Trust It: The Purpose of Waiting
Happy Monday friends!!
I wanted to share something really cool with you today. This is a CRAZYZYZYZYYZ encouraging truth nugget that I shared with my Aside community in our Facebook group today that I thought would really bless you, too.
Let me ask you a few things first:
Do you feel like there's no purpose to where you are in your life right now?
Do you feel like maybe, just maybe, God has forgotten about you?
Do you struggle with comparison and looking at other people's lives?
Well, if that's you, know you're not alone. And, also, you came to the right blog post today. What God's got for you below will encourage the heck out of your dry season, friend!!
SO, when Moses was in the wilderness of Midian, working for his father in law, Jethro, what was that new, seemingly purposeless, boring job that he ended up stumbling into? He was a shepherd. Moses grew up an educated man. He lived in the house of Pharaoh for goodness sake! He was no dummy, and he was a man fired up for what he was passionate about, namely justice. Yet here he is, in the peak of his able bodied years, shepherding sheep. Uhhh, yeah that's not ideal for anyone, let alone a purpose driven guy like Moses. (I'm going to take a wild guess here and say Moses was probably an Enneagram 1.)
So, Moses spent a number of years (Ahem, 40 to be exact. That number sound weirdly familiar?) shepherding sheep for Jethro in the desert (uh, yuck), and likely feeling INCREDIBLY discouraged and disillusioned in that job because goodness knows it was NOT using his passions, gifts, or skills hardly at all.
Okay, fast forward: Moses gets the call from God in Exodus 3, then goes to Egypt, does the whole plague dance with Pharaoh, and ends up leading, or one could say SHEPHERDING the Israelites out of Egypt into where?????
... THE DESERT.
YES. Moses spent 40 years in a "dead end job" with a bunch of sheep only to later, after God's call, step into that SAME JOB with a whole new purpose of SHEPHERDING GOD'S PEOPLE (AKA GOD'S SHEEP) IN THE DESERT!!!!
Oh, and btw, do you know how many years Moses acted as a shepherd to the people in the wilderness?
(Guys, I can't make this stuff up.)
Friends, NOTHING is wasted by God. Not the dry season, not the bummer job, not the disillusionment about purpose, not the sadness of suffering, n o t h i n g . And especially,
NEVER THE WAITING.
Moses spent 40 years of intense purpose learning how to be a shepherd to sheep. Why? Because soon, God knew, he'd be a shepherd of His sheep, the people of Israel.
Only God could write this truth and guess what? It applies to you too my dear. Name the thing you feel is wasted right now. Name the sadness, the loss, the confusion, the waywardness, the anxiety, whatever. Write it in your journal, and just wait. Keep an eye out. The day you see God use that for his beautiful purposes, in a way that transforms your life into a splendor-filled tapestry of his glory and goodness, is only a blink away.
Will you be faithful enough to wait for it?
Let's do it together.
There's beauty in the desert.
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I love November because gratitude and thanksgiving are emphasized so much more than any other month. Deep, daily gratitude is really changing my perspective lately. And not in a temporary way where I say thanks and then move along. Gratitude is changing my thought patterns, and hence my overall countenance. One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Julia Cameron:
The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.... the reward for paying attention is healing.
When I read that quote, truly, I was changed. In a season where I could really focus a lot on what I don't have and how I'm not satisfied with my life, this quote introduced the reality that a quality life is not found in getting everything you want, but delighting in the radical abundance of what you do have. And how do we do this? How do we transform our disappointment into delight? By paying attention. What sings joy to you every day that you've not noticed? What little things are occurring around you that your busy schedule and general discontentment has blinded you from seeing?
The little rose bush that survived an onslaught of imposter mushrooms and is now, quietly, vibrantly, producing pink buds just for joy of it.
The neighbor's cat across the street who sunbathes on the driveway, stretched out in the sun like it's a luxury.
The car in front of you at the light that is rocking side to side ever so slightly because the college kids inside are jamming to a pop song.
The Vietnam Vet who sits down outside the lotto booth at HEB to excavate winnings from his scratch offs.
The lipstick you lost months ago that turns up in your car.
The new music from Ben Rector and Kasey Musgraves and Hillsong Worship that speaks to your now like no other soundtrack.
The way your dog trolls the house every day, checking in on trashcans to see if there's anything inside that would make getting in trouble for dumpster diving worthwhile.
The dish shaped mushroom outside the office window (who made an appearance in yesterday's post) that has been holding water for weeks and refilling with every thunderstorm.
You get it. Those are some of mine. What are yours? When we open the gift of paying attention, delight springs forth and, suddenly, the glass half full starts pouring over. Gratitude is wildly powerful. Let it's healing power enter your heart and transform your reality.
With all of this in mind, I thought it would be fun to do a gratitude themed 'Love It!' List this month. So these 5 things are items that I'm really grateful for. They make me delight in my life, and maybe they'll make you delight too!
