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Wait, there are other timelines?

If you follow me on Twitter or know me in real life, you know that my favorite TV show right now is Community. (Yes, I’m late to the game. I already know this.)

One of my favorite episodes and what I think fans and critics agree is the best episode of the show is “Remedial Chaos Theory”. In that episode, a die is rolled to determine which member of the group goes to pick up the pizza that was delivered. With each result of the die and depending on who had to leave to get the pizza, a different timeline is created as events become altered.

Eventually there is a prime timeline and “The Darkest Timeline”.

Even with all the fun aspects of this episode (plus the fact that I now have “Roxanne” by The Police stuck in my head, thanks a lot Britta), what I got most out of watching it was how just one simple decision in life can change the course of the future.

While there are many of those stories I have in my life, today I’m going to focus on a decision that I did not initiate but it would eventually map out my life.

When I was a freshman in college, I was ready to take on the world. I was going to be a chemical engineer and make lots of money. Before I left for school, I fell in deep like with a guy from back home. We went to high school together but we didn’t become friends until the summer before I left. Once I got to school, we spent a lot of time talking on AIM and on the phone getting to know each other. And I really liked him. I came home for a weekend to hang out with him and we went to a concert and the movies together and I hoped that something would come of it. However, he eventually made the decision to not further our relationship.

I will admit that I didn’t handle it so well. As an 18 year old college freshman, I was not as mature as I am now in how I reacted. Not towards him but more so in the decisions I made after that. And because of how I handled it, those decisions that I made then affected where I am today.

I don’t blame him at all for what happened. He had every right to make that decision all those years ago and looking back as well as looking to see where we are today, I do believe that for both us it was the right decision. But it interesting that one choice eventually affected so much.

What if the die had rolled a different way? What would that timeline have looked like? It would have been completely different from where I am now. I think of all the people I have met up until today and without sounding cocky, all the lives I’ve impacted. If things had gone different 13 years ago, this would not have been the case. I might have kept continuing studying engineering and created something that would have saved the world. I might have ended up with him or someone else and not had the relationships I ended up having. The world could have ended.

In all seriousness, I know that things happen for a reason. God chooses to close doors and lead you down the path that he wants you to be on. I know I’m where I’m supposed to be right now. All the experiences I’ve gone through, no matter how hard they were and sometimes how much they sucked happened to me for a reason. All the people I’ve met, all the friends I’ve made, all the emotions I’ve dealt with, they’ve happened for a reason. And I’m happy with that. It’s not the path I thought was going to be on but I know it’s the right for me.

I do wonder what happened in all those other timelines.

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I don’t NEED your approval but I secretly want it

Validation. What is it? It’s getting feedback from others that “what I do and what I say matters to you. You hear me. You see me. You think of me. You thank me. You acknowledge my accomplishments. You appreciate my efforts.”

The opposite of validation? Non-recognition. “I don’t give a damn what you want, what you say, what you think. Who cares? You’re overreacting. You’re nuts. You don’t know what you’re talking about.” (http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/09/21/the-importance-of-validation/)

I could question the fact that I’m writing about validation on a blog.

But you know what? I know I’m not the only person that this can be an issue for. Sure there are a ton of people out there (even some who read my blog) who don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks. And that’s fabulous! It really is. They don’t need to be told they’ve done a good job. They just do what they want. And this is how they react when they think someone else feels like they need approval in their life:

Social media can play into a huge validation trap of wanting likes, comments, retweets, favorites, page views.

For example, sometimes when articles I write get published I feel like they get lost in the ether. I sit there and watch what seems to be everyone else get recognition from everybody under the sun and all the page views in the world. And meanwhile, my work gets pushed to the back burner and no one notices that I’m there. It’s not that I’m jealous of other people’s accomplishments. It’s that I can’t figure out what I did wrong or what I should be doing to get to that level. For some people they don’t have to make any effort at all. And while I AM proud of my own work, I also do wonder if maybe my work isn’t as good as I think it is? Is it really bad and just no one is telling me? Did I pick unpopular topics? Is there something else I should be doing?

I could be completely wrong and I may be making a huge assumption that might blow up in my face but I feel like extroverts probably suffer from this more than introverts. In my mind, if being alone makes you feel better, than you’d be completely comfortable if other people didn’t notice you or keep trying to get approval from others.

Do I need to have people constantly telling me all the time how well I’ve done? No. Please. I don’t want that.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve done something and no one notices at all. I’m not really good at self promoting, in fact I hate it like a champ. I’ve learned that people don’t like bragging. And maybe it can just be some of the people I’ve been around that anytime you just mention things that happen in your life they seem annoyed or cannot be happy for you. It makes me just not want to talk about anything I’ve done. Maybe that’s my own problem though.

