You see, I really wanted to maximize two weekends to visit friends with a week in between. I bought this airline ticket the end of March, to keep my commitment to do a personal break once a quarter, as I continue to strive to achieve more work life balance and fulfill the quest for taking care of me. I had purchased the first flight out of the day to ensure I could maximize the day.
I got up at 4.30am yesterday to be able to get in my hour work out and be on the road by 6am. I was on the road shortly after, about 10 minutes down the road when I got a text message alert that my flight was delayed by a good 2 hours. Quick thinking through my options, I decided to return home and work on the todolist and resume the travels later instead of just chilling at the airport because I didn't want to waste the day. An hour later, I got notice my flight had been completely canceled and I had to go online to rebook. The only option open was for the last flight out at 6.15pm. I called to try to see if a Live Agent could get me on sooner, no success. Only option was to go hang at the airport and attempt to fly standby or go on the last flight. I opted for the later and used the time to work for 4 hours on client projects and then spend 2 hours poolside at my house before heading out.
I headed to the airport at 3.30pm making time to go to the bank and get gas on the way. I had just purchased a new suitcase because my last one broke back on my last Salt Lake City trip and I hadn't replaced it yet, so this was my first time to pack it and get used to organizing it. It was slightly bigger than my previous one and when I was checking it, I was 3 pounds over. I had to remove a few items or pay $35 additional, which of course would have been silly especially since bags fly free with Southwest, so I removed my cosmetic bag and jewelry and carried it in my backpack. All went smoothly through security and we boarded right on time. I was supposed to have a Stop Over in El Paso, Texas and then arrive in Sacramento by 10pm. Somehow somewhere along the way between the time that I rebooked my ticket and actually flew out, Southwest made changes to my flight and I ended up with a 2.5 hour layover in Phoenix. Problem was, I had no boarding pass and they didn't show me scheduled to be on the connecting flight to Sacramento, California. The flight attendant at the gate told me it wasn't possible for me to have arrived at Phoenix from Dallas since my boarding pass said El Paso, Texas. I am sure my look of incredulous must have been pretty intense, but I was determined to be calm. No use getting upset at her, she obviously wasn't thinking this through. I flew out of Dallas and did a stop over in El Paso and now was at Phoenix. If I did not change plans, how could I have gotten to this airport any other way??? She eventually got the picture and realized Southwest had really screwed up my reservation. It wouldn't let her put me on another flight. By this point, I was wondering what God's message was for me in all this. He knows that I had gotten up really early. He knows that arriving really late was going to put me in a zone of frustration and utter fatigue at the beginning of my trip which makes it really hard for me to recover. I was determined to remember that this was one of those No Control situations and ride it out. After a good 30 minutes, Alice had me a boarding pass and I was now to sit another 2 hours and wait for my flight. I placed my shoes on the floor, curled up on two chairs with my legs curled underneath my body, arms and head wrapped over my purse attempting to take a nap before the nausea from my adrenal fatigue made me vomit. It was hard to get any decent nap in between the announcements on the overhead speaker and the number of people around. It was funny to hear peoples comments as they walked by: "Now that's what I call tired." ... "She looks like I feel." ... "That's one way to do it." ... I didn't care...I was exhausted. Beyond exhausted.
It must have been an awful day for Southwest because the number of delayed, canceled and mishaps on flights was horrific. All the gate attendants were a bit frazzled and the passengers even more. The number of people just hanging out, confused, frustrated, and tired like me was a lot. People's phone conversations and chatting between passengers revealed that the majority of us were all in the same boat.
We finally took out of Phoenix at the time I was scheduled to arrive in Sacramento, California! I arrived to be greeted by my dear friend Laura and her daughter Rebecca that I have not seen in like 7 years!!! We quickly began conversation and discussed so much on the drive home from the airport...we continued conversation when we got home in the hallway, then in the kitchen, and then on my bed, until 3.30am (5.30amCST - my time) when we said we truly must get to sleep. We have so much to catch up on that we just couldn't wait until today. We made tentative plans for me to go with her to work so that I could have her vehicle today and discussed that I wanted to go to church.
After 4 hours of sleep, I woke up, unable to sleep more, but I laid in bed and prayed, spent some time reflecting on what God was trying to teach me already this trip, did a google search on local churches and then checked my Facebook to get caught up on some private messages and comments. I connected with two of my friends to see what their church plans were for the day. I attempted to make plans with them, but that didn't work out. I was trying to decide where I felt God calling me to go and felt connected to one place, which wasn't one of the two places recommended to me by 3 different people.
