Friday, October 19, 2018

Rest you Say?


This weeks blog is going to be...different.  If this is your first time here then you won't notice so ... sorry for when things go back to normal, I guess.  If you read last weeks blog, What is Rest, then you'll know that I am on a break, a sabbatical if you will.
 

I know, you're confused now.  How is there a blog?  Why has there been a post reminding me that this little slice of blogdom has been launched?  All good questions.  When I set off on this adventure last week I asked myself some questions and I had some questions asked of me.  Walking away from technology and noise can be interpreted as throwing the baby out with the bath water. So I wanted to do two things on the blog this week. 
  1. I wanted to share the plan
  2. I wanted to share what I did 

First, the plan

I do not plan on becoming a hermit.  I tend towards being a recluse as it is.  No, my goal was to be open for fellowship.  In my opinion, placing rules on a time of companionship is very counter productive and very hipster christian.  So, I didn't require others to go noise free to be around me or even mention to my friends and family that I was going on a technology and noise fast.  This isn't supposed to be about what I can do.  So I'm trying to stay very un-rigid.  I also decided to give myself one day of computer time and see how I did with that.  This was partly because I meet with a writing group one day a week and partially because I wanted to see if I could treat my time with technology in a healthy way.  It would force me to prioritize what I was going to do on my computer day.  So that was the plan.  In my time alone; no noise, no computer, no TV, no search engines.  I wanted to give myself a little boredom, a lot of quiet and the practice time I need to be still.  If the blog looks a little boring today and lacks the fanfare of social media posts to announce it....well, that's because I had to set some priorities.  I chose companionship over tasks and I practiced letting go of what I thought should be done.

Second, what I did

I wanted to spend a lot of time in God's word.  That's a given.  I started out working on my current studies but one of the questions really drew my attention to the question, what is rest?  What does God mean by rest?  Normally, we would assume it means you don't work but scripture also talks about allowing yourself to take care of what's needful during sabbath (ie rescue your donkey).  So what is rest?  That question led me on an old fashioned word search thanks to the back of my Bible and not any fancy website or search engine.  I didn't even ask *insert random gender non-specific robot voiced assistant*.  So, I thought I would share where that led me and what I learned.
The verses that started it all were Psalm 37: 7-11, 34.
        Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!  Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!  Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.  For the evil doers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the Land.  In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.  But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.  Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when he wicked are cut off.
Be still, wait patiently, don't fret or be angry, hope in the Lord, keep His ways.  From here on, I'm going to give you the scripture reference and what I learned.  Like I said, I'm prioritizing my time.  Please look up the verses, or do your own word study on rest.  I think you'll be surprised.

  • Ex 3:12-18  Rest is holy, consecrated, celebrated, a covenant, abstaining from work, a sign
  • Ex 33:14  Rest is given my God, something God gives
  • Josh 14:15  Rest is the cessation of conflict
  • Josh 21:44  Rest is peace
  • Ps 33  Rest is hope & faith in our great God, rejoicing
  • Ps 62:1-2, 5  Rest is only found in God, or security and our hope
  • Ps 90:17  Rest is settled upon us, seeped in, draped over, soaked in
  • Ps 91  Rest is a place of refuge
  • Is 30:15  Rest is quietness and trust, repentance and a guiltless mind
  • Is 32:17-18  Rest is confidence, security, peace and being undisturbed
  • Jer 6:16  Rest is asked for and comes from walking in God's way  
        This one I am going to write out because I want to memorize it myself.
    This is what the Lord says:  Stand at the crossroads and look;  ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will     find rest for your souls.  But you said "We will not walk in it."
  • Mt 11:28  Rest is a release from burden
  • 2 Cor 12:9-10  Rest is weakness, laid down in humility, for the sake of glorifying God's strength
  • Heb 4:9  Rest is belief; utter, absolute belief
  • Heb 4:10  Rest is ceasing from work or industry
  • Rev 14:13  Rest is ceasing from your labors
This is a much richer, broader, and deeper definition of rest.  This is something I can practice.

