Monday, March 8, 2010

Brave Friends vs. Stupid Friends

When I was younger I had friends who did stupid things. Sadly, like a puppy dog I would follow them and do the same stupid things. Things that destroyed our health, things that impacted our schooling, and things . . . that while fun in the moment . . . proved to be devastating in the end. Call it peer pressure or just stupid by osmosis, I lowered my life to the level of behavior accepted by the group. Even when I knew better.

As I've grown older I'm attracted to a different kind of friend. I'm drawn to friends that have outrageous dreams, big goals and keen ambition. Now, these friends too have fun in the moment, but they gauge that fun by the joy it brings them and the way it impacts the world. They do crazy things, inspiring things, like race 4X4's though they are wheelchair bound, go skydiving, produce a movie trailer of their own show, bust drug deals and save babies, open and design their own clothing lines, open for Macy Gray, get on QVC and win international cookbook awards. These friends are nuts - and yet, these crazy friends raise the level of my life - and raise the bar on the dreams I set for myself.

Whereas before I was attracted to stupid friends - friends who really weren't stupid, but who naively misused their time, their abilities, and their passion - THESE friends, these BRAVE friends encourage me to use mine.

So, I'm making a dream board of the goals I want to accomplish in my life. Sweet husband? Check. New house? Check. Yellow XTERRA? Check. Trip to Caribbean? Check. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Now on to publish my first children's book, raise funds for another family stricken with cancer, jump out of an airplane. Take singing lessons. See the Eiffel Tower - again. Stupid goals? Nope. My friends say I'm as crazy as they are.

How blessed my life will be if I am!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

In The Ring

I'm not one to usually pick a fight. My personality is fun seeking, spontaneous, and a people pleaser. I hate to admit this, but for the last little while I've had trouble managing my hostility, my frustration, and my tolerance for life's inconsistencies and hurts.

Unintentionally I've been argumentative, cynical and destructive, when I could have been loving and understanding. I have lacked compassion, peace and wisdom. I think its all caught up with me.

When bad things happen in life, no matter how much faith we have, no matter how much we love God and want to do the right things, and no matter how much we WANT to handle things well, the bad things that happen to us hurt - sometimes to the core. When tragedy strikes we often lose our dreams, our confidence and our sense of direction. We lose relationships or money, sometimes both, and more often than not we lose our passion.

Just like a child fighting to put on a shoe - we sit there screaming at the frustration because things are not working. We want to hit something and start punching and swinging in the air as if sheer hostility will produce results. We're mad because we're hurt and we can't control it. Sadly, we end up, I've ended up, lashing out at the sweet people in my life who really matter.

I was told that part of the grieving process is anger - anger at the loss and anger because it feels unfair. I did not necessarily feel that before now. Thought I was able to skip that somehow with the wonderful blessings that came into my life - love, a new marriage, improved health, financial stability. But in the grieving cycle, whether in the moment or years down the road, every part of the cycle will come up emotionally until a person is well and whole. An experience two days ago is helping me put things into perspective.

Tuesday I met a woman whose husband is dying. Introduced through a mutual friend, I had been asked to talk with her about what she is currently, and will be, going through. We sat and shared details - talking about finances, special physical needs her husband has, help she needs to continue running her household as he weakens . . . and I saw it. In her eyes was the devastation, the horror, the deer-in-the-headlights look . . . and the fight.

The anger we feel in our lives, placed rightly, gives us the fight we need to endure long periods of painful suffering, changes and losses. That energy of injustice helps us find solutions and have clarity and focus when everything is out of control. God gave us that fight.

Fighting the "good fight" then becomes the lesson.

Fighting the "good fight" infers that there is also the "bad fight". Which is what I've been fighting. The bad fight is the crazy punches into the air in the ring trying to hit something, anything, or anyone. It is the roadrage, the domestic violence, the "going Postal" - that never has a solution only a cost. The only solution to fighing the bad fight is surrendering your weapons and resentment to God and praying for peace.

God show me how to fight the "good fight" and how to heal my anger about the losses and changes in my life. Help me remember that You are in the changes with me carrying me to higher ground. You make a wide path for my feet to keep me from slipping - help me not be angry about the journey with You. Help me be a tool for building people not a wrecking ball. Jesus was a carpenter - a hammer weilded rightly constructs and connects things, it does not crush them. Help me bring people together not create division. Help me surrender my anger if it does not fuel right thinking.

Help me see the beauty of this new path, the new hopes, the new joys and honor the miracles you've done for me. You are good and have caused the desert to bloom and the rivers to flow again in my life after the drought. Help me not focus on the drought but the renewal that has come.

Truly God, you have already won the fight. Let my heart be good with that.