Hidden, Yet Still Not Safe

I’m Hiding. Hiding from people because I’m afraid to be hurt again. I realized this morning that I don’t even know how to feel, anymore. You might think that is a good thing, but no, it’s not. Not being able to feel doesn’t necessarily keep you from experiencing the bad moments, it just keeps you from truly enjoying the good. I used to feel, and love, deeply. But since then I’ve been hurt deeply, so I’m afraid to go there again. I have lost the ability to feel what it’s like to love somebody. I’m tired of not feeling safe. I’m tired of putting myself out there, in a way. 

You know why? As I was writing the above paragraph, it forced me to see how silly I’ve been. I don’t feel safe, but that’s because I’m putting me trust in someone other than God. Whether it’s the friends that have left, or at least aren’t around very much anymore, or guys…I have started to put my trust in them. When that cute guy says that he likes me, then I’ll feel safe. When my friends come around and start hanging out with me again, then I’ll feel safe. How ridiculous is that? 

“He is my loving God  and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge.” (Psalm 144:2)

Security. That has been such a struggle for me this school year so far, and I suspect that that will continue in the coming months of next semester. But I realize now that it is because I have completely placed my security in the hands of fallible humans. Even on their best days, humans cannot possibly have that much responsibility…because we were not made to keep others safe or to give them rest or security. I’m pretty sure that’s God’s job and I’m also pretty sure that He is perfectly willing and waiting for us to turn to Him for those things…and He’s more than capable! 

I have convinced myself that loving others isn’t worth it. I’m tired of being hurt; of feeling alone; of feeling worthless, ugly, or not fun. As Holley Gerth says in “You’re already amazing” (I would suggest that you read that book if you haven’t, because it’s so good!), He knows what it’s like to have someone you love betray you, to be abused, to be crucified when you’re innocent. He knows. And he still says “Love is worth it.”

Do I dare drop my mask that so often hides who I really am? Do I dare tear down those walls that have so long been locked in placed? Do I dare make myself vulnerable again? Do I dare re-learn how to feel? Can I go outside of my comfort zone and give my security back to the only One who can truly cherish me and never let me go without failing me

“He gives them security, and they are supported, and His eyes are upon their ways.” (Job 24:23)

A Little Too Crazy

I am probably the weirdest person alive. 

No, seriously!

I love random things and I love doing random things! It’s funny that a lot of people think that I am quiet. Oh, I can be…but when I’m in my element (a.k.a playing volleyball with close friends) I am probably very loud and maybe even obnoxious (I hope not lol)

I’m a little loud sometimes, a little too quiet sometimes. A little too crazy sometimes and I have a tendency to have a little too much fun sometimes (if that’s possible, which I don’t really think it is!) 

I feel the pressure to compare myself to other girls and I do it all of the time. I have been fed the lie that if I am completely myself, nobody will like me. 

Lately I realized that if people don’t like me for who I am (not who I pretend to be or who I am when I’m self-conscious and worried about what they think of me), then they have no business being in my life anyway! So I’ve decided to be crazy and have fun instead of constantly worrying about what I look like or what other girls are doing or what the guys are thinking about. 

If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen…and that’s that!

I am weird, and that’s okay. You probably are too! (: Embrace the weirdness of yourself and everyone else and learn to love this beautiful mess that we live in!

Stop Waiting

“Be patient and wait for your happily ever after.”

 Ever heard that one before? Well, I have…and quite honestly I am sick of hearing that! I am sure that people who says that mean well, but I do not think they should be saying that anymore. And here’s why:

 

       Do you realize how many implications that one, simple statement can have?

       YES, I am probably over-thinking this a little (I tend to do that…don’t you?) But bare with me here…

 

       That statement can imply that you are simply here to wait for a husband and that you cannot move on with your life until that one special guy (um…Prince Charming!) sweeps you off your feet! Maybe that will happen to you one day…and maybe it won’t. Oh, before you get too depressed, let me tell you that my guess is that that special, amazing guy that God has for you will find you one day! But today is not that day! But if we are constantly told to “just keep waiting…for one day, he will show up!”, we will become dissatisfied with the life that God has given us to live right now!

 

       I think the people who say that have good intentions. What they probably mean is to not date the first guy you see just to have a boyfriend. Wait for sex until marriage. Yeah, we get that…if you have a similar background as I do, you understand…we’ve heard this since we were little! But I think it’s high time that we told young girls who are growing up (probably much faster than you realize!) a different message.

