Friday, May 29, 2009

Give. Pray. Fast.

Vale and worth. Value and worth. It's like I'm Yukon Sam (The dude in the Rudolph clay-mation movie)...I might as well sing it to the tune of "Silver and Gold" because it seems to be always on my mind...always up in my blogs. It's like cruel irony for someone whose name means "treasure" (that'd be me). Yup.

So, this one, I can't say this blog travels far from the well-beaten path...but perhaps a different perspective on a familiar theme. "Give. Pray. Fast." is the title of one of the chapters in the book I've been reading, "Starving Jesus". The book is your faith, doing what you've been called to do. The chapter talked about giving, praying, and fasting as some starting grow closer to God and to live out your call. It really got me thinking because...only a few days before I read this chapter, I had been really bemoaning my own seeming lack of value and I was superfluous because I wasn't DOING anything. At present, my days are generally filled with studying for the NCLEX, filling out job applications, doing a workout, drinking coffee, reading my news feeds, and writing emails. The end. It's really not exciting, and it makes me feel isolated and occasionally frustrated. I mean, I'm unfortunately still waiting to get notification from the state board of nursing that I am allowed to sign up for a testing know, so I can actually take the boards that I'm studying for. And I get kind of down and kind of frustrated sometimes because of the number of rejection letters I've received regarding the RN positions I've applied for. I know it's the economy, but I can't help but feel like it's personal sometimes. It's hard to not know what's next in that sense...I just want to help people...After my last interview, I had a new sense of purpose and passion. I want to show people they have value, that they are important, cared for, and loved. That's what I want my nursing career to be all about. Sometimes, that passion wanes as I get bogged down by the fact that I don't have a one has hired me to care for the people in their facility, yet. And until the other day, my workout had seemed to be doing nothing for my BMI. Needless to say, last week found me discouraged (and lonely, as I don't have much in the way of friends...or support here in Pella).

At first, I thought I was just stressed by the circumstances...then as I was venting to my boyfriend on the phone, it started to dawn on me that I was feeling worthless because I wasn't DOING anything. He replied that my value isn't in what I do, that my value is in how I am, how God made me to be. While I know that's true, I was still super frustrated felt like the faith and works know, how works should flow out of your faith, your faith isn't supposed to be kept to yourself. I felt that way about my value/who I am...what's the point of it if I'm not doing anything with it. *sigh* That's when I read "Give. Pray. Fast." I really to thinking about all three of those words/actions. Do I do them? Give has always made a lot of sense to me. I mean, giving of money, time, possessions...I can do that, no problem...serving others? sure! Sharing what I got? Hard to do at times, but I totally get the importance and strive to actually do it most of the time. Pray has always been a bit harder. Like, there are days where I totally understand the importance of prayer and make it a point to make it a part of my day, days when I pray for my friends and my patients...but there are way more days that I honestly don't even think to pray, don't want to lift it up, don't think it's worth lifting up, selfishly keep the control of all of it to myself...While I have seen prayer do awesome things and have felt called to pray for a specific person at a specific time and responded...more often than not, I don't. I just don't. Now, fast, of course is a goat of a different color in my world. Self-discipline, I can do...I've given up candy for years at a time, pop for years at a time...I struggled with anorexia on and off for years. Self-denial, I have done to a sickening extreme. However, fasting, like denying oneself to draw closer to God, to better serve others in faith, because God called me to do so? Nope. Not once, really. I've done the Lenten disciplines, I've done 30 hour famines, but were they ever really fasts? No. The intent, the attitude, the mind-set were always wrong. It was always about doing it 'cause I knew I could, 'cause I'd look strong, 'cause I knew my friend couldn't, 'cause it'd make me more physically attractive, more pious...because I struggled with self-worth to such an extreme that I thought I had to do it to be loved and loveable...because I wanted to be in control of what I did and did not do...So, nope...not a fast. I don't think I'll be fasting anytime soon, either...Fasting from food has proven too scary for me up until this point. Skipping one meal seems to always cause me to feel a sense of power and a desire for more's a temptation to return to that anorexic way of living and all that entails. I was checking out an anorexia-recovery site for Christians one day that recommended to recovering anorexics that perhaps it would be best if they fasted from something other than food...and that they be aware of where they're at and what will be too much for them...I think my current stance is that I won't fast from anything until I feel called to do so and until I can do so with the correct mind-set.

Alright, so it seems like I'm babbling, right? I know, right. Point is...I felt challenged by the chapter and comforted at the same time. So, I've been frustrated 'cause I felt like I don't have a lot to give...with the lack of income, lack of job, lack of connections in town...The chapter made me feel challenged to give more when I'm able...and to give as much of myself, my love, my time to others as I can...I then thought about fasting and the intent and the attitude and feeling challenged to grow to a point where that can be possible. And ultimately, I felt called to grow in prayer. I want my life to be grounded in prayer. Mother Teresa said once, "We have to learn to pray the work. To do it with Jesus, for Jesus, to Jesus -- that makes us 24 hours with Him." I love that...the book talked about prayer being part of your life like breathing...granted that takes time to work up to,'s so beautiful to cultivate a relationship with God where you speak with Him throughout your day, lift everything up to Him, listen for Him...I want that...I want to grow in that. And if I grow with God, I will not only be able to serve better, but I will be able to grow in my understanding of who I am, who God is, and what that all means.

