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Fear versus faith

Her words tumbled from the receiver in to my ear, like coarse granules of sand sifting from her brain in to mine. “It’s so easy to say that things will work out the way that they are supposed too, but how are we supposed to stop worrying?”

I think we have all asked ourselves this question, whether we would consider ourselves faithful or not. We don’t necessarily have to follow religious ideals to question at which point we should let the events of our lives fall in to place, and at which point we should be fearful of the uncertainty. Unfortunately, there is not a convenient nor an easy button that we can push when life and the many changes that evolve as we live it occur.

Her question caused me to ponder my particular position, and at the time I did not have what I considered a good answer for her. Yet, as I prepared breakfast that morning and completed a few small chores around the house, I paused, to really think about what I consider when a situation comes up that I didn’t plan or prepare for.

As you may know by reading other entries in this blog, I believe that their is an ultimate plan for our lives written before we were ever created, and that the choices we make will lead us towards our God given path. Others however, don’t subscribe to this theory, and feel that through our own series of choices we create the final outcome of our lives. Either way, the primary and striking word in both thoughts is choice.

We can choose to be happy, or we can choose to dwell, and to focus on the negative. Of course, we cannot turn off our emotions. If we did, we would not be human, and we would also be lying to ourselves. Our emotions allow us to process and fully understand our human experiences, so to say that we are completely without worry and are fully trusting of an unknown plan may be a bit contradictory. But it is possible, to not quite know what is going to happen next and CHOOSE to be okay with that.

Other factors will come in to play. Finances. Financial stability. Emotional stability. The state of relationships, the state of friendships. The list is long and varying, but at the end of the day, these and other factors drive not only our decisions but the way we feel about them. We can worry, about if the money that currently sits in our bank accounts will be available next month, or if an unforeseen circumstance will cause us to have to allocate those funds elsewhere. We can stress about the state of our marriage, the nature of our friendships, or we can focus all of that energy in to making sure that no matter what the outcome of a particular situation is, we are happy because we know it is where we are supposed to be in that moment.

It may sound hard, and some may be scoffing at this post and thinking it’s impossible, but I challenge you, in those moments where you are questioning your faith, in yourself, or your fear of the unknown, to choose to be content in this stage of your life, for whatever path it takes, this season won’t last for long.

 

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The Lesson

There is a quote I have seen upon many a Pinterest board, categorized underneath headers with labels like, “words to live by,” and “truths.” This particular quote is one that I will admit sits in a position on one of my boards, one that I tapped, hit “save pin” and added to my board in one of many trips to this particular site, an article I have even shared as a graphic once on my Facebook wall.

But now I understand the true meaning of these words.

The quote reads, “The lesson repeats as needed”. At the time I saved this quote to my board, I liked the way it sounded. But in perspective, I didn’t think about the words. What did this actually mean?

In recent weeks, I have encountered circumstances that have repeated. The parties involved differed each time, but the situation was the same. Surely, there was a reason for this. It was not a coincidence that I was experiencing the same thing twice.

I have had to sever ties with people I never imagined would exit my life, much less by their own discretion. I would never have imagined that for my well being, for my personal and mental health, the best thing to do would be to end relationships that were toxic.

Toxic relationships, and friendships, do not always appear this way from the outside. There are no defining characteristics to tell you that a person will not be ideal for you. If everyone came with warning labels, hurt could easily be avoided. Unfortunately, life does not operate that way, and we discover the lesson the hard way. It has been said before, that experience is the cruelest of teachers, providing us with a test before the lesson has ever been taught, and I absolutely believe this is true. We thrive on emotion because we are meant to feel, even if in doing so, we break our own hearts by returning to something that we know is wrong for us.

And now, it makes sense. The lesson, does in fact, repeat as needed. To better oneself, to truly make them appreciate the blessings they are equipped with, we sometimes need reminders of everything we don’t need. Our hearts may long for something, but ultimately it may cause more harm than good, and for this reason we have to let things go.

Friendships will dissolve, but we will go on. We will create new friendships, and if we are fortunate enough to become truly comfortable with ourselves and our own company, we can be our own best friends as well.

Relationships will move forward too. The person that we thought we may spend the rest of our life with may not be the right person for us as we all grow and change. It is our decision to decide if we want to grow together or grow apart.

We will grow too, and we will keep learning, through the lesson, how strong we truly are. It will hurt, it will feel raw and emotional, and we may even break our own spirits and souls in the journey to becoming who we are, but it is far better to live a life that we can be happy with than to keep people in it who will make us regret who we are.f95071b73bceb738962bfe7cbcb45898

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Tired

When I write a post on this page I like for it to be uplifting and inspiring. I like to share my experiences with others in the hopes that if they are currently in or have previously been in a similar situation, that person can find a way to seek the positive in that experience and be encouraged by the words I share here.

