Tag Archives: being brave

Lessons from Gandalf and Lord of the Rings: “Decide what to do with the Time”

I slammed my journal shut.

It happened a year ago beside a mountain stream. Sprinkles started, slowing my pen and smudging the pages. I stomped to the car and cowered, away from the rain.

It felt like my life. Another storm raining on my parade.

Much of what I had been through I wished had “never come to me.” There was a whisper hinting at how this life I live is part of a grander scheme, but even the hidden dreams within scared me. Seemed unattainable.

Often I’ve wish my own personal “ring” had never come to me.

Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.

Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.

Lately I’m contemplating life change. Some days I’m excited, free, chomping at the bit to move forward.

Other days I want to ignore the things I believe have “come to me” as Frodo described it. I supposed I feel much as he did. Small and insignificant in comparison to the task. Concerned I don’t have it in me. Not sure of the cost or my ability to pay it.

But this week Gandalf spoke to me from the screen, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us,” and I heard those words for me. For this time. For the things I’m contemplating doing, the things that call to me much as the ring called to Frodo that ask if I am willing to carry the burden.

All of middle earth depended on Frodo’s yes. Thankfully the whole world doesn’t depend on mine.

But what if fifty people or 100 or even one is stronger, freer, safer because I write more bravely, speak more candidly, share my Truth?

I suppose the courage comes in part from Gandalf also, “There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil.”

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Soaking wet? So what!

If the Force for Good calls me forward, how can I be silent?

Today I was out walking when I got caught in the rain. At first I ran from tree to tree, rushing through the pelting wet to shelter. Eventually, though, I held my head high, let the water soak me. I didn’t hide.

I enjoyed the storm.

I hope it is a metaphor for the growth of the last year. I hope that I can hold my head high and weather the storm. Let the rain trickle down my face and receive it as refreshment instead of assault. That instead of allowing hard times to rain on my parade I can keep marching forward.

Until next time,

paula cropped

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Freedom to Move Forward Part II

south sudanI did something brave.

Different.

Unexpected.

(If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, this one won’t mean as much, so check it out!)

Just over a week I was surprised by the desire to visit a third world country as part of a team reaching out to spiritual leaders of a new country learning its freedom.

While I have long desired to serve others and even wished I could meet special people, like my World Vision “daughters,” I’ve never been one to jump at the idea of this sort of thing. Europe I’ve dreamed of visiting. Third world countries? Not so much.

But I couldn’t resist the truth: I was interested, longing to go, even.

But my mind went other directions, and I let the thought drop for over an hour until I “accidentally” stumbled right into the informational meeting about this trip.

Again intrigued, I stayed. Longing. Wondering.

I came home and went on-line to check out the application procedures. My computer wouldn’t let me into the system, and I walked away frustrated. Ended up in bed sick the next day and dragging for several after. But always in the back of my mind the desire lingered.

I prayed. Asked friends to pray. It seemed too big a decision to make without one of those huge, red check marks in the sky beside the “yes” (not that I’ve ever had that exact cosmic direction, but you know what I mean).

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As real life got in the way I assumed this, like many of my ideas (I’m pretty impulsive and interested in many thing!), would fall away.

Until Sunday, the deadline for that application.

Sunday Jerry and I took a drive in the mountains, lingered over a picnic lunch, and explored all the stuff 20140629_132412of yesterday’s post. As we descended back to the Colorado plains in our little silver car we were freer than when we began the climb. Hopeful for next steps. Excited about living outside the fear of getting it wrong.

We hit I-70, just below Genesee where the view opens up and reveals Denver far below, and I caught my breath.

“South Sudan,” I whispered.

“So it’s back to that,” said Jerry.

“I don’t have to wait for a cosmic sign. I can apply.”

And so I did.

God had revealed the freedom to move forward, to follow that desire inside of me calling out for attention.

To do something brave.

Different.

Hard and unexpected and adventurous.

To do it with His blessing even without a shocking confirmation of His will.

I could simply go for it.

Something that might turn out breath-takingly beautiful. Something that might hurt. Or even be dangerous. Certainly uncomfortable.

Something bigger than me.

640px-A_South_Sudanese_girl_at_independence_festivities_(5926735716)

I came home, and my stupid computer (I say this with great affection) still wouldn’t let me into the application process. I stumbled a moment. Was it a sign I shouldn’t do this? I shoved the thought away and went with the forward motion of my heart.