The book also mentioned something about living your life in such a way that it would be positive for a child to emulate your life (not that it's perfect, but that they would be able to see your love for God and his faithful love for you reflected in the way you live your life). I want that, too. It made me think of one of the youth pastors that shaped my life when I was in high school. Watching him and his wife together, I learned so much about relationships, love founded in Christ, supporting each other in ministry, etc. I dream of having that type of life...and that type of life with my husband. Such a life will take growth...and I feel like growing in faith and in daily what God is calling me to do right this time when I feel like I'm not DOING anything. A vision to match this call to be more intentional about prayer has begun to develop. You can trust that I'll share it when I understand it a bit better.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

A Hard Lesson.

I was often told growing up that I was "too damn independent". I never really thought of that as a bad thing. I like to plan and organize and have things in order so that I'm prepared and such...and if that makes me too independent, fine. Well, I thought it was fine...well...maybe I still think it. I never thought I'd be less than a week from graduation and not have any legitimate lead on a job. I never thought I'd be moving back into my parents house for more than a month post-graduation. I think a part of me dreamed of never actually living there again. But that's where I'm at, I guess. Instead of heading off to lands unknown to move into an apartment and start my nursing career, I'm going back to my bedroom/my parent's storage room to study for my boards and apply for more jobs until...well, until I pass boards and have a job, I guess. *sigh* It freaks me out entirely. Today, I tried to make myself feel better by just delaying my panic...I never really planned on working until after I took boards anyway. So, I reasoned, as long as I have a job lined up by the time I take boards it's okay, right? I think I'm grasping at straws...or better, grasping at leaves trying to cover my shame (not of being naked, of not having a job) because I can't seem to get past my previous ideas and expectations, making my current situation "not ok". I've worked hard all through nursing school. I started contacting hospitals early and sent my applications on time. I did phone interviews and panel interviews and still nothing.

Today the words "trust" and "value" keep running through my mind. You know that story where Jesus tells the rich young man to sell all he has and follow him, and the man says he can't? I'd always understood that story as meaning you let go of what you thought gave you value and security and put your trust in Christ...trusting Him to lead you and care for you. The biggest problem is I think I've mistakenly allowed myself to think of that as a one time deal. I have always believed my value laid in what I did, what I do, what I have done...that's why I continuously say that I am a body at motion...I feel like I've lost all value if I'm not doing something...if I'm not actively contributing through time or money or effort or something...So, I have always worked hard to have the next thing/endeavor all lined up. I go from one position to another. I don't leave one 'til I know the next is there...kind of like monkey bars, not the ring ones but the bar ones. I don't let go of one bar 'til I'm darn sure my hand will hit the next. I need to see it and nearly feel it before I'll let go of the previous one. Even last summer, I took a position at camp instead of taking an internship. I felt I was following God's call, but I was following cautiously. I didn't turn down my internship until I was certain I had a position at camp. (I always like to have a back-up.) And while I knew that it'd be easier to get a nursing job with an internship, I trusted in the job security offered to RNs...I figured if someone had been interested in giving me an internship, surely someone would be interested in me when I graduated. So, following Christ to camp was a rather safe bet. The only thing I worried about at that point was how I was going to pay for school when I was banking less, but God provided and I earned an extra scholarship and cashed in some bonds I didn't know I had.

What I hate now is that I'm realizing just where my trust has lain. I have put my trust in job security, in productivity, in planning, in effort...I trusted I would find a position I loved because I planned on it, because I made a spreadsheet, because I applied early to a variety of places, because I had good grades and worked hard, because there's job security for RNs...In other words, I have not been trusting God with my plans. I think I figured He'd somehow like interrupt if I went the wrong way or He'd take care of it by having one of the first 30 applications lead to a job. I think I was operating under the "God helps those who help themselves" philosophy...and focusing mostly on helping myself. Today, I started to think about what really bugs me about not having a job lined up. Is it the money? Is it how it looks to everyone else? Is it feeling useless? Yes, yes, and yes...apparently. *sigh* I worked hard to become an RN, and I am so proud of graduating with my BSN...I'm so excited to put RN behind my proud...and I want people to know...I want to be called "nurse". I have a hard time thinking of doing anything else after working so hard to become a nurse. I feel vain for saying that. Yes, it is feeling useless. I worked hard and I just want to take care of people. I would love to work in hospice or palliative care or mental health or a nursing home or pretty much anywhere...I just want to help people as a nurse. I feel dumb for saying that because I can, of course, help people without a job, let alone a nursing job. And yes, it is the money. I don't have debt. I like that. I like that I can stand on my own two feet, in theory (and if you don't presently count my dad's feet). I'd kind of like to stay that way...I feel selfish for that.

