This is just a quick post to remind everyone that Thanksgiving comes before Christmas, just in case the retail stores have you confused. It is so easy to get caught up in the hectic, high-energy commercialism of the season I think it is easy to forget why we celebrate these holidays in the first place. I am certainly thankful for my family and friends and for all the niceties I’m able to afford even though my social life feels like it has completely tanked right now because of work. Welcome to the holiday rush. I am thankful for both of my jobs and for the opportunity they afford me to not have to work this hard later in life when the student loans are paid off. Whether you are a holiday fanatic, a Scrooge or somewhere in between think of at least three things you are thankful for and tell somebody. Happy Thanksgiving. I’m taking next week off for the holiday so I’ll see you in two weeks.
The past two months have been difficult for me, especially the last week or so. We’re moving unstoppably into the holiday season and as things get crazier I wear thinner. I’m tired and my emotions are less in check than normal. I’m a highly emotional person to begin with and I get so frustrated when I dread the holidays that should lift my spirits and bring me closer to God, friends, and family.
I need to work on stapling my feet into today, taking life one day at a time. I keep trying to look ahead to see an end, to find relief, but it’s too far ahead and all I can see is the distance and the struggle. I need to just do what I normally do when I walk: watch my feet. One step at a time, one day at a time. It’s exhausting to think about how much is left to accomplish. I feel like I was asleep all last week. I’m not comatose yet but if I don’t change something, I’m heading there.
I can’t let myself get too tired to spend time with God. He is my recharge. It’s like when you’re too tired to sleep. Being highly emotional I need to surround myself with positive people to counteract the negative. That is one of the reasons I go to church regularly. My church is like a family. Our philosophy is that we don’t judge because God loves you the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way. It comforts me that I know my church family will accept me as a hot mess just like my biological family but they won’t let me wallow in it.
Someone told me last week, “Trust God and your heart will catch up.” I like that. I can’t let myself get so caught up and tired that I can’t pull myself out of my pity party. It’s too easy to stay there. I feel like I’m rambling again so I’ll wrap up. If you feel like you’re burning out take a breath, trust God for the strength to get through it, and take it one day at a time. Feel free to call me out of you see me doing otherwise. Be blessed.
God’s beauty doesn’t make the world look dull by comparison. No, the world is all the more beautiful for his presence. We all have special people in our lives where when they walk into a room it lights up. God does that with continents, billions of rooms at once. His voice, His smile, His affection radiate from Him, making the world rich with good things, chasing out the shadows and overcoming them.
I’m in a stage of my life where things are looking up. The stage where we dare to hope for big things believing they are possible. We are in an upswing and loving it. I have been trying for a while now (even before the upswing) to thank God for the little things every day, the little things that add up to the big things. It is amazing how much more I see God in the little things, in everyday ordinary things that we take for granted.
I’ve also notice an increase in unexpected frustrations in my life lately: the car having to be fixed, things not working as smoothly as they should at work, forgetting to pay a bill and getting a late fee. On my way to church I went to unlock the car and it wouldn’t unlock. My key doesn’t work well in the lock so after fighting with it I finally go into the car to discover the battery was dead. I had left the headlights on. I know no one else has ever done that. But as I started to swear in frustration it twisted on my tongue and in mid complaint I started singing that old song “This is the Day.” It sounded awful because I was singing it through my teeth. Even when it may sound awful or insincere or make me look crazy I’m trying to change the words that come out of my mouth when I’m upset.
What we say matters. I don’t believe in swearing casually. I will occasionally us a choice word to emphasize a point when angry but lately I’ve been getting worse so even when it sounds stupid or insincere I try to balance the negative with the promises of God. When my car wouldn’t start and my husband had already left for work I was grateful for three friends in particular, two who helped jump my car and the woman who gave me the jumper cables. I was also thankful that I was on my way to church and not on my way to work. God is a lot more understanding of tardiness than my boss.
Something I realized that morning was if I was enjoying the prosperity God was pouring out on me and suffering increased frustration, shock of all shocks, I must be doing something right! I don’t feel like that happens often but on occasion I do something right. I must be learning. There is hope! The Devil can’t stand to see us succeed and God can’t bear to see us atrophy so he allows the Devil to aggravate and frustrate us so we will call on God’s name and not just defeat the enemy but take ownership in our victory. I find I enjoy something more if I’ve had to work for it. Oh sure, if you ask me I’d rather have the world handed to me on a silver platter but would I enjoy it later? Probably not so much. Let the Devil frustrate me all he wants, it will only make me run back to my faithful partner in life, my God. Let him try and trash the life God is giving me every day and it will only backfire because God translates every curse into a blessing. It doesn’t mean I’ll never be frustrated, hurt, or afraid but it does mean if all I do is run back to God and tell the Devil where he can stuff it I’ll come out a better person. I’ll come out closer to the person I was born to be.
I love that God doesn’t keep his presence, strength and beauty to himself but shares it with we who believe. I get to be a part of something bigger. I have to work hard but the end result will be worth it and I’ve already had a taste. Just try and stop me now! Be encouraged!