If no one ever said anything, that’d be really hard. Sometimes it makes me feel like what I do is a waste. If it’s really worth the time spending if no one says anything at all. Even if I enjoy it, what if I’m wasting time that could be spent somewhere else? At the same time, I need to be do things for myself and not try to get the approval of people who really just don’t care. I’m not going to simply change my interests just because not everyone likes something I do. There’s a fine balance here somewhere.

And now I’m going to close this by Jesus juking this post:

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)

Additional reading: 10 Signs You Might Have a Need for Approval

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I Forgot to Remember to Forget

There’s a line in my favorite Chronicles of Narnia book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, that has always stuck with me. It’s the scene when Lucy has to read the magician’s spellbook to help save the Dufflepuds become visible again. And during the list of spells she flips past through are two that I would have been very tempted to say myself: “how to remember things forgotten, how to forget things you wanted to forget.”

There’s also the memory spell from Harry Potter that I sometimes wish I could perform on myself:

For believe me there are many things that I wish I could forget in my life.

In the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the main characters have their memories erased of each other to forget the pain and hurt that happened due the breakdown of their relationship. It seems like it would be a brilliant invention. To have your mind swept free of all the negative feelings that were the result of heartbreak. Sometimes I wish that actually took place.

Of course you do grow because of the pain. You do grow from your experiences. As much as I hate what I’ve gone through, I know that because of the bad stuff, I’ve become a better person. And that part I’m ok with. I try not to dwell on the painful past though. It does no good to sit there and be reminded constantly of how much you were hurt. I just hate it when the memories sneak up when you’re not expecting it. I’m not talking about if a song comes on the radio that used to be your song. I mean like looking at patch of grass and a flood of memories comes back.

Sometimes I wonder if the other person remembers things too. Obviously what you place importance on will stand out more to one person than another. But other times it feels like the other person literally did wipe out every memory of you just like Clementine did to Joel in Eternal Sunshine. And because you don’t want to be the only one with the memories, it’s easy to just want to shut them out too. And that can hurt.

(FYI: some cursing. Also I totally forgot David Cross was in that movie)

If I had a super power it would be the ability to absorb knowledge and never forget it. I’d be able to give out information in the blink of an eye. My name would be something like The Encyclopedia or the Archivist. I remember things. I remember birthdays, important anniversaries, events. I retain information like a sponge. Now I don’t have a photographic memory. I can’t look at something and automatically remember what was there. But I do have good reading comprehension skills. And I’m good at picking up on small details.

Senior year in high school, it was a joke among my friends that if anyone needed to remember anything, they just needed to turn to me and I’d remember it in my brain or my “files”.

SAMSUNG

Sometimes I don’t let on that I remember things or people. I feel weird because I remember tiny little details that everyone else seems to have forgotten. I try not to be that person that brings up that embarrassing moment from 6th grade that you had tried to block out of your mind. If something triggers a memory in me, while it may bother me on the inside, I try to keep my mouth shut because it was only important to me.

People always say to me “I can’t believe you remember that!” Sometimes I wish I didn’t.

I’ll see people from years ago and I’ll totally recognize them but they don’t seem to recognize me. Sometimes that bothers me a little because it makes me feel like I didn’t exist or that I was so unimportant that I’ve been erased from their memory. This hurts especially when we used to be good friends.

It sucks also when I make plans with someone and I remember the plans. But then it feels like the other person doesn’t remember. And I’m never sure if I’m supposed to remind them or wait for them to remember. I don’t want to nag but at the same time I want to think that I was important enough to be remembered.

However, I totally realize that everyone is different and not everyone has a memory like mine. I’m good at remembering faces, little details, etc. I mean that’s part of the reason why I decided to study history. To me, remembering things is important and priority to me.

The hard part is just remembering (heh) that not everyone else is like this. Again you’d think I’d realize this all the time, but it’s only starting to sink in. Just because I place priority over something does not mean everyone else does. Sometimes you do have to push people to remember things and it doesn’t mean that it makes you any less of important. Other times, people just choose to forget you and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Ironically as I look at my Timehop app for today, an app that triggers a lot of memories, one of my Twitter statuses from three years ago was this

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How secure are you about your insecurity?

Have you ever read something and you felt like OMG this is totally speaking to me. That this must have been written for me. And you wonder why on earth you didn’t know about this before? And then you want to tell everyone about it even though you know it won’t have the same impact on them that it did you?

This happened to me the other night when I finally read So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore. I normally don’t read a lot of Moore’s books. I once did a Bible study of hers but it was quite long and there was a lot of “homework” involved.  It had been sitting in my library TBR pile (which seems to be never-ending) but over the weekend something happened that made me feel like God wanted me to finally read the book. And I started and finished it in one day, which is really rare for me with non fiction books. Apparently I really needed it.

While almost the majority of everyone deals with some type of insecurity (there may be a lucky few of you who don’t at all), we all don’t suffer for the same reasons. What may bother you might not bother someone else. And we may not be able to understand someone else’s issues.