That brings me to the next facet. I have an amazing boyfriend who is supportive and loving. He's been helping me through the semester in big and small ways. I know that financially, he'll help me out, or take care of things, or even take care of me. But I have a really hard time allowing for that. The thought of it...of not contributing financially, of not supporting myself financially...that's hard. I know that when I get married I want my money to be "our money", but I think I have an easier time thinking of my money being "our money" than his money. I think it's my desire to be not be dependent on someone else...I feel like a horrible person for even saying that, though. I don't like that I think that... but...I do...I don't want someone taking care of me because...what if one day they decide not to anymore? I can guarantee that I'll be dedicated to taking care of myself...but I can't promise that someone else won't just get sick of taking care of makes me feel like a lazy bum, a mooch, when someone else is footing the bill. That's what I get for growing up "going Dutch". I want to think of money as fluid within a relationship, but clearly I have a mental barrier to that. Similarly, it complicates my job search. I've always only looked out for me. Every relationship I had, I would tell him what I thought I wanted to do, and when he replied with, "What about me?" I said, "What about you? That's up to you, this is about my plans." I refused to plan my life with any of them because I had this feeling they weren't going to be with me when it came to that point, and I refused to let something in the short-term affect my long-term planning. But now...Now I have this amazing man in my life. I love him and I know he loves me. Even before we were dating, I couldn't imagine living away from him...I wanted to be with him, which at the time was rather unreasonable. But we are dating, and I can say that without it seeming creepy. I want to be with him. I want to have a life with him. I want there to be a "we" an "our". And he's so good about supporting me right now as I look for a job and figure where I'm going next. He's not making demands and says he's willing to follow me where ever it is I need to go. He says he wants me to be happy -- to have a job that I can be happy with. He won't ask me to give up a dream or a dream job. Yet, I find myself freaking out when he makes suggestions or talks about where he wants to go next...It makes no sense...well, it makes sense but only when you consider how much I suck at trusting anyone. *sigh* I mean, I was looking at jobs in places I knew he wanted to go before we were dating because I wanted to be near him. Now, I know that I could be with him, and I'm totally freaked out by it. I just don't know how to do this. I mean, we aren't married, we aren't engaged...we've talked about it, but that doesn't change the fact that we aren't. So, we aren't really a "we", right? We're a potential "we"? So, I don't want to have my job search turn into bargaining or a debate or agreement...'cause ultimately, it's "my move", right? But at the same time, I want to marry him...I want to be a "we"...And while he may not follow me right away, if we get engaged, he plans on following me to where I am, which would technically make it "our move", right? Just a staggered move? I's hard for me to trust him enough...or maybe I'm just not letting myself trust anyone right now 'cause like I said earlier, I haven't even been trusting God to take care of me. That makes it even harder to trust John. Ultimately, if we are a "we", then it's a threesome...him, God, and me...and if we're a "we" then I have to trust the other two individuals in the "we". I can't have a relationship all by myself. I mean, I know that God takes care of His children. I know He promises to take care of me, and I know He will. I know that He has plans for me. I know that He means for me to serve Him and care for others, I truly know He has called me to do that...and so, I know I can trust Him to show me the where and the who with that. I know He'll lead me and take care of me. And I know that John loves me and will love me. I know he will take care of me as best he can. I know I can trust his decisions because I know he considers me in them. I know he considers what's best for me. I know he considers my needs and my wants, not just his own. So, I know he would never ask me to do something contrary to God's plan and God's provision. I know that if God really intends us to be a "we", He will provide for the two of us and lead us to somewhere where we can build a life together.

But you know, all of that knowing means nothing 'cause it has not translated into actions lately. I've become so worried and so upset that I have begun to keep it all to myself, not only running from possibilities and failing to trust, but actually starting to draw in upon myself. I don't know how much of my concern, how much of my thought process, how much of my decision making to share and how much to keep to myself...Clearly I should be including God a LOT more than I have been...but how much should I include my boyfriend? Is it appropriate to? Will he get sick of my worrying and planning and thinking everything through? It's definitely not fun stuff to talk about because I'm upset and stressed, not dreaming and hoping.

Last night at the children's musical at church, I realized that God's really been showing me lately that my value doesn't lie in what I do, how much I do, how much prestige my job has...that I have value in who I am because I am His, and He will use me to care for others regardless of what job I get and where it is...because that's what He made me to do -- to glorify Him, to share His love and care for and serve others. That will happen, of this I am certain. And I realized, too, that I can't really grow in my love with John if I don't include him, if I don't trust him. In the nearly two years I have known him, he has never stopped loving me...he has been with me when things weren't "fun", when things were messy and I was stressed out and uncertain...he stayed with me, he didn't abandon me. He's shown over and over again that he loves me and cares about me -- that I can trust him. Others in the past have proven to fickle in their love, they didn't have my best in mind, they didn't stick with me when things got tough, but that wasn't John and that wasn't God, so they can't really be punished for it.

