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Shattering an Image Doesn’t Always Mean Bad Luck

The other night there was a women’s event at my church. Now I think I’ve talked about this on here before but I get excited when there’s an event at church that is for ALL the women and not just for moms. I’m thrilled that there’s so many programs for moms and hopefully one day I’ll be able to do that but as I’m not in that stage of life, I tend to feel very left out. So anytime I hear about an event for all women, I will jump at the chance to attend.

This specific event featured a speaker that talked about shattered images and what it really means to be a godly woman. It was awesome how much I got out of her talk. It just really felt like I could relate to what she was saying despite not being in the same stage of life. I didn’t feel like I was being left behind or outside the circle. Maybe it was because this was what I needed to hear but everything in the talk just clicked with me.

In keeping with last week’s post about social media, I realize that I’ve created an image of what I SHOULD be like based on what I see my friends and others are doing in their own lives. For me it’s actually not the media or celebrities that influence me because I know that I will never come close to achieving their lifestyle and I’m perfectly ok with it. There are though some bloggers that do make me feel woefully inadequate because in their posts they look like they have perfect everything from hair to food to photography to the damn blog itself and how professional it looks. That can be extremely intimidating but then I remind myself again that bloggers are trying to reach their audience (and also the possibility of making money) and therefore they are only going to showcase their best lest they lose both.

But yet for some reason, that same line of reasoning doesn’t seem to compute as easily in my head with people I know. I see what they post online and even though with some people I know fully well what is going on in their lives, they still come across as perfect to me. They may have the worst lives ever but I will never know this because all they project is an image of bliss and happiness.

I see all these women and it’s so hard to NOT compare myself to them. When I do this, I mean it’s no wonder that the life I want to have seems like it’ll never happen. Because they seem to be everything that I can never be no matter how hard I try. Moment of truth: there are days when it’s incredibly painful to hear your friends talk about their children and how they are expecting more, how much they love their marriage or hearing of an engagement, buying a house or just being excited to have a place to decorate, not having to worry about money and can take trips whenever they want, or even just have someone take care of them when they are sick and not have to worry about dying alone and no one noticing.

The absolute worst (and I really should not be doing this, why I torture myself is beyond me) is when I see pictures and posts from the wives of any of my exes or guys that it didn’t work out with. Because all I see is just constant visual reminders of me not being what they wanted and makes me feel like I’m never going to be good enough.

This type of perspective even skews what my image of what a godly woman should look like. Because to me she is someone who is married, has kids, very hospitable, always wanting to serve, patient, full of grace, not outspoken, even IF she has awkward moments she plays it off easily and is incredibly humble. I see other women in church who I know are older than me but with their perfect hair, makeup, and figure look like they are years younger. They have kids but you’d never know it based on how they look. They appear to be perfectly put together. I know there are struggles behind the appearance but let’s be honest, they aren’t going to share them with me and do I really need to know everything? No.

We hold ourselves to a standard that can never be reached and then we hold each other to yet an even higher standard. These are all images that I need to shatter. Because honestly, what really matters (and this was my takeaway from the event) is that IF I am TRULY honest about my faith then I am an image bearer of God. Therefore I really need to stop comparing myself to anyone else. This goes for both people in the church as well as others out of it. If I’m supposed to be representing God, then I’ll do it in my own way and not everyone else’s.

I really don’t want to be like everyone because I’m not like everyone else. And I want people to see how different I am because of my faith. Not that I’m going around preaching at everyone or trying to convert anyone I come in contact with. But instead through how I act and that means with my own way of doing things. Sure it may mean being the quirky one that stands out awkwardly but that’s how God wants me to be. I won’t be the person with the perfect hair everyone envies and I may not (yet) have a husband and children who I can share stories about to others.

But….I am me. Sometimes I wonder if God made a mistake when He made me and that even though I know I was created in God’s own image perhaps He got a bit distracted with me and I came out slightly flawed in comparison with everyone else. Ultimately, I know that it’s not true. It’s funny because all my life I’ve wanted to blend in with everyone else so that I wouldn’t stand out. Now I’m realizing that standing out could be a good thing.

