that I am running empty, that no one is pouring into me, but I lean into God in those times and press on. The people need me, and God is using me. It feels good to be used by God.

Still, my conundrum remains. The thing that takes the most of my time is not the most important thing, the one which means the most to me. For some reason I have to squeeze that thing around work for now, which can be aggravating and frustrating sometimes. Hopefully this won’t be forever though. I am working on applying to a new people place that may allow me eventually to stay with my people, my mission, for the rest of my life. If I am rejected I don’t know what I will do. I cannot continue with this imbalance of my priorities forever, but for now I suppose I must. I love the people. God helps me. He helps me help them. Their problems are too big for me. I can do nothing (not this or my future), absolutely nothing alone.

Categories: Journey Prologues., My Life, Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Choose

DSCN0730Why is the idea of a leap of faith so much easier and more attractive in theory? I hate change and I hate life-altering choices, and both seem to be coming at me in mass quantities lately. Why can’t I have plans like everyone else? But maybe if I did it would just be harder when they didn’t work out…Why can’t I just choose on a whim and not weigh the options endlessly in my head aware that I will have to live with the results of the choices I’ve made? You can’t put off choices forever without sitting out on life, and that is something I absolutely refuse to do. And so I am back around the circle again. I must make the choices, but which ones to choose… The future is scary. I only have one life.

They say pray. Ask God. Don’t go forward until you hear a clear answer from Him. And I have prayed about the choices off and on for years, probably not as faithfully as I should, but still. I have prayed for what I would consider a relatively long time and still have no peace with one answer. Isn’t there a time to just choose? Does God really have one set, good plan layed out for my life, or is it more like multiple choice? I can choose and we will move forward, and sometimes neither option is bad. It is just a choice that will alter the course of my entire life, that is all. And I don’t know what to choose.

Proverbs says to seek good advice, but the truth is that all advice is biased. The truth is that the advice from people I trust only conflicts me even more as it goes both ways. They aren’t all leaning towards one option. Sometimes the same person expounds upon the pros and cons of each option…and I just want to burst “You are not helping!” Why can’t life be more simple? I like the grey sometimes, but sometimes cut and dry, bad and good, black and white, right and wrong would be nice.

Maybe I should just decide. But I would regret it. I would always wonder where the other choice may have led. I’m not a very content person, I guess. But I have to choose eventually, and at this rate I’ll never be sure which choice I want to make, so I’m just gonna have to go for one. I’ve always been one for playing life by ear and Carpe Diem (seizing the day) anyways, but having done that I know how much it can hurt. It can be extremely rewarding to be impulsive, but also very disheartening and humbling when I make the wrong choice. But there is no other way. There is no other option of how to choose. And so I am back at the beginning of this endless, looping train of thought. I will stop here and spare you another trip around.

 

 

Categories: My Life, Ponderings, rants | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Dilemma

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“’I could never leave,’ Pine Sap said. 
‘Why?’ she asked.
Pine Sap shrugged, and gestured in the direction of the village. ‘Because I think people must be the same everywhere. Only these people are my bones.”                                                                    ~Jodi Lynn Anderson

I know I’ve probably over-written on this topic, and maybe you’re bored to death with it, but as the end of this season looms ever closer before me it’s hard to see much else. Someone told me yesterday that it hadn’t hit her yet–the season’s ending. I said it’s been hitting me since fall…so many lasts all year. The last time to wave goodbye is coming soon. This year there is no solace of return in the fall. It hurts because I love the people. I’ve given them everything from desperate prayers on sleepless nights to mechanical pencil lead, and they’ve given me something too, albeit unintentionally. They’ve given me fulfillment. With them is where I am meant to be. As another someone told me the other day, I am most alive when I am with the people.

