What is it that has you questioning God?
Ramblings of a single (& happy-ish) 20-something
What is it that has you questioning God?
When I was in elementary school, it seemed that teachers always sat me beside the students that were troublemakers because they knew I wouldn’t complain. One of these instances ended in me getting stabbed in the arm by my peer’s pencil. I am sure he was mad about something and I became his guinea-pig in finding a way to handle his anger. I am not sure if it worked, but I do remember walking up to my teacher’s desk and asking for a band aid. She asked me what happened as the piece of led stuck out of my arm along with oozing of blood from the same area. I told her I had been stabbed. My peer’s desk was moved against the board, by himself and he had to write with a crayon the rest of the year. Pencils are not intended to stab your peers. They serve another purpose, but I will be getting to that in a little bit.
It seems like life is too busy, sometimes, for me to think about myself. I do not think that I am alone in this. We get so caught up in everything going on around us and investing our time into those around us and the things that “need” to get done that we lose sight of ourselves and what it is that we actually need.
There comes a time when we get so worn out from investing, investing, investing, giving, giving, and giving, that we find it difficult to do everyday things. There is an easy solution to this problem. Before you get to that point, pick up a book, go for a run, look out the window, make a cup of tea and actually drink it; do something for yourself. Do something that you enjoy, something that causes you to stop and breathe.
It is okay to invest in yourself. Really. It is. I know this is something that seems so simple, yet people seem to not be able to comprehend the concept. Breathe. Take in life. I understand that the dusting needs to be done and that others are depending on you, but if you do not take time to charge, you are not going to be all that you can be for those that are depending on you. You are going to keep wearing yourself down.
Go back to elementary school when you had to use a #2 pencil (hopefully you did not stab your peers or were the victim in a pencil shanking). Pencil sharpeners were located in every room and, eventually, the pencil needed to be sharpened. It was too dull to do what it was created to do. The same can happen to you. You can become too dull to do what God intends for you to do. You become so worn out on everything else, that when it comes to your purpose, you seem to have nothing left to give.
It is time to sharpen yourself by taking some time to invest in you. Have a cup of coffee, go for a hike, do some yoga, and breathe.
We have all heard the saying, “When it rains, it pours.” Most likely when you hear these words, you think of every way that your life is not meeting your expectations. But, is this really a bad thing? I have blogged it before, and I will blog it again, sometimes the best prayers are those that go unanswered.
In other words, sometimes the bad things in life need to happen for the good things to blossom. When I look back on the experiences I have gone through, it is the tough times and negative experiences that have gotten me to where I am today. It was the bad relationships that have gotten me to realize that I do not need to settle for less than what I deserve and to not be in a relationship just for the simplicity of being in one. Relationships are more than two people posting a Facebook status; relationships are to be coddled, cared for, and nourished.
How did I go from rain to relationships? Well, I am happy you asked. Rain is not a bad thing. Ask any farmer… or tree. Rain, in the right dose, is a wonderful, powerful, necessary blessing. Relationships are a blessing, as well. As human beings, we are naturally relational creatures, like the trees need the rain, we need each other.
However, sometimes rain turns into a storm and sometimes relationships become difficult to maintain. Other times, rain turns into a flood and relationships end in disaster, both parties broken in pieces.
BUT! When a flood hits or a massive storm appears, we brace ourselves. We are sometimes even given notice and told to evacuate the area. In relationships, the same is true. We often see the warning signs. The storm is on our personal radar, but we ignore the signs and give no care to what people are telling us or what our own emotions are pointing us toward. Often, we have to learn from our own mistakes. We think we prepare ourselves for the worst, but we do not know what broken emotions are until we experience them.
Whether we are talking about the earth or our hearts, whether we are talking about the storm or our brokenness, there is much to be learned. When the pieces need to be picked up and reconfigured, that is when we find out how strong we are and notice the individuals that will be by our side, even in those storms.
So, when you think of rain, think of nourishment. Invision the precipitation and the roots of a tree. Rain is not always needed in abundance, and the leaves may not enjoy getting soaked, but at the end of the day, that rain is what makes the leaves green and the branches strong enough to uphold them.
When relationships end, it can work as nourishment to our souls. It makes us aware of our own strength and, eventually, thankful for the hardship. Without brokenness and without the storms of life, we would be weak and frail. We would not know the power of the rain and the significance of pain.
There is a reason for every storm and a storm attached to every blessing.
It’s been a while. Truth be told, I have just had so much to say that I figured it would be best to collect my thought before throwing them all out there for people to read. Hopefully the thoughts of choice are organized enough that they make sense. Here it goes.
I have always had a fear of spiders. They freak me out beyond belief. Them, with their beady little eyes, eight legs, monster-like fangs, and keen insight. They always know when you see them and they either freeze or disappear. They know how much time they have and the best game-plan for their safety. I hate them.