My story is different from others. I’ve been realizing that my spiritual gift is leaning towards encouragement as I tend to do this, many times without even trying, it just happens. So I hope that God will use me and my story to help encourage others throughout whatever walk of life they might be in.

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How does one be real and authentic in a #filtered world?

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I was talking with a friend the other day who had deactivated their Facebook account. Initially I had assumed I was blocked because this person had been an avid poster with their account full of witty status updates, Instagram pics of a seemingly perfect life, and basically looking like they were enjoying everything that came their way. The life they shared online looked glorious where they got tons of comments and likes on practically everything. (Meanwhile I’m sitting here cheering when I get ONE person to like something.) So it was a rather big shock to hear that their reason for leaving was because they were tired of seeing other people having lives while they weren’t having one of their own due to constantly having to work all the time. I was like “But YOU looked like YOU were having the life!” I would have never guessed that they were jealous of other people because to me, I was jealous of their life. Like seriously, I found myself feeling like I was never going to be seen as cool enough based on everything they posted and found myself trying to post things on my wall to get THEIR approval. In reality, they were only trying to make the best of what was rather a grueling and tiring life.

It’s funny how with social media we get jealous of people for sharing their perfect lives, annoyed with people for oversharing their not so perfect lives, and then with our own personal lives, we just try to hide everything. We’ll either put up a facade where it looks like we’ve got it all together. This can either be on social media or even in person.

Yet inside we’re hurting and wondering if there’s anyone else out there who feels the same way we do.

How do I know this? Because for years I did this. When I was going through the worst parts of the years leading to my divorce, you would have had no idea based on my Facebook statuses or my Tweets or even if you saw me in person. I was determined to hide it and fake it so that no one would know what was going on. I didn’t want people to start judging me so I just hid everything to the point where it was like I was living a double life. You would have never known how much I was struggling during those years and what was actually going on in my real life.

And yet, sometimes there were cracks. Every now and then a rather emotional status would pop up because I couldn’t hold it in. But because I never hinted or alluded to it at any other time, the random statuses look odd and no one says anything, and it does come off as oversharing. If you’ve been positive so much and then get randomly real, it makes people uncomfortable because they don’t know what to do.

Sometimes though you don’t even need to share anything at all and it’ll still have the same effect. People who don’t post anything online but still don’t talk about it in real life either have extremely private lives or extremely boring lives. It’s not a crack at you. You just either don’t want to share things with everyone or you have nothing to share. Though I will say that if you don’t post things online but you continue to look at everyone else’s, well….you’re basically just being a voyeur aren’t you?

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But this is what I currently struggle with now. How can I be real and authentic without oversharing, being too dramatic or appear overally emotional? How can I ask a Christian show both those who share my faith and those that don’t that life is not always perfect but through it all I am getting through it because of my faith? I feel like other Christians tend to hide behind their faith and we don’t want to share the messy because we’re supposed to have it altogether. If anything, we’re supposed to have 100% trust in God and anytime we show doubt or anger or uncertainty, it looks as if we don’t, therefore it’ll appear as if we don’t have strong enough faith.

If I see someone with wonderful pictures all the time of a seemingly perfect life with their kids, significant others, DIY projects, food, car, house, job, etc. my two initial thoughts are “Why do they have it all together and I don’t?” or “Are they hiding something behind all the perfectness?” The problem is I don’t know what the truth is. Even if I know them pretty well. I’ve seen people put up their struggles on social media, not whining about petty things, but real honest struggles that makes them seem more authentic to me only to have other people blast them for being negative. So these people DO want to see a facade?

Yes, I get that a lot of you come to Facebook to escape your own life. You present the best parts of yourself online. You don’t people to see your messy and while you want to see if others are experiencing struggles, you overall don’t want to swim in theirs either. It’s a convoluted process.

