This. Is. Ridiculous.

Have you ever prayed what you felt was an absolutely absurd, ridiculous prayer?

Even as you’re praying, you just feel dumb even praying the words.

I have done that a couple of times recently.

The holiday season is upon us.  And Hallmark movies are constantly being showed about everyone finding their one true love in just the nick of time.  And I love every single one of them.  I truly do.

Not because I believe that they’re true to life stories.  Or because I want a storybook ending.

But each and every one gives hope in situations where we can often feel hopeless.

Point of clarity: I am not blaming Hallmark, or their wonderful Christmas movies for what I’m about to tell you.

But it’s the holiday season.  A time where we all spend somewhere between too much and not enough time with our family members.  And it can be tough when you’re the single one in the family.

well im not married yet dear marilyn monroe GIF

I decided a while back that I was going to wait until God brought the perfect for me person into my life.

God’s taking a really long time about that.

Like, a REALLY long time.

A frustratingly long and ridiculous amount of time.

I’m being a brat about it.  Because, once again, I’m spending the holidays single.  No, that’s not it.  I’m being a brat because I’m trying to fit God’s plan into my plan.  I’m trying to pull back control on a situation that I already turned over to God.

And because I was trying to take charge, I almost made a stupid decision.  Ok, in my lifetime of stupid decisions, by far, not the worst of the stupid decisions.

I almost signed up for online dating.

Because I was lonely.

And because I’m frustrated.

And impatient.

And I feel like God isn’t moving in the ways that I want Him to move.

Because that’s not what God does.

And even though I know all of these things.  I still almost made a stupid decision.  So I prayed.  I prayed for God to help keep me from making a stupid decision.  And to remind myself that I’m really not the one in charge anyway.

I’m not saying that I’m 100% of the way there.  But at least I acknowledge that I almost did a stupid thing.

That’s progress, right?

Humble Confidence

I don’t want to brag, but…

I am smart.

I am beautiful.

I am thoughtful.

I am hard-working.

I am stubborn.

I am sarcastic.

I am funny.

I am tough.

I am strong.

I am…a million different things.

Just because I am all of these things, doesn’t mean that you aren’t, too.

The dangerous trend, that honestly has probably been around since nearly the dawn of time, is that to have self-confidence, one must also put others down, to highlight just how awesome we are.  You can’t be nearly as awesome as me, because you suck, and I smell like roses.

And, oh, how many times in my life have I fallen victim to this???

How many times do I still fall victim to this???

Insecurity.  Insecurity in ourselves, in how the world perceives us, in who we are.  Insecurity causes so many challenges.  Some people, like me, respond to this by shutting down.  I start to believe all of those negative comments that people make, because I believe in how they are talking to me, talking about me.  I believe them.  And I shut down.

The other response is to be one of those people who put others down.  There are varying degrees of this.  Sometimes this can come across as a very polite comment, but the truth of what is said is a criticism.  Other times it is very blatant, rude and meant to hurt.  And still other times, an insecure narcissist can be outright damaging, both physically and emotionally, to other people.

  • “You might as well just go to the nursing home and marry an 80 year old man, because no one else will ever want to marry you.”
  • “Why would you wear that?”
  • “That’s hysterical that you think you can write a book.”
  • “You just don’t know what you’re talking about.”
  • “You’re stupid.”
  • “You’re ugly.”
  • “You’re fat.”
  • “You smile too much.”
  • “What do you have to be so happy about?”

All of these things have been said to me, and then some!  And when I heard them, they hurt.  And I started to believe them…

 

One of my own personal struggles is that I don’t know how to walk the very fine line of between being humble and egotistical, confident and coward.  It is a very fine line.  And I tend to fall on the negative side of the line.

Even still today.

I know, and honestly do believe all of the qualities that I listed above.  I believe all of them with my whole heart.

But the tendency to believe that negative inner monologue still afflicts me.

And oh how many times have I stopped myself from doing something because someone else made me feel inferior.  Sometimes, it’s the actions of other people directly putting me down.  Sometimes, I see how amazing other people are, and think that there isn’t possibly a way I could do that, so why should I even try?

Even if I don’t always realize it, even if I don’t always see it, I know, deep down (sometimes way, way, way deep down) that my life has a purpose.  That even if other people can do awesome and amazing things, so can I!

So instead of tearing each other down, let’s just stop.  Stop it all.  Stop the negative talk.  Stop the criticism.  Stop the judgement.  Stop believing that we are horrible people.

