BAM Family

BAM Family

Thursday, May 22, 2014

If you want relationships, you have to make them happen

When did relationships get so hard? I'm not talking about romance. I am extremely happy with my love life and adorable, though scraggly, husband.

I mean other relationships: FRIENDSHIPS.

In the past two years I feel like my friendships have gotten tossed on the back burner. And I mean like the way back burner, like the old stove that is rusting to pieces in the back yard.

Ok, I am exaggerating a bit.

But here is the truth: I get lonely and I want people to want to spend time with me.

When I was in high school and college, I really wanted a mentor. I wanted someone to notice that I was special and smart, a girl who just need a bit of attention and wisdom. I hoped and prayed that THE woman at church or THE professor would just take notice of me and ask me out to coffee.

It never happened. I was crushed.

Now that I am older (and less annoyingly needy), this longing for relationships has given me a startling kick-in-the-pants truth: If I want relationships, I usually have to make them happen myself.

If I want to get to know that student or offer some advice, I have to ask her out for coffee.

If I miss my mom friend, I shouldn't just write on her Facebook wall "I miss you! Let's get together soon!" Rather, I should call or text: "Hey, what day can we get together this week?"

If I am always canceling on a single friend who loves evening get-togethers, I need to offer a weekend alternative: "How about Saturday brunch?"

I find myself cringing when I say enthusiastically, "We should get together!" and then never doing anything about it.

Relationships take work:
Initiative
Creativity
Planning
Babysitters
Follow-through
Sacrifice

And…sometimes openness to being hurt. Last fall semester, I really desired to build relationships with some of my former students (something I wanted in college, remember?). I contacted them (10-12) and offered a weekly "Sunday Supper" at my house. I had visions of great food, rousing discussions, lots of laughter, and deep mentoring relationships being formed.

I didn't count on hurt feelings. But it happened sometimes. Weeks when no one showed up. Or other weeks when students were so late that dinner was cold (no apology or explanation). Opening up my home meant opening up my heart and that made me vulnerable to hurt.

But it was worth it.  Not for the "thank you's" or "You didn't have to do this!" but for the fact that I could offer a bit of solace to students during such a busy and tumultuous time in their lives. I also got to laugh a lot, play games, and indulge in fancy deserts that I wouldn't usually make for my immediate family.

We didn't do "Sunday Suppers" in the spring semester (mostly because of my miscarriage and recovery…I just couldn't pull it together) but I've recognized other desires in my life.

Like, I miss my "English" friends and discussing literature on a regular basis. I haven't taught English on campus in a long time and I was starting to get really down.

So, out of pure self-pity and literature withdrawal, I decided to start a Jane Austen Book Club this summer.

(My other motivation is that reading Austen is just amazingly fun so, really, I didn't need those other excuses).

I've had a healthy amount of interest in the club so far so I think it will be a good time when we start in June.

I guess the point of all these stories is this: If you are lonely, have a need, want a friend….reach out and strive to make your relationships happen!

It won't always work, but, as I have learned, if I want relationships in my life, I have to seek them out, invite people over, ask that person out for coffee, and make an effort to invest in people.

Because investing in people is worth it. But to invest, sometimes you have to take the first step and make it happen.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Have I buried my "talent" in the ground?

When I was in Jr. high and High school, I remember hearing numerous sermons preached on The Parable of the Talents. (Click on the link to read from Matthew 25).
Source
The parable challenges listeners to consider how they are using the "talents" the  master has given them: Are you investing two fold, five fold, ten fold? or are you the wicked servant buries his master's money in the dirt?

I remember fervently praying, searching my soul and heart's desires: What were MY talents? Was I using what God had given me?

Many of my youth pastors and summer camp speakers transliterated "talent" (a sum of money) to the modern day English version of "talent": a gifting, or natural ability. Clever, right?

Well, sort of. In my adolescent mind, I squished this parable neatly into the definition of "how am I using my gifting or natural abilities to serve the Lord?"

As a teen, I eagerly identified my talents as musical so I played the piano for the offering and sang specials during the service.

In college, I used my leadership abilities to become a prayer leader on my dorm.

As an adult, I have honed my creative writing skills and answered the "call" to write graphic novels to help end Human Trafficking in the USA.

I was (and am!) using my "talents" for the Lord, just like this parable says!

But this thought struck me this Sunday at church during the sermon: Am I really using ALL that the Lord has given me for his glory? Or am I burying the uncomfortable parts of my life in the ground, parts that are painful and messy?

Can my pain and suffering be used for his glory?**

Sometimes we think that God could never use pain and suffering like:

An eating disorder
An unplanned pregnancy
Filing for bankruptcy
Divorce
A boring job
A car accident
Chronic health problems
Estranged family members
Miscarriage 
And so much more….

So often, my response to pain and suffering is to complain about it, wish my life was different, or "bury it" in the ground, wanting to forget it ever happened.

But God has shown me recently that, if I ask him, he will show me how he can using anything to serve him, if we are actively looking for the redemption of our suffering and pain.

What if we looked at everything we have been "given" in life as a way to bring glory to Lord?

We can "bury" these "talents" in the ground; or we can pray and seek and search and invest in life, and hope, and redemption, seeking to return two, five and tenfold to our Master when He comes, our ears longing for these words: "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master" 



**The unanswered question here is "Does God bring pain and suffering into our lives?" I don't know. Perhaps. Perhaps not. The real question is, can I use what I have been "given" in my life for His glory?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Meng Menu

Sunday: Grilled steak, sour cream and chive mashed potatoes, corn on the cob
Monday: Tacos
Tuesday: Asian chicken thighs, rice, broccoli
Wednesday: BLTs, chips, carrots and celery
Thursday: Grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes, green beans
Friday: Out to eat

Saturday: Biscuits and gravy, smoothies

Sunday: Sloppy joes, chips, Green beans
Monday: Pan Chicken, rice w/gravy, green beans
Tuesday:  Grilled chicken thighs, baked beans, broccoli w/ cheese
Wednesday: Hot dogs, chips, carrots and celery
Thursday: Baked fish fillets, pasta w/ sauce, peas
Friday: Out to eat
Saturday: Pancakes, turkey sausage, fruit

I am glad to be done with grocery shopping for the next two weeks. I felt like I was using the cart as a walker today. Eight weeks pregnant and I am SO TIRED. Plus everything smelled really strongly at the store, especially the meat department and the deli (Fried chicken…ug!).

All that being said, I am happy with my final tally this week: $208. YES! 

Chicken thighs were on sale for 87c a pound! And I was also able to get some really nice ribeye steaks on sale too. Looking forward to using our grill more and more now that it is getting warmer. 

Like this? Share it!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...