Monday, September 19, 2016

Mindful Monday // 9.19.16

Above the Big Thompson River, May 2015

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, 
so great is his steadfast love 
toward those who fear him

{Psalm 103:11 ESV}

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I Wanna Reality Show

I think I could easily hold my own with the screaming brides, precocious toddler beauty contestants, families of nineteen children, and disastrous sibling relationships.

Picture Credit
Just putting that out there.

It recently struck me that, for all their "reality", those shows are still seriously airbrushed. You're going to make serious rifts in your relationship? It will look Glamour-worthy even in the middle of the R-rated catfight. Looking for your dream dress? Even if something doesn't work out and you swear at your sister, your fiance, and a random dress designer, you look like a happy, slightly stressed bride-to-be.


However, I propose a new reality show. TLC is hereby invited to come to our house and just film. They can catch what they want - counter full of dirty dishes, piles of clothes on the closet floor, my backside sticking into the air as I dig frantically through said pile, muddy spots all over kitchen floor, living room covered with school books/blankets/people, deranged parakeet wildly zinging around the house, demented dog with a hero complex - you get the idea.

Hopefully, you also got what I was trying to say through that graphic description -

Let's be real.

I was just taking a (technically discouraged) Facebook trip and ended up on this article, It was just the encouragement I needed - and it made me think about what my life is like right now. I'm going to be honest, okay?

I am taking twelve credit hours. For the last few months, I have really, really struggled with motivation and procrastination in my schoolwork. That has turned around and "bit me" more times than I care to remember - late nights, bleary mornings, nearly falling asleep on the road, turning things in late, missing assignments. My room (as mentioned earlier) is currently a mess. When I have time, I don't want to deal with it. When I don't have time, I look at it and it really bothers me. I struggle with being annoyed, picky, mean, and selfish with/to my siblings. I get upset with my lovely momma and I get frustrated by my awesome daddy. I spend entirely too much time thinking about guys and relationships. I struggle with giving of myself to some hard situations. And, of course, I could say thirty things more that will pop into my head as soon as I hit "publish". Family situations, friendship intricacies, business problems, invasive health problems, grief, financial issues, the daily stress of watching my country disintegrate, etc.

If that was too much for you, feel free to get your kicks somewhere else. I guarantee you, though, that this is a part of your life too.

I'll be honest about the process of sharing.

It scares me. I literally felt that panicky feeling in my chest, thinking about how horrible I must sound to people out there. What responsible, oldest-child, Christian twenty-year-old leaves her room a mess, spends way too much time fooling around on Facebook, and snaps at her parents? Christian or non-Christian, I fear your judgment and your thoughts about me. I wonder what even my closest friends would think about me if I said this or that. I can see your face as you process what I am saying.

I recently read Victoria Fedden's wonderful book This Is Not My Beautiful Life. (Warning: this is not exactly storytime-with-the-kids material - but it is amazing.) The night I started it, our family had one of those nasty nights of chaos. Some were out on a late night trip for errands, Dad was late getting home from work, everyone was hungry and beyond beyond. Dinner was late - and the real late, folkses, is eating at 10 pm. Oh, it happens. (And I'm actually proud of us. We are living life as it happens, not caught up in "dinner time".) Homework was due and there was responsibility coming out of everyone's ears. As I was burying myself in the couch before family worship, one tenth of a centimeter away from blowing Mount Vesuvius, I took comfort in the fact that Victoria's crazy life was like ours. Ok, I guess my parents didn't end up in prison (and they don't pursue shady financial deals and whatever goes along with that). In my mind, I was proudly declaring "This is real. This is us."

This is real. This is us.

And that's okay.

Every day, I have to remind myself - force feed it down my throat with a spatula - that God loves me. He is in control. He knows me. He knows my life. He knows my sins. He knows that Jesus is right now interceding for me. He wraps me in the sweetest, thickest, strongest frosting of grace.

I am also learning - by His grace again - to be the friend and family member that is okay with what you tell me. It's important, people.

You cannot carry out God's commands to love the body of Christ if you cannot or will not accept people's reality.

So let's try.

Forgive us, Lord, as we have forgiven our debtors. You have shown us mercy beyond any comprehension; help us understand and mercifully love others.

Back to the reality show - I kid you not. If a TV producer shows up on our porch, I will (after rescuing him from above-mentioned demented dog) invite him in and tell him he has free range with his camera... with two conditions.

1. Real must be shown.

2. Grace, as response to the real, must be shown.

Friends, as you pack yourselves into bed tonight, with all your angers, fears, messes, and sins, remember that I am like you. You are like me. Someone else out there is like me, and they are like you.

But God gives grace.

The deranged parakeet, messy closet, screaming fights between siblings, costly software kinks, wandering attention span, and mercy-dispensing family/friends, are, I think, how He most shows His grace. 

Enjoy my reality show, friends.