Friday, January 29, 2010

Working It Out

If my blog has given you emotional whiplash from the quick turns from sorrow and grief to silliness and laughter I do apologize. I just try to keep it real, and right now that is really how my moods are swingin'. Imagine how fun it is for my husband and children who get to live with me.

I'm embracing the mood swings though, because as I've shared here, I am good at just not feeling. And that is scary.

So many people have told me that I just have to take this grieving thing one day at a time. Truer words have never been spoken. The night we got home we had to make a trip to Wal-Mart and for some reason I decided I needed a new calendar. Obviously, it was a new year and I really did need a new calendar, but I'm not sure why at that point I was even concerned with it. All it represented were lots and lots of days that would be lived without my Daddy. Other than my sister's due date I didn't really even have anything to put in it. I'm convinced that is how I ended up planning my high school reunion. I got out my calendar last January and decided I needed something to fill the empty boxes in my planner. So, here I was with a new, empty calendar in my purse. Lots of days that would be dealt with one at a time.

It may seem strange to some that I got on my exercising kick at this time in life. It couldn't be any stranger to me. I am terrible with resolutions, and really self-discipline altogether, and I had no hope of even setting goals this year. I am a professional pit dweller, isolator, and pity party throwing fool and I felt that this time in life others would appreciate and even encourage that. But, something happened. That calendar. My main resolution this year was to start taking vitamins. Consistently. So, I wrote it down on my calendar to remind and to be able to mark it off every day. Then, I had the idea that maybe if I wrote the Shred down everyday and I got to put a checkmark by it, then maybe that would motivate me. Because you know, I'm like 10 and will do anything for positive reinforcement. I think I'm going to start putting a sticker next to it. :) But so far, it has worked!

Is this the saddest thing you've ever heard? Maybe it is sad, but for me it's a big deal. I've often shared the story that when my depression was at it's worst in 2002-2003 I made the New Year's Resolution to make up my bed every day. Obviously making up your bed is a good thing, but for me the significance of it was that I had to be OUT of the bed to make it up. It may have seemed small and insignificant to anyone else, but it was huge for me.

The reason I think I have such a hard time with things like this is that I am an instant gratification kind of person. Chores like dishes and bed making get to me because you have to do them ALL THE TIME. Over and over and over and well, you get the point. The whole exercising thing holds the same problem. Why can't I do it like twice a year and be good? Of course, it just doesn't work that way. Well, you can do that, but your body will pay the price. I've had to learn that even if I can lose weight without exercising, it is not necessarily best for my body, as evidenced by the fact that my resting heart rate was about 235 after I finished the Shred for the first time. I'm exaggerating of course (a little bit). Still, wherever this self-discipline has come from that has allowed me to exercise everyday has completely amazed me at how much my body can change in just a short amount of time. And there is nothing magical or surgical about it. I've just had to work my booty off.

This post is actually not about exercise, but about the way God has been speaking to me during this time of grief. Philippians 2:12 says, 12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,

That is what God has been speaking to me about. I've got to work this out. In the same way I have to work my body for fitness or work through the stages of grief (I will post about that later), I have to keep working out my salvation. Now don't read this wrong. I do not believe we can do anything to earn or keep our salvation. Not a thing. You won't meet a girl who basks more in the freedom of Christ and seeks to liberate others from the ball and chain of religion and duty. But, my salvation, my relationship with God, it must continually be worked out. I wish so much I could not struggle with doubts any more. I would give my right arm to not deal with anger or selfishness. But I do. Because, as long as I'm here, it is so I can keep working it out. There is no magical prayer to make me perfect on this earth, there is no Bible study I can complete and be done with my spiritual growth. It's a process. And sometimes it's hard.

This morning Sarah was watching me make omelettes (btw, my Dad made the BEST cheese omelettes and he had just taught me the art in the last six months) and she said that the only thing she is good at making is toast. She lamented that her grits never work out. I had to hide my snicker, because, bless her heart, she gets it honest. She went on to say that she couldn't wait until she was a grown up and could fix anything. I didn't have the heart to break it to her that her Mama has been a grown up (according to the numbers on my birth certificate) for quite a while and it has not been long that I've mastered anything other than toast. When she said that it brought back the childlike idea I too once held. The idea that you magically reach a certain age and know it all and know how to do everything. Do you remember believing that way?

Oh how hard the reality of life. The reality that the only way we learn anything or master anything is through repetitive, hard, back breaking and spirit breaking labor.

As if I weren't sure that God was speaking this to me, Josh had to go and preach about the wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24 tells us, Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. He pointed out that we often overlook the most important word in that verse. He BUILT. He didn't move into the house after it was finished and professionally decorated. He built on the rock. The old fashioned, hard working, time consuming way. God asks us to grow our faith the same way. To build it, one back breaking lesson at a time.


Jane Davis said...

Your blog continues to amaze me at how realy "good" you are at getting to the heart of things that affect us all. Of all of your Dad's friends, I think Bill (my Husband) misses him most. They talked almost daily on the phone, e-mailed and Facebooked and went out to eat lunch weekly. They had both worked at the DOC together as he and I had with Long Term Care. We both love him and miss him terribly, so we understand totally what you are feeling. Grief is universal; so is the need to be praised and feel good for accomplishments. If it takes a calendar to do it, it simply was God's way of telling you to "get the move on." Thank you for your continual inspiration.

Karen said...

Emily, thank you. I was so encouraged by this and I really needed to hear it today. (extend a special "thanks" to Josh for not making the congregation stand and sing the wise man song during his sermon as was my experience two weeks ago - that is the sermon I should have heard). I, like Sarah, have been waiting on the "magic age," and it's actually encouraging to me to realize that it is a process - I will grow, learn, and make mistakes, but thank God, He is patient. Thank you for sharing this. Love you!

Melody said...

These are great words for me to read today. Thank you, my friend, for once again just being so very real and open with us. You should be guest posting over at Clutch in addition to this rockin' blog!

patty said...

Wonderful post! I am scared of that shred......I don't think even a calendar would get me motivated for that, and I do love me a calendar (I absolutely must have several in my house to keep me going).