Blogging After Way Too Long

It has been a long while since I blogged last. I finally started writing again a couple weeks ago, but stuck to my notebook. Probably because it was easiest and most familiar. In the beginning I wrote with a fervor and passion I haven’t felt in over a year. Thoughts and emotions poured out of me and I couldn’t seem to keep my hand from my pen. Now, the thoughts and emotions still come, but I find my hand seeking the pen less often. Why?

I honestly don’t really know. It makes no sense to me really, except that my mind is ever-going, never ceasing. I suspect that has some influence because my touch of OCD doesn’t like me mixing different trains of thoughts. They have  to be separated by paragraph and page breaks. But so many times those breaks mean short paragraphs that are aesthetically unpleasing and hard to return to.

I know myself well enough to admit that consistency is not part of my life right now, but I would like to think that my writing and blogging will become more present and often in the coming days and weeks. During my year of silence my desire to share my thoughts and feelings never left, my fear and self doubt simply overrode it.

I am very happy and proud of myself for the obstacles I have overcome to get to where I am now. I am excited about the doors God has opened for me and I look forward to what He still has in store. New things are on the horizon!

One Deep Breath At a Time

It has been several months since my last post. Once or twice I sat down to write and I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t organize anything or get it out.

My life has changed so drastically since I last wrote; The most important change being that I lost two of the most important people in my life at the same time. One was my closest friend and confidante who passed away in her sleep from an unknown cause, the other was the love of my life.

I have battled a myriad of emotions on a daily basis and I continue to struggle with finding peace and understanding in it all. Today I went to church for the first time in months. My prayer has been and will continue to be that I keep my focus 100% on Christ and that by truly searching His words and His guidance that peace will come to me. My heart has been broken for so long now sometimes I wonder if it can ever be made whole again…

So I hold on to Christ’s promises and I ask that He hold me in His arms and lift me up. And I try to find joy in the memories and the small things I experience each day. I look for the positive and try to push away negativity and hurtful thoughts, while also praying for everyone I come into contact with, that I can be positive towards them in some way and that whatever influence I have is uplifting and Christ-centered.

And meanwhile I just take each day, each hour, each minute…one deep breath at a time.

Write & Serve Whether You Feel Like it or Not

Today I don’t feel like writing, but I know I should. I’ve tried the daily word count, which I admit has been forgotten multiple days, and I have started the A to Z Challenge, which has not gone as well as I’d hoped. Image

Fortunately, a friend posted something on Facebook this morning that got me to thinking about some things.

I currently live with three men: one is only home on weekends and long holidays, one recently moved in, and the third actually rents the house. The biggest difference in living with the three of them is that one helps me clean when he’s home, one compliments me when I clean, and one ignores me when I clean. Image

Before I say anything else on that I’m gonna have a little side track. That is that for many years I was the perfect people-pleaser. I would bend over backwards to please everyone around me, not realizing that it’s not really possible. I tried all the time, always looking for a way to make everyone but myself happy. In my mind making everyone else happy meant not getting yelled at or stepped on. It meant making my life easier even if it wasn’t happier.

Eventually I stopped people-pleasing merely to make my life easier and everything I did to please others was when it really did make me happy. I like seeing others smile, like being the source of someone else’s happiness, just not at the expense of my own, which brings me back to the present.

The renter of this house has been gracious enough to let all of the other inhabitants live here for a variety of reasons, and I see no problem in helping keep things clean. After all, I have helped with rent and utilities sporadically when I had money, though it’s not my biggest contribution. However, my contributions keeping the house clean and the laundry done has become more and more of an overlooked thing. It is not unusual for me to spend several hours washing dishes or washing and folding laundry and hear nothing about it.download (3)

In the last few weeks it has been increasingly difficult not to become petulant over the matter. I mean, really, no one likes to feel under-appreciated. However, this morning my friend shared a Bible verse that helped me put things in perspective:

“Whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20: 26, 27

This reminds me that it doesn’t matter how I feel I should always have a servant’s heart. It doesn’t mean let everyone use me or make me a doormat, but I should always be willing to help others even if it goes unnoticed. Christ served everyone. He spent most of his time with those that the majority of society shunned. Likewise, I should serve everyone, not just those I feel like.images (5)

 

Like Jesus Does

“All the crazy in my dreams,
Both my broken wings,
Every single piece of everything I am.
She knows the man I ain’t,
She forgives me when I can’t.
That devil, man, he don’t stand a chance.
She loves me like Jesus does.”

