Tuesday, May 31, 2011
I am at a place right now where I have never understood God more or felt closer to Him. My prayers are deeper, less selfish, I am learning to actually listen - to be still in my prayers. It is freeing and refreshing and wonderful. Then in the next breath, the tide wave of depression knocks me over, and I start to feel like I am drowning again. In those moments (or days), I ask God repeatedly where he is and why I can't feel him. I feel forgotten, lost, and overwhelmingly lonely. Then I start to feel guilty...who am I to question where God is or what work He is going? I "know" the promises he has written for me. I "know" the love he has spoken over me. He knew me before the world began...He knew what I would look like, what I would act like, what my personality would be, what my downfalls are, and what my stumbling blocks would be. Yet He created me anyway, and loves me anyway. When I see God blatantly working in the lives of those around me, it doesn't mean that he isn't working in my life. Just because I can't see it right now, doesn't mean it is not happening.
The depression hurts...but not physically. Not even emotionally, all the time. It hurts constantly spiritually. I feel like if I prayed more, read my bible more, studied more, loved God more, just believed more - then I wouldn't be depressed. Then I would be happy. Then I could sleep through the night. Then I wouldn't cry at random times throughout the day. Then I wouldn't be as frustrated or irritable or annoyed. Then I would be happy - all the time. Because like David, there are days and moments that I am right there - so close, so happy, so full of joy and love and life. But those days don't last forever. That is what I am seeking - for the joy and love and life to last through each day. Stupid depression....I'll keep fighting you. But I'm no longer going to fight with tears or frustration...I'm going to stay on my knees and let my God handle you! He has given me a tender heart, the ability to feel so many emotions at one time, the ability to see every side of an issue/situation/argument, the ability to love unconditionally even those who have hurt me severely. He has given me all of that....he can fight the depression. And I will return to loving and living a life full of joy. Even if I do not reach the destination that I have in mind for me, the journey will be blessed and beautiful.
Monday, May 16, 2011
I have ended or am slowly ending friendships that are not positive for me. I have started to develop some new friendships. I know that right now I am in the place I am supposed to be, but I don't know what is coming next, or even what to expect. It is frustrating because looking around me, it seems like everyone else is progressing and I'm standing still.
Monday, March 28, 2011
I think a lot about what I want to be.
I want to be a writer. Writing beautiful letters, or blogs, or journals. I'm not. My writing is messy, all over the place, and infrequent. I always have the best intentions, but don't get around to writing often.
I want to be a runner. I love the idea of running, the solitude, the beauty, the availabilty. I try to run. Not often enough. I'm not good at it. My form is not pretty, I can't go very far at a given time.
I want to be creative. To create beautiful living spaces, or inspiring works or art. To know what colors look incredible together.
I want to be a great friend. I try hard at this. I don't let a lot of people in very close, but the ones I do, I love with everything I have. I try to encourage them, support them, and reach out to them. I'm not that great at it, but I try.
I want to be a wife. Most people accuse me of being picky. Truth be told, I haven't had the opportunity to be pick or even turn anyone away. The chance to date or court hasn't come my way.
I want to be a mother. See the previous paragraph.
I may or may not ever be any of those things. If I'm not, it is okay. Those things are not what really matters.
Bottom line...I want to be a godly woman, and I want to love others. Each day I want to draw closer to Christ and seek him more and more. That's all I really want.
Monday, February 28, 2011
I love listening to Pete preach (I podcast him regularly), and have really gotten a lot out of his book, Plan B. As much as I have learned from his sermons and writing, this simple blog post has stuck with me. I sat down that morning to write a quick blog about it and life (i.e. work) got in the way, but the thought hasn't left my mind. In every encounter I have with people, I have started trying to look at where that person needs healing. Sometimes people show it plain as day. Sometimes I have to use my personalisation skills (thanks handy-dandy counseling degree!). Sometimes, all it takes is listening a little closer and asking specific questions. I am truly trying to take myself out of the equations more and listen to those around me.
My heart aches to see others healed. This is nothing new for me. I am always drawn to the hurt in people, and I am usually drawn to the hurt they do not talk about. Not that I want to be the hero that saves the day or the one who 'cures' them. My desire is for everyone to feel loved and whole. For everyone to feel significant and for all their hurts to be healed.
