Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts


Procrastination rears it's ugly head yet again

My head is swimming with different post ideas, but when I sit down to write them out, I go blank. Bear with me, I'm sure it'll pass. 

I've been thinking a lot about procrastination, and how it seems to overtake my life at times. There will be days where the thought of doing some mundane task sends me into an hour to three hour stretch of full on procrastination. We're talking sitting on the couch staring blankly out the window, fiddling on my phone, mindlessly listening to music, that kind of thing. It isn't the task itself that is stopping me. It's not necessarily hard to clean up the kitchen, switch the laundry, or sand down the shelves I'm working on in the garage. For whatever reason (spoiler alert: there is a reason), I freeze up and get nothing done. 

Other days, I make a list and check off every single item. Nothing stops me and I plow through it. I feel like I'm on top of the world and nothing can stop me. I imagine that if you were able to witness my day, you'd see a whirlwind pass by you this way and that as I did each task at record breaking speed with top notch accuracy.

Okay. Maybe it's not that impressive.

But what I'm realizing is that I need to get to the heart of this procrastination. I would dare to even call it lazy although I truly hate that word. I'm about to get real with you and call it what it is.

It's sin.

Satan pounces on my heart at these moments. He sees the opportunity to stop me in my tracks and it works almost every single time. I hate admitting it, but it's so very very true. I can sit and stare, knowing that I have a,b, and c to do and still sit there. I will tell myself "just go do it, it will only take a minute or two and you'll be done with it" and also know at the same time that I'm pep talking myself that I will not get up from the couch. It's almost paralyzing, but the keyword there is almost. It doesn't have to be a done deal like that. Satan doesn't actually have to win. 

There is scripture that offers support for this. When Jesus is in the desert for 40 days, being tempted by Satan the entire time, he says "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" (Matthew 4:10)

Cool, right? Jesus, as our very own perfect example to follow, shows us that we just have to tell Satan to get away from us, and he will. That's it. We only serve one God, and it is not Satan.

Then there is this scripture, which I've fallen back to countless times in my life:

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Cor 10:13) (emphasis added by me)

So really, there is no reason that I can't escape those thoughts and actions. It is possible to get out of that rut. He doesn't ever allow us to be tempted more than we can bear. We have the free will to choose to turn away from it or to give in. It's our choice. The most powerful tool he gives us in those moments is to pray about it. To purposefully say "Get away from me, Satan" and ask, beg, plead for God's strength and mercy. And guess what?

Prayer works. So I need to do it.

Thanks for reading. Writing this out helps me process things I know but don't always do.


Not so new parenting

I've been thinking a lot about why I've enjoyed each of Audrey's stages more than I did when Josie was that age. To be clear, I love my girl Josie more that I could have ever imagined loving my first baby. She's awesome and I wouldn't change a thing about her. I'm thinking more about me as a parent, my ambitions, goals, fears, and thoughts.

Josie, about three months old

A lot of it comes down to giving up my selfishness. Say what? Me? Selfish? Pssh no. But seriously. I was happy to relinquish my free time to the cute little nine pound newborn. I mean, I'd been waiting ten months to meet her and frankly, it wasn't too bad. She slept great, ate great, played great, and generally kept me on my toes enough to not be over confident but not enough to scare me away from this new world of parenting.

After a few months, I felt like I had the hang of it, so I started introducing things back into my life that weren't necessary, but that I enjoyed doing. Some things, like focusing on my health, weren't as much for enjoyment as me just thinking I should really be doing this. Then she grew into the next stage, and I resisted like crazy. How could she do this to me? I need time to fill in the blank and now I can't do that!

I constantly found myself in exasperation when I evaluated the changes we'd need to make to our routine. Josie thrived on routine, which my perfectionist heart loved, but she also changed entirely too fast to get used to a strict routine. I fought some of those changes a lot more than I should have, and of course being a first time mama, allowed anxiety to overcome me at the smallest drop of a hat.

That all sound quite dramatic, doesn't it? In reality, I've never been too uptight with my parenting (I hear you laughing, those of you that know my inner most thoughts!) but I do know that I was more anxious and strict, grasping the urge to control everything, then I wanted to or even though I was being.

Then baby number two came along. I'd let go a lot of all of those urges to micro manage my firstborn. We had to adapt to a more free lifestyle because hello I had been pregnant for the last 10 months (seriously though) and that wreaked havoc on our precious routine. I'd also figured out a way to juggle a life with a baby and the other day to day tasks like cooking, exercising, blogging, being a wife.

Audrey, about three months old

Since the minute I became a parent of two, it's been different. Each new change that Audrey goes through is fun and frankly fascinating to watch. There's no panic. There's no google searching for ways to control or adapt to the new scary stage. We celebrate it or adapt to it and move on. My general life from day to day has shifted and been rearranged more than I can count but it's been okay. There hasn't been panic, or freak outs or how am I going to do this?? like I had originally thought when I pictured my impending new life while pregnant. It's crazy how our fears are always exaggerated like that, never truly as bad as we made them out to be.