Insecurity is a very ugly thing and causes us to act in ways that are not appealing. A lot of times we really try to hide the fact that we feel this way. For me, a good bit of my insecurity is coming from wanting to feel like I’m normal and not standing out, but feeling like I’m failing immensely. Part of this comes from growing up and physically standing out of the crowd when I wanted to blend in but instead got teased for it.

As an adult, I’ve learned and accepted (though you may not believe it) that I’m unique and it’s perfectly fine that I don’t share the same interests or characteristics as everyone else. As I stated last week, I’m happy with the person I’ve become and while I want to make myself a better person FOR myself, I’m cool with what I do.

It sound silly, even to me as I type this, but I struggle with wanting to just be seen as normal. I feel when I tell other people about things I like or something I’m excited about, other people don’t seem to care. I think because I care so (ok, too) much about what other people think I tend to notice facial expressions or pick up little things more than others. I notice when someone darts their eyes away, gets restless, looks bored, sighs, changes the subject, etc.

Or other people, because they aren’t as interested, tend to knock down things I talk about. This may just be their personality but to me it feels like what I am excited about isn’t worth their time. It’s one thing when I tell a random stranger and they don’t care. But when I tell someone who I do care about and their reactions seem to be bored or uninterested, I feel like I should just shut up because what I have to say isn’t interesting to them. Instead of lashing out, I tend to withdraw.

I realize my personality is different from others. I may also act in different ways than other people. If someone doesn’t like something I do, while inwardly I may think but why not?!, outwardly I’m not going to tell them they are stupid for it. If someone likes something that I don’t, while I may say I don’t like it I won’t tell them it’s stupid. I’m so worried about feeling stupid in front of other people who I would never want to make someone else feel that way because I know how horrible that feeling can be. I feel empathy towards people. I also may overly project how I feel on others.

Anyways all this can lead to some of the feelings I have about being insecure. So when I picked up the book and started reading it, it was like reading a book directly written for me. It’s good to know then that I’m not alone.

I tried not to quote the entire book but these were some of the passages that REALLY stood out to me.

Men are not our problems, it’s what we are trying to get from them that messes us up. Nothing is more baffling that our attempt to derive our womanhood from our men. We use guys like mirrors to see if we’re valuable. Beautiful. Desirable. Worthy of notice. Viable. We try to read their expressions and moods in order to determine whether it’s time act smart and hard to get or play dumb and needy. (page 7)

Are we honestly going to insist on drawing our security from people – men or women – who are oblivious to the inordinate amount of weight we give to our estimation of us? (page 9)

Insecurity refers to a profound sense of self-doubt, a deep feeling of uncertainty about our basic worth and our place in the world. Insecurity is associated with chronic self-consciousness, along with a chronic lack of confidence in ourselves and anxiety about our relationships. The insecure man or woman lives in constant fear of rejection and a deep uncertainty about whether his or her own feelings and desires are legitimate. (page 17)

The insecure person also harbors unrealistic expectations about love and relationships. These expectations, for themselves and for others, are often unconscious. The insecure person creates a situation in which being disappointed and hurt in relationships is almost inevitable. Ironically, although insecure people are easily and frequently hurt, they are usually unaware of how they are unwitting accomplices in creating their own misery. (page 23)

We can be so blessed in certain relationships that our unrealistic expectations often seem met and, therefore, reasonable. We can get away with thinking we’re secure people because, for a time, we have the important things just like we want them. But then change happens, and suddenly we are thrown for a severe emotional loop. We realize we weren’t secure. We were spoiled. One way we can detect insecurity is by our knee-jerk reaction to any level of change in a relationship, particularly if we perceive that the focus has shifted away from us. (page 25)

Overwhelmingly, the men used one word to describe what they do when they feel insecure: withdraw. If they don’t overtly withdraw, they will probably behave in a way, whether consciously or unconsciously, that will make their love ones withdraw. One way or the other, a man who feels insecure will often force space. If quietness doesn’t work, excessive irritation, agitation, or anger will usually do the job……Generally speaking men withdraw when they feel insecure and women cling. Men give off the don’t mess with me vibe. Women give off the please mess with me vibe. (page 194-195)

Women who struggle with insecurity are particularly taken with two divine attributes: omnipotence and omniscience. (page 208) People who are chronically insecure often have an overwhelming tendency to become control freaks. We feel most secure when our environment is in control and since no one is able to control it to our satisfaction, we decide we have to do it ourselves. If someone would do it and do it right, we wouldn’t have to take over, so it’s not really our fault, we reason. It’s our responsibility. (page 209)

People do what they want to do. You can’t make them do something else. You can’t force them. You can’t change them. You can’t deliver them. Only God can…..When we try to do God’s job, we get in God’s way. (page 214)

We can’t control what we don’t know and we can’t secure what we can’t see. (page 214)

There is knowing. And there is knowing too much. (page 218)

