Tag Archives: brave

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).

800px-Village_in_South_Sudan

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 22

the beach walkingIf I were home today would be my “weigh in and tell BENew what my pounds and inches are” day.

But I’m not home.

Maybe the extra week before I weigh again will show some real results. I’m starting to feel different. I look in the mirror and my eyes aren’t so sure, but in my heart I KNOW I am different even if the mirror doesn’t SHOW it.

I can’t believe I can walk the whole beach like this. I’ve come so far from the woman who spent all those hours on the couch or in bed this summer. We see lots of cool stuff as we walk.

Today’s expedition included a small shark

shark closer

And a weird stump that sprayed ocean water as the waves rolled over it. I wish I were an artist and could paint it.

walking 2

I’m still doing nothing. Not reading, writing, or even watching movies. We sit on the lanai and talk for hours. We walk the beach or swim at the pool.

I lay in the sun in my bikini top.

Bikini top. Still weirded out by buying one and even more by wearing one. It isn’t about showing something off. With my weight and stretch marks that isn’t even possible. It’s about something . . . more. About not hiding. About not holding back because I fear what people think. About being brave enough to do something differently than I did yesterday–or even for most of my life.

So I expose this previously unexposed part of me to the sun, longing for it’s warmth, wanting to be kissed brown even as I fear I will scorch.

I keep cutting back on sunscreen because I’m not even tanning on my tummy, much less burning.

As so passes another day at the beach.

It’s peaceful as night falls here.

palm tree and dusk

We eat healthy

food florida

And watch the sunset as we do.

sunset and bird

The birds lift their wings to freedom, and I long to follow.

Real Time Update:

The brave thing of this week wasn’t buying clothes but giving them away–three garbage bags of three different sizes. It’s even braver to do so since I’m frustrated by that plateau I mentioned yesterday. But I will NOT return to 190 pounds. Or 183 Or 180. And I will NOT give up on losing another chunk of weight.

Though to be honest I’ve avoided exercise today. It is self-sabotage, this grumpy-I’m-not-going-to-do-it-if-I’m-not-going-to-see-results-attitude. I’m not giving into it long term. But for today . . . I’m nursing my emotion as I try to decide whose advice to follow: eat more, not less, for a short time; add more intensity to exercise; change up exercise patterns; drink more water; eat less; get more fiber; reduce carbs.

It’s overwhelming.

But I WON’T give up. Just taking today to process (okay, and to feel sorry for myself, although it’s not making me want to eat, it’s making it hard to force myself to eat.) And when I quit feeling so mad I’ll pray about this, make a decision, and keep on keepin’ on.

What About You?

What would be a freedom choice in your life? How do you process disappointment? Or make good choices when you get conflicting advice?