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Don’t Get Your Hopes Up

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You know already how much I love (500) Days of Summer because it is pretty much the story of my life. One of the scenes that really hit home to me is when Tommy goes to the party that Summer invites him and in his mind he has expected one thing but the reality hits him hard. In that scenario, based on their past and his hopes, Tommy put his expectations too high and therefore got extremely hurt. It’s actually a pretty painful scene to watch because I’ve been there so many times.

Even though I’m sure many of us strive to be grounded in reality, it’s really hard to not get our expectations up. After all, aren’t we told to have hope? You always try to hope for the best, to not be so pessimistic, to believe that there’s something good coming out of every situation. While I have no doubt that some people can do it, it seems very hard to go through life with a “whatever happens, happens; I’m not getting my hopes up” attitude ALL the time because it feels like you’ve resigned on your entire life and given up.

Expectation: Keeping in touch with your high school friends for the rest of your life.

Reality: Never hearing from them ever.

Expectation: Marriage is the thing that is going to solve all your problems!

Reality: Marriage tends to cause even more problems…and you still have to work hard in it.

Expectation: You think a friend you’ve been talking to online for years would be thrilled to see you in person.

Reality: They act like they barely know you when they see you.

Expectation: Going to see a new movie or read a new book from your favorite director/author and thinking it will be amazing.

Reality: It sucks. What were they thinking?

Expectation: Your local professional sports team can’t be that horrible.

Reality: Yes. Yes they are.

Pinterest is a very good example of how this line of thinking works. How often do we go on the site and see all these crafts, recipes, hairstyles, decorating tips and we wish could insert that into our own life? Who are all these people who have time to make AND photograph such a perfect lifestyle while having children, working, and running a household? We try to emulate them and well….this ends up happening instead (via Cake Wrecks)

Expectation:

Reality:

That is of course a worst case scenario but it is also what it feels like a lot of the time. I”m not sure really what the best solution is. You don’t want to get hurt when you hope for something and it doesn’t turn out the way you planned yet you don’t want to go around for the rest of your life always expecting the worst to happen. Do you just go around with absolutely no expectations at all? Is that even possible?

Plus there are the expectations we place on each other and ourselves. That we should have reached certain milestones at certain ages. (Why isn’t my baby walking and talking yet? Why isn’t my kid reading yet? Why hasn’t my kid got accepted into colleges yet? Why don’t I have kids yet?) That we should have a certain lifestyle, career, or relationship. That even though we’ve gotten what we wanted and are genuinely happy that it’s not enough and you should strive for more.

I’m not really sure what the solution is here. Lower your expectations? Stop hoping so much? Be less optimistic and more realistic? I realize that we’re always going to get hurt at some point in our life. Hah. Maybe that’s just my expectation.

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Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid: Or the Story of My Year So Far

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It’s halfway through April and I’ve still yet to find what my personal theme for this year is going to be. I’m not too worried because I’m sure when I figure out, it’ll make complete sense. That being said, I’m still feeling that the year of “The Impossible Girl” is still lingering over me.

It’s funny because I’m still seeing God working in my life 100% in ways that I did think were impossible in the last few years. It’s kind of freaky to go back and read journal entries and see how much my life has changed in ways that I can only attribute to God working in my life.

One of the things I’ve been asking God to be more of this year is to be more clear to me. When things get murky and not so clear, I tend to get confused and then I wallow in it for a long time. I’ll get stuck trying to figure out details and I just don’t move on. It’s a very horrible feeling and it constantly makes me feel like I’m not trusting God enough because it’s my fault and that I’m doing something wrong.

But weirdly enough this year, I feel like God’s been making things pretty clear in my life almost to the point of bluntness but with a much kinder approach. It’s been kind of cool though. Doors are either closing for good or they’re not even opening at all. This is somewhat nice because it means I can instead focus on other things instead of just standing wondering if I should keep trying to work on that door.

I’ve never been a big fan of people telling me that when God closes a door he opens a window. Because this line from “29/31” by Garfunkel and Oates sums it up perfectly: “You realize that’s a smaller opening, right? You used to be able to walk out the front door and now you have to climb out some slightly ajar window somewhere, possibly falling five stories to your death. That is NOT an upgrade.”

