Not How I Pictured This at All

I have been struggling with a sense of failed character as of late. As my good friend once wrote in a little book called Romans: "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." I hate what I do.

Yesterday was a test of character and I failed miserably. Not only did I continue in a pattern I thought I had finally broken, I also hurt myself immeasurably. I have never felt so alone in my entire life.

I do not know where to go from here. How do I break a chain that has held me most of my life, despite recessions of years? I feel hopelessly lost in a sea of disillusionment and self-judgment that refuses to let me come up for air.

Today I spent the better part of the afternoon scrubbing myself clean of who I used to be (literally and figuratively) because I refuse to be that person anymore. I will not be someone I hate behind closed doors. I cannot lead a double life forever.

Only two chapters earlier, my friend wrote about how perseverance will develop proven character. I don't want character that is up and down and all over the place like a Pop-a-Mole game; only proven character is acceptable to me and to my Father, so that is what I will strive for. With His help and some perseverance, hopefully I will get there. Tomorrow is not a good enough place to start. My change starts today, I am running full-speed towards my Savior and the life He has planned for me, and the old ways will not catch up to me now.


Burn, Baby, Burn

I am officially burnt out.

Today I finally lost it. Something, a nothing, went wrong and I just collapsed and cried. Every lost minute of sleep and each setback and argument and heartache of the summer finally caught up with me and I just couldn't breathe anymore. Part of this has to be that I cannot see an ending to the madness. My internship ends Monday, and then I work pretty much every day til school starts, which ushers in a life packed with too much school, a lot of church and (if I'm lucky) two jobs. There is no end in sight until Christmas, and I don't know if my body and emotions can take it.

Everything I committed myself to suddenly feels like a burden rather than the joy it started out as. I want that back, but right now every part of me is just...exhausted. I need a vacation, and I don't think that is ever going to happen.

Tomorrow is a day as busy as all the rest, and I'm already dreading trying to just make it though. Thankfully God is strong for me when I am weak, because right now I need him just to get out of bed in the morning.

God, I'm going to need You through this because I cannot make it on my own.


Who in the World is He?

I was standing in my dining room, minding my own business painting car wash signs, when my mom walks in and starts talking. Big, scary things are happening and she just needed to talk, but then it came around to this book she's been reading. She began reading me a passage, and in it the author was recounting a question he had been asked: Who is God to you? And not just who we know Him to be from the Bible, but who has He revealed Himself as to me in my own experience? That is a scary question.

So, in the next few minutes, I am going to struggle with this question and figure out what all this means. If I no longer have a Bible, will I still know God?

When i first heard the question, right away the attribute that popped into my head was "funny." God, in my experience, is hilarious. He tells me things that make me giggle like crazy, and sometimes there's even a hint of sarcasm in His voice. He tells me when I'm being stubborn, and it's rarely without humor. God is a funny guy.

He is also incredibly comforting. I can't count the number of times that I have driven home in my car all alone, bawling my eyes out, and He's there with His small, sweet voice telling me exactly what I need to hear. Especially that He loves me. Which is another one of His overwhelming attributes. God is so loving its astonishing. He finds the most wonderful ways to show it, from the snowstorm I begged for to the kindest words that only someone who is head-over-heels in love with me could say with a straight face. He romances me daily and pursues me when I run. It gives me tingles.

He is also judgmental. Just the other night I did something I knew wasn't right, and the second I got in my car, there He was. "So, are you happy with yourself?" No, of course I wasn't. He sits above me, knowing it all, and tells me when I'm wrong. I can try to fight it, but there's no way I can be right when He tells me I'm not. Sometimes He tenderly leads me to see the folly of my ways, but occasionally He yells. The hugeness of His voice fills my brain to the brim and and the truth is inescapable. He is a teacher, both of His Word and of life, and He has the "good cop, bad cop" routine down to a science. If He's not getting through to me with love, He knows how to take me by force. When I'm not in a place that makes me feel as if I can accept His love, He throws it at me until I am bent under the beautiful weight of it and am forced to give in.

