The Wait

Not now.  Not yet.  Almost there.  Hold on.  Don’t give up.  Keep hope alive. 

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Ah, The Wait.  Waiting is not my favorite thing.  And I can guarantee without having met you that it’s not on your top ten list of pastime pleasures, either.  I bet the memories I induced with my slew of ‘wait’ euphemisms caused a slight panic and clutching of pearls. 

And it seems like we’re in good company.  Most human beings aren’t fond of waiting.  We hate waiting in lines.  We hate waiting on the phone while trying to get robotic versions of pretend people to comprehend what real person we need to talk to.  We hate waiting for tax returns.  We hate waiting for a table at crowded restaurants that we knew we should have made a reservation for.  We hate waiting on a husband to find us and realize how awesome we are (But, seriously though, where is he?). 

We hate waiting on sorrow to pass because we’ve been told time heals all wounds.  We hate waiting on answers to prayers that are recited incessantly through tears and moans that only the heavens can understand. 

Regardless of what you’re waiting on, living in The Not Now can be painful and laced with doubt and fear.  Doubt that He hears our pleas.  Fear of the unknown.  Doubt that He can handle our situations.  Fear of losing control.  And as humans, we relish having that control – the idea of knowing what’s to come.  We thrive on predictability and holding all the cards.  We think that because we can measure wind patterns or conduct scientific experiments that we can also anticipate the future.

But somehow, amidst the excruciating agony of Don’t Give Up, you catch a glimpse of beauty.  Beauty in trusting His timing.  Elegance in inching closer to His heart.  Refinement in peeling off the layers of your own desires to reveal the depths of His love (Colossians 2:11-13). 

But how will you choose to pass your time in The Almost There?  Will you suffer in the meantime or find comfort in His perfect timing?  Will you opt for convenience or obedience? 

You see, you have two options in The Wait.  You can manipulate or you can prepare. 

As someone who has sinfully finagled her way out of the torture of living in The Keep Hope Alive, I can tell you my efforts were a lost cause and my arrogance was a dangerous sedative.  I slept right through the moments He so beautifully crafted just for me, lulled into my own prideful oblivion.  Ironically, I did not keep hope alive at all.  I buried it deep in the recesses of unbelief and behind years of do-it-yourself attitudes. 

Yet with all my manipulative mastery, I could never create a path more grand, an experience more potent, or a plan more efficient than The Master Craftsman (Isaiah 55:9).  Because to the world I am a single mother with no man and a struggling business in need of a sugar daddy savior.  But in my wait for a husband and financial growth, I have experienced more joy, peace, and spiritual prosperity in stretching for the Savior who loves me past how the world sees me and my situations.  I can rest in The In Between knowing that even though it may seem like nothing is happening on the outside, God is working behind the scenes and in my heart preparing something magnificent for His glory at just the right time.  And because of my faithful obedience in the mires of The Not Yet, others will come to know Him as a provider and trust Him as Lord.  So for now, I’ll just continue to wait.

Now if there’s anything you should stop waiting on, it’s that moment where we know better and can do better for ourselves than He can on our behalf.  Stop waiting on people and man-made ideas to equip you with the answers to supernatural mysteries.  Stop waiting and start resting.  Start resting in His peace.  Start living in The Right Now, and you will begin to discover The Why and The What For.  The Why is your own good, The What For is His glory. 

After all, God’s way is perfect (Psalm 18:30).  Our ways are contrived, self-serving, and usually end in more agony than The Wait itself.  “Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time” (Hebrews 4:16).  Key phrase here:  at the proper time.  Repeat that to yourself if necessary.  Multiple times.

So unless you want to turn a week long journey into a 40 year battle of wills, I recommend you learn from the Israelites mistakes.  And mine.  And possibly even your own.  And don’t blind yourself to His grace in The Interim. 

Because today His answer is “Not now.  It’s not your time yet.  You’re almost there.  Hold on.  Don’t give up.  And, yes, keep hope alive.” 

The Wait is almost over.

Obedience is annoying. But it is so worth it.

“Faith is obedience without knowing the outcome.” – Me.  That’ll preach.

I recently had a discussion with my fellow small groupers that was particularly interesting.  There were so many quotables, but of course I can only remember what I said.  Typical Roz.

Anyways, the discussion was such a powerful one because it was regarding one of the most talked about, preached on, theorized, theologicalized, criticized, and misunderstood topics when it comes to Christianity or anything remotely religious.

