The Detox Diaries: Mistakes

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Gentle Reader,

I made a mistake at work. The kind of mistake that makes people upset. Really upset.

When I was made aware of this mistake, I was mortified. Like, earth-please-open-up-and-swallow-me-now mortified. Not even the fact that it was an honest mistake, that I had been trying to be helpful, soothed my feelings. Irrational visions of a screaming boss and pink slips danced in my head. Trying to do what I could to own up to my responsibility and smooth the situation over as much as possible, I sent out an email to the offended parties, apologizing and assuring them it would not happen again.

And then I went into the staff bathroom and cried.

If this had happened a month ago, I would have been mildly embarrassed. I would have sent the emails, beaten myself up a little and moved on.

Not today.

Dabbing at my eyes to prevent my make-up from smearing, I heard the Spirit speak clearly:

That was a brave thing to do.

The tears didn’t stop right away and the sense of being a slug is with me even now. But that one sentence kept me from falling over the precipice. I looked at myself in the mirror and affirmed what I knew to be true: I am loved, chosen, accepted and redeemed. In light of eternity, this mistake is nothing. I am a daughter of the King, a Princess.

Today’s heaping serving of crow was a valuable lesson. First, even though it was painful and embarrassing, I chose the path of integrity. Instead of getting defensive, I owned up to what I did. And then not only did I hear God, I listened. Instead of latching on to lies, I grabbed hold of truth.

I think I’m going to cry again.

Stupid withdrawals.

Grace and peace along the way.

For all the posts in The Detox Diaries series, go here.

On Being a Hobbit

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Gentle Reader,

We’re going through some changes in my department right now, due to the retirement of a coworker. And you know me – I just love change. I just love it when things are up in the air.

Please infuse those sentiments with appropriate sarcasm.

There’s been some back-and-forth over job description and qualifications. I don’t know all the ins and outs, but I sense that it’s been a frustrating process. We all feel the tension; it’s been an uphill battle to maintain the flow of materials, working constantly shorthanded. It’s important to get the right person for the position, I know, but I do wish the process would speed up.

Amid this discussion of candidates and what they need to know or possess, I find myself thankful that God doesn’t have a checklist. I’m glad that He doesn’t require a college degree or a certain amount of experience. He doesn’t turn anyone away. Any who fall under the shadow of the Cross are welcome into His family, no matter who they are or what they’ve done.

Tonight, as The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey plays across the television, I reflect on this fact again. My husband and I joke that, if I were part of Tolkein’s universe, I would be a hobbit – living quietly, appreciating good food, enjoying the company of close friends and family. There are other, flashier characters – elves, dwarves, wizards, kings. But their glamour doesn’t mean that the hobbits are any less. Each one has an important place in the story.

Be encouraged tonight, my friend. Wherever you fall on the fickle yardstick of the world, there is One with whom you always measure up.

My journey to faith. (15)

31 Days of Brave: Vacation

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Gentle Reader,

I’m on vacation this week.

For the last three years, I’ve taken the last week of October off. Autumn is my favorite season and I like having some time to enjoy the colors, the winds, the crispness. Even now I’m distracted by the breeze outside as it knocks the leaves off of the tree in my front yard.

This year, I came close to cancelling this week of rest. We’re shorthanded in my department following a coworkers retirement earlier this month. I’ve had to go at my tasks with extra speed just to keep afloat. I’ve been struggling for the last few weeks with guilt over being off, even though I asked for this vacation time months before now.

When I woke up this morning, the guilt was there again, but you know what? I say no. The only thing that would drive me back to work this week is fear. And fear of what? That things won’t get done. Oh, well. My coworkers can step up, just like I do when they take vacation. And if they choose not to, and there is a nightmarish mountain of stuff waiting for me when I get back?

Oh, well.

Bravery takes a break.

My journey to faith. (15)

 For all of the posts in the 31 Days: Brave series, go here.

What Do They Want?

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Gentle Reader,

As Chris and I were making dinner this evening, we discussed the day. This is one of my favorite things about our relationship; chopping, stirring, simmering and tasting go hand-in-hand with gentle, unwinding conversation. The topics flip back and forth. Stories get added to. Worries are aired. The pressing concerns of the previous 8 hours fade away.

After relating one particularly difficult situation to him, I found myself saying, “I don’t know what anyone wants from me.”

One little sentence can reveal so much about the state of the heart.

A large part of the anxiety I struggle with comes from constantly trying to live up to the expectations of others, whether stated or dreamed up by myself.

I don’t buy into the line of thinking that says we should have no expectations of each other. For example, my boss should expect me to be at work on time and my husband should expect me to be his best friend and cheerleader. Those are good, right things. Problems arise when others have standards that are not good and right. You will always be there exactly when I need you and you will be in the mood/frame of mind that I want you to be in. Your problems will never take precedence over mine. You will never give me a funny look. You will always be cheerful. You will never complain and you won’t ask for help. You will…

The truth is, I do know what is wanted, but that want is impossible. I know because I’ve had that want, placed that expectation on others before. I can’t be more Jesus than Jesus. Bless His name, He shapes me every day. Little rough edges are smoothed away by His dear hands. But He’s the one who’s always “on,” not me. He’s the one who’s the best possible friend anyone could ask for. He’s the one who has all the answers. He’s the one who has the ability to give, give, give and give some more. He never gets tired, never gets crabby. He – alone – is perfect.

What people want, what they need, is Jesus. If they know Him, then they need more of Him.

That’s where the mind of life and peace is.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people?If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10 (NIV)

My journey to faith. (15)