Friday, December 20, 2013

I have a God who loves me...

so today i got a bonus from work in the form of a fifty dollar gift card. i have no idea what i want to spend it on.

i thought of the following

something practical
-phone bill

something special
-new clothes
-new jewelry

something humanitarian
-fair trade
-charity support merchandise

if i could find something that encompassed all three of these categories that would make some sense.  i considered new toms since i have been wanting some and my old pair are essentially dead, i have considered just thrifting.  i have considered finding something fair trade online. (although i have to be honest, the overall aesthetic of fair trade is not exactly my style, despite the fact that i am willing to dedicate my life to making it work)

so i started trying to think of things i wanted or actually felt like getting and for some reason i couldn't really think of anything.  besides toms, but i don't really want to spend all of that on toms.

my point is that whenever i thought about "what i want" it turned into something that i needed to do at home.  i need to get rid of most of my clothes because i either don't wear them or they don't fit or both.  i need to lose weight because its unhealthy to be 250 pounds and 5'6''.  i need to start the paperwork for the peace corps.  i need to figure out how to get over this anxiety thing, despite having been better lately since the move, i still struggle with.  

but what i realize is that i am tired.  its late.  i keep forgetting to go home. (seriously i meant to get up and go like two hours ago and i justkeep not doing it.)  i've had a big day and tomorrow i've got stuff to do and the next day and the next day and really what i just need to do is go home and go to bed and think about it later when i'm rested.  because when i get tired, i get depressed, because i'm left to my own devices and i can't stop thinking about the things in my life that need changing, and how bad i am at changing them.

i'm using all the mantras over and over that have helped me in the past.

things like:

I have a God who loves me and that is enough.

this one helps when i feel like the struggles set before me are too big for me to manage.  i realize God is taking care of me so the future is essentially taken care of.



i've had other mantras and now i can't think of them at all.  which i am going to decide means i just need to keep saying
I have a God who loves me and that is enough.

OH! or...

It doesn't matter who I am because of who He is.

this helps when my sense of identity comes into disarray.  or when i just can't stand how much of myself i dislike and want to alter.  i'm not smart, pretty, talented, or interesting enough.

and then there is...

the potential to smile in the future is reason to smile now.

this is just for when i can't see my own sadness.  i realized that reality is a series of ups and downs and if i'm in a down that means there will come another up eventually.  i may not be able to conceive of what it could be or be like, but i know it will come and the promise of something nice in the future is a nice thing to smile about in itself.

and if all else fails.  i'll eat a cookie.

so no.  i have no idea what i am going to spend this fifty dollars on.  but i don't have to make these decisions right now.  

i just need to get off this freaking computer, and drive home, and go to sleep.

that is enough...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Why don't we treat ourselves as children?

I think I finally need to admit it to myself.

The anxiety is debilitating.

I had an attack today, and it had to do with my debt.  I feel like it's a legitimate reason for stress.  Money is very stressful.  It's even more so when you don't have it.  What happened was I didn't do something I was supposed to do on time, so I got a letter explaining to me the consequences of that.  What was ridiculous was that it was anxiety in the first place that made me put off doing what I was supposed to do.

Luckily for me, my mother was there to support me while I called the agency to smooth out what I needed to do.  And it seemed so simple while I was doing it.  Say what you need to the guy, fill out your information, respond to email at later date.  That's all.  But I have anxiety about more than just money.  It's calling people I don't know (even some I do) on the phone, it's filling out paperwork, it's anxiety about what other people will think of me for being in this situation.  Essentially every part of the process of paying off debt is a source of anxiety for me, therefore I put off things I shouldn't because I don't feel like I can face it.  It's a passive aggressive action, so you don't even realize how bad it is until the consequences come and bite you in the face.

I already know that my ADD is debilitating.  It causes me to be inefficient with my time in ways that I can't control.  Getting ready in the morning is a struggle every day because I spend more time spacing off than I do actually getting ready.  I forget to do things I need to do all the time, and when in conversation with people have to work very hard at listening to them.  Sometimes I just pretend like I heard them because I don't want to seem rude or like I don't care about what they're saying.  But I can't control my mind wandering.  It happens on its own.

ADD and anxiety are very closely linked.  As many as 50% of adults with ADHD have anxiety/depression.  It's like an underlying secondary feature.  So I often think that if I could just get a handle on this that my anxiety would just go away.  But that's like damming a river with your hands.

