I decided to take up the challenge to write for 30 days and I thought this would be a good place to start. Writing is so freeing for me but I struggle with doing it regularly. Check back over the next 30 days and feel free to comment or share.
I am an effective communicator. I talk to people for a living and I take great pride in being able to convey information clearly and simply so that anyone can understand. However, I have discovered a boundary; I have no problem with conversation unless deep emotions are involved.
If I am deeply saddened or anxious or angry or if I want to let someone know how they make me feel, it is a hard thing to do. I am not sure why that is. It makes you vulnerable for sure but I also think I overanalyze things at times. In short, I get in my own way.
That ends today. I reached out to someone who I really wanted to tell how much they mean to me. It was hard getting started but I felt so much better once I said what I needed to say. I am not sure what the next steps will be but life is too short to hold back expressing deep emotions. Live freely.
This Lenten season has been a struggle. My sacrifice is truly something I love and I know that my cravings should call me to prayer but it has also caused me to reflect on how one thing, one act of habit and comfort truly impacts several other areas of my life. Frankly I was not prepared for this much contemplation.
It is exciting but frightening. I analyze and I pray. I worry and then I worship. The struggle is real and for the moment, my questions are unresolved, but for the first time in a long time I know that I am not in the struggle alone.
It has been a while since I have written a blog, but I have been through a tremendous amount of transition and it silenced the writer’s voice in me. However, I have decided to pick up the practice again during this Lenten season as I continue to seek stability and renewed focus. I am grateful for being surrounded and supported during my most difficult times: Those times when I could not hear anybody praying;Those moments that I seemed to be walking in total darkness; Those moments when I felt alone and misunderstood. I was surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who called my name and kept me grounded on this side, in the here and now. Stay tuned.
We all have situations in our lives that challenge us. Sometimes they are major but more often than not, they are minor inconveniences that we tolerate. They are not debilitating, just annoying but over time, dealing with these minor inconveniences can be discouraging. I was in that space and in my distress, the only thing I could manage to do was pray. I’m not saying that out of any sense of moral virtue or to brag. In fact, it was actually the first time that I had deliberately prayed in a little while. I mean, I pray daily but my daily devotion had started to become more obligation than anything else. And I am clergy, but my liturgical prayers had started to feel like work. So a moment of focused, deliberately vulnerable prayer was long overdue. So I prayed.Honestly. Fervently. And the Lord answered.
I’m sure you are waiting for the testimony about the spectacular and marvelous things that came to pass. Here it is: I woke up this morning to and got dressed and out of the house on time. I ran an errand that had the potential to make me late,but I managed to get to work on time. As I pulled in the lot, I found a convenient parking spot. When I got to my desk, one of my team members greeted me with a cold glass of water and another decided out of the kindness of his heart to buy me lunch today. These may seem like insignificant things to you, but when you have been discouraged by the little annoyances of life, these little moments of grace are extravagant and lavish. When you struggle with chronic pain, a convenient parking spot is better than surgery. When you really couldn’t afford the money you were going to spend for lunch, then the chicken salad sandwich your coworker bought is a five star meal. When you struggle with anxiety and often can’t leave home at all, to get up and out without any trouble and without taking medicine is a miracle.
I understood today better than I ever had what the songwriter meant by these words:
In seasons of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief;and oft escaped the tempter’s snare by thy RETURN sweet hour of prayer.
I realized that I haven’t blogged in a while, but I have a lot going on in my life that I haven’t wanted to process. At least not now. I just don’t want to deal with all of the stuff and I wonder when I became so risk averse.
I have always been a little quiet and cautious, especially in my younger days. It was the residue of some dysfunctional situations in my life. I didn’t really know what to do or say or think, so I retreated.But I learned how to articulate my thoughts and found my voice and for a while, I was fearless.
But now, the old anxieties and doubtful feelings have resurfaced and I know that I need to deal with the situations at hand,but I don’t want to. I think because the possible outcomes could be extraordinary that the enormity of the moment has me a little paralyzed. But great reward demands great risk. Love and peace and happiness is risky business, so I guess I need to get myself together and take the risk. It’s worth it. I’m worth it.