This will not be one of those posts.

Let me explain.

When I created this page, I did so with the intent of journaling my emotions at the exact moment that I considered blogging the best way to express them. As people actually started to read the blog, I shifted my focus on what I wanted to use this page to represent. My life is largely centered around my family. My children, my marriage and my faith are all experiences that I pull from to write these posts.

However, in attempting to create a page of encouragement and inspiration all of the time, I don’t feel as if I am always being fully authentic. I have been tired lately, not just physically, and at this point, I think that it is best to say what is on my heart, even if it’s not particularly inspirational or remotely inspiring.

So I must confess.

I am tired.

I am tired of feeling as if I give more of myself to others than they are willing to contribute. I am tired of one sided friendships and relationships, where I have to do all of the work. I fully understand, being an adult myself, the daily demands we face. Many of us are parents and I will be honest when I say the only free moments I have are often in the last few minutes before I go to bed. I do not expect someone to babysit me in a friendship all the time, nor would I ever demand it. But if I find that the only time I hear from someone that calls themselves a friend is when I reach out to them, whether in a text message or an email, and that person then tells me the details of their life; never asking about how I am doing before I have yet to hear from them again…unfortunately only one person is putting in effort and that’s just not fair.

I am tired of feeling as if I am too nice. I am tired that it even has to be a choice. As a person, I am naturally wired to be strong willed and direct, and while some may find fault with those personality traits, they comprise who I am. It’s disheartening however, to be told that being strong willed or direct ultimately makes you a rude person (or another term for a woman that I will not be using here). Why is it okay for someone to say that a woman who understands herself and what she will and will not tolerate is unacceptable because her beliefs are not nice enough? Would that same explanation suffice for a dominant male? Absolutely not. That male would be described as assertive, powerful, and commanding. If a woman acts the same way, she just isn’t nice. But I am weary of being too nice at the same time. If you are too nice, too friendly, it can almost appear that you are being artificial. I’ve heard it said before..”No one can be that sweet.”It’s a losing battle, and one that can be incredibly exhausting. Why can’t we be both dominant and friendly?

I am also tired of feeling like the events of my past are shaping my future. Of course, perspective is essential to growth. But those circumstances are a part of the past for a reason. I need to realize that I have to let these things go and allow new experiences to fit in their place. Of course events have created who I am today, but that doesn’t mean I have to carry them around with me, a heavy burden that I continue to bare while others have long since moved on.

I am tired of these things, and the way that they have made me feel. It’s time to finally start waking up.

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Scars

There is a song that I have heard countless times on the radio. I have sung the lyrics, reciting line for line as the melody waves and crests over me. It is a natural habit, once I recognize the first few seconds of the song beginning, to sing along. I have been doing so since the first time I heard it.

The song is called Scars, by the band Papa Roach. Their style of music is not something I typically listen to, but I have always enjoyed this particular song, because I have always liked the message I thought it portrayed.

Have you ever listened to a song, even sung the words into the air, and realized you didn’t really know what it meant at all?

There is a particular verse in this song.

“I tear my heart open, I sew myself shut. My weakness is that I care too much. The scars remind us, that the past is real. I tear my heart open, just to feel.”

In this short line, the band illustrates the struggle of someone like myself.

Someone who feels so deeply, and often because of how passionately we love, finds themselves being hurt.

After all, when you carry the weight of the world, attempting to solve problems that are not yours because of how strongly you care for others, it’s impossible to not feel an enormous weight when you realize that you cannot make everyone happy.

For a majority of my adult life, I have struggled with my self worth, questioning my presence as a whole and feeling as if my value was measured not by how I felt about myself, but by how others viewed me. Circumstances within my past forced me to feel as if I did not deserve love in comparison to others, and to feel as if no one values you enough to remain within your life is an extremely lonely feeling.

For this reason, I believe I compensated, feeling as if I had to solve the problems of those I loved, because I knew what it felt like to be lonely, and I did not want others to feel the pain I had become accustomed too. When I grew close to someone, I cared for and even loved some of these individuals so fiercely, but I found that in doing so, I was often left feeling disappointed.

In my attempt to make others feel happy, I was sacrificing my own joy.

As the song said, my weakness was that I cared too much.

I will find myself, when reading status updates of others on social networks that have a concerning nature to them, immediately wanting to message the person who posted them, wanting to make things right. If I can make everyone happy, then things will be better.

But they won’t.

I have come to the realization that there are times when the best thing to do for someone, including myself, is to give someone or a situation space.

