God take this pain from me

I really just want to be at the whole clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future part of my life now please.

I don’t feel strong enough to survive this pain much longer.

Key word there being “I”, I guess.

God needs to be my strength. I need to let Him in and allow Him to cover me in His strength and comfort. Because the reality of all of this is that I’m weak and fragile and broken.

I tend to do everything I can to attempt to numb my hurt because being out of control and being in pain is killing me. And the more I can numb the pain the better I feel like I can survive my days.

But the attempts to numb the pain are actually emotionally crippling me to the point where I’m not healing, I’m not thriving, and I’m certainly not relying on God or giving control over to Him.

So I sit on the floor in my tears, post panic attack, and I’m begging God with the last few ounces of strength in my body….to be my strength and my comfort. So that I may move on to a period of healing and be able to help others heal and be in relationship with God.

Lord, take this devastation and brokenness and create something beautiful for You.

Tea Time

How easy is it to settle into the comforts of tea time. I’m not talking about the traditional across the pond time of day to sip tea and nosh on tiny sandwiches…I’m talking about sharing gossip.

We feed off of what others are sharing about others. The gossip may even come in the form of a prayer request…”So and so is really struggling with [fill in the blank] we really need to pray for them!” Is such an easy, and seemingly innocent way to spread gossip.

If the information is not ours to share, we really shouldn’t be sharing it. We shouldn’t be getting enjoyment from sharing other peoples dirt, but we do. Spilling the tea is addicting and it’s toxic.

How do we stop? How do we stop what has become a societal norm? Pray. Be mindful of what you’re listening to and what you are sharing. Intentionally work towards keeping your mouth shut when it should be shut. And encourage those around you to do the same.

Our encouragement to not spill the tea could be as easy as not indulging in what others are gossiping about, or politely removing yourself from the conversation. It doesn’t need to be rude or condemning or start a holier than thou fight.

Be mindful that what you’re sharing is yours to share and will contribute to the conversation in a positive way.

Easier said than done? Absolutely. But with practice we can crush the desire to gossip!

Time

Speaking of schedules…

Something I learned during my Covid quarantine is I need me time. My schedule leading up to quarantine was dangerously packed. And if I didn’t have anything scheduled I was almost guaranteed to have a mental breakdown. Not exactly healthy.

Now I am intentional with what I schedule into my life. I want to make sure I’m not scheduling so much in that I forget my cup also needs to be filled, that my life also needs attention. I want to make sure I have actual time with my boyfriend. I want to make sure that I have openings for a friend or student texting me, “Hey can you grab coffee today?“. I want to make sure my Bible gets cracked open more than just once a week on Sunday mornings. I want to make sure my mental health gets taken care of. I want to make sure I don’t implode when change happens, but embrace it and lean into God. “Okay Lord, my time on this earth is a gift from You, use it.”

My time is not my own. My time is the Lord’s. What am I doing with this time? Am I glorifying Him? Serving Him? Leading others to Him? Am I working on my mental health, my relationship, my friendships, my communication with my family? Or am I so busy I’m not living in the moment, I’m just pushing through a crammed schedule so I don’t feel anything?

I need to be an intentional steward of my time starting with making God #1.

Losing Hope

*deep sigh*

Sometimes healing doesn’t seem to be healing, it is backwards and messy and lonely. It feels like I’m not making any progress but instead I’m hurting more than I was before. Instead of progressing and working through the pain I shove it down and power through. Or shove it down and completely shut down.

Healing isn’t possible in the shut down phase. The shut down phase is scary and dark and I don’t like it. But it’s so hard to pull myself out of the shut down phase. It’s comfortable in the darkness. It’s comfortable not falling apart in front of someone. It’s comfortable to not ask for help.

I’ve shut out God during the past 5 months. I’ve gone in and out of shut down mode but I haven’t been truly real with Him. I’m not even trying. I’m just exhausted. The anxiety leads to depression which leads to overall exhaustion. I’m in the dark depths of that right now, cycling through excuses and anxiety and depression and shutting myself off from the world and God. I don’t manage my own emotions very well.