But at the same time, I feel like the doors that have been closing in my life were pretty big things in my past that I needed to let go. These were circumstances where I wasn’t trusting God and was taking them by my own hands and sometimes they ended up working positive and sometimes they didn’t. Either way, in the past month I’ve been seeing them shut one by one, some by my choice, others have definitely caught me off guard at the sudden closure. It’s definitely showing me that I’m not the one in control here. It’s kind of a bittersweet feeling and yet….

Does it mean God’s closing the doors just to close them? Is He shutting all of them down because I need to move away from what I once held important in the past?  Or does it mean it’s because He has something planned even better for me? He could be doing either. Again the moral of this story is, gah. I just have to trust Him. You think by now I’d be used to this plan/idea but like I said we all know I’m a late bloomer.

I’m also trying to become more assertive in what I want. Instead of just passively waiting, I’m more actively waiting. This means praying first and seeing if this is something I feel God wants for me and then instead of just waiting for things to magically happen, I go for it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t. I don’t have to sit around getting emotionally invested wondering what might have been.

Does this mean I’m not waiting on God to work in my life? Far from it. I’m still 100% waiting on God to work in my life. I know fully well that He is in control of everything.

I’ll just say right now there’s a small situation in my life that seems SUPER CRAZY INSANE impossible. Almost to the point of I FEEL REALLY STUPID EVEN THINKING ABOUT IT AND HOW I AM VERY SUBTLY MENTIONING IT ON HERE. I’m not going to explain it because really it’s THE MOST ABSURD THING EVER AND THIS MAY BE THE ONLY TIME I EVER TALK ABOUT IT. And yet….I know fully well that God can make the impossible happen. All I can do right is pray that He continues to show me what He wants and to put what He desires into my heart as well. And if it’s not meant to be that He makes it super clear so that I know.

Things may not turn out like I wanted or planned (though it still could) but I know that my God will always come through. Always.

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Hope in the Midst of Suffering

This past week, our church had a tragedy happen to a family in our congregation. I won’t go into detail on it here but this is a Facebook page where if you want to find out more info you can.

When I first saw the news on Facebook, I didn’t really think twice about it. I didn’t recognize any of the names and as our church is fairly large, I just assumed that it was people who I wasn’t connected with. But then as it kept popping up on my feed from numerous folks, I finally clicked on one of the links. It turned out that even though I was not actually acquainted with the family, I did know who they were.

Several years ago at a women’s brunch, the speaker talked about how she had gone through her divorce and despite how difficult it had been and all the pain she went through, she knew that God was with her through it all. Her talk was so inspiring to me. This is because that was exactly the time when I was in the process of ending my marriage and going through my divorce Her speaking was exactly what I needed to hear. Even though we didn’t go through the same situation, just hearing someone talk about that in the church was a blessing. Though I knew that there were many divorced people in the church, no one really talked about it. To hear her testimony in front of all those women was bold, brave, and incredibly inspiring. It showed me that I wasn’t alone and that I would get through it. I knew that the timing of that could only have come from God.

I never told her how much her talk meant to me. Honestly since that day, I sort of forgot about her because of everything that went through in my life. Until last week, when I saw the news of what happened to her family. And then I remembered. What she has gone through is something no one ever wants to.

This past Sunday, our church did something that we normally don’t do. Instead of continuing his series, our pastor led our church in a time of open grieving and prayer. We were allowed to cry and mourn. We were allowed to ask God why he let things like this happen. But we also were reminded that He is in control and that we can still trust in Him even when we don’t understand why. It was honestly one of the best church services I have ever been to in my life. Like someone in my small group said, it made me know that my church is the right one for me.

One of my biggest fears is that going through a hardship alone. This Sunday showed me that it won’t happen. You may not share my faith and that’s ok. I just know for myself I am glad to be able to have a faith where I know I can have the hope and trust that when hard times happen (and they will happen) I WILL be ok.

But this isn’t about me today. I’ve been praying for this family and I hope and know that the Lord will work through this situation in ways we won’t be able to see until later. His goodness will show. His plan will happen. We shouldn’t lose hope because He is our hope.

 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)

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Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear.

Why do you linger here when there is no hope?

There is still hope.

Amid all the frantic-ness and commercialism that seem to come with the holiday season, there is still something that stands out to me about this time of the year.

