Compulsion

Com*pul*sion: (noun) an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, especially against one’s conscious wishes.

Sometime in the blogging world circa 2012…

I do projects. A lot of projects. Health and fitness projects. Home making projects. Parenting projects. Pet projects. Educational projects. I do projects. Usually long ones.  

This may not seem to you to be problematic, and certainly not harmful. These are good and noble goals. A person can be proud of such things. Well, that’s true. A person could. If a person were doing those things for the good and noble reasons mentioned. But, what if, on the contrary, a person moved through decades of life completing one grandiose project after another, for entirely different reasons altogether?

Oh sure, there are always good reasons for doing any number of things that in themselves are not harmful… and might even be helpful. The problem is, that if I were doing any one of my “projects” for those reasons, completing the project should fulfill that goal. It should spur me on to another goal in the same light, or to feel satisfied that I have accomplished the task and can now move on… But that is never what happens to me. I finish my projects, usually very well, and within weeks, sometimes days, I am left feeling uneasy. Unsettled. Unsatisfied. The project was not enough. So, I begin a search for another task. A bigger task. A better task. One that is even more taxing physically, mentally, and/or emotionally. So there it is. I have a compulsion. A compulsion to fill my time with an endless myriad of very time-consuming projects.

I wrote those words sometime in 2012 after completing my first (and LAST, Thank. You. Very. Much!!!) full marathon.

It was fun for me to read, because I wondered if I had learned much since then. It seems that I have been on a quest for quite some time to really find and fulfill my unique purpose in this life. I realize now that the first hurdle along that journey was to put my compulsion to DO at bay, and instead to focus on something wholly new and unheard of to me… I will be content. TODAY.

Content in knowing that my life is unfolding just as it should. That the small things I do well and with great care make a difference in my own life and in the lives of those I touch. I will believe the mantras I have repeated so many times to others.

I am where I am meant to be.

There is no one keeping score of my achievements and failures.

I will wait patiently and follow the path that is in front of me with confidence without creating for myself extra pain, stress, or sleepless nights!

I will be content with who and what I am.

And I will see where the road leads…

…without railroading myself into yet another obnoxiously long project that I come to despise once I am through!

Does that mean that I will be idle, never again attempting a grand gesture, a daring plan? By no means! However, I will patiently wait on the Lord. I will wait, watch, and be fulfilled with how things ARE, rather than wishing for how things could be. Because I believe that it is in that state of waiting quietly and expectantly that great things could be accomplished through me. And when I am once again lead in the direction of a new pursuit, I will obediently follow. Cautiously. Yes. Carefully. Yes. Without rushing in and without attempting to quench an unseen thirst. I will endeavour to honestly evaluate every choice, every potential project and time filler that I might bring upon myself.

Here’s the question I am trying to ask myself more often: Am I compulsively filling my days with endless pursuits and great opportunities just to avoid living the life that I already have?

Have a beautiful, messy, imperfect day today. It’s the only day that really counts!

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Family Fun Close to Home!

This is very exciting for me! One of the munchkins in our crew has decided that he might like to try his hand at blogging, and decided that this week he wanted to post together with me about a recent family adventure at a near-by provincial park.

I love to share places we go adventuring… we are so grateful to live in a place with such easy access to the amazing beauty and pristine wilderness that is all around us! It is soul-food for our family to spend some time in nature!

So, before I go on, click on the photo below for a link to one of my partners in crime’s version of Crimson Lake Provincial Park, Alberta (he preferred to post his views at his own blog site, rather than adding his words to mine… a 10 year old’s prerogative after all ;)).

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Crimson Lake Provincial Park is only minutes away from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta and is a great get away for a day of easy hiking, biking, or exploring along the beach. Because we visited late in the fall, we didn’t get a good impression of the general “busyness” of the lake. It was extremely quiet and accessible when we were there and we were virtually alone on the trail we chose. As a place to hike with children or an easy off-road bike ride, it is ideal with a great 10 km loop around the lake with plenty of little spots for exploring along the way! There are good outhouse toilets (bring your own hand sanitizer), and a little park for the kids to play on. The beach has several picnic sites that I’m sure are quite full in the summer, but virtually unused in the fall season. We enjoyed wandering around in the shallow water in our gum boots and walking on the small dock to look at the mussels growing underneath. One small fishing boat came in while we were exploring the boat launch with a bucket full of Pile Perch… so we might just have to go back for some fishing too!