So right now I'm on a new ADD medication (I don't think it's working super well).  The thing about this medication is that it's not a stimulant like most other ADD medications.  I was previously on aderol, but by my senior year of college it was making my anxiety meltdowns significantly worse and more frequent.  Aderol increases your heart rate and other things like that, so it makes anxiety worse.  When I told the doctor on campus about this he said...

"If you were a kid I would take you off of this medication immediately based on what you're telling me.  But since you're an adult I will leave it up to you. I mean, you don't want to feel miserable for the rest of your life."

And that...that was amazing.  Essentially he was giving me permission to change medications.  I know it sounds silly but it took me forever to tell the doctor about the anxiety attacks, because every time I got to an appointment for some reason I would convince myself that it wasn't that big a deal and that I shouldn't even mention it.  Really I was afraid that the Doctor or nurse would tell me that it wasn't that big a deal.  But he made a really excellent point.  I DON'T want to feel miserable for the rest of my life.  I need to give myself permission to make choices that are positive for me.

The thing was though that he mentioned if I were a kid he would take me off of it immediately.  Because kids aren't able to make those decisions for themselves.  When I think of all of the situations I put myself in that are bad for me and then imagine the kid me doing those same things I think "that's ridiculous, my mother would have told me no"

This isn't just about anxiety anymore.  It's about everything.  Why do we continually make decisions that are unhealthy for us?  Would we let a child make those same decisions? Obviously we all have the right to make bad decisions.  That's not my point.  The point is that we aren't taking care of ourselves.  And we are valuable.

I read something on Tumblr that was titled something along the lines of "Things to do in your twenties"  it said " Learn to say ‘no’ — to yourself. Don’t keep wearing high heels if you hate them; don’t keep smoking if you’re disgusted by the way you smell the morning after; stop wasting entire days on your couch if you’re going to complain about missing the sun."

So for example, right now I am significantly overweight.  I hate this about myself and it affects the way I live.  I dress a certain way to hid my arms and stomach.  I don't cut my hair or style my hair in certain ways for fear that my face is too fat.  It changes the way I approach dating relationships, and not only alters how I think people perceive me and how I perceive myself, but alters how I perceive other people. 

I know that I have the power to change this.  I also know it will take a lot of work.  So for those many moments in my life where I have the opportunity to make healthy choices why don't I say no to myself?  I don't I treat myself like a child?  Things as simple as eating my vegetables instead of skipping them to go straight to dessert.  Or foregoing dessert entirely if i've already had too many sweets.  What about going to bed at a decent hour?  Or not eating at all after a certain time of day?  Parents encourage their kids to exercise.  To go outside and run around.  They send their kids to sport activities and enroll them in dance simply because its healthy for kids to get up and move around.  It's also socially healthy too.  People prefer other people that don't sit around all the time.  

Parents also make their kids do the things they need to do.  Finish their homework, for example.  Or talk to someone they need to talk to.  Even if anxiety is a factor, parents still encourage their kids to accomplish what they need to because that is a skill they will need to learn for the rest of their lives.  The skill of accepting responsibility for your actions, or inactions, and finishing what you start.

I wish I could say that this was some big epiphany that would make me change my life forever.  I can't say that it will.  It will be a while before I find the right medication and lifestyle that will help me handle my ADD and anxiety.  It will be a long time before I train myself to make healthy choices in my eating and exercising habits.  But what the doctor told me a couple of years ago is correct.  I don't want to spend the rest of my life feeling miserable.  



so we need to learn to say no to ourselves.  What is it we're consistently doing in our lives that is making us unhappy?  and why don't we stop?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

watch how i float.

stuck in transit...

the apostle Paul is one of my heros.  i'm only just realizing this now, but i find myself putting my life up next to his and comparing it.  i just haven't killed enough christians yet. (jk)

the thing is that he is this guy who was unimaginably self righteous which resulted in unimaginable cruelty and violence.  it so often is the result.  some of the most cruel people in history have done so in the name of causes that they held to with their whole self.  it took a direct intervention from Christ himself, and three days of blindness for Paul (then Saul) to change his ways.

but the part of his story that i think i aspire to is the part where he freakin travels all over the known world of the time, telling people about the good news, getting thrown in jail over and over, and continuing to tell the good news anyway.

but that's not all.  he is this total no nonsense guy who calls people on their crap all the time.  he tells Peter he's wrong in front of everybody because being honest and having a good witness was more important than being discreet or polite.  he calls the churches out on their pride, their gossiping, their power plays, all of it.  every time the church started to twist out of healthy development he would prune that part of them away.

