Off The Deep End

I am an organization addict. I love all things office supply, all things color-coding, all things hi-liter. For many years, I held fast to my organizer, and I got a new organizer every year, so that I could re-organize in the month of December, because that was Reorganization Month. I don’t have an organizer any longer, as I made the transition to Paperless Organizational System, or POS (shut up, that is so what it means), a couple of years ago. I now use iCal, and I have 7 glorious color-coded calendar categories which sync effortlessly from my computer to my phone to a fluffy white cloud full of Organization in the sky. (I also enjoy the number 7, and like for things to be in multiples of 7. Which is not relevant, but once my Crazy starts coming out, it’s difficult to tuck it back in).

Historically, Reorganization Month has also coincided with Goal-Setting Month for me, and although I probably stand somewhat alone in my quirky organizer-obsessed behavior, I have a kinship with many of my fellow humans with regards to December goal-setting. I also do this goal-setting thing over Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, because every adult mentally divides their year into trimesters and re-evaluates their life on a thrice-yearly basis, I’m just sure of it (sorry, tucking the Crazy back in once again). Anyway, I have not historically referred to my Pre-New-Year-Goal-Setting-Extravaganza as setting “resolutions,” because for me, the thought of making a list of “resolutions” was tantamount to establishing a list of Things-At-Which-I’m-Going-To-Fail-Quickly. Instead, I generally think about areas in which I want to grow, and changes I would like to make, and set goals that will help me achieve that growth and create new habits. Basically, resolutions. Whatever.

Over the past couple of weeks, given that it’s been Goal-Setting Month, I’ve given some thought to my goals for 2014. And basically, I have 2. The first of which is:

1) Go to bed earlier. GO. TO. BED. EARLIER.

What is earlier? I’m not sure exactly. I’m going to need to think about it more. Which is okay, because my New Year’s goals don’t actually go into effect until the 7th anyway (see paragraph 1 above.) What I do know is this. This is me in the morning:


And this is me at midnight:


And I need to make some changes here.

2) The second goal is a little harder, a little less measurable (which is scary, because “earlier” is not exactly measurable.) But I feel like it involves an area where God is teaching me so very much right now. I saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty today, and if you haven’t seen it you definitely should. You also should probably stop reading, because I’m about to spoil it for you – sorry 🙁 Anyway, there is a character in the movie who is a brilliant photographer, and he is photographing a snow leopard, which looks like this, and is the most beautiful creature in the history of ever:



The photographer is looking at the snow leopard through the lens of his camera, and he is asked when he is going to take the picture. And he leans back and informs the asker (who may or may not be Walter Mitty) that sometimes, when he has the opportunity to be a part of a moment like the present one, he doesn’t take the picture. He just takes it all in. He doesn’t want to be distracted from the moment by trying to capture it with his camera. I loved this scene, as my second goal for 2014 involves a greater focus on being present. Being present in my relationships, in my job, with God, with myself even. I don’t want to go through life distracted – by to-do lists in my head, by a chaotic schedule, by my phone, by ANYTHING. I have noticed over the past couple of years that I am less and less able to just be still. To just be quiet. To just be. And this is my prayer right now – for greater presence with my Savior, and for greater presence with the people around me.

Best wishes for a fantastic 2014. I hope that all of your New Year’s goals/dreams/resolutions are realized. 7 times over.

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~John 10:10

I drove to work this past Monday morning, as many of us did, feeling deeply saddened, heartbroken, and still reeling from the events of the previous weekend.  As someone who works in the mental health field, I see a great deal of suffering on a daily basis, but it has somehow seemed magnified over the past few days – with every individual with whom I came into contact, there seemed to be an overwhelming amount of sadness and struggle.  Addiction.  Psychiatric illness.  Physical illness.  Domestic abuse.   I spoke last night to an amazing group of parents and educators in a local community, who recently experienced a tragic event at their school.  We talked about substance abuse, and fear, and warning signs, and feelings of powerlessness.

There is enough heaviness out there to drown us if we let it.  And I confess that I can sometimes start to go under a little bit when I take my eyes off of the One who is my source of hope.  I needed to be reminded this week that our God is a redeeming God, a God of hope, a God of PRESENCE, who, as my friend Mark said in his Sunday message, CHOSE to be present in the midst of our mess.  He chose to do so 2000 years ago, and still chooses to do so today.  And my soul can rest in the knowledge that God is with me – is with us – even in, and especially in, the things we don’t understand.

Mark posed a question during his message that reached in to the deepest part of my soul:  Will you move out of your fear towards Him?

And the answer, for me, is a resounding YES.  YES, I will take a step out of my fear and towards my Savior, knowing that my hope is not in the things of this world.  YES, I will pursue the hope of Christ like my life depends on it, knowing that only by embracing and sharing this hope can I truly impact the world around me. YES, I will choose to be present with God, this Christmas season and beyond – to be still, and to rest in the knowledge that He is ever present with me.  YES, I will choose to be present with the people in my life – to be FULLY present, and to fight against the distractions that can steal my attention.  And finally, YES, I will choose to be obedient to God’s commandment of “Do not be afraid,” choosing to trust in God’s faithfulness and to be mindful of the many, many ways I have experienced His faithfulness in my life.

Immanuel.  God with us.

Be Present