Yes, it is easy to compare ourselves to everyone else.

But just because I’m awesome, doesn’t mean that you aren’t awesome, too!

Awesomeness isn’t mutually exclusive.  There isn’t just one awesome award that gets handed out in life.

Ope, I won the Awesome Award this week, sorry ’boutcha!

Life doesn’t work like that!

So join me in being a cheerleader for life.

Build each other up.

Compliment instead of criticize.

We just might change the world.

 

Ugh, Seriously???

I am annoyed.  Mostly with myself.  A little bit with God.  But seriously, it’s with myself.  This is not the story that I want to tell.  But this is the story that I need to tell.  

My mom has the absolute best intentions in the world.  She really does. And I appreciate the intent, even if I don’t always appreciate the actual thing she does.  For years, she would buy me books, or forward me stories of women who had similar stories to mine, in that I’m an old lady, and I’m still single.  Even though I REALLY don’t want to be.  So she would give me these stories of other women who were in similar circumstances for years and years and years.  And then they meet their soulmate, and life is wonderful.

Those stories annoy me.

Because that is the life that I so desperately want to live.  

Because that’s great and fantastic and wonderful that life has worked out for them.  But here I am. And I’m not in the place that I really want to be. And there are days that I just don’t understand why.  Today is one of those days.  

Except, I really do know the reason why.  Because God is telling me to write the story that I needed to read years ago.  The story of how it’s possible to not be exactly where I want to be. But to still live a life full of joy and wonder and love.  

At the end of the day, I am happy.  I really am.  

And there are days (yesterday, and today) where the loneliness weighs a little heavier on my shoulders.  

Because let me tell you about my weekend.  My cousin, who is seriously more like a sister to me, is amazing.  Her husband is amazing. Her kids are the best, except when they shot me in the eye with a Nerf dart.  Over the weekend, she was telling my mom and I about an event that they had been invited to, and someone that has hurt her was also going to be there.  And her husband’s response to this was so simple, yet so powerful. They had decided that they never wanted this person to ever set eyes on their children.  But beyond that, her husband told her that he didn’t want her to have to experience going to this event for her own mental health.  

Later, my only comment to my mom about this was that I love how he defends her, and protects her.  

I want that.

I’ve never come close to having that.

But that is how it is supposed to be.  

The other thing from this weekend is even more ridiculous.  Because Sunday at church, my pastor was talking about his niece, whose husband just had his fifth brain surgery in just a couple of months.  But through it all, how her faith has never wavered. And she is struggling, and is tired, beyond anything you could imagine. 

And one of the first things that went through my mind was “wow, I want a love like that.”  

Yes, I was jealous of the love that this woman has for God, and for her husband.  Not the situation, mind you. Because no one should have to experience anything like that.  But the love that they have is what everyone should have.  

Last night, I went for a walk.  Honestly, I was content to sit at home and do nothing.  Mindless, nothing. But I forced myself to go for a walk.  And it was so hot that I didn’t take Cheese with me. So I walked.  And I prayed. I almost wrote that I walked alone. But I really wasn’t.  God was with me. And I spent a lot of time praying. Praying for God to guide me on what to do.  On what to say. And praying for a miracle.

I have decided that that is exactly what it is going to take for me to find my husband.  I need a miracle.  

I am not one of those people you often hear about where they receive the overt and obvious miracles.  I never have been. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that God isn’t working in my life. I feel Him working in my life every single day.  Just in a more subtle way.  

So right now, where am I at?  

I am still praying until something happens.  At least, I’m trying to. PUSH. Pray. Until.  Something. Happens.

I’m going to be really honest, I was really hoping that I wouldn’t still be praying about that miracle I need.  But I am. I pray every single day for the ways God is working in my life. And to prepare my heart. And to prepare my husband’s heart.  Whoever he is.  

And I am weary from still needing to pray about it.  I still am. But my patience is wearing thin. And I’m not sure how much longer I will need to pray.  But I also know that if I stop praying for this miracle, I won’t get it.

So, annoyed as I am.  I’m still PUSHing.

Stuck Between The Rock and a Grumpy Place

Disclaimer: I am trying desperately not to have a pity party.

Disclaimer, the second:  I am not referring to Dwayne Johnson.  

The logical and pragmatic side of my brain is telling me I am fine.  The human, emotional, side of my brain is grumpy. Why, might you ask?  Well…let me tell you.