 

       What if they grew up learning what it means to be completely satisfied in God. They know how to lean into God’s embrace and take a break from life to feel His peace wash over them. What if we told them that they are beautiful-so many times that they actually start to believe it (and believe me, that is NO easy task…as I struggle with that literally daily). What if we told them that they are worth it. They are worth so much more than what they settle with.

       Note: Growing up in and around church for my whole life is obviously a very good thing. I feel like I have a very good Biblical background and that is, of course, a good thing! But at the same time…I think it has also led me to start thinking of others instead of myself in a BAD way. I’ve tried to be more of a servant and think about others instead of myself and that is a good thing…I have heard that for my whole life-that it is a good thing to think of others and serve them (that’s kind of a lot of what Jesus did!). And I wholeheartedly agree. But I think that also led me to de-value myself quite a lot. When a guy came along, I was convinced that he was a great guy and I kept asking this question to myself:

       “He is such a great guy! Why would He stay with me?! I am definitely not that great of a person!”

       And that led to me allowing him to do some things that just were not fair to me. My brother saw that. I think my best friends saw that too. But I blew it off and went along with his excuse that he was busy. Now I see that all of that is not okay and that I was de-valuing myself, which kind of led to me becoming cheap. I was on HIS time. If he had time, maybe he would show up…I usually had time, so I was constantly waiting around for him to decide that he was ready to hang out. I can see now that none of that was okay [lesson learned!], so young girls need to know just how valuable and priceless and WORTH IT they are so that they will not become cheap!

       Now back to what I was saying before: what if we discovered what their passions are. What makes their eyes light up when they talk about it? They start to talk a little faster, smile a little brighter, gesture a little bigger, perhaps…and what if we helped them to excel in those things and what if we plugged them into something that is related to that? Mentor them. Guide them. Help them to discover their God-given gifts and talents and show them how to use them to the best of their ability (at the given time) and to the glory of God and for a positive reason! What if we stopped telling them to wait!

       Tell them it’s okay NOT to wait!

       Don’t wait to do something that you’re passionate about until the time is perfect, because that time might not ever come! Don’t wait to start to develop the character that you will need for the rest of your life. Start now, Dear Girl! And, perhaps most importantly (because I think most women do this…I know I do, and I’m trying to get out of this habit), DON’T wait for your prince to come to sweep you off your feet and carry you off to his castle [chances are that won’t happen anyway, right? Unless my future husband gets a super good paying job, I’ve basically excepted that I am going to be dirt poor based on the field that I have choosing…and I’m okay with that! As long as I love what I do and make enough to live, that’s enough for me!].

       Fairytales are great. But just be careful to not carry too much of that wishful thinking into real life. Honey, it just doesn’t work like that…as much as we want it too, it won’t. And guess what? If God wants someone to come into your life, literally nothing will stop Him from doing just that! You could be on a missions trip somewhere on the other side of the world and, if the time was right, you would meet him! I don’t know if that encourages you, but it encourages me!

 

       I am not saying that everyone is doing a horrible job in this area (telling the young girls all of these things). I know that it is not easy, and I don’t have any perfect answers. I hope that I will be a Mom someday and I know that I will not do perfectly with this either…but I do think that God has showed me these things over the past year and a half so that I can share these things with others to help them grow as well.

       Okay, one more quick rant about this (can’t pass this one up!) Sometimes the church annoys me with this…I guess we should be used to ‘the world’ forcing upon us the idea that we’re not worth as much if we’re single. But why do Christian schools and churches have to follow suit? Okay, so I’m not bashing Cedarville, but that is what I know, so that’s the example that I will use! In the Cedarville bubble, there is so much pressure, whether spoken or implied, to be in a relationship. It seems like everywhere you go there are couples.

       Another awkward couple, really?! Haha.

       Ring by spring! I mean, you have to get married right after graduating from college because what else would you do? Isn’t that why you go to Cedarville in the first place? To find your spouse?! I mean, hello!

       Lol…okay, so that was a little sarcastic…but, in my experience, also very true [correct me if I’m wrong haha].