I heard this song for the first time yesterday afternoon. It’s called “Like Jesus Does” and it’s sung by Eric Church. I absolutely love it. Why? Not just because it’s a country love song, but because it has such an important message. God’s love  is all-powerful and everyone should love those around them with that same unfailing love.

loves me like jesus

God gave everyone free choice, it’s what makes us humans instead of robots.  That means that each one of us has to decide to love others the way Jesus does every day no matter what. It’s not a choice someone else can make for us. What does loving someone like Jesus mean? I think Eric Church nailed it: you accept and support everything about a person, not just the good, and you forgive them and let them know it. It means accepting that everyone makes mistakes and accepting the good with the bad in a relationship, whatever that relationship is.

Of course it also means the people around you can choose to embrace or ignore the love you give. Jesus died so we could all be free from sin, but not everyone chooses to accept His salvation. It doesn’t mean He loves them any less, and eventually He will have to let them go no matter how painful it is because of their own choices. Sadly, I can draw parallels in my life.

How can I love a stubborn, hard-headed, pain-in-the-ass man like Jesus does when all he does is turn his nose up at me? I loved him the only way I knew how until I got tired of fighting with him and gave it all up. Can anything really change? How can I love someone like Jesus does when I only talk to them once a year, but each time it makes my skin crawl?

These are my struggles, but God is telling me not to struggle with them anymore. I am called to love others like Jesus did. I am called to strive towards a Christ-like character of love and forgiveness. People can reject the love and forgiveness I offer, but I will find peace only by resting in Jesus’ love and sharing it with others to the best of my ability. Jesus experienced the ultimate rejection of being sentenced to death for His love and His belief in the goodness of humanity, and yet He loves us and always will.

I can rise above my struggles only by asking for God’s strength and letting Him guide me.


Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

There are a number of things on my mind today, one of the chief things being the terms selfish and self-centered. A number of things have contributed to my thoughts on the matter and being the analytic person I am I have decided to write them out to try to bring about some sort of cohesion and peace of mind.all about me

First off, I looked up the definition of both terms. The online definition of selfish is:

1. devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others. 2. characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself

That is pretty self-explanatory. When someone is described as selfish they generally don’t care about the well-being or happiness of anyone, but themselves. The online definition of self-centered was deemed synonymous with selfish, but also holds more than that one meaning:

1. concerned solely or chiefly with one’s own interests, welfare, etc.; engrossed in self; selfish; egotistical. 2. independent, self-sufficient. 3. centered in oneself or itself. 4. fixed; unchanging.

I have been referred to as selfish and self-centered at different times in my life by different people. This isn’t surprising or outrageous. Most people have been called one or the other if not both in their lives and I believe it’s pretty much true. I have had my moments as everyone does, why try to deny the fact. The problem isn’t in having those moments, but in whether or not you live in or move past those moments. That is what makes the difference in a person being selfish or self-centered as an action, or being selfish or self-centered as a state of being (character).

“Here I am going to say something which may come as a bit of a shock. God doesn’t necessarily want us to be happy. He wants us to be lovable. Worthy of love. Able to be loved by Him. We don’t start off being all that lovable, if we’re honest. What makes people hard to love? Isn’t it what is commonly called selfishness? Selfish people are hard to love because so little love comes out of them.”
― William NicholsonShadowlands

My list of faults and mistakes are lengthy, but one of my biggest strengths is the compassion and love I have for living things. It doesn’t matter that I’ve had a number of bad experiences with people, I still love them. I love people who have lied to me, beaten me, used me, and attempted to break me. I love people who have met me at every turn with vile words and accusations. God has given me a deep desire to show Him to all living creatures and to be a living example of love. I stumble, I fall, but I always strive towards that goal.

Some people think that is a cop-out. They say I’m using it to avoid taking responsibility, but I’m not. Having pure intentions doesn’t excuse my mistakes or my faults. I still have to apologize and take responsibility for myself and my actions. I still have to nurture and rebuild relationships with people I have unintentionally wounded, mentally, physically, or spiritually. I still have to monitor my words and my actions around people who don’t trust me (and may not have a reason to yet). love them anyway

Unfortunately, sometimes people you love and care about deeply take one of your actions and brand it as a characteristic. It is, in my opinion, one of the most hurtful and unnecessary things a person can do, but it happens. Speaking from experience I will suffice to say that once a person has characterized you as such it doesn’t matter how you interact with them or how much effort you put into making their life more beautiful, they will always look down their nose at you and say you are selfish or self-centered. Few wounds have left such a deep mark.

Nonetheless, life goes on. Love thy neighbor as thyself is the command Christ gave us. It doesn’t have an ‘unless’ clause or an ‘until’ clause. It states love thy neighbor as thyself. That’s a period afterwards.

So I continue my life. I may still have my selfish or self-centered moments, but I will not make it a characteristic. Instead I  will continue giving of myself , loving those who may or may not love me, and improving myself in whatever mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical capacity I can. self centered radius