Like the title states, trust and value are hard lessons for me to learn, and I doubt I'll ever master them...but...I'm definitely being called and challenged to learn them better now. Pray for me as I do.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Give a Little...Take a Lot

Okay...before I vent, random hair looks so good's getting long, and I actually like it sometimes. Soon, I'll get to fix my bangs and ALL BETTER! Or something like that :P to the point. Recent events have brought up some...pain, I guess? I'm definitely guarded and stressed...*sigh* First the give a little part of it. I hold back a lot...keep a lot to myself...sometimes the thing I find most upsetting is all the things I don't say...and don't do...because I'm lame or something...I second guess myself. I don't want to jinx anything or speak to boldly or upset anyone by over-sharing...I figure I am "too much". So, I hold back, and when I'm left thinking about all the things I didn't say...*sigh* What if I don't get another chance to say them? *shake head* At the same time, though...there's some stress in the why I didn't say anything...I keep a lot of my "girlie" thoughts to myself because it seems a lot safer that way. If no one knows how much I care, no one can know how much they've hurt me when they reject me. I can think back to numerous conversations that went

other guy, "Do you think it's wrong that/if we __________?" or "Do you think this is wrong?"

Me (stock answer), "No, but clearly you do."

That usually spells out the beginning of the end. Because that conversation exposes me as a corrupting influence. After that, said friend/boyfriend/whatever then usually expresses that I am a stumbling block...I'm dragging them down, causing them to stumble, leading them to sin...and so I must either change my wicked ways (which always somehow seems to mean that I must suppress some part of who I am) or they will leave. So, I often try to hide who I am...and only show the preferable parts...try not to say too much about how I feel (this goes for any and all relationships) for fear that I am over-invested...that we aren't at the same place..., while I'm feeling like "too much" in that way, I also am feeling like "not enough" in another. Cause I just talked to my dad. *sigh* It's not what he says per's how he says it. I'm sure he believes he's just inquiring about my life, but I come away feeling like I'm just not doing enough, even though I'm doing all that I can. For example, my schedule is ridiculous right now. I'm always on the run. I always have somewhere I need to be and a million things to do all while figuring out "what's next". So, I feel fortunate if I get to watch one movie a week sans homework. But somehow, talking with my dad, I feel like an underachiever, like I'm doing too much frilly stuff and not being "productive" and "efficient". It kills me. It literally kills me. I hate those words...because I hate that I believe they are what I should be...I hate how they make me feel like I'm lazy if I'm not multi-tasking or if I sleep...that's why when I have free time...I like to cook and read and watch's not's relaxing...there isn't a goal...

I'm feeling burdened. Burdened with things left unsaid. Burdened by the fact that I only give a little and hold back a lot of what God has given me to share because I'm afraid. And I'm burdened by a daunting schedule full of deadlines and tasks and that will keep me always on the go, and rarely sleeping or with my friends. Story of my life, right? :(

Sunday, February 15, 2009

To Write Love...

This has been a crazy week with a whole new challenge for me...the challenge? I felt loved and cared for. I felt good. Someone asked me how I was and I replied with "Fantastic" and I meant it. It was a little upsetting for me because I was very uncomfortable...VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. I didn't know what to do. I felt so exposed because I didn't have my usual creepily comforting cloud of doubts. I wasn't surrounded by and filled with doubts about Christ's love for me or my friends' love for me. No doubts. Just love. I felt so mushy and girlie and it freaked me out. I wanted to crush it because I felt so vulnerable and exposed and outside my comfort zone...but at the same time, I didn't know how to crush it...I didn't know if I could...I tried to invent doubts for a bit, but they were completely useless...I have been far too assured of God's love in my life to doubt it...weird. It was especially weird as I thought about what's been going on in my life. I have a lot of friends going through some really hard times...REALLY HARD TIMES. I have been praying for them for months. I have cried for them, prayed for them, listened to them...and for the past who knows how many months, as I lay awake unable to sleep, I prayed for them. But...last week, I started to sleep again...I slept for hours upon hours at a time and woke up rested. I worried for a while that it was because I was forgetting them...but I know I haven't. I still pray for them everyday, whenever they come to mind, I lift them up...thus, I was not feel connected to their sorrow...but at the same time...I'm so filled with love for them...and hope for them...and faith that they will be healed and God won't leave them. I talked to a friend on the phone on the phone yesterday and he asked how I was doing with (he said he didn't want to say "high" because this is how life is supposed to be and not just something to ride out...that last part was in my words, I think). That was insanely comforting. I'd been expecting to crash any day now. I recall saying the most unnerving thing about knowing that I'm loved is that I figured it couldn't be sustained. I've been trying not to fight the love and instead spread it all over the place.

