Affirmation 6/15/17

Every day will not be flawless. Many will have struggles. Remarkably, you continue. Some days may feel impossible. There may be a storm outside or in your head or in your heart. It will calm. It always does. Breathe slowly. Focus on tiny victories. Don’t be overwhelmed by a heart storm. You will come out stronger. I’m sorry you have to go through it to get there. I believe in you.

I’m glad you’re here.

Affirmation 6/14/17

Deep breath. Slow, even breaths. Things may feel out of your control. Remember those tiny movements inside your body that are constantly going. Things you’ve become so good at controlling you don’t even notice anymore. Your heart beats. Your lungs fill. Your blood pulses. Your eyes blink. You’re constantly hearing and seeing and smelling. You’ve decided to ignore your nose completely, even though you see it. You are in control of each tiny movement. Deep breath. Focus in.

I’m glad you’re here.

Affirmation 8/3/16

Deep breath. Deep calming breath. Deep sustaining breath. Find your calm. Focus on it. Dig your heels deep into calm and stay there. Fill your lungs with it. Surround yourself with it. Chaos may make its way into your life, but you can handle it. You are more than your situations. You are capable. You can handle today. Deep breath. Deep calming breath. Deep sustaining breath.

I’m glad you’re here.

Adventure in Brief self-discovery

Things are about to get honest. Things are about to get personal. Things are about to get rambly.

In my now almost 9 months of what is the closest to isolation I’ve ever been in I have learned much about myself. Some of it good. Some of it bad. Some of it kind of gross. Some of it helpful. Some of it interesting. Maybe somewhere down the line it will all be useful, but for now it’s what I know and what I have.

I watch a lot of movies. Especially on my own. It’s the company of the noise. I fear the silence of my apartment. If the TV isn’t on than music is. If neither of those are on I’m probably in the shower. If I’m in the shower I’m probably singing. If I’m not in the shower I’m in the bath. If I’m in the bath I’m reading, out loud. If I’m reading outside the bathtub, I’m reading out loud. I fear silence. I don’t want it. Silence let’s my brain get carried away. And even if I’m not reading or watching TV or singing or listening to music, I am processing. Out loud. I’m not necessarily a verbal processor, until recently I would say that all comes through a pen somewhere, or a keyboard, but as of late it comes right out of my mouth. I talk everything out with me.

I could stand to lose 20 pounds, but I’d like to lose 40. Because I’m vain. I rarely leave the apartment with my hair in shambles. If it is in shambles I’m going three buildings over to the Edingers to watch “30 Rock.” I put on jeans to run to the store. If I’m not wearing makeup, I’m wearing glasses I don’t need. They cover up my face, which I’m as ashamed of as the rest of my body if it isn’t clothed.

I’m hyper observant. Not in a Shawn Spencer on “Psych” sort of way, but I guess some times even that. Maybe it’s from all that TV I watch, but I’ve started picking up people’s stranger nuances. The ones they are least proud of or most unaware of. The ones that tell me when they’re lying, even if they’re telling me some of the truth. It affects me too. I’ve become hyper observant about all of my tendencies. As evidenced by what you are presently reading.

I rely heavily on the approval of others. I’m so pleased with myself when someone retweets me or favorites one of my tweets or likes a blog post or if my blog stats are going up. The person can increase or decrease that excitement. I feel better about my work at Girls Inc. when someone is around to tell me it’s worth it or that I’m doing a good job.

I let my insecurities come out in ways that don’t necessarily show. If I’m uncomfortable my humor increases, which somehow only makes me more amiable to other people when really I’m trying to fend them off. I chew at my hands. I fuss with my bangs. I put my hair up and take it down. My eyes dart.

I have a harder time focusing in social situations now. I wasn’t too great at it to begin with, but now I have a hard time really listening to people unless I get a transcript too. My brain is distracted, because I’m a selfish person. Because I’m not listening. Because I’m lying. I lie a lot. Mostly by omission. Or half-truths. This is the truth, but it’s also not really the truth. Somewhere in there is truth, but somewhere in that is a lie.

I get bored easily. I shower when I get bored. I clean and then make a mess again. I don’t put all the dishes away and then put them all around the apartment. But I do clean up the living room and then get out paints and spread them out everywhere. Only to leave them out for the next three weeks. Because who does it bother except me? And I’m sure not going to say anything, because I’m also non-confrontational. Not on my own behalf. I’m more inclined to say something to someone on the behalf of someone else than I am to ever stand up for myself. And when someone does approach me I back down. I back down hard.

I don’t know if I’m getting better or worse. I’m only getting more cognizant.