Life is hard enough without adding complications. But I would rather add someone else’s to my own and have help working through them than having only my problems and myself to rely on. I would much rather have my issues plus God’s, or my husband’s, or my best friend’s issues and have a hand to hold and another mind to process with. I’d rather have twice the complications and a share in the victories than to only have my issues, my solutions, and my failures.
Working 60 hours a week between two jobs is hard. It is exhausting and frustrating but, although cliché, the old adage is true: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Why can’t life just be easy? Short answer, because we’d atrophy. This is not where I pictured myself after college. Something that I’ve realized though is I’m tired and frustrated and liberated and happy. Go figure. I don’t do one emotion at a time. I can’t. I’m not wired that way.
I’m motivated to do what I have to to get out of debt and provide for my family, for the children I don’t have now but will. I need to get my stuff in order now so when it is time for me to add my complications and successes to my children’s lives I have more successes than complications. My parents will tell you: you do what you must. It doesn’t matter how difficult or impossible. We do what we must to make the world a little bit better even if we never get to see the fruits of our effort. But God is good and most of the time we do get to see a measure of our efforts but they go so much further than we see.
So be strong and courageous. Make connections with people even though it’s scary and it hurts, and do what you must. Do more than you think you can because in Christ you are more than a conqueror! What kind of conqueror doesn’t have anything to conquer? We are capable of far more than we think. All we need is no other choice but to soldier on when we think we can’t. Do what you must and change the world! Lean on me and let me lean on you. Be blessed in and through your struggles today.
So we are about 35 days into my job at Ingram and call me crazy but I actually like my job. I know, novel concept. I can’t help it. I don’t understand how people just show up to work and trudge through day after day living for the end of their shift and the weekends. For the most part, when I invest energy in something I’m not going to embarrass myself by going in half-heartedly. If my work reflects the type of person I am to others I want it to be the best I can make it.
Like I said, I really enjoy my new job. I like the people, work environment, and the hours. I can’t begin to tell you how nice it is to have a stable schedule where I’m home by five Monday through Friday. I came home last Friday, had my dinner watched two episodes of Torchwood on Netflix, took an hour and a half bath with a good book and still had time to spare to write this blog among other projects. When I tell people I work two jobs seven days a week they automatically look exhausted and say things like “I wouldn’t have the patience for that,” or “That is more than I’d want to be working.” And truth be told, it is more than I like working too but it is getting me closer to what I want. When I’m out from under my debts I’ll be living like a queen and having a full time job is helping me get there.
Right now I’m still probationary. I’m trying to be an exemplary employee so someone will realize that I am worth keeping after my 90 days. I’m an odd find. I like my job therefore I will work harder at it than a person who doesn’t. I’m dependable, punctual, and I work well on my own or with other people. I’ve never been afraid of hard work if it gets me what I want and a lot of people don’t seem to get that correlation. I went to school, put my time in and spent more money than I should have borrowed and yes I deserve and good job but only if I am willing to be an amazing employee. Hard work now equals fun later. That is how it works. I told you I was odd.
I don’t know about you but all my life I have been told that perfection is unattainable. I’ve been told that the only one capable of perfection is Jesus. But let me have a crazy, out-of-the-box thought. Bear with me. Heb. 2:10-18 and 4:15-16 state that Jesus stepped down from Heaven being fully God and…fully human. Fully human. What does fully human mean? He was born, he had to learn to walk and talk, he had to do things he didn’t want to do, he had to overcome fear. If Jesus as a man cried blood because he was afraid to die, I can see him as a young child afraid of the darkness.
In Matt. 4:1-11 Jesus is lead out into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. He was hungry and tired and Satan was tempting him with food, power, and proof of who he (Jesus) was. Each temptation was rebuked with God’s word only. Jesus was fully human but he tapped into God’s strength to resist what he knew was wrong. I may sound like a broken record repeating the words “fully human” but if Jesus who was fully human could resist temptation when he was at his weakest and live a sinless life surely we can manage for a day or two at a time.
I’m not saying we’ll never sin again but we can take life one day at a time and keep in close contact with the One who makes it all possible. There is hope for success if we are willing to put in the effort and the communication. Communion (I’m not talking wafers and grape juice here) is crucial. Jesus kept close to God, praying continually so he would know what God’s will was. He knew the scriptures, not just the words but the meaning of the words. So never let anyone tell you there is no such thing as perfection. We should never let it overwhelm us or become an obsession but it is most attainable if you believe it can be done.
Why are grief and panic such strong emotions? How can they smolder unnoticed under the surface of everyday life overwritten by monotony and even joy only to spring to life like fire to kindling out of the blue? How can I be perfectly well and happy or at least distracted one minute and overcome the next? Why is keeping control a constant battle? I get so weary of being blindsided by emotion. I know once they mood passes the sun will shine and I’ll be happy again but sometimes it feels like I’m lying to myself.