Thus, the title. "To Write Love..." I talked to a girl recently about her struggles with cutting and suicide. I've felt frustrated over the past few weeks that I'm so separated from her by distance. When horrible things happen, I can't get ahold of her...I message her on facebook, but it'll be weeks by the time she reads it, and I can't call or write or visit. It's frustrating because I just wanted to have a way to tell her how much I love her and how proud I am of her. I don't see her suicide attempt as a sign of hopelessness. Maybe I'm a fool, but I all I see is hope for her healing. Statistically, people are more likely to commit suicide after they've been prescribed anti-depressants. Because in the grips of depression, they may have been able to plan or express a desire for it all to end, but they don't have the energy to do anything. They are at a point of giving up...a point of hopelessness...of hoping to just whither away...but after someone has begun receiving help in the form of counseling and meds, the depression lifts some...and that lift gives them the energy to act...and that energy to act sometimes (often) results in suicide attempt. In the case of this girl, I know she fought to get counseling...she argued with people saying she needed it, that it should happen...plenty of things have gone wrong, and she's felt unsupported, but she continues to fight...she told me a month and a half ago how badly she was fighting to get better...The way I see it, healing is a difficult process. To really heal, to strike at the root of the cause -- the lies that feed this pain -- is a huge struggle (One God fights with us, but a struggle nonetheless). Sometimes, when someone is fighting to heal/to recover, they take a few steps forward only to take one back. Sometimes in the midst of overcoming the lies and finding healing freedom, they fall into old habits -- they stumble...but that doesn't make it hopeless. You can't fall unless you try. When toddlers learn to walk, they fall, but that doesn't mean they're doomed to crawl...So, she attempted suicide. That only tell me that it's an active fight...and a hard one...did she give in to a moment of doubting that progress could be made and try to bail? Yeah. But she's stumbling forward. She wants to work at it, and she's scared and nervous and doesn't know if she can turn to God in all of it...but that's okay...there's still hope. I know God loves her and wants her and will heal her...I lift her up...I lift up her hurt, and I know God hears...I know He cares. I just pray that she knows. I was thinking today about the ministry To Write Love On Her Arms...I was thinking about the story of that ministry about writing words of love and encouragement on the arms of a she would see her value in that place of pain. I have often just wanted so badly to be with this girl, holding her in my arms so she could feel that love and she could feel that reality...physical reality is hard to fight...I remember fighting a lot of hugs because I can pretend the words "I love you" mean nothing but when someone holds you despite you fighting can't deny that...I know God's holding her...I just want her to know. I was thinking today about how I'd love to write love on her...I decided "on her arms" wouldn't suffice...I don't think that's where she cuts even...and I know that's not how she tried to end it all...and I want her to see love when she looks at those objects and places of pain...and I want to write love all over her and all over them...but not really write...because in our culture the word "love" has been so watered down. And I don't want her to be able to pretend like she's loved any less than she is. I just want to explode love all over a zit splurting out puss...that sounds gross but it's all I can think of right now...It makes me think of this one saying of Mother Teresa's (I can't find it right now) something about being a tiny pencil in the hand of a writing God who is writing a love letter to the world. That's where my mind and prayers took me tonight. I want to be a tiny pencil like that...I want God to use me to write love all over the world, all over people's lives. I was cruising the internet for more resources relating to all that this girl is going through...other perspectives, words of encouragement...and I found at least 3 ministries that just struck me...I looked at their websites and saw the love that I know...the love of God for those who are hurting, forgotten, lonely, sick, etc. I cried...I cried some of the happiest tears of my life and I pray that God would use those ministries to continue to write love all over the internet and all over people's lives. I pray that He'll use me, even if it's not in a way I had ever imagined...and I pray that all people might know His love...for real...I was reading a novena from the Missionaries of Charity. Day One is about "Knowing the Living Jesus". The first thought of the day is, "Do you really know the living Jesus -- not form books but from being with Him in your heart?" That's what I want. I want it to be in their hearts...I pray that the things I do and the words I write and the words I speak are vehicles of His love...cause words and actions are pointless by themselves. Books are pointless by themselves. But if they can be vehicles to bring Christ's love into someone's heart? Well, that's the point, right? Yes. I say yes.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