1. Pink! I'm grateful for pink. Pink makes me HAPPY. A while ago I had the thought, "I need more pink in my life." It's so funny, recently my mom told me she had the same thought too. If we need it, this probably means you need more pink in your life as well. Maybe this is too much for you, but I like to put pink in my hair, specifically this one. It's fun. And happy. And non-committal (washes out in 4-8 washes). It's pink in my life, and I love it. FYI, it goes on bright (like photo 1) and fades out (like photo 2). If you don't like it bright, either lessen the time you leave it in or do a shampoo after application.
2. My Utmost For His Highest. I've recommended this here before, but I'll say it again in this post, too. I love MUFHH. I'll put it on my bookshelf for a few months, then pull it out again, then back to the shelf, then back to my current reads pile. It's just incredibly thought provoking and beautiful, and I've been really blessed by it lately.
3. Baths. I take a lot of baths these days. I think I read somewhere that it saves water because it uses less than a shower? But mainly I'm loving how relaxing and even luxurious they feel. It's a very treat-yo-self thing to do a few times a week and costs nothing! I spice up my baths with these little happies and it makes things all the more lovely.
4. The Artist's Way. Okay, yes, I recommended this on my October Love It List. But I'm still loving it. It is still helping me to uncover and pursue my dreams. And, it's where I read the quote from above that has changed my life!
5. Gratitude!!! I'm grateful for gratitude! Redundant? Likely. Don't care. It has seriously made me a more joyful person. Comparison has less affect and the sting of discouragement doesn't keep me down. To help myself cultivating gratitude and to help train by brain to give thanks instead of count wrongs, I made this gratitude tracker! This has helped me to pay attention and hence, discover a more quality life through the capacity of delight. And if you want it, too, I want you to have it! Just drop your name and email in the boxes below and it'll be in your inbox in no time!
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Maybe you can relate to this, but I spend a lot of time in my office. Typically, when I wake up, it's the first place I go in my house to drink coffee, let Howie out to play, read my bible and pray. And then honestly, quiet time in my office bleeds into my first hour of work. Not in a bad way though. More like in the way that watercolors will blend together inside a droplet of water, forming a beautiful sort of tie-dye. That's generally what it's like to have my quiet time in the same space where I work about 8 hours every day. But recently, I've felt the need for a sacred, different space for my quiet times. So the other morning I drug my plush, floral chair out of my office across the house into one of the spare rooms that was home to just a random assortment of pieces: a book shelf, an old enamel top cabinet, a marble top side table my Mima used to have in her house. And of course lots of lamps. If you know me, you know that I have enough lamps even for my spare upon spare bedrooms.
After about 15 minutes of finagling furniture, I now had my reading nook--a place in the house specifically designated for time with God. It's different and special. For the past 4 years, I've always had my quiet time in the same space where I work (I've worked from home for 4 years). But now, I have a nook. It's different. And lovely. And honestly, it's requiring some getting used to. My animals have taken to it quite easily. Bowie will rest on the lush sheepskin rug beneath my floral chair, and even Howie now follows me into my reading nook each morning even though his home is all the way across the house in my office. (Howie is a semi-range free bunny who gets let out of his cage for several hours each morning to romp about the house. You can read about how I care for him here if you're interested. We've actually kicked a lot of bad habits since I wrote that post, so he's allowed even more freedom now!)
But despite my animals feeling right at home, each of them sprawled out across the carpet beneath my chair, I am having trouble adjusting. It takes me extra time to feel settled in my new reading nook, even though it's such a good, even luxurious thing to have a space specifically designated for my daily devotionals. On mornings when I'm feeling uprooted and distracted, I'll often look out the window. Before the move to the spare room, when I would read my bible in my office, I'd look out the window each morning and take inventory of my Mushroom Dish. Mushroom Dish became a common topic in my morning journaling because it was something I took note of almost every day. The little dish shaped mushroom outside my window was always there, for weeks on end, living quietly and collecting water droplets. Mushroom Dish is quite a sight, and has become fairly dear to me, I must admit.
But now I look out a new window. There's a fence. The side of the neighbors pink brick house. Bark on the ground from the Crepe Myrtle tree. Grass. Dirt. And, oh! A spider friend! He's mean looking. But beautiful. Perfectly made. He has a glistening silver back with neon green stripes and a brilliant orange spot on his belly. Minus his beautiful coloring, his body shape looks he could be the villain in a movie about bugs. His legs are long and sharp. His body angular and black. But he's beautiful. And he's my new friend. He sits quietly in his intricate web, just waiting, fixing, doing spider things. I feel quiet when I look at him sitting there. He's not moving or doing much. But he is doing what he's supposed to do. He doesn't move or spin, but he's not being lazy. He's actually being active. He's sitting there quietly, in his web, waiting, perfectly fulfilling his work quota for the day as well as fulfilling his grand spiderly purpose in life... all by sitting there in his web.