We were talking in my small group the other night about hope and how we tend to give up so easily in our unbelief. It’s the whole “where do you place your trust in” thing. Do you place it in circumstances, in other people, in yourself or do you honestly instead place it in God?

Now, I know (if you’re even reading down this far) there are several readers of my blog who don’t share my faith, and that’s fine. Thanks for sticking around even if you don’t agree with me. This post may not speak towards you but you are more than welcomed to keep reading and share your thoughts.

Hope can be dulled by unbelief. I know there have been MANY times in my life where I just feel like I don’t have any more hope…in anything. It’s mainly because I feel like I’ve been let down too many times so why even try to get my hopes up because they are just going to come crashing down. I would blame God for the way people acted because if He was in control of the situation why would he allow others to hurt me? Why would He just stand there and let me be hurt? Did He enjoy watching me suffer? Was it all just a learning process?

I’ve gone through many hard times in my life. Some brought on by my own actions, others through no fault of my own. I know that there are many people who have had it WAY worse than me and my sufferings are nothing in comparison. But I still will admit that I’ve been through a lot of hurt. And it’s tough. It is very painful when you feel like you have to deal with it alone, when you try to reach out and others fail you.

This time of year reminds me very much of how single I am. But at the same time, the Christmas season however reminds me though that no matter how much hurt there is, no matter how much pain (either physical or emotional) I go through, I shouldn’t give up.

But when God makes a promise, He keeps it. In fact, God keeps both sides of the promise. (http://shereadstruth.com/2014/12/01/gods-promises-abram/)

Hope. We see it all through Scripture. But it’s not hope in ourselves or what we can do—it’s hope in the promises of the One who never lets us down. (http://shereadstruth.com/2014/12/02/christs-birth-prophesied/)

My prayer for this Christmas season is to remember what the true meaning of this holiday is to me. That God sent his son down in the lowliest of all situations for us, for me. Because He loved us, He loved me. That this is the greatest gift anyone could ever do for me. So that whenever I feel like I have no hope, when I feel abandoned, when I feel forgotten, when I have been let down, that I DO still have hope.

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24b)

I don’t listen too much to my local Christian radio station because I feel like the music they play is too much geared towards the “family safe kid friendly” spiel. I feel that they limit themselves by only playing this type of music and it all starts sounding the same. Plus I thought they had switched over to Christmas music 24/7 and while I’m perfectly fine with this, yesterday I was not in the mood. I was driving to work and I was feeling pretty down and started crying. Then on a whim, I switched over to the Christian radio station and this song came on and it was exactly what I needed to hear.

Nice timing God. Thanks.

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Anniversaries, milestones and memories

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I have two degrees in history which can be interpreted that I enjoy remembering and preserving the past. One of the things that comes of being a history scholar/buff is that you’re really good with remembering dates and anniversaries. You remember why specific dates are important and what happened on that day in history. You may not exactly want to relive the past but you know why it’s a significant date and worthy of remembering.

I sometimes wonder if things fall on certain dates or milestones and it’s just a coincidence and me trying to connect everything or if God’s the one in control.

Again it’s always really good timing when the message at church seems to correspond with both posts I’ve written about recently or ones that I’m getting ready to write. It makes me feel like God is tracking with me and helps me to hear what I need. This past week in church, our pastor talked about how “For better or worse, human character always impacts history. But divine character, led and influenced by the Holy Spirit, always impacts eternity.” He talked about things can happen and we can just classify them as being just a coincidence and brush it off or is it something much more significant and important than that?

There are certain dates that are upcoming in the near future that to the average person aren’t important and could be written off as just coincidences. And to be honest, sometimes I question why I feel so strongly about these dates. Is it nostalgia? Sentiment? Wishful thinking at trying to make everything fit? Or are they all part of God’s bigger plan and I’m aware that I’m a part of it?

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I really don’t try too hard to make everything connect together. It’s not like I’m sitting here trying to find the tiniest little thing that matches up with something else. But when things DO fit together and you look back at them, sometimes there’s just nothing else you can say but how it’s totally a God thing. There’s no other explanation. I’m not trying to manipulate the circumstances at all.

