Saturday, October 31, 2009

Life Changing Reading

Rarely do I read something that immediately impacts my life. Rather, rarely do I read something besides God's Word that changes me that quickly. Yet this morning, in cumulation with the reading that I've been doing the past few weeks (in His word, and though the book "The Noticer"), the article I read in the Ozark Christian College magazine "The Compass" really hit me between the eyes.

The article, "A Single-Minded Focus Always Wins" written by President Matt Proctor, really spells things out clearly and concisely. You can go to the link to download the Winter 2009 Compass here: http://www.occ.edu/Events/Default.aspx?id=59

Click on that issues link, then go to the "President's Perspective" article on pages 4 and 5. It is TOTALLY worth the few moments it takes to read. You'll understand the rest of what I'm about to say if you read that first. Don't worry, I'll wait.  :)

I have never set a goal. Well, I've talked about goals, wanted goals and achieved things that took planning (like weddings, events, etc) but I've never said "at this date and time I want THIS (whatever "THIS" is) to be done."

Now I'm seeing how the LACK of goal setting in our household has affected my kids, for better or worse. For me - an empty nesting grandparent - it's affected me for the worse. I can't undo the years of what they have lived with, but I can change me NOW and hopefully they can glean from my experience.

I am a "jack of all trades, master of none" and have been my entire life. I love to read, and gain a little bit of knowledge from everything I read. The occasional fiction I read is entertainment - I mostly read non-fiction and biographies, trying to learn more. I guess I'm more an avid LEARNER - not reader. :)

The jobs I've had have been obtained more by "prayerful happenstance" than a career path plan. I don't recall not getting a call back on a job interview...although I'm sure there have been a few.  I've always loved writing, art, music - although I don't play an instrument at all. Although I am right handed, I think I am more right brained....the creative side rules. Perhaps this has kept me from making plans and staying focused in my life.

I have ALWAYS had too many irons in the fire. I'm rarely content with life "as is" and always seem to be stirring some pot to get some other result. I love to cook, and this always opens doors to opportunities to feed people. I love people (although I feel like I'm a recluse at heart). I think that the circumstances in life have kept much moss from forming on the bottom of this rolling stone. Even though we've lived in this area for almost 19 years, I could pack up in a heart beat to meet new people somewhere else. I feel that my "real" home isn't on this earth, but in heaven. Perhaps that's what really keeps me moving.

But for now, I'm stuck here on earth, and in this area too. I have a full life. Too full really. I need to simplify in a new way. Not just with material things (I think we've done ok with that...although we've gone a bit overboard with the Wii accessories in the past year!), but with my time. Where am I spending my time and energy?? How can I become more of a "hedgehog" and less of a "fox" in my life??

First off is my "business venture" with Jordan Essentials. I LOVE these products!! My skin is SO much better (healthier, happier, never a breakout, so much less dry skin, and NO RASHES!!), but the reality is that when I started as a consultant my goal was that this would be a ministry to others; mostly to women, to reach them in their homes and that through that I might share Jesus' love with them. My hope was to create income enough to tithe to missionary friends from that - the reality is that I barely sell enough to pay for my supplies and I am my own best customer. I just need to stop trying to sell it at all, and just give my sales to someone else if an order happens to fall in my lap. I won't buy any more supplies to run my business, will stop sending out fliers and notices on the sale items. My time is best spent somewhere else.

Secondly is the way I spend my time thinking of things that I can not control - even if it affects my future....namely my kids lives. 2 of them are happily married, and I pretty much have let those apron strings detach....I hope they are anyways! My single child still has a hold on me. I have thought that it was healthy, but it's not. I can pray for them, encourage them, but I have got to stop allowing them to involve me in their life - and stop involving myself when I'm not invited!! In the same breath, we have got to set some stricter boundaries on time and space.  I've started it by deleting the single one from my friends list, as well as some of the friends that we shared. I don't want to know everything that's going on. Perhaps in the future we can be "friends" again - but for now it's a distraction (ok, sometimes an obsession on my part) and I need to grow up - and apart.

For my married kids, the change has to be in focusing on my marriage. Rarely do Mark and I venture beyond state lines to take a trip "for us" - and as much as I LOVE my kids and grandkids, I need to be focused on enriching my marriage; and this includes making new discoveries together. We need adventures and discoveries - we are life long learners!! I could spend days on end chasing my grandkids around, but I really need something more than this - while we can do this. I'm not in back-backing shape, but not ready for the rocking chair either. I want to make the most of these years and I will be a better grandparent (and parent) if I remain happily married and in love with my husband- and this takes time away for us.

I also need to encourage my husband to devote time to nurturing our friendships - even if it's only for me.  He has always taken much pride - and has gotten much pleasure - in his friendships at work. I have some great friends that have traveled the globe with me, and we have stayed in touch on line, in letter, and on phone. We need "we" friends with other married couples....people that are facing the same dilemmas and issues as we are, and that we can have fun and discover new places with.

I need to set a few goals for ME. Is it the fear of failure that keeps me from setting them?? I'm not sure. As I fine tune my personal life I need to set some goals to cross off my "bucket list" and regain focus. I don't know if there are more than a few that I'm comfortable putting down...but know that I'm taking steps towards achieving them even before I've set them. I want to finish a book - not reading one - writing one! I feel that God's given me a great vision for a book that I hope to finish by early spring. Hopefully with narrowing my field of vision I will be able to set and complete this goal. OK - I guess it IS set!! I want to write more, not just blogging, but to be published more on line and in print. I want to be disciplined in this!!

One thing that has been a constant in my life is my love for reaching little ones for Christ. I will continue to love on them, and plant seeds of faith in their lives. I didn't realize how important a part of my life this was until I started to put the pieces together about empty nesting....I didn't miss my adult kids nearly as much as I missed my kids when they were YOUNG. Obviously, I didn't want them to be little again, I love that they are well adjusted adults and nurturing relationships, marriages and kids on their own; but it left a hole in my heart and a need that I wanted fulfilled. God has provided an opportunity for me to keep a few kids during the summer that are in many ways surrogate grandkids, and one little boy year 'round that has helped fill this void. I love sharing the love of Jesus, singing songs, reading books and discovering new things with them. I was blessed the other day when one of the girls called one evening "just because" and I smiled the entire time as she told me about her day, what's going on at school, and the recent choir performance that she got to sing in. What a blessing! I hope that as my own grandkids grow that they will bug their parents to call me and talk too! I love it!!

Service is also another area that my life can be a "hedgehog" and enlarge my footprint for Jesus. Through our church and a world reaching missions organization we can encourage others to draw near to the One that loves us most. This is an area that I choose to spend time and make a priority in my daily life. Doors have opened wide in being able to use my passion for writing to share about reaching others for Jesus, so this is a no brainer for me.

All in all - my "fox" activities coming to a close are few, and my "hedgehog" activities are already in my life - just not done with a common purpose. I pray that He will entwine them together and bring fruit to this effort, and I will continue to thank Him for bringing my life into order...even if it has taken me several years to see this connecting purpose. I'm so grateful that he doesn't give up on me!!

Blessings,
marina