Well, the other night it rained hard. And a lot. When I woke up this morning and did all my morning things, I wasn't thinking about my new spider friend. I made coffee in the French press. I fed Bowie. I opened Howie's cage so he could hop out. And finally, I found my way to my new nook. I love my nook, but I still feel a tad unsettled there. So, I looked out the window. And, oh! He's gone! His web was torn down by the rain! Tragedy. I look harder. Could he still be nearby? Oh.. there! Wow. There he is. He's on the branch. His web had been anchored between slender a C-shaped branch and the trunk of the Crepe Myrtle. And there he is, at the near end of the C, so close to my window, huddled under the branch as it jostles in the wind.
There he is. I'm filled with admiration of this tough little spider, intimidating as he looks. When things got rough in his life, he knew to grab the branch and hold on tight until the storm was over. I stare at him for some time, marveling at his instinct and patience. His web is torn down, he's all alone, but he's holding on. Instinct told him to hold on to the branch.
Immediately I'm struck with the point of this whole thing. I've been feeling unsettled about more things in my life than just my new reading nook. Work, relationships, a new town, change--the list of unsettling things is long. I've pushed and pushed to maintain productivity and positivity and personality through all of these unsettling things, and in the last week I've felt myself deplete a little. As I look at the spider now, I know what to do to face all these unsettling things. Huddle under my branch and hold on tight.
My spider friend knows the storm will pass eventually, and when it does, it will be time to rebuild the web and begin to harvest all that the web collects.
"Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience."
I wrote about patience back in January, about how it was my word of 2018. Now as the year about comes to a close, this word has founds its way back into my vocabulary.
I'm a pusher. A doer. A goer. A mover. Productive. Motivated. Goal oriented. Competitive. Comparative. These things drive me much of the time. But occasionally, I'll deplete, and it's all I can do to get myself out of bed in the morning. Why? Oh, I don't know. A myriad of things. All of which are between me and God. The why isn't the point. It's what I end up doing with it is the point. And what I learned to do with it today, through my spider friend, through the pace of nature, is to buckle down, grab my branch, and wait for the storm to pass. Allow myself to rest until it's safe to build my web again. Allow myself to forgo the opportunities that are flying past in the wind because if it's not safe for me to try and grab them, if the conditions aren't right even though the chances and to-do lists and pressing matters of life and work and existence haven't relented in their persistent pestering, then I still ought to let them go and just hold fast to my branch until wisdom says it's time to rebuild again.
My branch is Jesus. He holds me, covers me and protects me in the wind and the rain. No matter how fierce a storm brews outside, I'm always safe resting at his feet. No amount of time there is wasted.
Soon though, the sun will come back out and the wind will die down. And when it does, I'm sure my spider friend will pick himself up and rebuild his web once more. He'll resume the quiet, patient life of a spider. Just he same, I know I'll settle down too. All the things that are making me anxious, that give me unrest, soon I know they'll all quiet down too, and I'll have the strength to rebuild my web. Not now, but soon. And until then, I'll cling to my branch and let myself rest. I'll cling tight to Jesus, safe, rested, and protected in his embrace. Web time will come. But for now, I cling to my branch.
My little reading nook
and my new window.
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Homemade Lavender Coconut Oil Make Up Remover
College Station Blogger
I've been to Sephora with my mom a lot lately, probably more times than is safe. One product I always want to look for is an oil based a make up remover that will remove make up softly and with no stretching. I'm starring down the barrel of 29, and I'll take any 'stay youthful' hack I can. I had no idea that face washes and scrubs can be a little harsh on your skin and even contribute to stretching! Honestly, I'm a make-up/beauty product newb, so I find it HILARIOUS that I'm writing a blog about a homemade make up remover. But, I'm excited about this so I thought I'd share! Here's why I like this recipe better than store bought options:
So, now that I know I've totally convinced you, here's what you need and how to do it!
coconut oil + lavender extract + a small jar
Once you have your ingredients, literally all you do is melt about 1/2 cup of coconut oil in a pan (it takes very low heat and melts fast) and pour it into your jar. Next, add 5-10 drops of lavender! That's it! Store in a cool, dark place and use with a towel or your finger to gently remove make up!
Now you'll feel real fancy when you do your nightly routine, but you'll have only spent a few dollars (maybe none if you had all the ingredients) versus $25 for a product at Sephora! In the chance you don't have the ingredients though, I've linked them for you here! I picked the big lavender because you can use it for anything and it'll go fast, I promise. Also, now that I think about it, this would be an awesome DIY Christmas gift to give to neighbors or co-workers!
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Daily Delight: A Gratitude Tracker
DO YOU SOMETIMES STRUGGLE TO MAINTAIN A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE?
DO YOU OFTEN FEEL BAD BECAUSE YOU COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS?
DO YOU WRESTLE WITH DISCONTENTMENT SOMETIMES?
Ya, me too.
And I got tired of it.
Because guess what?
Life is actually pretty good!