Thoughts. Not only about design. But also about life. Read as you so desire.
Saturday, October 1st & Sunday, October 30th, 2016
Here I am. Oh what a breath of fresh air. I just sat a book down after soaking in a chapter. Again I say, oh what a breath of fresh air. The title of the book speaks so powerfully on its own, “Present over Perfect.” For the past 9 years, the recognition of God’s presence, has become one of those deeply connecting themes pulling at my heartstrings, speaking transformation and speaking life in its most full, abundant form to me. It screams freedom. Fullness. Rest. This is it! The fact that I have exchanged that and been feeling disconnected, discombobulated and worn down in my body and soul, is not hard to tell. It’s been a slow process. There is denial (I've got this, right?). Then recognition. Then regression. Recognition again. Hope. Then hope deferred because I took over again. Which brings stress. Exhaustion. Fear. More exhaustion. Confusion. Are you tracking? Then one day, the bottom drops out. It must.
The bottom has dropped out in life before. Usually, its been due to circumstances outside of myself. I am much better at dealing with that. I am much better at the more monumental “rise above” sort of moments. I am a cancer survivor. It was in that time that I first slowed down and learned to absolutely cherish God’s presence. It’s where I learned the essence of the word, “dwell.” I then went through a period of internal restoration, facing the times of dysfunction and subsequent hurt that went on in my home growing up. What an internally grueling process. One I avoided for a long time. I have always felt pain and fear and let them take root for a long time. I learned sweetness, hope and freedom in restoration. Post recession, I moved cross country and started in what was essentially a dream job for me. The ongoing financial struggles of our country were still very real and in a short 7 months, my position was eliminated. I felt the sting of job loss, followed by the insecurity in the subsequent unsuccesssful job search. I came home feeling somewhat confused and defeated. However, I knew I was different because of that process… for the good. Beneath that hurt was a hope of what God was going to do with it. All these moments called for a response to circumstances that were outside of myself. I am much better at that.
Now here I am. The last couple years I’ve been faced with moments that were in some ways, very much outside myself. In a lot of ways though, it’s been more about what’s inside myself. My response to recurring daily struggles in business. My response to relational conflict. The responsibility and striving with starting and owning a business. Twice. Dealing with the public. Many things that wear on a soul. My response in all of that, my friends, has not been too successful. It has most definitely not been life giving. It’s been wearing. I have become deflated.
Nearly a month has gone by now since I typed the first part of this blog. I didn’t really have any sort of conclusion then. I just needed to write about it. I’ve been learning a few things since then. One thing has been an eye opening to the extent of spiritual attack and spiritual battle going on all around me. In my life. In my friends’ lives. Where I live. I know for some people that makes sense and for others, the whole spiritual realm and spiritual attack thing just seems weird or scary. Because I know for some of us, the recognition of anything spiritual seems weird. Maybe stupid. Maybe scary. For me, I can’t deny it. I especially can’t deny the “good side” of it all. I cannot deny God’s presence in my life. And if you asked me, I would always feel confident that yes, there is a force of evil. Yes, the devil is real. No, it’s not what we think or how our world so jokingly depicts the character of the devil. More like an evil villain in a story that makes for a good plot. I would answer to his real existence. I also had the recognition that there is far more going on beneath the surface than any of us ever realize. But to what extent? And how is it affecting my life personally on a day to day basis? It’s been up close and personal for me the last couple years. Most definitely the last few months. Usually, my response to any sort of opposition in my life (by anyone or anything) is to pull myself up by my own bootstraps and deal with it all (with God’s help at my side of course). It’s a second nature thing. Figure it out and get it in order. Sometimes, I just wear myself out. Many of my prayers the last couple years have simply been, “God, help.” I love to write and to really process through words. So that sort of two word prayer is definitely not normal for me. That is worn down, exhausted, deflated me. “God, help.” At a loss for words and prayers and strength that is usually so often there.
The last few months I have truly realized an onslaught of opposition all around me. I see it clearly now. I recognize layers upon layers. I clearly see a force all around me seeking to destroy, disqualify, and distract in every part of life. In me. In the people around me. Friends. Strangers. My neighborhood. Our city. Our country. I could go on. The world. I want to keep this dialed in a little closer though. I see efforts to destroy relationships. I see the efforts to disqualify people by the choices we make. There is the attacking of identity in response to our choices. For those of us who identify with Jesus, there is a constant battle to be defined by our own choices/feelings (leading to disqualification) and to forget the identity of Christ (which is firm, trustworthy, and truly life giving). I see the efforts to also distract us by the choices we make. I don’t have to do or say much at all to convince anyone we are a distracted people. Distracted with hours of wasted time. Inch deep relationships. Inch deep connections. Busyness. Work. Taking us away from the heart of the matter and keeping us occupied in a million other things. Not always bad things. But often merely spinning our wheels. Trading in greatness for good enough. Not giving the time of day to what could be, because we are so distracted with what we think needs to be. I could go on and on. Pride. Control. Addiction. Struggle. It’s tiring even just writing about it. Certainly it is tiring living in it. I got tired of being on the defensive. Tired of sitting back and watching it happen in and all around me, becoming paralyzed, weak, and defenseless over time. That’s where the bottom dropped out for me. I say that. Then I immediately think to myself, no, the bottom had been slowly dropping for a long time. Getting tired enough, I finally got fed up with it all and that's when I got my “offensive” back. The switch flipped in me.