Friday, October 12, 2018

What is Rest

I am finally going on a real adventure.  If you've been keeping up with my blog, this will sound very strange to you.  I've traveled a lot this year.  I have had tons of new and exciting things happen.  It all started when God gave me a glimpse into what He has for my future.  This doesn't happen to me very often.  God doesn't usually give me a heads up.  I know it's because I am firmly in the "Martha" camp.  When God gives me a nudge, I go into extreme prep mode.  I am so excited to have a plan to follow that I often forget my best resource and guide.  I suspect that is why, after giving me a glimpse into what He has planned, God asked me to rest.  I've talked about it on the blog, so I won't go over it again but I have been struggling this year with the question "What is rest?"  




It's been clear that God is convicting me about my definition of rest.  I fully confess that my definition of rest is "the chance to catch up".  Vacations, weekends away, I think of them as places to hide so I can finish the backlog of tasks that have built up because I couldn't say no to people.  I fear becoming lazy, or resting wrong, more than I have feared the Lord.  Over the last couple of weeks I have been having random encounters with Godly people in my life, and in my Bible study, that have brought this problem up.  

So I'm walking away.  I'm walking away from the need to fulfill any need I come across.  I'm walking away from technology.  I'm walking away from the list of things I have moved too far up on my priority list.  I am walking away from noise.  I have fasted from noise before, you can read about that here, and I expect it is going to be terribly hard.  Giving up the things I have attached my purpose and significance to is going to be hard.  That's the reason why I'm giving up all the things I distract myself with so I haven't had to address these things.  That's the reason why I have to give up these things so I can actually hear my God.

So, I am truly going on an adventure.  A quest into the deepest, darkest wilds.  I am going to leave the beaten path, the familiar trails of my life, and stop trying to make adventure happen.  I am going to dive into aloneness with intention.  To sit in the stillness.  It's going to be full of frustration, tears and sorrow but this adventure is going to teach me how to exchange those things for joy, contentment and the ability to recognize treasures of greater worth.  

Has the Lord been convicting you of something lately?  Is He asking you to do something you don't want to do?  I get it.  Let's do this together.  

Friday, October 5, 2018

Monument vs Standing Stone

Many of us look back at our lives and can pick out the bad decisions, big and small, that have become monuments to our failures. Sometimes we make the monuments so big we can't move past them.  Sometimes we miss the point of the monument altogether.  

One of my big failures was college. I knew what school I was supposed to go to since my freshman year of high school.  My mother will tell you she hated the school I chose because it was so far away.  By the time I graduated high school and headed off, I had no other direction.  I was sure that was where God wanted me to go.  I went for about a semester before I failed out and had to be shipped back to my parents in shame. There were a whole lot of bad decisions during that time but one of them has come to my mind lately because God has made me aware of the fact that I'm doing it again. I decided to go to college to become a nurse. Was I keen about caring for people, good at math and science, and excited about the field of medicine? NOPE! I didn't like most of those things, and I was not good at them. Why did I choose to pursue nursing. Because I wanted to be a medical missionary. I wanted to be ready and willing to go wherever God wanted me to go. The period of failure that followed left me angry and confused. How could God abandon me like that? I was doing all this for Him! I had to come to grips with the fact that God never intended for me to be a missionary to foreign lands, much less a medical one. I looked at the desires of my heart and misinterpreted how it would look and made the very large mistake of thinking that's what God wanted me to do. 

So often we hold onto the verses that tell us God will give us the desires of our hearts, and that's true, but we fail to remember the other parts of those verses and chapters.  We have to ground ourselves in the Lord first.  To delight in Him, then He will bring about giving us the opportunities to fulfill the desires He designed us with.  Not only that, but God is going to bring things about how He wants, no matter what we have planned.  No matter what or how we thought it would happen.  

My mother told me today that she never understood why I went to college to pursue something I hated. I was momentarily stunned as I said to myself "I was pursuing what I thought God wanted me to do" and I realized I can remember three distinct times when I have said that. College, adoption, and writing. Three major turning points. I don't know if I was supposed to go to college but I can tell you I met my lifelong best friend there. Her family practically adopted me and when my hubby was desperate for a job and we had to leave our state and our families, God provided one 30 minutes from her. I don't know if I was supposed to fail and give up college but I can tell you that I found my husband and my talent when I got home. I have no idea if I was supposed to pursue adoption but I know God has a plan. 

