My Job, Learning Curves and How I Almost Quit...

Recently I returned to work as a nurse after staying home for over a decade to raise our boys. My brain has been on constant "learning mode" the last several months as I have had to refresh my nursing skills and medical knowledge. "Learning curve" is a word I have used almost daily when I talk about my new job.

But ironically there is another job I'm working at lately. It's not a new one, but one with a learning curve that goes far beyond the nursing one. Many days I am frustrated and clueless of how it works... and I'm not catching on very well. A couple times I have just wanted to quit.

Today I stumbled on this quote from Francis Chan and it has broken me. Ultimately, I have allowed the stresses of life and even silly circumstances to dictate my behavior, in a negative way. Some days I could even say my love for others and God appears like it has dwindled down to not much of anything. This quote started as a blog post that was intended for my readers to get a "lesson"... but through many edits, tears and confessions... I know God placed this quote before me, for me.

       I am simply to love.

Love should illuminate from every word I speak, every action I take. And not just when the moment feels right or when things are going my way. Not just when bank accounts are full or when life is in perfect order... not only then. But in times of hurt and disorder and despair. When I'm completely lonely, misunderstood or wrongfully accused. When no one cares to think of me or when I'm the one left out and unnoticed. Yes, even then, I'm suppose to be about love. Showing and doing it.

It's a full time, divine occupation.

This job of loving needs to be done when it feels uncomfortable and messy inside. You may know what I'm talking about. When things aren't done our way, we start to get that weird feeling that we know isn't right, but something in us doesn't want to stop it's momentum and we end up saying what feels perfectly justified - to us - regardless who gets hurt. That's pride and selfishness winning. Not love.

Clocking-out shouldn't be a choice with this job. Signing up for a quick get-away and retirement aren't healthy options.

But I'm slowly learning. Slowly.

I'm learning that real love isn't dependent on the circumstances going on around it. It supernaturally rises above. It stays on track regardless of the turbulent winds whipping all around it.

And it goes even deeper.

In 1 John 4:18 it says... 
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
When I do things opposite of love it is tied to fear. If I can get to the point of understanding where I stand in God's view -- I am His daughter and am completely loved by Him -- I have nothing to fear. Those things that brought me fear, then anger or pain are seen differently now because when I am in Christ, all fears are gone. And when I can grasp and grow from that, I can then shrug off my angst and start to be love and do love.

Practicing real love starts from truly knowing Jesus and what He is about. His character is grace, mercy and abiding love for us, his children. We need to let this truth steep long into our souls. Once we understand how much he loves us regardless of our messes and inadequacies, we can turn around and do the same to the world around us.

This job of loving is continuous and will always be a learning curve for me. I'm grateful for a God who not only erases my sins, but also helps me erase the fears that blind me to what real love is.

Do you have fears that are hindering you to truly love like Christ? Ask God to help you identify and confess them and then move to a place of grace, mercy, and pure love.


Pacific Beach Peanut Butter Review

I absolutely love peanut butter. Not only do I love the taste, but I love getting a nice amount of protein from a "non" animal source... LOVE!

So I was naturally overjoyed when I was asked to do a review on not one, but three kinds of peanut butter from Pacific Beach Peanut Butter company. I was asked to pick two "flavors" (yes, they have flavors!) of their 8 kinds of peanut butter and also was sent the organic unsalted to try as well. The two flavors I picked were a Touch of Caramel and White Chocolate.

{Organic, Unsalted}
This was not my favorite. It was nice and the texture was fine, but I do prefer salted peanut butter over unsalted... so that was my only issue with this particular peanut butter. And no artificial ingredients... that's always a plus! It spread nicely and wasn't too dry, but again, give me a little salt. Although I don't give this a great review, I do believe this particular one would be a great option for a recipe that calls for a nut butter or would absolutely fabulous in my Apple Pie Smoothie. 

{Touch of Caramel}
I love the idea of caramel married to peanuts. This flavor was my first, hands down pick. Caramel is one of my favorite flavors. But before I even tasted this, I peeked on the back for the list of ingredients and found the dreaded word... "artificial". BOO. I went ahead and tasted it and must say the beginning "notes" were nice, but my taste buds can usually detect artificial anything... and the end "notes" detected it. Maybe it was mental. I don't know, but I was a tad disappointed.

{White Chocolate}
Now this was fun! Everything I thought it could be. Creamy, sweet and definitely has a nice taste of white chocolate. I did enjoy this one. But again, I cringed when I saw more "artificial" stuff on the back *insert sad face*.

My advice? Choose the organic salted! It would be perfect on bananas, apples, swirled in Greek yogurt or with just a spoon. I love simple and natural ingredients and that's what this kind will have. If you want to use it in baking recipes or my preference, smoothies, go for the unsalted. The other flavors that I would also recommend and without artificial ingredients are:
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Chocolate Raspberry Peanut Butter
  • CinnaYum Peanut Butter

Pacific Beach would like to offer you, my readers, a chance to try their peanut butter for free when you purchase one. From now until 4/15 if you purchase a jar you get one free. Add your chosen FREE jar to the cart along with the rest of your order for the discount to apply. Use OFFER CODE: blogger03 at check out to redeem your special offer.