where I'm at

I haven't written in a LONG time. Not here, not in a journal, nowhere. They say to write what you know and following that train of thought, I think I've just been knowing too much ... overwhelmed by it all. My stuff. Other people's stuff. Family stuff. Friend stuff. Life stuff. I've wondered if it's the age - this being in my 30's thing - when your brain has grown up and out of the invincible and enchanted space and you've experienced enough of life to come face to face with the reality that it's HARD and often SUCKY and that it NEVER, EVER turns out like you'd imagined or planned.

In fact, the show I was watching last night (Heartland - it's Canadian and sappy and about a horse ranch and I LOVE it) put it this way: "I've hate to meet the liar that would say his life has turned out exactly like he'd imagined." 

That's how God speaks to me. Through trains of thought and a myriad of external confirmations. I think he's been trying to tell me I'm fighting too hard against the reality of life. He's telling me I keep buying into the lie that A equals B, that doing life well equals being a particular brand of joyful and successful, all on a particular timeline. He's telling me that kind of strive is futile.

So, fuck it. Life's hard and then you die. But, how to live it in the meantime?  The question ... rather, the point of it all ... becomes how to live the hard life in light of/because of eternal life. Which, of course, requires some kind of human understanding of a totally divine concept.

Ugh. Eck. Mind fuck, for sure.

But, I think it's a MF that we're required to embrace. I think Jesus called it FAITH ... and the more enlightened of we humans tend to move the conceptualization from mind to soul ... or from concrete to abstract ... from certainty to curiosity ... from confusion to acceptance. They get okay with the questions ... and believe in better despite ... and they start looking for it and celebrating it and choosing into it. 

That's so hard to do. But I'm trying.

On a kind of related note ... my sis-in-law recently asked me what I want (in life, fertility, purpose, etc.). And, I told her I don't quite know. And, I don't. I think I just really want to know me and be me and see that (i.e. ME) bear fruit this side of heaven. But to get that, I have to know me and quit denying me when she shows up.

So, who is ME?

I'm a girl that's pretty good at telling it like it is. I discern problems/rationale ridiculously well. I'm not that great at holding other people's emotional stuff. I don't do a ton of emotional connection well, but I get what's going on in a person. I can create room for it, I'm just not really wired for entering into that space with someone. I think people make dumb decisions because they don't like doing hard stuff. I get impatient with someone's close-mindedness or inability to connect consequences to action (or inaction). I like dogs, mine especially. I am still not SURE I want kids. I like the sun. I hate rainy days and nights. I like drinking a bit, but my body doesn't love it. Traveling stresses me out, but I like knowing I've been to new places enough to choose into the stress. Very little energizes me, even less excites me. I live in my head too much. I do things because I can or feel like I should WAY MORE often than because I actually have a desire to do so. I do not know what passion feels like. 

Yet, I do know what disenchantment feels like. I do know what disappointment feels like. I do know what fear feels like. I also know what grief feels like. I get mad at people and things that hurt the people I love. I get pissed at the dysfunction and piss poor decision-making at the heart of the American church, namely the ones that have picked apart the beautiful hearts and passions of the people I love. I can't stand the nepotism and egotism and narcissism and the utter lack of self-awareness and intentional personal growth at the core of church leadership. I have been unhealthy in my anger toward it in the past and probably border on remaining hard hearted toward all of it, even today. But I am aware of it ... and I'm working on it.

And that's the thing: Everything/everyone is dysfunctional this side of heaven, but healthy people realize it and intentionally (and consistently) work on it.

So, I'm a girl that's working on herself. Aware of the dichotomy and dysfunction, I'm noticing it, admitting it, giving myself some grace in the midst of it, and moving toward changing it (on the regular). I'm trying to learn a little harder into what feels natural and true of me and less into what is prescribed or deemed acceptable by the voices outside my head and heart. That's hard, because the voices of culture, church, family and friends are loud, and often, my flawed filter distorts even their truths, but it's a thing ... and I'm aware of it.

 

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#justsayin

I found a tick walking on my dog's back. I picked it and squished it between my nails. Currently feeling like the best mom ever. 

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12.28.16

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"Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. ..."