All I know is that I want to try to be real and authentic when portraying myself even though it’s hard and at the same time to NOT get jealous or feel inadequate when seeing everyone else. I highly doubt anyone is jealous of mine. Right now it’s all me basically being excited about the new Avengers movie, defending Hawkeye, and all the books I’m reading. It’s my actual life and I’m not being fake about it. Taking myself offline isn’t going to be the answer for me. I’m sure I’ll figure this out…..

In the meantime, posts like this bring me back down to earth: The Reality Behind Instagram Feeds.

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The Incident at the Stoplight

So hi, how are you doing? I’ve been doing great. I honestly have. Life’s been pretty good for the past two months and I’ve been in a good place, a place I have not been in…hmm gosh, maybe 20 years? So yeah, it’s been good and I’ve been happy with myself. I’ve been feeling at peace, it’s been calm, and I’ve been wonderfully stress and anxiety free.

And then I happened to be driving home from a delightful beer tasting one night when I pulled up at stoplight and saw something I was not expecting to see.

Basically listen (or read the lyrics) to this song (just genderswap all the pronouns) and this is what happened:

It was like a punch in the stomach AND the face all at the same time.

Immediately all that peace and calm and happiness I’d been having recently? All erased. Hello stress and anxiety. Because guess what, you’ve been replaced and forgotten about. What?! Why?????

God, why did you have this happen? I could have been perfectly fine not having this incident happen. Doors have already been closed. It’s not like this was a “let’s sweep this under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist” type of situation. This was a “I’m done and I’m not looking back and I’ve accepted and am at peace with it all” type of situation. Things were going well. Why did you bring along this bump in the road?

If I had just stayed a bit longer or left earlier from the tasting, I would have missed this incident completely. Or had I not switched lanes mere seconds before. Or why did I choose to turn my head at that particular moment? There are so many factors that could have been changed so this whole thing could have been avoided and I would have driven away and never known what was near me.

Was this a test? Are you trying to see how I would react? Are you trying to humble me? I was freaking out because I thought I was going to be ok and instead now I’m feeling vulnerable and slightly emotional.

This all went through my head in the span of a minute. This was basically me:

But then I also have to look back and see what else happened that day.

I could have faced this completely alone. This could have been a very bad situation for me where I could have completely regressed. Kind of like a relapse after you’ve been clean for a while. Not that I’m personally comparing myself to a recovering addict but you get my drift.

Instead, directly prior to this happening, I had a really good conversation about related topics with a good friend that made me see that I was not alone in how I felt. There was also the realization that it’s not as easy as other people make it out to be. Part of me wonders if perhaps God was trying to humble me a little.

Timing was a factor because it allowed me to not have to face it alone immediately after and instead was able to be talked through the situation with a friend and this gave me time to calm down. I was able to understand why I was having these feelings and that it was ok for me to and no, there wasn’t something wrong with me at all.

Then instead of having to sit alone and dwell on it all night by myself listening to emo music all night, plans had already been made unexpectedly in advance for that night with yet ANOTHER friend. This allowed me to be able to (mostly) forget the entire incident all night and instead have a good time. What are the odds of that?

While I can question God and ask why did He allow this to happen and what was the purpose of all this, at the same time I can also see Him working in this situation. Basically, it was like He knew this was going to happen but He always wanted to show me that He also cared about me to bless me with people before and afterwards. It was like, He was showing me, You may not have gotten the love you wanted, but look how much I still love you. I also did find myself praying which is probably the reaction I needed to do anyways.

So yeah, I’m doing ok. I’m doing good. To quote Good Charlotte: “Everything’s gonna be alright now. Everything’s gonna be alright.”

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Enough. Enough Now.

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I’ve talked a lot on this blog (as well as outside of it) about having to trust God when things seem impossible. About how I’ve been spending a lot of time waiting on God to see if what He promises will come true. How I’ve walked away from doors, leaving them open but turning my back on them and not looking back though still hoping.

Well the time has finally come to close a particular door.loveactually2

I’m being rather vague about this because it doesn’t need to be blasted in detail on the internet though if you know me in person you’ll probably have figured out what it is by now. But the actual reason for prompting this post really doesn’t matter. It’s what I learned from this entire experience that does.