I am trying to give up on any preconceived notions I have for my life.  Letting go of the plans that I have made for my life, and focusing, or at least trying to, on God’s plan for my life.  

And I’m grumpy about it, currently.

Because I feel like I’m what one of my students have called me: a loser.  

And maybe not even necessarily a loser, just that I don’t have much of a life.  I come to work, I try to kick booty and be awesome. Then I go home, and I hang out with my dog.  I eat dinner. Watch TV. And go to bed. And if I talk to anyone outside of school, most of the time it’s my parents.  

And I’m not even saying that any of the things that I do are bad.  Because I’m not. I am comfortable enough with myself (now) to spend time alone with myself.  It took some time to get to that place, but I’m there. I can do things by myself, for myself.  

But as I was getting ready this morning, I was thinking about my life, and I have to ask…is this it?  Is this all there is ever going to be?

So, moving back to the logical side of my brain, and knowing God as I do…I KNOW that if this is what God has planned for my life, I KNOW that He is going to give me the strength to get through it, and survive, and hopefully be happy.  I get that.

But right now, I’m not happy about it.  I’m grumpy.

I’m at that place, and let’s be real honest, I have been there for a long time, where all of my friends are married.  And now they have children. And those children are growing up.

And then, off to the sidelines is me.  Cheering them on. And able to cheer them on from a place that is pure and honest with my absolute joy for their lives.  

But at the same time, feeling left out.  

Maybe moving past this feeling is just part of the process that I need to go through.  A process of grief, you might say.

So that’s where I’m at right now.  Stuck between God’s plan for my life.  And being grumpy about it.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll have a brighter outlook.  

What Am I Not Doing?

What am I not doing?

Talk about a terrifying question, with some potentially terrifying answers.

Last night, I talked to a dear, sweet friend.  A friend, who, we both agreed, do not talk often enough.  She’s been my person, and my support, even though sometimes we go months without talking.  

The exciting thing is is that she’s getting married.  I am absolutely over the moon happy for her. Genuinely, ecstatically happy.  Because she is happy. You know the kind of happy that just explodes out of someone’s face?

Well, it just so happens that her fiance has never been married before.  And, as women of a certain age, that doesn’t happen very often. But his comment was that he has been waiting for her to come along.

She sent me a passage that her fiance read to the point he memorized it.  And he let that keep running through his head. It’s a beautiful passage titled “A Message From God About the Perfect Human Relationship.”  But this beautiful, well written passage, prompted me to ask, once again…what am I not doing?

As a Christian, as a Jesus follower, what am I not doing?  

I am certain that I am far from perfect.  There is not one thing in this universe that I am more sure of.  But I also know that I am better than I once was. (Isn’t there a country song in there somewhere?)

Tell me if this sounds familiar…

So I know that God has this super awesome and amazing plan for my life!  And I’m going to let God take control of things. And it’s going to be, like, the best thing ever.

Meanwhile, in the back of your mind…

So I’m just going to say that, and play along for a little while…and hope that saying that makes all of  MY hopes, MY dreams, MY plans come true. Because, clearly, I know what is best for my life.

Hey guess what?

That’s not how it works.  Not even close.

I know that’s what has been going through my head.  

I DO want God to use me for whatever he has planned for my life.   Honestly, purely, genuinely. In the depths of my heart, I want God to use me. I want God’s plan for my life.

But at the same time, what I haven’t done, is let go of MY plan.  

So here goes.  I’m letting go of my plan.  Because maybe it isn’t in God’s plan for my life to get married, or have kids, or travel (more than I already have), or be the perfect teacher, or perfect gardener, or be in perfect physical shape.  And it’s honestly, truly terrifying to let go of those plans. I have spent years and years and years making those plans. Hoping for those plans. Dreaming for those plans.  

But I also know that releasing my hold on those plans, right now, opening my heart freely and without reservation to God’s plan for my life, there is hope.  There is excitement. There is joy. Because all of those plans that I spent years dreaming up, those plans are NOTHING compared to what the reality of God’s plan is for my life.

What’s the Plan???

Is this really God’s plan for my life?  

I have lost track how many times I have asked myself this question.  But, for me, it is a constant worry/fear/whatever you want to call it, that I am not living up to God’s plan for my life.  

I know, when I was growing up, the age old question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question I still don’t have the answer to.  And honestly, I’m growing older.  I really question the whole growing up thing.  Because, what fun would that be?

Some days, I feel like God is hitting me over the head with a brick, showing me what he wants me to do.  Other days, I feel so completely lost, and the silence that I feel is deafening. Maybe that silence is the answer I really needed to begin with.