I am a faithful person and I truly believe that He has a plan for our lives, an outline by which our story unfolds. This is not to say that we lack self choice. We can certainly make decisions as to what will make us happy, but ultimately, I think our lives will be determined by the plan God has for us.

And sometimes, the only way that we can make another person happy is by leaving them to determine their own happiness. We can care; of course we are not abandoning them. But we cannot make others happy who do not want to feel happiness in that moment, or even in a particular season of their lives.

As one of the characters in my son’s favorite movie states, “we cannot make someone feel anything.”

I will continue to be the person I have grown to be, shaped by my faith and by my circumstances. I will continue to love intensely and feel deeply, the scars of my past an armor against the potential hurts of my future.

I will feel, but I will not do so at the expense of my happiness. I will support, but I will give space.

As the song states,

The scars remind us that the past is real. 

I look forward to the joys of the future.

 

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Goodbyes

While each goodbye is uniquely difficult in the circumstances that lead two people to part, I truly believe that the most difficult type of goodbye is the one you never expected you would have to say.

In my path to becoming the person I feel the most comfortable being, the person that I want for my children to remember, I have encountered many people.

Some of these individuals have served as lessons, reminders of who I do not want to become, or on the other hand, examples of who I may wish to emulate a personality trait of..their kind heart, listening ear, friendly nature for example.

Others have served as a reason. A reason to say goodbye. A reason to understand that pain is a much a portion of life’s journey as joy, and that sometimes, in order to become better versions of ourselves, we must leave these people behind, for the greater good of everyone involved.

I had to say another goodbye today.

I know that along my path to my best self, this choice is for the best. This person, who was a large part of my adult life, though their presence minimal, their overall presence expected, is now a person I will have to file in the chapters of my past, another “friend” who is not a part of my journey any longer.

I think that at times of change, including the change of one’s self, other people can become uncomfortable, and for this reason,  not knowing how to react, people assume it is better to withdraw. Rather than work to maintain a friendship and discover the new aspects of this old friend, people think it is better to stop trying.

I wonder, if at times like these, the friendship was really ever that important to them.

But these are things I don’t dwell on. In becoming who I want to be, in living with a peaceful mind, I know that I must let go. Not every aspect of life is expected to be understood all of the time, and that is the beauty of life. Not everything has a plan, and while I will miss this friendship, I know it wasn’t meant to last.

Life goes on, and I’m content in the fact that I alone am my own friend, carrying myself from one destination to the next..picking up characters in my story along the way.

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You are not your mess

There are times when I am consumed with the activities of the day, constantly flitting from one task to another, that when I come to a complete stop I look around and think to myself, “Gosh, look at this mess.” As I type this, there are currently folded clothes waiting to be put in to their respective drawers, crumbs on the table from breakfast, and a large root beer spill on the kitchen floor. In these moments, I think to myself that I must be failing as a mother and as a person, as I am surrounded by the mess, looking like one myself. I am the mess, and I cannot escape it.

But as I pause, and take further inspection of my surroundings, my hair in a messy ponytail and not having showered yet, determined to accomplish all of my items for the day while making sure my children are happy, I realize that I am not a failure. These are signs of life.

If I look beyond that spill on the floor, the droplets of liquid turning in to rivers on the tile, creating a sticky sheen over the surface, I can see the little boy who made the mess, taking another step forward in his independence. I see a toddler yearning for more freedom, two hands unsteadily clutching a cup, and watching as the contents tumbled, his eyebrows furrowed in worry. As I kneel to console him, I see the apprehension leave his face, and no longer is he worried about the spill, but entertained by the puddle growing larger.

As I glance at the piles of clothes folded and those yet to be tended too, I see the clothes that we are fortunate enough to own, and the utilities that are so graciously paid for us by my in laws so that we may have the water to wash them. I see these clothes that drape us as we carry ourselves from one destination to the next, turning the chapters of our lives in the different outfits we wear.

The dishes that wait in the sink to be cleaned serve as reminders that we are blessed with the ability to be fed every day, and are testaments to the hard work that my husband does to support his family, for which we are forever grateful.

Together, these factors resemble a mess, a state of disorder. Yet separately, these slices of the framework of our lives show me just how lucky we are, and that I am not this mess..my mess. Or really, a mess at all.

Of course, I do have a certain standard of cleanliness I like to maintain, and I know that the disorder of my house will not stay this way for long. The clothing will be put away, the dishes cleaned. I will eventually shower.

But at the end of day, as I look back on this setting, on my life, I can find joy in these moments, and beauty in the chaos. f1f08a43792328e0740b8ed083979dbd