Not being a big grizzly bear while I wait

If you are just joining, welcome! I am super glad you are here! I have been talking a bit about waiting as it relates to the season of Advent. I've chronicled a bit of what God is impressing on me here, here and here.

 Maybe you're like me and you're familiar with waiting. If so, you know that waiting has this weird way about it, in that at times while it feels like you are doing absolutely NOTHING AT ALL you simultaneously feel utterly exhausted. It is the strangest thing to feel stuck & restless while also feeling weary & spent. I don't think waiting is anyone's favorite. Yet, I am learning that the waiting moments-the in-between moments-seem to be some of God's favorite tools in my life. (Maybe if I had figured this out sooner, I would have spent less time of my life waiting..."Okay, God. I think I've got it. Let's move it along here." See, I still haven't come to my complete peace with waiting.)

 I think one of the reasons I struggle with waiting the most is because I value comfort too highly...that and I am a recovering control-freak. I have this self-centered fear that I will become too worn out. I am a weak person by nature. I get sick easily. I have had my share of mental health struggles. I suffer from migraines if I don't eat right and get enough sleep. And speaking of sleep, I am pretty sure I require more than the average literally...more than a bear. I could easily sleep all winter. 

 So, a lot of my growing-up years my parents tried to make sure I did what needed to be done to keep from "wearing out". As an adult my kind husband has kind of taken over this roll. How many times in my life have I heard "Did you drink enough water today?" "Have you eaten lunch?" I know they mean well. My people are so caring. But what I am trying to say is, due to the way I am made & the entirety of my life there being voices making sure I am well taken care of, I have developed this unhealthy, self-centered fear of being stretched too thin & becoming sick or weak. I have become self-protective. I don't want to schedule too much into my days or weeks. I guard my resources a little too closely. 

This is something God has been working on with me for a while. I am slowly developing new patterns of giving more of myself and allowing God to fill me back up. In times of waiting I fear becoming weary & spent. I see myself teetering with the weight of all the waiting. And I become guarded. I try to hoard my "resources" in a way that actually resembles a bear getting ready to hibernate. Lately, God has been working on me hard, as I have mentioned in previous posts. And it is exactly the opposite of comfortable. He is teaching me the true meaning of faith- that faith equals obedience. It is not a feeling. It is not just words saying I trust God. It is actually putting feet to those words and walking the unstable, sometimes treacherous path of obedience-one feeble step at a time. One way where God is knocking me over the head  tenderly nudging me toward obedience, is this area of generosity. Generosity- the exact opposite of hoarding, guarding, self-protecting. 

New bloggy stuff and a GIVEAWAY!

So, this is something I have waited a long time for, people! I have had this blog name spinning in my head for almost two years. And this place was in need of a facelift too. Today is the day! I am so excited to share the changes to my corner of the internet. And that is not the only thing I am sharing. There is also a giveaway, as promised!

 I don't make anything pretty enough to give away (except my kids, but most days I would like to keep them), so instead I am using straight up bribery by offering you cold hard gift card to the happiest place on earth: Target AND a bunch of high fives. Check below to see how you can enter to win $50 to spend on throw pillows & Nate Berkus decor... or diapers & socks (totally up to you) and get slapped up by me.

A new thing in the waiting and evidence that God is kind of creepy

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You guys, let me tell you how creepy God is. I know this sounds super-duper blasphemous, but I swear its only a little bit blasphemous. I have been paging through the Bible with "waiting" on my radar. And since this IS Christmas & Advent & all that I figured I would take a gander at all the people involved in the Christmas story to see if any of them had anything to say about waiting (spoiler alert: they totally do). Anyways, I started reading about Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth-Jesus' Uncle and Aunt. They have always intrigued me and now even more so since looking at them through this new lens of waiting & weariness. I was getting further aquainted with their story on my own and then they popped up in my Bible study reading too. Creepy God stuff. I mean its not quite to "the call is coming from inside the house" level. So,I guess God is actually more cool & sovereign than creepy, but whatever you call it, it made me take even closer notice of these characters in Jesus' story.

Quick run down of Zechariah and Elizabeth-  In Luke 1:6-7 it says of Zechariah and Elizabeth that "they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statues of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years". Yet we know them now as the parents of John the Baptist: Jesus' eccentric, fur wearin', honey comb lovin', Messiah preachin' cousin.

Our weary waiting work, my 3 year old climbing out a 2nd story window and references to jolly obesity

A couple days ago I shared in this post that I was weary of waiting, but that during this Advent season of waiting and anticipating I wanted to wait well, to rejoice in my weariness. I have been humbled and bubbly with happiness at how my thoughts and experiences have resonated with so many of you. People have reached out to me and let me know how encouraging it was to hear (or I guess read) that someone else gets what they too are feeling. "Misery loves company" and I guess weariness does too.

It can be hard to admit that we are weary. We live in a world where hustle is preached & and quick results are emphasized. A world where strength is admirable and weakness is deplorable. We are supposed to do what makes us happy, without really counting the cost. ( I have thought about this before.) I think all these ways of thinking set up us for weariness, but we are hesitant to share those feelings, especially this time of year where everything & everyone is supposed to be so jolly that their bellies shake like bowls full of jelly. (I think I have the belly shaking part down, but that's for other reasons besides Christmas cheer. Why is that image only endearing when referring to Santa or a child under the age of 2?). We are afraid to admit, possibly even to ourselves, that we feel the heaviness of emotional exhaustion at Christmas time...the most wonderful time of the year. At it's best it seems silly. And at its worst- sac-religious. I mean it's Jesus' birthday people. Get it together already.

Advent: weary waiting

This week began just the way most every week does-with the promise of mundane, assurance of impending messiness and the anticipation of the unknown. But if I am being honest, "anticipation" often feels like a bit of a stretch, if not a complete lie. Some times the unknown fills me with fear or dread. And sometimes the mundane, the messiness and the "tyranny of the urgent" completely overshadow thoughts of anticipating anything at all. Although this week began as many weeks before it, it also dawned a little differently this time because on Tuesday Advent began. And Advent is all about anticipation. Surely this week would be different. The unknown would not seem scary or intimidating or worrisome. The mundane and the messy would be glossed over by the bright, shiny hope that Advent brings. Yep, this week would be different. I could feel it.

But for some reason no matter how many evergreen boughs or shiny glass balls you hang,  no matter how much glitz is lining shelves and mantles (and left to be vacuumed up off your living room floor), no matter how many pieces of decor say "joy" or "peace" or "hope", you just can't manufacture those feelings. While the world counts down the days till Christmas, I find myself feeling stuck. I see the days passing. I see each character finding its place on our Advent Calender. But nothing inside me changes.

Maybe you can relate. Maybe Advent (the 25 days leading up to Christmas) has often felt like a bit of a drag to you, or a bit of a gimmick, or maybe you smile but inside you are convinced this season is only something exciting for kids. Or for you the countdown feels all too real, but instead of the anticipation building with each day that goes by, the anxiety grows because in your mind this countdown looks less like a merry advent calender and more like a ticking bomb.

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