I know that I can't do that for everyone. But I do know that I can do that for some people. And I do know that I can pray. So that's what I'll do. Because we all need healing...
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Here's the problem, though. I screw everything up. In my strive for perfection, I question everything, I want to make sure I am doing things right, I try really hard, and I want to please everyone. What really ends up happening is that I push people away and I screw up everything. I am single, not by my own choosing (meaning I did not say "I am going to be 31 and single because I want to be), but really I think because every time someone tries to get anywhere near close to me I screw it up. I try to be too perfect. I try too hard. I ask to many questions. I over-communicate. I am not necessarily what I would call 'needy', but I am a perfectionist - and a major part of that perfectionism is wanting other people to be happy.
I'm really trying to do things that I want to do and to be myself and to embrace myself and to make Rebecca happy. It's harder than it sounds :-) but I'm trying really hard. How un-perfect does that sound - I'm trying really hard to be myself?!?! What happened along the way that got me to this point? Lots of stuff, actually, but most of that I'll keep close because it hurts and its raw.
But in the midst of doing things I want to do and things that make me happy, and being myself, I have once again let my perfectionism screw things up. So today, I'm sad. And of all the issues I have in life and all the virtues I wish I had that I have not been blessed with - this is the one I truly wish could be taken away from me. It has become such a burden.
It makes me really good at things. Striving for perfection means that I am a great problem solver. It means that I will not give up until I have come up with the best possible solution. It means I am efficient. It usually means I am effective. It means I will not give up until I am the best manager that I can be for my students and staff. It means that I am a hard worker and that I make sure the job gets done. I means that I don't settle for anything less than the best. It means that I am decisive and know want I want for myself and it means that I want the absolute best for everyone around me as well.
So when I am done beating myself up over not being perfect and kicking myself for screwing things up again, I'll take a deep breath and realize that there are positives as well. Then I'll remember Psalm 139:14, "I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Someone I know used to always tell me that he knew what I was thinking or feeling better than I did. Stupid me believed him. Ah...we live and learn.
My random question for today was "Can you describe your life thus far in a six word sentence?"
Um...no! haha I can't describe anything in six words or less! I figured that was impossible. I asked a friend - whose answer was awesome, so I was inspired to think about it a little more. This is what I came up with:
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
When I lived in Kansas City, I cried regularly. Like almost every day, or at least 3 or 4 times a week for 5 years. When I first moved back to Texas, I told myself I was done crying. Just like that.
Well, it lasted until today. Today I cried.
I cried because someone spoke the most beautiful truth to me. She told me I needed to forgive myself.
I didn't really even know how much I had been hurting until recently. I had convinced myself otherwise and told myself I was fine. It took two very wise, wonderful friends to see right through me - guess that's what friends are for, huh? I explained away behaviors and had made up my mind. I focused my (sometimes) stubborn mind and set goals and have been working diligently with much progress. I was actually feeling very good about things. Until I realized that I was beating myself up - big time. I'm great at forgiving other people. I don't hold grudges; I've got the turn the other cheek thing down....but when it comes to me? Um...yeah...not so much.
So there you have it. I cried today - but it was beautiful, not ugly. At least to me, maybe not to the guy in the Merc stuck next to me in traffic on 190!
Monday, February 14, 2011
...made a step to cut deep ties
...failed miserably at trying to explain how I was hurt
...made a decision about something I wanted to do
...asked personal questions I typically avoid
...reached out so hopefully others would feel as important as I think they are
...stopped myself from interrupting (more than once!)
...went out of my comfort zone and tried a new class at the gym - and was okay with the fact that it kicked my butt
...realized I need a serious vacation so I can read all the books that I am piling up on my shelf :-)
...missed someone more then I thought I would and maybe more than I think I should - I'm not sure how I feel about that
...made a little more progress to become the best ME I can be
Thursday, February 3, 2011
I have a lot to say.
You would think with 5 'snow days' in the last 2 weeks I would have written a ton. Well...I didn't.
But...I thought a ton! Does that count? I didn't think so.
