Patiently Waiting

The last two days on my route to work, I encountered a sight that I thought I would share about and how it lead to this week’s muse. On the corner of the intersection where I turn down the street, was an attractive young woman dressed in a turquoise jumpsuit with matching coloured Covid mask. Her jet black hair was long and hung straight down passed her waist. The first day I saw her, she was crossing the street in front of my car and I simply thought she was thoroughly enjoying her music as she bopped across the intersection in her earbuds. Yet, her animations were a bit too boisterous not to be noticed. As she neared the corner of the sidewalk, she raised her hands and began pointing and waving at passing cars like some pro wrestler entering the arena for the heavyweight championship. Her smile was wide and whatever the words were to the song, I was unknowing, but I couldn’t help but smile at her exuberance.

I’d like to imagine she was praising the Lord — bopping to some upbeat worship tune and just couldn’t help but share His love with the passing cars. More than likely she was fighting the voices in her head, and lived with some issue that perhaps lead to her bewildered actions, which is sad, but it made me think: am I that excited about life and the people God puts before me?! So much so, that I would share my story (or simply my praises) with passing vehicles? Without a care or thought to what the rest of the world might think of my mental stability?

Photo: Jay Clark (Unsplash)

I had to attend jury duty this past week, which was an experience in itself in this post Covid-19 world. The venues had to be increased from the simple courtroom holding spaces to convention centers to allow for “social distancing” of the potential jurors. There were about five waiting rooms with about 45 people in each… seated 2 metres apart in single rows of chairs. Each with faces covered in masks, each attending to their own worlds of reading materials, laptops and cell phone messages. No one talked, no one smiled at each other. No one barely looked past the back of the person’s head in front of them. We simply existed, shuffled about like ticketed cattle, waiting for our number to be called (or praying it doesn’t get called). It was all very odd.

Each of these two scenarios had me wondering about the people in my world. My neighbourhoods and the people I come into “contact” with everyday. 2 Peter 3:9 says this:

 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

NIV

The full chapter describes the “Day of the Lord” — His return to earth. I am to be anticipating His return, yet anxiously sharing the good news, so that “everyone shall come to repentance”. I’m afraid I do a miserable job. I may giggle and ponder at the exuberance of those who are gifted in evangelism… sharing their faith at street corners. I may contemplate the sheer volume of the population “still to be saved”. I send my gifts to those who devote their lives to the cause, both at home and overseas. The truth is, it only takes one to win one. To simply tell my story, and let God do the rest. It’s not my job to change hearts. It’s not my job to turn lives around or fix the broken. He’s merely waiting patiently for me to open the door for someone. I’m slightly convicted. What’s my excuse? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment about how you share your faith! Motivate me, so the Lord doesn’t have to be so patient!

Fear Factor

Have you ever been afraid? Sure, I think just about everyone can relate to that gut-wrenching feeling of fear. The panicked, flight or fight response when your body tenses up or goes into complete meltdown because of some deep seated fear of dying, or falling off a cliff, or your youngest going off to kindergarten, or being poisoned by some foul toad bewitched by an unlikely fairy godmother. Well. You get my point. Big fears are easy to pinpoint and easy to explain away.

Yet, what about the little fears? The nagging, “uncomfortable” feelings that are not rational fears, but take hold of you nonetheless? Do we talk about those fears? Do we even call them fears? “Anxieties” perhaps? Unease. Apprehension. Worry. Perhaps this worldwide pandemic has heightened those unforeseen thoughts for you as it has for me. Do I send my kid to school this fall? Do I ride public transit ever again? Why am I finding it so nerve-wracking to be driving on a four lane highway again after so many months of going nowhere? Will I ever fit into real pants again?

I must tell you a little story about my weekend in order to assist you in following my web of convoluted thoughts about fear, and consequently, my muse this week. We spent the weekend up at the trailer, near the lake and welcoming the final weeks of Canadian summer (albeit a strange one à la Covid-19). My beloved convinced me it was a perfect opportunity to spend a little time canoeing with him. Now, I like canoeing. I used to canoe often. I’ve even canoed with my husband. I’m not a white-water portage expedition canoer, but I can paddle. Yep, I can even steer the motorless boat! Still, the initial reaction to the invitation was fear. I have not been in a dugout piece of floating wood in a very long time. Years. I’m a little curvier now. And less agile. And a whole lot “awkwarder” in a wobbly floatation device than I used to be.

Our old canoe was light, and very tippy, and sank to about an inch off the water’s surface. But, our new-to-us boat is wider and sturdier and “will certainly hold you” assures my beloved. I agree to a short paddle. Then fear. True, my fear was irrational. There was no reason for it. No clear explanation of why my brain went to where it went. I had a lifejacket. I can swim and paddle and have a partner with me. We were barely going offshore. Yet, there it crept: the nagging trepidation of the what if’s.

