What I've been learning (aka: the condition of my heart)

So, I've been finally learning about some good stuff lately. After a year in the Desert, I can finally say it's drawing to an end.

The Lord reminded me several weeks ago, that the jewel of "contentment" got totally lost in the last 1 and 1/2 years. During 'The Program" (ITP- Interpreter Training Program) having to be content in the 'now' was the only way I got through. Trying to survive to the weekend, is really a lousy-selling-yourself-short way to live. Looking back, it's hard to think about how I could have gotten through everything without being content in the specific day I was in. And I did. I was content. That part in my life was RICH in daily conversations and relationships with people, that I took the time to enjoy, everyday, in the now. ...Okay, so the point? This was a rich jewel in my life, and somehow I forgot it. That seems so insane. That I would forget something that was so real and so conscious for 3 years- to just *poof*... GONE.

So in chewing on this the last two weeks, I realized the consequences that I've been experiencing because of NOT being content.

  • I drive like a maniac (because idiot people slow me down, and I JUST WANT TO ARRIVE at my destination)
  • I look forward to the weekends, because WHO doesn't like weekends?! I dread waking up because I'm 'too tired' to face another day.
  • I've been frustrated so much in the last year, and disappointed with various things that my discontentment for things that have already happened (in the past) was prohibiting me from having much hope and excitement for the future.
*disclaimer* I DO sound like a depressed angry person, but for any of you that have ever been told from the Lord you were going into a Desert, and that half-way through that, it turned into a MEGA-TEST, with no content to study, this might make more sense. You pretty much just want to get through, and want it to be over, and just to 'arrive' on the other side. That's definitely not being content.
Mainly, I like to speed, yell at people who DON'T have the right of way, and simultaneously, circle random bubbles on the Multiple Choice test and tell Him, "Okay, WHATEVER, I'm totally not even caring if I get the right answers, so here ya go"... (x's 12 months!) Okay, so the whole 'speeding' thing was just kind of thrown in there, but yes, that is one area I'm trying to work on. Actually, let me clarify that- I'm working on the road rage, not necessarily the speeding (thought I should be honest). *end disclaimer*

So really, those are the three big consequences of living to the weekend, being discontent with the here and now, and being angry and disappointed about the past. Because of my disappointed expectations, it's really hard to have faith or be hopeful about the future. (...and Faith?!-- when you're not hearing from God, just really doesn't do anything but seem to make the point more of not hearing, more painful)

Now, it's not really all as bad as that- I'm just so glad I'm starting to hear and learn again, and the desert is pretty much over.

Another revelation I had, three weeks ago (this was THE revelation that started the ending of the Desert) . I was at work, praying in the spirit for 10 minutes every hour on my breaks. I felt from the Lord I was supposed to do this to maintain the stamina/energy/right-attitude for the day. During the afternoon, as I was praying, all of a sudden I had this thought- For those of you that know me- around 8:30pm, or 9:00, I "hit my limit". I get PAST my ability to relate nicely to other people, and want NOTHING except to go to bed. My dad always said to 'get up every morning at the same time, and go to bed when you're tired, and your body will get the amount of sleep it needs.' Well, hello, my body says, 'go to sleep now, or your life tomorrow will be MISERABLE!' As soon as I was recognizing my 'limit', I would RUN to my bed. I would leave, I would drive home, I would GO TO BED, even though I hadn't seen Paul but for 20 minutes that day, because I was "Just DONE with my day already- kill the misery by slipping into deep wonderful oblivion, and face the next day at another time." So, as nice it is, to recognize when I need to excuse myself and go to bed/leave peoples houses, etc, it really kills any possibility of socializing past 8:00. How retarded is that? You guys know me! I'm NOT a morning person- I could stay up till 1:00 every night, and sleep till 10:00a, and that would be GREAT for me. Right now, Paul and I are committed to spending time with God TOGETHER in the mornings, and it's so stinkin' hard. We get up at 5:30 or earlier everyday during the week, to accommodate this conviction, and to start our morning off well. So you better bet that by 8:00, I'm GOING TO BED. Whoever said you don't need as much sleep as an adult as you do, when you're a teenager, is an absolute straight-faced liar. I still need 9-10 hours every night during the week to feel fully rested, and to not crash and burn on the weekends when I have a chance to catch up. Yeah, so whoever said that is WRONG. At least for me. Okay, it was good to rant about that, but now to the point.
Clearly, like a bell, or a ray of light, the thought came to me (ah hah! THE Revelation!) that living that way, was allowing a spirit of Death to be over my day, instead of the spirit of Life. By wanting to END my day, and just "BEING DONE" and hitting my LIMIT, and wanting my day to die already I could just go to sleep, I was indulging a deathful spirit. Really, it's all about a lack of faith- or trust- I need to trust that God could indeed redeem my day and give me a burst of energy to keep going if I need to. I was pretty much just out of faith. God's life giving Spirit is of Redemption, renewal and restoration. I'm so tired and exhausted from my job and my day that by the end of it, I pretty much don't believe I could feel like hanging out or staying up for another 2 hours.

