Jan 30, 2010

Matters of Intent...

So, expectations get me into trouble all the time (as I am sure they do for anyone).. But, seriously, I try very hard not to have expectations or if I do have a clear understanding that it is an expectation, and there will be the very real possibility of things either not being like I thought and wanted, or that the plans will be totally different. This usually keeps me from getting disappointed.

Also, I am not a fan of pranks. Pretty much ever. The only time I have found them truly funny is when a "peace offering" was included as a way to ensure that I did not take offense, and that I would find the work worth it for the little surprise included. Otherwise, the problem comes in that sometimes the prank falls flat, they find it at the completely wrong time, and while they know the intention was not meant to be mean or malicious, it is just one more thing to deal with right now... I am my mother's daughter, I take this view of pranks and of jokes about people. Sometimes jokes go to the point of no longer being funny, and just being one more thing the person has to endure...

Also, I realize I am a very open person, very easy to get to know, and very personable. But, the problem comes in when there are things I find very personal. Most people do not realize that I hold these things personal because I hide that aspect in order to protect it. I honestly cannot hold these things against anyone for the fact that I do not talk about these things as personal, I simply avoid them as a topic... But, when you assume you have liberty where you do not actually KNOW you have freedom to do, act, or say... I will virtually always fake being ok, but I will also be hurt.

When I am faced with situations where I am hurt, upset, or offended, I will pretend I am ok for the greater good of those around me. When I know they intended things to be funny, it was a bonding experience for them, or it would take more explaining for things I do not want to explain... or worse it would cause them to be hurt I will not go there unless directly asked. If I am asked directly I will not lie.. but I may avoid and change the topic in an effort to protect them.

Like so many other things in life, situations like these are choices in attitude. I know this, and mostly I have to plead and beg and sit at the foot of my Jesus asking Him to help me. I cannot change my feelings or attitude.. while I can fake it, eventually my heart will follow, but it will take more time then I would like.

Like so many other things in life it boils down to loving others. I have no idea if this way I express it is the best, or even correct. It is just the best way I know how to handle it at this point in time.

Jan 28, 2010


In honor of turning 25 tomorrow I thought I would post these lyrics from Switchfoot :)

Twenty four oceans
Twenty four skies
Twenty four failures
Twenty four tries
Twenty four finds me
In twenty-fourth place
Twenty four drop outs
At the end of the day
Life is not what I thought it was
Twenty four hours ago

Still I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
And I'm not who I thought I was twenty four hours ago
Still I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You

Twenty four reasons to admit that I'm wrong
With all my excuses still twenty four strong

See I'm not copping out not copping out not copping out
When You're raising the dead in me
Oh, oh I am the second man
Oh, oh I am the second man now
Oh, oh I am the second man now

And You're raising these twenty four voices
With twenty four hearts
With all of my symphonies
In twenty four parts
But I wan to be one today
Centered and true

I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
You're raising the dead in me
Oh, oh I am the second man
Oh, oh I am the second man now
Oh, oh I am the second man now
And You're raising the dead in me

I want to see miracles, see the world change
Wrestled the angel, for more than a name
For more than a feeling
For more than a cause
I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
And You're raising the dead in me
Twenty four voices
With twenty four hearts
With all of my symphonies
In twenty four parts.
I'm not copping out. Not copping out. Not copping out.

Jan 25, 2010

Not Ok...

I once heard a saying from Matt Chandler from The Village Church.. He said "It's ok to not be ok, but it's not ok to stay there." Meaning it's perfectly acceptable and understandable to be hurting, broken, weak.. not ok.. But, it is not ok to wallow in it, to live in this state. We are always to be pressing on, pushing forward, learning, growing.. just as long as we are moving.

So, I am not ok. I am weak, I am hurting, I am frustrated, I do not understand, I do not have peace in my heart, and I have no idea what to do.