Faith.  What does it mean.  What defines it.  How do you get more of it.  And so on and so forth.

The above quote was my conclusion that I had come to regarding faith.  And it was what changed my mind about being a follower of Christ instead of falling back into doubt.  This thought process saved me from absentminded apathy that so many people and particularly Christians suffer from.

And once you start living this way, you will soon realize that obedience can be somewhat annoying.  It is annoying to jump into or out of something without knowing what will happen next.  You might come to resent it.  You might do what I did and start giving God the silent treatment because you’d rather do what you want than continue to take even the babiest step of faith.  That didn’t work, by the way, so don’t do that.

When you’re truly walking in the freedom of Christ, you are led by your convictions.  You make better choices and decisions because you want to please God.  But when you’re still under the restraints of religion, your convictions serve only to make you feel guilty, shameful.  None of which are the promises of Christ (Romans 8:1-2).  Your obligations to please God are only done to avoid consequences.  You are living chained to the law instead of living under grace.  And that is not what Christ died for (Matthew 5:17, Galatians 5:1).

Besides, people pleasing is exhausting.  I mean literally life draining.  Living to please God is inspiring, fulfilling, and filled with power…even in times of trouble.  Because when you look to people in your suffering, their opinions, likes, or follows will always fail you.  But when you lean on, depend on, and look to him in good times and bad, there is freedom even in the tears.  And that is faith.  So if you want to understand and grow in your faith, just continue to be obedient.  Even in the little things.  And though it may be annoying in the process, watch how worth it it will be in the end.

The Accidental Minimalist

“Admire success.  But do not celebrate excess.  Learning to know the difference will change your life.” ~ Joshua Becker
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When I first started reading this book, I thought I would gain some insight into the minimalist lifestyle.  I admit that I’ve recently been mesmerized by all the tiny housers, backpacking nomads, and living a life with less….stuff.  So I was super excited to dive in and learn more.

But what I quickly realized was that I was already on this minimalist path.  Like most things in my life, I had embarked on this journey out of necessity.  Not out of an actual personal desire and willingness to change.  Because life.  And I think I’m always right.  And I’m too stubborn to do things that weren’t my idea in the first place.

Back to these life situations.  Some of these happenings were beyond my control.  For example, I got laid off.  Some were in my complete control and I had a lot to do with them: I had become a single mother.  I had opened a business that was not an instant money maker.  And others were a surprise that I’m still trying to work through:  I have been simultaneously drawn by and dragged kicking and screaming into living my life as a follower of Christ, and not just saying ‘Christian’ with my mouth.

All of these things required me to reevaluate my lifestyle, reorganize my priorities, and get rid of things, people, and emotional baggage that would not allow me to be the best person, mother, and business owner God intended me to be.

So like most humans my first reaction was classic rebellion and robust denial.  I pretended like I still had it all together (i.e. “I’m fine”….insert fake smile that doesn’t reach the eyes).  I somehow rationalized that this was better than letting others see weakness, brokenness, and areas of my life that were completely falling apart.  Yeah, don’t be like me.  I defended my position with classic sayings and awful cliches like “It’s not their business” or my personal fave “Only God can judge me” (By the way, you realize this isn’t actually true, right?  People have taken this way out of context).

Since I was a doctor, I was determined to live the ‘doctor lifestyle’ I saw my other doctor friends living (which is a lie…we’re all in student loan debt up to our nostrils).  I leased the fancy car.  I rented the fancy home.  I got the mandatory flat screen that was too big for the room it was sitting in.  I acquired fashionable clothes, shoes, and purses.  Basically, I had hot-sauce-in-my-bag-swag before Beyonce wrote that stupid song.

But I was working long hours.  Dropping my daughter off at daycare and with her grandparents for entire days.  And wondering where all my money had gone at the end of the month despite my large salary.

Spurred by my renewed faith, I began to see how incredibly stifling this was of living had and would become.  So I decided to come from under the guise and reach for simplicity over excess.

I sold or gave away almost all of my possessions.  I moved back in with my mother (I rethink that decision every day, but it turned out for the better despite a small loss of my sanity).  I did a complete overhaul on my budget.  I cut costs and got rid of all of my store and credit cards.  Ok, so I still have a SkyMiles card.  Mostly for no reason.  I let go of a profitable retail practice that was sucking the life and time out of me to focus more on my private practice.  I am buying a home that is far below what I can afford.  This is called ‘living below your means.’  You should definitely try it.  I rearranged my work schedule and work less hours so that I can spend more time with and homeschool my daughter next year.

