"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Calling, right now

Today I read this blog which I loved.  Throughout the years I've followed and unfollowed (and followed again sometimes) a variety of blogs.  At my core, I am an avid reader.  I will waste most of my precious hours reading thoughts, thinking about those thoughts, and pondering changing my own thoughts in response.  This blog is the kind that can make me do just that.

Lately, I just haven't been blogging.  And if you were to keep track of all the blogs I used to read vs the ones I read now, you would know a precious few blogs are still around on my blog feed.  It's not that I didn't love those other blogs, it's just there is so much to the whole blogging community thing that I just don't think is part of my assignment right now.  For awhile, I thought maybe it could be.  Who doesn't like the idea of lots of people reading what they write?  I'd love to be able to write and write all the time.  But it just doesn't seem to fit into my assignment right now.

I could probably spend an entire blog post on all the things I can't do right now, but where's the fun in that.  Instead, there are so many things that I can do where I am right now.

So here is a list of the simple things I'm called to do right now:

1- I am called to Shepherd.  I read this week in Ezekiel about God's role as the Shepherd in Israel's life, and I immediately thought of all teachers (and moms).  It was so beautiful.  v15-16: I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord.  I will search for the lost and bring back the strays.  I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak... I will shepherd the flock with justice.  I just love that.  The environment I am called to create is one of peace and welcoming and home and belonging and healing and strengthening and freedom and justice.  That's not an easy job when you are dealing with 'sheep' who throw temper tantrums or talk back or try to see what they can get away with.  Sheep who are forgetful and tired and distracted.  It's certainly never ending.  Yet, God's chasing after my own heart is similarly never ending.  I just impulsively responding to Jude's disruption of my typing with frustration.  And God had to remind me of what I was in the middle of typing.  And remind me to actually do it.  It's not easy for me in all my selfish humanity.  But I do know this is my assignment.

2- I am called to wait and be patient.  Jimmy and I have this amazing relationship.  I am beyond blessed with his presence.  He is just someone I plain love to be around.  He stretches me- to be a little calmer, a little more patient, a little more understanding (I have very OCD like tendencies about my kitchen).  He models for me what service looks like when it's truly lived out.  I am assigned to learn from him and follow him.  Yet, we are still within dating boundaries.  So sometimes I have to learn to be content where I am.

3- I am called to encourage.  This is something that I am really starting to see as the how God can use me right now sort of thing.  I don't have time to serve in my church.  I barely have time to get to church each week.  I'm not the kind of person who does well juggling lots of things.  I need downtime- not because I'm selfish or lazy.  I honestly am just a truly introverted, highly sensitive person who becomes overwhelmed.  It really limits what I can do.  What I am realizing is that through the discipline of 1000 gifts, God has helped me become gifted at seeing the good.  I can share that perspective with teachers, parents, friends, etc.  That really is a needed service in this world.  So many people are weighed down by so many things.  Encouragement in a 'dirty laundry news society' is truly needed.  And I can do that.  I love doing it!  I could spend all day encouraging others.  That's an assignment I feel enabled (by Him) and called to do.  And I just really love it!  Christ has filled me greatly the last year plus.  He only fills what He expects to flow over and on to others.  There is so much joy in encouraging others!

4- I am called to trust.  For those of you that have followed my life awhile, you know that anxiety has been my constant companion.  I think I have always had undercurrents of anxiety all my life.  I am one of those highly sensitive people.  I am a true melancholic introvert (as in the personality type) and stress easily over my own perceived imperfections.  After Michael and divorce, those things just hit the fan, and anxiety turned to full fledged panic.  Right now, I am in the middle of weaning myself off medication, which was very much my saving grace.  I'm nervous that it won't work.  Nervous that I will end up back on them.  Nervous I'm perpetually flawed.  But I know perfect love drives out fear.  I know God is good.  I know even in His presence, the bad is used for good.  With that knowledge I am called to trust.  I choose to believe that God has the power to heal me from never needing medication again.  If he does that it will be for His glory alone.  I choose to believe that if he doesn't He has a reason for my continued struggle with anxiety.  I know He loves me.  And love like His covers it all.

My assignment is pretty simple.  Yet it is also very full.  It isn't the kind of assignment that will make me known in popular circles.  That's ok.  I know that this is where I am, this is where I am called to be. I can't do it all, but I can be faithful with what I am called to do.  In the parable of the talents, some were entrusted with many talents, some a few.  Yet, all those who were faithful with their talents were told 'well done' at the end.  I may have just been entrusted with simple talents, but whether my talents are big and mighty or small and mundane, the point has always been to be faithful with them.  And that, I can do :)


katebradley said...

Wow, I totally needed to read this today. Our pastor preached on "Your Assignment" yesterday and it made me feel so guilty that I can't do more (which I'm sure wasn't what he was saying, but the lie that I hear in my heart). Thanks for writing about this, I may have to borrow your theme after I've thought about my assignment some more :) Love you Ashley! You are a great teacher and mama!

ThistleAshD said...

I have struggled with feeling guilty for not doing very much 'church service' for awhile. I don't even know how many times I've felt guilty for not doing more at church.

You are a great teacher and mama too! I am so encouraged to see your relationship with Eva and read about your parenting decisions. God has totally used your role as momma in my life for my good. I know He's done the same for others :)