WHAT’S IN YOUR LUNCHBOX?

Clumpy, wet grass.

Clumpy, wet grass.

By Lisa Huddleston

I only have a few minutes to write today so a few minutes is what I’ll take. Some days are like that. For example, because of the unusual amount of rainfall in the Southeast this year, my yard HAD to be mowed today. I simply couldn’t put it off any longer. Even though it was still too wet to mow. Even though I couldn’t make it look as pretty as usual. Even though there are still nasty looking clumps of grass everywhere. The grass had to be cut today or we’d soon need to bush hog it!

Do you hate doing cruddy work as much as I? Often instead of doing something that I’m afraid won’t turn out well I simply won’t do it at all. Perfectionism can paralyze me. But doing something is usually better than never doing anything so I have to push myself to go. A recent example of this is the beautiful loom my husband bought and assembled for me. I sincerely wanted this loom. I had wanted a loom for a very long time. A thoughtful friend had even taken me to a weaving class to learn the process. But I still was afraid to even try to warp the thing. Finally, I bought beautiful yarn, got out my instructions, and went to work. I loved the process as well as the product! So glad fear and inadequacy didn’t hold me back forever.

First solo weaving project begun.

First solo weaving project begun.

As I mowed and pondered both of these examples I remembered good words from a recent sermon by Jim Thomas as well as something I read just this morning in Mere Christianity. First, Jim’s sermon from Mark 8: Jesus asked his disciples an important question. When it was time for the many people who had gathered to eat, the disciples wondered how they could feed so many, and Jesus asked, “How many loaves do you have?” Great question! How many loaves do I have? Today I’m running short on bread, but I can still make the most of what I have by sharing these words with you.

Then from C.S. Lewis: “We see only the results which a man’s choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it.” Awesome! God provides the material, but what we do with it is up to us.

Okay, so the grass is cut, the first weaving project is on the table, and these words are about to be published just as soon as I add some pictures and push the button. Hope you enjoy the snack from today’s lunch and that it will feed your soul at least just a bit. How many loaves do you have?

TENDING A QUIET LIFE

Feeding the Quiet Life.

Feeding the Quiet Life.

By Lisa Huddleston

When I was a life coach, one of the hardest things for most of my clients to believe was that taking care of yourself was not being selfish. It was actually the best thing you could do for yourself as well as for everyone who had to be around you. When you are well-fed physically and spiritually, you can give to others from the abundance of your life. When you are starving and puny, you may try to keep on giving, but your efforts will be mighty weak. And if you are anything like me, no one will want to be around you while you groan and whine and generally become a pain in the neck.

Naturally, that good advice is as easy for me to overlook as it was for my clients. In fact, if I am not super vigilant, I will allow too many activities to push me over my mental health cliff (always a short push!). For example, last Friday was Concrete Pouring Day. Yes, it deserves capital letters as it is a big deal around here. Chuck had spent all week preparing the ground for Friday, and I spent it worrying, I guess. Sure, getting the house ready for my son and his friends took some time. And going to the grocery store to load up on food for hungry workers took some more time. And cooking took some … well, you see where I headed.

I have a very low tolerance for busy-ness. I like to ease into my day with several cups of coffee, some good reading and then some good pondering. (Today is a good day!) Housework, tutoring, visits with friends, mowing, and other activities are carefully spread throughout the week so as not to stress me out too much. But I can’t always control my time as carefully as I need to and that’s when things (mainly me) get ugly.

I really do see how blessed I am. Not everyone has the freedom I do. And that knowledge makes me feel guilty and selfish. Just like my clients did. But as my dear husband pointed out recently, how terrible to have such a gift and then to reject it. Talk about selfish! He reminded me that God has placed me where I am and that my writing and availability to others are my work. And, despite my guilt and feeling selfish, I am starting to see what he means.

Yesterday I read a passage from the Book of Acts, and verse 3:15 appeared in neon letters: “And you killed the source of life whom God raised from the dead.” Jesus didn’t come as the expected Messiah should have. The people were looking for a Warrior King and instead received a Carpenter Rabbi. Instead of realigning their expectations to match what God had given, they stubbornly kept their misguided beliefs in place and killed the very source of life! And that is so often what I do. I devalue the gift of my “Quiet Life” and try to be what I am not–and sometimes I come way too close to killing the source of my life. The further away I move from where God has put me, the further I move from Him.

This morning’s readings reiterated that same truth: “In the same way a Christian can lose the Christ-life which has been put into him, and he has to make efforts to keep it. But even the best Christian that ever lived is not acting on his own steam–he is only nourishing or protecting a life he could never have acquired by his own efforts” (Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis; emphasis mine).

I could never have acquired this life on my own–neither physically nor spiritually. God has put me where I am, here in a “Quiet Life” on Hudfarm, and it is my job to feed it and look after it. Thanks for the reminder, Coach.