Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

Stressed? Just Breathe

Our fellow contributor, Tammy, posted last week about added stress at work. Her promotion and new responsibilities are exciting, but wearying. 

The transitions happening in my life require me to make decisions that stress me out on a daily basis. With every development on the way to my Big Move I’m thrown into a sea of anxiety, where I wonder what the Lord is saying, or doing, or requiring of me.

The holiday season is nigh upon us. External logistics-related stress and internal emotional-baggage stress are as much a part of the season as soul-warming food and shimmering decorations. This holiday stressfulness can be particularly hard for older singles, who are often reminded at these times of the ways their love and family lives differ from the lives they planned.

In the midst of my recent stress, a new friend prayed for me. He reminded me that all God needed from me in this season was for me to Be. All God required of me and desired of me, was that I draw close to Him and rest there, just as I am, without striving to be something other than who I am at this very moment. 

Father Gregory Boyle, wrote Tattoos on the Heart, easily one of the best and most poignant books I’ve ever read. He has long been a priest in an impoverished, gang-controlled, Hispanic community in Los Angeles. God works through him to create life out of death, and beauty out of ashes. 

Boyle was interviewed recently and said that to get to clarity amidst the hustle and bustle of his life, he keeps three words in mind: this here now. This. Here. Now. This person, conversation, or task, right here, right now, is what matters. 

I think of this like being attentive to each breath that we take.

This. (Breathe)

Here. (Breathe)

Now. (Breathe)

God Is. And God’s Spirit is breath, breathing into us. 

 Our greatest work this season will be the work of being present. Of breathing, resting, and relating moment by moment.

May our every breath and our real presence create holy days among our holidays. 

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Anger Is Good?

image courtesy of ohmega1982/freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of ohmega1982/freedigitalphotos.net

When I slowed down over the weekend and made time to be still, to think, it became very obvious to me that I have a lot of anger in my heart these days. Mostly I have been angry with God. For me, anger is more a cover emotion than a mirror of what is actually going on on the inside. When I probed a little more, it became clear that my anger was covering my fear. That I am afraid about my uncertain next steps, about my uncertain financial future, about my uncertain aspirations to love a man and be loved in return.

Generally, I am afraid about the goodness of my future.

Since I had this realization I have been speaking back to the lies of potential doom that have been playing in the background of my mind. I have reminded myself that the One who began a good work in me will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. That God has plans to prosper me and not to harm me. That no one who hopes in the Lord will ever be put to shame. That I will surely see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. That I must wait on the Lord.

More importantly, I acknowledged that I need God’s help to see God rightly. A part of me is afraid that God will not act lovingly towards me. He might fail to provide for me. He might refrain from helping me. He might lead me into degradation and despair. He might not care about my sorrow.

The journey of singleness has left a bitter taste, it seems.

I need God’s help to see God as God is, and not in the image that the lenses over my eyes distort Him into.

The truth is that God has been more faithful to me than the most faithful friend on earth could ever be. I posted recently about an opportunity to teach that appeared and disappeared in a perplexing flash. The disappointment caused me to wonder if God was being withholding and capricious. “It’a just like my love life,” I thought, “I never get what I want from God.” But the idea of a capricious, withholding God is a lie. The truth is that God was not withholding a good thing with that job, but was giving me a glimpse of a good thing that may come, at the right time. God was reminding me that He holds my future opportunities in His hands. That door to possibly teach opened because of connections I made with people who the Spirit randomly connected me to at a friend’s church. I was visiting the friend’s church because my sense was that the invitation to visit was a God thing. So God led me to go to a church, where He then orchestrated a meeting with like-minded people, which weeks later resulted in an interview for a job that I would never have known about or had a chance to get otherwise. God was showing me that my career is not dependent upon a perfect resume, or a job fair, or having the right mentor. Those things are good, but, ultimately, my life and future are in His secure care. HE is the way.

My anger has taught me some things. What lessons have your emotions taught you?

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How to Be Afraid

My niece is a make-up artist and hairstylist. She is gifted to create beauty. After high school, instead of college she went to beauty school. While she was in school and since she graduated she has been invited to work in fashion shows and fashion shoots all over the country. She has a bright future. Except for one thing. Since she graduated she has not taken her licensing exam. It has been scheduled and canceled several times.

She has been afraid.

She did not attend college because the thought of the SATs was too much for her. She simply could not bring herself to take the exam.

I urged her to be brave. To trust in God. All of her family did. We told her that she could do it, that even if she didn’t pass the first time she could take it again. We told her that there was nothing to fear. But still she was terrified.

image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net.

image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net.

Then her boyfriend (who is all of 21 years old) very calmly told her that she was letting her fear get in the way of her future. And between all of us supporting her, and her own desire to grab hold of her future, the last time the exam was scheduled, she went and sat through it.

During the test she was shaking. She felt sick. In the middle of the test she broke down and cried.

But she finished the exam.

I told her that no matter what the graders say, she passed the test.

Not only did she pass, but in my book she is in the 99th percentile, the highest 1% of us all. She is among those very few, very brave souls who face their deepest fears and push through.

I want that kind of courage!

How about you?

“When I am afraid, I will trust in you…In God I have put my trust; I will not fear.” Psalm 56:3-4

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Tammie’s Post will Post Tomorrow

Hi folks,

Life has gotten away from me the last few weeks. So, my regularly scheduled Tuesday post will be posting on Wednesday this week. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Tammie

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Merry Christmas!

Image Courtesy: franky242/freedigitalphotos.net

Image Courtesy: franky242/freedigitalphotos.net

 

Wishing You a Blessed Christmas!

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

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It’s Tuesday and I Missed It!

Hi Readers!

I have no idea what I was thinking, but life got the better of me and I forgot my post this week. Leasey will be here on Thursday and Sharyn will post on Friday. I’ll be back next week.

Have a very happy and safe 4th of July!

Tammie

 

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