What Does Your Box Look Like? Part 1

It’s been almost exactly six months since Darla passed away. Six months since I realized that I was in love with a man who didn’t love me, care about me, or respect me.

Six months always sounds like such a long time when you talk about it in future terms, though generally not as much in hindsight. Back then I’d hoped that in six months the pain would be more bearable, less heart-wrenching, but now I think that was just naivety on my part. After all, how can you put a time limit on the healing process? The pain is no less heart-wrenching now than it was six months ago. Of course, I’d never have imagined then that so many changes could happen to one person, inside and out, in six month’s time, but they have.

What do you do when you find out the person you hold dearest is gone forever, without a goodbye? What do you do when you finally realize that the one person you have spent years supporting and loving with every ounce of your energy and feminine being doesn’t care about you? What do you do when you wake up one day and get hit with a thousand thoughts and emotions that challenge what you stand for, what you value, and who you are as a person?

I’m not the only person to have that happen, and I’m certain I won’t be the last. What makes me different, and yet in some instances similar, to those other people is how I reacted; how I’m still reacting. Some people cry and bury their head in the sand waiting for life to magically change itself and them. Others plod along saying that there’s nothing they can do to change it, it just is what it is and they are who they are so they should accept it.

Then there’s people like me. Men and women who cry, fall, pick themselves back up saying, “I accept this as the challenge it is,” and begin the painful process of changing into the person they want to be.

And it is a challenge. It is a challenge to you as an individual to become the person God created you to be, regardless of how radical a change it might be from where you’re at.  And when I say painful I mean earth-shattering, soul-shaking, rip-your-heart-out-and-watch-it-bleed painful that makes the circumstances that started all of it look like a cake walk.

 

Many, many people recognize the fact that their life isn’t where they want it to be. In fact, most of them feel stuck in a rut, either as one shunned by society or accepted into a certain mold. The problem on both sides is that they are afraid of what it will take to change! They look at it and say, “yes, I’m not happy with who I am or where I’m at, but at least this is familiar. Don’t challenge me to change, I don’t know what will happen.” In layman’s terms, they are too afraid to step out of the box, however lumpy, disfigured, small, or miserable that box may be.

Before the circumstances that challenged me at that level happened I felt the same way. I wanted to change, but I didn’t really know how. I wanted where I lived and what I was doing to be different, but I was in such a mental, emotional, and financial rut I didn’t have a clue how to start getting out. My box had been torn and taped back together and rained on so many times it looked like a piece of cardboard the dog had tried to eat, but couldn’t swallow, tried to lay in, but couldn’t fit, and finally peed on and left alone!

But God is so good! He gave me the resources, the strength, the courage, and the light to step out of that box completely, brush off my hands, and walk away hand-in-hand with Him. I had to say, “Ok, God, I’m ready to let You handle my life.” And only then did I realize that God doesn’t want me to be in a rut or a box at all.

A is For Acceptance

Today I am beginning my April A to Z challenge. For those of you that didn’t read the post I re-blogged about it a few days ago it means I will blog 26 posts this month as I go through  the alphabet in addition to other posts. Acceptance

Deciding what to blog about today was a bit of a challenge because there are so many good words that start with A and are applicable to my life at the moment. The one I settled on is acceptance because when I woke up this morning that is what I felt: acceptance of God’s love and His plans for my life. It’s difficult to describe, but when I woke up I felt more at peace than I have in a while. I felt like God was reassuring me that I can let go of everything I’m worrying about and stressing over, not just the small stuff.

acceptance-wordle1

I have accepted the peace He is offering and I have accepted that He wants what is best and will guide my life if I let Him. No more drama and worrying about whether I’ll be happy or not in the future. He has promised and He will provide. I accept His gift. I accept the life He wants me to live.

I also accept my life as my own. I accept responsibility for whatever I haven’t taken responsibility for in the past. I accept that I am human and will make mistakes. I will never be perfect though I can strive for perfection every day. I accept this as fact and will conduct myself each day as God asks me to to the best of my ability.acceptance

What are the things in your life you need to accept?

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

Rejection in a Winter Wonderland

girl in the snow

Tears are most inconvenient. Especially when they sneak up on you without warning in a public place.

It was silly really, the fact that I was crying. I was sitting in the library reading a book making practical applications to my life as I often do when he finally answered a text I sent earlier that morning. The question was, would you be interested in going for a walk later? I was actually interested in going for a walk right then, with the white particles outside still blowing around like the inside of a snow-globe just shaken up, but he had left the house before me. He didn’t answer me right away, which further cemented my feelings that he was busy at the moment and I should just wait patiently.

So there I was finishing off a wonderful compilation of inspiring and thoughtful literary works and his reply came back: “I’m actually gonna head out of town with my sister as soon as we get done with classes and work today.”

Now, you may think there is no reason for this to cause anyone such distress as would be implied by tears, except for the fact that he was an ex-boyfriend I still lived with, which is a whole different story, who chose moments such as those to pointedly remind me that he no longer cared or wished to spend time with me. After all, I didn’t ask him to walk a marathon with me. How long would a walk take? 10 or 15 minutes? We hadn’t hardly spoken or interacted in days and he couldn’t take 10 or 15 minutes to enjoy a walk and genuine conversation?

These little questions popped up one by one as I stared at his text on the shattered screen of my iPhone. I was tempted to ignore it, but I had spent the majority of the last 24 hours reading Dale Carnegie and John C. Maxwell and how to enhance and improve myself and my relationships. So, I dutifully wrote back, “OK. Have fun,” to which he promptly replied, “You have a good weekend too.” I bit back a handful of snarky remarks, thought about how dense he was, and wiped the tears out of my eyes while furtively glancing around to see if anybody noticed my public discretion (crying in public is not allowed in my family). They did not.

I looked down at the book in my hand. I was on page 197 of 212. It would be such a shame for me to let him be the reason I didn’t finish and return it that afternoon. So I did what any real woman would do: I strengthened my resolve to go about my life without him and I finished the book. Of course that was right after I wiped the remainder of tears from my eyes and thought about how they can be very inconvenient…

Don’t Hide From Me

You asked me to love you with all that I could. I reached within myself and did just that- I loved you with my heart, my soul; with every fiber of my body, every part of my being. I poured myself out to you with depth even I didn’t know I was capable of. You were mine and I was yours.

In return, I asked only that you cradle my heart and keep it safe. Don’t play with it. Don’t break it.

You did worse. You hid it and pretended it wasn’t there. You resisted me. You said you didn’t ask for so much. You punished me with your silence and your ignorance.

You are afraid. You are afraid I am asking too much of you, that I am demanding more than you are capable of by loving you so fully.

You withdraw.  I am not the enemy.