And So I Journey On….

Our pastor has spent the last 5 weeks walking us through the book of Jonah. I love this type of study, one where we piece apart the scripture verse by verse. When they share background about the time period, a better understanding about what the verses mean. It has been a powerful and convicting series for me.

Sometimes it is easier when we are not confronted and convicted with our sin isn’t it?! Jonah found himself there, sleeping in the belly of a ship, while he was the very reason that the storm was raging. Once the shipmates confronted him, he admitted to his sin. v. 12  “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” {This was Karlena’s favorite part of the story!}

We would rather hide and pretend it isn’t there, until it can’t be ignored any longer. And even then, we may find ourselves repentant and cry out to God – just like Jonah did from the belly of the fish…but have our hearts really been changed?

I feel like I have been trudging through the last 6 weeks of this new year. Seriously has it only been 6 weeks?! It feels like a lifetime. Maybe it is the fact that for the last week I have been dealing with the plague in my home…my children finally, finally seem to be on the mend and {of course} it seems that I am now coming down with something. I could cry. I should be working right now but I can’t focus and my head and body hurts and I just want to cry because I did everything to try and protect myself this past week (while Dominic did nothing) and I am getting sick (and he is fine!) I may be holding a resentment over that. I will pray about it….

Maybe it is the heart work that I feel like God is walking me through over this spending freeze. I am learning a lot yes, but mostly I am being confronted with my own selfishness and sinfulness and while I can admit it is there, I can also just as easily point to someone else and say “yeah but look at that….am I really that bad?!”

I have found myself discontented. I voxed my best girlfriends and said that I just want to run away. Not forever mind you…but for a time. Dominic and I were supposed to go on this trip last October and we had to cancel it. I still fully agree with why we made that choice…but it also was such a disappointment not to be able to get away. So I have been longing to try and arrange something, anything to escape for a weekend away.

Up until now there have been roadblocks. Timing wasn’t good, prices too high, doors closed for various reasons but then yesterday I thought that “the stars had aligned” and I might be able to pull something together. I almost booked the airline tickets without asking Dominic, but in an effort to really stay true to this issue of being open about my spending, I waited until we could talk about it.

As you can imagine the incredibly LOW price I found on the airfare was a very limited time offer and because I didn’t jump immediately, I missed out. Dominic had some other ideas about some fun things we could do instead. Ways we could do a family trip later in the year, or a more affordable way we could get away to the Cities for the weekend instead. Both valid but not what I wanted.

When things don’t go MY WAY, how do I respond?!

Our pastor asked if we are a glass half full or a glass half empty type of person? I have always been half empty. Focused on the negative. I don’t like that part of me. I try and focus on gratitude but the reality is, when things don’t go my way I instantly feel slighted. “It’s not fair!”

I guess the positive is that I have started to recognize this character defect much sooner when it happens. I used to wallow in self-pity for days/weeks. Today I can see it for what it is and recognize it as an opportunity for God to teach me something new. Even when I am not happy about it.

And hopefully I can use these moments as teachable opportunities for my kids as well.

Yesterday Elijah came to me upset about something at school. In the upcoming school musical he was assigned the drum to play when he really wanted to play the xylophone. He said the drum is sooo easy and his part isn’t hard at all. He just has to keep a constant beat. I told him that I was sorry and immediately he responded “I know, I know, life isn’t fair…”

And he is right – life isn’t fair. But I told him that doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard to accept when things don’t go our way. I told him that when I am doing something I don’t really want to do I try and turn my heart towards how that activity could honor God. That when we do our best with a good attitude, it can honor Him.

And then I reminded him that the drum has a very important part in the band. The drum keeps the beat for the rest of the musicians. So having a good drummer that can play well is so important. Even if it feels insignificant, it is integral to the entire performance.

There are days that the mundane parts of my life seem insignificant. I start wishing for a getaway that will bring me something that I think I can’t find at home. When the reality has been I haven’t done a great job in being intentional about making time for rest and connection here a priority.

I have a choice to make every day. Some days that choice comes without even thinking and I can find gratitude immediately. Other days I have to fight for it, I have to pray that God would continue to refine my heart so that it would be more like His. That is the continual faith walk isn’t it? A constant renewing of our heart and mind to the things of Christ. I pray He gives me strength for the continued journey because I know it won’t be easy. If it were though…I wouldn’t need Him like I do, so desperately. And so I journey on.

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