Getting Back Up

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I’ve got several false starts on blog posts that I’ve written up and then read over and thought ‘ick, I can’t post that’. So here I am on Good Friday, sitting at my desk wondering why in the world it’s been weeks since I posted. Laziness and a lack of inspiration are part of it. March was a difficult month and I couldn’t seem to get myself back into the swing of things.

But on Tuesday Mike Dellosso started an interesting discussion on the 7 Hours Facebook page. He posed the question of what would you do if you lost everything, job, house, family, etc. I commented that I had lost everything before but that God always turned things around for the better. Someone else commented that they would be angry, then sad, and then pick themselves back up again.

That stuck with me. Here I am realizing from past experience that the Lord always brings me through, yet I’m acting like this time things will be different. Like God can’t possible pick me back up again. How ironic is that?

So this Easter, I’m picking myself back up. I can’t keep living like I’m dead. I want to move forward in every aspect of my life instead of just waiting around to see what happens. I’m going to seriously begin pursuing publication again, whether that comes in the form of self-publication or traditional. I’m going to put more effort into promoting authors whose works I believe in. I’m going to put in more effort at work.

And most importantly, I’m going to put my focus back where it belongs, on Christ. He’s the One who makes my life have purpose and meaning. It’s for Him that I write. It’s for Him that I work. And it’s for Him that I live. It’s high time I start acting like it again.

Have you ever found yourself in a position where you didn’t know where to turn? Have you ever landed in a rut and didn’t know how to get out of it?

I can guarantee one thing, sitting and waiting for things to change doesn’t work. God brings the change in us. He performs the miracles. He makes a way for us to live lives pleasing to Him, but we have to pursue Him.

James 4:8 says to draw near to God and He will draw near to you. While it is God who works in us, we also have a job to do. And it’s to look to Him. If we keep our eyes focused on ourselves, we’ll miss where God is working. And you can’t move forward that way.

What better time to draw near (or back) to God than on Easter weekend? This should be a time of great reflecting on exactly what Jesus gave for us so that we could be reconciled to Him. In the face of such love, my minor afflictions don’t really seem that bad.

Taking Back Tomorrow

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I’m going to start this by saying I’m not laying blame on anyone for anything. These are simply facts as I understand them, and I’ve come to realize certain things about myself that I wanted to share.

There was a time when I believed I could do anything. I always loved telling stories, but it didn’t hit me until much later that those stories could be written down, so my dreams as a child looked a bit different than they do now. I wanted to act, or perhaps dance in the ballet. I taught myself to walk on my tiptoes and do pirouettes; though I’m sure they looked pretty awful. The next logical step in my mind was to ask my mom if I could take lessons and so that’s what I did. And she told me one of the worst things you can tell a ten-year old.

“You’re too old for that.”

She was full of helpful advice. I wasn’t very pretty, but I wasn’t ugly, either. I wasn’t the smartest but I wasn’t dumb. My voice was okay if I sang country (she hated country music). I’m sure she meant well and it was probably the way she was raised, but it’s only recently that I realized how big of an impact that had on me.

On top of ‘advice’ she gave me, I was bullied constantly in school until I moved to a small town and attended a high school that was too small for social groups. You either got along with everyone or you were an outcast. And we all got along fairly well, thank the Lord.

All that to say, on recollection, my mother probably did the most damage to my way of thinking about what I was capable of. When other kids tell you you’re not good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough, it hurts; when your own mother tells you that – no matter how kindly – it leaves a scar for life.

As I said at the beginning, I’m not trying to run my mother into the ground. I loved her then and I still love and miss her now. We all make mistakes. No parents are perfect because no people are perfect. And I’m almost positive that I wouldn’t be a very good mother at all. I’m simply stating facts. What is, is; and what was, was. No matter how good or bad, it can’t be changed.

The point to all of this is that sometimes we have aspects of our personalities that are either good or bad and we have no clue how we came to have them. For me, I’ve always wondered why I was so self-conscious and lacked confidence. Now, I have a better understanding of how I came to be the way I am, and that helps some.

I believed I couldn’t do anything not because I couldn’t do anything, but because I’d let it seep into my head that I couldn’t. I’d never actually tried. I was too afraid of failure to try, and I’ll never get anywhere like that.

So I threw myself out there a week or so ago and left a job I hated for one that – so far – is a million times better. I’ve never worked in sales before and I’m excited about learning and trying new things. Although the hours are long and the job competitive, it has its perks. Another bonus to this job is that I can still write and network while not with customers. I could never do that at any job I had before.

It’s amazing to think about how much time I wasted believing I’d always have to work jobs I hated because I couldn’t do anything else. Sometimes the most frightening thing to do can be doing the thing we want the most. For me I’ve had to stretch far out of my comfort zone in the last couple of months. And in doing those scary things (starting a blog and going for a job unlike any I ever had, to name a couple) I’ve taken back tomorrows that I thought I could never have. It’s true, anything is possible.

Have you made a leap of faith into taking back your tomorrows? What have you done and how is it going?

Starting Over

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Last week I was worrying about getting a job. This week I’m looking at starting work on Thursday. Yet one more in a long list of examples of how faithful God is. One day you’d think I’d learn to trust Him like I should. While I wasted time worrying, He knew there was a job waiting for me.

So here I am, soon to be employed for the first time in three years and I’m contemplating what it means to start over. For some very good writings on this topic, check out Jeff Goins’ Writing and Michael Perkins’ Handwritten.

I thought I had ‘starting over’ down. After all, I did it all the time. But when I really analyzed what I was doing, it wasn’t starting over; it was going back.

To get clean I moved back to Memphis (my grandmother’s).

To find a ‘new’ place, I moved back in with one of my sister’s.

To get things right with my parents I moved back to my home town.

To help my grandmother I moved back to Memphis… again.

To get sober I once again moved in with my parents.

To deal with stress I used to go back to drinking.

To deal with stress now I have a tendency to fall back into bad thinking. (Which doesn’t really help deal with stress.)

To get out of bad thinking I go back to what I think helped in the past; but if it had helped, the issue would have been solved.

It’s time for me to really learn what starting over means, and to learn what it will really take to start over. I did some research on what God thinks of starting over, as it turns out He’s the author of it! I found quite a few verses on starting new, this is just one of them.

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19

I want something new. Not just something new but something God driven and inspired. Truly starting over takes something I lack – courage. Fear has held me back for a long time, and if I want to live a life worth something I have to stop giving into fear. So I suppose my first step on the road to starting over is letting go of fear and doing something whether I think I’m smart enough, educated enough, or ‘good’ enough. Is there a ‘Starting Over for Dummies’ book? If not, someone needs to write one! That would be extremely helpful.

Have you started anything new lately? If so, what’s your motivation and how is it going?

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