so i look at my own life and see something drastically different.  not in where i am and what i'm doing because duh those things are totally going to be drastically different.  if i went to Rome and started preaching the gospel they'd all be like "we know all this, we're catholic, here, have a cannoli"  but i don't see that no nonsense, driven, consistent attitude.  did paul ever one night say "i don't know man, i think i'm going to stay in tonight and just chill"?

even though he was so awesome at working for the Lord he still would say that he was the greatest of all sinners and that the things he did not want to do he did and the things he wanted to do he didn't.  i look at my life and i feel exactly the same way.  but paul felt that way preaching the word.  i just feel this way doing nothing.

someday i just hope i figure out that i'm actually doing something because right now i just kind of feel like a leaf on a stream.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

there's no on/off switch for humility.

i may as well be honest.  i'm kind of fighting with God right now. 

i don't really mean to be.  i'm trying not to be.  i know that sounds silly.  but its genuinly not that easy.  and that is part of the whole conflict inside of me.  the complete awareness of it all, and yet i can't just flip a switch.

i'm not where i want to be right now.  i never had specific plans per se.  i always new that God was going to lead me to where i was going.  i never expected he would be keeping me here for a while. 

i'm doing what i know God wants me to do right now. but i'm not happy about  it.  and there in lies the scuffle.  i want to be okay with it.  i want to be enthusiastic about it. 

i suppose thought that christ didn't really want to die either.  he prayed and asked God that it wouldn't happen, but it did, and he went through with it anyway. 

but whenever somebody starts asking me questions about my life i find myself not wanting to explain to them where i am, because i care about what they think, and i feel like in their eyes i'm some sort of failure. 

which is stupid because i wouldn't consider them a failure were they me. 

and also stupid because God has made it abundantly clear that i'm where he wants me to be, and he is using me where i am. 

its not even like i don't know why he has me where he does.  i can see the good in it.  but i don't want it.  i want something else.  and i want to not want something else.  i want to want what he wants. i want to be happy and find joy in where i am but i'm just frustrated. 

impatient i guess.

i don't know. 

i wan tto be a joyful giver and give my offering with a smile.

its something i'm working on.  for real i'm working on it.  and i'm trying so hard.  and i hope that that is good for now.  because i don't know what else i can do but try. 

even so, i recognize how in my life God is continually blessing me and providing for me.  the very fact that he has been so open with me about where i am is amazing and a blessing.  and to be honest i'm not even that unhappy right now.  even though i'm not where i want to be, things are looking way up.  things are getting better.  i am not lost or misplaced.  i'm just elsewhere. 

God is taking me the long way,and teaching me humility in the process.  and i am trying to grasp it an dfigure it out. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

like yeast through bread

so i've been thinking a lot lately about missions and serving and my path and my purpose and where God is leading me.

personally i'm in a rather frustrating place right now.

nine months ago...(NINE! i could have had a BABY by now!)i graduated from college with my bachelors degree in international service.  i chose international service over theater because despite my giftedness in the theater arts, i really have a heart for helping people, especially in other countries whose infrastructures aren't adequately developed to protect the rights of their own citizens.  i realized that God was calling me in that direction, and to this day i stand by my choice.  even though i miss theater terribly in a profound way (it will never be completely out of my life)  the truth is that i could spend my entire life on stage and be happy, but i could not spend my entire life not actively working to benefit the causes i care so much about and be happy.

immediately after graduation i sort of fell into a position in fair trade at a local non profit.  the timing was perfect and because of previous work with the same organization i was well equipped and it made sense.  unfortunately due to the status of the organization at the time of my arrival, and some decisions on the part of the board of directors, it only lasted two months.  two months that were very very stressful for me.  i came out of it being given the short end of a none too hefty stick, but having learned a lot of some things not to do.

after a couple of weeks of rest, a few more of job searching, i landed a job in fast food where i work to this day.

obviously this isn't exactly what i had in mind.

i've been looking for other jobs, constantly struggling with my ADD and indecision in order to get anyway.  slowly drowning in debt, life is kind of discouraging right now.
i've been considering the peace corps, i've been considering it for months.


when i took the fast food job, i did it knowing that if that was where God had me, then that was where God needed me.  God doesn't set us aside to be used later.  He uses us all the time, and in increasing increments. one of the most inspiring parables to me is that of the master who gives his servants talents (money)

to one he gives a large amount, the second a smaller amount, and the third the least amount.  the servant with the most goes out and invests what he's given and doubles what he's been given.  the second does the same. but the third, being fearful of losing what his master has given him, hides what he has.   when the master returns home he is overjoyed by servants one and two at what they have accomplished for him, and promises to trust them with even more in the future.  but he is very angry with the third servant and asks him why he didn't at least put the money in the bank where he could have received interest.  he sends the last servant away.

