Anywhere but here: What about when God says "Stay"?

It's our last week of summer, and we are spending it just how any suburban family dreams to: being struck down by Hand Foot and Mouth Virus...aka Leprosy. (See also: the plague.) Two of the kids have it for sure and at the time of writing this Peter just called up from giving the baby a bath to tell me he is pretty sure there are sores forming around Titus' mouth. So that's awesome. I think I will just shimmy out this third floor window and run away. Think anyone will notice?

This might be the right time to confess something. I am a total quitter. When it comes to fight or flight, I think I was skipped over for the fight gene. I am a runner. And I don't mean exercising. My running consists more of hiding or useless coping mechanisms or flat out quitting. When the stuff of life piles on, I slink down under it. So I guess that makes me a slinker too. Whatever that is. Quitting gets a little harder when you have a brood of kids, so I have had to learn to fight a little, but its mostly done dramatically, sulkily and with no shortage of martyrdom. 

At different times in my life the stuff has gotten so thick around me that the tension of it is palpable. I feel a desperate need to escape it all. The pressure of it all is squeezing me so tight, that I just want to pop myself out of its grip and scurry away, like the poor Rabbit my daughter almost strangled. That bunny waited for just one more tight squeeze around the middle, used the force of her throttle to propel itself and then jumped head long. That bunny bolted for some greener pasture. There are moments or seasons where I just feel overcome by the need to escape.

When Depression and Anxiety were holding me captive. This past year when things were kind of horrendous at Peter's job and we had no idea how we would pay for our life. When my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Anywhere but here. 

Hard Dreams: Olympic and Otherwise

We are pretty big Olympics fans in our house, in case my posts on social media have not made that clear. We have trained for the the last four years to get ourselves in condition to sit on the couch for five hours straight every night like a true American, and occasionally during the day if the right events are on...or if there is a sink full of dishes to avoid. We in the sports world call this "two a days". And guys, its not for the weak. This is where it is important to stay hydrated, take stretch breaks as you fast forward through commercials (a DVR is one of the perks of being a wife of a cable man) and make sure you are eating Olympic size snacks. Gotta fuel up. Our training also includes time invested in reading articles about returning athletes, newbies and obscure athletes in obscure sports that have backstories that may make you shed a tear. Education is key. We aren't super political ( as in we hover somewhere around "let's never talk about politics ever or I might pretend to be choking on an imaginary meatball just to skirt the conversation") but we earn big patriotism points by doing our part in supporting our athletes. Its the least we can do, really.

We promised our kids we would have an Olympic viewing party. Since NBC gives us a little snack of the events we actually want to see and then ropes us into to staying awake until the wee-hours to watch tape delays of the other half of said desirable events (its like they have some marketing gurus over there at NBC or something!) we knew the best way to do this would be to use the trusty old DVR and watch the gymnastics final a day late with the kids. (Peter and I watched it live. I mean what are we, communists?!)

Last night was the night. Since you weren't there to witness it, let me paint a picture of the scene for you. We went shopping for red, white and blue themed snacks. We busted out the glow sticks leftover from the 4th of July debacle. We ate pizza on beach towels on the floor in our PJs. Real classy stuff because #merica. Let's just say that for a moment in time Peter and I were gold medal Olympic fans and gold medal parents. Watch out Michael Phelps. You might be an okay swimmer but we can watch you swim with the best of 'em. And Boomer might have some snazzy noise canceling headphone thingys, but my kids are wearing almost clean pajamas and sitting on not at all clean beach towels...which, strangely enough, might be cleaner than the floor they're on. So yeah.

As Peter and I climbed onto the podium there were kids clamoring at us, waving hands up at us like something out of a 90's R&B song. There were tears. Signs made in our honor complete with hearts and pledges of undying love. Guys, Peter might actually have enough supporters to run for president on a third party ticket. (That is my only political mention. If you try to engage me further I will find the nearest patriotic party meatball and gag myself with it.) The kids were making bold claims, ones I may have documented to rub their faces in later  look back on fondly. At the mere mention of pizza we were dubbed "the best parents in the whole world". As ridiculous as that title is, it felt good for a minute. And all it cost us was a cheap pizza and some stale bulk gummies in patriotic colors.

 As I heard the absurdity of "best mom EVVERRRR", I may have smiled coyly, blushed and fanned myself a little, but inside I was thinking "what about all the other stuff I do for you? The things you don't even notice, or worse yet the things you fight against or whine about? The things that are really way more of a sacrifice of love than a floor pizza party? I mean I didn't even let you on the furniture for goodness sakes! You are only saying these things because right now the gift feels and tastes good!" 

To Be Still or To Slay (and a question for you)

Lately I have been working on something that has me giving a lot of thought and research to seasons of suffering and waiting. There is so much to say about these topics, from equally as many perspectives. I would love to hear a little bit of yours! (Read on for how you can help me and earn my undying love.)

The hardest thing for me about waiting, you know other than the whole impatient "I want it now and I hate not knowing when it is coming or even if it is coming" thing,   is the constant tension between being still and doing something.

It appears to be most obvious to me as I peruse social media. I scroll down my feed and read hand scripted verses like Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God" or Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still". Like. Like. 

Then I scroll a little further and I see bold, italicized quotes that tell me to get it done, live a life of purpose, dream big, hustle, give excuses a round-house kick to the face, drink 5 gallons of water a day, be a warrior, be fierce, slay. Like. Like. Like.  

You guys. My feed is straight up confusing. I mean, I don’t know if I am entirely sure I know what "slay" even means. I am pretty sure that I don't slay nearly as much as I like to use the word in conversation, just to see people's reactions.  But other than not being up on pop culture, I am confused because now I am wondering, am I supposed to be still and let God fight for me? Or am I supposed to get it done on purpose without excuses but with lots of hustle like the fierce fully hydrated warrior I am?  And for the love of chocolate covered pretzels, how can I slay if I am stopping for as many bathroom breaks as 5 gallons of water would require? 

See? Confusing right? 

This isn't a a new struggle for me. I have been trying to figure this one out for years. It is not just the Internet that seems to contradict itself on this one. I can back up both the thought of being still and thought of doing with scripture. I already mentioned two verses for team "Be still" (Psalm 46:10 and Exodus 14:14). Team "Just do it" (not sponsored by Nike) has plenty of scripture to support its side too. There is imagery of war and commands to take action throughout scripture. 

Ephesians 6:11-18 tells us  
"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the Devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand, Stand firm then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace. In addition to this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God. And pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind; be alert and always keep on praying for all of God's people."

I think we all feel more comfortable suiting up for one team or another, especially during seasons of waiting. also think sometimes we end up on a team for the wrong reasons and if we are not careful we can use scripture to defend our sinful tendencies. More on that later. 

So, my question for you is this:  Especially during seasons of waiting, what team do you find yourself on most naturally- "Team Be Still" or "Team Just do it"? And why do you think that is? 

Okay, I guess that was two questions, but I would love you forever, maybe even more than chocolate covered pretzels, if you would let me hear your thoughts! Email me, Direct Message me, Comment on the blog or on Facebook, whatever you gotta do. I promise to keep your words/identity confidential, unless given permission. Thank you in advance for trusting me with your hearts on this; you will be such a help to me! 

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