I talked about last week about how the die has rolled a certain way in my life and I was meant to be in a certain timeline. Sometimes I question why because it just seems like everything can feel pointless and am I really making that much of a difference. But then I’m reminded that sometimes all I need to really do is just plant the seed and God will take of it and he’ll do all the work. Even if I never see what comes of it this side of heaven, I just need to do what I’ve been told to do.

So as these anniversaries go by, I don’t have to make a big deal of it. I don’t even need to recreate everything that happened in my mind and relive those memories. But I also don’t need to constantly ponder if these things happened for a reason because I know that they did. I know that God purposely planned out everything and even if I can’t see or understand it now, I just need to trust in Him. He’s used me and he’ll continued to use me as he sees fit. He’s placed me in THIS timeline for a reason.

“And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b)

Life is so complicated. But God calls us to trust Him. To rest in Him as He holds us in His hands, as He fulfills His promise to work the details of our everything together for our good. http://shereadstruth.com/2013/08/08/wob3day4/

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The Impossible Girl

The past few years I’ve had themes to describe how the year went for me. The name of the year has a geeky reference but it also perfectly describes how I felt throughout the year.

In 2012, I was “The Girl on Fire“. Much like Katniss, everything was going well for me that year. Other than a couple of weeks where it just kinda sucked, I was having the best year of my life. Almost everything went the way I had hoped and I was the happiest I had been in years.

In 2013, I was “The Girl Who Waited.” Like Amy Pond, I sat there and I waited. I was waiting on God, I was waiting on people, I was waiting for things to happen. I felt a lot of times like I was forgotten because I had been waiting for so long.

It’s taken me several months to figure out what this year was going to be. Obviously I had to wait to see how the year goes before I could categorize the year. Five months in and I think I’ve figured it out. 2014 is the year of me being “The Impossible Girl.”

For all you non Doctor Who fans out there, The Impossible Girl is referring to Clara Oswald, one of the Doctor’s companions. To make a very long and complex story short, Clara shouldn’t have happened. She’s basically born to save The Doctor. It’s impossible for her to exist and yet there she is.

(Picture credit: http://ambrixmuse.deviantart.com/art/You-are-my-impossible-girl-372965800)

So how do I take that and have it refer to me? Because right now, I feel like I shouldn’t exist. And yet here I am. Everything I want for my life hasn’t happened yet. Everything I hope for keeps being out of reach for me. I don’t understand it. I feel like nothing that should be happening is. And I’m getting frustrated.

It’s like everything I want, God keeps putting JUST out of reach for me. He keeps allowing me to have hope only to take that hope away from me. And it’s very easy and tempting to start becoming angry at God. People (and myself) keep saying that if it hasn’t happened then it’s because it’s not the right timing for it. That God has a reason for this and I need to just trust in his timing.

Truth:  I’m tired of this. I’m tired of getting my hopes up repeatedly only to have them crashing down. I’m tired of hoping anymore because it HURTS when things don’t happen. I’d sometimes rather just not have the hope at all. I feel like my entire life has been pointless, yes even with everything that I’ve written about here on my blog. Because what is the point of hoping when things NEVER come through.

There are two things in my life that I really want. Two things that every person in this world wants at least one of. And for whatever reason, God keeps withholding those two things from me. And right now, I don’t know why. I know everything you’re going to tell me. That it’s not my fault. That God has his reasons. That the timing isn’t right. That something better is ahead. And I believe all this. I know all this is true. And I have to fight all the doubts and insecurities that are trying to creep in right now. I know the promises that God has made. And I believe that he will keep them.

But in a moment of complete vulnerability, I do feel like I’m not good enough. That something MUST be wrong with me. That I keep either getting rejected or passed over or ignored. And I feel like I have done everything to better myself and it’s still not working for either case. And at this point, I don’t understand why God hates me and keeps rewarding everyone else instead. Because that’s exactly what it feels like. It’s like because I want these things so badly, that God doesn’t want me to have them for some reason. And I wish that he would just remove these desires so that I could do exactly what he wanted me to do instead of hoping for things that will never happen. And people who don’t even want these things keep getting them over and over again. So I just don’t understand why God keeps making everything impossible for me.