Sometimes I wonder if I hide from my emotions instead of processing them. I have an interest in the macabre crime dramas perhaps because they are entertaining but also because I can dissociate. I can relate to the darkness in the world, feel the fear, the anger, the sadness but I can also feel the relief and satisfaction of a resolution I may not get from life. I will admit, it is easier to hide, to pretend the darkness isn’t real, that there can be a resolution. Some days when the mood strikes it takes all I have to hold it together. Relax, this is not one of those days. These days make me grateful that I not only have a God who has my back but who can also hold my hand. My God can wrap one arm around me, cover me with the shadow of his wings, and fight off the demons I’m too weak to fight.
Welcome to the nature of depression, my friends, and welcome to its cure. Even on my darkest days I know deep down I’m never alone, even when the rest of me believes I am. I’ve lost track of how many times He’s saved my life. He’s the hand that won’t let go even when I’m shaking Him off. He is that mustard seed of faith, that ray of hope no matter how small. It isn’t instant and it isn’t effortless but it works. Welcome to the nature of depression, my friends, and welcome to its cure.
What does growing up look like? Apparently if you are a teen star proving you are no longer a child it involves acting like a rebellious child. How many children have been ruined by fame, fortune, and a lack of proper discipline and parenting? Miley Cyrus is all over the news right now but she isn’t the first or the worst and sadly won’t be the last. It seems like almost every child star goes through this rebellious phase. It doesn’t help that when someone does transition into adulthood without the theatrics it doesn’t make news because it isn’t as controversial or entertaining. Brittany Spears, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber… The list goes on of kids stopping the dress up games and moving to the other end of the spectrum from innocent to hormonally out of control.
Why do we associate growing up with sexual promiscuity? Growing up is more about responsibility than sexuality, maturity than “mature content.” We feed the negativity of this system. We comment on twitter, facebook and other social media. We buy magazines and tune into the news. We search for clips and videos on YouTube. I think Gale from the Hunger Games had the right idea. What if we all stopped watching, searching, commenting for or against? What if we ignored bad behavior? The likelihood of this happening is laughable but only because it is better to laugh than cry. We let our children grow up thinking that growing up is just another bizarre game, that our entertainment is more important than our morals, than what is right.
Growing up should be less about putting our sexuality out there for all to see and more about caring for other people who have less. It isn’t about doing or getting everything we want but giving to others, sacrificing time, money, talent. Sacrifice is a better measuring stick for maturity, in my opinion, than sexuality. Parents, good parents, give up sleep, money, time, dreams, and goals to take care of their spouse and children.
These are the people who should be on the news. The people who go to work even when they are sick and tire so they know the people they love are taken care of, the people who turn down a promotion to be able to spend more time with their families. Children who stand up against the popular crowd for a friend or an ideal are more mature than some adults I know. Age has little to do with growing up. Your actions matter. Think about it.
I am about to embark on a new adventure. I’m making a change on purpose and of my own free will. I’m a low risk person and change makes me uneasy even when it brings me closer to where I want to be. I’m about to start my first full-time job at a warehouse. I’ve only ever worked part-time retail so this should be interesting. I’m excited, though. I get to work around my second true love, books (my first true love being my husband). I have opted to work both my new job and my current job simultaneously in case my new job doesn’t work out. I’m not expecting any issues, I see a promising future but like I said, I’m low risk and I like backup plans.
My current plan involves me working seven days a week for the foreseeable future so we’ll see how that works out. When my inner control freak takes over, I’m glad that God provides all my needs. I get so stressed out trying to do it all myself, so it is nice to be able to step back and let God work. Finding the balance between independence and trust is difficult for me. I’m not the type to sit around and let life happen to me then expect God to fix it nor am I able to control my life like I wish (though not for lack of trying).
Long story short, I do the best I can with what I have but at the end of the day I have to trust God to make it all add up, to make all my effort worth it. This job is one of those things. I think I am going to like it. I’m excited about it. It is going to make my life complicated for a while but I’m trusting that the change will be worth it. I’m doing something I don’t want to do (working seven days a week) to be able to do something I do want to do (pay off my debts early). That is when the real fun begins and I’ll know everything was worth it then.
Our instincts are an important part of who we are. They are designed to help keep us safe and make wise decisions. Sometimes our instincts run counter to our logic. This makes things complicated. I seem to listen to my instincts part time (like when I feel uncomfortable around a person who has given me no reason to dislike them) and ignore them part time (like the time I donated blood and the nurse was unsure if she could hit my small veins. I did it anyway and bruised from wrist to elbow.)
I need to listen to my instincts more often. They may not make sense at the time but I’ve observed them to be right more often than not. Why is it easier to follow my instincts for small things like driving directions than for big things like buying a car? How can I know going in that I’m going to be played and not realize I’ve fallen for the trap I saw coming until it is too late? Then I sit around beating myself up, trying to fix the mess I’ve made. If I had only done the research, walked away, taken the risk of losing what I wanted to buy…
Someone once told me to stop “shoulding” on myself. I should have done it this way, should have said that, should have reacted differently. We can’t change what has been done. We don’t get do-overs. Not often anyway. I’m just glad God provides all my needs even when I seem to screw things up. He knows how to turn a bad situation into a blessing in disguise. And let’s face it, this is how most of us learn, through mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable. It is what we do with them that defines success and failure.