Monday, December 21, 2009

Keep On Swimming

“‘Cause I could spend my life just trying to sift through
What I could’ve done better but what good do what ifs do?”

*~ “Forget and Not Slow Down” by Relient K

I’ve been looking through old blog entries and journal entries, and have been doing my best to recall what I have set for goals in previous years and I’ve noticed a trend.

I repeat.

I’m going to write more. Improve my marriage. Lose weight. Organize my house. Do right all the things I’ve previously done wrong.

Yet by the time another year draws to a close, I feel as though I’m not any further ahead. My house is still disorganized. I still can’t fit into the jeans I wore however many years ago. The areas I wanted to work on in my marriage are still ‘meh’. And the manuscript I was going to tackle has maybe had a page or two added to it.

But after many listens to Relient K’s song “Forget and Not Slow Down” and, in particular the lines quoted at the top, I think I’ve finally clued into what the problem is:

My perspective is all wrong.

I’ve been so busy looking over my shoulder and reminding myself of the mistakes I had best not be repeating with a good dose of “If onlys” thrown in that I’ve lost sight of where I wanted to go. In a way, I have been using my past to determine my future. And I’m sure you can figure out what that means. Yup, I’m repeating my past. Over and over and over again.

Now I’m not saying there aren’t lessons for me to learn from past mistakes. There have been lessons learnt, and there will be more to learn in the days ahead. It’s a part of life. But in order to better “Keep on swimming” and to get to a new destination, I need to look in the right direction so I don’t end up going off-track.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understadning.
Seek His will in all you do,
and He will show you which path to take.

*~ Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NLT)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cleaning and Legacies

“Not well-traveled, not well-read
Not well-to-do, or well-bred
I just want to hear instead
Well done, good and faithful one”

*~“Legacy” by Nicole Nordeman

I need to clear stuff out of my house. Both my husband and I do. Even better, we both realize this and are finally beginning to do just that (contrary to the way some piles are growing as we work our way through the rooms of our home). Oi, this was all much easier to do when we were getting ready for a move. Whatever we did not want to bring into the new house was tossed/donated, and what we were taking was neatly packed away. Now we have to just sort and put in order and . . . but it's best to stop the whining and just get through the stuff we've accumulated over the last nine (almost ten!) years.

This in-depth house cleaning has also let to my taking stock of different things I have going on in my day-to-day routines. What needs to be tossed or kept in terms of habits and the like? Which then leads to questions about what I want to be remembered for when my time here is done. Will people look at this life and see God’s hand in it? Will there be lives that have been touched in a positive way because I allowed Him to work through me and in me? Was I salty? Was I an accurate reflection of God (at least in part – He is so big!)?

Or will this life be remembered for its frivolity? A “me-first” type of mentality? For opportunities missed or squandered?

Now I’m not going to go down a road of despair and self-flagellation. That doesn't create the kind of change I'm looking for. But there are things which need to be cleared out. I mean, how much time do I need to spend online reading this 'n' that? How many TV shows do I really need to be watching? How much attention do I really need to be paying to me and my ‘stuff’? Isn’t the focus all to be on God anyway? Am I really being a servant?

Lots of questions and not a lot (if any) answers at this point, I know. But as I'm often reminded there are always going to be things which need to be thought on, changes which need to be made. As my pastor has said many times (probably because it needs to be heard many times), God loves me just the way I am but He loves me too much to leave me that way. I'll always be a work-in-progress on this side of heaven. Oh, may there be work and may there be progress, Lord, so I may one day hear these words ringing joyfully in my ears:

“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”

*~Matthew 25:21 (NKJ)