Learning to live.

Recently I celebrated my birthday. I again evaluated what living looks like. Last year, Being diagnosed with stage IV metastasized breast cancer raised a lot of questions inside my heart.

Questions like:
What have I accomplished in my lifetime?
Had I truly stepped out in those areas, I always thought I would have done so once I had time? What Does living look like?

With these questions swirling around my mind, I heard a word drop into my heart:

Living isn’t just crossing dates off a calendar and going from event to event or celebrating birthdays. Living is doing what you enjoy and doing and asking me (God) to join you. Do it for me, not the world.

Had I already forgotten these words? I always thought I needed to plug into a ministry of some kind for most of my adult life. And that mindset to ‘do’ ministry only causes me more internal demands. It is not that the “ministries” in themselves demand something from me; I place demands on myself.

That belief only made me scattered and frantic, trying to make a difference. This only caused me to be insecure with myself, and it became very evident to my husband and those around me.

Suppose three people speak into your life on the same day, each saying your value isn’t in performance. Then, maybe one should step back and reevaluate everything they are involved in.

This happened to me just this week. Even though the Lord dropped it in my heart last year, living isn’t striving; it’s being. Why is it so hard for me to learn this? Sure, we will one day give an account of what we did, good or bad. However, because the blood of Jesus redeems me, I’m unpunishable. What’s that I said? We are unpunishable.

This is a crazy mindset to get when we’ve been trained to follow the rules, and that emphasizes rules rather than relationships.

Again, I’m living with rules, to-do lists, and performance. When will we break this off of ourselves, or shall I say, when will I break free from this mindset?

Living my life. Who knows how many days we have here on earth? God knows, but I don’t. Last year, I started to declare that I will live out each day the Lord had written before the first day I breathed life.

Psalm 139:16 NIV – Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Today, I am incredibly blessed with four sets of cancer-free scans, I get checked every three months.

The crazy thing is, was when I was going through treatment, I permitted myself to enjoy every day. Once my scans were clear, my mind was set on, It’s time to get busy!

And busy I got. A close friend recently asked me what things I’m involved in. After
I shared what I was passionate about and trying to do, and she asked me if I was Joan of Arc. She was serious with her question. I thought it was absurd for her to ask me that, but after honestly thinking about all I had mentioned, I realized this was ridiculous. Who do I think I am? And even felt somewhat embarrassed.

How did I again get my mind so entangled with performance? I never thought I placed my value in my title or what I did for employment. But now that I am not employed as the world defines it, I do not receive a paycheck, I feel embarrassed when people ask: what do you do?

What do I do? I am an author, and I am writing my third book. It is about what I learned, still learning, as I walk through the diagnosis I received last year. Many people would interpret my stage IV cancer as a death sentence, but in a sense, it was a gift for me to step back and reevaluate my definition of ‘living’ compared to how the Lord sees it. Today, I am stepping back again to remind myself of this.

The Lord encourages me to cultivate my creativity; I paint with words and am learning to paint with watercolors. It was even dropped in my heart to design and sell greeting cards to help pay for my writing endeavors.

We can get involved in many things, such as honorable causes and standing for righteousness. My sweet neighbor lady encouraged me to pick two things I enjoy doing and set my mind on doing those things without distractions (do only tasks that align with those two things). After three months, ninety days, see where you end up. If those two things you have been doing fulfill you, keep moving forward; if it doesn’t, pick two other things.

So here I am, fifty-nine years old and learning to live. Bottom line, when I meet God in heaven, I want him to say; Well done, my Georgia girl, Well done.

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