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Friday, January 11, 2008


Treadmills are not my friends. I have utter disdain for running (or, in my case, walking) on those awful contraptions. Yes, I do have one. I found the perfect spot for it – a storage facility. Why pretend that I’m actually going to use it?

So you’ll understand my frustration when I say that I often feel like my life is on a treadmill. Just walking along, looking nowhere in particular, and getting absolutely nowhere, be it fast or slow. I tend to feel this way when it seems like I’m just not being productive. This feeling of lack of productivity has been growing steadily over the last couple of years, both at home and at work. Mind you, I did manage to plan a wedding and move (twice!) this past year, both major accomplishments. But when I’m settled into regular everyday life, it seems like no matter how hard or how much I work, I don’t have much to show for it. I work on the same projects for months or even years, but they just refuse to go away, lingering like bad breath. Somebody get me a Tic-Tac!

I didn’t realize how much this was bothering me until this past Tuesday night at Beth Moore’s Bible study. She went over Judges 6 where we learn of a time (like many) in Israel’s history when their enemies are so oppressive that anything they produce is ruined. They worked hard but remained in abject poverty.

Those verses mirrored what was happening inside me whenever I tried to work at something. It just seemed like I couldn’t finish anything, so there have been many times when I’ve thought, “Why bother?” At work I know that there will always be difficult people to impede my progress, no matter how charming I am…email traffic will never end…just when I finish one weekly status report I have to write another. Then I go home and consider that there will always be another dirty dish…the toilet will never truly be clean…I can always go buy new clean underwear. And, in the great scheme of things, will anything I do really matter?

But I was greatly encouraged by John 15:8 – “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” This verse and the accompanying passage proved to me that, as a disciple of Christ, I was created and saved with the intention of being productive. Colossians 1:10 speaks more on this subject – “That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work…” (Amplified Bible). As I work, I’m to seek God’s approval, not approval from others. The end result is a productive life.

Now that I have it settled in my mind that God meant for me to be productive, I’m wondering what I will produce. Lots of new software? Something interesting to read? And I hope a clean house is in there somewhere. As for the treadmill, looks like I’ll need to sell it because I’ve given it up for jazzercise. At least for now.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Relax and Rest

The honeymoon is over. Gifts are unwrapped and thank you notes written. Garrett and I have transitioned from daydreaming about our future life together into a period of getting to know each other’s daily habits…and learning to live with those that we could do without. I have redirected my mental focus from wedding plans to homekeeping. Bride magazine has been replaced with Good Housekeeping and Real Simple. And, knowing me, you’ve probably guessed that I’ve bought numerous books about various aspects of marriage – The Excellent Wife, The First 90 Days of Marriage, and even The Act of Marriage. No area is safe from my research instinct.

You’d think with all of this going on (not to mention a full-time job), my mind would be too full to hold anything unworthy. But the devil never rests. While God has plans for my good, the enemy has plans for my unhappiness. In this case, he’s been placing unworthy thoughts in my head that lead to fear. Fear of losing Garrett to an accident or illness, or of causing him grief through my own accident or illness. Fear of lack of financial security. Fear that we will never have children. There have been times that I have truly felt a prisoner of fear.

It shouldn’t be this way! I’m still a newlywed and should be enjoying my husband, not imagining terrible things that may never happen. I prayed for rest from my anxiety and worry, and God came through. One day during Bible study I came across the following verse – “May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” (Ruth 1:9) The context of this verse is that Naomi and her daughters-in-law all lost their husbands. Naomi speaks this blessing over them during their period of despair. What struck me about this was that it mirrored my desire to have rest in the newness of my marriage and proved to me that God desires this for me, as well. I looked for other verses that spoke about rest and came across Psalm 116:7 – “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.” I also like the translation of this verse in The Message Bible – “I said to myself, "Relax and rest. GOD has showered you with blessings”.

So, basically, God told me to just relax and chill out. Stop taking things so seriously. And I did! My soul moved from a state of tense awareness to a more mellow mode. I still have periods of worry and anxiety, but I’m now equipped with God’s word on the matter. I can now whisper to myself, “Relax and enjoy your blessings,” knowing that it is God’s will.

Last night at Bible study I was reminded that total freedom from worry and anxiety is possible. So I’m believing for God to set me free in this area. In the meantime, I am focusing on resting in the home of my dear, sweet, and cute-as-can-be husband.

House that Garrett and I are trying to buy.