0

How a failed coffee attempt taught me about fate

This is one of those rhetorical question posts where I can’t give you an answer because I don’t know it myself.

How do you know when to give up on something and when to keep trying? If something doesn’t happen is it because God didn’t want it to?

I feel like in life there are certain situations where we tell people they need to keep going after something if they want it. We never tell someone to stop going after a job if they keep getting rejected from it. We may tell them to try for a different position or go a completely different route in attaining it. But as a whole, we never tell someone after they get passed over for a job that they are just meant to be jobless forever.

Then there are other times when it feels like the world is against you every time you try to do something so you feel like you need to give up and people seem to reconfirm those thoughts. They’ll tell you it just wasn’t meant to be or that if it was supposed to have happened it would have happened. That you should just give up and stop trying and accept things. (And for some reason, Christians will throw this around all the time with being single. Stop with the “gift of singleness”. Just stop.)

I’m sure there’s some logical explanation for this if I dig hard enough, which I’m not. It just sometimes feels confusing about when you need to just accept that things weren’t meant to be and when you shouldn’t.

I’m even talking about small things. Sometimes I wonder, if I missed a turn while driving even if I was paying very close attention, did I miss it for a reason?

Ok here’s a better example: One morning on my way to work I decided I needed coffee in order to make it through the day. There is only one Starbucks that’s directly on the way (meaning I don’t have to turn onto any side streets) so since I have a Starbucks card I decided to head there. Traffic was awful and I nearly missed the turn. That was sign number one. I finally get into the parking lot only to find out that there wasn’t a single space open in the entire lot. I circled three times and no one was getting out. Sign number two. Not wanting to be late for work, I finally resigned that I wasn’t going to be getting coffee that day and was already starting to feel grumpy. I turn back out and start heading to work. As I continue driving, I remember that there was a Dunkin Donuts also on the way and even though this meant I’d have to pay actual money, it’d be worth it this one time. I suddenly realize that I’m running short on time to get to work and it’s going to have to be a quick and snappy in and out of DD. I pull into the parking lot and am able to grab the last parking spot. Just as I’m heading out the car I realize the horrible truth (aka sign number three): I forgot my wallet and I don’t have any cash on me. Plus there’s the fact that my license is in my wallet so now I just screwed myself over because I was going to leave to go out of town right after work and I can’t do that now. Needless to say, I did not get my coffee that day.

Did this mean I wasn’t meant to get coffee that day? After three tries, I kept trying to go after it and it just didn’t work out. So I gave up. This did not mean that coffee was evil. I was able to get coffee the following week with no mishaps. Perhaps had I actually gotten the coffee that day, I might have died somehow. (Don’t ask, I have a very active imagination.) Though I have to admit, if I hadn’t tried to get coffee that morning, I may not have discovered that my wallet was missing until right as I got out of work (luckily I was able to go during my lunch break to retrieve it. Driving very slowly I might add) and that would have horrible trying to go back to retrieve it.

So there you go. God just did not want me to get coffee that day. No matter how much I tried to fight it, it wasn’t going to happen. During that whole process, I did discover something else that eventually helped me out in a way I wasn’t expecting.

I guess that’s just how life is. You want something. You keep trying for something. It’s not going to happen. But in the long run, you discover other things that you didn’t realize you needed.

1

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.

0

The required “Things I’m Thankful For” Post

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. (Psalm 105:1)

I’m thankful for several things this year.

I’m thankful I have a job that I love. I had a rough year of being unemployed for most of it and not knowing if/when I was ever going to get another job. But I knew that I had to keep trusting God and that he was going to be faithful and protect/provide for me. He then blessed me with a job I absolutely love. He not only answered prayer, he went above and beyond it. It truly was one of those situations where you know God was definitely looking out for you. I know that it won’t always be awesome but right now it is.

I’m thankful for my awesome summer. Not having a job really puts a crimp into summer plans and I was prepared to have a dismal summer while everyone else was having the time of their life. But instead, I had the summer of #winning. Seriously it was epic and stupid crazy how it all happened. #blessed

I’m thankful that a really awkward conversation did not ruin a friendship. I mean unless this person is pretending that they are not weirded out (and I seriously doubt this), it actually was a blessing and a turning point for my life. Because of that conversation, I stopped making certain things I wanted an idol in my life. For the first time in a VERY long time, I feel like I’m in a good place. Yes there are things I want and very much still hope that they happen. But I’m feeling like I’m at peace right now. I don’t feel like I’ve settled or that I’m done and can just cruise on the rest in life. I know that soon trials will come again and I’ll be tested. But for now, I feel like things are going to be ok.

I’ll talk more at the end of the year about 2014 had me being “The Impossible Girl” and we’ll see how that all ends up being.

But for now, yeah, these are the things I’m thankful for.

(Thanks to SheReadsTruth for inspiration for this post)

2

I’m not sure if I’m not supposed to want this?

I had a dream the other night. And when I woke up in the morning I felt sad. In the dream I was happy because what I wanted was happening. But then I woke up and it’s not true, it’s not happening. And while I wasn’t angry with God when I woke up, it made me still ask him, “Why did you let that happen? Why give me that desire if you don’t want that for me?”

Desires are a funny thing.

A desire (noun) is : a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.

To desire (verb) means: “strongly wish for or want (something).”

I think one of the hardest passages to understand in the Bible for me is Psalm 37:4: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

I’ve read/listened to many explanations of that verse and almost all of them agree that if you trust in the Lord and leave it up to him, he will then direct you to what he wants instead of what you want. And I do believe that is true. I believe that God will eventually turn you around towards his path vs what you wanted and then you’ll look back and realize He was right all along and knew better than you did.