Loving the whole of Psalm 16 this morning. Feels kind of like a proclamation of mental health on David's part. He's resourcing with an Eternal nurturer. Describing real resilience. The counselor (and human) in me loves it :)

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12.26.16

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A few years back, I accidentally started a tradition of reading through Psalms between Christmas and New Year's. This morning, I was wondering why ... and I think there's just something about all that vulnerability, all those emotions - the vacillation between fear and courage, hope and despair, joy and sorrow, and the juxtaposition of the messy human and the beautifully Divine, that resonates with the end of a year and the beginning of another. I want to believe in transformation and revelation and redemption and reconciliation and celebration in 2017 ... and I just don't think I get there without wrestling first with the disappointments and losses and woundings and confusions and griefs of 2016. So, that's what I'm doing this week - leaning into the dichotomy of life on earth and breathing in Hope.

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we should be friends

I don’t know you well but I know that look
And I can judge the cover ‘cause I wrote the book
On losing sleep and gaining weight
On pain and shame and crazy trains
Well then, oh, we should be friends
Well then, oh, we can be friends
— Miranda Lambert, "We Should Be Friends"

If you put your "comfy pants" on the moment you get home ...
If you believe leggings ARE pants ...
If makeup is a daily negotiable versus a necessity ...
If you can appreciate top shelf, but given the choice, you'll likely opt for the free beer ...
If you can throw down whiskey like it's water ...
If you love Jesus, but don't know how you feel about the current state of church ...
If you think you can be 35 and still feel 18 (an occasionally act accordingly) ...
If you treat your pets like they are human children ...
If you love God and still (unapologetically) cuss a little (or a lot) ...
If a good summer day needs a body of water, a bikini, a bunch of beer and fun friends ...
If you'll spend more money on travel experiences than house upkeep ...
If you're both headstrong and insecure in each and every moment of your day ...
If your daydreams take you simultaneously to the beach, the mountains, and back in time ...
If you dance in your living room when no one's home ...

Then, yes, we should be friends.*

(*I'm not excluding the rest of you, just giving a shout out to like/life-minded)

 

 

#jubilee

(Message begins about 40:00 in).

I miss this kind of teaching. More than that, I miss having this perspective of God.

This past year has felt hard and icky. Loss after loss, disappointment, marriages combusting, people losing their shit, organizations unable to get their shit together, secrets and lies, and too many unknowns and existential/mid-life crisis kind of moments to count.

Honestly, it got to me. Wore me out. Wore me down. My back is one gigantic knot. My gut, too. I started to doubt God’s goodness. I started to doubt His presence. I started to wonder if there was even a point or a purpose for any and all of it. Frankly, I'm still doubting.

#2016sucks.

But 2017? It could look, feel, be different, right? It could be a year of jubilee ... a year defined by what Tyson describes above as a discipline of celebration.

It could be a year defined by more recognition and participation of the GOOD in life. The fun. The redemptive. The bright. More banquets, feasts and celebrations.

I need that to keep doing this (i.e. LIFE). Maybe you do too?

Let's party.

Ultimately, our gift to the world around us is hope. Not blind hope that pretends everything is fine and refuses to acknowledge how things are, but the kind of hope that comes from staring pain and suffering right in the eyes and refusing to believe that this is all there is. And that’s what we all need — hope that comes not from going around suffering, but going through it. I’m learning that the church has nothing to say to the world until it throws better parties. By this I don’t necessarily mean balloons, confetti and clowns … but I mean, backyards and basements and porches. It is in the flow of real life, in the places we live and move, with the people that we’re on the journey with, that we are reminded that it is God’s world and we are going to be okay.
— Jon Tyson

my music: "may we all"

I'm a friggin' emotional trainwreck lately, so it's no surprise this video got me crying. Already loved the song.

on sin and sadness and slippery slopes

That moment when you realize that despite your myriad of flaws, dysfunctions and unhealthy thought and behavioral patterns, you're still SO MUCH better off — healthier ... mentally, emotionally and relationally — than so many others.

It's a confusing moment. It ushers in gratitude and fear at the same time. I am blessed to have been spared some of the crazy and hurtful, grateful for the paths that have led to working on my shit, but I am also so aware of just how easily BAD can take ahold in a life and twist what was and could have/should have been good. And that last bit of awareness? Terrifying.

May the fear propel me (and you) to continue to intentionally tend heart, mind and spirit — to ask hard questions, to do hard things, and to make tough decisions in the name of Love ... of God, self and those He gives.

Love.

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just saying

I'm at a 3-day EMDR workshop, faced with this burning question:

At which age do you become too old to put your head down on the desk? 

