My iFit trainer for this month’s Argentina bicycling challenge (Nicole Meline) has been introducing the idea of finding your edge. This is finding the area in your life where you are “sustainably uncomfortable” and where personal growth begins to happen. Let those words sink in for a moment. They’re quite the odd pair to juxtapose, aren’t they?
Today, I finished the 12 part Japan series. My last ride ended at a shrine near the old Imperial Palace in Kyoto. My legs are deliciously sore and I’m so proud that I finished this. It made me think of the following Bible verse:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” -St. Paul
When I looked up this quote so I could include it correctly, I read that Paul said this before he was martyred. That is really powerful.
In my personal life, I am starting a new chapter. I am beginning a new job next month after some much needed rest and some self care. It’s quite a change in the grand scheme of things for this little millennial girl, but I am up for the challenge and adventure. I go with God; I go with grace. He is walking with me.
My word of the year is fortitude. I’ve been carrying it around with me, next to my mint tea bags, Pokeballs and chapstick. It’s been difficult saying goodbye to people at work. But I’m remembering I’m saying hello to others.
I included a few songs that have been sticking with me lately. The first video has an epilepsy warning at the beginning so please enjoy the other two if that’s you.
And just to be clear, I’m still writing and doing this blog. Happy writing! 😊✏️
After work today, I found myself in the card aisle at our local grocery store, finding the sympathy section, or what was now called “Care and Concern”, or something to that effect. A childhood friend had texted me earlier today, telling me her chronically ill mother had passed away. Her mother, I knew, had a condition that affected her memories and mind. My friend told me her mother still remembered me at times, however, and had asked about me every so often. How this was possible, I’m not sure. But it really hit home with me that she had somehow preserved a memory of me in her illness. I hope it gave her some comfort.
I scanned the cards at the store, thinking about this and the time I had spent at their house, all the while holding my bag of lasagna noodles and French bread for making dinner tonight. I expected the cards to all be generic, with heartfelt messages like: “I’m sorry for the loss of your loved one” or “Our prayers are with you in this difficult time.” Nothing too personal, you know, nothing that says that awful, ill conceived phrase: “I understand.”
Before we begin, I stole the Word of the Year idea from Violet’s blog. so the credit is all hers. Let’s dive in.
I came across a snippet of this prayer while reading a book. I looked it up and found what I believe is the complete version. The words really struck me and reminded me a lot of the Psalms. I’m passing on the prayer to anyone who needs encouragement and prayer themselves. Pass it forward, if you’d like.
To read more about Dietrich Bonhoffer, click here. Mr. Bonhoffer coined the term “cheap grace.” One day I will read a biography on the man. And I may try to memorize the below and/or put it in my writing room.
Mr. Bonhoffer died in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. He was a man who knew and lived St. Paul’s famous words: “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” Meditate, chew and listen.
I have come to think that burn out has different stages and scenery. It’s like watching a prairie fire over time–eventually, it burns itself out. You’re left in a quiet, peaceful, albeit grey area of ashes and soot. This is the layer that brings back life, if you let it.
A few weeks ago I wrote this about resetting my mind from materialism and the constant onslaught of American marketing. Marketing in America is like trying to walk through a hallway of funhouse mirrors. You can quickly become disoriented and you intentionally have to want to leave in order to get out.
If you’d like to join me on this journey, here are some of the steps I’ve taken so far with the saint. See if some of these would help you, too. Remember to give yourself grace and to not compare yourself to others. We’re all on our different journeys.
Somewhere along the line, we lose ourselves. We find ourselves at Costco, staring at the shiny camera on the shelf, the thing that will give you x (book advertisement) and help you do y (YouTube). Marketers spend billions of dollars to trap, ensnare and keep you in their cycle of wanting, buying and eventual dissatisfaction. Set this process on repeat and there’s the foundation of the economy and personal debt, I would argue.
Despite my best (albeit fragile) attempts, I fell into this snare recently. It happened slowly, but grew in intensity. The items were mainly to help me with my writing or my writing room. I found myself getting gentle warnings of this modern day idolatry: tugs at the heart that something wasn’t quite right, conversations with people that just happened to touch on the traps of materialism and my own self reflections that eventually increased over time. After some more reflection, I feel this was God poking me with His great holy stick from on high, golden, bedazzled and gleaming with polish.
*poke, poke* *poke, poke*
After about a hundred pokes or so, the message clicked. I’m kneeling down at the cross now and I’m cutting the ropes–the snares–I’ve suddenly found twisted around my ankles, digging into my skin, starting to leech at my soul. I’m tired of the cycle of materialism, the power money can have over you if you let it. I’m not playing the game anymore.
There are moments in life where we need to make quick decisions. These are forks in the roads with possible cliffs. Do I raise my voice and lose control to anger? Do I snap back and give a biting, scathing remark? Do I judge someone harshly walking by me? Do I fall back on legalism?
I’m reminded of a quote, one that I put in my book. This verse has stuck with me for a long time. I find it very uncanny:
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” -Jesus (Matthew 10:16)