 

       My encouragement and plea to you, Ladies, is to have enough confidence to say “My name is ___________ [fill in the blank with your name], and I am not waiting! I don’t care what anyone else says, I have something to offer others without having met my other half. Obviously God thinks I’m doing just fine without him, so who am I to think differently? I am beautiful just the way I am and I don’t need a guy to tell me that to believe it! [Say this following one slowly, to let it completely sink in…] I. Am. Valuable. I do not need to take crap from a guy because I don’t think that I can do any better. [You can! Believe me…if a guy is treating you like crap, you don’t have to stand it! Even if it means that you will have to stay in a season of singleness for a while, if it’s God’s plan for you, God will bring a man into your life who is SO much better than that jerk and he will treat you so much better!].” I think it’s a good idea to say that, or something similar to it everyday…because you do not start to believe something if you only read it or say it to yourself once.

       At any rate, I wish you all the best in this journey of finding who you are and teaching the younger girls in this issue as well…as we all struggle along this path together! 

God Makes Beautiful Things

Imagine with me for a moment that we are sitting at the cutest, tiniest coffee shop together. We both just ordered and sat down at a small table next to the window which overlooks the tiny town. The shop is fairly quiet. I smile at you as I take a sip of the frozen Mocha that I love so much. You seem to be struggling with the right words to get your feelings across. I sit there silently until you finally burst out with:

“I can’t take this anymore!” 

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but that probably wasn’t it. I sit back and ask,

“What do you mean?”

You toy around with your straw before looking up at me. I can see the pain written there.

“I’m so tired of being so…broken! I feel like I can’t do ANYTHING right. I repeatedly make the same mistakes over and over again, even though I truly know better. I find that adjusting to change isn’t as easy as I once thought it was. I find it hard to trust in God and that makes me feel like a horrible person! I feel different kinds of pressure every where that I look and it’s really starting to get to me.”

I let you talk until you ran out of words. I sit there in silence for a moment until you look at me and wonder why I’m not saying anything. I smile before saying,

“I’m right there with you, sister!”

I laugh. You do not join because you do not really think it’s funny that I’m going through the same things too and have nothing helpful to say about it! I wasn’t finished, however.

“Do you know that God makes beautiful things?”

You roll your eyes.Yeah, Yeah, I’ve heard this all before…You’re probably thinking…Psalm 139 and all of that

“Do you know that God has made YOU beautiful?”

You shrug your shoulders, wondering what this has to do with anything that you just said. 

“I guess…”

I continue, unfazed: 

“Knowing that you’re beautiful and actually believing it are two completely and totally different things…”

You cut in, frustrated that I’m not even talking about your problems:

“Okay I’m sorry, but how does this have anything to do with what I was talking about…?”

I hold my hand up and take another sip of coffee. 

“I’m just trying to get to the real issue, here…”

I say.

“The real issue? What is that supposed to mean? Doesn’t every girl have issues with beauty?”

You are getting confused and more frustrated. My goal was not to anger you, so I quickly continue…

“No, honey. But I believe it is part of it…and yes, every girl has issues with her outward appearance, I think. God made us that way. That’s not entirely the point that I am trying to make right now, however. I think part of what you’re really struggling with under it all are the lies that you have been believing. Maybe the pressure you’re feeling is because you feel like they want you to be more. do more. have more. be better., etc… Let me tell you sister, YOU DON’T! Cuz I’m pretty sure God loves you literally EXACTLY the way you are (because He kind of made you that way, hun!)…and isn’t His approval the only one that we should seek?!”

I stop to take a breath and let it sink in a little. You look deep in thought as you clutch your coffee in both hands.

“I think another good thing to do would be to change your perspective on things. I know, that’s easier said than done, more often than not! But yes, you are broken. You are not perfect. Neither am I…neither are the people who seem to frown on you because of that, btw! Life is never going to be perfect and you are always going to broken, in this life. Best embrace it, right?! God makes beautiful things. God makes things beautiful! Even when all we can see is our brokenness and imperfections, I believe God can also see the beautiful. Life is messy, but that’s also part of what makes life beautiful. Develop the character trait of being able to laugh when things don’t happen the way that you expected. That’s what makes memories anyway, right?”

You nod slowly, taking it all in. I can see the wheels turning as you take another sip of your coffee. We talk a while longer, then, because of time restraints, we are forced to leave the comfortable, safe coffee shop and go our separate ways. Although it always seems too short, I always leave a coffee date feeling refreshed and encouraged and I hope you do, too!

 

Alright, so that situation was hypothetical, but it could definitely be very real. That was just a quick, kind of random blog of my thoughts…and it’s getting late so I’m kind of tired and I don’t feel like re-reading it, so if there are mistakes, I’m sorry :p haha