I remember the first time I really felt God calling me to work with kids.  I was in church. And they made an announcement about needing more volunteers to help with the Wednesday night youth program.  And I felt God tapping me on the shoulder saying “this is for you.”

And then I started working with the kiddos.  And I went back to God, and asked if He was really, really sure about this whole me working with kids thing, because, have you SEEN these kids?  Do you see what it’s like working with them?  The attitudes, and the challenges, and let’s just be real honest, the downright insanity of it all?

I pouted over God’s response to me.  Because He told me “yes”. That’s really where I needed to be.  He knows the challenges these kids are facing. And I can help.

Ok.  I get it.

But do these kids really need to suck every last ounce of sanity that I have left?  

So here I am, again, trying to figure out what God’s plan for my life is.  Sometimes, a thought runs through my head, and I’m all like, I should write about that.  And then I don’t, because the thoughts never, truly seem to form completely. But if there is a gift, or talent that I have, beyond anything else that is truly God given, I feel like it is writing.  But what, exactly, does God want me to say?

Of course, there is a lot of fear.  Fear of writing the wrong thing, or saying the wrong thing, or *gasp* offending someone.  Plus, the undeniable brain burnout I often feel. Like, my brain just won’t shut off, and the extreme mental exhaustion that is, let’s just be honest, probably more of an excuse than anything else.  

Ok, excuses need to be set aside.  Because this is the thing that I want to do.  Yes, there is fear. A huge amount of fear. Fear of rejection.  Fear of no one reading what I write. Fear of people reading what I write and absolutely hating it.  Or the huge fear of writing the wrong thing. All of these things keep running through my head.

But then there is just something else in running through the back of my head that reminds me that if I don’t write, my dreams will never come through.  But also, if I don’t write, my dreams also won’t get rejected. And there is a huge difference there. See, if I don’t make an attempt, then the possibility of that dream coming true is still out there.  Still a possibility. But if I try, and I put myself out there, it is totally possible that God is going to tell me “sorry kiddo, this one isn’t for you.”

But see, here’s the thing that I have been struggling with.  Trying to take that control away from God. It isn’t because I don’t believe that God’s plan is perfect.  It isn’t because I don’t trust God. With, what I will honestly say, is most of my heart, I put my faith in God, and his perfect plan for my life.  

Yes, I said most of my heart.  Because I am human.  I fully admit that I have zero knowledge of what God’s plan for my life is supposed to be.  I pray for guidance on that particular matter every single day. And I still don’t have an answer.  

Oh, but guess what.  I know why God hasn’t shared the answer with me.  It’s because I don’t need to know. I need to fall back into that trust that I have with God.  And just let His plan for my life happen.

There is a quote, somewhere out there on the interwebz, about letting go of the life you thought you were going to live, and start enjoying the life you actually are living.  

Though I haven’t ever really been able to answer the question of what I want to be when I grow up, I did have big ideas for what I thought my life should be like.  And sometimes I still do have those ideas.

And sometimes those things not happening in my life makes me a little grumpy.  For example, I’m not married. Not even close to being married. Ridiculously, often painfully, single.  It isn’t that I don’t want to be not single. I’m just not there, yet. And I’m adding in the yet as a note of optimism.  A friend once told me that God wouldn’t have put that desire in my heart, if He didn’t have it in His plan for your life. And I do truly believe that.  Those things that I want to happen, I truly believe that if somewhere along the line, God didn’t want those things to happen in my life, that I would be ok with being a spinster.  

And I struggle with that notion a lot.  Because what if God is testing my faithfulness, and that in order for other parts of the plan to fall into place, what if that one thing isn’t meant to be.  

That thought terrifies me.

But at the same time, it should give me comfort.  Because God’s plan is perfect.  Totally. Completely.  Perfection.

So back to this whole what am I supposed to write thing?  Well, I will say this. Over the years, God has given me quite a lot of things to write about.  And I always feel like God has allowed those things to happen in my life because I’m strong enough (even though I don’t always feel like it) to survive.  And that if I don’t use those things in my life to help others, then I have wasted those events in my life.

So…here we go.  

If you are reading this, and have survived, what is probably a very stream of conscious writing selection, I applaud you.  Also, if you have any advice, pass it along. But if you can’t be nice about it, please rethink your course of action.

I have absolutely no idea what the next step is going to be.  But I’m trusting God to open the next door for me.