He is a friend, the kind anyone would like to have. He listens for hours as I complain and sulk and cry, as I recount my day and plan for the future. He gives the best advice when I'm heartbroken, and lets me know when the grieving period is over so that I can move on with my life. He speaks only truth to me and ensures that, if I will only listen, I will not be led astray by the fears and misconceptions of my own heart. He hangs out with me when I drive, thrills with me on swings and rollerblades and rollercoasters, hurts with me when I can't even breathe anymore from the pain, and laughs with me when something fantastic takes me by surprise.

He is a promiser of good things. He reminds me of these things when I cannot stand on my own two feet anymore, and He always makes these things come to pass. He provides all of my needs, and even some of my selfish wants. I have a hundred stories of times when He made way for the impossible, and when He has come through even when the rest of the world looked away.

This is my God. This is how He has revealed Himself to me, and yet it's only a taste. The Bible is a beautiful thing that God has given to us so that we may come to know Him better, but He has also given us His Spirit to live INSIDE of us. He's not words on a page to be taken in and understood, but a part of me. And He longs to reveal Himself personally. I guess it's the difference between introducing yourself in letter or in person. Sure I can understand a huge amount about Him by reading a letter that spans thousands of years, but He is here in my lifetime to meet personally with me. What an incredible God.

Soup, Dreams and Restless Affections

I am in a good place. I don't have a lot of (or enough) money, but I don't care. School is starting soon and I'm thrilled like I never thought I could be again. And the world is laid at my feet.


I am so restless. I can feel every nerve in my body standing on edge, waiting for excitement that just isn't coming. I want thrilling, daring adventure, and none is appearing over the horizon. Everything is the same, or some version of before, and I am alone. I want to be entering a new stage of life! Everyone around me seems to be getting married or having kids, and all I want to do is scream at them: "This is my dream, not yours! Go find your own!" I know that in a few days this will pass, but until then I am happy to soak in the depression of being without purpose. I can't tell you what a few months from now will bring, and that leads me to believe that at some point, something exciting will show up in the peripherals of my boredom and save me from a life of dull.

Tomorrow, I already know, will be a long day. All the Chinese food is gone. I just discovered that I can only escape to Rockband for so long. I need to go paint car wash signs. At the moment, this is all that my life holds. But somehow, I need to find it in myself to be content with where I'm at right now, because if I don't then I fear that even when I do have all I ever wanted I won't recognize it and will keep striving for more. So this is me throwing off the burden of restlessness and being happy with macaroni soup for dinner.


Starts with Goodbye

I hate all these stupid, sad blogs lately. I hate that they're what is pouring out of my heart, and that I have no control over any of it. Most of all, I hate that my time for grief is over and it's time to move on; sitting in my own misery is 100x easier than getting off my butt and changing things.

I have only a few weeks of freedom left, and I am using them, baby! I cannot stand to be this depressed, angry person anymore. I hide it well right now, (I think), but how long can that last? This is me breaking free and deciding that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

These are the last words on the subject. Ever. I promise not you, my faithful readers, but myself. This is for me so that the last bits of healing can take place without the wounds being reopened by my own stupidity. So here they are:

There was no monumental, emotional goodbye. There was a chance meeting, a brief, puddle-deep chat, and a broken promise that doesn't matter anymore. And then nothing. So this is my goodbye. I don't know what the future holds or where our paths might cross again, but this is the end of the road for me, unless you change your mind. I refuse to cry over you ever again. You might not have wanted to say it, hear it or see it, but I need that closure, with or without you.


"Sometimes moving on with the rest of your life starts with goodbye."


And Again and Again and Again...

I was reminded today that it is only God's opinion that matters. I'm going to keep that in mind as I try to describe what's on my heart.

