Day 14: Delayed Arrival

Here’s another post from the archives, written last November.

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I recently posted this on Twitter: “Last night [my two-year-old] successfully wore undies to bed! WE ARE DIAPER FREE!!!!!!!”

Guess what’s happened since then? We’ve gone back to night diapers and had a day time accident nearly every day.

I recently wrote Change is Possible — a post about feeling like I had accomplished so much by not quitting my running plan, even though it got tough. I got up extra early to run at a time when I had plenty of excuses to not follow through.

And you know what? No, I didn’t quit. But, I did realize that I had not arrived. Just because I had a sense of accomplishment didn’t mean that I was finished. There is still work to do. There are still days to run before I “complete” the running program. I still have to set my alarm, put on my shoes (and extra layers, a hat and gloves — brrrr it’s cold in the morning), and go run.

I am always a work in progress. I will never arrive. And just when I think I have, someone is going to pee in their pants.

“… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

There is comfort in that verse. God is working, and will continue to work, until we are finished.

But sometimes I find that verse discouraging. Sometimes I just want to arrive. I want to be complete. I embrace the “Learning. Growing. Becoming.” catch-phrase at the top of my blog, but sometimes I want it to say “Learned. Grown. Became.” It sounds grammatically awkward, and it’s also not humanly possible.

I understand that I am a work in progress — and so are you — but I easily get frustrated with what I haven’t learned. I recognize I’m learning some valuable life lesson, and I wonder why I’m just learning it now? Why did I not “get it” at some earlier time? How is it that it’s taken me 30 some years to see some issue so basic to my own personality? Why have I never understood some issue so basic to maintaining a good relationship? Why have I not grasped a concept so basic to the nature of God?

It is easy to get stuck looking at what I don’t know, don’t do or don’t understand. This is something I find myself doing often. (One of those personality things I’m just realizing about  myself.)

I actually started writing this post a few weeks ago, but then I got stuck with feeling so “un-arrived” that I wasn’t sure where to go with it. In the last few weeks, potty training has improved and I finished my running plan. (Woo hoo!) I feel confident in saying that my daughter is potty trained and in saying that I have learned to run. The truth is, there really hasn’t been an “arrival” in either of those areas. We do still have an occasional potty accident, and I still need to exercise on a regular basis and sign up to actually run in a race. (My Facebook status the other day: Woo hoo! I finished Couch to 5K! Now to keep from heading back to the couch …)

The only thing that has changed is my perspective. I’m not trying to “arrive,” I’m just thankful that I’ve moved from where I was. I’m not changing diapers and I’m not being a couch potato. Sure, I’m still going to clean up some accidents, and yes, I still have some (a lot) of work to do before I reach my fitness goals, but I have to stop and look at how far I have already come.

This is a key principle that I’m seeing as I read thru the Bible. In the Old Testament, the Israelites built altars or stone monuments in a place where God had shown up and saved them or provided for them. They put up the stones to help tell others that this was a place where they saw God, but it was also a way to remind themselves of how God had worked. In the New Testament, people often quote scripture or tell stories of Abraham, Moses and others. Those stories of God’s provision are central to their faith and current situations.

I must learn to do the same!  I have to look at the things I have already learned, many things that have become so much a part of my life that I rarely even notice them. I have to remember what God has already revealed to me and how much He has already worked in my life.

Yes, I can see how some life lessons would have been better learned years ago, but I also have confidence that ” … He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion.” I have many more lessons to learn. My arrival is delayed indefinitely. And that is OK.

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Delayed Arrival

I recently posted this on Twitter: “Last night [my two-year-old] successfully wore undies to bed! WE ARE DIAPER FREE!!!!!!!”

Guess what’s happened since then? We’ve gone back to night diapers and had a day time accident nearly every day.

I recently wrote Change is Possible — a post about feeling like I had accomplished so much by not quitting my running plan, even though it got tough. I got up extra early to run at a time when I had plenty of excuses to not follow through.

And you know what? No, I didn’t quit. But, I did realize that I had not arrived. Just because I had a sense of accomplishment didn’t mean that I was finished. There is still work to do. There are still days to run before I “complete” the running program. I still have to set my alarm, put on my shoes (and extra layers, a hat and gloves — brrrr it’s cold in the morning), and go run.

I am always a work in progress. I will never arrive. And just when I think I have, someone is going to pee in their pants.

“… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

There is comfort in that verse. God is working, and will continue to work, until we are finished.

But sometimes I find that verse discouraging. Sometimes I just want to arrive. I want to be complete. I embrace the “Learning. Growing. Becoming.” catch-phrase at the top of my blog, but sometimes I want it to say “Learned. Grown. Became.” It sounds grammatically awkward, and it’s also not humanly possible.