Major milestones have been marked by this pattern. Get a nudge from the Lord, create a picture of how I think that will look, and then go to the extreme to fulfill it.  The beautiful part of a God who is always teaching and growing us into who He designed us to be is the fact that He knows us, knows what we need to learn and keeps giving us refresher courses. As I stand on the precipice of pursuing "What I think God wants me to do" I'm grateful for the reminder today that I need to make sure I'm not more focus on what I can do for the Lord.  

All the hesitation, doubt and caveats I have being battling this year were because I was trying to do more than what God wanted me to do when I knew that what God wanted was for me to spend time with Him. He specifically asked me to "do" nothing. To rest. I've been fighting that hard. I don't want to be lazy. I want to be preparing. I don't want to be rushing to the deadline because I didn't give myself adequate prep time. So the little hint, the gift of a redemptive work for the future, I turned into a mission statement for life. I took that one thing and turned it into a college prep course full of requirements, standards of success and work. The whole time moaning like a toddler about when rest time was going to be over already. I know what God has given me. I know that what He is asking of me right now is not a spiritual workout regimen to prepare for the race. He is asking me to spend time with the source of my fuel. 


Life gives us plenty of chances for self reflection if we want them. I am going to use this moment to turn the monument I was building to failure into a standing stone of remembrance. To remind myself that I tend to focus on what I can "do" for God instead of spending time with Him. To remind myself to strip away my expectations of what I think comes next and let God teach me at the pace He intends. To remind myself that my future is in God's loving hands and it will be for my good, one way or another. I  choose to turn those monuments to my failure into standing stones of remembrance of what the Lord has done.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Spiritual Thrill Seeking

Living your adventurous life everyday is hard. If you're anything like me, you want to keep things fresh and in the present so you don't lose the important in the mundane.  Since the focus of my year has been adventure, I've been seeking external experiences to go along with the internal adventure that's happening.  Some friends have questioned this trend because it has brought on some physical reminders of the health challenges I face.  They used the term "spiritual thrill seeking".  I have to admit that I smile a little as I picture myself doing Biblical Parkour.  I love that I have friends and family that don't shy away from keeping me accountable.  Criticism, constructive or otherwise, is a great opportunity to consider the issue before the Lord and determine if you're confident or convicted.  



For me, I haven't felt convicted, I've felt warned.  My quest for adventure is truly a manifestation of the adventure that is happening spiritually.  It is, however, important to consider: how do you know how far is too far?  Can seeking God turn into thrill seeking?  Is it possible to lose sight of God in the midst of an adventure with Him?  I think we all would have to admit that the answer is yes.  Anything, absolutely anything, can become an idol because an idol is anything that takes our focus off of God.    

I don't want you to get the mistaken impression that adventure means hiking up mountains, surfing on an extreme wave or slaloming down a double black diamond.  Thrill seeking is being eager to take part in exciting activities that involve physical risk.  So, lets tweak that definition to being eager to take part in exciting activities that involve spiritual risk.  Spiritual thrill seeking isn't an extreme sport but it is an extreme.

So let's look at some warning signs that your adventure has become more focused on your experience than it is on God.


Warning sign #1


Trying to recreate a spiritual experience based on someone else's experience.  


I have to admit that when I was *cough* slightly younger than I am now I wondered why the great spiritual experiences I was hearing other women have weren't happening to me.  Some had dreams, some spoke in tongues, some heard from the Lord, the list goes on.  I assumed I wasn't spiritual enough or wasn't mature enough.      Any time we shift our eyes away from the One we have a relationship with to someone else's relationship, we are entering dangerous waters.  We think if we can just do the right things, we'll have the spiritual experiences we've heard other people have.  Here is what is important to remember when you catch yourself doing that.  Your relationship with God isn't about producing the right experiences to show off to others.  Your relationship with God is, wait for it, your relationship with God.  


Warning sign #2


Trying to recreate the circumstances of a previous spiritual experience.


If you have had an undeniable encounter with God or a time of closeness that was a balm to your soul, it's hard to sit comfortably in those times when God is silent.  I know I have wondered in the past if those times of silence were a punishment, if I had fallen away from my Savior, and so I frantically try and go back to what "worked" before.  I utterly spent myself in volunteering, giving, trying to be more selfless, and found the silence more condemning than ever.  I have stopped trying to fix the silence.  Trying to recreate a spiritual experience never works because, surprisingly, God is not pet we can train to do tricks on command.  I have learned over the years that the times of silence are just as necessary to my spiritual growth as those times when God feels so very present.  Those moments of silence teach us about our deep need for Him and force us to stretch farther and go deeper to seek Him and abide.