These migraines are kicking my tail right now - third one this week. Started new meds for them yesterday. Fingers crossed. Except I have the beginnings of one right now. Not a great feeling.
So much going on right now. Most of it is good. Some of it is great. I don't like to focus on the not-so-good stuff.
God is good. I am overwhelmed. I am blessed. That is what I choose to focus on. Except that this week I have really started to understand that it is okay to tell God exactly how I feel. And I don't have to apologize for it. I apologize for it a lot. I don't think I'm going to anymore.
Conviction is convicting. Wow. It hurts, but I love it. I love my church and that my pastor doesn't make apologies or sugar coat things. It hurts, but I love it.
Back to work....
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Honesty is the best policy, so I'll be upfront – as a 31 year old single woman who has not even been near the alter, this is not a book I would have picked up on my own and read, but I am SO glad I did. This is certainly a book I will pick up again (and again) for reference and reminders.
Kennedy’s talent lies in the ability to tell the complete story while not dwelling on the negative aspects. She quickly moves to examining motives, thoughts, and feelings while focusing on the Biblical context. The stories of rejection from different perspectives, mixed with biblical truths make this book easy to read and incredibly thought provoking. I found myself putting it down to think through a particular piece, then quickly returning to read the next chapter. Anyone who has experienced any type of rejection will benefit from this piece. Ironically, the reason I would have not picked up the book is the very reason I am glad I have now read it.
Note: I recieved a complimentary copy of the book for review by Booksneeze.com.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
So far, 2011 has been a great year. Easy to say 19 days in, huh? Let's just say, if the next 365-19 (I'm too tired to do the math!) days go as well as the past 19, I will feel immensely blessed. Oh, wait, I already do.
Almost three weeks ago, I rang in the new year among family in the middle of the country, and I had a lot of dreams and goals in mind. To be quite honest, I also had pretty low expectations. You see, 2009 and 2010 both held huge changes for me, and at the end of those years, I still found myself disappointed and down in the dumps so to speak. But this year? Yup, this year is going to be different. I can feel it. I believe it. I have complete and utter faith.
My goals for 2011 are off to a good start. I am excited about them, and can't wait to share more. I'm excited about what I'm reading - I just wish I had more time to read. Especially in this weather, I wish I could crawl up in front of the fire and read for hours on end. I think that hits on the only drawback I've found so far in 2011 - I want more time. Well, who doesn't, huh? I have found things I love and I am passionate about, now I want more hours to devote to all of them. I don't want to only pick one or two. I want to study, read, and soak up the Word. I want to pour over books and novels. I want to travel around the country and research different cities and locations. I want to run. I want to experience deep, true community with others. I want to serve. I want more....more and more of the good stuff.
The challenge has been presented - now a plan must be made. I'm ready!
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Isaiah 52:12 - But you will not go out in haste, nor will you go as fugitives; for the Lord will go before you; the God of Israel will be your rear guard."
Psalm 139:23-24 - Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way."
Last Sunday I did something that for most of my adult life (I include college in this) has been one of the hardest things for me to do. I went to church.
Yes, I know how that statement sounds. I also know how silly some people think this next statement will sound. - In my past experiences, church has been the loneliest place I have ever been.
I've eaten at restaurants alone, participated in 5K races with thousands of people alone, traveled alone, gone to movies alone, attended sporting events alone. I have done many things (and will do many more) alone....but the place I have felt the loneliest? Church.
The thing about it is, though, I could never figure out why. I've even been a member of a few churches during that time, participating in activities, attending 'Sunday school', volunteering in the nursery, singing in the choir....but I've always felt alone.
Isn't church supposed to be the place you go to find community? The place where everybody knows your name? (well, besides Cheers, of course)
Many times in college, especially early on, I would go to church and not know anyone there. The absolute loneliest I have ever felt - and I've had some pretty rough days and dark times - was/is sitting in a church pew (or those comfy individual chairs we all have now) alone - with no one to sit by or talk to. Oh, sure, there were some times, especially in college, where I would know people, but didn't feel comfortable asking if I could sit with them.