Yesterday at church I went down front and prayed because I feel very broken, like I am going through these motions simply out of muscle memory because my mind cannot focus on them. A couple of my best girl friends came and prayed with me, and as we were getting up another friend commented on not understanding how I hold it all together so well... Mainly because I was not crying, and she was because one of the big things going on right now she is one of the peripheral people that is getting effected. I just laughed at her and told her, "you're assuming because I'm not crying that I'm holding it all together." Which is exactly how I feel right now.. That while I do not have the emotions to cry, I am not holding it together. I do not know how to fix this thing.

To be completely honest, one of the biggest things going on is I dread going to work now. I honestly feel hung out to dry, and as though it is just a matter of time before either I decide I have had enough and walk away or before someone else decides I am not essential or too much of a pain. Ugh. Work takes up too much of my life for me to dread it, no wonder people who hate their jobs are grumps all the time...

If I was giving full disclosure, I would admit that part of my struggle right now is being... afraid, hesitant, unsure of where God is gonna take me next... As in, I really do not want to move away, even if that is back home. I love it where I live, I love my friends. But, it dawned on me today, I have absolutely LOVED everywhere God has taken me, so if he leads me away.. why would it be any different?.. It wouldn't be.

Lord I will follow you. I will let you lead and just relish the dance you are leading me through. I am uneasy because I don't know the steps, but I trust you to lead me well. I will smile because you are what makes this all worth it and so much fun. Please hold onto me tightly so I don't fall or stumble.

I wanted to put the official video.. but it won't allow embedding.. So, you get the link instead..

How He Loves

I dare you to get this song out of your head... It's almost impossible.

Jan 15, 2010

Running the Race...

I have said for a while now that I feel like God's getting ready to make some big changes. I think God's getting ready to start these things...

Please pray for me. My ability to hear and follow well. For my ability to see where I need to improve and where I am doing alright. Please pray for my heart and my mind.

Today is a rough day and just seems to add to last week.. I was sorta hoping this week would be void of anything dramatic.. Dang it.

My God is bigger. My God will be glorified in all things. There is a reason I call Him my Savior.

Jan 14, 2010

Love Me...

So, it has been an interesting last while. I keep thinking back over the last couple days, the massive amounts of emotions, the total void of any feeling at all, the struggle to feel normal again, the totally content moments.. everything seems to have piled on and fallen off this past little while.

Yesterday I was mulling over the idea of love. How much does God love us?... How much do I love those around me?.. Where is my line, and do I confuse love for something else when I feel like it?

One of my roomies and I were talking, and she told me about a podcast she had listened to, and how the pastor said "God's love for you isn't expressed in your circumstances, it was expressed on the cross." Which is such a great way of explaining it I think. So often, we forget that He ALREADY did everything we need in order to be loved. We feel the need to bemoan whatever situation we are in, claim, feel, and ask where's God? When in actuality, He already showed us what we need to know and has told us what we need to know.. we just stop listening.

Then, I re-found these verses: "Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:... Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand"...."Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place"... "Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, 'Here we are'?" - Job 38:1,3,4,12,35

And was reminded, my God is THAT big.. and still loves me more than I can really measure or count.

That got me thinking. Why do I love those around me?.. Because of who they are? What they can do for me? Because they serve some purpose to me?... Maybe sometimes.. but honestly, most of the time, I care and love those around me just because. I have no ulterior motive, no underlying goal, no agenda in the relationship... I just care about virtually whoever I meet just because I can. I am very thankful that God made me this way. I cannot think of a single person I have met that I did not care at all how they are if I knew/know them beyond basic one time meeting... and sometimes I meet someone once and they find a place in my heart right away.

I have had people ask me "why do you care?.. It doesn't involve or effect you.." and a lot of times that is true. Situations other people find themselves in, if I can I help.. if I cannot do anything then I just pray.. often times I do both.

Last night I was laying on one of my best friends beds and we were not doing anything but just laying there chatting and playing around on our phones. And, I began detailing out my thought process on a particular situation.. I was invited to go join some friends to hang out for the evening... I wanted to go, but the reality was the drive was too long for the time of evening I was invited, not to mention the logistics of getting home and going to work the next day would have meant a grand total of only a few hours of sleep. But, once I went through all the basics I began talking about my heart in the situation...

I want to be wanted. (who doesn't?!) I just did an entire post on the desire to be found beautiful and noticed. The thing is, if I am totally honest, I really do not think I would be wanted as much as someone else, not even in a woe is me situation, just knowing bits of information like I do. I would have ended up being "good enough" but, it would not have been what they wanted most.

Just interesting tid bits of thoughts. My prayer is that the God of all Peace and Understanding helps me "get" it correctly. See His plan, His love, His will.. everything. And that, through it all He will be glorified regardless of the cost to me... Although, I do struggle with the fear of things sometimes.. But, that too shall pass.

Jan 12, 2010

Judging You...

So, I have been confronted with a couple interesting situations lately that have left me confused to say the least. Most of the situations include someone or mulitple people assuming I am thinking something, even after I have said what my feelings are or thoughts are about the situation... Comments from them, such as "I just really feel like you're judging me right now.." or "I know you think I'm a terrible person and judging me right now.." and each time I correct them and inform them that I am in fact having no thoughts even remotely close to that.. At that point, I tend to give them my actual thoughts and remind them that I am not judging them.

Several of the conversations have included me retorting with "Don't accuse me of thinking.." which is a quote I heard in a movie and loved it. So often, we tend to construct arguments and allow our feelings to follow a path solely based on what we THINK the other person is thinking. How silly is that?

One particular instance I reminded the person I was NOT their mother, and if I seriously disagreed with what they were doing I would say so. If they felt they were disappointing me, then maybe they should seriously look into their own heart, because in order to disappoint someone, they have to have a certain expectation level... And, in order for them to get really frustrated with the situation it would mean probably a lack of communication with Jesus.

I went on at a later point explaining that part of my frustration when others decide I am judging them is they have decided who I am, and in some way have placed me on this pedestal, and I HATE that.. it is not my place to be there. I explained that if you tell me you will or will not do something, act a certain way, say certain things.. I choose to believe your heart is pure. I may not always agree with choices or think they are the wisest of choices, but I will always choose to believe you are telling me the truth. Unless I see evidence to point otherwise, I choose to believe you are being honest, and if I see anything else I will say something...

"For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." - Matthew 7:2

I want to be clear, I am not choosing to believe your heart is pure and you are telling me the truth out of ignorance of how deceptive people are or could be. I choose to believe you are telling the truth because that is the ONLY way I know how to love you unconditionally. That does not mean you will always be perfect, honest, truthful, etc..etc.. what it means is it allows me the chance to always give the benefit of the doubt and choose to trust you. I cannot live my life being constantly skeptical of everyone. Skepticism allows no place for Jesus to work in someone's heart. I always want to assume you can change or have changed.. or that ultimately you are choosing right (Jesus) over wrong... Allowing the chance to change does not mean forgetting about wisdom... I always go with my gut, but I also know it is not my place to play police with people if you do something wrong. I am not the one you have to answer to.. and I am very thankful for that!

So, just know.. I will always choose to believe you. I will always choose to believe you are being truthful and honest, and have a pure heart. Do not mistake this for ignorance or being sheltered, sometimes this choice comes with a lot of baggage and a lot of constantly giving it back to Jesus. It is my choice, not something I do just because.. I choose to care. I choose to possibly get hurt in the process of it all. I choose to potentially be lied to over and over. And, above it all, Jesus loves you, and it is just better to assume if I have not said anything, I am not judging you.

I choose this on purpose, not by accident.

Jan 11, 2010

Do You Think I'm Beautiful?...

Saturday evening I sort of peaced out of all the different things I was invited to do, and headed for "alone time" ... (with people around of course haha) I went to Barnes and Noble and walked around until I found a book that struck my fancy, and then I burrowed away and read for about an hour in a half. Anyway, the book I chose was called "Do You Think I'm Beautiful?" and it's by Angela Thomas, I picked this book up without realizing I had heard this woman speak at a conference a little over a year ago, and I LOVED her...

So, onto the things I read about and am sorta thinking/mulling over now...

The entire purpose of the book is to mesh the desire to be found physically beautiful, intelligent, funny, witty, competent, with our desire for Jesus.. We want to be noticed, enchanting, desirable etc..etc.. Girls want to be all of these things physically and as an entire person. The thing that I really liked about her approach was that she not once pointed to needing "more God and less of these feelings and desires.." Instead, she points out how much we were created to feel and want these things, and how it IS ok, we just have to allow God to be the first in fulfilling these things in our life.

But, through the course of all of it, she so very openly talks about our desire for a boy to find these qualities in us. For us to have something tangible to see all of this fulfilled.. but then points to the problems if we allow a boy to be the one who solely fills this void. She walks down a logical path of thinking when the "swooning feelings" go away, and you have been married for a while, and he no longer picks up his socks etc..etc.. and suddenly if you are not careful you look to some other guy thinking "surely HE is perfect...." instead of allowing God to fill that hurt and void that your man was never meant to fill.

She spent a long time talking about the hurt in not being found beautiful. She talked about how half the hurt comes from what is NOT said instead. For example, when a guy says "Your friend is really pretty." He means NOTHING but to comment on another girl's beauty, but what he did not say about your own beauty means you were not noticed, and it leaves hurts, leaves a wound, a sting, some sort of mark on your heart. And, instead of acknowledging this or even our need and desire for this, we rationalize it as being ok, because we are dependable, the loyal friend, funny, smart, successful... But, when it all boils down to it, none of that matters, it still hurts.

She talked about a lot of aspects of being beautiful, so I thought I would include a couple quotes that I felt really described my feelings.. currently, previously... at some point I felt or feel this way...

"I've spent most of my life trying to deny the way God made me. Afraid to be strong for fear of being prideful... Afraid to admit I'm a woman who longs to be desired, rescued, and longs to be called beautiful."

"When no one notices, we learn to pretend that it doesn't matter. But, Lord knows, it matters."

Once she began transitioning into the core of the issue, the very center of what we are truly desiring above even a boy finding us beautiful, she said this:

"Oh, God, do YOU think I'm beautiful?"

She points out that at the core, we struggle with questions like these, and on some level believe that maybe not even God sees these things, or worse... what if he does and he begins to stop seeing me as beautiful and desirable? What if he stops noticing me because of all the mess?

"God, do you see me flawed? Do you see me struggle? Do you see the unmet desires of my heart? Do you see me trying to manipulate and control? Do you see me yearn for things I can't have? Do you see me in all the mess and STILL think I'm beautiful?"

God's responds to our broken thoughts...

"I knew the truth when you felt misunderstood." That in all of it he knows, sees, hears, and beyond all of that CARES when we are hurting.

She points out that one of the big things we have to understand is "There is a desperate loneliness that settles on the heart not heard. Lonely for companionship, lonely for expression, lonely for affirmation." And, in the midst of that, we ask once again...

"Do you think I'm beautiful? Do you notice me? Do you hear me? Will you rescue me?.... Do you REALLY love me?"

God always responds to these, He lovingly talks and speaks to each question in our hearts if we allow Him to. He created us knowing these things, and He uses them to continually draw our hearts to Him.

Then, she explains that we were created to give our hearts away to a boy, and that we were created to NEED their strength and that we are supposed to fall head over heels for a boy. This idea seems basic, but honestly.. the idea of giving my heart away, leaning on his strength, and falling head over heels in love with someone who could decide later I am not worth it.. Very much scares me. If I am being TOTALLY honest... my heart definitely cries out: what if he changes his mind and decides I'm not beautiful anymore? What if I fall apart at some point and he decides it is more than he bargained for?... What if he thought I had it together more than I do? What if my weakness drags him down? What if I can't support him the way he needs? Is he settling for ok when he could have had amazing? I mean I can point to dozens of women who are much more beautiful than I am both physically and personality wise.... So, what if?....

But, if I am going to pay attention to any of the things she was talking about, I have to realize a couple things...
1. Jesus created me to fill these areas with himself... which does not mean I suddenly no longer desire these things from a boy.. it just means he is the first and primary source of contentment in these areas.
2. None of these things mean my world will fall apart.
3. My future is not my own to worry about, that is not my job.

So, this is me admitting that I too share these feelings. I am "capable," "successful," "intelligent," "witty," "charming," "dependable," etc..etc.. and yet I still wonder, "Do you think I'm beautiful? Do you notice me? Do you hear me? Will you rescue me? Do you REALLY love me?"

These things constantly draw me back to the arms of my Sweet Savior Jesus.

Jan 8, 2010

Old Familiar Pain...

I am so frustrated. The last couple days have been really rough, and it is not because of any single situation or person, but several loaded on top of one another.

I hate when I feel like this... I am well acquainted with these feelings, but it does not make them any better. The bottom line is right now I am just hurting. I am working very hard at not progressing to getting pissed at the various situations or people, especially the ones I know I am partially to blame for the problem. The worst part of the issues are, I cannot fix any of these situations. I cannot make them better, I cannot take back anything I have done, and even though I have apologized for the things I have done wrong (that I was aware of), it does not make the situation gone.

One of the bigger situations was a prime example of miscommunication and misunderstanding. Both of us stopped trying like we normally do, and just waited for the other one to come to us. We both took things and assumed what we wanted instead of asking questions or seeking the other out like we normally do. We became consumed with our own world and hurt and basically forgot to reach out and lean on each other. But, regardless in the midst of all of it, we were both hurting and the lack of communication caused the hurt to deepen on both ends. After a long... long argument, we got through it all, and I think both realized part of it had really nothing to do with each other as much as it did our own situations.. And, being the best friends that we are, and the history we have, we know it is safe to react poorly... even though reacting poorly is never a good idea, we will always love each other and we know that, even in the midst of everything.

Another situation, I have no idea how to fix. I honestly feel like the person is choosing to "show me a lesson" or "punish" me for whatever offense they feel I have committed or in whatever way they feel I have wronged them. I am frustrated beyond belief for a lot of things that are just not appropriate to post on a blog for anyone to read. The sucky part is, I have no idea what is truly going on, what caused the reactions, and regardless of what I potentially have done, it does not warrant the reaction I am getting... Knowing the person it is on purpose, and it just adds to the hurt.

I found out yesterday another good friend I had in college has apparently decided to ex-communicate me. We were not super close for most of college, mainly because I did not know them... But, the last couple years of college, they became one of my mentors, solid, dependable, caring... etc..etc.. The type that would drive hours to be your support if you asked. They spent hours upon hours with me talking about various things, perspectives on life, Jesus, the World, ministry, caring about others. We did missions trips together and honestly made a great team. And then, suddenly the phone number I have goes to someone else, I am no longer a facebook friend.. and thus have no way of communicating with them unless I hunt them down at the last place I knew that they worked at. To add to it, a really great mutual friend of the two of us still has the ability to contact them, which means I was intentionally removed from their life. Awesome.

Then to add to all of this I started out the week with a couple very highly intense situations. I am not going to go into detail, just in the midst of everything else it makes life stressful. Enough so that I am clenching my jaw again while I am sleeping, and I have to intentionally not clench my jaw while I am awake... My mouth hurts.

So.. Now, where am I at? Wanting to cry. I just really feel helpless and hurt in a lot of these situations. I am a fixer, even if I cannot fix, usually I can help, offer support, advice, something. But, I have no idea what to do.

The thing that I am really fighting right now is not allowing myself the ability to get pissed off and react poorly. I am also very much fighting reverting back to the old thought processes and insecurities. For the sake of exposing things in the light.. here are a few of my thoughts I KNOW are NOT true, but I am seriously fighting the emotions and thoughts of anyway...

~Maybe if I just push everyone away or pull away from everyone, it will keep pain like this from reoccurring in my life.

~These are more examples added to the case of why I am not good enough.

~Maybe if I tried harder, cared less, was more loving, less abrasive, sought them out more, was more intentional about being in their life, they would see me, and want me in their life as a friend.

~Beyond this I begin to revert back to things like "I knew I would get hurt again." "It's my fault for being _______ or not enough ________" I literally can fill those blanks with everything.

~I'll just grit and bare it, and eventually it will be ok and the hurt will go away.

~I should try harder, maybe I have gotten too lazy.

~Maybe if I was better at ____________ things would be different.