Now she's almost walking.  The old Sarah would think how in the world will I manage with two girls two and under running around making chaotic messes all over the place and putting themselves in grave danger 100+ times a day? But the Sarah I am now thinks won't that be so much fun? She'll have more freedom, she will be able to play with and generally keep up with her sister better, we will be able to move a little quicker when playing outside, etc. I love this stage!

Just like the last stage, it will become my favorite.

I love that as a parent, I have grown up enough to just enjoy each stage. I have evolved into a truly better parent. I'm so thankful to be able to see this growth already. I'm so thankful that I can give up my selfish urge to control everything. Truly, this road I'm on called parenthood has just begun, and it would be a shame to spend it all being anxious.

Thank you Jesus for giving me a peaceful heart, even if it doesn't last forever. I'm thankful for it right now.


Too short of a life for all of it

I have so many things I want to do. I've become curious, eager to learn, and filled with desire to try new things. For much of my life, I was in school. You know the place, where you are supposed to be learning the whole time you are there, day after day, year after year. But alas, I had no desire to learn then. You see, I took it for granted. Education had always been there and I didn't realize what a blessing it was. My parents are both teachers and I think the attitude of learning was always around me, but I did not enjoy it. I was taught to set and attain goals and I did that well (consider that goal met). I spent all of those years hunting down the next A on a test and squeezing in as much as I could to be the most successful. And I was. I had great report cards to show for it and a very high GPA. 

Then, the period of formal education in my life ended. I joined the real world, where I continued my job that I had obtained in college. I quickly learned about as much as I could learn there because, of course, that drive to master whatever was in front of me was still alive and present. Suddenly, I was bored out of my mind. I don't blame my employer though. I just didn't know how to function without having goal upon goal thrust in front of me. 

I started searching for new goals, new things to master and move on from. Part of the problem was my mind frame. I mean, what is the point of doing something new if your goal is to move on to the next thing? I didn't get hardly any satisfaction from doing the new activity. I just wanted to check it off the list, done and done. I soon found myself analyzing my life. What was I to do now that I wasn't in school? All of that time spent learning did not lead me to a life time joy. I never figured out what to do with my life. 

What hobbies did I pick up, you ask? In no particular order, I dabbled with cooking (something I had very little skill with and had not spent hardly any time on before), working out (on and off, it never stuck), reading (so much reading!), parenting (not so much a hobby, as something for me to become, learn about, and of course do), crocheting, blogging, gardening, DIY crafting, organizing, piano (for fun, not for school or my mom as had been the motivation for most of my life), sewing, watching movies (what, not a hobby? but can definitely take time...), decorating cupcakes, eating healthy (obsessively becoming a vegetarian, or following a paleo diet, or eating only whole foods) and other less significant things. 

You see, I still have a need to learn. What I was forced to do in my youth has become something I want to do. I think that we all have a desire to learn, but how we learn between person to person is different. I'll always need to learn something. But now I enjoy learning new things. I'm so grateful that I actually want to keep learning.

My husband learns from doing. That is so foreign to me, as I just struggle not understanding what I am doing first. He starts out, not afraid of failure like his timid yet determined wife, analyzes what he sees and digs right in. I, on the other hand, like to know exactly what is going to happen before I do it. I research by reading as much as I can about it or listening to someone who can explain it thoroughly and then dig in once I'm sure I understand it

It's just the way I like to learn. 

All of that to say, I'm struggling right now with all of these learning desires in my life. I've been warned to not lose myself in parenting. Sarah is a person too, and it's no good to myself or my children to only live for them. I have no desire to make my children into gods that I worship only to have them look down on me later for not being my own person. Yet I'm also told to love them as much as I can, help them learn, guide them the best people I can help them to be. It's conflicting, can't you see? How can I do both? 

The obvious of course is that I can pray about it. Pray without ceasing, something I'm better at in theory than in practice. Practically, how do I do that? 

Of all of the hobbies I have picked up, I few stand out now that I have a huge desire to continue.

Reading. I can read such a huge variety of material, stories, books, blogs, etc and not feel like I'm learning enough. Yet that realization that I can learn about just about anything through reading keeps me trying to keep up with my  never ending and always growing reading list. There is just so much out there I want to read.

Running/Strength training. Part of this is that I want to be healthy. I'm tired of focusing on food and have been considering my future with this struggle and what I am going to do. More on that in another post. One thing I know is that I enjoy running (when I'm physically able to do it of course, thankyouverymuch stress fracture).

Piano/music. I have a huge love for playing piano. Lately, I've realized that I kind of like composing music as well. It's completely foreign to me, yet I kind of get giddy when I think about doing it. I have the tools to do it, now it is just a matter of giving myself time to do it. The thing with composition is that it takes quantity as well as quality to truly grow. 