Jerry offered me his computer, and I was in on the first try.

I don’t know yet if I will be chosen to even interview for one of the spots, much less as part of this team.

But I had the FREEDOM to try. The FREEDOM to reach way beyond who I am to do something I’ve never once before imagined.

The tears pool in my eyes as I type.

Where can I go in my newly-understood freedom of forward movement? What possibilities lie ahead that I never before dreamed? I have a catch in my chest where the breath should come out. It seems so crazy wonderful big.

This blog started as an inside-out journey to physical weight loss.

And that freedom plays into this one.

About a year and a half ago I was out for my walk. The pounds had dropped away. I had another 20 to go. I trotted downhill when blindsided by the urge to run. I couldn’t resist. I let those feet fly, pounding the pavement like I hadn’t done in years and years and years.

I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to run! “What in the world are You doing with me, God?” I whispered. “What are you preparing me for?”

I heard no answer, but felt his chuckle in the breeze upon my face.

At 210 pounds the idea of the sort of venture I applied for on Sunday would have been immediately dismissed.

But I am freed for forward movement. Free in my body. In my heart. In my mind. In my spirit.

I couldn’t sleep Sunday night. I just kept soaring.

Wishing you a freedom discovery of your own,

paula cropped

(South Sudan pictures taken from Wiki.)

Weight Loss Journey Day 21

You didn’t think I’d do it, did you?

I did.

Bought a bikini top on clearance at the Sarasota Wal-mart. I didn’t grow up wearing a bikini so this is not a normal place of comfort for me. I only wore one once, on my honeymoon for my husband. But there is something to this, something I don’t yet understand. Like I mentioned yesterday, I think it has something to do with my need to quit hiding.

bikini

Yes, this is what I bought. NO I will not model it on the Internet!!

Do you think I’ll get burned in those places that have not been exposed? I’m slathering the sunscreen.

And NO, I am NOT wearing the top while we walk the beach, but only when I slip just barely out our sliding glass door, away from most of the people, and let the sun kiss my fat ole tummy.

Heavenly.

We decided to add swimming at the pool to our routine when I returned from drinking in the sun. For the trek I threw a cover-up over the bikini top and skirted swimsuit bottom. Since I hadn’t seen anyone at the pool, I figured it didn’t matter what I wore. Of course now a family, which included a teenage boy, splashed in the water.

I went back to the condo and put on the top goes with my mature-woman-cover-up-stuff-skirted-swimsuit

With all that extra exercise I was under calorie count today, I but didn’t feel hungry. And with all the healthy choices we’re making, I feel fantastic.

I’m surprised I still have no energy for any of the stuff I expected to do, like write in my journal or read. That’s where I usually turn when I need to work things through, like what’s up with this hiding thing, how do I think about all the trials of 2012 (and before), and my obsession with not hiding.

Maybe I don’t want to put the energy into journaling because of the icky feeling in my head that has haunted me since that last car accident. (It bothers me to do computer work and even fatigues me to write in my journal.)

But this resistance feels like something else.

When I lie in the sun I talk to God, but it seems disjointed and jumbled and rambly. I miss the deeper conversations I had with Him with pen in hand, helping me focus.

Still, I’ve no desire to pick up a pen.

Maybe I am still in rest and unwind mode.

Real Time Update:

I did eventually process some of the stuff buried inside. If I’m brave enough I’ll post parts of it in a couple of days.

As to what is happening now, about two months after the above experience, I’m in another plateau. The first time I plateaued I kept doing what I was doing for a couple of weeks, and all of the sudden I dropped  7 pounds. This plateau is starting to concern me as it is lasting longer. I did some research this morning, and I have a few ideas–like being more careful about water intake, which I’ve become slack about. Also, I may need to watch types of foods more carefully, not just amounts. And it may help to push myself a little with the exercise. I am stronger now. I walk farther and without getting as winded, so it’s become pretty easy. If I was wanting to maintain this would be fine, but I’d like to drop another 25 or so.

I sound pretty cavalier about the plateau, but it’s starting to bug me.

What About You?

Any ideas about how to handle plateaus? What do you do when you’re frustrated with the weight loss journey? Have you ever felt tired of hiding–physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally?