Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bucket Lists

Can I just say it?  It's hot.

I'm sure no one else has noticed this, and I'm probably bursting the "cool" bubble you've all been living in - but it's really freakin' hot.

My favorite forms of exercise and staying-in-shape activities are all outside activities.  And it's hot.  I keep starting earlier and earlier trying to beat it, but it's nearly impossible now.  It. Is. Hot.

Okay... that's all out of my system - at least until the next time I go outside - so I'll move on...

I've been debating between a couple of goals to reach by the end of this year.  One was to do the 100 mile ride at Hotter 'n Hell at the end of August.  Last year I did the 100K and it was a great time.  A good friend of mine that did it with me was wanting to do the 100 mile this year and just about had me talked into joining her.  But now she has decided to put that off for another year and I've lost all momentum on that goal.  It doesn't take much to lose momentum right now (have I mentioned that it's hot? - sorry, I digress...).  So, on this one, I'm back to doing the 100K again.  I made it to 51 today!

Second goal, and I'm still strongly leaning toward this one, is to attempt a half marathon in either September or October.  I've been running for three or for years.  Started out more as "wogging", and while I'm still slow compared to most, I'm happy enough with my time and it has increased to what I would loosely define as running now.  I love it because it gives me time to pray, to process and think through the day, and relieves major amounts of stress.  I'm certain I'm a better person for it.

The furthest I've ran (run - which is it?) is 7 miles... so I have to nearly double that to accomplish this goal.  We'll see.  I'm gradually working up to running more each time so that my overall miles for the week is greater, and at least once a week adding a little more to my longest distance.  But I'm not a young chick anymore, and don't really have time for major injuries, so I'm taking it slow, seeing how my body responds to increased distance.  I find this goal really exciting.  I would love to check this one off my bucket list.  I have figured out that I'm going to have to invest in a hydration belt, because, as I've mentioned - it's hot.  I just can't go very far without water, and no one seems to be willing to set up water stations for me every mile or so - what's up with that?

Something to work towards gives me a reason to get out of bed in the mornings... and the fact that it's gonna be about a billion degrees by 10:30 gets me up and out early, so that's a good thing.

What's on your bucket list that you could check off this year?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Eight Days In

So I’m eight days into my Fast for Freedom.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can look here: Fast For Freedom .

Anyway – eight days in.  I go through this during Lent as well, but it just amazes me how much I turn to material things to satisfy non-material needs.  I’m amazed by how often I do it, I’m amazed by the reasons I do it.  I’m amazed.  And not in a good way.

I gave up eating out and Coke, or any substitute I might be tempted to stop and get in lieu of a Coke.

The reasons I come up with to spend money on one of these things?

-         I’m sleepy.
-         I’m bored.
-         I’m lazy.
-         I’m anxious.
-         I’m happy!
-         I’m sad.
-         I’m frustrated.
-         I’m hot.
-         I’m impatient.

Here’s what it boils down to – I’m ridiculous… and I’m spoiled… and I desperately need to learn to say “no” to myself more often. 

I love the things God is showing me already.  It has afforded me so many opportunities to remember to pray for those I’m trying to help with the money I’m saving this month.  It has given me opportunities to share with and remind others of what the A21 campaign is doing when they see my wrist band, or ask why I’m not eating out, etc.  It is showing me how often I turn to temporal things to satisfy what only God is meant to satisfy. 

So, I'm excited to see what else God is going to show me this month - it's not too late to join me!

What’s your crutch when you’re having a bad day?

Friday, July 1, 2011

When it sucks, it really, really sucks.

So - in the name of doing what takes courage and telling you guys that one of my courageous things would be learning to be more honest about who I am... here goes:

There are times that I could really go all JamietheVeryWorstMissionary on you… (I wonder if she ever thought that would become a verb - no, wait, an adverb - someone help me out on that one).  Being a pastor’s wife really sucks sometimes – I will have to say that it doesn’t suck as much as being the pastor, but it’s a close second.

I really didn’t sign up for this.   We’d been married a long time and had three kids when he sprang this pastor gig on me.  I’m prone to melancholy, bossy, sarcastic, intimidating (I’m told), I don’t play the piano and I don’t like wearing dresses; I'm not a good hostess and my house is always messy – these are not good traits for the gentle, loving pastors’ wives you feel like you’re supposed to emulate.  God has gifted me with the ability to see beyond the surface of people much of the time, but not so much the ability to speak with grace and love in the moment.  I bow up like a mama bear when my husband or my children are unfairly attacked – and I can tell you, when you live in the glass bowl of "vocational" ministry, that is not an infrequent occurrence.  

Ministry means dealing with people – and I’m really not a people person.  I love them, I really, really, really do – but I’m very introverted, draw my energy from time alone, get overwhelmed in groups. 

Ministry means dealing with people – and dealing with people means you’re going to get hurt.  It means you’re going to hurt other people.  It’s just hard sometimes, ya’ know?  Forgiveness and grace are beautiful foundations of our faith, but sometimes very hard to apply in the hard moments of offense and pain. 

We pray and pray for God to provide in some area of ministry – we wait, we wonder if  He’s hearing, we wonder if His people are listening, then someone hears and obeys, He answers and it’s beautiful!  Then in less time than you can blink an eye, someone (and sometimes that someone is me) is mad about it – doesn’t like the way it’s being done, or is hurt, or offended.  We’ve seen it over and over again in the last ten years. 

We build relationships – we invest – we love -- and they leave – sometimes because life happens and they must move on, sometimes out of pain, sometimes we never know because they don’t tell us, they just leave…  Not all of them leave, but when it happens, every one of them hurts like it’s the first time again.  I just don’t get it.  I don’t get people.  I don’t get God.  I trust Him, but I don’t get Him. 

It’s at times like that, that I have to stop and review my list:

-         I’m redeemed from the miry pit of my selfish, sinful self.
-         I have a beautiful family.
-         I have a beautiful spiritual family.
-         The best friendships I’ve experienced have been carved out of the pain of living the hard parts of life together.
-         God is bigger than the pain.
-     God is bigger than the plan.
-         God is not surprised.
-         Even though I don’t get Him, He gets me.  He knows I’m but dust, and He’s with me – beside me when I can’t see the answer.
-         That I will speak again, with Peter, “To whom else would I go?  You alone have eternal life.”

 So, all that to say, this…  When it sucks, it really, really sucks.  But even when it sucks, God is still good, life is still beautiful, people are still worth loving.  I will continue to fight against the urge to give in to the melancholy, to fold back into myself and give up -- I just have to process, vent, pray, cry, laugh, and move on, trusting that God is in this thing.  

You could pray for me - that would be great.