Writing. I knew growing up that I was decent at writing. Particularly, the grammar part of it was no problem. I got stuck in a world of liberal teaching and encouragement and it turned me away from it. Not because I was close minded or not willing to expand my views, but because it was stuffed in my face in a "no tolerance for anything else" kind of way and it made me sick. I had no idea that I could write about what I loved or felt in my heart without being corrected for being "wrong." It makes me sad to look back on my years of education and see that pattern and path I couldn't get off. What could have been had I been influenced differently? Regardless, I've learned how truly therapeutic writing can be and the more I do it, the more I want to do it. I also believe that my personal writing style only improves over time and again, quantity is necessary just as much as quality. It won't all be good, but it will get better.

Cooking/Baking. As the main cook in the family, I will always be trying to improve this area of my life. I enjoy it and have to do it so I might as well continue striving to be better.

Organizing. I get so much joy from managing a house that is organized. It takes time, though, and sometimes that time can be better spent. I have to learn how to juggle this so that I'm not just wasting time moving things around, reading how others do it, and staring at my closets/drawers/shelves to figure a new system out.

History. My trip to Europe while in college opened up a whole world to me of the past lives lived. You know that class we take in school called History? Well it turns out, I should have loved it. I just didn't, because my head was foggy with the wrong understanding of why we learn. Now, though, I cannot get enough of it. Real life (picture field trips, adult style), reading anything I can get my hands on, and listening to various forms of speakers keeps me wanting more more more. It used to just be Eastern European history, then slowly Western European, and now (gasp) even American history has become interesting. Then, just the other day, I heard something about Latin American history and I knew that at some point I'd become obsessed with that too. This world is so fascinating.

Then of course, there are things I have not yet learned, but want to learn. I would love to get a nice camera and take decent pictures. I'm not as interested in mastering photography (yes, you heard that right! Sarah, the super perfectionist, isn't wanting to master it? There is growth happening over here, at least a little). I would just like to get a little better and have a higher quality starting point (since my phone camera is pretty much the bottom when it comes to quality).

How do I do this all? I'm still working on that. Part of my problem is that I feel guilty when I do take time to do my hobbies. Again, there are whispers (lies) that I hear in my own head and from around me that say that I am being selfish, putting myself ahead of my children when they need me and I should be enjoying them. Of course I should be enjoying them but isn't it possible that maybe I can do both? Isn't it possible that they will see me doing these things and maybe, just maybe, want to join me? Want to learn for fun and not just because they have to? 

And of course, the whole purpose of my life is to praise God, glorify Him in what I do, and not become self obsessed and focused on sin more than Him. 

So that is where my heart is at right now. I haven't figured it out. I'm likely to come back to this on the little old blog. But as I said before, writing is therapeutic. I can process things better when I write it out. Hearing from you helps too. Hearing ideas, encouragement, suggestions, kind words, all of those things are a perk to writing publicly. Bear with me as I figure out how to live this life I'm given in a way that doesn't always have me pulling my hair out, sitting complacently in front of a TV, or crying on the bathroom floor (figuratively speaking, this doesn't actually happen. Usually it's on the couch or in the shower). 

It is possible, I hope.

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The past couple of days have just felt rough. There's no reason whatsoever, but I just feel frustrated, impatient, antsy. As it so often goes, when I feel this way, little things go wrong left and right. Either I just notice it more because I'm already aggravated, or my impatience causes me to be clumsy. I just know that I can't keep my head above water to just make it through the day no matter how hard I try. 

So today, I thought about it. I prayed about it (not enough), and I was able to put my finger on something that really really helped. 

Have you ever had that feeling that you have really hit the nail on the head? Just knocked the ball out of the park? That you are doing exactly what God wants you to be doing? It's happened to me numerous times in my life, and I'm so thankful that I have felt his will like that. 

Right now, I feel as though I am on the brink of another huge life changing decision. No, we're not pregnant, and no I'm not going back to work. I'll talk about it in more detail later. The point is not to leave you in suspense about something happening here in our lives, but instead to talk about this. When we are right on with God, Satan takes note. He perks up a little, okay a lot, and tries to divert us. 

1 Corinthians 10:13

13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

I have always loved this verse. It pops into my head all the time, and I would bet that I refer to this verse more than any other in the Bible. It came to mind today as I was reflecting on my terrible day(s). God does allow us to be tempted, but he will never allow it to go farther than we can handle. So Satan can try all he wants, but I have what it takes through Jesus to overcome any obstacle he puts in front of me. 

The best part of this realization is even more reassurance that we are doing the right thing. Why else would Satan suddenly focus wholeheartedly on me (us) like this?

I won't make excuses for why our days have been more rough than usual. There isn't any one thing. In fact, they really aren't even that bad. But a few little things going wrong can really make a person's mind frame turn negative, and then it all seems bad. 

Here's what's important. I know that I need to focus even more so on God's will and continue on the path we've decided to take. Isn't it reassuring to know that the battle has been won? No matter how hard it seems now, the outcome is clear. God will lead us through this thing called life, and it is our job to follow as close as we can.

That's all for now.
Good night!

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