Category Archives: Christian

Dear Day of Off

Dear Day of Off,
I have been looking forward to you all week, but here I am, not as thrilled as I was, because suddenly you have become a Day of Obligation. Oh sure, I have a Meeting of Friends scheduled for 12 noon, but I also have a number of chores and errands that need to be accomplished.
And a visit to an Office of Government.
Really?
It all started when I woke up.
First of all, I had planned to Sleep In, which, in case you did not know this, means, “not getting up at the usual (or earlier) time.” Did you not realize this? Of course, you and Bladder colluded on this matter and I am quite Put Out.
Next, there is this matter of Clothes Not Washed. Now, I realize that you and I have a deal, that I will keep up on the laundry, enabling me to have said Day of Off available for Other Things. So explain to me where these Clothes Not Washed came from?? And where goeth these Other Things? I have Books awaiting perusal! I have friends awaiting phone calls! I have windows awaiting the Staring of Out!
But instead? Bladder, as previously discussed. Then, the Surrender to Coffee (required regardless of Day).
And Clothes Not Washed, which took precedence. Because of another phenomenon which I call, CRS: Can’t Remember Stuff. Yes, I have come to forget essential things (including the washing of uniforms), and even with a List, I forget the List. Hence, the 12th Commandment: Thou shalt do the Thing, whilst one is thinking the Thing. (The 11th Commandment being, Thy mother worketh not here: Clean Up After Thyself.)
So I am breaking cardinal rule number 1: Thou shalt do nothing before coffee. And here I am, doing something before coffee!
There is also this matter of Vacuuming, Dusting, General Cleaning, and the like. Answer me this: Why have you not kept up these things as much as you have Clothes Not Washed? Why have you eaten up my day with such foolishness? Don’t you know I have other things I would like to have done with my Day of Off? Leisurely Bible reading, perhaps? Correspondence? Extending Meeting with Friends? Daydreaming?
(SMH)
(Which stands for, Shaking My Head)

Do Wha Diddy Diddy Dumb Diddy Doo …

Well there’s an eye catching little title. Nothing to do with this post.

Except for that first word, “do.”

And perhaps, the “Wha.”.

(Leave it to me to get something obscure from a song lyric).

The “do” and the “wha” refers to the “do what?” of my life.  Because so often I’m questioning what I do or don’t do. Am I doing right? And if I’m doing right, am I doing right?

Let me explain. And I’d better hurry up, before I lose you. One of my primary issues is keeping boundaries. And it’s not just the fact that people can take advantage of me. I volunteer myself and my resources. Nobody asked! It’s “What do YOU need?” versus “What do I need?” Then, when everybody’s happy, and I do mean ev.er.y.body, then  I’ll sit down and do my stuff. Complaining all the while, don’tcha know. But to do otherwise, to ignore someone’s need, to leave someone unsatisfied, feels very selfish, and just plain wrong. Sound familiar? (Cough: Martha)

This hurts me. Because after a while I’m feeling disjointed, disoriented, disorganized, and dissatisfied. It’s feeling like life is out of control. My laundry is weeks overdue, I haven’t made that phone call or done my writing, and I’m neglecting my job search and exploration. But maybe that’s the point. In seeing to someone else’s needs, I get to put off the things I need to do, or face, or feel. But that only works for so long. Soon I am in dire straits, and worse, blaming you.

So what is my business? How do I know? What is my responsibility, to you, or to me?

To know this, it starts with prayer. A common prayer of mine is the prayer Paul prayed at the time he was converted to Christianity (and isn’t that putting it mildly?). Having persecuted Jesus and His followers,, and having just condoned the stoning of Stephen, Paul (as Saul) meets Jesus on the road to Damascus.

And he trembling and astonished said, Lord,what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. (Acts 9:6)

Simple, huh? Just ask God, and He will lead.

So why don’t I do it? Why don’t I make a habit of taking the time, first thing in the morning, to ask what He’d like me to do during my day? Why don’t I pause, before I say “yes,” or volunteer myself? It only takes a moment. Is it because I think I know better what’s best? Is it because I enjoy that adrenaline rush that says “Ooh, what have I gotten myself into?” “It sure has gotten hot in here.” Or, “Where’s the fire extinguisher?”

But there are concrete things He’s asked of me. I don’t need to pause and wait to be told; it’s in the Book. I can pray for others, one of the finest things that can be done for another human being. I can study and meditate upon God’s word. I can serve in my local church. I can spend time with other people the Lord has given me. And I can do my laundry.

Ok, perhaps that last was my mother talking. But you get the gist. There are many things I don’t make time for, and end up a mess. And if you’re like me, you’re spending time recuperating from time with others as much as you’re actually spending time with them (see: introvert). Maybe more. So you still don’t get things done.

