What’s it All About?

Hey, there, dear friends. More stops on the midlife crisis express. Buckle up. 🙂

The above is the last page from my memoir. Can’t believe I actually dug it out after all this time, opened it up, and actually gave you a glimpse. But, it’s kind of significant to this present circumstance, so…

Anyway…

I wrote that bit about 5 years ago. Ok. Probably closer to 6 or so, when you add the year of shuffling my ambitious thoughts one publisher to the next.

I read it now and it’s just…wow. There was a nice little pocket of hope back there. I forgot I had it in me.

Like this:

Greater things have yet to come. Greater things are still to be done. This is only the beginning.”

And:

“Be well and be blessed right where you are for who you are.

Oh, pithy phrases, yes. Somewhere within is still a touch of delight in the flow of the words, honestly.

And, really, it’s nothing I don’t still believe, deep down.

Yet…I look at them now and, frankly, feel a little foolish for all I have to admit I was dreaming then versus where I now sit…

Which is on a secondhand couch with a cover that doesn’t fit quite right in a house yet unfinished.😏

Countless heartaches yet unfinished.

A life…yet…unfinished.

There was a lot more I wanted to be doing now, if I am being honest.

I wanted to be that polished, well-heeled author/speaker, going from one place to the next sharing all the knowledge He’d given me.

Advocating for my autistic beauties.

Reminding others of His truth, His grace, His providence.

(Not to be crass, but seeking a chunk of that providence and, perhaps, even that oft-elusive thing called financial security through fees and sells.)

I had been on the stage for years, after all. I could kind of, sort of public speak.

I’d played everything from a busybody mom (Father of the Bride) to an early 1900’s murderess (A Rose for Emily).

I even got our high school’s version of an Oscar ( coined the Larrys) for supporting actress once.

It was exhilirating and freeing to be up there playing pretend, particularly for one whose confidence had been so diminished over the years by abuse.

( And, yes, part of me wishes I had pictures to show you, too. But, there are a lot of things on the road to divorce from your high school sweetheart/acting partner- one of which is the disposal of artifacts related to your time together. )

At any rate, with that resume, I could potentially sell myself accomplished, right?

Even if, even if…I didn’t feel it all the time?

Or, really, hardly ever? 😏

Ummm…it turns out, no.

For, I discovered the hard way, as most things with me have had to be discovered, that playing a little old lady exposed for poisoning her lover’s lemonade and exposing my own vulnerabilities are much, much different.

For one is a performance and the other is just…not.

The other is life.

My life.

A life, granted, I can call redeemed in Jesus.

Hallelujah for that!

But, still a life I felt protective over.

Still feel protective over.

With kids and events and hurts and joys I felt and still feel protective over.

Things….not for sale.

I quickly found I just could not get up there and share it with anybody.

Nor could I sit smiling behind a tower of fresh books and “hawk my wares”.

Literal agony!

So, as is my tendency when faced with agony, I shut down and dashed away, flinging aside any regrets for the sake of safety.

There weren’t a ton of offers, or something, but I did beg off some opportunities and sure didn’t go pursuing any new ones after I realized how out of my wheelhouse it all was.

It was not long till the faint buzz calmed in this little town and beyond.

And not much after that that it went silent altogether.

So…now, 5 years later, here I am.

Still facing down the same pack of insecurities, if not more.

I have my things I do, my cookies I bake, my youth I talk with and counsel a bit.

Yet, overall, I find myself in further retreat than ever.

And maybe, just maybe, nursing some regrets that got imbedded in spite of my cross-country run away from expectations.

I hate to pull out the word “failure”.

It gives me such an unpleasant, sour feeling in the pit of my stomach.

And people invariably chide me for using it.

But, for all intents and purposes, according to a lot of standards, that is the word that suits me just now.

For, I ventured out in something big, picturing one thing, and it did not, in fact, become that at all.

It failed.

I failed.

