Process

I’m not a big fan of process. I like efficiency and productivity. Process seemed like a barrier to all that.

But as I’ve gotten older, I am realizing the importance of process more and more.

I was listening to the book of Job a couple of days few weeks ago. I wondered, why is this book so long? Why does Job go on and on about his trials with his friends. Why do his friends go on and on. And why does God go on and on and ask Job tons of questions at the end? Why not a short and sweet story like in the gospels.

Then I realized. It’s about the process.

The book of Job is about process.

And the importance of process.

The trinity that I consist of (mind, body, heart) has a hard time being a unified trinity. What my heart wants, my head says no. My body reacts and has demands (sleep, food). My head says do this or do that or what about this, and my heart doesn’t want to budge. It feels unsettled.

So how does one go about integrating the trinity of the self? Process.

What is process anyway? I’m not sure exactly what it is but I think it has something to do with time, reflection, and, of course, change.

For me, process involves finding and deciding on the right words. Creating the story to explain the facts. Brene Brown taught me that my brain is wired for story. We get an endorphin rush when we create a story to explain our experience. And our brains do not require a statistically significant quantity of data to create the story. Unfinished stories feel, unsettling. So I make up a story that seems to fit at that moment.

Inevitably, I rush the process. I don’t wait for all the information. I don’t make an effort even, to gather all the information. I am not content with the not knowing. The uncertainty. The unsettled feeling. So I fabricate. (Brene calls this a conspiracy.) Endorphin rush of a finished story. THE END.

*quick side story: The other day, I saw a zip lock bag full of toiletries on my side of the bathroom counter. I was angry at my spouse and thought, “Why can’t he put them away himself.” But then I remembered that he knows I like to take the unused toiletries from hotels. And then I thought, “How sweet of him to remember to bring them for me.” See how quickly I tell stories to myself? This all happened in a few seconds or less.

But the book of Job is so painfully long. Job asks “Why?” nineteen times. He doesn’t understand why all these terrible things are happening to him. He demands an answer, an explanation from his friends, and from God. He considers the options and keeps asking why. He doesn’t quit. He keeps at the process. For a long time.

And then something happens. He gets a reply from God. In the form of 55 questions directed back at him. I don’t really know what that means, but I believe that God honored the process that Job endured. God didn’t give a short and cute answer. God was patient to let Job get it all out and hash through it all with his friends. Even when they gave him bad advice.

Process is messy. And when you’re in it, you don’t know quite when it will end. You just have to trust the process.

Shame is the absence of self love.

Hello there! Happy New Year! I have not blogged in a long time but last night I read something so profound that I had to share it.

I am re-reading Tattoos on the Heart by Father Greg Boyle. My good friend lent it to me. I read it cover to cover and am re-reading it cover to cover. It is that good. In one of the chapters, Father G says that shame is the absence of self love, much like the darkness is the absence of light, and cold is the absence of warm.

This makes so much sense to me! I don’t know why I never knew this before.

The solution to shame is self love.

I must love myself, the way God loves me.

I must accept myself, the way God accepts me.

I must delight in loving myself, the way God delights in loving me.

I must find joy in loving myself, the way God finds joy in loving me.

There is no room for disappointment or disapproval, because God is too busy loving me.

God, who is greater than.

God is so much bigger than I had ever imagined. And she loves me so thoroughly than I had ever know.

I also love love love that Father G sometimes uses SHE and HER for God, and not just HE. I mean, there is no gender for the Holy Spirit, is there?

*swoon*

I also selected a word for 2016. It shall be serve. God told me so. (Not audibly.)

Ponderings

Learned recently that someone I know passed away.

This person… I was full of judgement towards this person. I barely had one short conversation with this person but I judged them based on their looks and the behavior that I saw. What I didn’t know was this person’s story. This person had had more than their fair share of life’s troubles and tribulations. This person had major health issues, that I couldn’t tell by looking. Full of judgement, was I. Towards this person that I was called to love.

Maybe I am being too harsh on myself? But one of my words for the year was “not judging.” That year, I started to become aware of how much I judge people. Before that year, I really thought I wasn’t all that judgmental. I’m thankful that God only reveals my sinfulness in little bits… so that it’s not too overwhelming.

I have told myself that if my father or mother died, that I would not be too affected. This death has made me reconsider. We don’t have a great relationship, my father and mother and I. I am OK with it. I have learned not to go to the hardware store, expecting candy. But maybe I’ve gone too far in the other direction. Maybe I’ve put up walls instead of boundaries. Maybe I’ve hardened my heart towards them just a tad bit too much. Maybe I can start by being open… and letting my heart grow soft again.

This praise song has been on my mind. I can’t seem to get it out. Have you ever heard it? It’s old school I can’t seem to find a good version on YouTube but here are the lyrics.

 

Face to Face by Mark Altrogge

Jesus, I love you. For when I was blind and lost.

