fun friday

My brain is mush. I’m wondering if I can get away with a swirly saturday post a day early.  What am I saying? There are no rules here.

I’ve been thinking about people lately. This is part of my overwhelmed-ness. I want to be in community with people, to develop relationships, to be a shoulder to lean on. And sometimes, I feel like there’s so much that gets in the way. I want to be approachable and available and not self-important or overly busy. I want to reach out and encourage people–in person, through notes, online.

But I get overwhelmed.

I miss my extended family. And Gabe’s. It’s been a long time since we’ve all gotten together. I miss Stephi and Daniel in SC. I miss Josh and Jess and their kiddos. I miss Bethy and Stew and Izzy. I just saw Mom and Dad for an hour or so last week, but that wasn’t enough. I miss my mom- and dad-in-law. I miss Tug and Angie and their kids.

Boo.

I hate that there are so many people who I’ve gotten together with once or twice but never since. I hate that when I take Nina outside to play with the neighbor boys, one of my neighbors always comments, “I never see you.” I hate it when certain people suggest that I’ve become “too important” for them. As if.

Oh, I’m getting a headache.

Today’s Stepping Up lesson was all about unity and getting along with people. Two sentences really stood out to me. God often uses other people as the chisel to carve true integrity into our rough personalities. And– Learning to endure hardship and inconvenience with people is critical to the process of becoming a whole person.

People are messy. I’m messy. I want to learn to appreciate the messy.

I spent lots of time in prayer today–for Amy and Billy, for Jess and Joel (Cora’s Mom and Dad), for Kara. And I heard of another family this afternoon. A young father (31) with a 5-year-old son and a daughter on the way died on March 1. He was diagnosed with cancer, and a week later he was gone. His name was David, and his wife is Emily. Oh, the suddenness. I can’t even fathom.

Life is so short, so unpredictable. I can’t tell you how much I want to spend it doing what matters. Being what matters. Most importantly, loving on people. I just finished reading Marley & Me, and while I can’t really be considered a dog lover, it was such a touching tale. Here’s one of my favorite paragraphs in the book:

Was it possible for a dog–any dog, but especially a nutty, uncontrollable one like ours–to point humans to the things that really mattered in life? I believed it was. Loyalty. Courage. Devotion. Simplicity. Joy. And the things that did not matter too. A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbols mean nothing to him. A water-logged stick will do just fine. A dog judges others not by their color or creed or class but by who they are inside. A dog doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his. It was really quite simple, and yet we humans, so much wiser and more sophisticated, have always had trouble figuring out what really counts and what does not.

Marley was a messy, messy dog. But his owners cleaned up after him, took care of him, loved him.

This is a lot to chew on. And I guess all this rambling is two separate, but related, issues. 1.) how do I make time for everyone and let them know I value them? and 2.) how can I do a better job of loving messy people?

Any thoughts?

10 thoughts on “fun friday

  1. Carrie

    I’m in the same overwhelmed place that you are – needing to pour more time into relationships, but, to be honest, I’m not willing to give up my 2 plus hours of online time in a day to make those phone calls…I really need to get over myself!

  2. Kimberly

    Oh, those are the big questions. For me it would be to turn off the computer and the TV and go outside! I hide, I’m a cave animal and I know it!

  3. Denise

    I love you! I love how honest you are. Thank you for that!

    To be honest, I want to do a better job of loving people and letting them know I value them too. I want to love messy people too.

    I am frustrated with myself that I don’t put myself out there. I get bored/lonely and sit here and say, why doesn’t anyone want to be my friend and hang out with me. Um, because they don’t know that I want to hang out. I get scared of rejection and being in the way and do contact my network of friends that I have.

    I also tend to hide in my house, rather than getting to know neighbors – again, I am not investing in people. My neighbors below us wanted us to come down for dinner back when we moved in – never happened – never pursued it, see them all the time, say hey, that’s it. Now that it’s nicer, I want to go enjoy the little playground and get to know these other moms that are here – and there are a lot. But again, afraid of rejection, of judgement, of not fitting in. But I don’t allow myself to just trust that things will work out.

