Today has been a truly glorious start to the new year. Even in this first day, I’m sensing forward motion.
I had the opportunity to go out to lunch with my dear friends Dezi, Rachel, and Aubrey. These three girls are my feminine counterparts. I have no way to explain the bond I have with them, nor do I wish to; I only wish that every human being could experience it. Dezi was my first college roommate,and she is my matching puzzle piece. Everything about her is an equal and opposite counterpart to me. Whereas I am everything that is random and chaotic and sporadic, Dezi is everything that is stead and calculated and rational. She has taught me so much about how the same brand of shocking beauty often comes in starkly different packages. Rachel, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is my mirror image. She, as well, is all that is random and chaotic and sporadic. When I struggle to find beauty in myself, I often think of Rachel; how similar we are, and how startlingly fantastic I find her to be, and it reminds me that there is beauty within my own spirit. Aubrey is a bit of both; because of her adventurous spirit, I have learned to find beauty in my own. She is a kindred gypsy spirit, a heart full of the same wanderlust that overwhelms my own. After spending a good portion of my life feeling as though that portion of my heart was somehow wrong or irresponsible, I met Aubrey, and learned that it’s simply one of the beautiful traits that God plans to use me through.
I have totally digressed. But the mere mention of those girls moves me to sing their praises; can’t help it. At any rate, I got the opportunity to eat lunch with them today at one of our favorite restaurants. I took them up on it right away, being that we’re scattered across the state/country at the moment. I remember feeling that familiar moment of regret, the one I have every year somewhere around the beginning of the year when I’ve made resolutions; usually, I regret making them because they’re good for me, but not necessarily fun. I’ve never even contemplated going to a restaurant with someone and watching them eating while not doing so myself. We’re Americans…conformism is deep in our blood, even when we like to pretend it’s not. And yet, I knew I wasn’t okay with blowing one of my January goals on day one.
You know what’s crazy? I kind of loved it. Because the social aspects of friends eating a meal together continued on as usual around me; and yet, I wasn’t distracted by the need to clear my plate. I got to listen and speak and share life and focus on that. Josh is always in awe of how much longer it takes me to eat a meal than it does him, because I’m always talking between bites. I am a highly social person, and a conversationalist. I never considered the benefits of going to a meal with friends and focusing on the relational aspects of it instead of the food. And, despite the fact that I admittedly felt a little weird in the beginning, telling them that I wouldn’t be eating because of a goal I’d made…they didn’t mind at all. I know. Shocking, right? The amazing things we think the people around us will care about and be tripped up by.
My reading goals got switched around a little. Instead of my C.S. Lewis book, I will be continuing in an online read-along I started a few weeks ago, on a book called @stickyjesus. For some reason, I’ve had a terribly tough time getting into the book; this reader’s block that won’t go away. But this weekend, a dear friend who’s doing the reading along with me gently reminded me that often, Satan puts up road blocks in places where he’s feeling threatened. I’m going to keep going with that book, and praying that God reveals His heart to me in the reading and reflecting and writing.
Speaking of Satan, and his remarkable ability to get footholds, I’ve been learning a lot this weekend about how just when God brings something to our mind, something to challenge us and grow us, we begin to struggle in that exact area. Just a few days ago, I blogged about respect and affirmation in a marriage. For Women Only has given me a lot of things to think about and a lot of ideas to put into practice. And yesterday, after all that, I coincidentally found myself struggling more than I have in the entirety of our marriage to not be disrespectful to Josh, in my speech or actions.
Have I mentioned I don’t believe in coincidence? I don’t.
Tonight as I fall asleep, I’m praying that Christ continues to daily crucify my flesh. That I’m compelled to live in the Spirit, and to let Christ love the people who grace my life through me; starting at home with my husband, and spreading out to my family and friends and church. I’m praying that the remainder of 2011 is as full of thoughts and questions and revelations as this first day has been. Rest assured, if that’s the case, it will be a roller coaster of a year, with some very difficult moments. And still, I trust that on the other side, the inevitable freedom and joy of chasing Christ and His image will be worth it.