When God initiates, He equips us to handle. Even though unsolicited information might have caused pain and great conflict, if God initiated the revelation, He had a goal in mind that was steeped in great love. Even if He used a messenger you didn’t like, HE worked through His sovereignty to open your eyes to something vital…..When we scratch and claw to dig information out of the dirt, we don’t get the same kind of grace that accompanies divine revelation. (page 219)

We pry because we are insecure and then we are more insecure because we pried. God is the only one who can know a person’s every thought, every motive, every temptation, and every flaw yet still feel good about himself. If we want to become secure women of God, we must cease asking questions we can’t handle the answer to. (page 220-221)

The goal in our female relationships should be to encourage one another’s security. Not enable one another’s insecurity. (page 289)

Any time insecurity hits you can be sure that you are afraid of something…..When we set certain conditions for trust, we offer the enemy of our souls the perfect playground for toying with our minds No, he can’t read our thoughts but he can certainly study our behaviors. Once he pinpoints our emotional Achilles’ heel, he draws back the bow and aims the poisonous dart straight at it. He figures out what we’re most afraid of, and then he taunts us unmercifully with expert marksmanship. (page 324)

So if you’re still reading down to here:

To sum it up, I really got a lot out of this book. The situation this weekend was one where my insecurities were coming at me full force. I’m the type of person that instead of lashing out towards other people when this happens, I beat up on myself even more. The whole section about “wanting to know more because you fear” really spoke to me because that’s exactly what was happening. Had I not read this book right after that happened, I would be a mess right now because I’d be dwelling on the limited information I have and would want to keep trying to find out more. But by doing so it would hurt me and I’d just keep repeating the cycle. Instead, I feel like God gave me tools to learn how to combat it and move toward a more positive way to deal with these.

I’m not perfect nor will I ever be. I know that I have many things to work out and insecurities like these are some of them. But I know that with God, he’ll help me through it all.

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. (Psalm 29:11) 

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A Late Bloomer Finally Gets It

Last week I talked about wearing masks and believing the lie that God could never love us. Here’s the second part to that series.

We’re so afraid that the dream can’t come. That if someone actually knew the real us, saw behind the mask, before the makeup that they would walk away. Our fear is to be known and be rejected. And when those things that we fear keep us from being loved and they are held in front of my face, we believe every bad thing about us.

It’s really funny how there’s a fine line as to how much Christians will take when it comes to openness and authenticity. We constantly talk about how we need to be real with other believers and that it’s important to share our problems because we shouldn’t face things alone. And that it’s good to do this in a safe environment with those we trust.

But at the same time if we see someone publicly talk about their struggles, we say they are being too open, over sharing, and some things are best left private. And then we start judging them, condemn them, and even try to shame them for acting this way and sharing it with the world without offering any help at all.

Thus we then repeat the cycle of never sharing anytime we’re going through something tough in life because we need to keep it all together on the outside because as Christians we’re supposed to be able to trust God in everything and never worry.

We can’t have it both ways can we?

Are we afraid to see struggles in other people’s lives because it brings out to light the ones we have in our own? Do we see someone having struggles and feel “blessed” because we don’t have that going on in our lives? Do we just not want to deal with anyone else and their problems because we have our own mess to deal with? Do we place perfect pictures on Facebook of how great our lives are because we are genuinely happy or because we want to brag? Is the intention to make someone jealous or just to show a happy moment?

The last five pics on Facebook I posted are

  1. a screenshot of Josh Groban retweeting me
  2. Me and my friends’ adorable baby
  3. A pic of my move in a tabletop game where I die.
  4. My friend and his baby making the exact same face
  5. All the flights of beer my friends and I were about to sample.

What were the reasons for me behind posting these? Well honestly, either out of sheer excitement at the moment or the baby being so darned cute. I don’t go on trips to photographic places, I don’t have an awesome boyfriend/husband who cleans my car AND cooks me dinner, I personally don’t have a very cute baby, and I haven’t recently had a major life event that I can share with everyone. Therefore I don’t feel like my life is anything anyone would be jealous over. Even IF I wanted to impress anyone, the people I would want to see “how awesome my life is right now” don’t follow any of my social media and therefore have no idea what is going on in my life at the moment. I’m not trying to get likes on these photos to make me feel validated. And let me tell you, getting a billion notifications is not fun either. I experienced that with my Josh Groban retweet. It makes me not want to ever be a celebrity. That was not a humble brag for the record.

I think sometimes I use social media simply just to make sure I’m not alone in how I feel and to see if there is anyone else that can validate my thinking so I’m not weird. I realize that not everyone will be excited about the things I am interested in. I’m not out for universal approval. If I were I’d be failing like a champ because I’ll never get it.

“Really Hagrid, if you are holding out for universal popularity, I’m afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time”

And yet…

Right now I’m at a point in my life where I fully enjoy all the interests that I have. It’s taken me a while to realize and accept this. I’m a late bloomer. I know this. I’m sure there are many of you who figured this out the day you were born.

