Thursday, April 22, 2010
Did you guys hear that!?
That was the sound of me letting out the big breath I've been holding in for about...ummm...three months now. Holding ones breath for three months would, as one would assume, have many negative side effects. I'm not a doctor, but apparently not breathing is bad. This isn't the same kind of breath holding that I implemented as I child in order to try and get my parents to buy me a toy (which never EVER worked, by the way. Mom and Pops McNemar had no patience whatsoever for fit-having.). This was more of the "i-don't-know-how-to-do-this-huge-important-project-at-work-and-I-have-no-idea-where-to-begin-or-what-to-do-and-feel-like-I-am-going-to-fail-and-then-everyone-will-hate-me-and-i-will-be-fired-and-die" kind of breath holding. My side effects included, but were not limited to: not sleeping, not being able to focus on anything other than this project, not being able to focus on the project at all because it is too overwhelming, not sleeping, sudden onset of anxiety while doing non-anxiety producing things (such as reading or hemming pants), slight (lol) increase in retail therapy (i.e.buying things that I pretend I need and then use them/wear them all the time in order to advocate my purchase...thank you Banana Republic, Anthropology, Urban Outfitters, and Nine West for your support in this endeavor...the Glover Park neighborhood that has seen me in the same clothes day in and day out would also like to thank you...they appreciate consistency), not sleeping (do you notice a pattern here at all!?), eating ice cream for dinner for 5 days straight (true story...Ben & Jerry's creme brulee...HEY, I am in training for a half marathon, so I need calories people...stop judging!!), and finally...not sleeping. The not sleeping was a big part of the zombie-like Katie that partook in the above mentioned activities. Zombie Katie LOVES new shoes and ice cream. BUT, guess what!? Zombie Katie is to be no more for I have finished my huge project as of TODAY! PRAISE GOD!
Why am I telling all of this to you!?
For sympathy and praise, of course! JUST KIDDING, just kidding, just kidding....I swear, there is a point to all the rambling.
The point is this....Zombie Katie didn't have to exist. I completely freaked out for months about this project when God had it all in control the whole time. (STORY OF MY LIFE, PEOPLE!) God gave me this task in order to give Him all the glory...and believe me, I do. To Him I give all the glory, all the honor, and allllll the praise. And I'm not just saying that to sound "religious" or "churchy" or just because you're supposed to. I'm not like one of those rappers on the awards shows that thank God and then go and get arrested for (fill in bad thing here). Without God I wouldn't have been able to pull this off at all....believe me. I am only one person and this was a multi-person endeavor. When it was too much and I thought I couldn't go on...God would bring someone in to help me (Thank you Wajh and Paul!....I seriously can't stop thanking them...but I give credit where credit is due, ya'll). When I wanted to give up, God would give me the confidence and strength to go on. It sounds like I just built a skyscraper single-handedly while wearing and eye-patch or something, doesn't it!? : )Well, it kinda feels like it. We've all been through these types of trials. God tells us to count it as pure joy when we go through trials and suffering of many kinds (James 1:2....check it out!). Why!? Because He has found us worthy to do it. And not only does He know we can do it, but that He is so excited for us to realize how amazing and strong we really are and just how much we can accomplish when He is the center of our lives.
Anxiety over the most important project of my career thus far is basically...normal. Not sleeping for two months...not normal. Today, after all was said and done, I realized why it all went down the way it did. Now I get it...I understand. It didn't have to wait three months and look back to understand it; all I had to do was finish the project in order to see why it had to be so intense there for awhile. Today, I realized that had I not been forced to jump in feet first and figure a way to get it done, I may not have learned so much about my job so quickly. I had to learn a lot and research a lot...and do it quickly. And now, with the knowledge I have, I will be a much more effective manager and in a shorter time then if I wouldn't have had this project (this only occurs every 5 years....basically...it's an audit). God wants us to be knowledgeable. He wants us to be educated and hard-working.
This whole experience totally ties together with my blog series about restoration.
For many years of my life I couldn't and wouldn't trust. Trust is important. If you can't trust, then you can't have pure and true love. If you can't trust, then you can't have joy and peace. If you can't trust, then you have unhealthy boundaries and expectations. I was outgoing on the outside, but a scared little girl hiding under her mommy's skirt on the inside. Therefore, trusting in God was not and is not something that comes super easy to me (yet..I'm SO getting there). I WANT to trust. I LOVE trusting God. But it's just not easy. I transfer my experiences with humans letting me down over to a God that will NEVER let me down or leave me. So in order to teach me to trust...what does God do?...He puts me in situations in which I HAVE to trust Him. And you know what happens...I trust Him. And every single time....He comes through. What I have come to realize is that even when it seems like God is leaving me, not listening, not around, doesn't care, and is letting me down....He is in fact carrying me, hanging on every word and thought I have, hates my pain, saves each tear, stand by my bed as I toss and turn, holds me up and is working behind the scenes in order to bless me more than I could ever imagine. It's just the truth. I'm not trying to sound like a greeting card, even though it all sounds too good to be true. All of this work that God and I are doing....it's for a purpose. It's so that I can learn to love and trust Him, so that He can continue to grow and bless me.