It doesn’t mean I can’t drop everything in the event of an emergency, but it does mean that God has specific tasks for me. He has helped me, through a long history of anxiety, depression, and bipolar illness, to figure out what I need to do to take care of myself. He has helped me to know when it’s time to take steps forward in my recovery, and when I’ve taken on too much. He’s given me specific people, family and friends who know me well. They can see if I am “off,” they can give me that refreshing of the spirit that only a true friend can give, and it is mutual, I hope. If I’m neglecting all of that, or ignoring red flags, a lot of sour notes will ensue. And it’s not just me on the piano, or the Mexican food I just ate.

This is not to mention the fact that if my “good deeds” do proceed from my flesh, and not from the Spirit’s call, it’s not worth a whole lot. I am thoughtful of the following scripture in Romans 8:5-8:

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

There is a whole lot in that there little portion of scripture! Among other things, it makes me evaluate things: Is my motive selfish, even when I appear to be focused on others? Am I looking to be comfortable, to be honored, to be liked? Am I trying, in my flesh, to make others happy? Maybe God’s intent is for that person to seek their own solution, or to sit with their own discomfort. Or, more than likely, for them to turn to Him, rather than to this friend who wants to make “aw better.” Sometimes, making it easier on someone else is not making it easier. It’s not just the two-year-old who needs to know they can do it themselves. And sometimes the attempt to “mother” someone does more harm than good. After all, “mother” and “smother” are pretty close.

Of course, there is such a thing as analyzing something to death. Sometimes I am procrastinating. Sometimes I am “enabling.”

But sometimes, I’m just loving.

And isn’t that what Christ has begged for us to do all along? As it is written:

And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 2 John 5:

 

 

♪♫ Here come those tears again

(5/31/15) (Completed 1/7/16)(Procrastinate much?)

Here come those tears again … Well, hopefully not too many tears.

See, I’m trying the food and fitness thing again. So far so good, 4 lb, which I suppose is better than nothing (do my clothes fit better? can I breathe better? Neh…)

And of course, being Spring, my thoughts have turned to romance …

***

OK – that is as far as I got back in May, for both this post and for the fitness thing…

And the romance, for that matter.

Now here it is January and I started the fitness thing again back in December.

Now for the waah:

  1. Do I have to do this again??
    Yes, the doctor put me on a diet. And not just a diet. A low carb diet. Dang! Doesn’t he know it doesn’t work, that you are just going to cheat and end up even fatter? Doesn’t he know it is bad for the body? and worst of all, doesn’t he know that this often swings me into hypomania? But (here’s the re-BUT-tal… now I see where that word come from!) I have been doing it for over a month, not perfectly of course, and it is going pretty well. WITH exercise!
  2. I had such a horrible craving for cake last nite!
    What prompted it? Seeing a picture of birthday cake.
    I used to buy a whole cake at the grocery store and almost flaunt it as I plopped it down at the register. I figured if I looked happy they would think I was buying it for a birthday boy or girl.
    So why don’t I just have one piece? Ah, in theory that would be great! Except for that mildly addictive (and that’s putting it mildly) personality of mine.
  3. I was going to do housework but have an overwhelming urge to nap. Which would be fine except …
  4. The maintenance people have a generator going right outside my door, the volume of which overrides the white noise of the fan I would generally have going while I sleep.
  5. I’m still not going to do housework.
    So there. Cuz you know once I start, I will keep going til it’s all done (Remember that “mildly” thing?) I just don’t want to do all that. Even though that sense of pride and accomplishment would be so good. Nope, nuh uh. Not going to.
  6. I have to pee again, dang it!
  7. I’m sure there is a seven because I felt so whiny when I started this post.
  8. But at least I did accomplish something!

Whosover will …

For God so loved what was going to remain of the world in 2015, what the United States would become, the people who murder and rape and steal, the “foreigners” who migrate to our fair country; God, knowing full well what we would become in our own hearts, gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. So if you think you have done too much to be forgiven, or that it is too late, or that someone couldn’t possibly hear the Gospel from your lips, think again. Yes, I have kind of (!) paraphrased, but I hope that you know what I’m trying to say. God loved YOU a long long time before you were even conceived. Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Just some thoughts I was having.

I have thoughts a lot! But I talk myself out of writing them for stupid reasons…

Same as with writing my fiction; I wrote 450 words this morning, words I actually like. Why don’t I do that more often?

Ok berating yourself does not work so let’s not do it.

So, I hope all are well and all is well. Why not tell me how you are in the comments? I do care! xo

Remind me to talk to you about my doctor’s visit. No it isn’t fatal. Well, it can be if neglected. Ok, I will spoil the surprise. In not so many words he said I was fat. Ok, those are my words but whatever. (Again: berating yourself does not work).

♪♫I’m goin’ to Jackson(ville)♪♫

That’s right. Leg One of my journey. Actually, leg two, but who’s counting.