I’m going to tell you this though. It’s hard. It’s really hard when you are excited about something, either an interest that you have or something that you’ve accomplished, and NO ONE can share in your excitement with you. Either they simply don’t care or they don’t share the interest so when you try to explain it, they don’t get it or understand why you’re so excited. And then someone else will come along with something everyone else can relate to and you’re just left alone in the dust.

For example: there are many times when I like something and I’m literally the only female in the group of people I hang around with that does. There have been many times when I’ve been considered one of the guys when it comes to shared interests. It’s great fun during that specific time period because I enjoy stuff like beer, tabletop gaming, and comics. But then they go back to their significant others who are the complete 180 of me and I’m left alone. And it makes me feel like I have to be something/someone else in order to have that too. That there’s something wrong with me where I’m cool enough to do one thing but it’s not enough to have everything else.

It’s hard to watch all my female friends go through the process of being single to being a girlfriend, wife, and mother while I’m left behind. And now that I’m literally the last one of my girlfriends to be single, it’s sometimes hard to not think if I’m doing something wrong or if there’s something wrong with me. There’s also the Christian side of this that tells you you can’t pursue and you need to wait. And also the view that if a guy wants something, he’ll go after it. Well with that logic, what happens to all the women who are never asked? Does this mean they are never wanted? What’s going on here?

I believed it was my fault that no one wanted to go out with me and that the responsibility for it rested squarely on my shoulders. If I were more spiritual, or more beautiful, or less opinionated guys would be into what I was selling.

But I know that it’s not true. I know that I can never be what I’m not. God has made me into the way I am and while I can tweak and work on things, I’m ultimately the person that I am.

Something I’m trying to accept: Even if no one else I know personally likes something I do, it does not mean that I am doing something wrong or that I am so weird and must change myself.

I’ve always felt like an outsider and that something must be weird with me because no one else likes what I like.  No, I don’t think I’m some sort of special snowflake that is so incredibly unique. When I really think about it, even though I would have liked to have been part of what everyone else does, I’ve always done my own thing. I’ve always gravitated towards things that the majority doesn’t really go after – from types of food I like, to TV shows, to books I read, even down to celebrities I like. Almost everything I like, the majority of people I know won’t be into it because I discovered it on my own. It suits me fine to have my interests but it would just be awesome to be able to share in the excitement with people you actually know. There’s always the internet but when you’re with friends, it feels odd standing out.

But I’m learning to accept that it’s ok to be different. I mean I wish people wouldn’t put me down for the things I like even if they don’t like them. That’s actually something I’ve never understood. If someone is genuinely excited about something and they tell you about it (in a non bragging way, but still) why on earth would you shoot them down with a “Why do you like [certain thing]? That’s so stupid.” There are many things that many of my friends do that I have no interest in. It doesn’t lessen what they do just because I don’t.

There are hard days. Yes. I look at many Christian women who are strong believers, awesome at what they do, are gorgeous, and yet they are single. I’ve read or heard them say they struggled with it because they didn’t/don’t really want to be in that situation.I can’t figure out why in the world they are single. And it makes me wonder if THEY can’t find anyone, what makes me think that I can have any hope?

But whatever God wants to happen will happen. I don’t know His ultimate plans but right now I do know that I’ve enjoyed becoming the person that I am now. And while yes, I can always work on some things, I am happy with how I turned out. I am who I am. I come with quirks, flaws, and baggage. I think my laugh sounds too loud and my sneezes weird everyone else out. But you know what? I’m happy. I’ve reached that point in my life where I’m not going to change myself just to get someone else. I’m not going to try pretend to be someone I’m not just to keep and maintain any sort of relationship. If someone wants me to be something I cannot ever be and doesn’t allow my true self to be appreciated then you’re not meant to be in my life in that particular way.

I’m no longer hiding behind any more masks. This is me.

And me is awesome.

We have some pretty big ideas of how our lives should go. We feel pretty strongly about what we don’t want to happen, and we’re perfectly willing to spend our entire lives fretting and fussing and not trusting that—whatever it is—God is for ushttp://shereadstruth.com/2014/07/15/please-thank-2/

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When Someone is Mad at You and You Don’t Know Why

There’s something that has been bothering me as of late. It’s not really a huge thing. And I know that I will eventually just get over it and move on.

It’s that nagging feeling of when someone appears to be mad at you or stops liking you and you have no idea why.

Truth: I have trouble trying not to be a people pleaser. I’ve gotten a lot better about it than I used to be in the past. Yes, I worry about what people think still but now I realize that I cannot make people happy all the time.

But it’s one thing when I make decisions because I know what’s best for me and if someone doesn’t like it, oh well. It’s completely another thing when apparently you’ve done something to offend someone and you have absolutely no idea why.

