a common fear

I had a moment last week. It happened after a morning meeting. Loaded with papers to hand out to co-workers regarding the United Way Drive, I felt content. And joy. And I realized that the things that frustrate me are things I can change.

I started to write about it. I started to document my desire to find joy in the moments of my current life. But then a few things happened, and I stopped. I didn't stop because I no longer wants to find joy. I stopped because all of a sudden I was being pulled in several different directions. There were endless possibilities, and I felt that I would be a liar and a fraud to write about contentment with where I was in life is I was also considering other possibilities.

And so I took a much needed break. Instead of looking at everything as a possible post, I spent time being quiet. Instead of wondering about every Bible verse I saw on twitter or received in my Inbox (and thinking it applied directly to whatever circumstance I wanted it to), I spent time praying over the verses and time re-reading our nightly devotionals. Instead of fitting the words into my life, I allowed the words to speak to the places they needed to speak to.

It sounds a little silly and strange. But it was what I needed.

I also took a much needed break from counting every single calorie. And I took a much needed break of rushing to the gym at lunch and also after work. I changed my priorities from being solely about me and placed them back on other people.

I'm finding a balance. It's a balance of putting myself first but of also not forgetting to serve others. It's a balance of finding joy in my life but also seeking out other avenues. It's a balance of being content but not becoming comfortable. It's a balance of praying for specific things but also listening to hear what God's plan is.

I've always been aware that He has a plan. But being a planner myself, I often think my plan is His plan. Sometimes it might be. Other times it might not be. And while I have said (to myself and to others), that I trust Him and will follow His plan... I really think to myself "but I know what His plan is, so things will happen this way..."

There has not been a time when I have not been aware of this trait. I've always known that I take things and spin them into what I want them to be. I judge the situation and overthink everything until I am convinced that I know how things will go. When things don't go the way I planned, I crumble and wonder why.

And the reason? I think it is to break me, in a beautiful way, so that I let go of my desires when they don't line up with His.

This goes along with every aspect of my life. Friendships, marriage, even weight loss. Every aspect of my life is a reflection of Him, and so, as difficult as it is, I have to let go of every aspect of my life and allow Him to determine it's course.

On top of letting go of control, I've also realized that the story that is my life, while full in many ways, could be even better.

Several months ago, I read A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller for the second time. The first time I read the book I devoured the words. The second time I took my time and ran a highlighter through the words that spoke most to my heart. And I was determined to live a better story.

I think I did - for a time. But then I got tired. And life got hard. And I forgot that struggle is what makes a good story. Until yesterday, when I was reminded of the words and of the fact that I have the chance to make my life what I want it to be.

I needed that reminder. I probably need a reminder like that once a month (or maybe once a week).

I don't know what my story looks like. I don't know where to spend my time. I don't know what to give my heart to or where God wants me to use my talents. Sometimes I wonder what my talents are as well as what my gifts are. But I do know that my story is to be more than what I've made it out to be.

I also know that by living a better life I will feel more joy and maybe more contentment. And by living a better story, I will let go of my plans and my judgements - allowing God to be the one in control of it all.
Here's the truth about telling stories with you life. It's going to sound like a great idea, and you are going to get excited about it, and then when it comes time to do the work, you're not going to want to do it. It's like writing a books, and it's like that with life. People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain. - A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller
(title from "in your hands" by bebo norman)

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