I’m not so naive as to think that these people are special. I suppose, as Pine Sap said, that people are probably pretty much the same everywhere, but these people are special to me. They haven’t stolen my heart; I have given it up freely. Some would say I’ve given it too freely, but I have long since discovered that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” I remember when I first met them three or so years ago. Younger, wide-eyed me thought there were so many that I would never know all or even most. I couldn’t imagine that we would ever have anything in common. I couldn’t imagine that this foreign world would ever overlap with my home life. But it wasn’t long before I looked forward to my time there. It wasn’t long before I made friends, and recognized most anyone I saw in the halls. Shortly, I could spot the new wide-eyed faces among the crowd. It wasn’t long before I desperately loved the people, mourned their aimless flight, and wished that they could meet the Savior.

So now the dilemma. I am being forced to leave, to distance myself from this place. Should I distance myself further for a four year college edumication that may give me a slight chance at reentering the place I love? I want to be wise. I want to make choices with my heart and my mind. I want to do the best thing. I could stay here and love the people from a distance. I could leave, lose all connections, and not make it back in, or I could (maybe) leave, and make it back in to the people place. I can’t see the future. I don’t know which path to take. Season changes are uncomfortable. They require choices that I am not equipped to make.

For now I am waiting. Maybe I am putting off the decision. For now I am living each remaining day with the people to the full. I wish I knew what to do. I wish I was better at choices. Everyone else seems to have their futures chosen; I hope that God will give me wisdom to choose well. I don’t want to regret my choice.

Categories: Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Passion & The Shaping of Stories

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love the people. I’ve said that before from this platform with certainty. I’ve said it so many times because it is deeply true. The people are my passion, my love, my joy, and often the reason for my sorrows. I’ve wondered before if I could make it through the isolation test they put the astronauts through. I think the answer is yes…praying for the people.

It came in the mail last week, yet another college flier. I opened it because I hadn’t heard of that college before, and I liked the words on the cover. It was different. Inside above the list of majors was a poster which read “I’m______________, My Passion Is______________________” I’ve been thinking about those blanks this week, or more accurately about what should go in them. Currently I’m thinking something like “I”m a child of the King, my passion is His passion…people. ” which is, I’m sure, not at all what they were looking for. But it is the truth.

I’ve been wondering if I’ll be able to make it next year without the people. Without that generation, without my passion. And where can I love on the people the most? There is a major called humanities that draws me, but everyone says it is useless. I don’t want to spend my life on useless. So I wait in indecision while the earth goes around the sun. How can I leave the greatest mark on the people? That is the question at hand. I don’t know the answer.

Obsession is something I try not to do. I don’t want to miss now living in the future. I’m trying to love the people now, and I’m seeing the effects of that effort, though they may be small. She wanted to walk with me for gym. She with the pink hair, spiderbite rings, and burden. Her burden is displayed prominently on her leg — a tattoo gravestone, a date. She wanted to sit with me in bio. She with the blond hair and perfect fashion sense. I know her half sister, a sixth grader, but she doesn’t know that. I know of her boyfriend. I knew his last girl. They are precious in the King’s eyes and thus precious in mine. Some of them I have a harder time appreciating.

Letting the future loom I lose appreciation for today. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own, but I can’t seem to stop wondering and maybe worrying a little bit about future days. If I had a Facebook maybe it’s status would read “seeking direction”. Living without planning is something I’m good at in the short term, but in the long term it scares me a bit. Stories are shaped by choices. Not all choices are between good and bad; some are equally good, but different, though they both lead to the sea eventually. So I’ll live today, and wonder about tomorrow and what God would have me do with the passion He’s given me.

Categories: My Life, Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Crossroads

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wish that there was a sign at this overwhelming and confusing crossroads (even a little sign like the balloons people put out for graduation parties) that indicated ‘future this way!’ Then I wouldn’t have to stand here dazed, trying to see and consider each option on the road onward into what often seems like a dark and terrible forest. Sometimes it seems like a chasm, and sometimes it looks surreal with pop art colors as if it were from a make-believe world. But mostly it seems scary and unknowable just like the words… ‘Future’ is too vast to mean much, but ‘my future’ is another matter. I don’t like deadlines, decisions, and prying eyes. Didn’t God get the memo? I’m directionally challenged.