In my new apartment, it is the first time that I have lived alone. In other words, it is the first time that I cannot shout for someone else to come and “take care of” the scary creatures lurking on the walls, in the showers, on the deck, in my mailbox… pretty much anywhere. Within my first few hours of being in this apartment, alone, I was faced with the realistic danger of what it really means to live alone. It means, you either kill the spiders yourself or live with them.
As I stared at the first spider that I would encounter on my own, I was at a loss of what to do. If I left, it would have a chance to get away and plan its attack. If I stayed, it was like playing Russian Roulette. Who would be the one to die here?
I decided to sprint to the kitchen to get my flip flop and sprint back. It must not have known I planned on returning and with surprise on both our parts, I smashed the pencil-eraser-sized spider. Little did I know, but this killing would be the first of many. It was official, I had become a spider ninja. Weapon of choice: a flip flop.
My apartment is not the only place I face these demon-like creatures, but on my deck, on my steps (leading to my apartment door), and in my mailbox. It is as if they have taken over. I can destroy a web, turn around, look back, and there is already a new one. I have yet to see these spiders, but I know they are there. They leave their webs and hide in the daylight. They know I am looking for them; they know I have killed before.
I prefer to have them live in fear of me. Honestly, I am so afraid of how big they must be in order to weave the monstrous webs that are taking over. I have never prayed not to get mail before, but the fact that it is taken over by thick webs, is enough to make me never want to receive a hand-written letter ever again.
I digress. As 20-somethings in the world today, there are going to be spiders. There are going to be things that need to be hammered, and heavy things to be lifted. We cannot be above these things. We cannot wait around for a man to come along and kill the spider for us, because we may be waiting an awful long time, plus, men these days are just as afraid of spiders as we are, some just do not show it as easily.
So, if the table is a little wobbly, or the faucet is a little leaky, or the spider needs smashing, it is time to step up and realize what you are capable of. You are able to do much more than you ever thought you could. There will be mountains that stand in our way and we have to choose if we are going to take the time to climb it, go around it, or just move it out of our way, even if we are wearing stilettos. It is your time to shine, and most men will be able to see the luminescence.
So, I saw The Dark Knight Rises in theaters. Now, this is not a spoiler, but a quote that really stuck out to me during the movie (and was a common theme) was this, “There can be no true despair without hope.”
I took this quote in for a little and decided that it is one of the most true statements that I have heard in a long time. If you have no hope, then there is little chance of stressing over the details and if there is no hope, then can there really be suffering?
As a single, twenty-something, it is sometimes stressful (or annoying) being around all couples, them holding hands, saying how much they complete each other, and then coming back to me saying, “Sooo, are you seeing anyone yet?” Yet. That is the word that gets me. It is as if they are waiting for me to become complete, as if alone, I am not good enough without someone else. Or worse, they just feel bad for me. As if me questioning my current position in life is not enough, but I have to have the concerns of others, as if they are thinking, “Will she be alone forever?” In this case, since it annoys me, this must mean that I do have hopes of a future shared with someone else.
Well, maybe I will, maybe I won’t. I would like to say that I will find someone (or be found). The moment I quit looking is the moment I believe he will walk into my life. The moment I quit finding despair within the state of singleness, that is the time I may come across a relationship.
I am about there (the part where I stop looking). It is difficult to get to that area of life, where you actually stop wondering. I believe this is because it seems to be pushed on us within society. You are really not complete until you have someone to bask in your success with (if you are a female at least). A lot of people still seem to believe that the success of a woman is still determined on a man. I fall prey to this every once in a while, until I throw myself back into reality. I am just fine on my own. I am becoming more content with my life every day and with who I am. When you stop looking for something good to happen to you, I have found that those are the times that the good things occur, because you stopped trying to force them.
What can I say, I am a single (& happy-ish) twenty-something, after all.
I took the path less traveled yesterday and discovered it is not always the easiest to navigate. Nor is it always the best option. Behind my new apartment is a decent section of woods. My landlord told me that there is a path that leads to a cemetery that you can see from the main road. Well, I figured I needed some nature time yesterday and journeyed to see what the path was like.
After climbing over half-a-dozen fallen trees, a few spider webs, and making my way through thigh-high weeds, I came to a dead end. Now, the path was not completely clear to begin with, but there were fragments of paths along the way, but this section had no hint toward a direction. Tree branches did not allow for me to make my own without some sort of hachet and this did not happen to be in my key-sized pocket.
As I ventured back, I could not find the path I had taken to get to where I was, but I knew the direction to head. As I came out of the woods, walking toward my apartment, I was a little disappointed about my journey. The path did not meet my expectations.
How many times in life do the paths we venture on fall short of what we hoped they would offer us? How many times do we turn around, more disappointed then when we began? When is it time to go back and look for a hatchet and go back in and when is it time to find another path somewhere else?