if i want God to trust me with large acts of service, i have to do well with the service and gifts that he has given me now.

but still this isn't even the point of my blog today.

yesterday my house church sent off one of our own to serve at a ministry in canada for two months.  there was a lot of talk of jealousy for what she got to be doing and such which lead to how we serve.  the term "event based serving" was used.  and i realized that we have in our christian culture a flawed concept of serving, that it is something done in a instance, and not a lifestyle.  but it truly is a lifestyle.  whenever Jesus challenged someone else in the bible it wasn't for a moment, it was for the rest of their life!  He never said, "if you want to follow me, then do this thing next week, and keep yourself open for other charity opportunities that might come your way"  he instructed people to lay EVERYTHING DOWN!

if serving is a lifestyle, then i don't need to freak out about what kind of job i have.  God has me where he needs me right now.  serving is every moment of every day.  if i am truly to walk in his footsteps, then i am to truly have no place to lay my head, i am to put my hand to the plow and not look back,  i am to let the dead bury their own.

this is the kingdom.  the kingdom spreads, and doesn't spread on an event to event basis.

if you feel like you need to serve more, don't wait for the next event.  spend some time in prayer and find out who God has placed in your life that needs served right now.  ask him to reveal to you the gifts he has given you so you can understand how best to serve.

a mantra we have at my church is Pray, Provide, Participate.  (i like this mantra because if there are three things that the american middle class loves besides lattes, it is alliteration, platitudes, and finding depth without diving deep.)  basically, in any place where there is a need, you can pray for that need to be filled, you can provide to fill the need, or you can participate in carrying it out.

this isn't every event.  this is every moment.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

or just get a better job...

just as always in every blog i ever write i'm slightly frustrated with life right now.

after growing up in a society that expects instant gratification and desires easy answers, my mind is constantly trying sift through the cacophany of problems and obstacles in my life and try to find the Problem.  you know what i'm talking about?  everyone has multiple problems, but we have this idea that there is one sort of mother Problem that if fixed would solve the rest through the domino effect.

have you ever thought "if only (insert problem solving here) then i would be happy."

it could be something you don't have that you need or think you need.  it could be a habit you haven't formed or a goal you haven't reached or a job you haven't attained or a person you want in your life that doesn't want in yours.

for me i tend to focus on my ADD as the Problem, because I figure if i could just get around to getting treated then i would also be able to focus long enough on all of my other problems to fix them.

problems like paying debts and getting a better job.

but then i start to think about getting a better job and i begin to feel hopeless because trust me, i've been looking for other jobs, and everything is either just as good or worse than what i have now, or better and unattainable because i don't have "experience"

that being said, there is not a day that i am at work where at some point i will be sweeping the floor or baking a potato or something and i think...i hate this job, i want to quit."

call me anything you like.  call me lazy, call me disorganized.  i certainly appear that way to a lot of people although i would disagree with you and say that i am neither of these things.  but you can call me them anyway.  but one thing i am not is a quitter.  i don't quit things.  i get anxiety attacks and avoid things altogether sometimes but i never quit. quitting is at its tamest a gamble.  but gambles are only worth their payoff.  my payoff would be having more time to surf the internet for jobs and less smelling like a deep fryer.  since that payoff isn't that great quitting isn't a gamble, its a luxury.  a luxery i don't have.  plus whenever i quit anything i feel like a failure.  i had to drop a class once and i felt like the stupidest and most inadequate person on the planet. 

andi keep thinking of this one time i was with my parents as a kid and we were in this mall or something, and there was this rock climbing wall.  and i decided i really wanted to do it.  so my parents let me.  i was like nine at the time i think.  all i remember is i got about halfway up, and by then my arms and legs were killing me and i was getting scared of the height and i started to feel like i was going to cry and i looked down at my parents and said "i want to come down."  at first they encouraged me to keep trying but by then i felt completely hopeless and they told me it was okay to come down.

sometimes i wonder if i had finished the wall would it have inspired me to become more of an athletic kid and would i be healthier today as a result.  at the same time i think its silly to think that such an insignificant thing so long ago turned me into the sedentary person i am today.  i climbed yellow mountain in china and it hasn't inspired me to go hiking since then. 

so normally at the end of these blogs, after over analyzing my life and decisions i somehow come to a weird slightly optimistic conclusion that says "perk up buttercup things will get better"  but then it doesn't feel like anything changes. 

i just want something to change.
i need to move forward, just a little.