Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Things I Realized During My Blog Vacation

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio 

I wrote most of the following post about mid way through the month of June. At this point I was still feeling pretty much adrift and was waiting for direction to become clearer. You can see that I was pushing myself to answer deep questions about who God had created me to be. A few days later on the 19th I was having my quiet time and for some reason I got distracted and went to search Massage Schools on the computer. I notice that one had an open house that week on Saturday. That motivated me to call the other schools and arrange appointements to try and determine if this might be the right direction for me. 
You might say it was a coincidence, but quite often I think my little distractions are actually the Holy Spirit nudging me. 

It is day 17 of my month off - and I realize I miss writing this blog. I actually realized it earlier but was not sure if that was just the habit of writing speaking. I think I am past that at this point. 

I have been reading The Path by Laurie Beth Jones - the questions in it often make me want to throw the book at the wall. I don't have an answer, I don't like my answer.... Is that my answer because I'm in a good or a bad mood. I have had to put it down, walk a way, and come back to many of the questions later after I have had time to consider them. Actually the book that has been the most stirring and helpful has been another by the same author called the Power of Positive Prophecy. Heres what I wrote in that blank front page when I had finished reading it. " This book has breathed life into me and helped me redefine my calling. I have made it my aim to be available to the Lords work no matter how trivial. I believe He is calling me to be less available for busy work and more available to see the vision that others can't see. My life is His art work. He shows me things as I see Him and spend time at His feet."

The other book I have been reading was sent to me by my dad. Its called "What Should I Do with My Life?  It is filled with stories of real people who decided to do something different. I'm just about done with that one but I think I will go back and highlight the questions or the revelation in each chapter and make more of an effort to answer them on the second pass.  I have a handful of other books and devotionals that I am reading a bit here and a bit there.  I think some things are a bit clearer. For example I know I want to get back to writing this blog. It somehow helps stabilize me and helps me process and to stay positive.  I don't think at this point I'm closer to answering the question What should I do with my life. I'm not convinced that being available to the Lord is the wrong way to approach life. I think I just need to balance it with having defined those things that are uniquely me because each of us only has so much energy to give to things. To do this thing, may mean I can't do that thing. Both may be good things to do, but I need to choose the one that is in line with who God has specifically created me to be. 

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do goodworks, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do."  

So the trick is to be able to look at the things that are there to do and be able to determine which ones are truly mine and which one's I need to get out of the way so that the people who need to do them can rise up and fulfill their calling. So my job in the church office that ended, it's not that I did a bad job, it is more that there are better things for me to do with my gift mix than to answer phones and create bulletins. By getting out of the way some people have risen up to help and have taken steps of faith to serve in ways that are stretching and growing them.  What I will now do with my gift mix is still as of now undetermined. I do know that I love creating the prayer lofts and praying for people on Sundays. I see that there is plenty in the area of prayer and intercession that I could do to encourage others to a deeper growth in their prayer lives. 
So perhaps thats the next step. For the most part I am limiting my church involvement to Sundays because it is too easy for me to be busy with "church" all the time. 

Some other things that I have realized is that I want to spend more quality time with my children. So I am looking for ways to connect with each of them. I'm riding bikes with my youngest, doing computer design and various games with my oldest. We plan to do some sight seeing around the area towards a Washington State History class. We had a fun, family game night last night. 

I realize that I really enjoy teaching guitar, particularly to young beginners. So I am working on a book of songs and lessons for young children with small hands.  I've had fun playing with one of my students in several coffee house settings. 

I realize that I value the flexibility of my life and that I was not all that far off track in the things I was doing. I need to be better at marketing or promoting the things I love to do. So things like coaching, and creating art, and teaching lesons do work for me but I can't be so consumed with church that I let them drift. If the farmer does not til the ground and plant new seeds he does not have a crop later down the road. So I need to be more intentional about finding ways to let people know about the things that I do to make a living. 

So what does that mean for you blog readers. It means that I will continue to write these posts. I want you to know that I am available for e-mail and phone coaching so if something I write about stirs you up and you want to work on that area I would love to help coach you. The thing about coaching is that we work on the things you want to work on. You set the pace. I provide the accountability and the encouragement and the belief that you can with the Lord's help figure out your own life. That you can work on the problem areas and you can over time make them better. That you can add more of the things you love to do to your life. Sometimes you just need to remember what those things are. I may or may not be an expert in your particular change goal but I am an expert in the process of getting from here to there. Change is a whole lot easier if you have someone who will encourage you, and help you process by listening and being a sounding board. Most of the time we know what we want but we lack the courage to take the step because we fight our own feelings of self doubt. The other thing about having a couch, rather than a family member or close friend is that as much as they are rooting for you - your changes also effect them. They may not be able to be neutral and objective in helping you find the best answers for yourself. 

So back to the present. I've just finished working on Washington History with my boys. We read about how glaciers and volcanos and floods impacted this region. Washington really is a pretty cool place to live. I'm looking forward to some of the little field trips we will be doing as part of this Washington History class. If you are new to my blog we are a homeschooling family. My children do three days of work at home and two as part of an enrichment cooperative through the Spokane Schools. We have a wonderful advisor that we work with who helps keep us on track for graduation requirements. Some how we missed Washington History and we thought it would be kind of fun to tackle it this summer, giving us an excuse to go see some interesting things around the area. 

I am trying to complete my blog writing a day in advance of when they are to post. 
I find I have moved to writing later in the day rather than in my morning quiet time. Its not a hard and fast rule, it just seems to be what is working for me presently. 

I'm looking forward to visiting my mom from the 4th through the 13th. We will be doing a lot of low carb cooking together. Its always more fun to cook together. We have been talking daily about the recipes we want to try. Gathering ingredients and pans. I probably won't post on the 4th of July, because you and I will probably be busy with family celebrations. 

Prayer: Lord I lift up these readers. Some are heading to a weekend of family activities. For some that is joyous for other it is stressful. For some it is lonely. I pray that you would be present with each reader and meet them at the point of their need in this moment. If they are joyous, help them be sensitive to others who may be struggling. If they are stressed help them to know your peace. If they are lonely I pray that you would be their all and all. Maybe even surprise them with an unexpected blessing of some sort. 
Lord we do come to you and humble ourselves. We pray that you would bring hope and healing to our land as you transform each of us to be more and more like you. 


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