#sotired #sittingallday  

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On letting the light in

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Our neighbors never open their blinds. This morning, noticing it for the hundredth time, I wondered why. I know someone occupies that room and uses it during the day, so why do they not open the blinds? I do not understand indoorsy people. No judgement, just baffled - I really don't understand how to be satisfied with artificial light and small spaces. I'd feel trapped and be experiencing some major FOMO. 

Do you open the blinds? I get the occasional privacy reasoning, but if you don't open them otherwise, clue me in ... Help me understand ...why???! 

LOVE. 

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8.30.16//

8.30.16// Today, before the coffee, before the teeth brushing and dog feeding, I put my running shoes on. I do this on the days I'd rather stay in bed. Because if I don't, I'll stay in bed, at least figuratively - letting life happen to me, barely participating and certainly not engaging. And it never fails - if I'm dressed to run, then I'll run, and once I'm done running, I feel capable/productive/alive ... and, well, who wants to stay in bed when there's a life to be lived, you know?

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8.28.16//

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I take my coffee outside in the mornings. The dogs expect it, wait for me to get my flip flops and mug and then prance ahead of me to the door, eager to start their day. I move more slowly, stumbling to my chair, putting the coffee on the side table, and rubbing my eyes into a hesitant welcome of the day's sunlight ...

Today, as I went to place my coffee, this leaf stopped me mid-routine. An amber emblem, bright and beautiful, beckoning from a coming Fall. I needed this promise of change, this reminder that, well, despite a wealth of evidence to the contrary, seasons exist, pass, and combine for grand purposes.

Now, I suppose it COULD be taken as a bad sign - it is a dying leaf after all - but it spoke to me HOPE instead ... so I'm gonna go with that today ... a little bit of hope ... and be glad of it while I've got it :)

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8.27.16//

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 Post-run, pre-homework backyard hangs. I'm grateful for these moments, because I'm hungry for them so frequently, but rarely able to indulge these days. Yesterday marked the halfway point in this 3-month season (yay!!) - this season where he works hard and devotes himself wholeheartedly to learning this new (and exciting) thing and I give him space and grace and encouragement to do so. We agreed to it, yes. But, like a wise person reminded us yesterday, that doesn't mean we have to like it. And I don't like it - I miss him when he's "gone." :)

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toil turmoil

I've been struggling with Mondays. I feel my spirits drop as I enter Sunday, anxiety whispers a bit as Sunday evening falls, and come Monday a.m., I'm dragging, sometimes even despairing. So, I've been trying to figure out what that's about and, after much mental munching, I'm stuck between two possibilities (it could be a both/and, but I'm hoping it's more of a this or that) ...

1. My junk is getting in the way of potential joy. I have a history of experiencing negative emotions and thoughts when I feel inadequate in or unsure about something important. That pattern usually runs tandem to various forms of quitting. If I don't know what to do and feel like I SHOULD know what to do, I run. Not so much because I fear failure, but because I don't believe in myself enough to work hard and succeed. At my core, I sense I'm insignificant, lacking, even, and so, I prove self-defeating. Time and time again. Despite my acute awareness of this fact, I don't know that I've broken the habit yet. And, unfortunately, this work I do? I feel so inadequate at it all the time. Their problems? So big. My wisdom? So small. Eck.

2. This might not be my calling. This emotional/relational work, it might not be for me. This carrying the weight of people's expectations and hopes, this feeling so heavy as I struggle to know what to say, what to do, how to react to people's desire for saving — I can't love it. I don't. It feels wrong. Still, I don't know that I'm not just trying to hold onto something as part of the job that is actually NOT supposed to be part of it — this feeling like I'm supposed to know how to fix their stuff, or at least know how/where to direct them toward fixing their own stuff. That could be the problem - my impossible expectations for self. Or maybe it's not, and that's just an excuse - an attempt to disown something inherent in all who BELONG in the profession. I don't know.

But if it's not my calling (and, don't get me wrong - I think we can have lots of callings, places where God's unique design matches up with the world's needs), what is? What am I about? 

I don't know.

Yesterday, someone asked me where I want to be in five years. My brain disintegrated. Because, I don't know anymore. I know I want to be married to the Mr., but that's all I've got. That, and maybe living slightly off the grid with a kid of our own and our dogs. I don't have energy around much else and that worries me.

Anyway, just more evidence of the ponder :) Until next time,

LOVE.