Saturday, January 19, 2013

Don't Kid Yourself!

There are a few things I really enjoy in life. Some are hobbies and some are part of my work. Some I enjoy more than others. I suspect a lot of us are like that. I find myself every now and then telling one of my children life can't always be about what we like to do, sometimes we have to do things we don't like in order to be able to do the things we do like. Every job has its tasks we enjoy and then there are those we least enjoy.

But what if in your everyday life you spent more time doing the things you don't enjoy doing and less of the things you do enjoy doing? What do you do?

I read a blog someone posted called How to Tell if You're Kidding Yourself   and I found it enlightening. It's all about asking yourself thoughtful questions to help you sort out whether or not you need to make changes in your life. I wondered how those questions fit into a life all about doing God's will and seeking His guidance in choosing a career or following a calling. I want to keep it in perspective. Gene Wilkes said,

"We live in a culture where the individual has been moved to the centre of the universe."

I don't want it to be about just me, however, I believe God made each of us as individuals and finding His will for my life in the context of how He made me is a valid activity. So here are two of the several questions she suggests we ask ourselves.

#1. What were my top three moments of the past year?

So, this past year has not been a normal year for me. I had to sort out the times of grief from moving away from my family, the stress and pressure from realizing my kids weren't coping the greatest with the change and the moving back and all the drama that brought with it. So what were the highlights in the past year for me?

First, the action at Christmas and the Social Services Conference in Phoenix were highlights. I love crowds and excitement. My favourite.

Another were the several moments that I enjoyed socially. While in London we were able to have a social life and had time to make friends. The people we met in London were wonderful and we felt included and surrounded by community. Several times come to mind that were fun, but the "start the car, start the car!" moment with Jill tops out as the most fun moment of the year.

Making knitted toys for the grandchildren! I loved their reactions and the toys were so darn cute! I  love being creative. I get the same feeling when someone reads one of my articles and says, "I loved your article!" I know, so narcissistic!

#2  What were my three least favorite moments of the past year?

These are not supposed to be monumental moments, but things that really drag you down on a regular basis, the part of your daily routine you just don't like and "suck the life out of you."  Again, this was hard because my year was filled with so much personal stress and grief, but after some thinking for a few days I came up with three.

First, day in and day out, boring routine. I really dislike having to do the same things over and over again.

Second, I can't work sitting in an office by myself. I can't focus and get lonely!

Third, I can't settle when I know my kids are not in a good place physically, mentally and emotionally. All our staff knew we were struggling and told us never to play poker!

When I look at these two questions and think about my gifts and talents, personality and temperament I'm not surprised at my answers. I didn't answer her other questions (you can go to the blog post and see for yourself) as I found this was enough for me to evaluate myself.

So what were my conclusions:

It all begins and ends with family!
1. Next to God, family is #1. If all is not right there, I'm no good to anyone.

2. Routine is boring, crowds are delightful, new projects are inspiring. I need action and people around me - at work and socially.

3. Creativity is vital for my mental health and quality of life. More knitting and writing! Perhaps a book!

I'm praying that God will bring more of what energizes me into my life. I'm also praying for less of those times when I have to do those boring, routine tasks and for His grace when I have to do them. 

What energizes you? What sucks the life out of you? If you ask yourself these questions and find out the answers, what are you going to do about it?

grace... Kathie

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

A new year.  A new focus. A new look.

I'm glad it's a new year. 2012 was an eventful year for my family. We moved to London, Ontario in 2011 and in that one year made new friends and had some wonderful experiences. But only a few of us went - myself and Ed and our two youngest boys. We left the girls and their husbands and eight grandchildren, and our oldest son behind. I didn't think I'd be able to do it, but in spite of the intense grief, I was able to be present in my ministry and enjoy the challenges it presented. We learned a lot about ourselves and what we can accomplish.

However, we failed to realize how our choice would impact those we love and value the most, and in that, we learned what is most important to us. It's one thing to say what your priorities are and another thing to actually live them out. This year we learned how important is is to live out our priorities and what the consequences to ours and our family's emotional and mental health are when we make choices that deviate from them. We grew in many ways and learned the hard way to walk the talk.

God, first.  Family, second. Ministry/Work, third.

And now we're back in BC experiencing the blessing of leading High Point Community Church and enjoying it very much.

What would you be willing to give up in order to walk your talk?

Deep within each one of us is the answer to this question. You and I know the answer - and it's different for everyone. Sometimes our human desires cloud our thoughts and get in the way of seeing and hearing that answer. If you think you would never make a decision that would compromise your priorities in life - think again. It can be confusing to know just what God wants for us. There are so many conflicting messages that come at us - from friends, family and spiritual leaders. For me, I admit I'm still learning how to sort through the chatter and hear the voice of God - that still small voice - for it's the one that speaks truth to me.

I want to live in God's truth - authentically - the way He has revealed it to me - for my life. I think my ministry will grow as a result of living that way.

No, actually, I'm sure it will.

Every once in a while we all need a new focus. So this year I'm turning the dial, clicking the remote and changing the station. For me, it will be the equivalent to going from the chatter of a constant news channel to pbs and a calmer conversation. I want to talk less. I want to react less. I want to listen more - to others, to myself... to God. I want to pray more. I want to take time to be still and experience silence. Not just regular silence, but productive silence. I'm not sure if I can do this, but I'm going to try. I started this morning and I hope I can keep it up. Send me a link to this page if you see me veering from this path!

The New Year is a time for renewal, new beginnings, new thoughts and new adventures. I've had enough adventures for now, but definitely need a reboot.

A new look is important. Sometimes it's a new hair style, a new wardrobe or maybe a new house or car. For me, it's just a new look on this blog. I saw this background with books and since it's my goal to write one (one day soon, I hope) , I thought perhaps this would inspire me to write more. (Well, I have been writing for the Salvationist this winter and it's been nice to get a few encouraging comments through email, however, none of this year's columns have made it to the website.) Anyway, let's hope the new look brings the hoped for inspiration.

What about you? What is it you need for 2013?

grace.... Kathie