PAUSE

Ok funny thing: I wrote the above section earlier in the afternoon when I feeling very low. Obviously you can tell based on what I was saying by my emotional writing. I then remember vaguely praying for the Lord to help me and then just sort of forgetting about it and just wanting to get through the rest of the night. And then God answered my prayer in a way I wasn’t expecting. In fact he went far and above what I was expecting. To the point where I feel maybe not 100% better but at least 95% better than I did this afternoon. I was actually smiling and laughing tonight.

It made me realize that even though I really don’t know why things happen/don’t happen, God does. Not only that, but he also provides what you need when you need it and even if you don’t think you need it. Just like today for me. Even though I hate having my hopes crashed, it is good to have hope and the Lord gave me hope again today. I have to be careful how I handle that hope but at the same time I am able to hope again.

So back to me being “The Impossible Girl” for 2014: I feel that there are things this year that just seem impossible and I’m going to trust God with those impossible things. Because he has told me time and time again that I need to trust him. And he has made promises to me and told me that I need to just let go of all anxiety and fear. I need to just believe that he is fully capable of making those promises, no matter how impossible, come true. And even though it seems like it can’t happen and it shouldn’t happen, because I know they are promises from the Lord, they WILL happen. But if I don’t trust or believe, if I let my faith become shattered because of my doubt then everything is a lie.

God is passionately and intimately aware of every detail that you’re going through right now. He’s paying attention to your every breath. Nothing misses God’s attention. You may not understand why you’re going through what you’re going through, but you need to say this to God: “I know you’re good; I know you’re loving; I know you’re powerful; I know you notice the details of my life; I know you’re in control; I know you have a plan; I know you will protect me.” Then, you need to trust God — no matter what. Whatever you’re going through, tell God exactly how you feel. He can handle it! Accept help from others. Stop asking “why,” and start trusting God for the things you don’t understand. (http://purposedriven.com/blogs/dailyhope/what-to-do-when-it-makes-no-sense)

I’ve said before I want God to use me and my story. And I believe that he will take my situation, these seemingly impossible situations, and use them for His glory. I am The Impossible Girl this year because to everyone else, these things shouldn’t happen. But to the Lord, nothing is impossible with him. Just hang in there. Wait. Trust. And it will be good.

If there’s a passage in Scripture that can sum up how 2014 is and will be for me this is it:

Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. (Hebrews 6:17-19a)

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Having Faith In God vs Having Faith in the Results

This past Sunday, my pastor continued his series on Philippians. This week he only focused mainly on two verses:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

As you remember a couple of weeks ago, I have trouble when it comes to worrying. I do it a lot over certain areas in my life. However, in person I hide it pretty well. Even if you know me really well, I’m usually pretty good at keeping it from you unless you ask me. I can be a “ninja worrier”.

That being said this week’s message gave me A LOT of food for thought. Like pretty much a good deal amount of folks in the service, it seemed as if the message was specifically for me. Everyone worries to some degree about something. If you’re a parent, you’re going to worry. Our pastor mentioned that there was a man he met that said he never worried because he trusted God in everything. While I wish that I had faith that strong, I do wonder if he was a parent because I highly doubt that anyone can be a loving parent and not worry about their children.

The takeaway of the message for me was that we need to hope in the Lord and not in the results. Which is what I don’t do AT ALL. My focus tends to be on what the outcome is going to be. It’s hard to not hope for that. If you think something is going to happen, if you want it to happen, if your prayers have been centered around something trying to happen, then it’s no wonder why you focus on the results.

There’s a difference between concern and anxiety. Example: Say someone told you on Sunday they were going to get in touch with you to get together during the week. It’s now Thursday and you still haven’t heard from them. Concern: “I guess that person forgot. Maybe they got busy. I hope they’re ok. But since they said they would take the responsibility for contacting me, there’s nothing I can do about it.” Anxiety: “WHY AREN’T THEY CONTACTING ME????!! Did I do something wrong? What is wrong with me that I keep getting ignored? It’s my fault isn’t it? Or maybe they died? Should I do something about it??? WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING TO ME????!!”

