Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Turning 40

I'm back! Wow...it's been a while since I've updated my blog (8 weeks, to be exact)! I think I was waiting for life to settle down. But, as everyone else who has children knows, that's just not happening anytime soon. Since my last post, I have hit a major milestone birthday - the BIG 4-0! Because of that, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic. I hope you'll humor me as I share some of the things I've learned during my first 4 decades on this earth.

  • We have to love ourselves. I think this could be stated: "love ourselves enough to take care of ourselves". I have had the beginnings of a very big transformation over the last year. I've lost 55 pounds. Gone down 6-8 pant sizes. Become a runner. These are just outward changes - and they're all great. But do you want to know the biggest and best transformation? I have learned to love myself. One year ago, I was my own worst enemy. I said things to myself on a daily/hourly/moment-to-moment basis that most of us would never dare say to anyone. They are things I had said for so many years, that I didn't even realize the long-term damage they had done. As God began to open my eyes to these things, He also began to release the chains these strongholds had on my life. I look back now on the person I was...and I'm amazed and humbled by all that God has done for me. It's a journey that's not over for me. I still have 45 more pounds to go to hit my goal weight. I still have lots of other fine-tuning things I'm trying to discipline myself to do. But the tremendous emotional healing that has happened thus far - it's unbelievable. There almost aren't words to describe how much better I feel! Praise God.
  • When we keep our focus on God, we don't get caught up in the anxieties of this world. Oh how I wish I could have learned this lesson earlier in life. Any time I begin to feel anxious about something, the heart of the matter is always that I'm not putting my full trust in God. The minute I can see the Big God picture, the minute my worries fade. When we remind ourselves Who our God is...it seems silly to fret about the things we do. I pray that my next 4 decades, I do a better job of seeing everything through the lens of God's eye. Fear is the opposite of faith. And fear is exactly what I feel when I allow myself to think about the things of this world. Who wouldn't?! This world is scary. This world continually lets us down. This world is fading away...fast. But God. God is peace. God will never forsake us. God is eternal. And the best part? God. Loves. Us. Wow.
  • Memories are made. This is a reality intended for all the parents reading my blog. Oh how easy it is to think that memories just happen. You know, the GREAT memories. Special outings with the kids. Family traditions. The things you want your kids to treasure from their childhood (and pass on to your grandchildren). It's so easy to just wait for them to happen. But guess what? For the same reason that I haven't had a blog post in almost two months...those "memories in the making" don't get made. Time races by. "It can wait until next week" turns into "oh, shoot! we said we were going to do that last year and we didn't!". Yep. You know the saying, "The days go slowly, but the years fly by." Oh how true that is.
  • So, how do we help the memories in the making? Let's see: get off the computer, turn off the TV, create more white space on our calendar (a tough one for me it seems), put family time on the calendar, plan special events with the kids on a regular basis, say no to social invites (us AND the kids), occasionally just stop whatever you're doing to join in the kids' fun just because they asked (or because you know they'd love it if you did). In essence, it's about not giving away all of ourselves to the outside world...while leaving our children feeling left out. Our kids want to feel special. They want to feel loved. They want to feel like they're the most important thing in the world. Doesn't that sound just like our relationship with our Abba Father? Imagine how we'd feel if He only gave us the leftovers of His time. Ouch. Time to stop fooling ourselves. We can't be everywhere else but home. We can't give everything we have to all those people asking for our time. Our kids don't always ask...but oh how they want us to be with them. Time is flying by. The need is urgent. Parents: let's challenge ourselves on this one while the kids are still at home. Deal?
  • Laughter. Just the word can make a smile come to my face. When was the last time you laughed hysterically? When was the last time you shared a big laugh with your kids? In our house, laughter happens daily. There aren't many things that I enjoy more than sharing a good belly laugh with my kids and my husband. We are also very blessed to have friends who love to laugh...and who make us laugh hysterically too. Have you had your laugh today? I hope so.
The list isn't long. Nor is it conclusive. Just a few thoughts that I wanted to share. Maybe some of the things I wish I could have told the high school me. Or even the college me. For now, I hope we all remember that the point of life is not all about now, or all about me, or all about the world's version of success. Instead, it's all about eternity. It's all about the people we're blessed to have in our life. And, most importantly, it's all about the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father.

If we just go through each day remembering that. Amen? Amen.