Finding Peace in Unexpected Places
I am starting to grasp that I am likely moving to Thailand. It's not certain, but it seems this is where my life is heading. I must preface this little babble with letting you know I am a "take one day at a time" kinda girl. Not to the point of being irresponsible, but I find that is how I keep peace in my heart. In the past, my life has kept a pretty hectic pace with a To-Do list that never seemed to be able to get Ta-Done. I realized that if I stopped and pondered all that needed to be taken care of, I would simply be overwhelmed. I am so thankful God taught me how to trust Him each morning, do what I can, and then trust Him to take care of what I can't. I put something in my calendar and then don't really think about it until I need to.
With possibly moving to Thailand I have started to prepare in the practical ways: learning (or rather trying to learn) the basics of the language, getting a support team together, look for sales on things I'll need like great sandals and long dresses with sleeves & t-shirts (for obvious reasons, I can't wear tank tops while visiting the center, and realized that's pretty much what I live in all summer), and checked my passport to see if I need to renew it. So it's not that I ignore what needs to be done, I just don't dwell on the fact I will board a plane for a thousand hours and go to the part of the world that has previously struck terror in my heart. And when It comes to moving there, well... although there is something in me that seems like it's just going to happen, I refuse to start the process of checking out of life here in the ATL. If and when I move, then I will say my goodbyes the week before I fly out. Then there are mornings like Monday... Sunday was Easter and I will admit I ate about 3 days of food in one afternoon and even though I hiked the trails afterwards for a couple hours, all the junk still affected me. When I woke up Monday morning I just felt blah. Then I couldn't remember what I had done with my Bible the day before, so I tried reading YouVersion, but it's not the same. I love by big 'ole extra large print Bible that has my notes and questions to God scribbled in the margins. It's one of my favorite ways to kick start a conversation with God. So without it (it ended up in my purse on my ironing board, which I have no recollection of putting it there because I never took it out of the house), I was just... off. I feel I must give a disclaimer because I have often taught on the "myth of quiet time." Growing up I remember people talking about "quiet time" with God as almost having a magical power in itself. Someone would have a had day and tell me because they didn't have their "quiet time"; the devil was really after them because they didn't wake up early for their "quiet time". Now don't get me wrong, I am a believer in spending time daily with God and reading the Bible, or a Biblically based book, or whatever I feel God leading me to do that particular day. And being a morning person, I do set my alarm early to hang out with Him, and sometimes it is quiet, but often times it's not. I find myself talking out loud to Him, sometimes ranting to Him, and I have been known to once or twice raise my voice and drop a few words I wouldn't say in front of my grandma because I was pissed at God. Of course in the end, that tantrum that would rival a 2 year old, brings me face to face with the cross and my need for my heavenly Daddy to continue to heal my heart. All that to say I believe it's time spent with God and getting to know Him that changes people, not the format. I believe chit-chatting with Him on the way to work is just an act of love as reading 1 Samuel... But Monday I woke up in a funk, let it affect my heart and didn't really talk to God. I "did" all the "right" things, but nevertheless, found myself caught up in a pity party. I started to think, no, I started to dwell on how hard it will be to move overseas again. I thought about my best friend's kid and all the baseball games I will miss. I thought of my first holiday gone and all the other things that make a move like this hard. And in all that something terrible happened, I fell for the lie. I thought I was having a morning of just healthy grieving and dealing with the future. I even texted a friend and asked her to pray for me, all the while walking around getting ready for the day... crying. I even found myself driving to the gym crying. There was this heaviness that I thought was from God, but then at 11:00, my yoga class started and after an hour and half of stretching my muscles close to their breaking point, the heaviness I had felt was gone. I realized I had not been in a state of healthily dealing with what may happen; I had bought the lie of the enemy of my soul. I had gone into "what if" mode and let it rob me of a few hours. It was a beautiful morning. I had even slept in a bit. But instead of living in the moment and thanking God for the right now, I was all worked about over the "might be'.
So at 11:30, I left the yoga studio and once again was reminded that it is peace God desires for me to live in, not fear... I have been practicing yoga for about a year and a half and love it. Through learning how to breath better, and stay in uncomfortable positions, even though I just want to run away and hit the treadmill because it wouldn't hurt so badly, I have learned to quiet my heart and ask God for help in the smallest things. My conversations with Him have found a new depth as a result of yoga. For many years I was actually scared to try yoga because, from what I understand it has it's foundations in another religion and is definitely a form of meditation. And as a kid growing up in church, some very well meaning adults had tried to "scare the hell out of me" my talking up how scary the devil is and how he uses other religions and rock 'n roll and all sorts of things to pull us away from God. While I don't deny the enemy can use things to pull me away from my communion with God, in my life, more often than not, it's the "good" things that have put a rift in the conversation between me and Jesus. As an adult getting drunk and having a one night stand hasn't really been an issue; nor has getting high, stealing or even lieing on a resume. But focusing on walking the tightrope I believed to be Christianity and then beating myself up even time I failed, that has kept me from running to the heart of God. Trying to earn His love by my great actions and never accepting that He freely gives it, that's what kept me under a cloud of shame for years. So when I started practicing yoga, I had no clue how God was going to use it in my life. I am actually starting to understand how I can be still and rest in the fact He is God. And while I do still believe there is a very real enemy of my soul who would use anything to pull me away from my Creator who loves me, that's not what's important. I have a very real God who can use even the most unlikely things to draw me closer to Himself. I am so thankful there is no limit to the power of the Lord Of The Angel Armies....