Taking an Inventory

It’s midyear and, for most of us, midlife. So it’s probably a good time to stop to reflect on where we’ve been and look ahead to where we’re headed. This summer I intentionally created space in my schedule for self-reflection, which led to some interesting discoveries.

Physically, my body is slowly falling apart. The phrase “at your age” has become attached to more statements recently. I know this is normal, but it’s certainly not welcome. It seems that little annoyances can quickly erupt into serious ailments without even knowing the cause. A few weeks ago, I ended up in physical therapy with throbbing knee pain. As I stumbled into treatment, I had no clue what had ushered in this debilitating issue. After a few sessions, my physical therapist determined that the likely cause of the irritation was a “gardening mishap.” Seriously? It seems I twisted my knee when I bent down to prune a batch of perennials. Apparently, at 52, pruning can be hazardous to your health – I guess I’d better skip the weeding! Along with avoiding the health risks associated with gardening, daily stretching has become a necessity. My remedy for relief? Occasional s’mores in my dangerous backyard.

Emotionally, however, I’m on an upswing. Despite the gradual deterioration of my body parts and the few extra pounds I’m carrying around (not including Toto), peace and joy greet me each morning. With menopause, hot flashes abound and at times my energy wanes. But my days are filled with overwhelming gratitude for a clear mind and an exciting sense of purpose. Of course my emotional stability would not be possible without my connection to the source of peace and purpose: God. 

This brings me to spiritual health. Most people who know me would likely say I have been fairly strong on the faith front, especially while planning to become a pastor after graduating from seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. However, reflecting back it is clear that my faith was more knowledge and works-based than relationship-based. Fortunately, over the past few years God has placed people in my life who have empowered me to make an intentional shift from “doing” to “being.” This change of focus has enabled a deeper and more intimate relationship with the living God. I am definitely a work in progress and my relationship with the Lord has a long way to go, but through prayer and listening for God’s direction daily, I have never felt so joy-filled and alive. Dating Jesus works!

Speaking of relationships, I’m blessed with an overabundance of friends  — with new ones arriving in unexpected places. For instance, I randomly encountered two women, Elliott and Elaine, while attending the Indianapolis Humane Society’s Indy 500 day at the track. There was an instant bond between us, and Elaine and I are not only headed to New Orleans for a girls’ weekend in August, but we also started a book club. I am grateful for these new sisters and am constantly amazed at how God brings people into my life seemingly every time I walk out my door. Each day brings a new adventure!

Lastly, vocationally things are picking up. You are still reading so I must be on to something! Add to my most recent writing ventures a newsletter including videos with my adorable mom, and I think we are on the right track. While my Chicken Soup for the Soul and other successes are exciting, the best part is that our writing together is giving Mom a renewed sense of purpose. She sent me a beautiful email recently that read, “Thanks to you I am with you on this journey, and you can't know how happy you have made me again. We were meant to be a team, honey. It's a God Thing.” 

Yes it is! Like all good things in life.

So how are you doing? Have you stopped to take an inventory lately?  

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2 Responses

  1. You did it again, Julie. You combined the message with your own experiences, hot flashes, aches and pains, and challenges that you didn't have before. You mentioned your spiritual life expanding, finding more people in your life, (randomly)meeting two new friends and connecting, and your expanding group of followers who are looking for a closer connection to God and His magic. As I say, Julie, you are awesome. With your faith and acceptance, you have embraced the real reason we are put here by God. You are not afraid to be different than our culture, you tell it like it is, and you will see that more and more people will embrace these truths. I couldn't be more proud of you, dear, and I love you very much. Love, Momma
    • I couldn't be more proud of you, Momma! YOU are inspiring so many people with your new writing career — "It's never too late!" I am in awe of how you have pushed through all of the technological challenges to not only learn how to use a new computer and word processor but also Facebook, email, and even the Internet, even making comments! You amaze me and all who cross your path, Pixie Dust! Love you back! ~ Julie

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