Thursday, February 23, 2017

When the Answer is No

I find myself wanting the answer to always be YES!  Yes to anything and everything.  That type of lifestyle doesn't work well because there is no way to always say yes.  It is actually pretty impossible to do.  I especially love to say yes to things when they are safe.  When it is the safe job, the safe group of people, (you know the ones that are going to tell me what I want to hear), the safe feeling.  I love to say yes when I am in control, and when it means everything going the way I want it to go. 

No is a hard word for me.  I put a lot of weight in how other people feel.  It is actually one of the things I say in a job interview for something that I need to work on.  I feel things deeply.  I analyze people's reactions, and I don't let go when I should.  No is hard for me because it seems personal, even when it isn't.  I hate disappointing people, I hate letting people down.  I want to please, for the world to be a peaceful place, and for everything to have the Yes answer. 

Sometimes the answer has to be no.  It isn't the right fit, or right time.  Sometimes the answer is no because it is something that I shouldn't engage in.  Sometimes the answer is no because I need to take a risk. 

Something happened this week, and I had to give a no answer.  It was such a wrestling match in my heart and soul.  I cried, I prayed, and I came to terms with the fact that my heart just wasn't in it at this moment.  The reason I stressed out so much was because it felt like if I said no I was going to be disappointing people.  It felt like if I said no then I was making a definite decision that was going to impact some major things in the near future. 

Yet, I said no.  I said no because I am in a great place in life.  I am single, available, and ready for big things.  My life isn't limited anymore by the hopes of this or that.  I know my worth, I know what I want from life, and that means saying no sometimes.  That means saying no despite the risks.  It means saying no in the midst of uncertainty.  It means staying true to myself.  I am so thankful that sometimes God makes it a No. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Lent 2017

I can't believe that Lent is here, so soon!  I feel like it was just Christmas, and now here we are at the peak of the Easter season!  Next week marks the beginning of Lent.  I find myself loving this season, mostly because it is a time for me to stop and reflect.  A time for me to stop, breathe, pray, think, and change some habits in my life.  A time for me to recommit myself to the closeness I long to feel with God.  A time to give up something that takes a lot more of my time, then it should. 

So, as I ponder and think about what takes the most of my time..... I decided to not watch Netflix, and Hulu during Lent!  Even the thought of it makes me cringe a little.  So, it looks like I will get a lot more reading in, and watching of documentaries.... films that will help me think and ponder more of life. 

Here's to this coming up season of meditation, prayer, and greater focus on things above. 

When Pain Makes us Stronger

This world is so broken.  Every corner I turn to, everywhere I look I find myself bombarded with brokenness.  In my own life too.  I find myself constantly in a state of grieving for a world where people build each other up, instead of tearing down.  I find myself wishing that I could see everyone the way Jesus does.  I find myself longing for a place where we all agree, where guns aren't necessary, where fighting ceases to exist, and where I never have to worry about others judging me or accepting me. 

That's not this world though, I have to wait.  How do I live while I wait?  Facing pain on a daily basis.  Uncertain of the future sometimes, of where I am going.... or what diseases the future may hold.  Tragedy strikes us at a moment's notice.  How do I stop from just letting it overwhelm me? 

In these last few weeks, I have heard a lot about sin, and justice.  I have experienced a pain in my heart for things that I had stopped longing for.  I have come to understand how pain has made me stronger.  I have come to understand the purpose behind some people not being in my life anymore, or not being directly in my day to day. 

Sometimes I put such a hold on people.  I place them on a pedestal.  I long for their approval more than God's.  I see them in this light of grace and mercy that isn't for me to view them in.  I try to keep them in my life at all costs.  I allow others to be my god.  I forget that I don't measure up on a daily basis, and that's okay. I forget to allow myself the grace that I give to others. 

The truth is that there are people that aren't meant to be in our lives.  There are experiences, and activities that we aren't meant to engage in.  It is those people and activities that push us farther from God, instead of closer to Him that we need to let go of.  Do you ever find yourself trapped in a routine, allowing those people/activities to voice your worth, to be in charge of the choices you make? 

When we have to let go, it hurts.  It hurts so much.  Because we have invested time, energy, and love into those people/activities.  We have sacrificed to make their lives better.  We have connected with them, and gotten to know them.  Yet, despite all of that....there has been pain.  Pain that comes with rejection, pain that comes with disagreements, pain that comes because our choices didn't mesh well with others.  So much pain. 

In the pain though, isn't that when we understand more about the love?  Isn't that when we have nothing to do, but kneel before our Creator and understand how this pain causes us to be absent from Him?  How pain grows us, and changes us.  How pain allows us to understand what we have been saved from.