...Anyway, so what did I do about it? I kind of just sat there, stunned (for some people, that may not be much of an epiphany, but when you've not heard anything revelatory or practical for a long time, it can be shocking) I sat there, thinking, "Okay, but I don't really want to believe that... ...I'm kind of happier saying "I've reached my limit" and get out of situations on the 'exhausted' excuse, than sit around miserable, waiting for God to help my brain function for several more hours. I definitely tend to retreat when my brain is 'done' with the day.

...So, I guess in conclusion to that thought: I'm still working on believing and trying to live this way. I do have to say that re-discovering that jewel of contentment, has REALLY helped me be able to believe. A lot of un-necessary stress has relieved itself of my life, and I'm realizing again, that really, when it boils down to it, today is all I've got, and so why rush through it, risking running over pedestrians?

On that note, one last thought on a revelation. Several weeks ago, I realized why my road-rage has gotten so out of control. Yes, it has to do with the (*cringe*) self-righteous way that I drive... (God, HELP!) (like I am right, and everybody else is wrong) But also, due to the volume. I realized that in any given day, I was driving ROUND-TRIP to UMKC 3 times, Lee's Summit, once, Olathe once, Downtown 4 times, and Overland park once. I'm not kidding. In ONE day. In one day, I encounter 4 major highways, 3 suburban populations, and one congested down-town. In addition to that, I would encounter 1-3 major wrecks, 3 construction sites, and drivers that don't know where they are going in downtown. I encounter at least 3 (THREE!) people walking across the road in front of me, causing me to slow down when I CLEARLY have a green light, and they have a "do not walk" sign. They're pretty much asking for a LARGE insurance claim and Disability for the rest of their lives. DUMB. I encounter drivers in MO who don't know that the Left lane is supposed to be faster than the right, and that Drivers in KS think they own the roads and can cut you off, then make a quick right or left turn right in front of you. I am driving 90 miles a day, or more! Then there are people who put their make-up on in the car, talk on their phones, or don't pay attention to the lights and sit there for 10 seconds while the light is green. GREEN, I tell you! GO!

Also, being inpatient is something I need to work on. *sigh*...

So really, the revelation was this: What I experience EVERYDAY day, MULTIPLE TIMES, the majority of the rest of the people surrounding me, probably only experience every several weeks. Understanding that this max of frustration is mostly due to the volume, helped me realize that I am not a horrible person, but that probably anyone who has a ped run in front of their car three times a day would start getting annoyed too. It doesn't mean I am off the hook, or that I shouldn't try to continue to become more patient, but I do feel a little more relieved that my emotions towards driving are really compacted because of HOW much I experience on any given day. Seriously, up until 4 months ago (when I started getting really bad road rage) I loved driving. I still get in the car, and think back to before I had my license, and think about how much of a privilege driving is. I LOVE driving. I think it's great I don't have to walk, run, or ride a horse. I couldn't do my job without a car. Cars are great. Drivers are stupid. It's like guns. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Cars aren't stupid, drivers are stupid.

Welp, I've exhausted the day, and this post to be sure. Really, I have more to share, but I'll save those learned things for later. I actually wrote this post over the course of 3 hours at work between calls, and now I'm at home, postponing my mentorship HW... hee hee....

Okay, bye.


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Camilla EuDaly Barrett is a freelance photographer and designer with 6 years of expertise and 15 years of loving cameras and 'messing around' graphically on computers. By career she is a nationally certified Sign Language Interpreter.