Warning sign #3

Trying to shape your spiritual experience


We often get an idea in our head about what a  "spiritual person" looks like.    I know for me it is an idealized picture of beauty, peace, cleanliness and solitude followed my smiling kindness, wisdom, intelligence and selflessness.  What does your ideal "spiritual person" look like?  Now ask yourself, are you chasing after an ideal or are you chasing after God?  

This picture I have in my head accuses me of how far I am falling short.  It pushes me to "accomplish" a spiritual life like I can achieve it with the right combination of to-do lists and discipline.  It drives me to seek out ways to fix what's wrong with me.  Here's the thing.  God is working on us at exactly the right pace, at exactly the right time, in exactly the right way.  He doesn't have a picture of an ideal spiritual person He's trying to accomplish. He has a picture of YOU perfected by Him.     


1 Corinthians 9:24-25 ESV

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize?  So run that you may obtain it.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.  They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.


Spiritual thrill seeking is dangerous because it shifts the focus of why.  Why are you in the race.  It changes what you see as the prize at the end.  Why you run the race will make all the difference in what you are pursuing and how you go about it.  Is it the acclaim?  The fame and notoriety?  Is it the reward?  Is it the emotional or physical high?  Or is it running full out to jump into the arms of a heavenly Father who is waiting with arms outstretched to hold us?  

So what are you running toward?   


Friday, September 21, 2018

Self Discovery on an Adventure: The Bad Stuff


I don't think I've made it clear to everyone that I recently got the chance to go on an adventure in Great Britain.  My group had been planning for about a year and we thought we were pretty well prepared (You can check out the previous installments here first and here second to see how that went). Travel is great because it's full of new experiences, sights and adventures.  It can also be full of exhaustion, confusion and short tempers.  In my pursuit of an adventure to find God in my everyday I discovered some things about myself in the testing ground that the trip became that I was pretty ashamed of.  So what do you do when you discover unpleasant things about yourself when you're supposed to be having an adventure?

My hubby and I went to Great Britain back in our second year of marriage with a friend.  It was an amazing opportunity and I really enjoyed myself.  We had a great time.  Here's the thing, our travel companion thought I had the worst time ever.  Why?  I was overweight and generally unhappy.  It was my normal at the time.  I was getting used to having a chronic illness and getting used to being a wife. 
Complaint was a normal part of my language.  I have since been called out for complaining which made me aware of what I thought was "sharing" and was really the symptom of a heart problem.  That first time to Great Britain was full of great memories but it was a great lesson afterward as I got feedback from my friend.  It made me aware of the attitudes I wear.  


This latest adventure to Great Britain was like a mirror of the first time.  I watched as my travel companion struggled and a completely unexpected thing happened.  I was impatient.  I am appalled to admit it.  Even now I feel ashamed of myself.  My previous esperience should have prompted me to greater understanding and compassion.  Instead, I kept trying to make things better with more planning, adjustments to the schedule, and trying to interact less with my companions.  The truth is, how I do things isn't how my companions did things.  While this led to further frustration, it didn't have too.  Once misunderstanding took root, every word seemed to have the potential to be hurtful.  I tried to fix it by talking less which ended up coming across as passive aggressive and sulky.  I hate those words.  They are ugly words and I hate imagining myself wearing them.

People wear all kinds of weird stuff when they go on vacation.  Stuff they would never wear at home.  Plaid beanies, Hawaiian shirts, lederhosen.  It seems we also wear our dirty laundry.  The secret things we say in the privacy of our minds that we dismiss at home because we can easily brush them aside.  In our safe places, in our familiar, we indulge in them like pieces of chocolate because we can be alone.  We don't have to constantly be on our best behavior.  On a trip, or outside our comfort zones, or during times of exhaustion and pain, there is no where to hide.  Those things we think in the privacy of our mind become an internal snide commentary that makes its way onto our face and out of our mouths.  


