Monday, May 19, 2014

A Much Needed Tank Filling Wake-Up

I had the incredible opportunity to attend a Beth Moore conference this weekend. This is no small feat for so many reasons. My asthma has been so out of control the last couple months I have not been able to even get downstairs most days let alone out of the house! And a drive over and back to Spokane away from my doctors and safe little cocoon? Forget it! It was truly a miracle that I was stable and strong enough to load into the car with one of my bestest friends in the world for an amazing weekend.

I went in so drained and so empty and imagined I would leave with an encouraging message of God's healing and hope and rah rah sis boom bah - feel all warm and fuzzy and loved. This was not the case. Instead, the reoccurring theme I kept hearing was, "GET OVER YOURSELF!!" I was not molly coddled nor did I receive permission to live in my pity party but given a much needed wake up 'knock it off.' Knock off my self-conscious and vain thoughts about my puffy face and steroid weight gain. Knock off my self-imposed pity parties about how bad my little world is. Knock off my apathy towards getting anything done and Get Over Myself. 

She formed her talk around the parable of the ten talents (Matthew 25:14-30) in which a master is getting ready to leave on a long journey. He leaves ten talents (some kind of biblical moolah) with one servant, two with another and the last poor sap only got one. (The distribution was based on how much they could carry - metaphorically speaking . . . I'm pretty sure those little talents didn't weigh a whole lot). Anyway, master leaves and guy with five talents immediately goes out, puts the money to work and doubles the amount he was responsible for. The guy with two talents does the same thing but the guy with one heads straight for the field and buries it in the dirt. Sometime later the master returns and calls the servants to him to see how they did. Guy one and guy two show him how they were responsible and smart and useful and doubled their money but the guy that was only trusted with one comes over with a song and dance about how he was scared of the masters response and knew he wasn't a very good guys so he buried it. The master gets upset and explains that Mr. Last Guy did not truly know the master at all or he wouldn't have been so foolish and gives the one talent over to the first guy. The moral of the story is, are using your talents and abilities or are you just wasting what you've been given?

She talked about how we were created to contribute. This resonated in a big way and struck me as to why I've been feeling so antsy and frustrated lately. My previous definition of contributing for myself has been volunteering in the classrooms, watching other people's kiddos, serving as PTSA president, running errands and taking care of the home for my family etc. and with my current health situation, I am unable to do ANY of those things. However, if there wasn't still something I could contribute, then I wouldn't still be here. There's no point in being a useless bump and burying myself in the dirt. Not only would that be a complete waste of any talent and ability I have but it would also be a huge misunderstanding of who my Master is. He wants to use me. I don't have all the answers in what that looks like yet but it was a wake-up.

At the end of the day, the people that love me are just happy to see me home and walking and couldn't care less about all my vanity issues. And there is some way that I can still contribute even if it doesn't look the same way as before. I needed a good old friendly shaking. I need to get over myself, stop focusing on all the "cant's" and "shoulds" and "poor mes" and "what ifs" and "used tos" and instead focus on the "what nows." I need to put my talents and abilities to work. I need to find ways in which I can contribute. I need to stop letting my ego dictate how I feel about myself and focus on the progress I've made. I needed my tank filled and now it is. It was not a touchy feely miracle the minute I walked into the stadium. It was a mental/spiritual challenge and lots of food for thought.

 I restarted the tapering of prednisone today. It's not going to be easy. There is a very real possibility of a third relapse and slipping back into an asthmatic flare but I'm ready. I have a full tank. I'm not perfect. I'm not healed. I'm not 100% ready to exude sunshine everyday but my persepctive has been changed a bit and I'm going to jump head first into the game and get over myself.

I got a beautiful new devotional journal based on my favorite Beth Moore book "Get out of the Pit" called "Looking Up." The description says, "When life is looking down, look up and find God’s deliverance! Life can be hard…sometimes to the point of feeling as though your struggles will never end, and God isn’t anywhere near. The Looking Up Devotional Journal is Beth Moore’s timeless message of hope and deliverance taken from Psalm 40. You’ll discover you are indeed not alone, and that God’s gracious provision of love and faithfulness is at work, pointing you toward a life of wholeness and fullness. Guided journaling gently leads you out of hardship into a brighter future of purpose and peace." I'm ready to focus on that. I came home, pulled out one of my pretty new colored pens and got to work. It's only one page of reading and a few guided prompts but I know that by keeping my eyes up, I'll be heading into these next few weeks/months of the slow precarious process of decreasing medicines, with a renewed strength and focus on the right things . . . investing my talents and abilities instead of burying them in the dirt.

Looking Up: Trusting God With Your Every Need Devotional Journal

This picture doesn't do it justice but on the right side is a magnetic flap and the wispy white flowers are raised on the cover of the book. Sometimes just holding something of beauty in your hands is enough to inspire and encourage. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go this weekend.  I am so grateful for the much needed tank filling wake-up and I am so grateful that I serve a Master who created me to contribute and find rest and peace in His gracious and loving hands.

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