I’ve done all of these things and more because I’ve realized what’s more important.  And it’s not the things I accumulate, but the memories I collect and the people I impact along the way.  Hopefully, when people look back at my life and my kids are tasked with cleaning out my belongings after I’m dead, they will be able to remember things we experienced and the life we lived.  Not be burdened by the all the things I collected.

I said all of that, and I still haven’t given a review of the book.  Ha.  Stay tuned!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

 

Homeschoolin’ Pt 3: The Sheltered Christian

Let’s get back to this homeschool freak out sesh.  In Part 1, I let all of my stereotypes hang out about families that homeschool.  The sheltered Christian kids with no social life, no friends, and no knowledge of the real world.  Don’t look at me like that.  You thought it, too.

So I guess it’s safe to assume that one of the biggest reason most people assume I’m homeschooling is because we’re a perfect Christian family who can spout Bible verses on command and shout “Hi-Diddly-Ho, neighbor!” to every person that crosses our paths.  Yeah, no.  Wrong on all counts.

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First, we are followers of Christ, but we are not perfect.  If we were perfect we wouldn’t need to believe in or worship a perfect God or any god at all for that matter.  Second, I know a good number of Bible verses but please don’t put me on the stand.  I’ll plead the fifth.  tumblr_lgooplwshq1qfb1pvo1_400

And in regards to speaking to my neighbors, I say hello most of the time.  But the amount of cheer depends heavily on the time of day.  I’m no Ned Flanders.

Now let’s get back to the assumption at hand:  I am not homeschooling just because we’re Christians.  My main reasons can be found in my post on smashing traditions.  Is it a bonus that my daughter will get to pray, worship, and honor Christ during school hours?  Heck yes.  But I also believe wholeheartedly in bursting the Christian bubble wide open.

Contrary to very popular belief, Christianity is not some members only club where outsiders are not allowed.  However, that is how I once felt before I stepped out of my lukewarm lifestyle (Correction: I  was actually ejected forcefully and without my permission.  That’s a whole ‘nother story).  I felt like nothing I did would be good enough to be one of those “Christians,” so why even bother.  But along with smashing traditions, I am also all about smashing the traditional notions of  what a Christian should be (Or what it was to begin with.  Confused on this point?  Refer to the entire New Testament.  The church then would’ve been considered radical compared to our Sunday meeting, politically correct, whitewashed version we call Christianity now).

I’m getting off topic….back to me not being perfect.

Because guess what?  I don’t always follow the speed limit.  I curse people out in my mind and sometimes out loud.  I don’t always let that person in who’s trying to merge.  I could go on, but the point is I am broken and full of voids that I’ve found can only be healed and completed by a savior.

And to be honest, everybody is in search of something and attempting to fill the void however they can.  For some, this is sex.  For others, it’s the approval of others.  But for me, the only thing that’s outlasted and completely satisfied beyond all of these things is Christ.  That’s what I’d been searching for.  So it’s my job to share this with as many people as possible.  But it is not my job to condemn, judge, or act like you can’t sit with me because you haven’t come to a similar conclusion.  That’s not loving or acting like a Christian.  That’s shoving people away and acting like a jerk.

So even though I want to protect my child, I don’t want her to grow up unaware and ignorant of how the things in this world beyond our front door (or the church pew for that matter).  How would she understand how to shine a light if she didn’t know the darkness existed?  And let’s be real here.  I’ve met some families whose kids only know church friends and only attend church functions.

But as a parent, I must be conscience of guiding and not sheltering.  Preparing for ugly and beautiful truths, not masking with white lies and fairy tales.

So if you homeschool, I say go ahead.  Let your children get to know kids outside of your bubble.  Let them experience life outside of your reach.  Let them discover the answers to life’s toughest questions (and please don’t lie to them about where babies come from).  Let them figure out how God’s word applies to real life situations.  Under your guidance.  Not inside your cinder block walls stock-piled with padding and band-aids for every boo boo.

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Because some falls need to hurt.  And I’d rather her learn the lessons when I’m there to help her get back up than when she’s on her own with no idea how to navigate rough waters.  And on the other hand, you never know how much those encounters and friendships might change a life.  Someone else’s, theirs, or even your own.

I just bursted your Christian bubble.  And I don’t think you’ll regret it.