There is a trend I’m sure you’ve noticed the last week or so. People are posting pictures from ten years ago and comparing them to who they are today. It makes sense given that we are about to enter a new decade. So, I jumped on that bandwagon as well, and I’ll share a few comparison pics at the end of this post.
For me, this past year is much different than ten years ago, yet oddly similar in the fact that life has been hard of late. The last few months have been a struggle for me, and frankly, for our family. Tom’s job change and my working full time has taken a toll on my spirit. Many days I fight inner battles to see all the good and positive blessings in my life instead of being dragged down by the ideas and illusions that life isn’t like I want it to be, and this has been an issue for me for many years in the past, but for a couple of recent years, I felt more on top of it than I have the last 8 months.
Here we are in the middle of our lives with unsettled careers and still challenged by our finances. I often see I’m still fighting the same old lifelong battles within myself, wondering when I’ll ever overcome those areas that hold me back. Yet, in reality, much has been defeated of the old me, the false self, and I live more authentically out of my true self than I ever imagined.
When I walk in truth, I see all the blessings and provisions in my life, in the life and individual lives of my little nuclear family. The truth is that God is at work in me constantly and that I’m more aware of His presence on the daily than I was so many years ago. I can even now recognize how His presence has been with me since I was very young, that back then I talked with Him all the time and that my current relationship with God has actually been growing since I was born.
In my heart of hearts, I can grasp that my current work is actually something I held as a desire for many years, in the back of my mind and when I would apply for jobs during my times of unemployment. No, it isn’t what I envisioned for myself when I was in the midst of my Masters program, but it is God given and I believe it is a passsageway to whatever is next that will bring me closer to my purpose, my vocation, my calling.
Other areas of my life that remain a challenge can be summed up with my lifelong battle with discipline and sloth. Do you know the actual meaning of sloth? It means more than laziness [see this link – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sloth_(deadly_sin) ]. Sloth is about choosing the easy, comfortable way, instead of making the difficult choices to do the hard work that Love (loving God, loving others, loving ourselves) requires. Yet, “to whom much is given, much is required”, and I have been given so much of Love, and so much more than comfort is required of me.
I’ve asked God to move me through His Spirit to begin making more disciplined choices, to desire more to do the hard work of Love…..and to discern what this means for me, when I should say “yes” and when I should say “no”, knowing when I actually should act versus when I simply feel false guilt about something. The areas where I lack discipline are obvious and not-so-obvious. One is eating coupled with physical exertion, which would be the obvious area. Another area has to do with surrendering my energy and time resources in trust that if I give myself away to help others that God will supply my needs for time, emotional, mental and physical energy.
My hope is that I will become more able to say yes to serving others when opportunities present themselves to do so, and that I will choose to give my “free” time in this way, instead of choosing whatever else is more comfortable to me, more relaxing, and so on. I also hope to begin again to choose to exercise consistently and eat healthier, whereas the last 8 months have seen me eating comfort foods and avoiding the effort it takes to go to Planet Fitness.
As I write, I realize we are headed into Thanksgiving week, not New Years, and that what I’m writing seems more like a resolution post. However, I see it more as an opportunity to begin reflections that lead me into the Advent season and on into a new decade that begins with Epiphany, with Light and Truth shed on my heart and life, starting this season of the year with a grateful heart and awareness of God’s provisions, God’s goodness, God’s gifts in my life. This awareness is the springboard which then can point me more towards giving to others, at Christmas, yes, but even more so in the years ahead, allowing God to change me more, once again, continuing His transformation in my spirit, remaking me from the inside out.
(Romans 12:1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.)