It’s really hard to comprehend the sudden 180 degree change in behavior. When someone goes from treating you like family or like a very close friend and everything that comes with that type of relationship to acting cold and distant and ignoring you whenever you try to talk to them, it can be really hard. And it hurts. A lot.

I spent weeks racking my brain trying to figure out what on earth I could have done wrong and I came up with nothing. Did I say something offensive? Did I do an action that was considered rude? Did I make a promise and forgot to keep it? I even tried to chalk it up to maybe they were having a bad day that one time. I know fully well the world does not revolve around me so perhaps it wasn’t my fault that they reacted differently that one time. Maybe there was something going on in their lives that time that was more important than anything I had to say.

But then it kept happening again and again. To the point where the relationship just completely fizzled out. And I still have no idea what on earth happened.

I did try to find out. I sent texts. Called and left messages. Even mailed cards and letters. All my efforts went unanswered So I gave up.

It felt and still feels horrible. I may never know what happened.

The thing is I know that I’ve done everything I can possibly do. If someone truly has become so angry or disgusted with me but they cannot tell me this, then I know it’s on them and not me. If I knew what offense I have done, then I would apologize. But the thing is, I don’t know what it is or even if there is anything to apologize for. Maybe I did do something horrible and am just completely clueless about it. Maybe there is mistaken assumption and in time it’ll be cleared up. Maybe the relationship just ran out its course and the other party just didn’t feel like publicly ending it and this is the only way they know how.

I just don’t know. But what I do know is that I feel like I’ve done everything that I can do. Even though I feel uneasy about this I’ve tried to react in love and show grace towards them. If space and distance is what they want, then I’ll give them that too, though not in a passive aggressive attitude.

I hope in time I’ll understand what happened and that the relationship can be fixed. If there’s anything I can do to clear things up, I hope God shows me my mistakes and what I can do. If it’s truly not me, then I hope that in time, things will become clear and everything makes sense. I also am prepared that the relationship may never be fixed and I may never know this side of heaven what caused the rift in the first place.

Basically all I can do now is just wait (yay) and just see what happens. I can’t force anything.

0

The Dangerous Experiment

I talk a lot on here about how I’m a shy extrovert. And how while I’m not always that good with being outgoing, I recharge by being around people I’m close with.

Every time I read a list about what introverts want the most on Buzzfeed, it’s about how they wish people would just leave them alone and not contact them. And this makes me paranoid that everyone is really like this and I’m just the weird one that wants to be around people.

However, believe or not, there are also days when I actually do want to be alone and not see anyone. There are days when I’m perfectly content with staying at home and reading books all day or going to the movies along because I don’t want to be with anyone. It’s not that extroverts need to be surrounded with people all the time. We need our downtime too. It’s like breathing underwater. And then I need to come back to the surface, take a few deep breaths, so I can go back down again.

Those days though come maybe every few weeks or so. I can only be myself willingly for so long.

Then I have days where, for whatever reason, I feel the need to see how long I can go without having people contact me.

Therefore I have days when I just want to see what happens if I don’t contact anyone and see if anyone actually responds. It’s a dangerous experiment to play because there is the potential that it can fail. It’s almost like I want to see if I died would anyone notice? How long would it take for someone to get in touch with me? And I would be absolutely crushed if no one did. I won’t lie. It’s a very selfish experiment because I’m not purposely trying to avoid people; I just want to see how much I matter.

But because I never announce in advance I’m going to do this (and why would I?), it always never happens. Only unless I completely shut off my phone, turn off my computer, and didn’t leave my house would I be able to avoid all forms of human contact. Somehow, someway every time I’ve tried this experiment, someone tries to get in contact with me.

So I try not to do this anymore. I don’t want to be a hermit. I like people. I love my family and friends. I would like to think that if I disappeared someone would notice. I don’t want to ostracize myself from others.

It’s not always about waiting around for someone else to make the first move. I’ve learned to reach out to others. If you want something, sometimes you have to go out and get it yourself. And especially since I can be shy about reaching out to others, when I do make the effort (vs. doing it all the time) it tends to pay off very well. If people have problems with me reaching out them occasionally then that’s their problem, not mine.

1

You Can’t Handle the Truth

Sometimes when you want someone to be honest with you, it can hurt.

There’s an episode of Friends called “The One With the List”. In it Rachel finds a pros/cons list that Ross made to determine if he should break up with his current girlfriend for her. As expected, when she reads it, it really hurts her.

Imagine the worst things you think about yourself. Now, how would you feel if the one person that you trusted the most in the world not only thinks them too, but actually uses them as reasons not to be with you.

I once had a talk with a very close friend and during the conversation, I asked them to brutally honest with me. It was one of those moments where it was now or never that things of this nature were going to get shared.

I’m not going to share what was said, mainly because a lot of the things said are still quite painful and also I realize that it was only one specific viewpoint. But at the same time, it hurt. It made me feel like everything I have ever worried about myself for years WERE in fact true. Also that things that I had finally come to love about myself were still negative factors about me.