The highlight of the day for us was the beautiful fall colors all around and the quiet. SO quiet. It was soul food at its best. We had a great day and are really looking forward to trying the area again with snow shoes or cross-country skis in a few months! I would most definitely recommend this area as a great afternoon or daytime excursion to just “get out-of-town.”

Happy Adventuring… and thank you to my co-pilot Cole for his added charm on this topic!

 

Grace. Amazing.

In these two years, our little family has felt some sorrow, some joy, some failure, some hope, and so much grace. It is the latter that has shaped us the most.

Two years ago, my life was churning along a straight, predictable, well-formulated path. I believed that my hard work, careful planning, and attention to every detail would ensure that we continued on that path, undeterred, and always. My trust in God and assurance of his goodness was steadfast. However, I did not realize how conditional my trust was.

My purpose here is not to delve into the details of these past many months, but to share what learning has come through:

Dreams crushed. But new hope realized.

Questions of purpose. Questions of Calling. But these are not for us to decide, rather to discover.

Cancer. Pain. But healing in the dawn!

Fear. Sadness. Sickness. But new respect for perseverance.

Loss of control. But Freedom!

Unsettled. Transition. Change. Weariness in heart and spirit. But oh, have I learned to trust.

When our road becomes muddy and the way becomes unclear, that is when we realize what grace is all about. That is when I realized that my trust was less in a good, faithful, just, and loving God, and so much more in my ability to manage my circumstances and carve a path for myself by my design. My efforts. My work.

I am (and always will be!) a work in progress, but what I do know for sure is that this path we have been on is not easy. It is a path less travelled. Marked by faith, and tread upon lightly by hopes and dreams. I am learning that my God is good. And faithful. And just. And so loving. My guess is that I might not be so sure of these things if it weren’t for the winding path we have taken. So, I am grateful for it all. There is always beauty in ashes. We just have to be willing to sift through a little.

Be blessed today.

Joyful. Patient. Faithful.

It seems to me that far too many people dear to me have been dealing with far too much turmoil and heart ache recently. Enough already. In my human view of things, the world would just make a whole lot more sense if things (at least eventually) turned out good for the good ones, you know? But, that’s not how it is at all, is it? Sometimes the good ones finish last. Sometimes they don’t get to finish at all.

In a broken, fallen, grieving world; in the world of here and now, things don’t always add up the way we think they should.

So, as I was spending some time in quiet meditation and prayer this week, and this verse washed over me in such a new and vibrant way, thoughts of all these dear souls flooded over me and I just knew that they needed to feel encouraged as I was.

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(This lovely version was not created by me, so my thanks to the artist who posted this here).

If today is one of the best days of your life, dear friend… be joyful in hope. I am so grateful for these days you are in. Let them be strength to you for the days that are not! Don’t look for ways to darken the light. It is good. Bask in it. Be joyful in hope.

If today is one of the darkest you have ever trudged through, dear friend… be patient in affliction. The old adage is true – this too shall pass. The darkest of days are always followed by dawn. It is a universal law. It will not be broken. You already have within you whatever you need to walk this road. Trust that you will. Trust that you can. If all that you can muster is one breath, Take it. Take the next one, and the next one, and the next one. And before you know it, some time will have passed. You will be a tiny bit further through the shadows. Keep moving through them. Be patient in affliction.

And covering, like a warm, soft, fragrant cloak over these two extremes – the high and the low, the strength and the weakness… be faithful in prayer. You are held, dear friend. In higher esteem than you can ever imagine. You are heard. Cherished. Beloved. So, pray. Pray in disbelief, in anger, in fear, in sorrow. Pray in love, in abundance, in fits of giggles and triumph! Words sent up to heaven, the cries of your heart, are holy. Speak them in earnest, never-ceasing. Be faithful in prayer.

Wherever you are today, be encouraged. I sure am.