Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Stop Trying...

I tend to be an overachiever. Okay, actually I just AM an overachiever. I don’t mean that in a bragging way at all, I hope you all know. Actually, it can be quite a detriment.

Instead of rest, I often choose frantic activity. Instead of a peaceful frame of mind, I choose to worry. Instead of allowing others to help me, I am a “do-it-myself” girl – fiercely independent – and then I wonder why my daughter is so independently natured. And I wonder why I’m so damn tired at the end of the day. Or at the beginning of one.

Achieving and getting your to-do list done, or making goals and going after them are of course admirable traits. They have served me well in many ways. But sometimes, you just gotta say no. And sometimes, it’s okay to quit something.

I quit something recently and am actually quite proud of myself: I quit reading my Bible.

No, it’s not that extreme. I haven’t lost my faith or anything. But, Joe and I had set out in mid-November to read through the whole Bible in one year. (Again, not a bragging point – just a goal we had set for ourselves to encourage ourselves to be more intentional about spending time with God).  We printed out a schedule from the Internet that gave you what to read every day. I stuck with it pretty well, even through packing, moving and traveling… and then just last week I decided I had had enough.

I was getting so frustrated trying to read these intense passages of Old Testament scripture where so many “why” questions arise, and then not be able to really study it or understand what was happening. I was reading just to “get it done” and it wasn’t feeding my soul or leading me closer to God in any way. At least not right now in my life (like 10 days before baby #2 will be born). I needed something more immediate, more accessible, more understandable. Something that would challenge me to connect with God right then and there, and throughout my day.

So I busted out the little Jesus Calling devotional book my friend gave me a year ago. It may be a little cheesy (it’s written as if Jesus is talking directly to you, and yes, you can buy it at Walmart), but I actually love this little book. So many times it has a message that is exactly what I need to hear, and it offers scriptures that you can look up – like one or two verses, instead of the chapters of Leviticus I was reading before – verses you can “carry” with you throughout the day.

This one from March 29th really challenged and encouraged me (the italics are the scriptures the author uses as a reference):

Stop trying to work things out before their times have come. Accept the limitations of living one day at a time. When something comes to your attention, ask Me whether or not it is part of today’s agenda. If it isn’t, release it into My care and go on about today’s duties. When you follow this practice, there will be a beautiful simplicity about your life: a time for everything, and everything in its time.

A life lived close to Me is not complicated or cluttered. When your focus is on My Presence, many things that once troubled you lose their power over you. Though the world around you is messy and confusing, remember that I have overcome the world. I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have Peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1; John 16:33

Part of the post-Costa Rica conversation that Joe and I are always having seems to be centered around these questions: What next? Where next? Is it here in the Vancouver area? Back to Seattle? Another place? What types of jobs should we pursue? Etc… These aren’t bad questions, it’s just that we spend an awful amount of time allowing these questions to consume us, instead of resting in God’s timing and guidance our lives.  God gave us minds, choice, and freedom, and he invites us into a conversation about our lives, but that doesn’t mean we have to be consumed by constant analyzing and it shouldn’t mean that we stop relying and trusting in Jesus to be our ultimate source, our ultimate guide, our ultimate peace.

So with all that said, I am glad I quit reading my Bible. At least trying to read through it all this year. I will try again another time when I can devote more time to studying and really understanding what I’m reading. In the meantime, I’m challenging myself to stop being such an over-achiever; stop trying to work things out before their times have come and instead focus on the simple, peaceful presence of Jesus as I go throughout my day.

P.S. I’m also trying to be at peace while we wait for this baby’s birth… I’ve been much more anxious second time around, wondering when and how it will all go down. While we wait, we’ve been keeping busy. Here are a few pictures of our life lately.

The nursery, just a little over a week ago. I've been frantically working on it!

Kate at the park on a sunny, spring NW day!

 Kate had her very first field trip at her preschool. They had been studying about Servicios Publicos (public services), like fire fighters, police, medics, etc. For the trip, they went to downtown Camas (a small mill town we live next to) and toured the fire station, library, and local grocery store.

Future fire fighter...
My dear friend Eryn hosted a lovely potluck dinner/shower for me this past Saturday. I am still waiting for some pictures that she took, so I only have these two... But the food was delicious, the company superb, and the laughter worth it all... Thank you Eryn and all who were able to make it!!

The three pregos! I look ginormous compared to these two! So scary.
And then there was Easter.

The Easter bucket (it was the cheapest and most practical thing I could find!)
Opening a second basket from Uncle Andy, who came down for the day from Seattle.
We had lunch with Great Grandma at her retirement home. In the back is Andy, Joe's brother, and his girlfriend.
Egg huntin' at Grandma and Grandpa's

Our dyed egg collection: animal print style!
It was also Grandma's birthday on Easter, so we enjoyed celebrating her and watching her open presents!
And then, there was the Oregon Zoo today! I really shouldn't go out in public anymore... I feel like a curiosity shop or something, but you know, it's Spring break and we really need to get Kate out of the house. Plus, it gets my mind off of waiting-for-the-baby, and it's good exercise to walk around the zoo! We even had a very, very special behind the scenes experience with the penguins, thanks to Aunt Una Beth, who volunteers at the zoo!!
Kate wanted to pose by this giant bear.
With Rick, the penguin keeper and Mochika, a Humboldt penguin who thinks he's a person.

We got to go in the actual enclosure and peek in this kennel to see a penguin chick and its mama!!
Mochika hanging out in the corner...
Being a flamingo.

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