So yesterday I left off with where I’ve come so far. Today, I would like to introduce you to where I am now and where I am headed – my goals for the summer break and putting together the random pieces of revelation and vision.
As I shared, this past year of study and interaction in lectures has helped to bring much into focus for me. I have been given new tools for just about every aspect of life. One tool that really stands out for me, is the understanding of why I made the choices in marriage that I have. I shared that after my divorce I came to the realization that the thing in me that drove me from one relationship to another and yet left me feeling empty and wanting was a desire to belong. I always felt like the odd duck, in the crowd, but somehow not really attached or present and never fully accepted.
I’m sure this feeling had something to do with how frequently we moved. All that uprooting and change and having to start over with a different set of friends year after year doesn’t leave much room for security and belonging. The upside is that I learned how to make friends quickly and easily, but I don’t think I really developed deep attachments out of fear of not being there very long.
But even more deeply, I have learned that this detachment from even myself has much to do with my father’s narcissism. For me, as a daddy’s girl, I learned to empty myself in order to provide his pleasure. Please understand, I am not blaming or pointing fingers or condemning, just coming to terms with the truth of the brokenness of our humanity. I don’t really know much about my dad’s family or his growing up, but I do know that as fun and exciting as life always was around him, he was never there. He lived life on the surface and, as far as I know, never slowed down enough to really experience the richness and depth that faith and surrender brings to life. To me, my dad always saw life from the positive, he never looked honestly at the struggles or consequences of his actions, and I learned well how to not rock the boat and did everything I could to please him. We didn’t have much time together, so why spoil the little time we did have. That pretty much continued into adulthood. I believed he loved me, but I also knew he would never initiate relationship or even contact. So I took him where he was, and called him for his birthday and Father’s Day and if we were going to be visiting where he was living. We lost touch for a few years after his last move and I did not have any way to contact him. I often wondered when I would know if he passed away. I was very grateful when his wife called me to let me know he was only expected to last a few more days and I was able to travel back to spend a few days with him before he passed away. Those days were revealing, but have taken a few years to sort through and make sense of.
So, now, today, I am learning to listen to the behaviors that have become automatic. I am learning to question and take time to examine these behaviors and bring them before the truth of God’s character and let Him reveal Himself to me anew. So much of how I looked at God and how I read His Word was wrapped up in this distorted view of life I learned as I was growing up. I appreciate the freedom I am gaining as I am able to release old habits and old ways of thinking (or not thinking as the case may be). It is a process, a journey – and it is not completed. What a joy it is to be able to look at the way things are right now and not believe they are set in concrete and will always be this way! I will change and continue to grow in wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. It is a process of preparation and I want to be as prepared as possible for the day I leave this body behind and step into the very Presence of my God and Savior! I’m working on it!
This new freedom I am discovering has opened the door for clarity and the power I need to move forward with life. I am looking forward to a future where I am conscious of my responsibility in making choices and not looking for someone else to make those choices for me. Discovering! being the key word here. In the midst of. Not completed. And certainly not perfected!
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV
So, what does moving forward look like for me? One word – adventure! I have wondered and pondered about the “random” revelations for many years, and now they are coming together to reveal a unified vision. I cannot begin to tell you how exciting this is for me! The Lord has provided many over the years who have encouraged me and shared my vision and mentored me in various areas. This is by no means a one-woman show! And now I have been blessed with a brother who has caught a glimpse of the vision and is able to help me with practical steps to move forward. Nothing big and spectacular, but the little practical things that often evade my notice and my knowing.
My goals for the summer break center on these practical steps. I put together a study on prayer a couple of years ago using the A.R.T. model. My sweet sister, Lila, shared the study with the pastors at our church, and they want to help me to get it out there by producing a dvd and book study. That requires reformatting what I have now and rewriting the book/study guide. Goal number one! Secondly, while I was at Fairhaven College putting together the A.R.T. model, I was also inspired to come up with my “company” name for the day when I could begin training and teaching what I was learning. That name was and still is, Dynamic Learning Journeys. Having a name is great, but a tagline is needed to describe the mission behind the work. That just came to me in the last couple of weeks: Developing a Culture of Excellence. There is much wrapped up in that statement, but it will have to wait for another day. Suffice it to say that goal number two is to get Dynamic Learning Journeys up and running. I’m working on it.
Part of the need is to assemble a team – again, this is not a one-woman show. I know what I do well and where I need help. My immediate needs are the obvious ones: I need someone who can help me with branding – logo, website, business cards, etc. I also need someone with expertise to guide me in the business aspects – not for profit, for profit, structure, how to determine fees, etc. Praying for clear direction in those areas. My goal is to be ready by the end of summer to find a few businesses, churches, or organizations to partner with me in testing the training to determine means for establishing measurable differences when the principles are applied. Man, am I glad I am not in this alone!
The newness of all this for me is that I am not petrified and paralyzed into motionlessness. I am taking the steps one at a time to realize this dream. And I know that it is not my effort alone that will bring it into being. This vision can only become reality as I keep my focus on the One who revealed it to me! Obedience, one step at a time. That is my motto.
For those of you who are believers, I appreciate your prayers with me and for me. I appreciate the encouragement and words of confirmation I have received from you. I step out knowing that my God is singing over me with His love and delight and His Presence! What a joy to be on this adventure!
The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 ESV