Oh, it’s all right. I need no comfort as I put those words out there.

It’s just an unfortunate necessity as I ponder my life.

Where it’s been, where He wants to take it.

And, in all this midlife crisisy mumbo jumbo I have been serving up so often lately, I have to keep asking myself one key question:

“What’s it all about?”

Writing, sharing, life….

It’s a weighty question, but a worthy one.

For, if my end aim is only to make myself feel good for a while about myself, then it’s all for naught.

A flash-in-the-pan sensation at best.

Such a feeling will never satisfy. Not even worth messing with.

But, if this pursuit is truly about honoring Him with what He has given me alone to honor Him with, then…. it’s invaluable.

For, despite how I let the world and my own massive doubts rail against me some days-too many days,

It really, truly matters not what others think of my offering or what becomes of it.

After all, no deficiencies-real or imagined- can remain where one gives purely of one’s heart to the Father.

The past cannot truly define, the present cannot truly disappoint, and the future cannot truly discourage where His truth exists…

Now, I have to chuckle at myself a bit here as I just looked back on that page once more.

A few sentences above the other quotes I shared, I also said this:

“For the message isn’t how to be a success way down the road or how to be a success at all.”

And a few phrases down, just before the “be blessed” bit:

“Don’t look too far back and don’t strain too far ahead”.

Ahem. Well, then, Lord. Using my own words to set me right, huh?

He has a real way with that….🙂

You know, all this, and I still have not a notion really what He has for me next, but I am learning, with His patient reminders, not to fret on it.

Ok. So, thanks for riding along with me a ways, dear friends. I pray wherever you find yourselves at, you are feeling His presence guiding you into all He has for you. Blessings! ❤

Puffed Up

Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

A familiar verse. Seems cut and dried.

Don’t be proud. Don’t look down on others.

Destruction follows.

Right?🤔

Well, yes, but, there’s a bit more to it than that.

Because there’s different lights to take the word “pride” in.

There’s pride in our work-that which can cause us to excel and bring forth a product of highest integrity.

Pride in our children. This lovely shaping of another human life can spur on such smiles in a parent’s soul as they watch their loved ones blossom and grasp truths.

There’s also pride in our home, our service, our country…

Not all of this is necessarily bad.

I believe the Lord joins us in joy over something gone well. Zephaniah says He sings over His creation, after all.

If the Creator does that over us, might we conclude He extends a piece of such delight to our hearts as we see our endeavors come to fruition?

I tend to think so.

But, where this can go off the rails is in this-

When we go from glorying in what He has done for us and through us to self-congratulatory ego-stroking.

Then, we are in danger of swelling up like puffer fish, button-busting with what we start perceiving as success in our own power, growing so used to that feeling that we scramble for a convincing front to keep it going.

Our views consequently skew floating around in our own inflated sense of being. We forget to regard others as we ought around our expanded girth.

And, in that state, we are bound eventually to topple.

We see it in all walks of life.

From the neighbor prone to braggadocio to the social media darlings of self-promotion.

From our government to our entertainment to our churches.

Not to mention our reflection in the mirror, to bring it back home.

Ouch. 🙁

Something to think about for sure.

For the balance between joy in success and pride in ourselves can be precarious.

This is why everything- victory and struggle alike- must rightly and quickly be laid at the throne of God.

Not to be forgotten, of course.

Rather, to be brought into proper perspective.

To recall the phrase “Look what God has done.” over “Look what I’ve done.”.

Or, in the case of a struggle laid bare, “God’s got this problem.” versus “I’ve got no problems.”😏

For, when we are leaning into and celebrating with the heavens, our hearts are naturally centered, appropriately shaped and lifted in Him, rather than ourselves.

James 4:10 bears witness to this:

Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up. emphasis mine.

May we recognize we can do nothing in our own strength. Rather, may we lay ourselves before Him in complete humility and let our joys in life rise through Him and Him alone.

Blessings and prayers, dear friends!