In the midst of this, I had doubts and feedback from 3 different conversations this week replaying in my head with friends who have had such bad religious experiences that they are burnt out on religion and don't want to attend church. Some don't understand why I feel the longing to be connected in this way. It's not that they are judging me or that I am judging them. We know our journey's are taking us different places and we both know that to attend church or not attend church has nothing to do with your relationship with God. Yet, the conversations weren't bringing peace to my soul as I was trying to make a plan on what I should do. [If you are one of these friends that I have had this conversation with, please do not take this as a bad thing...its a necessary part of my journey right now to find these answers for myself. I do not want you to take this as a negative, it is being used in my life for a reason in the here and now.]
I couldn't decide what to do. I was experiencing this war in my soul between listening to my heart and the input of friends. Why do I do this? Why do I feel that the input of others is so important as to what I do? Do I not trust God to lead me? Do I not believe that he will truly lead me and guide me if I put it out there for him to do so? What is holding me back? I finally made the decision that if I went where I felt called to go, I was going to be late, something I hate to do at church because the worship service is my absolutely FAVORITE part and I don't want to miss one moment of it. I then opted to go to a place that all 3 of my friends recommended. I finished getting ready and hit the road, grabbed my phone, clicked on the last church I had searched google maps for, and started down the road. I missed my exit. Now I was frustrated with myself because I was going to be late. I did what I hate that I do and started that negative self talk stuff. "See if you had made plans like you know to do, you would have been prepared and not shown up late." ... "If you had responded to one of your friends last night, you could have done church with her this morning and participated in this together." ... "If you had gone to bed at a decent hour, you wouldn't be so tired." .... and on and on.
...and then I heard my coaches voice:
Our experiences are just feedback to address what isn't working and make adjustments. These experiences are not necessarily right or wrong, they are simply what they are, just perfect in the moment. Accept them. Learn from them. Embrace the opportunity to show up now. Focus on what you want. Be you. Don't try to be someone else.
Dang. I haven't gotten it yet!!! I still am having to learn.some.really.hard.lessons.
Learn that I am perfect right now.
Learn that I am okay in my own perfectionist identity.
That for me to be a planner isn't right or wrong, its who I am and what I connect to. Just because others don't understand, don't relate, aren't as structured, doesn't make it wrong for me to be when it feeds me and makes me happy.
That I need to take care of ME and nobody else. I need to follow my heart because God isn't wrong. Ever. He is the one who is perfect and covers me in his perfection.
I arrived at the church only to realize that this isn't the one I wanted to go to. This isn't the one that the 3 friends had recommended, it was another one that someone had recommended, the one that was farthest away and had started 30 minutes ago!!! How the heck did I make this mistake??? Oh yah, I had searched for gobs of churches in my phone and though I had thought the one I wanted to go to was the last one I had searched for, it wasn't. Both of them started with "B's" which in my hurried click, I had thought was this one.
Now I wanted to cry. I was late to church and I didn't even get to participate in any worship service!!! I called Laura all bent out of shape and frustrated in the moment. She assured me that we would get me taken care of later today when she got off work and we could do an evening worship service and encouraged me just to go inside.
I listened to her because even if I turned around now and went to the other church, I would miss worship service there too. So I parked. I prayed as I walked inside asking God to help me again work through my perfectionist identity issues. To work through my detest of showing up late. To work through understanding what message he had for me today. To learn that even in this mistake, its perfectly what he wants for my journey.
By the time I sat in my seat, I had had a complete attitude adjustment and I posted on Facebook as I check in at this church:
"Not where I was planning to end up..... But guess God has a different plan for me today!!! Gonna listen and be open to the way this trip has started because he is always active and moving in my life and he shows up to amaze me!"
What message did he have for me today from that church? A couple of them:
- The heart of the people was all in and the rest is up to God! Whatever we place in the hands of God is more than enough. Then He will show you his amazing hand.
- Are you wrestling with what to give?
- Do you have that child-like faith?
- Are you all in?
- Have you hedged your bet?
- Do you think you have the corner of the market on God?
Beyond that...what other messages did he have for me today?
- You need to focus on listening to ME, Misty, not anybody or anything else. ME.
- You need to take care of YOU!
- You need to trust that I have your back.
I heard you God. I will pay attention and I will again learn from today to listen. To You. Only You.