Monday, January 30, 2017

The One That Got Away

As we traverse through life, we always seem to reflect back and wonder "what would life be like if things had taken a different path?"  Or, "what if I had married that person instead of the one I'm married to now?"  It's human nature to ask these questions.  I don't often spend time ruminating on things like this because I believe in the sovereignty of God, so what happens is His Plan A for my life.  Even if that Plan isn't the plan I'd have chosen.

Spoiler alert:  If you haven't seen La La Land, I'd suggest you stop reading now if you plan to see it, as spoilers are to come.  

On Saturday, I saw La La Land as part of my annual Oscar challenge to see as many of the nominees as possible.  I'm behind this year because at the time of the nominees' announcement, I'd only seen one of the Best Picture nominees.  I had seen three at that point last year.  I've got a lot of ground to make up and not much available time to do it, but I'm Type A, so off I go.  

I went into watching this movie thinking it was a new take on the old movie musicals, like Singin' in the Rain, with a modern-day twist.  But, it wasn't that at all.  Oh, there's music and dancing, but the plot is interestingly different and "heavy" causing much contemplation.  

Mia, played by Emma Stone, and Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, meet in the strangest of ways and you follow their relationship for a full year.  After that year is over, it appears their paths may go in different directions, and the movie picks up five years later.  I won't get into details on what happens, but let's just say the path you expected, didn't happen.  Then, you get a complete flashback of an alternate path chosen, wondering, "did this happen?"  And then, realize what you saw originally was reality.  These two people had dreams become reality, dreams they encouraged each other to achieve, but didn't get to reap the benefits together.  

I've thought about this movie a lot since Saturday.  I've gone from contemplative, to melancholy to bittersweet.  Maybe because this hit too close to home for me.  I've had people in my life that encouraged my dreams and though I may be living them now, they aren't part of my life to enjoy the benefits.  But maybe that's the point.  People are in your life for a season...and for a reason.  And they aren't in your life for the long haul.  

The one that got away maybe really didn't get away at all.  Maybe they were in your life to make you reach for your dreams, affirm you where you felt like you were lacking and you both are now living the life always meant to happen.  If you saw La La Land, I'd love your perspective.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017: Renewal

Each year I chose a word to focus on throughout the year.  I'm not a fan of resolutions - because I break them in about 30 days - nor am I the best goal setter in the world.  I'm an extreme Type A perfectionist, which means if I'm going to set goals, I best complete them, and in record time.

Last year's word was contentment and I can say that the year really proved out as a great learning ground for that word, especially the last three months.  As I prayed and thought about what my 2017 word would be, I decided upon the word Renewal.  The definition that rung true to me for this choice was "the replacing or repair of something that is run-down, worn out or broken."  See the last three months of 2016.  That was me.

Life is always busy, and with my full-time job, ministry roles at my church, and maintaining some semblance of a social life, this introvert gets a bit overwhelmed and overstimulated.  The word Renewal seemed to be the perfect word to focus on for 2017.  I need time to renew myself spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally.  If I don't do these things, then I'm of no good in all those roles I outlined at the beginning of this paragraph.

How would I accomplish this?  One of the things I've learned over time is saying "no" when it's hard and I want to say "yes."  Even when something is a good thing, it may not be the best thing for me.  I can easily get overextended and over-committed of my own doing.  When I was getting my MBA, I did a much better job of saying "no" because I set boundaries to be able to continue my life as normal as possible and still do school.  Now that I don't have an educational degree to help me keep that boundary, I've lost it.  In 2017, if I tell you "no" don't take it personal.  Remember that I'm looking to recharge and renew myself.

The other thing I wanted to do was declare a day of renewal each month.  I'd choose a day - preferably not one when I'm working my full-time job - where I'd only do things that renew my spirit.  I would also fast from all social media that day.  I have done this for January and may I say it was an absolutely glorious day.  I started the day off having breakfast with a sweet friend, Martha, who I adore.  Any time with her fills my heart with joy, so this in itself was a time of renewal.  The remainder of the day I listened to podcasts, colored (I'm an adult coloring book fan), read, and watched Netflix.  I started The Crown on Netflix and had no idea how much I'd love that series. I may need to write a post on that at a later date.  All the while, no matter what I did that day, my phone was used only to play podcasts, make/receive calls, and receive/respond to texts.  

What were the results of that day of renewal?  It was good to listen to sermons, and other spiritually-focused podcasts to refresh me.  Pulling away from social media honestly wasn't hard.  What I discovered was social media doesn't keep me focused on my here and now, but divides my attention to include others' goings on.  I may take daily social media breaks more often for the benefit it provided.  

I'm already excited about scheduling my day of renewal in February and looking forward to what God is going to teach me this year.  God can use a broken person, but He doesn't want us to be so broken down we're no good to others or ourselves.