Monday, October 3, 2016

Flailing

I'm not someone who is really into watching the Olympics, but my husband and I would catch an occasional event on TV this past summer.

Some of the events we watched were the 100 m and 400 m races.  For whatever reason, I remember the commentator pointing out that when the runners got close to the finish line, some of them started to flail, which caused them to slow down a bit.

My current finish line is on October 6th, my last day of work. As I approach that finish line I feel myself flailing...slowing down.

It's harder to get up in the morning, harder to make breakfast, harder to get out of the door on time.

When I make it to the office, it's hard to pay attention.  Hard to know how to finish out my responsibilities.  Hard to know I'm letting people down.

I stopped by the grocery store on the way home from work today. After I got all the groceries put away, I had to go take a nap.

I only worked 4 hours.  Grocery shopping didn't take that long.

I know adrenal fatigue makes you exhausted, but sometimes I'm surprised by just how little I can do before I reach the point of exhaustion.

The other thing I remember about the Olympic races is what happened after people crossed the finish line.  Some people fell over, some people stayed upright.

I have obligations over the weekend, but once the 10th rolls around, I have a feeling I'm going to fall over.  I feel like this is not a bad thing....it seems like a good place to rest for a bit.




Starting Somewhere

Originally written 9/24/16

I don't know where to begin with explaining where I am.

Perhaps I'll start with the fact that after about 9.5 years, I just recently gave my employer my two week resignation notice due to health reasons.

In July 2015, while in town for my sister's bridal shower, my mom had commented that my hair was looking a little thin.  At the time, I hadn't really noticed.  Suddenly, I found myself staring at other women's heads in an attempt to ascertain if my hair was actually thinner than an average women my age.  I came to the conclusion it was.

At the time, I juggling the equivalent of 3-4 roles in my company, traveling every few weeks, and navigating relationships with people who would eventually become my husband and step daughter. I was maxed out and anxious. I didn't really have time to think about my hair being thin, or what it implied. 

Summer 2015 turned to fall.  Paul and I were engaged in early October, and married two weeks later. we both were traveling right before and after our marriage. We barely saw each other that first month as husband and wife.

Work continued to be stressful. The holidays happened in a blur.  

In late December/ early January, I felt the need to put on a multi day training for the new hires at work.  I was so overloaded with client deadlines that the training was designed, written, and scheduled almost entirely by me, and almost completely on weekends.  I essentially worked for an entire month straight.

I had gotten really good at doing what needed to be done for everyone else but myself.

The week after training, when I had some time to breath, was when I started to notice that things were going downhill. My hair loss seemed to be increasing.  I was abnormally tired.

I went to the doctor.  

We did some tests and discovered I had adrenal fatigue. The stress I had been under had maxed out my little adrenal glands, and they weren't working quite right anymore.  I found out, when you have adrenal fatigue, there are lots of things that don't work right anymore.

I couldn't work 8 hour days anymore.  I was using my flex time and vacation time to lessen the number of hours I was at work each day.

My Dr. told me to take time off work, then start working reduced hours. I did.

The time off was interesting.  I had weird symptoms pop up when I stopped working.  Heart palpitations, fluttering in my throat, waking up in a panic.  Sometimes it felt like I was being lightly choked.  The symptoms lessened over time, but were still disconcerting.

Going back at half time seemed like something I could manage. I got an office outside of my house to deal with some of the stress I was experiencing.  It helped for a while.

The summer  of 2016 had it's challenges and heartaches. We had a family tragedy in July.  My beloved dog Claire battled cancer for a month, with me as her hospice nurse. She finally had to be put to sleep in early September.

At this point it doesn't matter where stress comes from, whether it's work or home. Any stress from any where effects everything. 

I've come to the point where I feel like I am barely functioning on most days.  Sometimes I can only complete one thing well - making breakfast lets say-  and after that I'm spent. Oh I do things the rest of the day, like go to work, but I function like a zombie.

Which is how I got to the point of leaving work.

The best medicine for adrenal fatigue is rest, and that's what I plan to do.

I was reading the Bible the other day, and Matthew 10:39 jumped out at me:

"If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it."

And all of a sudden, the verse made perfect sense.  It spoke to me in a way I had never heard before.