Adventure in shifting focus and the Christian relationship

I spent 17 years in Christian schools. Kindergarten through college. I would estimate that of the 58 other people with whom I graduated high school that 60 percent of them are now married. Another 20 percent would consider themselves to be in committed relationships. The other 20 percent, the rest of us, a generous guess with 20 percent, we remain unattached.

Personally, I’m glad. Huntington University, as Dr. Ruthi has mentioned, cultivated in the campus this need to be in a relationship. This need to be married. It continues to cultivate that idea. I recently attended a wedding, two HU grads. The pastor said in his little sermon that if you aren’t married you aren’t fulfilling God’s will for your life. Well…damn.

Well, it’s all really started me thinking. Because until quite recently I did not have the typical onslaught of lady hormones most women have. It turns out that annoying thing in women that makes them boy crazy and absolute idiots about wanting to be in a relationship, that actually has a lot to do with chemistry. This has put in me that basic need, something I previously scoffed at. I’d watch my friends go nuts over some guy or any guy for that matter and just think, “Ladies, you’re just…this is why people think we’re dumb.”

I’d see kids my age, at the time 18 or even 22, getting married. As an 18-year-old I thought Wicked was the crowning glory of musical theatre. Relient K was the best of all music. Scarves counted as winter coats. Steak n Shake was a treat. I thought I never wanted to get married. I thought children were annoying. And I thought God was calling me to theatre.

As it turns out the world of musical theatre is not only for anyone, but me, but it also offers a bounty of shows outside of Wicked. (Thank God for Jason Robert Brown) Relient K, while awesome, is not the end all be all of music. Scarves, ok that one might still be true. Steak n Shake is midnight food only. I some day might actually like to get married, and some kids aren’t so bad.

My point is I didn’t know myself well enough to think I could know the kind of man I should marry. I hardly know myself now.

In discussions with Dr. Ruthi, a few current HU girls and an old friend from the university I think our biggest failing in this pursuit for relationships is our selfishness. Not in the relationship, but in wanting one. We pursue them and desire them for our own benefit.

I’m lonely. A boyfriend would be nice to have. I’m sad. A boyfriend would be nice to have. But we aren’t called into relationships exclusively for our benefit. Yes, God created Eve so Adam would not be alone, to make life easier. But it remains that we were created for God’s glory. The instant our focus becomes anything other than God things start to go to hell.

We get shaken by our loneliness and turn to people rather than the one we know is always there. Yes, people are physical. We can receive a hug and know they’re there. But perhaps that’s where we lose it. That’s where it becomes about us. Is a relationship benefiting the Kingdom? That’s the question I have to ask myself. How can we as a team better serve the Kingdom than we could apart?

My heart breaks as I watch these girls being hurt by gossip and their own stupidity. If you kiss a boy people will talk, especially if you aren’t in a committed relationship with him. Especially, if you’re on a small Christian campus. Kiss several boys, you just became the town trollop. And people are going to talk about it, because that’s what we do. It’s easier to hurt other people than to look at our own failings. BUT it’s also easier to be hurt by people than look at our own failings. Because, as it turns out, gossip can often be so hurtful because it has a tendency to be true. If people are using choice words like “whore” to describe you, maybe stop making out with every boy who’s nice to you. Shift your focus, because you’re using that boy aren’t you? To fulfill a need or desire in your.

We let our relationships define us. We all do. Don’t let the overwhelming desire for a relationship define you. In I Corinthians 7 Paul suggests it’s better to be single if you can handle yourself. However, if your sexual need becomes so great that you can’t control yourself then, yeah, get married.

Which brings up another interesting point. Because that then implies that a sexual drive becomes a higher focus and priority than the Kingdom. One would think if you can redirect your focus then it would be less of an issue. And yet that is the basis on which many young Christian marriages are formed. “We want to have sex. We currently love each other. We will be married.” I hold that there is still a lack of focus. And it’s sad, because it results in a lot of broken marriages for all the wrong reasons. (for those counting there aren’t that many biblically sound reasons for divorce) Because that focus is still not quite centered.

“Jesus. Yes, important. But look at my dress!” But how do you tell someone they’re getting married too young, to the wrong person or for the wrong reasons?

It raises another interesting question that infuriates a lot of people. Why date if you have no intention of marrying in the future at all or that particular person? “I’m bored.” “He’s convenient.” “He makes me feel good about myself.” Well, aren’t you really just hurting a relationship? Couldn’t you do more for the Kingdom as friends? So that later when that relationship falls apart, you aren’t just like the rest of the world. And you haven’t hurt each other and you have made for a hard situation in social circumstances. Think of how much better we could do carrying each other in community as brothers and sisters instead of boyfriend and girlfriend for the sake of it.