Yes I think you can see the difference. (And I don’t mean from the increase of punctuation)

I borrow from tomorrow’s worries a lot. I’m scared of what the future could possibly bring. Unfortunately it’s in my genetic makeup to worry and I have to fight it. I have to trust in the Lord. I don’t know why things happen or don’t happen but I have to trust that God has his hand in all this. And even though I may not understand right now and there’s a good chance that I may never understand until I get to heaven and ask God why (and believe me I’ll have a list of questions), I must have faith that God knows what is best for me.

It’s hard. Because I don’t know what’s going to happen. BUT I am going to keep having hope IN the LORD and not in the results. And keep praying that my desires will line up with the Lord’s and that he will take care of me and provide and protect. And even if what I fear the most does happen, that the Lord will be with me throughout it all.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)

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Are You There God? It’s Me, Deborah

This week in church, the final song we sang in the service was titled “Always”. It’s one of my favorite worship songs because every time I hear/sing it, it reminds me that God is always there no matter what happens.

Oh, my God
He will not delay
My refuge and strength always
I will not fear
His promise is true
My God will come through always
Always

But sometimes I wonder, even though I know God WILL come through, what exactly IS going to come through? Waiting and trusting are topics that I talk about a lot because that is what it feels like my whole life revolves around. I sometimes get worried that because I want something it’s not going to happen. My biggest fears involve hoping for things but then they won’t come true because God doesn’t want it for me. It’s like God and I have different mindsets and I can never line mine up with God’s no matter how hard I try. Therefore I get scared to hope for anything because it feels like God doesn’t want me to be happy.

I know that’s obviously wrong though. I know that it’s when I’m at my most vulnerable point that is when doubt and fear creep in. And I know it’s happening because the enemy pretty much has found me at my weakest and wants to exploit it to eventually have me reject my faith in God. And let me tell you sometimes it can be very hard sometimes to not blame God for things or why things aren’t happening. I don’t believe it’s a sin to be angry nor even to be angry at God. However, I’ve been learning that I while I can be angry at my circumstances, I can’t stay that way for very long.

I’m an external processor by nature and I can vent like a champ. If you are willing to listen, I will go over something over and over with you so you can help me figure out what went wrong, what I did wrong, how I can fix it or how I can prevent it from happening again. I’ve been realizing that, while there’s nothing wrong with talking about things with others you trust, it may not necessarily be the best thing to do. Sometimes they aren’t the ones you need to go to first with your problems.

I’ve been really working more on my praying and quiet time with God. This means sometimes just having conversations with him vs a long drawn out formal prayer. I’ve been learning to talk to God about everything that’s on my mind. Even though sometimes I feel it’s very trivial, I still tell him. And sooner rather than later, I realize that it’s perfectly fine to go to him with all the concerns I have. Eventually, I begin to notice that a lot of those concerns decrease because I let it go vs holding it back in. Try it. It works wonders.

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

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With a little (or a lot) of help from my friends

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“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”  – C.S. Lewis

Last week I wrote about what it’s like losing an extremely close friend in your life by their choice and not yours. I was told by several people that I sounded really sad and they wanted to see if I was ok. In all honesty, I am. That post had been written for a while and I had gotten out most of the emotion while writing it and had reached a place where I was at peace to post it. It also got me thinking though even if one person chose not to have me in their life there are still many people who still would welcome me with open arms. That one loss won’t define who I am.

On Sunday, the message at my church was extremely timely as my pastor talked how a passage in Philippians 2 show how  “good relationships are built on who you are, not what you can do. Integrity is the glue that holds relationships together.”

He talked about how you need to have several good strong relationships in your life, friends that want you to suceed and will sacrifice things in their own life to help you succeed. This got me thinking that even when I feel that I’ve lost a friendship, I still have other friends who DO care about me and fulfill all those above requirements.

I’ve said before I didn’t have very many close friends growing up when I was in school. Even the ones that I did have, we don’t talk anymore. I don’t know if it’s me or them, but it felt like after we graduated from high school everyone went their separate path, got back together with each other, and I got somehow left behind. I actually have never been invited to a single one of my high school friend’s weddings. Or college for that matter.

Don’t start pity partying me. In the past few years, I have been blessed with some amazing friendships. I am glad that I have found them now in this stage of life because the person I used to be would not have been mature enough to be friends with these people. These folks have stuck by me through thick and thin. They’ve gotten phone calls, texts, Facebook messages, Gchats…heck I think even written notes from me when I needed their friendship. And in turn, I feel like I’ve been there for them as well.