During the course of any adventure it is always wise to be aware of tensions and to ask yourself: 
  1. Is my behavior adding to or subtracting from the experience we are having?
  2. What lingering dark place in your heart came out of your mouth in a moment of weakness?
  3. What am I going to do about it?
For Biblical and practical reasons the first thing you need to do about it is confess it to God and then go and apologize to your companions.  Getting it resolved gives everyone the best chance to reset and get on with having a great time.  Once that is done, I find it very useful to write it down and talk to God about it in detail.  While the immediate weakness of exhaustion and stress will go away, the underlying issue that it exposed is something you want to bring to the Light.
   
Discovering unpleasant things about yourself on an adventure gives you the gift of insight.  The opportunity to bring those things before the Lord, confess them, and ask Him to weed them out of your thought closet (to borrow a turn of phrase from Jennifer Rothschild).  It's hard, and it's ugly, but I can't think of a better memento to bring back from any vacation.

I hope my travel companions will look back on this adventure and forget the tensions, spats, pain and frustrations.  I hope they will remember the adventure for the exciting and new experience it was.  Either way, I know I'm praising God for using the adventure to teach me more about Him and who He wants me to be.    


Friday, September 14, 2018

JD's Guide to Surviving Travel Companions


Sometimes surviving the adventure can be hard.  Last week, we talked about surviving disappointment in The Adventure Continues.  This week we're going to talk about surviving travel companions, conflicting personalities and exhaustion fueled tension on an adventure.

Whether you're traveling with a spouse, children, siblings, parents, in-laws or friends, when more than one person is thrown into the pot of stress that is travel, you are going to have challenges.  There is a tricky balance that can be achieved so that everyone is having a great adventure.

The first trick to surviving companions is Awareness.  

I don't mean the laser focus on the other persons annoying personality, selfish thoughtlessness or their trouble making antics.  I mean self awareness.  Often, we over react to other people because we aren't aware of what is happening inside ourselves. Something riles us and we start escalating.  After my last big adventure my spouse and I were talking about some reactions we had to each other that didn't speak love (that's our nice way of saying we were not nice to each other, me more than him).  Through the course of the conversation we were each able to explain to the other why we had gotten upset.  I explained that I think of him as smart, way smarter than me, and it didn't make sense to me when what was obvious to me wasn't obvious, or even noticeable, to him.  Additionally when he doubted me in the areas where things were obvious to me, it was like he was confirming that I was dumb.  To him, being smart was his identity in a family full of macho guys and creative gals.  Being able to contribute and help with technology reinforced that feeling of being a useful individual.  Each of us, being able to identify the "baggage" that was causing our reactions to each other totally reframed the situation. Now I knew that my husband wasn't doubting my usefulness or intelligence, he was trying to be helpful.   Being aware that your feelings are getting hurt because of how your interpreting the other persons action is the first step in stopping any escalation.  It's also important to be aware of the other persons needs, proclivities and wants in a practical sense.  If your travel companion is hurting physically, unlikely to tell you what they want to do or is just plain tired, they are going to react totally differently.  Knowing that a kiddo is tired and over reacting makes it much easier to be patient.  Knowing that an adult is hurting means you'll be able to make accommodations and therefore make the adventure accessible to everyone. 

That leads us to the second trick; Grace.

I bet you thought I was going to say patience didn't you.  Patience is great, and it is necessary, but grace is the next step because it carries with it compassion and empathy.  Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God.  As followers of Christ, we are meant to emulate Him.  We are also told to love others as we love ourselves.  Giving grace to your travel companion really means loving them through the tension.  It's about letting go of your "right" to be sick and tired of the shenanigans.  We often justify our annoyance and wear it like a badge of long-suffering.  Here's the thing, you can choose.  You can choose to enjoy where you are at and the person/people you are with.  You can choose to love them unconditionally.  You did choose to go on the adventure with them after all. 

The third trick is an oldie but a goodie, Compromise.

Everyone gets set in patterns of the mundane.  For families, it means you learn where those lines are and then you move on.  You suddenly throw yourself into an adventure into the unknown and it's like we forget how to compromise.  My best advice is to openly communicate before the adventure.  Make your plans together.  Know what your top priorities are and make sure, if at all possible, everyone gets to do their most desired adventure.  If you don't have time for everyone's top activity, or your travel companions are a bit mercurial, then you work towards a middle ground.  I know that sounds simple, but it can be.  Prepare for compromise, reset your expectations and make sure that everyone is on the same page.  