I have probably mentioned this already so forgive me if I’m just repeating myself. When I share how I feel with someone I’m close to, I’m very open with how I feel because I trust you and I feel that you are a safe person for me to share what is going on in my life. I will not just spill my guts out to just any person. I’m actually more guarded with my life than you’d think. But at the same time, even as I’m talking to you, I’m also thinking I really don’t want you judging me. I just want you to listen.loveactually3

For the record I know that there are some of you who it just in your nature to want to give out advice. I know that you totally mean well when you do this. It’s just that because I know you’re already forming in your mind what you thought I should have done instead or how I really should feel or have I thought about it from the other point of view, it makes me having conversations with myself WHILE I’m talking to you. I’m doing it RIGHT NOW in fact because I know what the opposition to my decision will say. Plus I also realize things that I shouldn’t have done. But isn’t that part of knowing you’ve grown up?

That being said, it’s weird how there are certain situations you can be in where even though you know you’re not being selfish, but that’s how it’s going to come across. But you have to take care of yourself first because if you’re not at your best, how can you expect to make others better? If I truly want to love others as I love myself, I have to love myself first. And taking care of me means loving myself so that I can love and take care of others properly.

I’m still not sure why all this happened. It wasn’t part of the plan. If I had had my way, I would have avoided everything regarding this and never gotten involved. But God had other plans. And maybe one day I’ll get to ask him why. I’m still not sure if there was any good in for me throughout all this. I want to believe that there was good in it for others because surely something beautiful came out of all this mess.

I’ve cried a lot over the last three years. I feel like that’s enough tears that needs to be shed. I know that it’s time to move forward and stop looking back.

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It’s time for me to finally close the door. To not leave it hanging open just in case. For me to walk away and never turn back and look. And know that everything is going to be ok. To know that I’m not going to lose my faith in God over this. That even though I may question and briefly doubt that I ultimately know that He still will keep his promises. I shall not be afraid.

I wrote this in my journal about 2 and a half years ago. I still feel it’s relevant today.

Right now I’m being pretty strong about this but I know also that days will come when I am going to feel really weak and emotional.  I am going to feel like I’m not good enough or that something is wrong with me.  I wish I could say that I am stronger than all that but I know that I am human and the temptation to listen to those lies is going to be really strong.  It’s going to hurt like hell……  Right now I want to say that I can deal with it and be strong and keep going.  But really what will probably happen is that I will cry, curse things, and be miserable.  What I’m hoping is that God will give me strength, wisdom, clarity, and peace throughout all this. I know that He wants me to wait.  I know that he wants me to trust in Him.  I know that I shouldn’t be letting my emotions control me..

The rational side in me wants all this. God has told me that if I trust in Him, the outcome will be good. Now I don’t know what the outcome is. I have no idea WHEN it is either.  I know that it is up to you Lord and you make all things work together for our good.  I think that is pretty much the story here.

So we’re good here? We’re good.

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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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I know I’m not a special snowflake….

I’ve been seeing the word “basic” used a lot lately to describe females and I didn’t know what it meant. Kids these day with their slang. To be honest, I’m still not 100% sure exactly what it is even after reading this Buzzfeed list but I have concluded that I am not one of these girls. People seem to be making fun of them but if that’s what you like, that’s what you like.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted to fit in. I always felt like I stood out and not in a good way. I didn’t want to be called out for looking or acting different from everyone else. Most of this had to do with the fact that I was one of the very few Asian kids in my school. While I wasn’t ashamed of being Asian, I also wanted to blend in with everyone else. School is rough and kids will tease you for anything that makes you stand out. And believe me I got a lot of teasing.

Growing up, it was always a struggle to be my own person and fit in at the same time. Which is of course what (almost) everyone else is doing. Some just do it better than others. There are some people who have the gift and ability to do whatever they want to do and no one will question them or tease them. In fact, they become the trend setters and everyone wants to do what they do.


As I’ve become an adult, the struggle is still there though I’ve discovered lately that it’s perfectly fine not to be like everyone else. It’s good to stand out when everyone else around you appears to be the same. Sometimes though it can also feel like a bad thing because you feel like because you stand out, it makes others feel uncomfortable because they don’t like different.