The worst part was that it had come from someone I trusted. Yes, I had asked them to tell me these things. Really, I have no one to blame but myself. I suppose I’d rather hear it from someone I trusted vs. some random person who didn’t know me at all. But I think it’s because I am close to them that it hurt even more. That because they knew my insecurities and my fears, the way it came out just made me feel like I was a failure. Were these things all true? Possibly. But at the same time, maybe I just wasn’t ready to handle it.

The next few days involved a lot of internal and external processing. It was very tempting to continue feeling like I was unworthy. It was a very highly emotional time. But because I wanted to prove to the other person and mainly to myself that I wasn’t going to stay this way, I found myself fighting it. First though, I allowed myself to hurt. Because to ignore the hurt would not be healthy. To just push it away would only make it come back much worse in the future. I let myself cry and be angry.

Then I stopped. And I allowed myself to move on. Why? Because even though this was a trusted confidant for me, they aren’t me. The only person who has final say over what happens in my life is me. And if I’m honestly happy with myself right now, then no one should take that away from me. Just because I’m not what someone wants or I’m not doing something you would do, doesn’t mean I have to change myself. Unless I want to.

One more thing. I am done having important and in-depth conversations late at night. Because this right here is so very true (but not in the way it happens on the show, lest you start thinking that) :

Addendum: Also lest you think this person was a horrible person, they are not. I still consider them to be one of my closest friends and I love them dearly. It was just one of those moments that you learn from. 🙂

2

Online Dating is not all it’s cracked up to be

So I finally caved. I signed up to do online dating.

While online dating doesn’t have the negative stigma it used to have, it still can feel like a last resort. While I do know several folks who have gotten together because of online dating, in my close group of friends, all of them met their significant others the old-fashioned way. When you’re the only one who can’t, it makes you feel like a pariah and that going online means you’re doing the last ditch attempt.

It’s also really interesting reading all the different Christian perspectives on online dating. Some are completely against it because it means you’re trying to control God’s will. Others are like it’s just a tool that can help you. Some are completely against women doing any of the initiating while others are completely against it.

It was a somewhat reluctant choice. I kinda felt like I had made a promise with God that I’d do it if nothing happened in a relationship that I was hoping.

But anywho as I was saying, I had kept stalling on signing up for an account because I wanted to see if God would let all this happen on its own. Finally it got to the point where I felt God just telling me “Trust me with this.” And a situation happened where I realized that I couldn’t wait around any longer. I figured “ok, let’s get this out of the way and see if it works.”

I started up first by signing up for a free week’s trial on Match.com. I had my friends help me with my account because I’m horrible at describing myself. After the account was made, we were looking around and were like “Where are all these guys in real life who say on here that they are Christian?” The week went by with nothing really going anywhere. I do have a story that comes out of this experience but that’s for another time.

I looked at the Christian dating sites but those seemed sparsely populated and with guys with names such as “GodzGift2Women”. So that was a no go.

I had also registered for a free trial on Eharmony. I didn’t sign up immediately since it was PRICEY. But I kept getting emails that kept lowering and lowering the price. Finally they dropped it down to 8.99 a month for three months AND I could sign up right after New Year’s which had been my plan all along. So I did. I actually knew people who had gotten married because of Eharmony and for what I was looking for, it seemed more compatible for me.

Har har har.

What were my thoughts and experiences after three months? Well. I’m still single. I never went out on a single date. I never even finished a full communication with a single guy. GO ME.

During the first month I had my restrictions pretty tight. It was highly important for me to meet someone who was a Christian, 26-34, drank occasionally, had no kids, valued education very important, and lived 30 miles away from me. As I’m in the DC metro area, I figured that shouldn’t be hard to find a guy who fits all that. Apparently it is. The first two weeks there were barely any matches for me and Eharmony kept telling me I needed to loosen up with my restrictions. Ok, fine I’ll open it up to 60 miles. Again since I lived in the DC area, there should be a ton of guys. Nope, still not getting a lot of matches. FINE. I changed my settings to 120 miles even though Eharmony kept telling me to make it at least 300 miles. Now we’re starting to get somewhere except a lot of these matches seemed to be in Pennsylvania which is at least 2 hours drive for me. And even then there STILL weren’t a lot of matches. So I finally loosened up my education to slightly important. BOOM. Apparently that was the key factor as a lot of guys don’t value education as important as I do, as least on this site.

