Monday, January 2

Forty's Final Hours

My husband had a brainstorm recently that he confessed to me last night as he took me out for my birthday dinner and shopping.  He said he's just noticed that I get to have back to back introspective days.  Because New Year's and my birthday are so close together (my birthday is tomorrow) he imagined that I must spend a good deal of time each year pondering the old and dreaming up the new all at once.  Love that man.  

Yes, I do.

I spend so many hours at this time of year wondering, 'What could be better?' 'How can I tweak me?'
'How can I create a life that's productive, more satisfying, more purposeful, more congruent?'  As if my prior life were none of those things.  Making new goals as if the old ones had no effect.

But each year builds on the next.  Had I not been my prior person, I would not be my present person. Is there nothing about past me that I can be honored to have been? Is future me so amazing that I cannot be satisfied with and active about present me?  Who knows?

Having spent a good amount of time this year thinking about gratitude and finding God in good and hard, I realize that perhaps this year,or this half of life, I don't need to push so hard into 'what's next' but rather lean into 'what is.'  Where I am, who I am, why I live and breathe.  As Richard Rohr says, "The first half of life is about discovering the script.  The second is writing and owning it." 

So, until the script for this current production is written I think I need to focus here and now; take what I know and what I am and make use of it.  Looking ahead at positive change... that's all good, but at some point we have to stop forging and take a look around.  We'll never arrive at the destination, but the journey is always with us.

And so this is my year to lean in.    

Lean in to the middle grade dyslexic son that struggles to spell.  Let's work through it with the tools we have because searching for the right thing has left me doing barely nothing to address his real needs. 

Lean into the adolescent boy at the cusp of manhood as he manages new emotions (of fear mostly) and dreams.  I can lean into his heart, his fears, his identity and he can know that he's not in those places alone.  

Lean into the active kindergarten son who just wants to play a game with me.  He needs more 'yes' moments.  

Lean into mentoring and let it change me, being aware of my impact as the words leave my mouth, but saying the hard stuff too.

Lean into the women who join me in mentoring others.  I support them and feed them the wine and the bread.

Lean into the hard work of developing a new Bible study leader, teaching her discernment and dynamics.  And the harder work of letting her fly.

Lean into the fact that I do have a voice because there is character behind it.  No integrity, no voice.  And the voice needs to be God's voice, not mine, which means the character flows from him as well.  Which means practicing spiritual disciplines with that in mind.  

Lean into God rather than just his blessings or just his revelation.

Lean into marriage.  May there never be another period of disconnect.  May we continue to partner and support and love and touch.  Lean into his amazingness and our impact as one. 

Lean into random moments of influence among all my interactions.  God will work if I trust him to be there.

Make conversations go deeper.
Heal relationships.
Press harder into justice.
Pursue and create beauty.
Practice grace and love the grace-giver.

This birthday more than others I recognize that my life is not my own.  It was bought with a price. Why did Jesus do that?  In return I should offer a life that means something to him.  Not a fragmented life of half-finished projects and unfulfilled resolutions.  But a pursuant life.  One that works with God to continue and complete the work he's begun.  Because that work, he says, is good.

This year, I don't want to discount the goodness of that work, prior and present.  This is my memorial year and perhaps my year of feasting.  I have feet; let me move them. They already know where to go.

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For two years I have had comments turned off as a discipline to write for myself. I'm seeing the other side. I just ask that you comment with grace.