Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I like big lists and I cannot lie

I've been trying to do things differently recently.  I struggle with some health issues and lately I've been having another battle with pain and fatigue.  Up until recently I've kind of tried to "give my body rest".  People have told me it's okay to rest when their body needs them too.  It's hard for a minion to give themselves permission to rest.  I've got things to do, I can't just be sitting around all day.  Plus, I've felt this pain and fatigue for a long time and resting doesn't seem to be doing anything.  Granted, I haven't been consistent is "resting".  I've tried a smattering of things.  Some supplements taken when I remember, some essential oils when I remember and sitting and occasionally reclining.  Inconsistency is a big problem.  I have a rabid work ethic when it comes to minioning but when it comes to my own health....I forget.  I forget to eat regularly, I forget to take necessary medicine, I forget supplements and then I can't muster energy to exercise.  It's been a problem I've tried to correct without success.  Unfortunately it's gotten worse recently.  I wake up in pain and with sever headaches.  I kept wondering if the excruciatingly expensive bed we got just so I could be comfortable or the ridiculously expensive pillow we got for the same purpose was defective.  Either way something is wrong.  I was staying in bed for more than 12 hours a day because I couldn't wake up or didn't feel rested and thought I just needed to be responsive to my body.  It didn't work.

So I'm trying something new.  I'm waking up earlier.  Instead of letting myself fall back asleep trying to capture that elusive wakefulness or rested feeling, I'm just going to accept that something is wrong but more sleep isn't going to fix it.  I need to get up and get my body moving.  This is for my mental health and my body health.  I need to accomplish something to contribute to our household.  Even if all I can handle for the day is filling the cats water.

I'm also trying to practice joy.  I have to keep reminding myself how important this is.  Joy is not happy and vice versa.  It's an intentional choice.  It's hard and it's important.

For a while now I've gathered my minion tasks because they are things I can do while I sit even if I feel so exhausted I can barely sit straight.  This isn't good.  Exhausted brain does not work very creatively or well.  I've been feeling like a failure because I'm not producing anything interesting so I delay, thinking I'll conjure something later.

By God's grace I have several friends who suffer from chronic illnesses of all sorts.

I know that sounds like a weird statement but let me explain.  Chronic illness is hard.  Very hard.  People expect you to get better and when you don't, they assume it's because you've done something wrong or you're just complaining for attention.  So, you stop talking about it.  It can be very lonely.  I wouldn't wish chronic illness on anyone but I've learn some very important lessons over the years because of wise people of God who suffer.

I am also blessed with a few people who understand and watch out for me when I don't watch out for myself.  It makes me feel incredibly loved.

A lot of people wonder why a loving God doesn't fix all the suffering in the world.  A lot of people wonder why bad things happen to good people.

I don't presume to know the mind of God but I do know one thing.  I need it.  I need the suffering to draw me close to Him.  To bring me to a place of reliance.  To give me sympathy, kindness and understanding for those who are suffering too.
I'm grateful for my friend Kimberly Rae who has and is suffering greatly and whom the Lord is using mightily.
I'm grateful for my other suffering friends nearby with whom I can share my burden and hopefully lighten their load as well.
If we have everything we need and/or want, we walk away from God.  We forget Him in the pursuit of our next want.

That's the long way around for the title of this blog.  All that is to say that, while I'm getting my spirit pointed back at my Savior, I know I need to try something new.  I need to figure out how to live with where I'm at.  So...

I've started a new list.  Not just a to do list, of which I have many, but an intentions list.  A goal list.

  • I need to practice writing.  You lose what you don't practice and I want to improve my skills, not lose them.  If I was putting this on a to do list I'd say something like - I need to practice writing every day for 15 minutes.  This isn't a to do list.  
  • I need to develop a deeper quiet time with the Lord
  • I need a schedule to motivate forward momentum.  Something reasonable for my level of health.  A gradually improving schedule so I know I have done something with my day/life
  • I need to establish a reasonable exercise routine.  I don't care if it's lame, I just need to be consistent.
  • I need to accomplish to do list items.  I don't care if I'm exhausted.  I can do at least one thing a day from my to do list.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Back to Minioning

It's been a while since I've actually talked about my minioning.  To be fair, it's like asking someone how work is.  Most of the time it's fine.  You're just working, getting things done and continuing the daily grind.  The same is true for minions, or for the uninitiated, volunteers.  There is always something to do, projects to get done and a plethora of new ideas that could be implemented if you only had the time and resources.

What has changed for me, to my utter astonishment and trepidation, is I have gained a level of responsibility I wasn't anticipating.  I'm kind of a boss.
I do not mean boss in any colloquial way.  I mean I've entered management, in so far as an all volunteer organization can have levels.

For those people who know me, I am not what you would call management material.  Apart from being a goofball some of the time, I'm also a nose in the book, don't talk to me while I'm working, I'm not here to gossip/play/chat I'm here to work, kind of girl.
I am baffled by coworkers who are offended that I'm "not nice" to them.  (Yes this was an actual criticism on my annual review.)  It's part of the reason why I have loved my current minion duties, because I can do them alone without having to worry about offending people.  

Life is not, however, lived in a bubble.  I have needed help and the ministry directors have actively pursued getting me some.  I am grateful and terrified.  

I'm still trying to figure out  what my management style is.  It's always a challenge for volunteer coordination because you can't really expect anything.  You have to live in the constant assumption that people are and are not going to follow through.  

It has been challenging for me to take an honest look at myself, and my flaws, and act with faith, hope and kindness as I try and gently nudge deadlines and commitments from volunteers without taking the projects back with a huff and just doing them myself because that would be easier.  

I don't feel I'm succeeding at the whole management/leadership thing.  Management and volunteer challenges aside, I know why I feel this way.  

  1. The whispers of the enemy already had a fine variety of insults and half truths on repeat in my head long before this.
  2. In the absence of feedback my natural tendency is to assume failure.
  3. I have not been clinging as closely to the Lord as I need to.
While the first two are true and are a dauntingly large part of why I feel what I feel, the third one is the only one that matters.  The Only One

I can't lead without the Shepherd leading me.  I can't proceed without my emotions coloring my actions unless I am snuggled so close to my Savior I can hear His heart.  

I fear this life is like Neverland.  We get caught up in fears, desires and the misguided certainty that what is important to us, is Important.  "Neverland makes you forget.  Never forget... to run home" To badly quote the movie Hook.  

So this week I am reorienting.  Facing my Savior and looking at Him.  Where my feet take me from there is less important than who I'm following.  

Friday, April 15, 2016

sorrow and grieving

Another friend is dying.  Soon I'll have another funeral to attend.  I've heard too many stories of people trying to say something, anything to express their sympathy and it comes across as trite, insensitive or empty.  I don't want to do that.  To speak foolishly and cause hurt.  I'm praying.  Praying for my friends, praying I help and not hurt, praying.