I would sit in bible studies - places my heart longed to be, a place I looked forward to all week long, and as I was listening and learning and soaking up as much of the Word as I could, I would feel so alone.
This pattern has repeated for....who knows how many years.
Well...after weeks and weeks (okay...months and months) of giving myself pep talks about going to church, I got up the nerve to go last Sunday.
I was scared. I was anxious. I was lonely. I was self-conscious. Funny thing is....once the preaching started....once the Word was being spoken, I bathed in it. Everything else faded away. It no longer mattered that I was sitting in a crowded, almost packed church - with no one around me. I no longer felt alone. I soaked in the words being spoken....I basked in the Father's love for me. The sermon? Classic case of God knowing where we are and meeting us there - the sermon was on being alone in church. Huh. Who would have thought?!?
WHAT A MIGHTY GO WE SERVE. He knows every person who has ever and will ever live on this planet. He knows every star in the sky and has numbered the grains of sand on the beaches. And this God....this God is not too busy to know ME. To know my needs and wants and fears and anxieties. He knows ALL of them. And when I acted in obedience and stepped outside of my comfort zone, he met me there. And he Blessed me - beyond measure.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
2011 has been here a long time now. 11 whole days. The focus of 2011 - - Goals...not resolutions. You heard it here first. (Well, unless you heard it somewhere else...but that's neither here nor there...)
New Year's resolutions are not for me. I prove that time and time again. I rarely stick to something very long. Sometimes I get bored with a 'resolution' other times I get distracted by other things I want to do or accomplish - things that at the time seem more interesting/exciting. I have a terrible habit of not finishing everything I start (case in point: my sewing table; case in point #2: my bookshelf; I have more, but I'll stop there for now). Heck, I have been known to not even start a new year's resolution...yup, I'm just cool like that.
So...this year, no New Year's Resolutions for me.
One of the things I am choosing to focus on during this time of being alone is goal setting. I am doing my best to focus on the positive aspects of being single - because it is so easy and natural to focus on the negative sides. Another post entirely.
There are a lot of things that I want to do in my life, places I want to see, things I want to accomplish, relationships I want to build, improvements I want to make. I have a l-o-n-g list of these things. So, starting late last year, I decided to
- Define and embrace what it means to 'Live Simply'
- Read 35 Books (we've already covered that...but I already have some uber-exciting changes to add!)
- Self-Imposed Spending Freeze (referencing back to #1)
- Complete 6 5Ks (first one - this Saturday...*burrrrr*)
- RUN an entire 5K (notice #4 said "complete" that just means survive...I want to run one - I'm horribly out of shape.)
- Get rid of these pesky 15 pounds
- Blog/document more
- Take more pictures of life (I'm really good at taking pictures of nature or other random things, but want to be better about documenting my life, exciting (or not) as it may be)
- Finish Projects
- Write more cards/letters/notes
- Appreciate beauty
- Take a vacation (or two!)
- Attend church regularly/find a community
- No regrets!!!
I could (and probably will) write paragraphs about each of those. I have a few more, but those are more personal and I prefer to be more guarded about them. I may (or may not) share them as they unfold. We'll see.
I have been thinking of my goals for a couple of months now, and I'm excited to have a direction to work toward. It is very interesting to me that I spend so much time teaching students about goals, harping on my friends/coworkers about goals, and setting goals for my program and office, yet I have never truly set goals for myself personally. I really don't think it has ever crossed my mind. Only after thinking about all of the regrets I have about things I have not done or opportunities I have missed did I decide that I needed to make some conscious goals.
And, for the record, I sure did use the word "goal" eight (now nine) times in this post - six in the last paragraph!
Sunday, January 2, 2011
(Complete side note - if you like to read sports biographies - I highly suggest Beyond Belief - Josh Hamilton's story, and Coming Back Stronger - Drew Brees's autobiography. I read each of them in a day - and re-read them both (I think I've read Josh's book three full times now). GREAT reads!)
Among my list of goals for the new year (more to come in a post by the end of the week), I have challenged myself to read 35 books. Like I said, I read all the time, and typically have at least two books going at a time; that being said, I am not really sure if I am overestimating my abilities or underestimating. I guess time will tell.