10 Things I Learned in August

When I was researching serial killers for a fiction piece I once wrote, I discovered that it takes three murders for a person to be classified as such. Making a logical leap, this is my third monthly post about things I'm learning (linking up with the wise and lovely Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky): this post has become serial. Enjoy.

1. A year can make a big difference.

August 1st was meaningful for me last year. I wanted things to stay the way they were on that day, but they did not. This year, I watched the night of July 31st turn to wee morning hours, and I marveled at how much God has moved in those days, hours and moments between those two days, and how much better His plans are for me than those I came up with on my own.

2. It is not all up to me.

I spent the majority of the month sick, or sort of sludgy, lacking completely in energy. I found myself exhausted by very simple things: putting on a load of laundry, dropping by the bank, making myself something to eat. It has been, and continues to be humbling, a reminder that things do go on even when I am spent, and that I don't hold it all in the palm of my hand. God does that.

3. There are earplugs made specifically for women.

My mother discovered these specialized products at a local grocery store. I tried them, on a camping trip, and was able to sleep very soundly, undisturbed by any kind of noise. (In fact, some of the people I was with tried to wake me during a nap and were met with serious resistance). I have always felt that regular earplugs didn't fit well, and had them falling out of my ears in the night. These were a revelation, or the prevention thereof.

photo by Irvine.flickr.creative commons

4. I don't have to go camping to be loved.

I have gone camping all my life. I know that there are people who enjoy camping, who genuinely enjoy the outdoors, the campfire, the trees and tents. They are not making it up. I am not one of those people. People still love me.

5. There is no such thing as a glamorous life.

I have chased after this illusion for a long time. I have pointed to examples, I have striven for a gilded patina in my experiences. I'm learning that it's sort of like fiction, the story that I tell you, through my blog, social media, emails and words out loud, is processed and examined. I have mined the rough draft of my life, in all of it's banality, mess, sorrow and beauty, and seen God. He is what makes it shine.

6. I can live without a debit card.

My card was the subject of fraud this month and I cancelled it and waited for a new one. Due to unforeseen complications, I was without my card for most of the month. It was inconvenient, limiting and, ultimately: doable.

7. My first impressions are usually correct.

Sometimes I get a feeling in a new situation, with a new person. It can be a open, wonderful feeling, an "I belong here" a "I feel like I've known you forever." Or it can be deeply unsettling. I was reminded again this month that these instincts, these murmurs of the Spirit, have never yet been wrong.

photo by rosmary.flickr.creative commons

8. I'm happier when I'm reading some fiction.

I love nonfiction, and there is a lot of it on my nightstand and reading list, but I love fiction, too. I form relationships with the characters, getting involved in their lives. When immersed in a good story, I wake up thinking that something exciting is happening, and then realize that it is happening in my book. After all of the reading I've done on introversion lately, I'm wondering if I love fiction so much because it allows me to be "social" while recharging.

9. Sometimes the most powerful things are said in progress.

I wrote a post this month called "Is God Still Good?" I wrestled my way through the post, not sure how it was going to end when I started. The response was overwhelming, and humbling. I'm learning to be brave, and not always leave all of the questions with answers.

10. If I let go, Jesus will catch and carry me.

Truly letting go is hard for me. I cling hard to my ideas, even when I can clearly see the hurt I am causing myself. I struggle with not being able to "snap out of it" or "pull it together." I am not good at this, but I have observed, when I am able to truly let go, the world does not end, I am safe, held and somehow, what needs to get done, gets done, though I couldn't tell you how.

What have you learned in August?