When Life Feels Like Squishy Grapes

When I was in elementary school, my favorite movie was The Karate Kid.  Maybe this is because my big sister was an incredible karate champion and I was enrolled in Karate at the age of 5. I didn't stay in karate past the age of 5, but whatever.  I still loved that movie for years.  Mr. Miyagi was my hero.  To further encourage all of this, when I was 6, my family moved from NY to Tokyo.  On our flight over the pond,  I MET MR. MIYAGI.  I mean, what are the odds???  I didn't know or understand that he wasn't really Mr. Miyagi and had never heard of Pat Morita.  All I knew was that my hero was sitting a few rows behind my sister and I and here was my chance to be the next Karate Kid.   We introduced ourselves to this hero of mine and I asked him if I could be in a Karate Kid movie if they did another one.  He said yes!  I made my parents write down our phone number so that he could call us.  Well,  we all know, well those of us who are aged enough to know, where this story goes.  I'm sure none of you remember me in Karate Kid 2, 3 or 4. Who cares about Hilary Swank and owls anyway???  But that's beside the point.  To this day, I still have Mr. Miyagi-isms running through my head.  There's a lot of wisdom packed into his lines.   One of my often silently quoted favorites is:

"Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later get squish just like grape.  Here, karate, same thing.  Either you karate do "yes" or karate do "no." You karate do "guess so," squish just like grape.   Understand?"

You could probably google the quote to see this part of the movie if you don't remember it as well as I do. 

I am reading The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst right now.  It's a great book and so timely for me on a personal level.  I am finding that the desire to please, this particular season in life as a mama of little ones, and everything around me (which includes mostly great things) can pull hard at me and distract me from living simply, living focused and remembering to say "yes" and "no" well.  

When we don't know where we begin and end, and what our personal capacity is... when we don't value margin as greatly as it is meant to be valued and protected... when we can't decide which side of the street to walk on because we are looking at what sides the people around us have chosen... and when we are listening to the invitations of those on either sides of the street before listening to the Holy Spirit, we will indeed, end up "squish just like grape" in some form or another and nothing we do will be able to be done with our best.

I have been feeling tired lately.  Not just the kind of, I-need-more-sleep-tired, but the kind of weariness of soul that Lysa writes about in her book: 

“A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.” 

Sounds like squishy grape living to me.

In a sea of his Grace, I am learning that these things are true: that every "yes" means a "no" elsewhere, and vice versa... that margin is truly what helps give life and fuel to the things I say yes to... that my capacity is a gift from God, no matter how small - any capacity is God's gracious gift to be stewarded well...

I forget so often that He can do incredible things through what feels like "too small or few" to me.  It reminds me of what Jonathan said in 1 Samuel 14:6 as the Israelites were going to go into battle, 

"Perhaps the LORD will help us, for nothing can hinder the LORD. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!"  

I don't need to compare my capacity with the capacity I see in another mama or friend or FB status, or worse, strive to be the same as what I think I see.  Absolutely nothing good comes of that kind of comparison and effort.   It's always near-sighted and it is not where our focus should ever be.  I long to be like Jonathan and to look at what God has realistically given, and then choose to trust Him with what he wants to do with it, instead of comparing myself and striving to be on a path I wasn't created to be on.
I've forgiven Mr. Miyagi for losing my phone number.  I know how those sequels would've turned out if he hadn't.  I mean, look at me,  I was so ready to go...
hiya!



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