Thursday, April 23, 2015

Don't put a period where only a comma should be.

I love Monday mornings! I typically go into work later in the day because I stay late in order to be in our Prayer Room's Monday night set. So I enjoy taking my time on Monday mornings. It gives me lots of space and time to ponder stuff like this - a time when I hated Mondays.

A couple of years ago, a childhood friend commented on a post I wrote and what she said has stuck with me ever since. She said, "Cheryl, you really lead a charmed life!" That comment took me by surprise and I was speechless for a bit, something I rarely am. I think it shocked me so much because I don't paint my life as rosy. I share the good with the bad and if you know me, then you know that's true. I prefer to dwell on what's right in my life, not on what's wrong. So I responded to her, "Not charmed. Just blessed!"

What she didn't know is that I'd spent several years in a place of constant struggle - hearing from others how much more was in me than what I was currently doing and pouring out, feeling in my spirit that if I spent one more day not doing what I loved that I would simply shrivel up and die. She didn't know that I had just come out of an intensely difficult job situation at a place I once loved, doing something that paid bumpkus, but a job I absolutely loved until others began to make it too difficult for me to remain. She had no clue that at the time of her comment I was actually serving in a position I detested. I was good at what I did. I was very thankful I had a job, but my heart was not in it because my tasks where among the bottom rung of things I liked to do. I was absolutely miserable there! In fact, almost every Sunday this ominous feeling would settle over me as I began to think about Monday morning. Sometimes, I'd even cry myself to sleep on Sunday evenings. It was that bad. (I think it's important to note, I refused to give pity more energy beyond the one day. It really didn't even deserve that much time.)

But what I think my friend saw was that none of that mattered. Sure there's not a word strong enough to described the loathing I had for what I was doing at the time, but I realized my situation at that juncture in my life was only temporary. I would not be stuck forever, doing something I detested because the gifts inside of me absolutely, positively had to find a place of expression or I really would shrivel up and die! I could feel it in my physical body.

The Lord had gave me a word approximately one year before I started this job and I was holding onto it for dear life! As I was leaving the job I'd loved for so many years because of all the turmoil surrounding it, the Lord said to me one day, "I am creating a space for you."

I knew exactly what He meant. Knowing it was time to make a change, that summer I had been job searching. With all my skills and connections, I came up empty. Then that word came and with it came peace. I ended my search, left that job soon after and then finally landed in the position from hell! Less than three years after that. the Lord created a space for me where I am today. I wasn't looking for it or expecting it, and I think I should mention that it came right after I surrendered my Sunday night pity parties and my desire to be somewhere else. I repented and gave into whatever the Lord wanted to do IN ME and through me while in that difficult place. Two months later, I was in a job where everything in me, every gift and talent had a place of expression.

I learned something from that previous job experience. Only I am responsible for my happiness. My joy level is not dependent on my current circumstances. It's dependent upon my relationship with Jesus and my willingness to choose joy. I can work at a task I detest and still have joy. I can walk through life with unfulfilled dreams and closed doors everywhere I turn, but still be grateful for the opportunities I've had. I learned that I may have at times put a period where a comma was what was actually required.

I may have given up on me a time or two. Others might have discounted me and my significance at times, writing me off; but I was not done yet. Why is it that we sometimes make things a level 10 when in reality they are between a level 3-5 in significance? 

I'm not prone to drama. In fact, I tend to shy away from people who are. It seems like some people go from crisis to crisis and it's always a big deal. we know this because they don't mind telling everyone! Yet I can look at my life and see times when I, myself, made a much bigger deal out of a crisis than it really was. I didn't have things in their proper perspective, so all hope was lost. Why do we give up so easily, on ourselves and/or on others? Why do we write off what's only just a work in progress? Period vs comma...

I turned to Psalm 16 as I was pondering all of this. It's one of my favorite passages. So much so that I did a Bible study for our ladies on it. Go ahead and read it. The entire chapter! It's pretty short.

For me, Psalm 16 is both a book of remembrance and a promise of what's to come. I have not lived a charmed life, but I have been blessed beyond measure, because now, after all that waiting and aching for more, the Lord has been gracious to me. I do not take for granted where I am because I remember where I've been. Yet even then, in the midst of that difficult season, I embraced contentment and the joy in that journey, with thanksgiving. I put the comma in it's rightful place and left the period out all together.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.  ~Psalm 16:6