FEAR

Fear   

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How do you define it?

Here is what the dictionary had to say.

fear

An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.

Fear is also something that can take hold of your imagination (if you have one) and run wild.

It doesn’t tell us the truth about a situation and I find it to be quite an exaggerator.

It is the pessimistic naysayer over all your options.

Fear makes threats it has no power to keep unless we agree with them.

It is the voice that desires for us to color in the lines, stay behind the barricade and not think outside the box.

It is the border bully to the inheritance God has planned for us.

It has a job and it is to keep us from knowing God and experiencing a life that bears the fruit of intimacy & trust.

Fear is just paper chains bragging that they are real.

I have found that it is a lot easier to see ‘fear’ in other people. 

It is much harder to find fear hidden in our excuses.

I am dedicating this year to exposing every little or large amount of fear woven through the decisions in my life.

I will then be exposing that fear to perfect love and sent back to hell where it belongs.

Hope you do the same.

Joy.

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Tender days

 

There was a plan.

Roger and I have been faithfully working on that plan for many years.

The plan was to be debt free. To have our house paid off along with all the debts in our lives.

Now imagine being able to know that the finish line was only a year away and then…..

A young person walks into my house and compliments us on a lovely home and asks me a question, “what brings you back to Lawrenceville?” To which I answer her with our long term goal of being debt free. She then looks at me with her beautiful big shiny eyes full of excitement and curiosity and asks me, “then what?”

I look at her and stutter, “what do you mean, ‘then what ’?” The goal is TO BE DEBT FREE, to which she says, “yeah, that’s awesome, then what”. Can I tell you that my ears started ringing a little bit. My mouth went dry and my heart was beating a little too fast.

All I can think of was, “oh no, there might be some reason we are doing this other than to ENJOY BEING DEBT FREE.” I don’t know why it never entered my brain. To know me is to know that I overthink everything in life. Everything in life is not an exaggeration. Thinking is what I do in my free time and I believe I even do it while I’m sleeping!

It is as if I literally saw a new mountain arise behind the mountain we were currently scaling. The mountain called debt.

Then the wrestle began with the still small voice.

No, no, no, no, no, no, it can’t be that there is another adventure to be had. Another mountain to scale, another B zone to conquer.

God, you do know that I just turned 50 right? That’s oldish if I do say so myself. Not the time to be taking financial risks and doing daring things (I said in my best hobbit voice). It’s time to grow up and enjoy some of the payoff that living right and hard work has to offer.

Then I could sense that heightened awareness of God’s presence wanting to get a word in edge wise. “You were created to live on Mission Rozy”, is what I kept hearing over and over again.

In my younger years I would have done the not so polite thing of putting my metaphoric hands over my ears and start singing lalalalalalalala, I can’t hear you, by choosing busyness and distraction.

But being older and a bit wiser, I know those are just delaying tactics.

It was time for me to just listen to the whisper of possibility, to pull an old dream out of the dusty basement of my soul and remember it.

When I was younger I would dream about having a house where learning and living and thriving could happen. Where people who were worn and tired or just needed to remember the goodness of God could come and be rekindled. A house of bread and wine, of laughter and joy and surrounded by all things beautiful.

“Home is a place of ministry. Redeeming words, thoughts, and actions are shared and taught, the wisdom and instructions of God is passed along, and God’s love is offered to all who come under its influence.” -From the Living Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sarah and Sally Clarkson

I had packed that dream away and tucked it just out of arms reach. But it wasn’t out of the Spirit’s reach.

After much prayer and courageous conversation, Roger and I decided it was time to house hunt again, closer to where I work in Gainesville.

To find a home where souls could flourish. Where our whole family could continue to thrive together.

I’m happy/scared to say that we found one. We are set to close on March 18th and move on the 19th.

Moving is hard on my sentimental soul.

So if you think of me offer up a prayer.

Sky Cottage

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On a lake in Gainesville GA.

The painful beauty of transitions.

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The sea is rolling and churning and I serve as a witness to the turmoil the sand is undergoing in the powerful twisting force of the water. The sand is propelled upward that the water seems filled with sand. Beige water contrasts blue and I stand in awe of the sheer force of the waves.

 

My life transitions remind me of my time in the sea. Relationships that were hard won are now shifting and moving and the result remains to be seen. Makes me so sad for what was but hopeful about what will be.

 

This is what I do know is true. God has a plan and I will be moving into things not away from them. I always mourn. It’s half how I am wired. I give it all away and then grieve but,  I know how to move forward.

 

I just don’t know how to do it and not hurt.  This is what I have learned as silver appears on my crown, some pain is worth the cost.

