Sometimes All You Can Do Is Lay On The Floor (epic failure)

I work hard, as in I never stop working. Literally. I work 7 days a week, and I start at 7 a.m. and finish up around midnight.

There are several reasons for that.

1. I can. I have no family or husband or lots of friends (I just moved) or a church or any organization I belong to. I truly have no other requirement of my time. So, work gets it.

2. I am on a steep learning curve. At 54 (that’s me) most people are pros at their jobs. They’re now the consultants. I am just starting my career as a horticulturalist and so, the learning curve is large. I have a lot of catching up to do.

3. It feels good. It gives me something to do. When I come home in the evening, I come home to an empty house. I could watch tv or work. I work. (Side note: the tv is currently broken so that makes the decision to work even more obvious.)

4. I am terrified I won’t be able to work in five years, or ten years or however many years. I know 60 is the new 40, and I am in good shape (well, all things considered), but I do know that 50 hit hard and it hasn’t stopped hitting. I don’t know if I’ll be able to work five years from now. Who knows what state of health I’ll be in? I know that sounds all grim, and like I have no control over my health, but seriously, aging is not for sissies, and you do gain a new respect for what your body can and cannot do. With that knowledge, I work hard now.

5. Money is a necessity for all of us and I am no exception.

But there is also this:

I want to succeed at something. I have had some epic fails in my life and honestly, I hate that word, but it fits here. (The hashtag phenomena has ruined some perfectly good words.) So, now I have this over-arching desire to succeed at ANYTHING. But mostly, I want to look back at my career and say, I did good.

Okay. So, no big news there. People want to succeed in life. But here’s the clincher.

I want to succeed to make up for the epic fails. Oh, that takes a turn, doesn’t it? Let’s follow that path and see where we get.

Here’s how I learned this tidbit about myself. This morning I did on-line church. The Pastor’s sermon was about finishing the race strong (the journey of faith in Christ, he meant, for my non-believing beloveds). My reaction to his sermon was an over-reaction in the biggest (can I say epic?) way. I wanted to call the man up, and scream at him, “What the heck do you think I’m doing over here?” I wanted to murder the man. I wanted him hung in the town square and spit on by passersby. It seemed he was saying, “Cinthia, you aren’t doing enough.” I jumped up, off my couch, and screamed at my IPAD, “For pete’s sake, what else do you want me to do?”

Then, I laid flat out on the floor because for me, my posture before God helps me to hear God better when I pray. I told God, “That man is MEAN. Strike him down hard, Lord. He is hateful and MEAN.” (I can be bossy with my prayers.)

And, here’s what God said. Nothing.

And, here’s what happened. My soul was restored, renewed, comforted, and quieted. And, in that quiet Sunday space, I realized why I was really working so hard. I was ashamed of the epic failures.

In my quest to succeed at the next thing I was doing (work vs. marriage and family), I hadn’t dealt with the failures. Or rather, I hadn’t taken them to God to deal with. Sometimes, all you can do is lay on the floor, and scream. And, that’s a good thing.

Final side note: I did apologize to God about the mean preacher man. 🙂

Why I Don’t Like Church But Go Anyway

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

I’m a Christian girl but I am taking a hiatus from church membership presently. When one is looking for a home the search invades all aspects of life including church. Or at least, it serves as a pretty good excuse for not going, and just hip-hopping from one church to the other, or doing the on-line internet thing, keeping one ear tuned to the sermon if it proves to be a good one. Like listening to the Christian radio station while driving. Not too terribly involved, but if something pops up, you listen.

Although, if I am honest, I was never much of a church girl. I am always a Jesus girl and I am not shy about it. I adore him. But church? Or Jesus’ Bride, as Scripture calls it? Well, I just never got into the groove of it. I find it boring. For several reasons.

1. I could never get anyone to simply ANSWER my questions. I now know that they likely didn’t know the answer, and that truly some of my questions were a bit on the bizarre side. (Did Jesus have any of Mary’s DNA? How did that work?)

2. I always found the songs a bit dull, and adding rock bands, worship leaders and disco lighting did not change my mind.

3. The sermons never spoke to anything I was dealing with (and it is all about me, right?).

4. They don’t let you raise your hand during a sermon to get clarification on a point, which literally puts me over the edge because my need to know is insanely obsessive  But, if they let me, they’d have to let everyone, and then we’d never get out of there, which is a common complaint anyway without the Q&A at the end.

5. Prepare to so roll your eyes at this one: I simply can never think of a thing to wear. In my defense, I spend Mon-Sat in Carharts covered in dirt, so it is hard to drag out something suitable and fashionable–something I won’t be tugging at during the service–and feel like I look good. I have spent the whole hour and a half completely self-conscious about my dress. I am the female version of Shallow Hal over here.

6. And, lastly the old favorite: church is full of hypocrites. Oh, don’t groan. It is. And, on my best days I am able to acknowledge that I am the worst of the lot. But, when I am feeling sorry for myself and don’t want to go, I can always throw that one around.

Still, with all that, I have spent most of my life going to church. And, all of my adult family life. I was very glad that my kids loved our family church. The fact that they loved it was enough of a reason for me to go every Sunday, but I also made good friends there, and found a niche teaching Bible Study (one sure fire way to answer those questions, study Scripture!). And, I do believe I will find another church, and get involved and do the church thing again, just not yet.

While figuring out where I want to live, work, spend the rest of my limited days on earth (you get past 50 and suddenly time gets very limited), or even where I have the option to do all that–there are some realities to be considered–I don’t feel the need to figure the whole church thing out just yet. Which is a bit refreshing and a bit of a relief. One thing at a time.

But, here’s my point. I do still go to church, maybe not the same one every Sunday or even the right one (gasp, been going to the very left wing Episcopal church lately), but I do show up in my unfashionable and uncomfortable dress, and I leave happy. I leave very happy because being in God’s house with God’s people whether I like the music, or the sermon, or the people, is refreshment to a world weary soul, and we are all world weary. It is exactly what is needed after a long week of work and another one ahead of me. It is God’s Word incarnate, present in that place despite the tedium and boredom and lack of snappy songs. Being in the presence of God isn’t limited to a church, of course, but it is a sure-fire way to ensure it.

When the people of God ask the Spirit of God to be among them, He is. And, that is invaluable. Boring sermons, lackluster songs and horribly out of style dresses not withstanding.