An Odd Day

I have been very introspective today, and for once, I liked what I was assessing. Like...I was pleased who I am and how I look...for the most part...that's unusual for me. I found that's been happening more and more...enjoying myself...and learning more and more about myself at a crazy rate, lately. I've been discovering more and more about what my passions and interests and strengths and weaknesses. It's weird to me to realize things about myself, and it seems as soon as I might think they could have some truth to them, I start trying to dismiss them as fiction that I made up to make myself feel better. Today, I glanced in the mirror periodically today, and I liked what I saw. I looked cute and yet extremely casual with my boy shorts and oversized tie dye t-shirt. Some days, I do look in the mirror and think that I'm pretty. Today was the first day that I really realized that it wasn't the outfit or the hair really...I mean, they were good and I'd like to think I sometimes wear cute clothes or cute hairstyles, but today I wondered if maybe the reason I thought I was beautiful or attractive or pretty or whatever it was that made me stop and look at myself in the mirror...maybe it was more me than it was the outfit or accessories (especially since I'd put like zero effort into my look this morning)....maybe, just maybe, it's me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Life's in the Bass Line

So, I made a lot of observations on my drive back to Brookings. It was good, productive, and not entirely pleasant. I realized that I was anxious and upset...more so than I thought I was. I mean, God and I were chatting, and then I realized I wasn't consciously thinking about anything. But something was clearly on my mind and upsetting me because I discovered myself absent mindedly gnawing my fingernails off. I really wish I didn't do that anymore....but...I do. I tried to brush it aside and regain more conscious, purposeful thought...but was wholly unsuccessful...instead, I found myself feeling especially antsy and flipping through the songs on my ipod. I apparently suddenly became extremely choosy. I only wanted to listen to songs with a hard, driving bass line. I tend to gravitate to those songs. They're what I choose to nap to, stretch to, relax to, etc. Yup, when it's time for me to chill, I like to listen to songs with an almost...pulsating beat. Today, I paid attention to the way I respond to those songs. Partially because I was trying to do a kind of biofeedback...observe my body so I can calm down better. I noticed myself connecting with the bass line, feeling anxious during intros and then relaxing when the bass came in. The most awesome part I realized today was that it was the rhythm and pulsing of the bass that I really enjoyed. The rise and fall of the lines affected me, but not in as beneficial of a way. For instance, the motion of the bass line somehow triggered the release of tears from me 3 times, leading to a total of 6 tears (yes, I counted).

I really relate my love of bass lines to my love of heartbeats. I use them both as external pacemakers of sorts. I like the methodic forward motion that they provide. I mused for a while about whether God would be a bassist...'cause I remember my jazz band director talking about the rhythm section being the heartbeat of the jazz band. I was thinking today about the bass being the heartbeat. Because it pulses and drives the band forward but can go unnoticed by the casual observer. The effects are seen, but not everyone can pick out just what the bass line is. On the other hand, most people can find the drumbeat, which makes me think of it as's pretty obvious whether or not its present and the broad characteristics of it. And just like in the human body -- breathing implies a pulse, drums hint at the bass line. I feel God like a bass line in my life sometimes. He gives me consistent forward motion, drives me to move forward, despite whatever craziness is going on around or in know? Like no matter what crazy melodies and harmonies and dissonance and whatnot is going on, the bass keeps moving everything forward. Yup. So, I realized that sometimes I use the bass line in my music as an artificial pacemaker...helping me feel grounded in the methodic, pulsating rhythm...stability with a forward drive...and if the music itself isn't enough to center me (i.e. keep me from crying or freaking out)...sometimes, I crank it so I can actually feel the bass in my chest. Let the bass line be my heart beat as if forcing me to keep going (wow...that's emo, huh?). But true in a lot of ways.

So, yup. I was thinking about all this...the comfort I find in heartbeats and bass lines...I'm going to confess to this. Sometimes when I can't sleep and music just isn't doing it (like the words or something are distracting me somehow)...I imagine a heartbeat or try to lay so I can hear the blood rushing in my ears (the seashell effect if you will) or feel my connect myself to the rhythm of life...and remind myself that we are going forward...somehow it makes me feel less alone, too...I suppose partially cause I feel connected to God...and because everyone has a heartbeat...and sometimes I think on that...I know,'s what's on my mind...yup. I don't just love bass lines because I love being the bass chick. I actually just connect to an organic, comfortable way. The end.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Trying to Be (Live) Free

I'm in a very weird, very conflicted place right now. I don't even know quite how to describe it. Let me supply you with an example, though. I woke up, listened some tunes, got some stuff done, ate breakfast, went to the gym. Post-gym, I weighed myself, thought about healthy food choices and set out for Hy-Vee. While there I felt compelled to look for an appetite suppressant but was disappointed to not find what I was looking for and briefly considered buying laxatives and then decided against it 'cause that would destroy my GI tract. I then came home and showered and am now figuring out some supper. I don't feel like eating at all. Like a part of me doesn't want to undo the gym by eating food. I decided that was dumb and got online to rock for a while to convince myself of the need to eat. I succeeded and then decided to try to promote healthiness in my life by using the meal planner. I discovered I'm real great at planning a daily menu that I believe to be on the heavy end of sufficient and discovering its only like 1000 calories. Now, clearly, I wouldn't be this big if that's how I ate, but I was forced to see that my image of healthy is on the other extreme of unhealthy. As much as the thought of even a salad kind of made me gag, I decided to make some supper, after putting on a kind of cute outfit to promote me feeling okay. I then thought about how I should call my friend tonight instead of waiting to message him in a few days and lead with "I thought about calling you the other day". Then, I opened the fridge and I sneered as my eyes started to well up. I was then horrified...had I really started to crying just looking at what I had planned on eating for supper lying next to the yummy health food I'd bought just hours before? As much as I'd like to say, no...I did. *sigh*