As I thought about those feelings and how irrational they were (we had a delightful time on the water by the way!) I was reminded of 2 Timothy 1:7. The Amplified version expands it out nicely:

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7 AMPC

Why do we get so caught up in our petty thoughts when the God of the Universe has given us a spirit of power and a mind that is in control? Do we let Satan weasel his way into our thoughts and twist them into self doubts, creeping anxieties and irrational fears? How much more does God want me to share my faith? Surely more than He wants me to try paddling a canoe after so many years. And yet, so many of us have an underlying fear factor there, too. Why do we find it so hard to share our faith? God is bigger than those fears! He gives us the power and the confidence and an extra dose of love to push us along the way. Like the gentle wake of our canoe, may you be encouraged by the wave of power that is God promised, and may calmness and self-control be your guides this week as you paddle through your faith journey, one small fear at a time!

How to Network (Even if it Scares You!)

One thing I have discovered since starting mittonmusings, is that blogging is really all about connections and networking. And I am painfully bad at it! As a self proclaimed wallflower and hopeless introvert, actually talking to people is brutally tough! I smile and nod politely, in great hopes that you might talk to me initially… but heaven forbid I make the first move! Very few of “my people” would even know that I blog… except for random posts on social media.

So, I scanned a few resources to see what the experts say about networking. Why do we put ourselves out there, out of our comfort zones, to connect and make ourselves known? Sometimes it is to improve our positions… perhaps a new job or a better rank within a current job. Our eldest has just started to tackle this daunting task… and we are trying to encourage her that employers don’t come knocking at your door — you must go to them and prove that you are worthy of their hiring. Yes, I agree, it is not easy!

Other times it is to make connections. If you have a passion for art or music, you tend to gravitate towards like-minded people who share your passion. Perhaps, it is to learn more about something you are interested in. The hubby and I attended “Seedy Sunday” at Evergreen Brickworks this past weekend… the intent was to learn more about gardening (another adventure I am hoping to tackle this spring), but I ended up chatting with a fibre artist about alpaca wool. Should I mention that the hubby wandered off and got coffee at this point? But put him in a room with small talkers who love world events… and it’s me who searches out the family cat.

I’m learning. I joined two online blogging groups — and have made some connections. I have had to be vulnerable and ask for help when needed… and, by golly, it works sometimes! Part of the reasoning for this post was to convince myself that I should attend a real, live, blogging networking event. It will be good to go — but I am petrified. It’s one thing to post on Instagram — it’s another to actually be there in the flesh and tell people what you blog about. Especially, in my case.

#Jesusbloggers, or people who have faith based blogs, have created a very narrow niche for themselves. It’s controversial. It’s limiting. Many businesses and affiliates don’t want you mentioning the whole God thing. No one wants you to guest post about “religion” — stick to just the craft or product, okay? (which — actually — I am cool about — just not something I choose to do here). I’ve also found it frustrating that many faith based bloggers are a little too flowery for me. All southern belle, hugs and kumbaya. Others have a significant story to tell — a miraculous event, or traumatic experience that illustrates their faith so beautifully. People read those stories.

I’m just a regular ol’ mom who happens to love Jesus. I started the blog to learn some technology, and it has blossomed into a unique way to share my faith. Networking, like sharing the gospel, is simply telling your story. My faith happens to be a part of my story… and so I am learning to tell a story that is so much bigger than my own. It’s God’s.

The experts say there are some key tips to follow when you network:

Smile. Okay. I can do that. I am putting on my southern belle smile. Here’s your ice cold lemonade. Come sit on the porch awhile, whilst I tell ya’ll about what I been musing about lately….

Prepare. I promise to continue to post weekly. I’m committed to sharing how my faith and my everyday life continue to coincide. I’m far from perfect, and I don’t have all the answers, but if you follow along on this adventure, I will seek to shed some light on this dark world as I give you glimpses of how God continues to work in our lives… perhaps not in big , miraculous events… but in the everyday. I hope to have another online course fully prepared for launch this summer!

Challenge yourself. Alright. I am boldly going to put myself out there… I will attend the live network (and pray hard I find another Jesusblogger hidden among the wallflowers!). I’m going to follow up on some leads for guest posts and re-connect with a few others. I continue to learn more about the technical side of this blogging thing…look for my upgrades!

So, my friends, here’s where you can help! If you have just joined me, and liked this post… would you consider following along in the adventure? Click here and you’ll get a weekly email. Already a follower? Want to share a post? Click on the title of your favourite post on the blog page… that gives you the “link”…then you can copy and paste the link to an email, your favourite social media account, or your own blog! Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no intention of being the next internet sensation, but I have learned that “clicks”, “followers”, “shares” and “forwarding” is the way that the internet says your story is worth sharing. I’m hoping mine is.

Haha!! We, my new friend, have just networked!