Our pastor categorized these friendships as Level 5 ones. I would hope that they think of me in that same light. These are the people you trust most. The one you can go to with your joys and struggles and know that they will both rejoice and mourn with you. They are the people who will desire your success about their own and in turn you will feel the same way about them. I sometimes joke (though being partially serious) that if I were to die or something horrible had happened to me, these friends would know in less than a day. Which is very comforting to think about. Especially when right now I’m single.

I need those good strong relationships in my life right now. And I feel that God has put these people in my life for a reason. He’ll take away people who I don’t need in my life right now for a reason as well. You always want those friendships you see on TV or movies where you have the big group of friends who stick together throughout the years  Well right now (and I hope this doesn’t change but if it does, so be it) I feel like I have even better friends than that.

This is a rather sappy post. FEEL THE LOVE.

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Right now, doors are my mortal enemy

RoomOfDoors

Bear in mind this is sort of a rambling post. There’s been a lot going in my mind lately.

In my never-ending quest to trying to figure out what is going on in my life, I’ve realized that sometimes I feel like it’s a never-ending hallway full of doors. If you’ve read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, then you know of the scene that takes place in the Ministry of Magic with the doors. For the rest of you Muggles out there (that’d be non Wizarding folk), Harry and his friends find themselves in a room that’s full of doors and they don’t know which door to go through at first. All the doors are locked and they are trying to figure how to get in. And that’s how I’m feeling right now. I see all these doors, but I don’t know how to get in.

One of the things that I struggle with is knowing when a door has been really shut and when I’m just being stupid and ignoring the fact that it is. It all comes down to letting go of control, trusting in God and just waiting. I know all about that. I’ve written about (see evidence in those links). But sometimes it’s still hard. Because you don’t know what you should do. And even after prayer, reading the Bible, asking for advice, and surrendering, the answer still isn’t all that clear. And God seems silent.

There have been times when I know a door has been shut in my life. Relationships, jobs, school, things I wanted to happen. The door is shut so firmly and with a loud bang that it’s so completely obvious. And even though I didn’t understand at the time why the door was closed, I still KNEW it had been shut.

Looking back, one amusing “door slam shut” story involved a guy that I started to become aware of possibly being interested in. I didn’t fully like him but I was gathering the notion of what it would be to like him. I told a girlfriend the next day, and she was the first person who I had told, heck I had just barely admitted it to myself. I ended up hanging out with him and a few friends that night, and I’m starting to think “Hmm I can see this working”. An hour passes and we’re all talking, and one friends asks the guy “Oh, where did these [food items] come from?” He replies, “My girlfriend…..who I started dating yesterday.” I was floored. After I got my jaw off the ground, I had to laugh because I knew then that God had immediately slammed that door shut before I had even gotten the chance to get it open more than a tiny crack. Eventually it all worked out for the best as they are now engaged and I’m really happy for them. But it was just amusing because I KNEW God had done this and stopped it before it could even get started.

But then there are other times when I’ve tried to close a door and God will NOT let it close. I’ve begged, pleaded, cried, walked away with the intention of never trying to open it again, only to have it swing wide back open again. But when I walk back towards the door, I can’t walk through it or it starts to shut slowly again. And I don’t know why it’s happening. Because if I were to sit there and wait for that door on my own, I’m expecting a long and painful wait. I’ve prayed a lot about it. And right now I feel that God is telling me that it’s ok to walk away from that door now, but he’s still leaving it open. I’m not really looking back at the door and I feel like I’m not the one that’s meant to go through it first. I wish that the door would stay shut so that I could freely move on, but perhaps that’s not what God wants for me right now. Meanwhile there’s another door ahead of me that does seem open but I can’t get to it yet. That’s also slightly frustrating because that door feels like it finally opened and I want to go in there. I may be slightly impatient as I’m stuck in that big waiting room.

A friend once told me that if God wants to close a door in your life, no matter how hard you push and shove, it will not budge open. Likewise if he wants to keep it open, I will never be able to pull that door shut no matter how hard I try.

So basically the only thing I can do right now is just keep doing everything I have been. And pray that even though I don’t know why everything is happening the way things are going now, that in the future I’ll understand.