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Monday, August 19, 2013

Road Trip Hangover

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I come to you today with my third cup of coffee and surrounded by 8 kids (2 neighbors) and lots of un-done stuff.

This past weekend we traveled 3 hours each way to Ohio to visit family and friends.

It was so, so much fun and the kids really had a blast. We jam packed their weekend with great activities and unforgettable memories.

It's postcard-like in the way it sounds, isn't it?

While Joe and I were packing 18 changes of clothes per kid, toothbrushes, 900 lbs of blankets and pillows, enough snacks to feed the Duggars, and somewhere in there---my sanity---I must have missed it when irritability, stress, annoyance, and a short fuse hopped into my bag.

The trip itself was great, but I was bogged down at different times with a crappy attitude. It didn't help that my voice was almost completely gone, so every word I said was said with much concentration. That takes a toll, believe it or not.

Being outside of my "usual" and adjusting to a different environment is tough for the best of us, but for me is really a challenge.

And I nursed some hurt feelings and a bruised ego more than once along this trip.

As I have been stewing on it today, I wanted to "work through it" before writing about it, but instead I think it's good to let you in on it as it's happening. I absolutely HATE when that one person always has the right answer or always has her head on straight, so I imagine there are some of you who may also get sick of reading posts about a lesson learned or a struggle conquered.

Here's where I am struggling right now...how do I respond in a gracious manner when someone hurts my feelings or steps over a boundary? How should I (or SHOULD I) respond when I see someone (close to me) being a hypocrite? When is it (Or IS IT) my place to address a Believer who has lost course?

I mull and simmer until it eats me up. And then I take a deep breath and say "Let Go and Let God." And then I remember how much I hate that phrase.

And just when I was at my wit's end today and angrily clicking the "X" to close out Facebook before I threw the laptop across the room, I read the verse of the day on my Bible App: (Do me a favor and read the whole thing. I know it's long.)

After the death of Moses the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant: “Moses my servant is dead. Get going. Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people. Cross to the country I’m giving to the People of Israel. I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon east to the Great River, the Euphrates River—all the Hittite country—and then west to the Great Sea. It’s all yours. All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” (Joshua 1:1-9 MSG, Emphasis mine)


And I cried because it was a direct message to not give up.

As I was feeling a whirlwind of emotions like anger, irritation, annoyance, hurt, frustration, etc...I was also thinking "who am I to believe I have any kind of ministry? Who am I to think I have anything to offer in the way of wisdom? I am a mess. I fail daily at grace and mercy and forgiveness. I get frustrated easily and harbor grudges. I get on a high horse at times and mentally tick off all the ways I am better than others...

And then this verse crossed my path and I knew it was affirmation that I should not let moments hours days of weakness defeat me. I will fail. Over and over again. Jesus was not silent about that. The true failure comes when I allow those stumbles to derail me completely and listen to the lie that I don't have a story to tell or a lesson to share. 

If you're struggling right now, even if it's been a loooooong struggle: weight loss, smoking, drinking, drugs, your thoughts, your words, your temper, etc...just know you are not alone. Even if someone looks like they have it together on the outside, you can rest assured that they don't. 

The best thing to do when you are smack on the middle of frustration is to realize you have a choice in how you let it affect you. You can either dive in, emotions first, or you can take time to close out all other outside sources and put yourself in the Word. Sometimes that can happen in just one verse. Sometimes it takes longer. God will reach you through His Word. Read until you get peace from Him. Even if that peace is just to be patient and wait on Him. Not all issues get wrapped up in 30 mninutes or less. Sometimes they take a while and require persistence and patience (unfortunately, 2 areas I do not excel in). But I'm learning. And I'm noticing that I can recognize when I start spiraling down that tunnel toward a blow up or toward saying things I'll later regret. I'm still stinking up the joint as far as that goes, but there is IMPROVEMENT! :)

And I hope that encourages someone today! We're in this together.
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