I had been clinging to my job, to my sense of pride that I could do it all and then some.
I was clinging to what the world saw as worth.

I remembered what some dear friends had told me repeatedly... that I had worth because I was a child of God, not because of all the stuff I did.

I feel like I'm in the process of being deconstructed. That the life I had clung to is being torn away.

I hold onto Matthew 10:39 as a promise.  A promise that my old life, the one I had created around the world, is passing away.  And in that death, a new life will be constructed for me that is built around God, and I count that as a joy!

A few people have asked me, and I'm sure more will, what I'll do in the future.
Will I go back to my old job?
Find a new one?
Become a permanent housewife?

The honest answer is that I'm not even thinking about it. 
I can only take care of myself one moment at a time, anything else is overwhelming.

I'm choosing to trust God in this deconstruction.  He is calling me to rest. In my Bible reading this morning, Matthew 11:28-30 spoke to me: 

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

And once I read those words, it felt like my whole being sighed and said yesssssss. Please.

So what I will do, moment by moment, moving forward is rest, to trust that God has a plan for me, and that He will provide.  I have no anxiety about that, no indecision, just peace.


From Pagan to Chrisitan

Originally written on 2/6/16

When I’m trying to make my mind up about something, I typically search the interwebs to help me find information on both sides of a decision.

Sometimes my searches are not satisfying.

I identified as Pagan from the time I was a senior in high school, until just before I turned 32.
In thinking about making the switch from Pagan to Christian, I was unsure of myself.  I searched the internet for others who had made the journey before me.  While I found some information on those who made the switch, it was typically only a few sentences on a forum someplace.

I was craving a much deeper discussion than what I was finding in my searches.

So, for others thinking about making the switch from Pagan to Christian (or for those just wondering why on earth someone would even think about switching!), I want to give you the discussion I was looking for.

I also want to shed some light on things that Christians did that I found weird (or just didn't understand) when I was still Pagan.

Ultimately, I made the decision to follow Jesus after an encounter in love, an encounter with community, and coming to terms with two issues that were gnawing at me.

In winter of 2014/2015, I was dating a man named Paul, who was Lutheran. We lived about a half hour apart, and one day while driving home from his house, I discovered a Colorado based Christian Radio station called Grace FM.  When I first started listening, I was mainly interested in what they were saying about the culture in Jesus’ day.  As I continued to listen, I started to wonder, is this stuff for real?

One night I was looking at Paul, who I loved dearly (and who is now my husband!), and I thought to myself ‘if he goes to heaven and I don’t…. I don’t like that idea’.

It was that thought, that we might not be together in heaven, that inspired me to keep listening to Grace FM, and start looking a little harder at Christianity.

After a few misses, I found a church in May 2015 that resonated with me. I can (and will) write a whole post about The Pursuit Church and what it means to me, but for this post, let’s just say I found a place that welcomed me for who I was, and was full of really authentic people. It was like God knew I needed REALLY fertile soil to be planted, and so he led me there.

And then there were my two hang ups, the things that kept me from taking that step of belief:

11. What are people going to THINK?!
I was so adamantly against Christianity for so long, that the thought of telling people I was considering Christianity as my new life seemed…..ridiculous. I kept playing the conversations I was going to have with people over and over again, and I couldn’t wrap my mind around how to make that conversation work. One day, I realized that my decision to follow Jesus would have ETERNAL ramifications.  Once I started thinking about things on an eternal basis, I stopped caring what people here on earth thought.  I realized it really only mattered what GOD thought of me.

   2.  I’m too BAD for salvation!
We have all done things we regret. I personally have made a ton of mistakes. I have hurt people I cared for. I had spent my whole adult life pretty much marinating in sin. How could I come to God, unclean as I was? During the time I was thinking about converting, I was listening to a Grace FM fairly often. In a one week span, I had heard on Grace FM multiple times that salvation is not something that is earned, it is something that is given.  That there is no reason to ‘clean up your act’ before coming to God, that God meets you where you are. Once I heard, for the umpteenth time, that salvation isn’t earned, I started to believe it.

If I had to sum up in one word how I decided to go from Pagan to Christian it would be LOVE. There was no amount of logic, no amount of arguing, and no amount of guilt that ever could have moved my decision along. My decision to follow Jesus was about LOVE.