Then I got through times in life where I’m living one of these situations:

  • There are some days when I feel like I’m the last one to realize something and I wonder what’s wrong with me that everyone else knew this before I did.
  • There are other days when I’m the first one to get to something and I wonder what’s wrong with me or it because t no one else has done this yet.

I can’t figure this out. I feel really weird about it. I’m pretty positive that other people experience it as well but they just don’t let on.

Here’s the thing. I know that I’m not so incredibly unique that only these things happen to me and no one else. I am NOT a special snowflake. I can’t possibly be the only person among all the billions of people who live on this planet plus all the billions of people who lived before me that go through these things. Maybe people don’t talk about it and just learned how to deal with it on their own.

It’s not that I need approval from others. It’s just I personally hate the feeling of not knowing how to handle a situation when everyone else around me either does or is pretending that they do. To quote Beth from Little Women: “But I don’t like being left behind.”

The crazy thing in all this is that I know however that I am not the same as everyone else and that’s a good thing too!

“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,  so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” (Romans 12:4-6a)

Ultimately, I’m happy with the way I am and have become. I greatly enjoy my interests and my quirkiness and humor. I know that there are people who do appreciate it and others who don’t get me at all. That’s ok. Just like I’m not going to get along with everyone else, I don’t expect universal approval. I still want to fit in but I don’t want to be like everyone else.

Most of you have figured this out YEARS ago but as we all know I’m a late bloomer. Sometimes I just need to talk myself through these situations to figure it all out. That’s just something that’s uniquely part of being me. And I do like being me.

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Keep My Heart Slow

Whenever messages at church lean towards marriage and family, while I still try to listen and get much out of it as I can, it still can feel slightly uncomfortable. All the teaching and advice is very helpful but if you’re not at that stage of life and you don’t know if you ever will be, it feels like it’s not going to help you. And it hurts when you feel like the church has forgotten about people who are NOT married or with children. Sometimes you make the choice to be single and sometimes you don’t want to be in that state but either way it can feel like you’re overlooked in favor of those who are in a coupled relationship.

On Sunday, I knew that the teaching was going to be on Colossians 3:18-21. I’ve heard messages on this passage several times and while I wasn’t apathetic to it, I just wasn’t super excited because I didn’t think it’d apply to me right now in life. And then my pastor said this in his prayer to open up the message: “There may be a number here who are single but this is still very much for them. There is much here for all of us no matter what state we are in life.”

Well then.

The passage from Colossians says this:

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

As my pastor explained, the world view of submission and spiritual authority is different from it actually means.

The definition he gave: “Submission is an inner quality of willing obedience that is a gift to the husband based on Christ’s example of willingly submitting to His Father that affirms the leadership of the husband within the limits of obedience to Christ.” But it does not mean that if he wants her to do something clearly wrong she has to do it.

The husband and wife are equal to one another as Christ is equal to his Father, but He still submits to the Father.

Spiritual leadership can be difficult because a lot of guys have no idea what that is or what they are supposed to do. “Spiritual leadership is servant leadership which is a husband’s gift to his wife based on Christ’s coming not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.” He needs to submit to his wife meaning he will die for her and therefore she will submit to his spiritual leadership. A woman can have more Biblical knowledge than her husband but that doesn’t mean he should be intimidated. He just needs to see to it that her spiritual needs are being met and that the wife knows he is following the Lord and praying for her.

Couples shouldn’t use these verses as scriptural grenades at each other. The verses aren’t supposed to be used to attack each other, they are for  A man who has to tell his wife that she needs to submit to her probably isn’t leading very well and a woman who has to tell her husband to love her more may not be submitting very well. Any time you have to tell someone what else they are supposed to be doing probably means YOU’RE not doing what YOU are supposed to be doing.

“Show me a man who is willing to die for his wife and I’ll show you a woman who is willing to submit to her husband.”

The takeaway is to never ever lose hope. Your hope is not in your spouse. Your hope is in the Lord. “The gospel leads us to an ultimate hope in Jesus, not in a spouse or any other human relationship.”