I just am frustrated and torn and feel so upset by it all. It seems that I have a good thought, one that would be healthy and helpful and whatnot...but then immediately after that, the urge to sabotage my own plan/thought/care. It was so frustrating and so irritating because the temptation was so strong. I mean, I was physically repulsed by the thought of eating most of the time but at the same time know the consequences of giving into, I sneer and force myself to do all things I don't want to do while a part of me is scrambling to find ways to counteract it and put me back where I was.

I refuse to let those lies and those temptations run my life, though. They will not keep me from doing the things I want to do...and I suppose they make me more resolved to "get better" and live in the freedom of Christ. That's what I've been thinking about a lot lately: freedom. I have a friend fighting for freedom in a really intense way that I don't even know if I fully understand. I was really praying about it New Year's Eve and lifting her up, and God gave me assurance I hadn't really known before. He will set her free. He will protect her and will carry her out of that and set her free to live in and know His love. He will. He can and He will. At the same time, I was convicted as well about the ways I do not live free...the lies that I am still a slave to, not because I haven't been released but because I have not really stood up and walked out of that and into the freedom I have...or something like that...I can't seem to think of the right image. Point is, I was really convicted of the lies that feed into and surround my anorexia. It plagues me from time to time and there are so many lies mingled into all that. I know I neglect addressing it often, especially when the battles being fought for my girls are so more dramatic...I neglect to think of myself. But I was not shocked to feel called to address that. I want that. I want to drag it out by its roots and know God's truth for me. I want to be rid of those lies. I was thinking about that the other day...wanting holistic health for myself, just like I do everyone else. I was thinking about maybe trying counseling again (though my schedule is soon to be crazy) or really seeking God's guidance in how to seek Him each day and renew my faith and trust and strength in Him everyday...and taking care of myself physically...eating well, working out...essentially, it'd be the Takara Feel Good Plan Take 2. I don't know. Today, though. I mean, I guess that's why that was my greatest temptation today. Like I said, though, I don't want to let today scare me away from continuing to pursue health and pursue God. I was glad that it was a conflict and that I didn't descend into despair as quickly as other times. I'm thankful that I have an urge to not give in...and that I made a few bold moves (by the grace of God) to tell a few friends what was up and to even make a phone call when I felt compelled to do so (though I admittedly prayed for the voicemail the whole time). I'm going to bed feeling teary eyed...kinda scared, kinda sick, kinda hopeful, kinda uncertain, kinda lonely, kinda excited, and extremely tired. Pray for me, please.

Let it Rain, Let it Pour

Today was the a perfect example of why I dislike coming "home". And honestly, it hit me hard. I wasn't in a place to really cope and bounce back quickly, I guess. Every time I start to write this blog, my eyes just well up, and then I feel lame and like I should just shut the heck up, get over myself, and try to sleep it off. And maybe I won't type this all tonight and just see where I'm at in the morning. But while I feel that a lot of the frustration of today was stupid in and of itself, it brings up so much crap that I can't ignore it, especially as a blog topic.

