Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Painful Growth

That's sort've a gross title, huh? Makes you think I need to have some oozing malformation cut off.  Well don't worry, it's not a post about any physical ailments I may have. This growth is spiritual. 

A couple of months ago I remember saying "Lord, I feel stagnant. Why aren't you growing me? I need to keep growing." Then as quickly as I said it, I fanned the air. You know, in hopes that it never reached God's ears. That's what a friend always says "oh girl, you better fan the air and hope that doesn't reach heaven!"  Seriously, I knew as soon as I said it I regretted it. 

Over the course of the last few weeks I have become increasingly dissatisfied...frustrated...ho-hum...blah...you get the picture. Daniel kept telling me to smile and stop frowning. Others kept asking what was wrong. The answer? I don't know! 

I had everything I've wanted - plenty of house/decorating projects to stimulate me; work has been slow so I've had plenty of time to balance work-life; normal sleep for the most part; happy marriage; great close friendships. Seriously, everything that usually fills me with joy was there. But why wasn't I happy? 

Now I do know that happiness is a feeling. A reaction to situations and often fleeting. Maybe I should say I wasn't joyous or content. That's a whole different ball of wax. Joy and contentment are a state of being in my opinion. Something you are (or are not) for a sustained period of time. But why wasn't I? 

I told Daniel last week that I may need to go see a doctor because I was starting to worry I was depressed. But there was still something in me that knew it wasn't depression. I had postpartum depression with Cole and I remember what that felt like. Sort've like I was drowning in a sea of negativity with no life jacket. This wasn't the same. I just didn't find joy in anything. Even a night out with the hubby or a friend wasn't doing it. Sure there were moments but they passed quickly. I was getting increasingly frustrated which made it that much worse. 

As I mentioned in this post, I am trying to read through the Bible in a year for the first time ever. I'm notorious for starting a bible study and letting life overwhelm me so I stop. Sometimes I finish them but most of the time I stop short. Having a "quiet time" (essentially spending time in His word and with God every day) is something I've always struggled with as a Christian. I could list a thousand reasons but in reality and if I'm honest, they are just excuses as to why I hadn't prioritized it. I pray often. I always want to follow His will for my life and our family's life. I have a very strong faith. But I didn't spend time with Him in His word often. 

I think I thought it had to be a certain way. You know, like every morning before the kids got up and if you didn't do it then, you didn't do it right. Well that never happened for me so I would just give up. 

That brings me back to my funk. Out of frustration and let's face it, because I had been slack and was behind in my reading goals, I sat down Saturday morning and read my bible. I started reading just to catch up but then it became more than that. I wouldn't say there was a specific moment but somehow it changed to me wanting to read over all the other little things happening in our house or the "to do" list. 

That was the turnaround for me. I was back to myself the remainder of the day and have been since. It was as if God was saying enough is enough. No more excuses. He is showing me that my contentment and joy come from Him and nothing else. Not my hobbies. Not my family. Not my job. Not my marriage. From Him and Him alone. And that means spending time in His word every day. 

I think it took God giving me all the little things I thought I craved or lacked and me still not feeling content for that wake up call to come. I already knew my joy and contentment came from Him but this time He's showing me that it also includes spending time in His word. It's not ironic that I committed, and fully committed, to the bible reading plan that was passed out in December. It was the first plan I've seen that made sense and didn't seem overwhelming. 

If only I wasn't so stubborn and could have learned this weeks ago! I could easily get caught up in what all the "experts" say is the proper way but I'm choosing not to put myself in that box. The important thing is that it happens every day. No matter when, no matter how. God won't care as long as it happens. 

Spiritual growth is painful. Sometimes even a hard lesson for those of us who are ahem...stubborn and maybe even a little prideful. And just for the record...its so much more fun to watch someone else (and by someone else I mean my spouse) go through spiritual growth than to go through it yourself! But I know from past experience it's very worth it on the other side. Oh how the tables have turned in Schrallville. 

If you're interested in a copy of the reading plan, let me know. It's not too late to get started! Anyone else going through some growing pains lately???? Or am I the only one? 


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