You shed for all your enemies, your blood upon the cross.

Because you have loved me, now I can love you to.

Your love flows deep into my heart and I send it back to you.

And Jesus, our love will only grow much deeper.

Sustained from above by your overflowing grace.

And Jesus, our love will only grow much sweeter.

And someday we shall be together, face to face.

 

Truly, because God has loved me, now I can love him too…

Pray

My One Word for 2013 is Pray!

I know it’s not one of the candidates from the previous post but as soon as I thought of it, my heart gave a little jump. I also feel like God has given me tons of hints over the past few days to steer me towards this word.

I’ve always thought of myself as a very bad pray-er. I am not a prayer warrior and I don’t consider praying to be one of my spiritual gifts… but maybe that will all change this year? Who knows. All I know is that I’m going to be learning a lot about prayer this year and that I will be trying to maintain conscious contact with God a lot more than I have in the past.

My prayer today is that I will know His will and that He will give me the power to carry it out.

2013 – First Post

Hello 2013.

Hello blog.

It’s been a while.

I got a letter from Compassion that my sponsored child will be graduating from the program this year. I am very sad.

I am happy that she has made it thus far. She’s going to college and on the right track… she seemed to have a bit of a burden to provide for her family once she graduates though. They give an option for us to stay in touch if we mutually want to… and I am pretty sure she will want to. I hope she will…

Took the kiddos to Disneyland over Christmas break. Did a bunch of other activities as well… like the USS Hornet in Alameda.

IMG_1072

They liked it. AJ kept on pushing all the buttons and I had to carry him down most of the steep stairs… although, towards the end, he wanted to do it “All by myself.”

I’ve been thinking about my One Word for 2013 for the past few days and I am leaning towards Embrace. Or Enough. Embrase will remind me to live in the moment and to embrace whatever is in front of me at that moment. Enough will remind me that I have enough. That I am enough. That God gives me enough. I am still really liking this way of doing resolutions.

2012’s One Word was humility. Boy, I learned a lot of lessons about that. Mostly about how sinful I am. I scare my kids with my anger sometimes. I scare myself too. I am on step 10 in al-anon so I’m trying promptly admit it when I am wrong. First pick-up from school in 2013 started with, “I’m sorry for… do you forgive me?” Of course, my Christian forgave me without hesitation. Children have such big hearts. No bitterness. No resentment.

Christmas season was a little bit insane for my etsy shop. I totally did not expect that. I raised almost $1000 for Compassion. I shall be better prepared this year!

 

 

Compassion Sunday

Sorry about the lack of posts… I’m not sure why but I haven’t been blogging much lately. I have the next week off so maybe I will blog more?

We held Compassion Sunday at my church 3 weeks ago and I’ve had a table out with sponsorship packets for the 2 Sundays following. Eight children got sponsored and some others took packets home to fill out and mail in themselves. One person told me that they already mailed it in so that’s at least nine children sponsored. Awesome!!!

Husband and I also volunteered for Compassion at the Global Leadership Summit a few weeks ago. Eight children got sponsored over 2 days. That was awesome too!

Oh, I got a new job! Which is why I have the next week off. I am still with the same company but I just have a different position in a different location. I have been working in Oakland for the past 10 years but I will be at Vallejo starting next Tuesday. My work gave me a $200 gift certificate to a spa so I will be enjoying that this week.

A couple weeks ago, we had the leadership retreat at our church. It was great to hear about how God has been working in people’s lives. I wish I was able to get more of that on a regular basis. Husband shared how God had been working in our lives. A lot of people came up to me afterwards and told me that they were encouraged by the sharing. I’m so proud of my husband for having the courage to share what he shared!

One Word Theme for 2012

My word for 2012 is humility. Why? Because I desperately need some.

I find that most of my troubles come because of my pride and arrogance. Especially as a parent, it’s so easy to lord it over my kids, who really don’t know much. But that doesn’t mean I need to be mean spirited or haughty when I teach them. I want to teach them with love and grace. With a gentle spirit. God has entrusted me with these two little precious souls, and I don’t want to ruin them! I don’t want them to feel small.

For me, pride and arrogance brings rigidity and judgement. It has to be my way. Your way is always wrong. Or there is always a reason why my way is slightly better. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Being right is so overrated. I want to stop the endless comparing and judging that happens. I am not in competition with my husband or with my kids, or with other moms, or with other employees. STOP comparing myself with others.

I was supposed to have learned a lot about love last year. But to be honest, I think love is too above me. It’s too lofty. I need something more tangible. Maybe it’s because I need some humility first, before I can learn about love?

I do think love and humility go together very nicely. Love is humble. Love is not proud. Love doesn’t judge. Love chooses to lower itself.

So, there it is. My word for the year is humility.

I wonder what God has in store for me to learn this year.