Monday, June 22, 2009

Herding Ping Pong Balls

I've dropped the ball on a few obligations/details in the last few days. I'm not sure what is going on except I have many, many details to attend to between now and Wednesday when I head out for Bishop's Week.

In my quest to handle this in a spiritual way, I tried using imagery to "give it all to God." Well, the problem is, in my imagination, I can't get to God with all of the details. The mental image that has come to mind is trying to carry about 50 ping pong balls without a bag or case or basket of any kind. I keep trying to use my shirt or a dish towel to hold on to them, but they keep escaping. Every time I bend over to retrieve one, two more fall out.

Finally, my imagination has God scooping me up, ping pong balls and all. It doesn't matter if some of them fall, because they simply fall into God's hand next to me. Theoretically this is a comforting image. I think it will be if I can get my mind and body to relax just a little. Hmmm, what does that say if I have an image of being held by God, but in that image, I'm still squirming and trying to grasp at everything? Breathe in...... Breathe out.....Breathe in.....Breathe out....

Oh Lord, help me in my unbelief. Perhaps the best I can do is offer you this day. Literally, the calendar page with all the to dos. Take it Lord and do with it as you will. Take me Lord and do with me what you will. When I come to the end of the day, help me see where you were and how any detours that came up were part of your plan even when they don't seem to fit in mine. Amen.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Five - Life is a Verb

Jan at RevGalBlogPals writes:
Jennifer recommended this book, which I got because I always value Jennifer's reading suggestions. The author of Life is a Verb, Patti Digh worked her book around these topics concerning life as a verb:
Say yes.
Be generous.
Speak up.
Love more.
Trust yourself.
Slow down.As I read and pondered about living more intentionally, I also have wondered what this Friday Five should be. This book has been the jumping off point for this Friday.

1. What awakens you to the present moment? Being outside in nature - harder to do right now with heat index 100+ most days. There is a park near my house with a creek and big trees and no playground (quieter that way). Great place to go.

2. What are 5 things you see out your window right now? Sunlight, green leaves, people scurrying off to work, a porch light left on through the night, a spider web shimmering between the leaves.

3. Which verbs describe your experience of God? release - as in free, embrace, send (sometimes push), nag, call, love, caress, teach, inspire, delight

4. From the book on p. 197:Who were you when you were 13? Where did that kid go? I was growing - 8 inches in one school year - from abnormally small ("Are you in the right school?") to just short. Being stretched. Socially awkward, trying to find my way. Incredibly insecure. Miserable in home life as parents' marriage began to crumble. Yet, growing my interest in working with children with special needs. Being encouraged in my intelligence/ scholarly pursuits. Seeking a spirituality that was all my own and a release from home distress. Today that kid is all grown up - many of the seeds sown still blossom. Occasionally the incredibly insecure 13 year old peeks out, but less and less often. I'm being stretched in different ways as I'm learning to think more about the big picture in my conference level position. While I don't feel like I've grown 8 inches taller in the last year, I feel like I've grown emotionally, mentally, spiritually at least 8 inches in the last few years.

5. From the book on p. 88: If your work were the answer to a question, what would the question be? How can "The Church" best help local congregations bring God to the world - make disciples? Do we just need to get out of the way?????

Friday, June 12, 2009

Inertia Defeated or Hope Comes in the Mail

A few weeks ago I began to blog about the inertia that seemed to have overtaken my life. While the disappearance of my neighbor was the catalyst for this, it was not the only cause and not the reason it stuck around for so long. While some early steps helped me move into functionality, I had not yet moved back into energy and joy. I seem to have arrived back at energy and joy, or at least out of sadness and fatigue.

The Spirit has helped me take several steps that have helped. First has been getting my morning devotion routine back thanks to the arrival in the mail of a new book The Balancing Act by Bishop Robert Schnase. It has been just what I needed: reflection based on real life incidents that draw me into deeper thinking about who I am, who God is, and who the Church is. The reflecting has deepened my prayer life as well.

I also took an afternoon and worked (again) through the goal setting activities found in the Franklin-Covey Starter pack. It asks you to identify roles, values, and goals. This was a wonderful way for me to visualize how I wanted my life to be different from what it has been these last few weeks and make a plan to make the changes. The afternoon was spent near the creek in the park and was full of Holy Moments.

Prayer by others has been integral to this process. Last Saturday, I asked my small group to pray for discernment in several decisions I was facing regarding my work, my health, and my family. The first thing that happened was, I received permission I needed to miss some of my residency work to participate in an awesome training opportunity. Decision made. This week, I received a book about migraines in the mail that made it clear what one of the health issue decisions should be. Making that decision gave me courage to get started on the next one.

The other thing that has helped is remembering not to let dread suck up my whole day and energy like a giant vacuum cleaner. I've been doing some "Just Do It" self talk. I had a phone call to make to someone high up in the church, and was worried how it might go, since I was going to call into question a decision she and I had made together only the week before. Thinking it through had brought up some concerns we hadn't considered in our eagerness to get going and I didn't want her to think I am fickle. The phone call went fine. She agreed that we need to re-think this project and didn't say a word about me being fickle. In fact, she stated we are very much on the same page.

Next step: - Get back to the Y. I have a somewhat "normal" schedule next week with no excuses for not going. I haven't been in 2 months.

If you are still reading at the end of this long post, thanks for your interest and your prayers.

How do you deal with inertia?