Monthly Archives: June 2016

Seasons in life

In the World, when you say goodbye to a season in your life, whatever it is, you’re supposed to slam the door and say, “good riddance!”  In Christianity, there’s no such requirement – excepting perhaps the season of our lives before we came to Christ.   The Bible speaks often about the appropriate seasons of life, it doesn’t tell us that we should remain static.  (Rather the opposite).

I’m thinking about this a lot lately.  I don’t *want* to slam the door on the season of life that I’ve inhabited for 16 years.   I’ve spent this time well.  The lessons I’ve learned will stay with me for the rest of my years, whether I’m currently using them or not, and I’m grateful.  I’ve been grateful to have had this time at home.

It’s not like it’s coming to an abrupt end, I’m just switching gears a bit – the home is still my responsibility.  My work won’t be full-time for years yet.  If I choose to resent home-work because it “isn’t who I am now”, I’m a fool.  If I choose to stifle my excitement at my new adventure because “I haven’t made it yet”, I’m likewise foolish.

Learning, changing, developing as a person – I hope to keep doing these things until my dying breath.   I’ve always recoiled in horror at the notion that learning was something one only did in school.   You’re supposed to grow in faith, you’re supposed to grow in knowledge of the Truth, you’re supposed to grow in spiritual maturity.  And if you’re growing in all of that, you can hardly help growing in secular things as well.

Because I don’t eat bread much anymore, I don’t bake much anymore.  I’m glad to know how to make a good loaf of bread even so.    I’m glad to know how to carry a baby properly, to double-dig a garden, to sew a fine seam, to plan the holidays… knowledge isn’t wasted.

So, if you will forgive me – the season coming up isn’t about slamming a door, it’s about stepping into new skills and new duties, and moving along in my pursuit of becoming a Proverbs 31 woman.

What I reject is the idea that simply because I’ve left a season behind, I would ever want to slam a door between it and myself.

Description of a Worthy Woman

10 An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.
14 She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
15 She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
18 She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
26 She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
29 “Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.

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Ghosts in my head… again

DS and TPC are taking opposite sides of this battle, and I think it’s weird.  It shouldn’t be a battle… it’s just seasons of life and the abilities/handicaps they leave us all with.

DS’s link TPC’s position

So let’s talk fitness, beauty, vanity – and living your life for Christ.

Somewhere along the line as a Christian woman, I picked up the idea that doing things in which I delight, especially if those things are temporal in nature, is sin.  THAT’S NOT TRUE.   Can they be sin?  Yeah, sure.  Anything that gets between you and God or prevents you from loving your neighbor is sin.  Personal conviction, please.  But temporal enjoyment is not, in itself, sinful.  If it is, we need to all go become monks.

The ghost in my head thinks that the only thing I should do as a Nice Christian Lady is stay home with my kids until they’re out of HS, then volunteer at church (preferably) or work a boring job until retirement.   Helping other Nice Christian Ladies is okay.  Working to earn an income – a real income, not pin money – isn’t okay.  The ghost in my head thinks it’s okay to be pretty… as long as I’m not TOO pretty.  It’s okay to look nice, as long as I don’t spend much time, money, or effort on it.  It’s okay to be good at my work, but it’s not okay to put myself forward.  It’s okay to be fit, but I should get there by spending 30 minutes/day walking my dog… anything else is a bit extravagant, really.

But that’s a ghost in my head, not Bible.

I’m going to rattle off my own history here… I’ve always been the strong one who sucked at anything cardio, but could endure.   When you’re in your 20s, you take endurance for granted.  You have such an amazing recovery rate – even if you do something way out of your norm, in a couple of days you’re totally back to normal you.  It’s like that endurance was on the shelf, just waiting for me.

Then I had a couple of semi-bedrest pregnancies, which left me with a terror of getting tired.  I thought about explaining what happened when I got tired, but I’m going to spare you… 🙂  Let’s just say that it was immediate evidence that I needed to rest, stat.    Logically the terror shouldn’t have lasted, but logic isn’t always the thing, you know?

And then a few years after that… I broke my foot in half.  Oh yay, no more hikes for me.  No impact stuff.  Depressing.   I worked out to tapes, intermittently.  Got stronger, but it wasn’t that dramatic.

And then, a bit more than a year ago, I found crossfit.

Yes.  It’s expensive.   Yes, we get way too excited about it.   No, I don’t wear nearly as much clothing down at the box as I’d wear to a normal gym.   Yes, three times a week means I’m tired, a lot.  It has a cost.  43 ain’t 23, no way, no how.  Recovery is a haul.

BUT IT’S GIVEN ME BACK MY JOY IN LIVING IN THIS BODY.  I can do stuff!  I can lift the dog easily!  I could run … well, without the foot.  My endurance is back!   I can do things I couldn’t even do when I was a kid – in a few weeks I’ll have my handstand (so close, so very close) and I now row a faster mile than I could run in high school… substantially so.

I’m not skinny yet, that takes diet as well as exercise.  I’m the same weight as at the start, substantial body comp changes have taken place.  My blood pressure is down.  My cholesterol is down.  My energy is up.  I’m not THRILLED that my weight will involve not eating as much as I like, but whatever.  Entry fee.

Is it vanity when I post progress pix?  Maybe a little, let’s be honest.  But mostly inside what I feel like is a little kid who’s bouncing up and down saying, “didja see?  I did the thing!  Look how I’ve changed!”  It’s delight.

That.Is.Not.Sin.  That’s a blessing which I am enjoying.   Does everyone have to enjoy such a blessing to be a good Christian?  No.  that’s prosperity gospel nonsense.  But I’m not a bad Christian either.

And when I get excited because I nail an outfit, or get the makeup right… is it sin to delight in what God gave me that I’m taking better care of?  Is it?  To be pleased?  To have some fun?  Is it sinful to want to be very very good at what I do professionally – and make money doing it?

Vanity is a sin.  When I was 15 and hiking my boobs up and my shirts down so DH would snap out of the fog and pay attention to me, THAT was sinful.   Picking out a good color and choosing styles that allow me to be taken seriously?  Not sinful.  Enjoying being pretty, wearing pretty clothes?  Not sinful.  It’s childlike fun.  At least for me, it really is fun, and yes – I’d be happy to give a good twirl if you have little girls who need to ooo and ahh.

Delight isn’t a sin.  Fun isn’t a sin.  Being healthy isn’t a sin.  And pursuing those things isn’t sinful either.

Of *course* we have to take care of duty before pleasure, and of course others come before ourselves.  Duh, we’re committed Christians here.

But we’re allowed to enjoy what we were given, and take care of it.

Life cycles vary.  The reason I’m having so much fun is that I know what life is like without a body that can do the things my body can do now.  I am so very appreciative, so grateful.  It’s not easy – it hasn’t BEEN easy.

Anyway.

Delight isn’t a sin.  And the ghosts in my head who say that it is can bite me.