I’ve been thinking about Psalm 91 quite a bit since the coronavirus became a world-wide concern. The rabbi at my Messianic congregation recently wrapped-up a six-part sermon series on this psalm, and none too soon since the very next week churches were asked to stop meeting. There are hospitals overwhelmed by patients, non-essential businesses being […]
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?
I started my new job this past week. Yes, you read that right: I started a new job in the middle of a pandemic. I fought with my GPS, driving here, driving there, to try to get myself set up as a a new employee. On Day Three, Google led me directly past where I needed to go, right into a road that I wasn’t technically allowed to enter. That was fun to explain, right before I was forced to do a U-turn, pass Go and forgo collecting my $200.
On Day Four, Google told me to go straight at a gate that was closed and barricaded. Google clearly insisted on this, and then I believe brought me to a second gate that was also closed and barricaded. I drove around on private property, trying to force the GPS to reroute and recalculate itself to give me Option B. During this time, I was praying fervently that I would make it to my appointment on time and hoping a curious cop wouldn’t find me and pull me over.
I finally ended up doing a huge circle, on and off the highway, and got back to where I started. My GPS then repeated the same directions that got me into my predicament in the first place
“Take a left at Sesame Street,” Google chirped from my phone. “Sunny days. Everything is, A-Okay!..”🎶
“SHUT UP, GOOGLE!!!”
Let’s just say, my GPS and I are not talking at the moment.
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.”
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.
Inspired by C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters and the many current events of the modern world. I may do more of these.
Let’s take a trip back to the early 1st century. It’s a few days before Passover and the Jews are heading to Jerusalem for the Feast. As they travel, they sing the songs of ascent like they do every year. On this particular year, though, there’s an extra level of excitement. A man named Yeshua […]