When I was a little girl, my favorite song was The Glory of Love by Peter Cetera from Karate Kid II. My cousin, Heather and I watched that movie until it fell apart. One of the things I remember so clearly, even though I was only 5 or 6, was how much I loved the part in the movie with Daniel came and rescued his girl from that mean, jealous bad guy. Even as a little girl, all I wanted was a man that would fight for me. I would put the Karate Kid soundtrack into my tape player and listen to The Glory of Love over and over again...and I would cry. It wasn't just some cheesy eighties song to me. To me, the words of that song meant something. I didn't completely understand it, but I did understand that I wanted a knight and shining armor that would look at me and see that I am worth the fight.
About a year ago, I heard The Glory of Love again. It had been probably 10 years since I had heard it. I had totally forgotten about it. After hearing it on the radio I went home and got it off Itunes. One day, as I was out running, the song popped up and for the first time in a long long time I really listened to the words of the song...and man-oh-man was I overwhelmed. God spoke to me in that moment very clearly. It felt likeHe and I were having a conversation. Check out the lyrics:
Tonight it's very clear
Cause we're both lyin' here
There's so many things I want to say.
I will always love you,
I will never leave you alone.
Sometimes I just forget
Say things I might regret
It breaks my heart to see you crying.
I don't want to lose you
I could never make it alone.
I am the man who will fight for your honor
I'll be the hero you're dreaming of
We'll live forever, knowing together
That we did it all for the glory of love.
You keep me standing tall
You helped me through it all
I'm always strong when you're beside me
I have always needed you,
I could never make it alone
That's like a knight in shining armor
From a long time ago
Just in time I will save the day
Take you to my castle far away....
Okay, you all get the point, I'm sure. As I was listening to this song, God was saying to me that he was always there even when I didn't feel like he was. He has truly been my knight in shining armor. He has rescued me from bad guys time and time again. And all of the trials and hard times that I have gone through and will go through...is ALL for the glory of love. Why do I have hard times...for the glory of love? Love is what we are living for, people. If the number one commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and the second is to love your neighbor as you love yourself....then it seems that love is pretty important. Everything is for the glory of love. And guess what..God is love. So we do it all for the glory of God....and He is love.
God, being the knight and shining armor that He is, has restored my ability to trust. He has restored my ability to believe. He has restored my ability to love unconditionally and expect nothing in return. Are these blessings not worth a few months of doing some serious labor-of-love type work? HELL YEAH IT IS! (Pardon my French...at least I think the French say hell). Like I was talking about in my previous blog....I am like Martha and Mary. I know that God is wonderful and I love being around Him and all that....but I still have a hard time really believing that He can do the impossible. My mind can't comprehend it and my heart is too scared of being let down to believe it.....but God is in the restoration business. Through trials and hard times in my life I have seen God's glory and am now a witness to His ability to do the miraculous. You know yourself better than anyone (except God). Only you know the truth about dead dreams, dead hopes, etc that you have inside you and are too afraid to acknowledge. Maybe you are like me and even though you know that God can bring the desires of your heart to pass, you are afraid of succeeding. Success means that people now expect things from you. Now that you have done such a good job, they are going to expect perfection all the time. Everyone loves to be acknowledged and get a pat on the back here and there, but a true success that lifts you up and changes people's perspective of you....that....can be scary. Aren't we silly!? The only reason we are afraid of succeeding is because we are afraid of failing. The higher we climb, the harder we fall. We have all been let down in so many ways. We are afraid to fall in love because we have experienced what it is like to love someone only to fall far when things don't work out. We are afraid to reach for our goals..be they a new, higher paying job or to go on a mission trip to Russia...because we have applied for jobs before and didn't get them or we feel like we wouldn't make a difference even if we did go on a mission trip. There are SO many excuses that we give ourselves so that we don't have to look at our resurrected dreams and fear that they will die again. No one can understand that more than me. But you know what....God is bigger than my fears....He is bigger than my doubts...He is even bigger than my stubbornness (and that is pretty big, ya'll). Even when I limit myself, God finds a way to break through to me and the next thing I know..BAM!... my dream is alive again and it is more than it ever was...and so am I! God isn't going to let me give up because I am here for a purpose and I have given Him full access to my life. Herein lies the key point...I gave Him access....He didn't take it from me...He didn't force me...I prayed and asked Him to come into my life, to live in me, to forgive me, and to guide me. Until I was ready to do that....God was only a quiet whisper that I ignored as I went on thinking I had the answer. God still whispers to me, but now my soul is quiet enough to hear Him.
Katie the non-zombie