Sitting on my deck today, I heard a loud sound coming from the woods and then a crash. A huge tree had fallen and in this case, it did make a sound, because I was present to hear it. If that would have happened yesterday, I may have been in quite the position of danger.
When hiking, I never really considered the possibility of a tree falling on me, so this may have put a damper on my future excursions, but now when I think of the disappointment I found within the path I took, and the danger that it actually held for me, I am thankful that the dead-end was there. About the time that the tree fell, I may have been back on that path (if all had gone as I had hoped yesterday). I would have ventured back in for another low-profile walk through the woods, but the disappointment of my journey actually prevented me from going back in the wooded obstacle course.
Sometimes we may not understand why some of the paths we take do not work out the way we had planned. We question why certain relationships fail; we wonder why the things we pray and hope for seem to not become present for us, but there are reasons for everything and dead-ends are sometimes a blessing. We have to know when to turn around, grab a hatchet, and head back in, and when to turn around and leave it at that.
Turning around is not always easy, especially when you have placed a lot of time and effort into that certain course, but just because you have placed dedication into that direction does not mean that you have to stay there. The route may not always be clear, but where you can make a path, you can always find a new way back and begin again. Just a life lesson that I feel God threw me in…
To all the guys that put up statuses on Facebook saying things like, “I really want a girlfriend,” or “I am so lonely,” or “I wish someone would date me,” or (my personal fav) “I am just looking for a nice girl…” I urge you to stop. This does not cause girls to line up to date you, obviously. So, why do you do this to yourselves? Why do you put up Facebook statuses that tell all, making you look desperate, even if you are?
Now, I know the female population does this too and I have posted similar things in the past (probably), but there comes a time when you need to realize that it makes you less desirable when you put it all out there, pretty much saying that you are really desperate enough to go for any chick that comes your way. You put it out there for the girls that are just as desperate as you to play on the emotions that you are both feeling, allowing you to possibly enter into some sort of distorted relationship, or false hope, on both parts.
If you really are desperate enough to post the fact that you want someone to love you on a social media site, then maybe you should be a little more proactive in real life. When faced with reality, there probably is someone out there for you, but placing it out there in form of a status just makes you look pathetic, scaring off any girl worth pursuing.
Maybe instead of pleading with your Facebook friends to date you, you should figure out what it is exactly you are looking for in a potential partner and assert yourself in that way. Go toward what you want. Be proactive. That is what girls are really looking for, not someone begging any girl that reads their Facebook feed to pursue them. Most women would prefer to be single then to date someone that is testifying their hopeless need for attention from the opposite sex.
Just a little rant of advice.
Our greatest strengths often lead to our greatest weaknesses. This is something that is really resinating with me lately. Someone I was once close to mentioned one of his greatest strengths and I could not help but recall how this led me to recognize one of his greatest weaknesses.
It is possible that the things we are best at often mislead us. They can cause us to lose sight of what is really important. It is important to love others, but when it comes to relationships, it is important to recognize those that we care the most about and treat them as if they are different, special to us.
Some of my strengths have to do with being a goal-setter, someone that believes that if I set me eyes on something, that I have to reach it, and if something gets in the way or distracts me from reaching that destination, I get rid of it, or place it on the back-burner, no matter how important it is to me. The fact that I am a go-getter causes me to lose sight of what is really important and this has burnt me more than a couple times. This is something that I am currently learning about myself and noticing that I have made mistakes in the past. I would do almost anything to regain the things I have left behind or places aside, but I know that it may be too late.
We all have gifts that we contain, but these gifts can lead to disappointment if we to not keep ourselves in check.
As a twenty-something that is often happy with where I am in the world and the course I have chosen to take, I know that I have to be careful because of the strengths I possess, for the weaknesses within those become apparent as I take a deep, hard look at myself. This is something I would urge anyone and everyone to do.
Stop. Keep yourself in check. Embrace your strengths, but do not allow them to lead to your greatest pitfalls.
There comes a point when you begin to understand the world for what it is. It isn’t always a wonderful place, but there are some wonderful things within it. The other day I pulled in the driveway and noticed that a baby bird had fallen from it’s nest. While driving earlier, I hit a bid, so I figured this was my chance to even out the karma by saving a life.
As I looked at the fallen bird, I was worried that I was too late, that the fall may have been too much for the featherless, not-so-cute, creature. But, with a move of it’s little beak, I ran inside to get a napkin to pick him up (I was a little freaked out to touch the baby Robin with my bare hands).
I grabbed a chair from inside, in order to reach the nest and within minutes the little guy was back up in his tiny home with his siblings (that may have been behind the fall). I wondered if it was aware that I saved him. I wondered if he was scared within his helplessness. I wondered if he had any thoughts at all. But, I sure did.
