Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What's Your Story?

So one of my favorite authors, whom I've mentioned before here, and you can get to know better here, also speaks at conferences and does seminars.

If you have read anything by Mr. Miller, and you know me, then you know why I connect with his writing so well. He writes true life in story format. Which is how I like to write. I do not write fiction. I write life. But not as advice, how-to, or factoid. Life as story.

People are always telling me, "I love how real you are." Well, I don't decide to be that way. It's not a concentrated effort or a decision. It's how it all comes out. Quite unfortunately, sometimes, for those who are in the line of fire. Because I just say what I say and tell what I tell - usually with a humor that makes a lot of people nervous unless they know me.

I talk about life like it is handed to me - like I live it. It's often not pretty. I tell almost every dumb thing I do. I don't try to hide much. What is the point? If you hide something, you may lose the opportunity to connect with someone else who may need to hear about that one thing to make them realize they aren't the only one.

If you put yourself out there as anything but exactly what you are, then being you becomes work instead of life. And isn't life already hard enough?

SO. In saying all of this, I'm trying to get out that every life is a story - and not always the one you originally outlined. The issue becomes finding the balance between being a participant in driving your storyline in a particular direction and letting the story unfold to see where it takes you - and realizing when you are in the between stages.

This is the most difficult part for me. It always has been. I tend to barrel through that part in the middle where I feel I'm stalling. My mind and heart are forever questioning where I'm going and why. Is this where I'm supposed to be? Did I make a wrong turn? There seems to be nothing here! God, can you please just get me there? And when I can't figure out where it is I'm going, where I want to go, where I should be going or where God is leading me - I get panicky about my life. I don't sit still very easily - physically or mentally.

A friend of mine knows how I struggle with this and recently recommended a book:

The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions by Jeff Manion
In The Land Between, author Jeff Manion uses the biblical story of the Israelite's journey through Sinai desert as a metaphor for being in undesired, transitional space. After enduring generations of slavery in Egypt, the descendants of Jacob travel through the desert (the land between) toward their new home in Canaan. They crave the food of their former home in Egypt and despise their present environment. They are unable to go back and incapable of moving forward. The Land Between explores the way in which their reactions can provide insight and guidance on how to respond to God during our own seasons of difficult transition . . . While it is possible to move through transitions and learn little, they provide our greatest opportunity for spiritual growth. God desires to meet us in our chaos and emotional upheaval, and he intends for us to encounter his goodness and provision during these upsetting seasons.

I have not read the book yet, and will be back with a review once I do.

This friend knows how much I struggle with this role I've been placed within and how I bounce back and forth between knowing this is where I need to be right now and being resentful, upset, anxious, and downright bewildered at not knowing the point of why I am where I am right now.

I have a degree in journalism and in my former life worked in advertising and then freelanced for a few years before becoming a full-time stay-at-home parent. I knew without a doubt that God wanted me to be home with my boys (at the time I had two). I was willing to put some things on hold, or at least slow them way down, to do this.

My goal has always been to be a full-time writer, but life keeps getting in the way. Raising three boys; having one, then two diagnosed on different parts of the autism spectrum (youngest with flat-out autism); wrapping my life around helping them overcome ...

In the meantime, where I want to be keeps getting pushed back and pushed aside. Little time. Little energy. Little motivation. And my confidence in my talent and abilities decreases with each passing year. (It's been 10 now).

Every time I try to take an opportunity to jump back in, to give it my all, it takes away from the emotional energy and time it takes to deal with my boys' issues. Well, let's be honest. They are exhausting and there is little left over in my mind at the end of the day.

Add in a new part-time job to help pay for meds and therapies, and I'm physically dragging, too. I don't feel that much of my time or mental energy is my own.

Which brings me back to Don Miller. Along with The Land Between recommendation, I discovered that Mr. Miller will be speaking at a conference called Living a Better Story. And being familiar with the way he approaches life, I'm sure it will be a couple of awesome days.

Living a Better Story Seminar from All Things Converge Podcast on Vimeo.

I would love to attend. But alas, I'm nowhere near Portland, Oregon; and nowhere near being able to use funds for something frivolous just for me that are slated for real life things in the Anderson abode.

That's just life!

So onward and upward. Or more appropriately for what I'm trying to get through my head: be still and know that I am Lord.

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