Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Thorns of Life

Some days are really hard to get out of bed. You've worked hard all week long and when the weekend finally gets here, it almost seems impossible to round up enough energy to fully wake up. Today was one of those days. This week at work has been a bit tough, to say the least. I've learned so much over the past three months at my new job. I've been through so much-the joy of seeing my first byline, my first front page spread, the feeling of accomplishment after a week of tears working by's been an emotional roller coaster. 

This week I had some unexpected changes occur that basically gave me no time to think, only a call to action to get done what I knew had to be done for the sake of a community of readers who would be very disappointed without their newspapers. I'm proud to say I made it over another hurdle and once again, proved to myself that God will never give me more than I can handle. 

So although it was difficult to brush the sleep from my eyes this morning, I was blessed with a wonderful message at church about the "thorns" every present in each of our lives. So what exactly are thorns? Thorns can be anything, person, event, reoccurring thought that puts negativity into our minds and may pull us further away from God. 

When I took a moment to think about that, I realized I have several thorns in my life that are brought to the surface for me each and every day. Those thorns are perfectionism, worry, anxiety, and criticism. They all kind of walk hand in hand with each other to be honest. With a job as a journalist, I am constantly criticized; by my editor, by my co-workers, by the community. It always seems like those around me are waiting for the moment that I make a mistake to jump at the chance to tell me what I've done wrong or could have done better. Despite that, my biggest critic is actually myself. That's where the other thorns come into play. I constantly worry about what I'm writing, how I'm interviewing, or just how I do my job in general. I've caught myself saying, "You're just not good enough Elyssa," or "You could have done that better..why did you do that?" 

These kinds of doubts pull me further away from God and what I know he gave me the gift to do. I've been writing since before I even knew how. I would sit in the floor with my mother (or anyone that would listen for that matter), and tell them exactly what I wanted to say and have them write it for me. I wanted to document events such as USC football games (and I did), or just what I had felt at a particular time. When other children were playing outside, I was at my Little Tikes desk stapling and coloring a book that I had written. I know that this is where God wants me to be, and I couldn't be more thankful for this gift that he's given me. It opens me up to new worlds of confidence, expression, and just a niche that I can come to whenever I feel the urge or need to do so. 

That's what I was reminded of this morning..that what I sometimes consider a curse of trying to make everything "perfect," is actually a blessing of God using me to shine. I just have to let Him do it. The verses we read from this morning came from 2 Corinthians 12:8-9. I enjoyed The Message version the best which reads: 

"At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, 'My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.'" 

Although what may seem like a huge weakness to me, God uses each and every day to shine and to make me better person and to help be grow in my faith because of it. This week I'm going to make a conscience effort to appreciate this gift that God has given me and let him shine through my work. I sure am glad that I made the effort to get out of bed this morning :)