  • I don’t know if I did something wrong or if I kept getting matched with guys who were inactive or I’m just incredibly ugly or something but in 3 months, I got maybe 20-25 profile views. That’s it.
  • I got one communications request that fizzled out after I sent (as prompted by the site) these open ended questions (1. Open your fridge and name the first 3 things you see. 2. What are you currently geeking out over right now? 3. Describe a time that God has been awesome in your life.) vs the stupid bland questions Eharmony suggested. My questions weren’t hard and if that disinterests you, you are definitely not for me.
  • I sent out about five smiles to guys I thought were interesting and no response, no profile view, nothing from them.
  • I looked at a guy’s profile and immediately he closed out the match. I looked at the profiles at about 80% of the matches that I got and 95% of them never looked back.
  • I sent out the 5 question getting to know you to six guys I thought was interesting. Two closed out the match to block me. (To make things awkward, that following Sunday one of them showed up in my church. I have no idea if he’s been there all along or if he just started coming but I just found it really weird.) Before I canceled my membership, there were still four guys who never responded at all to my icebreaker. What kills me is they all say they were “active today”. I have no idea what that actually means and if they were really online and just ignoring me.
  • One of the guys I got matched with was supposed to have been the roommate of the guy that through circumstance caused me to signup for online dating in the first place. What are the odds of that? (No worries, he had an inactive profile)

I’m slightly confused as to all the stories of people who I’ve read both sides of who should do the initiating on online dating sites. From the Christian perspective alone, I was told to go ahead and send messages as well as to let the guy be the one that does all the initiating. Well to be honest, at the rate I’m going, if I just sit and wait for the guy, I’m not even going to be looked at. I can understand if you clicked on my profile and weren’t interested after getting to read me. I also want to know all these women who supposedly get so many messages they don’t know what to do.

Did I ever really think I’d find “the one” online? Not really. I just thought that I’d at least get SOME interaction on here. Instead all it’s done is just leave me quite frustrated and not as hopeful. I’ve come to the conclusion that either something was horribly wrong with me or I just kept getting matched with guys who were inactive or only had the freebie accounts and couldn’t really see or do anything (or perhaps they were dead). As for the guy that just stopped responding, I have no idea. It’s just really frustrating that it’s hyped so heavily and yet nothing came out of it at all.

Sure you can argue that I only tried it for three months and it’s an investment. But, if after three months, not a single thing happened, you can’t guarantee that anything is going to happen and I don’t want to waste my money on this kind of uncertainty. I could go to free sites but I’m not feeling any sense of rush or urgency at the moment.

So, what now? Well, nothing really. I just have to wait and trust. Will I try this ever again? Maybe. We’ll see. (Lower price might help.) But I feel that God just wanted me to try it, he didn’t guarantee anything would happen. I just need to trust and see what’s going to happen next.

2

Your word is your bond. Or is it?

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“That’s a piecrust promise. Easily made. Easily broken.” – Mary Poppins

How often do you make promises you can’t keep? How often do you tell someone you’re going to do something but you don’t really mean it? How do you feel when other people do that to you?

It’s really easy in this day and age to tell people you’re going to do something, but you don’t actually do it. Maybe you forgot you made that promise, maybe you never intended on doing it in the first place. I mean one of the biggest things people do all the time is say they’re going to pray for you but it’s more out of courtesy than actually meaning it.

Why do we make promises we know we’re not going to keep? Is it to be polite? Is it to make ourselves look good? Is it to get out of situation and buy some time? Do you find yourself being pressured to making promises when caught off guard?

On the other hand, how should we hold accountability to those who make promises? Whose responsibility is it to follow up? Is the other person lying when they say they’re going to do something but don’t follow through? Do you just hope that the other person forgot about it and never bring it up again in hopes that it will just get swept under a rug and you can be like “whew! i got away with that! I’m never doing that again!”?

Personally I don’t know. I know I get frustrated when this happens to me. Especially when I know sometimes these people will actually keep their promises to other people but won’t for me. It hurts. And it doesn’t help me to trust them. It also can hurt when someone says they’re a Christian and then continually keep breaking their promises especially since..well if you believe the Bible it says this:

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:37)

I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. (Psalm 89:34)

When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said. (Numbers 30:2)

But you know? We’re humans. We all mistakes. And even though sometimes you can’t understand why someone would make a promise that they don’t intend on keeping, you just have to let it go. Because of who we are and because of how the world is, this will always happen. No one will ever keep ALL the promises they make. Not even the people you love.

Is this meant to say that you can never trust anyone? That everyone will fail you? Not really. I mean, you’re not even going to live up to what you want someone else to be. And isn’t that funny? We’ll hold someone else to a higher standard than we ourselves can never live up to.

There is hope though. One, think of your word as gold. Would you give away your gold so easily? Exactly. Also your word builds up your reputation. Maybe you don’t care, but do you really want to be known as someone who is consistently breaking their word?Even if you are good at keeping your word for business, your personal reputation can precede you. Also quite a bunch of good advice in this article for the gents: “Real Men Keep Their Word.

And also for me, I’ve chosen to put my faith and trust in God. I know he’ll keep his promises.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

People are going to fail me. And sometimes it’s not going to make sense as to why someone will (or why they keep doing it) and it’s going to hurt. But I know God’s not going to break his promise to me. And that is something I know I can always depend on.

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

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