I wish there was someone to stand with me here. Then we could scream, and cry, and rant about the unfairness of it together. But as it is the only human companions I have are the ones with cattle prods who want to know my decision now. ‘Pick or else your life will be ruined.’ ‘You’re already years behind the others your age.’ Or at least that’s how things seem from my perspective. They all claim to be well meaning and un-menacing; I’m not so sure.

I wish there was a way to know whether each road truly goes forward. I have no way to see which ones double back. Sometimes it feels as if the one I’ve been on has done that. Often I see no progress. It’s not like most of those exciting future-inspiring  books make it out to be. (Does anyone else find themselves stuck reading those?)  Do Hard Things sounds downright thrilling until I learn that the only hard things I’m doing now are the little ones that seem insignificant and often go unnoticed. Oh the Places You’ll Go makes mention of dark times, but you wouldn’t know that to look at the colorful cover. That’s what everyone is asking me to do — to judge books by their covers — when what I really want to do is sit down with a cup of hot chocolate, read each future thoroughly, and then (maybe) decide.

I wish this could be learned, not just experienced. As much as I hate instruction manuals I would take one about now. At least then I would have the assurance of  knowing where I am supposed to be. One of the injured victims of the Boston Marathon said she had that now, and I envied her. I know, I know, I have the Bible. But honestly that isn’t very detailed. I’ve yet to have a Divine revelation over a passage to point me forward, and I’m running out of patience. I’ve watched so many other birds jump out of the nest and fly. I’ve always hated going last.

Phooey on indecision, waiting, and confusingness . Everyone must go through this, so that means it’s possible, right? I need reassurance ’cause at the moment I’m not so sure.

Categories: My Life, rants | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

Bittersweet Endings

It’s coming closer. I’m watching its progress with both dread, and relief. You would think I would be used to this by now, but every time it’s just a little bit different, every time  it’s a bittersweet ending.  The end of the school-year is coming closer, and my heart is being pulled in two directions. It’s like finishing an especially good book: You are left with a kind of satisfaction, but the author left off  soon enough that you yearn for a little more time with the characters you have grown to know and love. Some of them will come again in a sequel which is to be published in six months, and some are gone forever.  The time is slipping through my fingers, though I try to hold on. I want to savor every moment; I know from experience that the characters cannot come quite as alive the second time through. Rereading the school-year in my personal paper journal is not ever the same as living it, because the surprise is gone. That element of newness, and unpredictability is a precious thing I often take for granted, it’s something I’m trying to treasure lately.

This change is not all bad. There are many things I am looking forward to, things that I often find myself yearning closer until I remember the stuff I am leaving behind. The summer holds its own traditions.  There will be times to revisit those that I had been forced to leave behind. Things, people, and emotions that come “but once a year” are not unique to the winter. Helping at Vacation Bible School, and day camp.  Camping with the same friends on the same weekend every year. There will be new people entering my life. There will be the annual archery shoot, and family camp. There will be hours of  “messing about in boats.” Before I know it there will be the fall fairs and parades. Parades with familiar faces I had left behind months ago, with the basketball and wrestling teams throwing candy just a little too profusely and energetically in my direction. I’m fairly sure you could knock someone out with a Tootsie pop…

But I’m not there now; I’m here. I’m here lingering over these last months of the school-year before summer kicks in to full swing. I’m trying to make a difference, and use my time wisely. I’m trying to live in the moment; not for the past or future. That’s not as easy as it sounds. Seizing each day and living it out to full potential is no simple task, but it is the task I am called to, it is a part of the person I am trying to become. So although this ending will be bittersweet, and although my heart is being pulled towards both past and future I will try to set my heart on today. I will try to live for the moment because being able to roll with the punches, and respond to the unpredictable takes all of the attention I’ve got. There’s no more time for past and future; only here and now, but I will take one last moment to invite you to come with me. To come and really live.

Categories: My Life | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

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