I find it significantly easier to help others navigate their pain and heartache and mental health rather than take even a second out of my day to take a look inside my own head. The moment I step out of the shut down phase and look in the mirror at the gravity of the situation is the moment I need to address my mental health and the heartbreak I’ve been avoiding working through. And I don’t want to. I don’t feel strong enough. And I can’t bring myself to wave that flag of surrender.

People Person

I have always considered myself an introvert. Social situations have always drained me, and being by myself or with my man recharges me. On a good day I would call myself an ambivert…like a very good day.

ambivert
[ˈambəˌvərt]

NOUN
psychology
a person whose personality has a balance of extrovert and introvert features

But something’s changed…this quarantine has changed me. We are officially in the yellow phase (can I get a whoop whoop?) and that means the start of gathering once more. I met up with a friend yesterday at the lake, and this morning at another friend’s house, and then again this afternoon outside at a coffee shop. I’m energized and excited for life.

What happened to me? Have I just been so deprived of human interaction that I’m absorbing all social interaction I can get my hands on? Will this subside? Will I go back to being an introvert? Who knows. All I know is I’m happy and I love people. I don’t actually feel depressed right now. And I’m ready to see some more friends. Gasp…have I become a …. people person? As of right now I think that answer is a big fat YES.

This is exciting news. My prayer is that this continues.

The Joy of the Lord

I can only describe this time as bittersweet. Today marks 77 days since my last day at work and my heart aches for my little one I take care of. I miss everything about being a pediatric care tech and am counting the seconds until I can return to work.

I miss normalcy. I miss teaching preschoolers on Sunday mornings. I miss meeting with the students on Sunday nights. I miss going out for coffee with my friends. I miss going out with my man after a long work week and just staring into each other’s eyes over a candlelit dinner (yeah yeah…we can still do this, but our dog isn’t the best waiter). I miss the mundane and I miss the crazy. There are so many things I took for granted that I completely ache for now.

But I am so ridiculously blessed. I haven’t personally lost anyone in this pandemic, but I know so many who have. Financially, I am struggling in this time of being laid off, but God has abundantly provided every time I have needed. Mentally, I am hanging in there, I’m blessed with a “team” of support when it comes to my mental health so my heart goes out to those who are feeling the depths of depression during this time. I pray that they are being supported and loved during this trying time.

Joy has been found in the Lord across the world in this pandemic. My students are flourishing in their own personal walks with God. They are encouraging one another, they are taking to social media to hold virtual Bible studies, and they are sending cards and flowers to those who need it. They are thriving and they are creative in their own personal study of the Word. I am so proud of each and every one of them for how amazingly they are handling their senior year of high school. I have seen my preschool parents post the fun things their kiddos are doing, from climbing trees, to making posters to hang out of their cars for a drive-by birthday party, to making their parents breakfast in bed. My friends and I are doing check-ins with each other…just to let each other know we are here and we are praying for one another. So many virtual hugs and “coffee vibes” have been sent out. Relationships are being built stronger than ever before. I am seeing God in all of this. I am seeing Him work in ways I haven’t seen before and that is so encouraging.

The church is not a building. The church is people continuing the ministry of Christ. The church is people reaching out those who need a conversation. The church is meals being delivered. The church is drive-by conversations held 6 feet apart with masks on. The church is responding to this time in such a beautiful way that only God could orchestrate. And I’m blown away.

So continue to spread the joy of the Lord during this time, it is so very needed.

Toxicity in Friendships

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about this issue, but I was a lot more guarded and gentle about it in my last post on this matter.

I am currently in the process of removing a toxic friend from my life. This has been so hard. Especially since this friend is the queen of gaslighting while at the same time being a master of false compliments. To read more on gaslighting read this article.