I struggle with sorry.I used to blame it on the fact that I work in customer service and spend so much time apologizing to customers that the phrase has no meaning to me anymore, but truthfully I have always struggled with sorry.
I’m not sure why but it is hard for me to say it sometimes, especially because I am very careful about the things I say and do. Consequently, if I said it, then I meant it so there’s no need to apologize. I could take the easy way out and say that I am sorry if I hurt you, but that seems a little emotionally dishonest to me.
It’s equally hard for me to ask for an apology or specifically, it’s hard for me to tell someone that my feelings are hurt or that my heart is broken or that I am disappointed. Partly because I don’t want to hear any excuses, but mostly because I don’t want to risk losing the relationship. Mind you, I am not talking about associates, acquaintances or some other superficial connection. I’m talking about those people whom I love deeply. I don’t want to lose the connection so I swallow the pain and the disappointment. I struggle with sorry.
I don’t have a resolution to my struggle at this point, although it is cathartic to articulate it and release it to the universe.
I have been living in the southern United States for more than twenty years and as a result, I have become very accustomed to the weather. When I first moved here, I was not phased by a little snow but now it gives me anxiety. I don’t travel beyond my front door until the streets are clear, but I don’t worry about it much because I enjoy staying home and more importantly I enjoy time alone. I’m comfortable with myself and my thoughts. That’s not to say that I don’t want to talk to others and this year, I really wanted someone to be snowed in with me, but I am not devastated by the fact that it didn’t happen. I can entertain myself. I love my bed. I can pretend to be a domestic goddess, cooking and cleaning. I can watch every weird documentary and cartoon that I want. I can spend time in prayer and really listen for God. While it is inconvenient and anxiety inducing at first, snow days become a much needed time to rest and reflect. Let it snow. I’m good.
When I was 25,I thought that relationships had to go from zero to sixty rather quickly or I didn’t think the guy liked me. Consequently, I ended a couple of potentially good relationships because I didn’t appreciate taking things slowly. It was a painful lesson to learn, although twenty years later, I still have some residue left from my old ways.I don’t like uncertainty in relationships. I like to know where I stand. Mind you, I am not talking about the song and dance that happens in the early stages of getting to know someone, but rather once there’s been some connection, some time spent some understanding established, then I like to know if this is a flash in the plan or does this have the potential to be regular. I’m not looking for marriage,I am looking for consistency. I need some expectations:once a week, once a quarter, once a year. I’m weird.
I fully recognize that the heart of my issue is control and I am working on that but it is hard. I manage people for a living in an industry that is all about accounting for every second in fifteen minute intervals and it is difficult for me to not let that need to manage leak into affairs of the heart because it is a futile effort. Love is all about uncertainty and passion and desire. It really can’t be scheduled.
So with this new year, my continued prayer is for patience and to make peace with the uncertainty because what they say is true: you can’t hurry love. You just have to wait.
I have always wanted to be a doo-wop girl, a backup singer for a great entertainer, but as I get older I realize that the possibility of this happening is slim to none. I’ve made my peace with the fact that it might not happen. I have found other ways to fulfill that desire: videos, karaoke, and playing Just Dance,but I realized the other day that I had overlooked the obvious. I’m a minister. Not the senior pastor, but an associate, a staff member who supports the work of the pastor. The church has been my version of being twenty feet from Stardom. Sure from time to time like every great background singer, I get the opportunity to stand at the sacred desk, to enter the holy of holies, but I exercise my gifts and talents most often by peeking behind the veil, watching the priest, prophet, or sage do his or her thing.I’m the harmony to the melody, the descant over the verse. I’m there, present but not obtrusive, demanding very little and doing just enough so that you don’t even know I am there,but it’s apparent when I am not.
It’s an interesting place to be. I have enough talent that people want me to strike out on my own, but that’s not my calling. I support.I complement. I help. And that is enough.