Leg One was exploring via the internet:
I. Apartment rental sites,

A. Apartment Subsidy Sites

B. Regular apartment sites.

C. Roommate sites.

D. Can’t make the durn format format.

II. Churches.

A. Friend ‘A”s church

B. Friend “B’s” church.

C. Other churches.

III.Geography of Jacksonville sites

A. Blogs

B. Wiki

C. Educational sites

D. TMI sites.

E. Medical care

F. That does not go under “Geography,” start over!

G. No.

IV. History of Jacksonville sites.

A. I never did like history.

V. “Meet ups” sites

A. Writers.

VI. “Warnings for those moving to Jacksonville” sites.

A. Sinkholes

B. Weather

C. Unsavory characters.

VII. Speaking of warnings:

A. Bugs

B. Snakes.

LEG II:
A. I thought you said this was Leg 1.

B. Whatever.

A. Actually going there next month (um, you don’t really get the concept of an outline do you)

  1. Friend 1
  2. Friend 2
  3. Potential roommate
  4. Apartment hunting
  5. Food and amusement.
  6. Beach(es)
  7. B. Can’t make format behave.
  8. a. Whatever.
  9. Oh, the plane, the plane
  10. Weather
  11. a. Erika

B. Leg III

  1. Packing
  2. Staying w/ a friend hereup North.
  3. You didn’t know “hereup” was a word.
  4. Whereabouts and Howabouts unknown, but sometime mid November.
  5. OH – telling friends and leaving friends. That should be a little higher up.
  6. And so should praying for God’s will.
  7. “We got married in a fever…” lyrics stuck in head. Yeah, remember title? Hopefully your head will take over the lyrics so I can get rid of them!
  8. Oh and by the way, change can bring on symptoms of bipolar.

Imprisoned – part two

I guess I am still on the Paul and Silas idea – or God is – because I was led to the following scripture this morning:

Psalm 107:13-16 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.

I wonder sometimes, when God breaks the chains, if we stand there unbelieving. Instead of just shaking our arms and legs, and watching the chains fall away, we shake our heads, like this horse, and calmly chew our oats. Or trail mix, or whatever the case may be. God has freed us! We aren’t even tied loosely, and lookit us!

Speakin da which – I am considering a major move. I suppose it’s part geographical cure, and yes, I know, we take ourselves with us (wry grin). But is there always something wrong with that?

Seriously, I have my reasons, one of which is to escape these stupid Maine winters, I think 56 years of them is enough to know I don’t like them. I don’t need one more!

But I have other reasons …(quirks left eyebrow) (if it was capable of quirking).

Anyyyway… stay tuned …

(Thank you B is for Blessed for the scripture!)

Paul and Silas were imprisoned … are you?

I get so frustrated sometimes, don’t you, by the way mental illness affects your life? I think about the impact it has on my work and relationships. My future plans. My physical health. Even my housework is affected! But that doesn’t bother me as much. But those other things – I do feel imprisoned sometimes!

I was reading in the Bible today in Acts 16, where Paul and Silas had been thrown into prison. Verse 25 shows us, however, that Paul and Silas were anything but thrown by their imprisonment. If anything, they were joyful, for “at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”

As I read this I thought, what am I but in prison? My bipolar and depression and anxiety lock me up soundly sometimes! The last thing I ever do is sing praises when I feel that way. Oh I will sing praises in church, and when I am thankful about something good, but do I truly praise God in all of my circumstances? And that made me think of another verse that makes me cringe. Ephesisans 5:20 says to give “thanks always for all things.” That’s even harder to swallow! How can I give thanks, when I’m all balled up, and feeling anything but thankful?

My experience today speaks to the wisdom of reading the Bible over and over. Because I’ve read that verse about Paul and Silas probably a hundred times. But I’d never really connected the fact that I am indeed imprisoned by my mental illness and its symptoms. Essentially all I ever do is moan about it. It never occurred to me to sing praises. And it’s not just a verse for everyone else; it’s for me.

But it’s also important not to just do it for the reward. Paul and Silas didn’t know that God was going to free them. They sang because that was what was in their hearts. The reason I need to do it is because God says so! Because it will please Him! And because I truly am thankful, despite my illness!

I can picture the ways I can give praise while I am in my bonds. I can smile more. I can learn to be calm, more grateful. I can exercise discipline in thanking God every day, and show my gratitude. I can be softer and gentler, and “act as if” I was thankful, until it was true. This is a skill I was taught in AA; and I can certainly apply it here.

I know people in my church who are like the above. You know they have a happy heart, despite their many challenges. Maybe I ought to hang out with them more; I already know how to be miserable!

Of course, I know it can benefit others, to hear me praise, and pray, in the midst of my woe. I know it helps me to be around it. And again, this will please God.

This doesn’t mean faking how things really are. I’ve done enough faking. That’s not what this is. This means a heart change. And guess Who can change my heart?

Not I! The Bible calls for us to pray: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10) This means to come to God and confess sin, and ask Him to change this heart. I love Ezekiel 36:26, where God promises: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”

Hm, a stony heart. Sounds like a heart that can be stubborn.

But a heart of flesh?

That is what I want!