These are just a few of them...

But, let me be clear for a second time, none of these are things I am believing. These are lies, and I recognize them as that... This is not a crisis needing someone to intervene before I do something stupid type moment. I know these are not truths, and I know that Jesus is working. He is moving, and He will be glorified through everything. All of these thoughts are things that used to be serious strongholds in my life, and the pain I am currently feeling is very familiar, and with that familiarity comes the habitual thoughts that used to come with them. I am battling the thoughts in my head, praying over them, and recognizing the lies that are trying to seep into my heart and beliefs once again.

So... Now what?.. Pray. Talk to my Sweet Savior and allow His Truths to wash over my mind and heart. I accept this pain, these trials.. whatever He asks me to. I do not have the mentality of "why me?" because it not only does no good, but it also contradicts prayers of "I'll do anything for you" .... Knowing these things does not lessen the pain, it is still there and still real, but it changes the view of darkness. Knowing morning will come eventually never changes being in the cold darkness that is night, it just changes the perspective on the situation. So, my perspective is that God WILL be glorified. I will screw up and admit it, and I will grow, and I will become more of the person I am supposed to be. But, usually that means some pain too, which I would rather have than be who I used to be for the sake of avoiding any pain at all.

Lord please help me and cover me in you.

Jan 5, 2010

If You Want Me To...

"The pathway is broken
And The signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

Cause I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone

ya oh oh no

So When the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley If You want me to "

Jan 3, 2010

If.. Then..

So, I have such a swirl of emotions going through my head and heart right now. Not really bad things, just a mixture of things. A few days ago a couple friends and I sat together in NYC and shared thoughts about each other, funny observations, strengths and weaknesses, and a whole bunch of other things.. But, the thing that stuck with me the most was how totally and completely different each of our perspectives are from each other's. For example, the things that I saw as strength or some of their most endearing qualities, things that are attractive, first thoughts and impressions.. not at all what they would have expected or ever thought of themselves. And, it was definitely a vice-versa type thing. It was interesting because we also shared what we thought was one of the things the others thought we could work on.. and mine was.. not what I was expecting, but I can see how it fits, and it has added an interesting dynamic to my prayers.

Last Sunday one of my friends spoke in our Sunday school class, and I was so excited because he spoke on something I have been thinking about a lot.. and had JUST been thinking about it literally minutes before he began speaking. He spoke about Jacob, and all the characteristics of Jacob, and how he stole Esau's identity essentially.. and how when he saw God in a dream his response was "if you do these things.. then I will do this.." and we began fleshing out our instinct to pull "if... then.." statements on God. Which really got me thinking.. "Do I do this?" So, in an attempt to figure this out.. later in the shower I got down on my knees, and I laid it all out before God and just told Him it is all for Him anyway. That regardless of what He asks, tells, directs, anything... Here I am, send me. I know this brings pain, and heartache, and trials, and rough times. And, I am ok with that. I am ok knowing that I am struggling when it comes from Jesus.

Let me just explain that I am... apprehensive about what God will ask of me this next year, but I also do not care what it is. I just want to know I am doing what He has asked me to. I will follow His lead.

Our conversation was interesting, because the things that were said about me, specifically in the compliments realm were things I have never heard when someone was describing me.. ever. I had never heard them as qualities I have, traits, or characteristics I posses. It was interesting, and definitely has caused me to think and smile knowing and accepting something new that I never had entered into my realm before. I cannot express how much I cherish honesty, even when it is hard to accept, I appreciate knowing those around me are serious and not telling me fluff or just telling me what I want to hear. That simple fact allows me to accept their compliments as well as their objective feedback that I might not like... But is true.

I do not want to live my life as an "if you do this, then I will do this.." whether that is directed at God, my friends, my future bf/husband.. I do not want to have a 50/50 perspective on relationships. I want to give everything I have to everyone I can.

Here I am Jesus, send me. Take away my selfish desires, take away my thoughts of myself first, give me more of you in my mind and heart, give me the thoughts I should have, help me to see when you are moving and speaking to me. Help me follow without fear for anything. You alone.