I gotta say, things aren’t all back in order. Whatever that means anyway. I’ve still got a long ways to go. But the hope of Christ and the power of the Spirit are alive. What changed? I don’t know exactly. Again, the flip finally switched. I got tired enough. Wore out enough. The things you know you should or need to do but don’t… well… you start finally doing those things. I love to prayer walk. It is the happiest place for me. I've started walking again. And praying. I gave myself some time. A lot of times it’s just a matter of taking that first step. Saying no to the million other things calling for your time. The million other feelings in your heart. It’s a change of importance. None of these things are new or novel concepts. We just forget about them over time. I’m still too busy. I don’t have my time figured out yet. I’m praying for God to show me what are the most important things in my life right now. And for the ability to set aside the others for awhile. To heal. To be present again. To get focus back. To get my mind back. To get my joy back. To dig in deeper and closer with Him. There are some things I can’t change. Some things that will be a grind. But they don’t have to take me out. I’m working on it. Step one. Pray. And pray some more. And pray some more. Yes, I’m still getting distracted very easily. Yes, I’m still wasting plenty of time. But I’m making steps. Step two. Keep God’s Word on my mind. This has been harder for me. This is where my mind needs severe retraining. With business(es) and a million things to think about, it is in a severely distracted state. I absolutely know though, that God did not make it impossible for business owners (or moms/wives/bosses/students/etc.) to keep their minds on Him. I’ll share two verses and then wrap this one up for now. First verse. Isaiah 26:3. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” STAYED. That word keeps speaking to me. Lord, help my mind to be stayed on you. Perfect peace. It’s out there folks. Not because of circumstances. Not because of a lack of problems or stress. But because our mind is stayed on the Lord. It’s a greater than. A rise above. Lord, help my mind to be stayed on you. Second verse(s). Isaiah 26 verses 8 & 9. “… your name and remembrance are the desire of my soul. My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.” REMEMBRANCE. I can’t write it enough right now… I have become so distracted. Remembering the Lord. This second verse is a prayer of hope and desire within me. For my soul and spirit to yearn for God. To be earnest before God. To be the desire of my soul. God’s presence, my greatest desire and affection.
Whew. Thanks for unpacking with me. I wanna leave with a simple reminder of The Gospel. Anything I write about is just a reflection of that. God created the world good. Perfect. Peace. Freedom. Fullness of life. We’ve said no thanks. Can’t do that. We’ve missed the mark. It’s not too hard to recognize these days. I think we’ve all felt the sting that something isn’t quite right. It’s not supposed to be this way. We’ve separated ourselves from the one pure goodness… peace… perfection… fullness of life... God. But, Jesus. Our hope of restoration. Jesus is the only one who hasn’t settled. He said, yes, Father, over and over again. Lived life on earth in the midst of the greatest spiritual battle there ever was. Lived a life of obedience out of the greatest affection, love and desire we’ve ever seen. I would say, the only truly non-selfish person in the existence of time. He deserved the best, but took our wrath instead and gave us His right standing before God. Given a gift we don’t deserve. Given life again. Hope. Freedom. Not life that starts after death. But life now. Freedom now. Strength now. Love now. The presence of God in us, now. Now that is something worth remembering.
Stay the course.
Friday, Sept. 9th, 2016
It's been awhile. Isn't that how it seems to go with writing? Why is it? I love it so. And still, I let it go. Well, here we are folks. My mom shared a link today, from when I started a blog awhile back (thanks Facebook memories). It was 3 years ago. I was writing about waking up with bed head and eating frosted brownies for breakfast. Touche. As soon as I read it I was inspired to write again. I'm not sure what I even want to write about. I mean, I ate pizza for breakfast twice last week. I've still got bed head. What has changed. Well actually, a lot has changed since then. Cross country move back home. Started a new business. Started another new business. Welcome, by the way! I don't just want to write about business though. I think about business a lot. Which is good. And exciting. I'm sure you'll get to hear plenty of ramblings and insights about design and life. But also, I really love thinking about so much more. The simplest things in life. I miss that. I love to find meaning in the simple. And the complex. I love to ponder. I'm an introvert. Quiet pondering is my jam. Writing is my jam. I'm excited to get lost in it again. For a bit. Or awhile.
For now, I've got to sleep. It's almost midnight. This isn't good. Ya see, I'm a morning person. This is not my finest hour. Although its usually when my wittiest sarcasm comes out. Besides the hour though, I've been so caught up in business, that its taken away a lot of my pondering. My deeper thinking about life. The analogies. Soul searching. Deep, free, focused communion with the Lord. Connections. I've got to get back to that. You won't be able to shut me up then. You wanna know something exciting though? I sit here at my desk typing on a laptop. Just to the left of that I've got a feather and ink set. And a stick of wax with a sealer. Talk about nostalgia. And inspiration. Talk about the simpler days. I think about someone sitting at a desk by candlelight. Deep in thought. Quiet. Writing away. I think about the "romance" of a written letter spanning across miles. The excitement and anticipation in that delayed communication. The purpose and intention. The importance. The deep meaning in it all. Now that is exciting stuff ladies and gentlemen. I'm going to dream about the simpler times. But I'm not going to leave it at that. In business I use a phrase (or hashtag if you may) a lot... #vintagemeetsmodern It's a favorite of mine. I absolutely love the concept. Savoring the old. Savoring those wonderfully special, unique things of the past. And incorporating them into the modern world. Not like you are living in some out of place time warp. But taking elements of the past and incorporating them naturally with the new. Now that's what I call fresh. Its a beautiful marriage. I'm going to keep on keepin' on with that. Because there is something to be said about being able to savor and enjoy the present too. We're writing history. Make something worth remembering. Do something you love that you've let go of. Hopefully I'll be writing something worth remembering while we're at it. For now... lights out folks.
Post Script: Someday I may add photos and such. But for now, I'm diggin a plain ol' black and white page full of words. Hope you do too.