I have fallen for her lies for far too long, fallen for her exaggerations of me, telling me how I need her and I can’t do things on my own. Telling me I’m a control freak for not letting her do things for me. I have allowed her to tell lies about me to other people. I have allowed her to put on a sense of false sympathy and ask around to make sure I’m okay when I seemed off to her, when I didn’t respond immediately to a text, or didn’t answer her phone calls. She has told people I won’t be attending events because I was on my death bed when I wasn’t. She has tried to destroy my relationship with my boyfriend for over a year and a half, and my friendships with other people, lying to me about my boyfriend, telling me things he’s done that have been so horrible and completely not true. And she has been telling my friends lies about me. If I have a success she tells people it’s because of her that I had that success.

I ignored so many signs, so many other people telling me to avoid this person, so many red flags because I thought maybe it’s just me. I felt special to her until I did something that set her off. And that isn’t okay. She would fill me with compliments and I would stay her loyal friend. It’s not okay to have a friend who doesn’t support you or love you. It isn’t okay to have a friend that makes everything entirely about themselves. It isn’t okay to have a friend who drags you down with them or hopes you stumble and fall back into an addiction.

I’m done with it, I’m in pain, I’m hurt, I feel betrayed and humiliated. I’m done with the sick sense of satisfaction she gets from using me. I thought I could be the bigger person and continue to love her and be her friend…but there comes a point where toxic friendships become so toxic they start to destroy pieces of what makes you…you. I began questioning everything I said and how I said it, questioning my morals, questioning everything. Trying to see if I was in the wrong. What did I do to make her hate me so much? But it wasn’t hate. It was her needing to control me, control how I perceived my friends, and control how my friends perceived me.

The problem was not me. The problem was her. This is not high school. We are all adults here, and I’m tired of this juvenile narrative she’s writing me into.

This has gone on for long enough and upon meeting with my psychiatrist for weeks about this exact problem I realize I was a victim. I let her turn me into a victim. She knew about my past, how I was in a horribly abusive relationship and how I blamed myself and she used the knowledge of my weakness to her advantage. I’m going to begin standing up for myself. I am so tired of being in this toxic friendship.

1 Corinthians 15:33
“Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.”

Proverbs 13:20
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Another fantastic article.

I ask that you join me in prayer as I continue on this journey to lovingly end a friendship that has harmed me. Pray for me to be honest with myself about how toxic a friendship with her is and to not fall back into her lies. I’m not as tough and strong as I wish I was.

I’m So Blessed!

God has given me the best relationship I could have ever asked for. It is not perfect but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

It is everything. Apparently one of my love languages is food… He makes me French omelets and has dinner ready for when I get to his house. He has the heating pad and pain meds ready for when my cramps are so bad I can’t breathe. He is my sounding board for every thought that turns into rambling that I can’t seem to stop from coming out of my mouth in a jumbled mess.

He knows what makes me tick and knows when I’m mentally struggling and he is always there for me. I am so grateful and thank the Lord everyday to have such a man as my man.

Honesty

I’m hard wired to put others before myself. To a fault.

My automatic response to “How are you?” is to immediately respond with “I’m fine.” and change the topic to the other person. I’m probably not fine. I’m most likely swimming in a sea of spastic thoughts that can’t contain or regulate themselves. But I can’t let you know that, and I certainly can’t let you in.

It’s a disorganized mess in here. It’s chaos. It’s negative. It’s ugly. I can control what parts you see by never letting you in. I have it down to a science.

This brings me to honesty. It’s crucial in a relationship. You fundamentally need honesty and trust. They go hand in hand. I trust that my partner will be honest and open with me. And he expects the same of me.

I haven’t been that honest and open person in my relationship. I automatically hide my emotions and feelings and thoughts if I think they are going to cause a fight because I’m hurt about something I haven’t communicated to him or what I am feeling would cause my partner to be hurt. But in doing this, I have only been hurting him more. With each “I’m fine.” I have been building a wall. Layer after layer, lie after lie. I have been building a wall between us. We can’t function with this wall between us. It’s an impossible task that can’t work unless I let him in.

So begins my journey to honesty. Honesty with my partner. Honesty with myself. I will tear down this wall that I built and cultivate trust in my relationship.

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all one body. 

Luke 6:31 Do unto others as you would have them do to you. 

Proverbs 12:22 The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.