I understand that I am a work in progress — and so are you — but I easily get frustrated with what I haven’t learned. I recognize I’m learning some valuable life lesson, and I wonder why I’m just learning it now? Why did I not “get it” at some earlier time? How is it that it’s taken me 30 some years to see some issue so basic to my own personality? Why have I never understood some issue so basic to maintaining a good relationship? Why have I not grasped a concept so basic to the nature of God?

It is easy to get stuck looking at what I don’t know, don’t do or don’t understand. This is something I find myself doing often. (One of those personality things I’m just realizing about  myself.)

I actually started writing this post a few weeks ago, but then I got stuck with feeling so “un-arrived” that I wasn’t sure where to go with it. In the last few weeks, potty training has improved and I finished my running plan. (Woo hoo!) I feel confident in saying that my daughter is potty trained and in saying that I have learned to run. The truth is, there really hasn’t been an “arrival” in either of those areas. We do still have an occasional potty accident, and I still need to exercise on a regular basis and sign up to actually run in a race. (My Facebook status the other day: Woo hoo! I finished Couch to 5K! Now to keep from heading back to the couch …)

The only thing that has changed is my perspective. I’m not trying to “arrive,” I’m just thankful that I’ve moved from where I was. I’m not changing diapers and I’m not being a couch potato. Sure, I’m still going to clean up some accidents, and yes, I still have some (a lot) of work to do before I reach my fitness goals, but I have to stop and look at how far I have already come.

This is a key principle that I’m seeing as I read thru the Bible. In the Old Testament, the Israelites built altars or stone monuments in a place where God had shown up and saved them or provided for them. They put up the stones to help tell others that this was a place where they saw God, but it was also a way to remind themselves of how God had worked. In the New Testament, people often quote scripture or tell stories of Abraham, Moses and others. Those stories of God’s provision are central to their faith and current situations.

I must learn to do the same!  I have to look at the things I have already learned, many things that have become so much a part of my life that I rarely even notice them. I have to remember what God has already revealed to me and how much He has already worked in my life.

Yes, I can see how some life lessons would have been better learned years ago, but I also have confidence that ” … He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion.” I have many more lessons to learn. My arrival is delayed indefinitely. And that is OK.

Song for a Savior

We are going through the book of Luke during Sunday morning sermons at our church right now. I was really struck by Mary’s response after being told she would carry and deliver the Son of God. While none of us will get the honor of giving birth to the Savior of the world, those of us who are Christians have Christ living in us! Mary’s song can really be our song, too.

Mary’s Song

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”

— Luke 1:46-55

Balance

I’m dusting off my “pen” for a challenge for the year. My friend Mandy for the past few years has picked a word for the year. I think she got the idea from someone else, and has been spreading the idea through her blog. [Update: the word for the year thing started with Ali Edwards, a scrapbooking/art/creative blogger.] It’s been a way to learn about something, focus on something for the year.

I had an unofficial word for the year last year, in that I picked a word but never publicly discussed it. My word was discipline. How exciting, I know! It wasn’t magical or anything, but I was amazed how much it came up in my Bible reading, in Bible study, in random things I read online, even in some classes I took. I won’t bore you with all that I learned, but the most important thing I learned is that discipline brings freedom. My natural tendency is to think of the opposite. I’m also very sloooooow at implementing things in my life, so I plan to continue dealing with discipline in 2010.

My word for this year is the title of the post: balance. I’m always thinking I need more balance in my life. It seems like I sometimes have a one-track mind. Whatever is most pressing on my “to-do list” (I put that in quotes because I rarely have a written list, but there is a long list in my mind) gets my full attention. I wish things could be a little less stressful and a little more peaceful, and some balance seems to need to be in order. But, I also wonder if balance is really something worth striving for. I mean, it sounds all nice, kind of warm and fuzzy, but life isn’t always so predictable or simple. Is it even possible to have a life that is completly balanced? And is that really what God wants from me?

I’ve been drawn to these verses lately: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I suspect this verse will be key in discovering what God wants from my life … finding rest in Him, taking on the work He has for my life (His yoke) and learning from Him.

This leads to my other pursuit of the year, which is to read through the entire Bible. I’ve never done this. I am determined to do it this year. I’ve tried before and given up. I think my motives were wrong before. It was more of a checklist thing. Something I could cross off my “what good Christians should do” list. It was also an information gathering mission in the past, simply to obtain head knowledge. My desire this time is to simply know God. To let Him speak to me through His Word.

And, I’m not going to get hung up in the fact that I’m already a day behind! ha ha! January 1st was spent battling a stomach virus. Ugh! The plan I’m using is from The Discipleship Journal, and it has 25 readings per month, so there are days built in to catch up or do further study. Each day’s reading has a reading from the Gospels, another book in the New Testament, a Psalm or Proverb, and the Old Testament. It provides some variety, which is nice when treading through some of the Old Testament.

So, here we go 2010! I’m excited to jump in!