For me pain no longer seems a threat.  It no longer seems like something I want to escape from, because I can see through the pain.  I can cope with the pain, because my focus is on something far greater than pain.  My focus is above.  My focus is on what I am here to do in this life.  It's not about being the prettiest, the smartest, the most liked.  It has everything to do with knowing God the most, and allowing that knowledge to overflow out of me into others.

I don't think that I have gotten this the past few years.  I have been sidetracked into just being who everyone wanted me to be.  I have given in to the pain way too much, and allowed it to change me in ways that I am not proud of.  So, today I think and ponder how I am going to be different, embracing the pain.  Understanding that it is not an eternal pain, and healing in truth and love.

Today I put aside the expectations that the past few years have created in me.  I think and ponder new expectations, and live a life that is committed to being more in love with God everyday.  When that's my focus...everything else seems to fall in place, and pain doesn't seem so destructive.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

When It's Time to Move....

The past few months have been a whirlwind of emotions.  Trying to wrap my mind around all that was happening.  The ups and downs, the insecure moments of regret, and the hopeful moments of surrender.  In the quiet moments I have felt a move in my heart, a tug to go forward and take risks.  That's what this year was supposed to be about...taking risks. When I declared this to be the year of risks I had no idea what that would exactly mean.  I had no idea that a little over a month into this year I would be in the midst of some major life decisions, that involve a lot of risk. 

How do you make life decisions?  For me I ponder it, pray about it, listen to the advice of others... but ultimately I go with my gut instinct...what makes me truly happy!  And what does make me happy? 

It makes me happy to know that I am valued, loved, respected, and needed.  Have you ever left a place, or a group of people and wondered if you really mattered?  I have, a lot lately it seems.  Sometimes I find myself in the midst of people that only wish I was a different person.  That only want me around when it is convenient for them, or when they feel in a certain mood.  I don't like doing life half-heartedly.  I don't like it at all, and I refuse to, actually.  So, there comes a time when you have to examine if you are on the right path.  You have to look at your happiness, at your role, and the people that surround you and ask yourself if you are living the life that you are supposed to?

There's not always going to be a clear answer.  Sometimes it is foggy, and tough to see the mountain that is just over the next hill.  But it is there.  The mountain is there, the mountain that you must climb to get to the top, majestic, beautiful view that is waiting.  The view that will allow you to understand the journey, all the sweat and tears.  All the heartache and pain.  The view that will allow you to see the very breath of God.

Sometimes it isn't even about the people, sometimes it is about your view of the people.  Or your view of what you think you know of the people.  We all play a different role in life, among friends.  We all play a different role everywhere we go.  We try our best to be authentic, we try our very best to be the best version of ourselves, but we don't always win.  We don't always understand.  But we always know when it is time to move.... We always know....

Moving on isn't a bad thing.  In fact I think sometimes we stay too long because we hate to risk.  We are afraid of letting God be in control of the future.  We like our lives just the way they are safe, and sheltered.  Afraid of the pain and unkind things that are out there.  We get scared because moving on requires a loss of the things we have known.  It requires faith that things are going to work out better than they have been, and it requires healing.  Healing from pain, healing from brokenness, and healing from growth.  Sometimes I think we would rather stay bruised and battered, than heal.  Healing means that we admit the pain, and let it go.  Isn't it sometimes hard to let pain go?  As humans don't we like to wallow?  I know I do.  Sometimes I get so stuck wallowing that I forget in order to heal those bruises I have stop wallowing, and move forward.   

I also think that sometimes I convince myself that I can't move on.  I convince myself that I just have to keep pushing through, allowing others to break me, to put me down, to see me in the worst possible light.  Is that what life is about?  I don't really think so.  I don't think we are called to live life in one place forever.  Maybe some people are, maybe there are those that are supposed to settle down, build a life, and never leave that life.  I don't think I got those genes.  Instead I think that I have been given the gift of travel, and unique community.  A gift that is unique to my life, and allows me the desire to move on.  The desire to take what I have learned both good and bad, and walk in it.  Lead with it, let it move me to compassion.  Let it break my heart for those that claim to believe one way, but don't choose to walk in it.  A gift that lets me see people as people, not terrorists, unwanted aliens, or crime-focused thugs.  That is my gift, that is why I choose to process to move on. 

I have so much to give, and I am not going to allow anyone to take that from me.  I am not going to allow the bad to outweigh the good, or make myself feel unworthy of love.  I refuse to just be another teacher, friend, daughter.  I choose to change the world.  I choose to use my gifts.  I choose to live as a daughter of a King.  I choose to love without borders.  I choose to move on, and give all that I have to be the best that I can.  That's my goal, and that is my reason behind moving....