But then why do we still want things? If something is not meant for us and IF it’s not in God’s plan for us (whether right now or ever) why do those feelings still linger? Even after lots of prayer and turning it over to God? Are we being tested? Is the enemy trying to see if he can make us get tempted so that we’ll go against what God wants and sin by coveting what we shouldn’t have? But how do we know if we’re not even supposed to have it?

I don’t know if any of you ever have had experience with addiction in your life (whether yours or someone else) but the road to recovery is a hard one. Just because you think you can easily give up something doesn’t mean someone else is weak just because they can’t do it that fast. Then there’s always the chance they can relapse even after years of being sober because just one thing triggers that desire again.

Not to say that all desires are like addictions but sometimes it can feel like that. You try to push away that desire, you’ve let it go and you’ve turned it over to God, you live your life hopefully the way He wants, but then one little memory can trigger back all those emotions all over again.

I still haven’t figured this out. All I can do is just keep praying. This is definitely one of the questions I’m going to be asking God when I get to heaven. (Yes I have a list. And yes I will probably forget them all when it actually happens).

2

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.

1

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.

0

Ask God a Question? You Get an Answer

It happened again.

Those times where I swear God decides that I’m being too dense and He chooses to speak directly at me through someone else so that I’ll actually listen to what He wants me to hear.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been really writing a lot of faith posts lately. Not because my faith has changed or gotten any less. It’s just I’ve been busy and focused on things. One of my major prayers got recently answered and while I’m very blessed and thankful, worries that had gone to the back burner are back in full force again.

It was one of those Sundays where I started off my drive to church being honest with God. I wasn’t angry at him this time. Just frustrated with things. And I told Him how it was making me feel. I know that some people don’t like complaining to God but I’m all for letting him know what’s going on my end.

This particular time I was frustrated with myself for worrying so much about the future. I’m a planner by nature. I like knowing how everything is going to be so that when it happens, there are no surprises that will cause me stress or worry. Ironically though because of this desire, I still get stressed out and get anxiety because I can’t make things go smoothly beforehand. I don’t like not knowing the future because I hate uncertainty yet worry about things makes it worse.

I told God about how I wish I could be someone who lives in the present and never seems to worry about anything. They have such a carefree anything goes attitude and just seem happy all the time. I feel like I could never be that kind of person however because I DO like planning ahead and the thought of never planning for anything is terrifying.

And then sometimes I feel like I live in the past. Not that I want to stay there but memories keep popping up and I want to get them out of my head and they just will not go away. I had been catching up with episodes of this season’s Doctor Who and there was a character who continually had memory wipes so that he could forget things. Even though I knew the consequences of not remembering things, I totally envied him because sometimes memories carry too much pain with them.

I walked into church feeling very meh that morning. I did pray that hopefully I would get something out of the sermon but I wasn’t feeling very into it. And then of course, it would be the Sunday that all the worship songs we sang seemed to jump out at me.

Focus my eyes
Away from myself
You become greater
I become less

Promise maker, promise keeper
You finish what You begin
Our provision through the desert
You see it through ‘til the end
You see it through ‘til the end
In the silence, in the waiting
Still we can know You are good
All Your plans are for Your glory
Yes, we can know You are good

When the songs finished and the guest pastor walked out, I was like oh, I’m not going to get anything out of today’s sermon. It’s not going to be anything I can relate to. This is ——“I am a planner. I am always thinking about the future. I am always thinking about what’s to come,” he said. I immediately shrunk down in my seat with my mouth slightly ajar.

Are you kidding me God? Seriously?

He then proceeded to talk about how we all tend to default to living in the past, present, and future. Some of us might focus on just one area, others will dabble.

(WHAT IS GOING ON???)

All have good qualities: you learn from the past and don’t want to repeat mistakes, by staying in the present you become less anxious and don’t worry as much, planning for the future can be wise. However all have negative qualities as well: you become focused on reliving the glory days or staying focused on what’s hurt you before, you have to keep getting a kind of “high” every day to stay happy, and too much living in the future makes you not focus on what’s in front of you.

We’ll have arguments with God where we just ask him to show us that he’s there, to throw us a bone, give us a sign, just prove to us that he’s there and hasn’t abandoned us. (Have I been bugged????)

He instead then said that the best thing to focus on was being in the presence of God. That no matter what is going on in life, no matter how good or bad things will get and how much you may worry, it’s better to realize that God is always there.

In Your presence there is freedom
In Your presence there is hope
In Your presence there is healing
Love restores me, I am whole

No matter how far I run
You are with me
No matter how far I fall

Your love is everlasting
Your kindness never ends
God You never leave me
Your presence goes before us
Your glory has no end
God You never leave me

The focus of the message was on John 14:1-17 and while I won’t post all of it here, the passage basically explains how Jesus is telling the disciples that they need to just believe in him. They don’t need signs or other miracles (though he has already shown them these things). Just have faith.

Well. Geez. I don’t think it could have been any clearer that God was choosing to speak to me through this message. Yes, I know that it wasn’t made specifically JUST for me. Yes, I know that all this had been planned for at least several days beforehand. And yes it does seem like a big coincidence.

But I know it isn’t. I know that God didn’t create specifically this for me because there are many people who benefited from hearing something like that. But He knew I needed to hear it and He knew WHEN I needed to hear it. It’s just always is incredibly freaky when it happens mere minutes after you tell and ask Him those exactly questions and He answers it immediately. True, it doesn’t always happen. And sometimes you may NEVER get an answer. But those times when it does happen? Awesome.

Therefore all my worries about God not caring and turning a deaf ear to me? Yeah…He just pretty much pulled one on me. God: Infinity. Deborah: Zero.

0

Anniversaries, milestones and memories

todayinhistory

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

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

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

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

september-2011-large

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_20140925_182117

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/