Yesterday, I purposely woke up at 5:15 am on my day off.
Is it the Zombie Apocalypse?
Did I drive several hours away to do another half marathon?
Is there a 90% off sale at New York and Company?
I wish….but no.
Am I driving back to Fresno and my awesome friend is here to tag along?
I went for a hike. I got myself out of bed, on my day off, before the sun was up, because the AZ sun becomes murderously hot around 8am…to go on a hike.
And oh… HOW I LOVED IT!!!
When my alarm went off at 5:15…my first instinct was to say “Screw this” and roll back over to go to bed. If my friend wasn’t spending the night and going on the hike with me, I probably would have gone back to sleep. Grumpily, I dragged myself out of bed. I seriously questioned my sanity as I groggily threw on my clothes and managed to shove a fig bar with almond milk down my throat. I made it out the door without falling down the stairs in my sleepy state and I was able to make conversation and navigate our way to the trail head. Sort of. We got a little lost…but that is Google Map’s fault. Not me this time…win!
I may be growing out of my “not a morning person” thing.
Anyway, the hike was beautiful. My friends and I hiked 3.6 miles of the McDowell Sonoran Reserve. It a gorgeous place, pure desert. It wasn’t tainted by humans at all: no concrete, no buildings, no cars, just rocky trails and a beautiful desert landscape that I love.
It’s probably one of the best hikes I’ve done. It left me feeling refreshed and powerful. I didn’t feel like I was dying as I do on most hikes, and probably would have gone another 3.6 miles if it weren’t for my stomach screaming for food (along with the rising heat). I got to have great conversation with friends, almost saw a rattlesnake, and ended up stuffing my face with a meat/ feta cheese filled omelet with cheesy hash browns made from heaven. Yum…MEAT.
It was a great Sunday.
I’ve also decided that hiking is a great cure for anger. The last time I hiked with a friend, I was irritable at the start of it, but felt completely relaxed and happy towards the end. The same thing happened again this time, so in the future, when I feel like Hulking out, I’m going hiking.
The reason for my anger is that I think I am back to the pruning section with my relationship with God. I do not like the pruning AT ALL. I know that pruning is good, and it helps get rid of all the crap and dead leaves so that something new can grow in its place, but it is still uncomfortable. Every time I get to a place of comfort and think that God is giving me a break…here come the pruning shears.
God is now grooming me to be a) more organized , b)to accept change , loss of control and learn to trust, and dreaded c) to stand up for myself. I can handle A, it’s a bit weird for me, but it’s a skill I need to know so, I’m being obedient. B is still tricky as I am still a control freak in some areas, but I am getting better. Sort of. However, with change…I thought I was okay with things changing. I’ve always prided myself with being flexible and adaptable. But for some reason, lately I freak out big time when unforeseen changes occur. I freak out, and eventually God calms me down and I start to believe slowly…that things will be okay. It all ties back to trust and that will always be a work in progress.
And now we get to C. Standing up for my self, setting boundaries and saying NO.
I suck at this. God knows it, and I thought He’d just let me skirt by on this one. I thought He’d be like “Oh, that’s just her thing, its not REALLY hurting her…she’s just that way.”
Wishful thinking on my part…and very, very wrong.
God wants me to fix this about myself. I still gotta improve my boundaries, stand up for myself and learn to say “No” without feeling mounds of guilt. By not doing these things, I end up resentful, moody and angry hiking at 5am (although I LOVED the hike). I thought I was over and done with it with a previous situation that I am now free from, but nope…not done. Still have to deal with this.
The most frustrating part is the situation He’s using help me work on this character flaw…with someone in a position of authority. Fun.
I can tell when God is trying to teach me a lesson because the same situation happens over and over again and I crash. When I finally figure out what is going on, I get frustrated and go to God. I find Him on a ladder in my tree, tending to one of my older branches which is hidden deep amongst some new leaves. He’s got his gardening gloves on, His hat and His sleeves are rolled back. I catch Him with His pruning shears and tug on his foot to stop Him.
Me: “God, I know what you are doing. Can we chose another situation that doesn’t end with me possibly losing everything?”
God: Um, are they your God?
Me: “Well no…but doing this might land me with nothing.”
God: So basically you’re saying you don’t trust me to take care of you…”
Me: “Well…no. I just…”
God: Look, I get that you like to be there for everyone. It’s time you learned how to love yourself. If you don’t learn this now, you’ll keep getting taken advantage of in all aspects of your life and you’ll end up bitter and resentful. There’s no room for that on your tree…it’s time to remove it.
Me: “You’re right…I don’t like this.”
God: “I know, but do you want to end up bitter, resentful and angry all the time?”
God: “Good.” He raises His shears, smiles and looks down at me. ” Are you ready? I’m going in.”
I am never ready. EVER. I am learning that it is easier to say yes,obey and let God do His thing, than to say no and take a trip on the road of complete and utter frustration. Saying yes is difficult because it’s in my nature to trust in myself and take the reigns in my life, but saying no is way more painful! I’ve been on this walk since I was 8 and it is now finally sinking in that “yes” is easier.
Here’s to saying “yes” no matter how scary it is or how much it hurts. And when I am crying over my busted branch losing a wonky twig, I’ll remember Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and hope.”