    You aren’t the only one that struggles Marla! Trust me, there are a few of us out there that struggle to. Maybe we could try to form a play group at church, invite neighbors – get together every now and then to just go to the park and hang out, have some fellowship.

    You’re a great person and I am thankful I know you. Let’s get together soon! We miss you guys!

  4. Laurie

    I hear ya girl – MckMama wrote a post yesterday referring to Love the One Your With meaning spouse, but I guess you can take it further to mean those that God has placed before you physically. Letting God reach people through you where you actually are as opposed to comfort zones we wish to be in. You definitely have to keep boundaries with internet time, but I’m grateful to have found your blog and thankful to read your thoughts, they have often been things I am personally experiencing at the moment. Stay before the Lord in prayer and He will direct you in ministry.

  5. Chris

    Oh my goodness. You’re speaking from my mind. I love this blog because there are so many times that I can relate to you. I live in Michigan and my entire family lives in Ohio. My husband and I have one son and it kills me that I can’t go over to my parents house every Sunday for dinner. I hate that aunts and cousins only get to see us on holidays. I’m not a very friendly neighbor, so I feel you when the neighbor kid says “I hardly ever see you” I feel there are many families on my street who feel the same way and look at me strangly every day. Can’t people just get along and can it be the 50’s again where every one was out in the summer and people talked to each other instead of being afraid of what others might think.

  6. Joanne @ The Simple Wife

    You know, the thing about this is that you can’t do it for everyone. The internet is a funny, wonderful, awful thing. Because it means “knowing” a gazillion people and sharing parts of life with them, but because of the sheer volume, being unable to go deep with everyone.

    As a blogger, it’s just always going to be a little one-sided.

    I get overwhelmed too. Knowing so many stories, wanting to connect on a deep level with absolutely everyone, and then feeling guilty because I haven’t met their expectations or my own.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about virtual life and real life. That there needs to be a balance. That I need to spend as much time and effort on those people I’m face to face with as I do with those I’m not face to face with. Tricky.

    I think there’s only so much we can give. And I’ve found that there is that handful of virtual friends who are deep friends, who have become so dear to me. But that I only have capacity for a handful.

    If you figure it all out, let me know. 🙂

    I love you, friend,

    Joanne

  7. Mary

    Marla I think asking yourself those two questions opens you up for God to use you more than anything else you can do…when we are looking, waiting, asking, is when He reveals something glorious! That makes me want to read the book…saw the movie but never read the book. Does raising two still little kids excuse me from reading???? Ha! I actually still read things pertaining to sleep training, surviving motherhood, and marriage so your books were read during the last year!

  8. Mommy Dot Com

    Marla –

    I think you are a wonderful, humble, very approachable person who invests in others on a regular basis. Beyond that you have it in your heart to do so much good. God sees your eagerness and so do we.

    I loved Marley & Me b/c it shows the good that comes from perseverance. When they were putting up w/ that difficult dog they had no idea that it would lead to a top selling book and number one movie. And if so much good can come from persevering for a dog then doesn’t it just make you ponder what perseverance will accomplish when we do it for each other?

    “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time WE WILL reap a harvest if we don’t give up.”

    Marla, the Lord sees all that is in your heart to accomplish. How thrilling it is for Him to see you dreaming so big. I know I’m touched by your sincere concern for others and your longing to make a greater impact. May He grant you the desires of your heart.

    Believing God to do greater things than you can think or imagine,

    Kara

    And if you need some R&R or if you need to give attention to other things then please, please exercise the freedom to do so. We will respect you all the more for it…and we’ll be here when you get back. But, of course, if you are taking time to write a book then you must dedicate it to all your bloggy buddies for giving you time off to get it written. That’s all we ask. And money. We’re asking for money too – but that is only if it’s a top seller and is made into a number one movie! Which you so can do.

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