I get so tired of cliches.
Though many of them hold some measure of truth.
I mean, isn’t that how they become cliches to begin with?
“Actions speak louder than words” – that’s just sheer truth
“The grass is always greener on the other side.” – because someone worked harder on their grass than you did.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” – I’m calling massive bull crap on that
“You can’t judge a book by its cover” – but that’s what draws my attention perusing Amazon for books I need on my kindle.
“You can’t please everyone” – ya, no kidding. You ever been in ministry???
And the list goes on and on and on…
I’m REALLY tired of cliches in the church that get passed down as scripture.
“God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” – of COURSE he does…that’s where our need for Him arises the most. (That’s an entire blog in itself)
“God helps those who help themselves” – errrrr those that call out to Him in complete surrender. Not the same thing.
“When God closes one door, He opens a window” – Ummmmm…no! I pray for closed doors all the time. All. The. Time. Sometimes a closed door is just the end of that particular story line in your life. And someday you’ll look back and thank God for that closed door.
But as tired as I am of the cliches, there is one that I have been thinking about a lot lately.
SLOW PROGRESS IS STILL PROGRESS
It applies to every area of our lives.
Spiritually, as parents, as spouses, trying to move up in the workplace, with health and fitness – every area.
I mentioned that last year my life de-railed a little bit. It came from out of nowhere.
Let me back up:
5 years ago, Marcos and I began to take a huge interest in health and fitness. We learned so much through trial and error and research and reading and watching other people and decided that being a personal trainer was what we wanted to do with our lives. We wanted to help people not only spiritually, but physically and mentally – because all 3 are so incredibly entwined.
Next month, it will be 2 years ago that we moved to Humboldt County. That is a whole weird story in itself how we ended up here and BELIEVE me, if I didn’t trust 100% that this is where my family belongs, I would’ve questioned that decision a million times.
We moved up here to better our family and take our classes to become Personal Trainers, help my Gramma and help out at a church that didn’t have an established youth group. We committed to one year.
In September, we hit the ground running. Putting together a youth program from scratch, starting a multi-media program for the church announcements, working with the worship team. It was a lot, but it was amazing.
We were making good contacts within the community and seemed like everything was on track to be a hugely successful year – until the first weekend of March last year.
I was on a Women’s Retreat and on the way home when I got the phone call that my Great-Grandpa had passed away suddenly. And as you know, death can bring out the best or the worst in people. His body was still in his house when things started to go south quickly with some family.
The next morning, Pastor asked me if I was still OK to lead worship. I had been teaching the worship team that we worship even when it hurts and it’s hard – that that is the very time breakthrough comes.
We (myself, immediate and extended family) were still wading through the mess of Grandpa passing and what to do with his things and how to sell his home when 12 days after he passed I pulled into the driveway of my Gramma’s house and she was sitting on the back porch and couldn’t even get up to go inside. She was having trouble breathing and she looked terrible.
She hadn’t felt well in months – and if she had been able to tell us all the truth – she had actually been very sick for a very long time. We got her to the hospital where the family began to congregate. I told my mom she didn’t need to drive up that I thought she was going to be OK.
The news began to get worse and worse. We spent the next few weeks all taking turns at the hospital and camping out in the waiting room. To make a long story short, they flew her down to Stanford and that was the last day I was ever able to see her. 29 days after her dad passed away, my Grammy went home to be with Jesus.
So now, we were dealing with 2 huge losses in our family. And as timing is always everything, my husband became very sick shortly after that.
Pretty much 2 months of bedrest and surgery later, we were wasted and tired, beyond drained; on our last – rapidly fraying – set of nerves.
You see, life didn’t stop because our world was falling apart. There was still work, the kids, ministry and dealing with final arrangements of 2 family members. It was without a doubt the hardest few months of my life.
I went into survival mode. It was everything I could do just to make it out of bed and to work on time everyday. Getting the mundane, everyday tasks done took everything out of me. I would fall into bed, exhausted at the end of each day, many times in tears out of frustration and not knowing what was coming next.
A weary-all-the-way-to-the-bone-tired. But so tired it was hard to sleep because the mind would race with things that needed to be done, hadn’t been done, had been forgotten about, felt pressured to be done.
And that was that.
I was done.
Everything that didn’t involve just making it through the day was no longer a priority.
I had my husband, my kids and God.
And that was all I needed for that period of time.
In the middle of it, I felt like I was moving backwards and losing everything.
But sometimes, losing everything is OK.
Hindsight is 20/20 … another cliche.
So much truth.
In thinking I was losing everything, I was actually gaining a whole new perspective. I was learning the value of the little things that I had been missing for a long time.
Like having time to lay around and talk to my kids.
Stopping to play a game with them.
Having a whole lazy Saturday to do whatever we wanted as a family.
Like seeing who God REALLY created me to be and allowing Him to bring back to life a passion for the things He actually wanted me to do. Not the things I tried to do to please others.
I’ve learned that I have a huge love for writing throughout this year of journals that were so full of pain for a long time, but so beautiful and therapeutic in the end.
I’ve learned that I really, really love to worship the God that walked by my side and carried me through every good and bad thing that has come in my life. Not because it’s my job. But because I love HIM.
I’ve learned that I really missed working out and taking care of myself. Not so I fit in my cute jeans and get compliments. But because I want to be active with my kids and set a good example and honor this body God has given me and keep it around for a long time to come without being a burden to my family.
I’ve learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that my husband is a rock! He is truly my best friend and there is no one in this world I would want to be on this journey with besides him.
So for a year, I felt like I was going backwards- not even in circles.
I was learning.
I was growing.
I was moving forward…slowly…but forward, no doubt about it.
The progress felt non-existent, and I wanted to rush all of it along, but I couldn’t. I had to walk it out every step of the way and skip all the shortcuts I wanted to take.
Wherever you are in life, slow down for a minute and look for the lessons you’re meant to be learning in whatever season you happen to be in right now.
If you’ve messed up, give yourself a break. It’ll all work itself out if you stay the course.
You didn’t mess it up overnight, it won’t fix itself overnight.
Whether it’s spiritual, physical, mental…take the right steps and it will all be OK…eventually.
I mean, after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day! (Last one, I promise!)
I get so tired of cliches.