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Years ago, our young adult group went camping. About 5 of us gals were in one tent, 2 guys in another, and a married couple in a third. The girls’ tent belonged to one of the girls whose family had used the tent when she was young, so it was one of those old canvas tents.
In the evening it started to sprinkle. Then it started to rain. I snuggled up in my sleeping bag, listening to the pitter-patter against the tent & fell asleep.
I awoke to a SPLAT on my face. Then another SPLAT. Darn tent is leaking, I thought & covered my head.
As I lay there trying to fall back asleep, I started to feel a cold dampness underneath me. I’m tough! I’m camping & this is roughing it! No problem!
The rain pounded away; the dampness underneath me started to spread. What am I doing? What am I trying to prove? I don’t have to lie here in a puddle! So I got up, got the car keys from my husband who was in the boy’s tent & took refuge in the car for the rest of the night.
I tell this story because it mirrors so many situations in my life. I find myself in a difficult/annoying circumstance; I attempt to tough it out for any number of reasons (“I’m committed! I’m tough! This is what I’m supposed to do!“); I then realize that I continue to be in the situation out of my own choice. I can make a different choice and change the situation.
Granted, I’m not magically transported to a place where I don’t have to deal with any aspect of the circumstance. (After our campout, we had to deal with wet sleeping bags & equipment, as well as our cranky selves!) I once read that we always have choices, and we may not like what those choices are. But we still have choices.
The trick is: which choice will improve our situation? Might we be able to suffer less?
Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to be a perfectionist. (Those who really know me would snicker, “*Tends* to be???“) I acknowledge that, and am working toward making my expectations more realistic. I struggle with what is versus what should be. I worry about mediocrity.
Recently during a church sermon, I had a lightbulb moment. The speaker talked about Romans 12 & one of the points he made was “being transformed.” He said that the Greek word for this was the same word from which we get “metamorphosis.”
Which got me to thinking about the metamorphosis of a butterfly. At no point during the metamorphosis process is the caterpiller/pupa/butterfly imperfect or insufficient or “not enough“. It is exactly as it is supposed to be at that point in the process. At no point can anyone say, “Well, you‘re not a butterfly, so you‘re no good.” It is on the continuum to becoming a butterfly; it will reach its ultimate state. And in the meantime, the state that it’s in is exactly what it’s supposed to be.
I suppose you can also compare this to childhood development. You can’t expect a child to be as reasonable, coordinated, physically & intellectually developed as an adult. At certain point during the child’s growth, they reach certain milestones; sometimes early, sometimes late. But the milestones are reached; the child is developing. Eventually, the child becomes an adult.
But has the adult “arrived“? No, there are still many areas of growth. There are studies that show that the middle-aged brain goes through as much synaptic/learning growth as a teenage brain—kind of like a 2nd growth spurt mentally, if you will. That says something!
We are the caterpiller. We are the pupa. We are the butterfly. We are what we should be and where we should be at this moment in time. That is perfect.
There was an article in a recent More magazine about why women shouldn’t feel obsessed with looking younger. Long story short, the person interviewed spoke about how we should be more accepting of how we look instead of fighting a battle where we will just be dumping money into looking younger when eventually, it will no longer do any good. (I thought of Joan Rivers & her multi-facelifts!)
I realize that many have different view of all this. Me, personally? I can’t justify the expense or time invested to “recapture my youth“. However, I don’t intend on letting myself go to pot or to look like a hag.
In general, the increasing gray hairs on my head and fine lines on my face aren’t bothering me. I can trace this attitude back to my 40th birthday. I remember thinking: oh my gosh, I’m 40! But then I got to thinking: I look 40, I feel 40 & that’s OK because I AM 40. I don’t know why this thought put my mind at rest, but it did.
Just as with my work life, I intend on capitalizing on my strengths & making the best of my weaknesses. I’m finding products that work better with my aging skin & hair, and I’ve made changes to my exercise routine to improve on what’s been getting weaker. I need to be open to make changes, too. I know that there are things in my wardrobe that need looking at (and I hate shopping).
Now I’m 47. And that’s OK.
Have a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
May differences be reconciled; may illnesses be healed; may you make the changes you need to make; and may you find peace within!
Asking this question at first brings up visions of actors figuring out their parts: “What’s my motive? What am I supposed to be doing here?” I chuckle at this image.
However now I’ve been asking myself that question pertaining to a number of situations. “Why am I doing this? Should I be doing this?”
The past few months I’ve been taking a “time out” from various activities in order to focus on myself. In particular, why do I do the things I do? How can I make positive changes in my life? Where should my head be at? And what about my heart? (Hence, all these “Contemplations“!)
Lately I’ve been coming up against my motives vs. my actions. What is my motive behind the things I think & do? Is it out of fear (if I don’t do this, then...)? A feeling of obligation (those “shoulds“)? Pride (look at me!)? Revenge? Or is it out of caring for others, what I would like to do, what God is calling me to do? And of course I ask myself, “Is this the best use of my time?” One may be motivated to do many good things, but there are only 24 hours in the day and a limited budget!
On the other hand, there are also motives not to do things. Am I trying to avoid confrontation? Am I afraid? And why?
Anyone else asking themselves these questions?
Just a quick thank you for all your support this year! It’s nice to know there are folks out there who listen & care!