I have started attending a new small group.. although "new" is sort of a misnomer since I have not attended a small group of any kind in almost two years. It was a really bizarre series of events that brought me to this small group, but events that I am very happy about and more than slightly amused by... The group consists of a great blend of guys and girls, which as much as I love my girlfriends, I literally have no guy friends here in DC (I even have very few guys at work!), and I greatly appreciate the chance to add some more Y chromosomes to my life regardless of the capacity to which they will be in my life.
Anyway, the small group is focusing on the book The Circle Maker by our pastor Mark Batterson. If you have not read or heard of this book, I highly recommend it... especially if you are struggling with prayer in any capacity or struggling with feeling stuck and like maybe God is not hearing you... This book does an absolutely wonderful job encouraging, building up, and inspiring you to want to become better at praying.. I never once had the feeling of "another thing to do or another thing I am failing at..." instead, as I read the book (the first time), I really felt inspired to make a much more concerted effort to pray and pray well. So, obviously this group will be doing a lot of reading, a lot of discussing, and a whole lot of praying... which I am really excited about.
It is things like this, people that I meet, and books that I read that keep my life interesting... It is challenges like the 21 days of prayer (which our small group will be doing another one soon), and the teaching of my pastors that really inspire me towards the next goal, the next challenge, and the next step in not only my faith, but also towards the me I was designed for.. I pray often as I lay in bed that I will be more who God wants me to be tomorrow than I was today... It is moments, things, and people like these that inspire and help exactly that to happen. I am constantly amazed at how God orchestrates things in my life that I was completely clueless of the purpose until I am smack dab in the middle... or completely on the other side feeling slightly dazed and confused because of the whirlwind of it all.
On a completely different note, my schedule is representing something that is ridiculously packed and busy once again. What is funny though is that I feel almost like I have returned home with this schedule... I am not entirely sure how or why a completely booked schedule feels familiar, especially when nothing in it is familiar or at all resembling what I used to fill my time with, but there is still something innately comforting in the controlled chaos. I love having to schedule time for people, I love adding to my calendar "Call (or skype) with ____" just so I know to reserve their time and make room for the ones that I love and cherish. I enjoy putting the time on my calendar that is dedicated to exercising. I enjoy marking the times I will be at church, and then fitting school work, food, sleeping, and any errands in between all the things that I value highly.
I love having a busy and packed schedule not because it keeps me busy... but because it causes me to siphon out the things that do not matter to me, like watching TV or going shopping for yet another piece of clothing that I likely do not need at all... or to lazily kill way too much time on facebook. It forces me into a much more defined and productive lifestyle.. The useless and unimportant things are set aside until they require enough time together to be worth putting the info into my calendar as a to-do item. Somehow the ridiculousness that is my packed schedule brings a familiar cadence to my life... which is ironic since any given day includes work, gym time, phone calls with various people catching up on life, homework, laundry, cooking, cleaning, errands, reviewing other people's business plans/resumes/cover letters/marketing materials etc.., and my slowly progressing business.
I enjoy being productive.. but I enjoy even more using my controlled chaos as a means to get rid or reduce the unnecessary things that clutter my life and focusing on the people and things that truly matter.