I survived. The day I've been dreading for months came...and is already halfway gone. Sure I hyperventilated on the way home (for unknown reasons) and have had a strange aching all over my body since (it feels like I was beaten all over with a baseball bat a couple weeks ago, and can finally feel my limbs again), but despite all that, I am still the same person I was when I went to bed last night and I will not change. I will not waiver or falter.

I'm just going to be candid for a moment. This is not love. This is not remnants of love. This is knowing that love is gone and I am without it, and somehow the world is still spinning. I don't know why this is such a big blow, but I'm trying to take it in stride.

One more time to go, and then possibly never again. That might be what hurts the most. I'm losing my best friend all over again.


Re: "....One Last Disguise"

Response, not imitation, is the highest form of flattery. This one's for you.

I have never understood it, not from the time I was a child and it first emerged, nor even last night when it forced me down on my knees to cry for the thousandth time; the need to be loved by someone who doesn't have to is great indeed.

The first boy who ever said he loved me proclaimed it in the middle of Sungod swimming pool after dating only two days and knowing each other not much longer. I remember laughing in his face, and barely being surprised when I found the reason behind his heartfelt declaration: he wanted to have sex. That day. I was 15 and already so jaded. I have no idea where that attitude came from or why I carried it so close to my heart, but it has been a permanent fixture in my life since it surfaced six years ago.

From that moment on, I was never alone. If I didn't have a boyfriend, I had a "someone." I learned quickly from the first boy I ever "loved" (I use quotations because manipulated heartstrings aren't tuned to love someone, but at that time I definitely believed it would never get better) that I was not worthy of being a man's sole (or soul) desire. To hold one down, to have him completely enraptured in me was too much to ask because I was not the kind of person who deserved it. Our dating pattern went something like this: get together, fall in love, he cheats, I end it; get back together, have always been in love, he cheats, he ends it; still in love, get back together, he falls out of love and cheats, he ends it. Etc. And every time, I was the one who got the crappy, crappier, crappiest end of the stick. I let it happen because I was terrified that if it wasn't him, no one else would ever want me.

The summer after grade 12, I had a classic summer romance. Poetic, right? I had no expectations on his character or anything else because by then I knew what men were and what they were incapable of being. They were dishonest, cheating, controlling and unfeeling. They were completely incapable of showing love without strings attached, or of expressing any emotion that might actually hint to who they were under the facade. So to me, this "summer fling" was exactly what the phrase intones: a no-feelings, no strings, flighty and fun escapade to waste away my summer days. And when he told me he loved me, I said this: "You don't have to lie to me. I've known boys like you my whole life. Let's just leave this at what it really is and not try to pretend it's something it's not." He nodded his head in agreement and that was that. In essence, I had become exactly like the men I hated: hard-hearted and dead to real love.

That was when I took some time off. For over two years, I stayed away from anything even resembling serious friendship with a guy because I knew that having them in my life had ruined me. I didn't know who I was or who God wanted me to be; I was lost in a sea of being something for someone. God changed my heart, opened up my eyes and began teaching me that I am worth something in His eyes, and immeasurably beyond worthy to be loved. Occasionally I would slip back into the old patterns of The Need, especially when the date passed that I had always wanted to get married on, but God redeemed.

And then He showed me what genuine love looks like. I'm not going to go into details, but the best I can do is to say that I had never before experienced an equal, giving, no power-struggle relationship, and it was beautiful. And through it, God was finally able to break through my stone-cold heart and show me His love. Incredible.

So here I am, alone again, and reading a blog by a friend. He is asking about this need we have to be with somebody. This is my response (probably lengthier than necessary). I don't know why I have this need, why it's so strong, or where it comes from. All I know is that for a very long time I found my worth in what boys thought of me, and occasionally I still get dragged down to that place only marked by pain and destroyed self-esteem. God is the only antidote, the only one who can look me in the heart and tell me that I am complete and beautiful in His sight, even without a man's love.

And this I know (because it's been written on my heart since the day I was born), when the day comes and I am finally ready, He will bring someone into my life who will compliment my soul perfectly, and that man will mean it when he says he loves me.