Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

I have no expectations for myself for New Year's. I want to be gentle with myself. And gentle with others.

Yes, it's a blank new page for a new year. 

The blank page used to terrify me. Now I see the possibilities and twists in the story really do make it interesting.

I don't have any revolutionary reflections that I'm bringing with me into 2019. It's day by day and the good news is here we are. Ready for another page turn on the calendar. 

We're still breathing!

I think about the verse in Psalm 73: "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." 

Through times of great change, heartache, longing and numbness this year, I know there have been also times of love, hope, friendship, grace, laughter, and surprises. 

With all that, I am reminded of my tendency to want to take a big picture view. It helps make things easier I think, and also, taking the long view is a more hopeful way of looking at life, because hope is one thing that is for certain. 

Still, I have to be reminded sometimes of my true need before God, in ways that can't just be explained away or something that can't be fixed by me cheering myself up enough or even by praying enough or calling a friend or even through writing. I found out this year that nothing I could do eased the pain deep down.

I'm finding that just like memories sneak up on me, so does God. But God makes Himself known to me that He is still here, and that He is going to provide for needs I didn't know I had. Maybe not in ways I expect. He is gentle with me, and shows me that this is the way to healing. 

I don't know if your new year is happy or not, but I pray you would be gentle with yourself and know you are loved and that your heart would be filled with hope this year. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Hot Yoga and Peace on Earth

I just sat down to video tape myself looking silly and foolish (is that anything new?) so that I could create a spontaneous, off-rhythm rap for my friend who I miss and because I thought it would bring her cheer. I didn't have to try hard to create an off-beat rhyme. I couldn't have manufactured something so ridiculous if I tried. These things just sort of come naturally.

What comes naturally to you? 

Yesterday, I tried hot yoga for the first time ever. I think I knew deep down it would be something I would like so I wasn't too afraid of trying it, but still, it was new, and I did wonder how my body would respond. I like heat and challenges though.

I noticed a couple things during the hour long session (I was grateful it was the express class). 

1. I like doing yoga better in the heat. I like sweating it all out. All the toxins. Even if my skin did breakout two minutes after leaving class. Errr, gross, I know.

2. We can survive in the room for the whole time. I felt a sense of community with the others, knowing it wasn't necessarily 'easy' for anyone. Yet, we still do it because it's a good thing and it feels good. It's a strange solidarity.

 3. I often don't give myself permission to be a beginner. It takes time to learn the flow of anything new, and often I expect myself to catch on and match whatever pace is happening around me. I am realizing yoga can be a help to me to pay attention to my body. Lie down when needed. Breathe. Breathe some more. This does not come naturally to me, but it actually feels better in the long run when I do it.

Ahh, yoga. Ahh, peace.

I have a Christmas decoration that says "Peace on Earth." I kept it up all of last year, that's how much I liked it.

Is peace really possible in this chaotic world?

I grappled with peace this year, and the phrase that kept coming back to my heart has been, "do you want understanding or do you want Jesus?" I know God has been asking me, especially over the past few months, to stretch my imagination to something new for me. It seems like my go-to way of living for a long time and a way to quench my longings, my questions, and my misunderstandings of life has been to try and find concrete answers and understanding. While some understanding isn't bad in itself, instead of seeking Jesus and having a restful heart in Him, I would find myself having to keep the pace, and keep searching for what I was looking for. Sometimes, life is deceiving because it seems to produce the outcomes or answers I want, but often it doesn't, and I'm left determining where to go from there. 

Life can feel disappointing, outcomes don't match expectations, it's easy to feel like you're going to crumble under the weight of whatever is breaking your heart.

Input the question of peace in this chaotic world? 

A verse comes to mind, and
I think I am still in process with it: "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

This is what I desire all the time. What of a heart that feels undone, left lurking in an unknown future? For a girl who has often gotten lost and trapped here, there's somehow a sense of peace with the unknowing right now. Speaking this out loud and letting this be true is beautiful.