 

I ask God what will come next for me in life. I can’t see yet. The water of my soul is murky.  Just like the ocean that I am relishing this week. I’m churning and churning and the salt water is stinging my soul eyes.  It will pass and soon my vision will be restored.

 

My water play is just like my life.  You see I had a bout with the sea and the sea won.  It flipped me around and I laughed as I scraped along the bottom and got tossed like a rag doll.  It felt like I was playing with God.  I play catch with him in my spirit and this was a manifestation of our game play but with water.  To experience the expanse of the ocean is probably the only natural thing on earth that can best serve as a metaphor for his sheer greatness.  It can surround me and overwhelm me yet it lifts me and propels me forward or back with great power.  I am lost in its volume yet not lost put part of something so much greater than myself. I worked to stay afloat and above the waves. Some just crested my head and made me laugh with all the bouncing around.  Refreshing and invigorating while also being exhausting and filling.  When I resist the movement of the sea I get pummeled but when I surrender to its rhythm I am thrilled by the wonder of all that movement and sheer force. Lifted beyond what I can possibly do on my own, brought into the depths or out to the shore. 

 

 Yeah sounds God like to me.

 

I surrender in life and in the sea and enjoy my water play with the Creator.

 

 

Soul Care

I just returned from a soul care conference. The conference time was skillfully designed to go from head to heart.  They had teaching time always followed by a time of reflection and the sharing of our sacred ramblings in triads.  The added weight of perspective by people who know you and care for you was powerful. Image how limiting it would be to walk into a dark room with just your candle and try to see every detail of the room but if you can add others in with their candles it’s a game changer.  When trusted sojourners join the process the exercise turns into an exchange of life and deepened awareness both of God and yourself.

 

As I return home to my beloved family and cottage I have this deepened sense of peace and gratitude in my soul.  I smile as I walk from room to room counting my extreme blessings. It’s as if I can see even more beauty around me than ever before. My eyes keep welling up with happy tears. I marvel at the light that baths the walls and spills into the family room.  The breeze that drifts past me while I sit in the shade under a tree whose leaves trap the light and grant me shade.  I realize that I can see and experience more beauty and love because I have removed more darkness from my soul.

 

As I tinker in my flowerbeds dead heading the dahlias and realize how similar this is to our soul excavations.  I view this lovely heap of color with both life and death intermingles in its form. The old finished blooms can actually start to damage the life around it.  I clip away without regret and examine the gorgeous blooms that still raise their heads to the sun. When the process is complete, nothing but life remains. That which cannot contribute must leave. Just like in life we have situations that leave behind messages that can bring us death. When we don’t take the time to examine what to let go, what to keep, and what to learn from, we end up with mixed messages.  The danger to our souls is that we start to carry as much dead thoughts as living ones. Truth becomes intermingled with lies and we often don’t know how to sift our souls for fullness and life.

 

What great lovers of God and man we would all be if we cared for the conditions of our soul.

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The Circles – Control, Influence, Concern

The Circles – Control, Influence, Concern

Life is lived in 3 circles.

What can we control?

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The first circle contains the only thing we can control in the world.

Ourselves!

Problems arise when we exert all our energy on trying to change other people instead of ourselves.  We cannot control all our circumstances or other people.  But if you find yourself often stressed by the behaviors of others you may not understand the power of the circles.

 What people or situations can be influenced?

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Our second circle is a bit larger and is an example of all the things we may have influence over.  We can influence loved ones, friends, and environments.  Anything or anyone that we invest time and energy into can be considered an area that can be influenced.

What areas in life are we concerned about?

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An example of places where we show concern would be world hunger, poverty and injustice.  Anything that doesn’t have your direct involvement and but occupies a place in your thoughts.

Our lives start to spiral out of control when we exert energy and focus on the wrong circle.  We cannot control world events or other people.  It’s a waste of time and energy to focus trying to change anything but ourselves and then our contribution to areas of influence so that they affect our places of concern.

My husband told me about the circles one day when he came home from a conference.  It was a day that I felt like I light bulb went off on top of my head.  I got it!  Most of my frustrations in life came because I had things in the wrong circle.  I spent too much energy trying to control other peoples behaviors and not enough time controlling my thoughts and actions.  I sat down and wrote down the amount of stress or energy I spent on people or situations and then was honest about what part of the circle I had them in.  This was one of the lessons in my life that changed my life for the better.  When I learned to think through the truth of each situation and place it in the right circle, I gained peace and perspective.

So now I offer you my light bulb lesson.

How are you doing with your circles?

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