I often feel like this little bird. I find myself lost or fallen, unaware of how to get back to where I should be. I wonder if anyone will come along and notice me and if they do, will they be willing to give me the hand I need. Things are not easy. Life is not easy. We fall down and sometimes it is not possible to pick ourselves back up. We cannot get to where we need to be because our wings are featherless (how do you like that weird metaphor?). We cannot get anywhere because we are not ready, whether we want to be or not.
Sometimes, as independent as we want to be and may even pride ourselves in being, we need help. We cannot manage on our own. Sometimes the strong, competent, confident, not-needing-anyone girl turns out to be a damsel in distress. She turns out to be fallen baby bird. We often hate to admit it. We want to think we can do everything on our own, not needing anyone, but that is not always the case. But it must be kept in mind that the fact that we need others is a beautiful thing. The fact that relying on other people is a way of life is scary, for sure, but it can be quite refreshing when the other party pulls through.
The baby bird that I saved the other day sprouted (is that how to describe it?) feathers and took flight yesterday. This gives me hope, that even though I may be fallen right now, I may soon be able to spread my wings. It is not always easy to have a small range of people to depend on, but knowing that those people are reliable is what really matters.
My dad bought me a new car. What a way to start a blog, right? After reading that, you probably assume I am spoiled and I may be and I realize how fortunate I am. Now, the point of my random tidbit of info - I learned a valuable lesson and it all came from the journey of looking for a new car.
One thing I learned is that most car salesmen are arrogant jerks. They will stop at nothing to sell you a car, even if it means belittling the current car you are driving. We stopped at one dealership where the one salesman proceeded to say negative things about my car. Well, anyone that knows me knows that I love my Chevy Tracker and the moment something negative is said about it, I become defensive. This did not place the car jerk in a great spot. When I let him know that he had offended me, he then tried to talk around me to my dad, this was, yet another, not-so-good decision on his part. It did not matter how great of a deal he would give us, he was not worthy of business.
We stopped at car lot after car lot. We talked to dealers and salesmen. It seemed that our lives were becoming hostage to the “deals” and “offers” of these, usually, self conceited men. We were pretty certain that we were going to get a Jeep Liberty from our usual dealership, but we decided to stop one more place.
Now, you have to understand, there were many stipulations. I am picky after all. I wanted power windows, an automatic, all-wheel or 4-wheel drive, a car remote (we later learned it is called a FOB), black interior, decent space, and so on.
When we pulled into this lot, it was only a matter of seconds before, yet another, salesman made his presence known to us. After a test drive, some chit-chat, and a sale-price, my dad made sure that the salesman knew that he wanted to get me a car that made me happy and that he did not want me to settle. After this, my dad and I went home empty handed to think things through.
On the drive home, my dad started comparing the vehicles for me. He told me benefits of each and wanted my opinion. Something that really stuck with me was the fact that my father cared about my happiness. This is something that I often place on the back-burner, but if my happiness is important in such things as cars, then I should really consider my happiness in other areas, as well.
Now, like most single 20-somethings, there comes a time when you begin to wonder if you should be settling, especially being a graduate of a college that believe that true success comes in the “ring by spring” and the MRS degree, seeing them as significant goals. Well, here I am, one year down of grad school, and very single. I am asked on a weekly basis if I am talking to anyone, if I am dating anyone, and this is usually followed by, “I’m sorry,” or an, “Oh… well hang in there, I am sure there is someone out there for you,” or the dreaded, “Well, some people never do find anyone.” It is as if I am seen as flawed or a failure.
The main point of this blog is to be a voice for the damsels that are unattached. Really, we are okay. Independence is okay. Most of us do not cry ourselves to sleep at night because of our single-ness. Many of us are actually content with our lives. This does not mean that we are not hoping to one day meet, “The One,” but we are okay with where our lives are currently.
Well, I have a different view than those that feel bad for us single chicks. Maybe it is the fact that I refuse to settle. I have standards in every aspect of my life and many are difficult to fulfill. When it comes to cars, I came to the conclusion that I needed to think more practical. There were certain aspects that are just not that important when it comes down to practicality. If I am picky with cars, you do not even want to know how picky I am with guys. I understand that there is no perfection in the world, but just because I have standards does not mean that I am flawed and it definitely does not mean I am a failure.
My dad and I decided on a car aka “the one”. I am still in the honeymoon stage, so there is nothing much for me to say about the new car at this point with only one day down other than I am still in “like.” I consider that a win so far. I didn’t settle. I just had to decide what was important and did get most of what I was looking for. If I can do as good as I did on a car with a guy, I think I will be one lucky girl. I am fortunate that I have people in my life that care about me and my happiness and do not want me to settle on less than I deserve.
Lessons can be taught through anything, even car shopping.