But what do when your travel companion won't compromise, is too young to moderate their selfish inclinations or is hurting too much (mentally or physically) to recognize their overreactions?

Here is the final trick.  This is the big one.  The key.  It comes in two partsRelax and Follow Where God Leads.

This bears repeating...RELAX.  It's not that big a deal.  Whatever it is, it's not that big a deal.  Ultimately, adventures can't be scheduled, planned out or regulated.  Staying calm will go a long way to keeping your companions calm.  Ultimately, we know that God is in control of our journey.  Your adventure is not going "wrong".  It's going exactly how God intended.  It's important to remember you are a living testimony and how you react to your companions will speak volumes about your faith.  Set aside your expectations of how you thought things would go and embrace the adventure God has brought you.  

Take a breath.  
Count to ten.  
Take a walk. 
Schedule some alone time.  

Know yourself well enough to respond to what you need and communicate that to your companions kindly but honestly.  Extend love and compassion to your companions.  Actively work on everyone having a good time.  Most importantly, enjoy the adventure God has you on.  That's it.  




Friday, September 7, 2018

The Adventure Continues


I mentioned last week that I was coming back from a big adventure.  In reality, it was the first planned adventure for the year.  Like most adventures, we planned as much as we could and then waited for the inevitable changes that would mock whatever preparations we had tried to make.  It might seem a little cynical but it's very Biblical to expect trouble.  See John 16:33 ;)  

So let's talk about dealing with the disappointment of changing plans.  Whether you're on vacation or at home, plans change.  As the planner of my family, this fact hits me harder than it does my spouse.  This makes practical sense because I've put time and effort into the planning.  Changes mean waste in my brain.  Wasted time, wasted effort.  It also means blame.  I am to blame for the disappointment.  For my personality type, it's the worst.  Some of you can shrug off most change while some of us have to do mental battle to recover properly.  

Over the years, my spouse and I have gotten in the habit of mentally shaking ourselves after a change (ie problem/challenge) by saying to each other, "Well, it's an adventure".  If you've been following this blog for a while then you might guess that was the beginning of Dotted Lines, and you'd be right.  In our minds, adventure is what happens when you're off book.  When you've left the scripted path and find yourself in unfamiliar territory.  Adventure always starts with a challenge.  Isn't it strange that when we seek an adventure, we think that's not going to happen.  That our thrilling adventure will be safe, scripted and ultimately predictable with social media worthy images and perfect smiles as we luxuriantly rest.  Social media has trained us to expect a cultivated adventure.  We see only the perfect moments in other peoples adventures and so we expect only the perfect moments in ours.  

It sounds ridiculous when you think about it, doesn't it.  No one really expects to have only perfect moments.  We do proceed as if we could plan them though.  Can you imagine?  To only have the moments you planned for...How awful would that be!  How utterly boring!!  Dealing with disappointing changes is begun by honestly looking at your expectations (if you haven't read Anticipation vs Expectation, you should).  

That's my families castle in the background.  I've had the privilege of visiting twice now.  It's my very favorite castle.  This is the day I had looked forward too the most on the trip.  You can see the joy on my face.  I couldn't wait to show my ancestral land to my companions!  Unfortunately, this day was full of changed plans, challenges, disappointments and a serious lack of food.  My party was utterly done with this day by the end and I was beside myself because every time I tried to fix it, it went more wrong.  

Here's the real trick to being able to deal with disappointment!  You don't let the challenges define your entire day.  Some of my best moments have come from the unexpected but only because I was able to see the adventure for what it was.  I wasn't focused on the disappointment but on the wonder of the moment.  It's all about what you focus on.  

So, are you going to focus on the disappointment, and have a disappointing day, or are you going to focus on what God is doing instead?  God's plan always works and is always perfect.  Don't misunderstand me.  God's perfect moments aren't always my perfect moments.  God is working for my good and sometimes the "perfect moment" is when my disappointments reveal character flaws that need to be exposed and dealt with.  We'll get to that in a couple weeks.

Next week we'll talk about how to cope with companions on your adventure.  Until then, in the immortal words of some singer that is not Weird Al, shake it off.  Do what works for you to recenter, choose a new direction, and enjoy the adventure you are having even if it's not the one you wanted.