So, it's now days later...and I'm returning to this because it did throw me for a loop. We went shopping as a family, a fairly common occurrence. I was dad and I had discussed getting some stuff for school and hitting up the post-Christmas sales. I had some things I was hoping to at least look for. But I will say it started off weird. My mom didn't want to go and wouldn't really say it. She just came along, silent and glum and if we were forcing her or torturing her by bringing her with, though she wouldn't admit to it or like just stay home like she wanted. *Sigh* That made it weird for my sisters and I because we were enjoying browsing and talking and stuff, but Mom was distant and unapproachable. So, we didn't want to seem too excited for fear of like rubbing it in her face or something. Like we didn't know how to show her things without like making things worse or whatever. Then seemingly suddenly, my dad blew up at all of us. He said that we all made him feel like he was dragging us through the store when he was there for us and now we acted like we didn't. He said we were being ungrateful and cynical and stuff. I had no idea what the Hell he was talking about. In hind sight, it may have been much more of a Mom issue than I'd realized at the time, but that wasn't conveyed. Mom was just distant and silent, Dad yelled at us and stormed away and angrily finished his shopping as if trying to punish us with every movement. If it hadn't been my father, I would have laughed at him for angrily biting a piece of Canadian bacon. But instead, I was praying that I wouldn't cry and be bold enough to not entirely lose my voice. I mean, it's remarkable. When Dad gets like that, I feel myself instantly want to shut down, throw up every wall I have, and just try to survive try to protect myself...I wanted to hide or run or leave 'cause I just...I didn't know...was asking a question going to result in some personal attack? Was I supposed to try to keep up with his ridiculous storming down the aisle? Or was I supposed to hang back with my mom and sisters? He wanted to know that we appreciated the trip and were enjoying ourselves, but was laughing going to demonstrate that or make everything worse? (I assumed the latter) I was so pissed 'cause I didn't what the Hell to do. I couldn't escape, but I couldn't make it better, and I didn't know how to avoid becoming a target. We get in the car and he makes some speech about gas and how we'd better have somewhere we want to go next. My sisters all opt for the "where ever". I knew that was going to result in trouble threw out a, "I had hoped to go to Old Navy." That was satisfactory and we went there and then to the mall. But my sisters and I had to like walk on eggshells...we needed to productively look but not too long...we needed to be aware of our glaring father standing near the door and try not to say anything while he road raged from store to store. I cried briefly in Old Navy while I texted with my sister about how much we hated when he did it's some of our clearest childhood memories of our we wish he knew how much it hurt it drove us to fear conflict -- upsetting friends, boyfriends, etc. It's played a role in making us who we are and has driven at least the oldest two of us to maladaptive behaviors and counseling.

I had a hard time recovering from that day. Partially cause I tried to wall myself off from everything and everyone so it wouldn't hurt so much and so I wouldn't cry. Partially because I don't even know how to describe how I felt. I was hurt, but that word is so insufficient. I felt like a pawn -- unimportant, negligible, invisible in some ways but exposed in others. I felt like a punching bag -- everyone gets to throw a shot when they have a bad day...cause that's what I deserve or something...or cause I'm there...or because I put myself in the positions for that...regardless it's where I end's how it goes...It made want to never try...It made me think about every relationship I have and have had. Am I ever good enough? Can I be a friend? Or am I really selfish? Do I make people angry? Is that why I get yelled at and marginalized and hurt? I was really nervous about New Year's as a result. I didn't know if I could not be lame and questioning everyone's motives...I didn't know if I could not cry. I almost didn't go. I mean, on top of all that were my friends from high school. Some of them I still love dearly and seems like I don't exist to them...even when I'm sitting across the table...All that matters is that now they're happy...who cares what's going on in my life...who cares how they got there...I was a, I'm a forgettable one. One in particular acts like they know me sooo well...I'm never "myself"...I'm always "compromising" "living a lie"...I should be living like them. Fuck 'em. If you know me so well, you would know how much it hurts me to feel invisible and replaceable...I mean, if I show up to a lunch with "everyone" it's an extra like the cheese on the wrapper on a hamburger. You appreciate it, but you didn't necessarily order it or think of it before you saw it. Neat how I can be an extra, so...forgettable...*sigh* It's hard because I didn't feel like I was in the depths of despair like I have in the past when I'm home like that or when these things happen. Instead, I felt my defense mechanisms kick in...and the lies that have been whispering in my ear for a month and a half found their was weird, though, because it was so different.

I wanted to isolate myself and protect myself. But I love my friends so much that instead I took chances. Maybe not everyday or maybe not with everyone or maybe not grand ones...but they were definitely bold moves in my book, with my track record. It was weird because instead of becoming despondent and depressed. I was down but fighting? Or something. Like a part of me was keenly aware of all kinds of shit. And a part of me was resolved that shit had no place in my life...

It was hard because it made me realize that I'm not ready to be home for any length of time. It's too hard...I don't live out of the freedom I have in Christ when I'm home. I'm a slave to so much, or at least I am mighty tempted to be. I want to be an older version of who I was...senior me...with more experience. I wish I looked that way, I wish I had those friends still, I wish that I could enjoy those same things...but I can't. I can't live that life anymore. That's not who I am anymore. By the same token, I feel trapped by past transgressions, mistakes that happened on that corner, in that parking lot. I could give you a tour of pain I experienced in that town...that's where I ____...where I realized _____...where he _____...And those things haunt me in away. Those are special lies that want me to think I haven't changed...I haven't learned anything...I don't know any better and that's all I'll ever be...nothing more.

It's hard...'cause I don't know what to say about it all. I mean it was almost surreal to feel those lies come for me, to feel defense mechanisms and old wounds triggered, but to feel more like I was riding them out. Clinging to hope of love and forgiveness and grace and truth...Trusting that in Christ I would keep standing no matter how hard the rain fell, no matter what tried to wash me away. I felt two-faced. One part of me was in so much pain and doing terribly, but there was another part filled with hope and love and awesomeness...maybe that's what joy is...being awesome even though part of you is still awful...Happy with an undercurrent of sad was what I kept telling people...but...maybe...maybe it was more than that? I don't know.