This entire message was SUPER good. And I’m really glad to have heard it.

It can also be a hard message to hear. When you keep hearing how a man should want to die for his wife because he loves her just as Christ died for us, it can hurt to hear that when you’re single. I have to fight the voices of doubt that creep in telling me I’m not good enough and that no one wants to die for me. That even though I have a ton of friends who do care about me, in reality I should just prepare to die because they are going to take care of their spouses first over me. These are lies that can poison me if I spend too much time listening to them.

I’ve written before how I feel like I need to wait.

The song “I Will Wait” by Mumford and Sons has been rather significant for me over the year. There’s a line in there that’s been my prayer to God for the past few months:

Bow my head
Keep my heart slow

I’ve been asking God to help me with my heart. To keep it where He wants it now. I have the tendency to lose my heart very fast which then results in getting hurt more than I should have. I get excited about things very easily. If I’m interested in ANYTHING, I want to dive in headfirst and am very enthusiastic right from the get go. It’s not that I burn out easily, it’s just I invest more than I probably should. Which leads to a lot of heartbreak and pain a lot of the time.

So instead right now, I’m asking God to help me slow down. To focus my heart on where and what HE wants me to focus on and not necessarily on what I want. This doesn’t mean I’ve given up hope of ever finding someone (or someone finding me) and it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be in a relationship or get married (again) but I’m not making it the most important thing in my life at the moment.

By keeping my heart slow, it means making wiser decisions. It means having clarity and discernment. It means spending less time worrying. It means letting go. It means really trusting on God. It means waiting. Every single thing God has told me over the past three years to do.

I still don’t know what God has planned in my life for me. All I know is that right now I know what I need to do.

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Say something, I’m giving up on you

Something must be wrong with my phone.

I mean that must be the reason why I haven’t heard anything back.

It’s not showing me that I have any notifications.

I don’t see a text. Or a call. Or a email. Or a chat.

After all I do have Sprint. I mean sometimes their service can be unreliable.

Maybe my message didn’t go through. Or perhaps the return message didn’t go through.

So it must be the phone’s fault.

It can’t be because I’m being deliberately ignored. Right?

I could think of a bunch of excuses. To justify the reason.

People get busy. People forget to respond.

Maybe it’s the OTHER phone’s fault. Maybe it got stolen. Or broken.

Or maybe there was a kidnapping, illness, natural disaster, moved away.

Hoping that there wasn’t a death and no one contacted me about it.

Most likely though, it’s not intentional. Though it could very well be.

Maybe there just needs to be space. And time. And waiting. And being patient.

There’s always a reason. I just don’t know it yet.

The point is that despite all the things I just wrote, I’m not worrying about it.

The message on Sunday in church was yet ANOTHER one of those ones when I was NOT expecting it to be relevant to me and yet it was again. The speaker filling in talked about having a “black water” experience, and how hard helmet diving is a good illustration about facing a trial when you’re a Christian. Just like diving into places where everything is pitch black and you can’t see anything, going through trials makes you feel like you’re isolated, alone, and in the dark. You don’t know what’s going to happen and you get lost and scared. The only thing that you can rely on is having trust in someone who will tell and show you what you need to do. And then when it’s all done, you’ll come out of the pit, the hole, the darkness and you’ll look and be amazed at what you went through and still made it.

God is the only one that knows what exactly is happening and why it’s happening in this way. From past experiences, I know that I’ll be in the pit looking up and I have to trust that God will rescue me and bring me back up. And when I do come back up, everything seems so much better. And I also know I couldn’t have done it without my faith.

The waves of death swirled about me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
“In my distress I called to the Lord;
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears. (2 Samuel 22:5-7)

Basically, it’s going to be ok. It’s scary now not being able to see and not knowing what’s ahead. But because I know that I can trust in God, because I know that he’s not failed me in the past, it will be ok.

Maybe the phone will ring or a text will come. And maybe it won’t ever. It’ll still be ok.

1

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) 

1

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/