Monday, October 1, 2012

Exercise. Anyone who knows me, knows how much this word and the act of, makes me cringe. There are many reasons I dont like it. Most of which are flat out pathetic excuses to not do something that is good for me. Why go to the gym where I know I will become sweaty, sore and tired; when I can sit on the couch, eat delicous unhealthy food and laugh while watching an episode of friends.
The biggest draw back to getting off my butt is because I am afraid (there is that word again) of the pain. The physical pain of being out of shape and the emotional pain of realizing how much work (ie physical pain) its going to take to get into shape.

I'm taking a class at my church called A Grace Experience. Its a class for women only on just that, Grace. Accepting and recieving. One doesnt need grace unless they have messed up. This class will allow us the opportunity to be open and honest with one another about areas we fall short, allowing our group to speak in us in truth and grace. Also read: EXERCISES that painfully and akwardly force us to share our crap...then something about truth and grace yada yada yada.

Each week, I have gone not wanting to be there. Its those exercises that bring fear (oh, hey there). Its because I know it will be painful. Who wants to talk about ways they have failed. Areas they are weak. Sin. It sucks. It hurts. Ive spent a life time trying to avoid it and in doing so, I have made it that much more painful.

As I was driving home from last weeks meeting thinking about how hard it is to be vulnerable with others a random story popped into my head. Actually, not random at all. Im believing that it was a God moment to help me understand what and why Im doing that.

Date: Some year while I was in elementary school
Location: The blacktop. Lunch time

I was never very good at sports- still am not. I was never fast enough, agile enough, or just plain talented enough. And that was ok. Im the one who likes to watch from the sidelines (and maybe that was why!). Im the one who "votes" for a team and confuses basetball and football teams.

Dodgeball was a staple during recess. I actually liked playing. I will still occasionally tell this story to showcase my cleverness. (HA)

Whenever I was on the team that was inside the circle, I would always stand as close to the edge as I could. The other team assumed 1. I was already out. or 2. I was on their team. Therefore they never threw the ball at me. After they thought they'd hit the final person Id jump out and be declared the victor!

Some thought it was a brilliant strategy. Others were mad because I wanst really playing the game. And they were right. I wasnt playing. I was in just enough not to be out. Being on the edge saved me from being hit. I didnt have to face the disappointment of being the first out...because I always was. This way I didnt have to be knocked down.

Cleverness had nothing to do with it. It was only because know one ever knew what team I was really on. I've spent my life not letting outehr know who I am. I particiapted just enough to give the impression that I am known. I do what I can from being knocked down and showing Im not good enough. I sit on the edge and watch as others live life, stepping in the circle only when necessary and pulling myself out as soon as I can.

Ive been spectating the game of life. Fear (old friend!) keeps me on the side. I need to learn that yes, I will be knocked down, hurt and at times not good enough. But Im not playing the game alone. My teammates are wanting to come alongside me. By not participating I miss out on THEM! I miss letting them help me up. And I forfit their ability to use their God given abilities.

Lord help me to risk and move to the center of the circle.

Do It Afraid

Do It Afraid! This was the title of a blog I read. Fear is always there, until it isn’t. We think we have conquered it, until it rears its head again. It should not be part of my vocabulary. But it is. A regular part. It’s always in my thoughts. Always lingering. Always louder. Always dictating how I act, what I say, what I do. "Once you give fear a second glance, it grows and begins to shade every area of life with grey suspicion. It becomes a kind of twisted permission to not do anything"

 Fear is not who I am. It is not part of me. It is actually the opposite of who God says I am. But it still controls me. It’s the voice I pay the most attention to. And I am learning that at the root of it (as with so many other areas of my life) I listen to it because I don’t trust the still small voice.

 Skydiving is dumb. Let’s be honest, why would anyone willingly jump out of a perfectly good plane?! Never in a million years would I have ever though I would be saying yes to it, let alone following through. And most people who hear about it have the same response. YOU?! But I was tired of letting fear rule my life.

 In a moment (a fleeting moment) of bravery, I said yes. Everything in me screamed NO! Actually the fear screamed No. A small (very small) part of me wanted to be brave, to be bold, to just jump and stop listening to that voice. So I paid my deposit. And the voice got louder. I wanted to back out. I thought of every excuse I could. And oddly enough it was my pride that wouldn't allow it, along with some friendly encouragement.

 The more I thought about it and thought of ways out of it, I began to see this as symbolic for me spiritually. My prayer for a while has been asking God what’s next? And I often wonder how many times he has given me an answer but I just haven’t heard it because I am so attune to hearing and thinking that I can't do whatever it may be. Its safer right where I am. I think to myself, YOU?!

 If I am 100% honest, I don’t completely trust who God is. I don’t trust that He knows what he is doing. If I did, I know my life would look different. I wouldn’t be afraid! I want to trust. I want to go, do, say whatever he asks of me. I want to jump, trusting that he will catch me and enjoy the exhilarating, beautiful fall into my father’s arms.

 Jump day came. I have never been more terrified of a 10-minute period of time in my life! 10 minutes! That is it! 10 minutes of what could be the most exciting time of my life. 10 minutes of proving to myself and others that I can do this. 10 minutes that could possibly end up being the last of my life. And 10 minutes of telling that voice to shut the hell up.

 But the funny thing was that it was still there all the same. Fear. The death grip on my harness and the words coming out of my mouth proved it. But I did it. I did it afraid. I jumped out of that freaking airplane. Fear will always be there in one way or another. I’d guarantee that I’d still be afraid if I were to do it again. But I am called to trust. To trust Him so completely I’d be in trouble if he doesn’t come through.

 Fear doesn’t want me to trust. I need to do it afraid, knowing God has unimaginable things waiting if I would just say yes. He’s not asking me to go solo. I’m going tandem with the Creator. I get to jump with the giver (and taker!) of life. He’s tapping me on the shoulder waiting for me to let go of the harness so I can spread out my arms and soar.

 As we were being instructed on what to do and not do, the guy said actually there really is nothing you can do to screw this up. Our instructors know what they are doing and can fix what you do wrong. Ah, music to my ears! The same is with God. I am not expected to have it all together or to know everything. I am just supposed to follow his lead.