Tuesday, October 31, 2006
At any rate, I have spent the better part of today crying, or trying not to cry. In fact, I have spent the better part of the last few days in much the same way. I am feeling overwhelmed by sadness and loneliness. I am rarely able to spend time with my friends anymore, and this is something that is wearing on me more and more lately.
I am feeling like I am being kept from the things that matter to me the most. I am feeling like so many of the things I have accomplished have come at a heavy price...a price so heavy, that at times I wonder if it was even worth it. I worked very hard to be able to move to my new place, so excited to be closer to my friends, closer to church, looking forward to spending more time getting involved in all that was happening. As it is, I am able to neither see my friends nor participate in church activities.
I do not know how to explain the impact all of this is having on me. I am grateful for my job, because it's a steady paycheck and I have good benefits. These are things that I've needed for a long time, and I realize I am blessed to have a job that provides both. It just seems that it's an inequitable exchange...a good job, at the expense of the very reasons why I moved in the first place. A decent paycheck, in exchange for sometimes desperate loneliness and isolation from the people I love. I've been trying to find a different job, but I am realizing that I am deplorably underqualified for most jobs in this area. The job market is so competitive right now, employers are able to ask for someone who has a degree or two, even to do the most simple job. As there is no shortage of out-of-work college grads, that pretty much takes me out of the running.
I feel stupid and inadequate. I feel as though my life is one long string of failures, and I am just trying to bluff my way through. I feel the sting of my perceived inadequacies every time I send out my resume, which is decidedly unimpressive. I probably wouldn't hire someone like me.
I so often want so much to be other than what I am. I want to be someone who is "together"...who has passion and direction and a clear idea of where I want to go and what I want to do. I have never been one of those people. The only thing I've ever known for sure that I want to help people somehow. The only thing I am good at is working with people. That's generally not a very impressive attribute.
In one job interview I had this past summer, the interviewer asked me why I wanted the job, and quickly said, "And don't tell me it's because you like working with people."
But, that's about all I've got going for me. I am not particularly talented or skilled. There is nothing I can point to and say, "Look at what I can offer you, Mr/Ms Employer. You need me."
The job factor is only one element of what I am dealing with right now. It is just one ingredient in the mix that has me feeling emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually worn out. I'm just so tired. I'm tired of hurting. I'm tired of struggling. I'm tired of hoping, only to have hopes left unfulfilled. I am tired of holding on, believing that good things are yet to come, only to constantly be left feeling like I must settle for whatever scraps life might throw my way.
God is capable of opening any number of doors for me, but has chosen not to at this point. I am choosing to believe that He has a greater purpose in this season of struggling and pain that I am experiencing. I am not unaware of the enemy's schemes here. I am fully aware that satan would like nothing more than to have the last word here...but he won't. I know that God has a plan. I know that all of this pain is not without purpose. I am holding on by a thin thread of faith right now...but I am holding on.
"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I'd see Your goodness..."
Monday, October 30, 2006
I saw this guy on "Oprah" today, and I realized that I am in dire need of hugs. Or any meaningful affection, really. I rarely see my friends anymore, and I feel the desperate loneliness creeping up on me, especially when I am not working. I ache for contact with those I care about...it seems like every good thing that has come into my life lately has come at the expense of other things...things I care about the most. And nothing I do to try to change it has anything but ill effects.
Just watching all these hugs makes me feel a bit better, though.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
I learned tonight that sometimes the sweetest gift is a desire unfulfilled. I am learning that knowing the truth about a dream that will never be a reality can be the beginning of freedom, permission to let go and move on.
Certainly, letting go is difficult, and comes at a price. There is pain. Sometimes great pain. There is sacrifice required as you learn to tailor your life to the new reality you are faced with. There is the choice to live in that reality, and stop pursuing what was never meant to be yours to begin with.
Yet, for all of that, there is also joy. I think it is a God-given joy. There is joy in knowing that, no matter how difficult it is to let that dream go and experience the sense of abandonment that may come with that letting go, God is your constant. Where such a shattered dream may once have caused me to feel hopeless despair, I have come to a place of knowing that letting go of such dreams only means that God has bigger and better things to come.
I think we all come to these places in our lives, in one way or another. Sometimes it is concerning a relationship, other times a career choice or moving to a specific place, or all of the above. It is difficult to let go of what we want, and to do so with any sense of peace. It is difficult to lay it to rest, not out of despair or a sense of unworthiness, but simply because you finally realize that it just simply isn't meant for you. The act of laying it down is not an act of surrender to hopelessness, but it is the laying down of a burden so you are better enabled to go forward and embrace the greater things that God has for you.
The dream of which I am speaking is purely a matter of the heart, and after facing the reality that the dreams I have cherished there simply were not meant to be, I am now faced with the choice to either curl up in despair, or go forward in eager anticipation of what God has for me. I am choosing to go forward, even though it will hurt for a season...but going forward nonetheless, believing with all of my being that laying down this broken dream only means that God has better things in store for me, things that will go exceedingly and abundantly far above all I could ever ask or think.
I realize that it will be difficult to leave it at the foot of the cross, and not ponder the "Why?" of it all...but I also realize that I have the power to make the moment by moment decision to trust God, to believe that He knows what is best for my life, that while I can only see what is right in front of me, He sees the whole picture, and He has amazing things in store for me.
"And the wonder of it all is that I'm living just to fall more in love with You..."
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Whoda thunk it...
|You Are Pretty Logical|
You're a bit of a wizard when it comes to logic
While you don't have perfect logic, you logic is pretty darn good
Keep at it - you've got a lot of natural talent in this area!
Saturday, October 14, 2006
This whole forgiveness thing
In answer to the question of who she would like to meet, my former supervisor responded that she would like to meet people who "walk the walk", going on to explain that she had met a lot of people who talked the talk but didn't walk the walk, including "old co-workers and others". This little bit of insight into her state of mind was enough to really rock my efforts toward forgiveness off kilter. To this day, a year and a half after my departure from CMH, my supervisor still will not talk to my mother in even a professional capacity (my mom does a lot of work with the clients I used to work with), and it upsets me to see that my former supervisor refuses to accept responsibility for her actions, instead choosing to play the victim. I walked away from (essentially forced out of) a good job, and I am still trying to recover emotionally and mentally from the things I endured while I was there, and who is the victim?????
I realize that I have no control whatsoever over how anyone chooses to interpret the things that I do. I cannot control whether or not a person takes responsibility for their actions, or chooses to blame me and others for what what happens in their lives. What is really eating at me is the bigger picture.
It gets back to the old question of why the wicked prosper. Why am I left to pick up what so often feels like whatever scraps happen to come my way, while others are sitting pretty in good paying jobs, a solid marriage, a growing family, etc...? I did nothing wrong in leaving my job, or fulfilling my duty to report the morally wrong and legally questionable things I observed while I was there...and yet, here I am...and there she is.
In this situation, it is very difficult for me to continue to extend forgiveness. It is difficult for me to put aside my emotions, my intellect, all of my own efforts, and simply plead the blood of Jesus and the grace of God that it represents over this situation.
Yet, I know I can't look back. I can't look back at what I gave up in leaving that job, and I cannot negate the grace of God that was evident in the the things that lead me to leave that job. I know it was God-ordained that I leave my job, no matter how great the pay was or how much material security it may have offered. I know all of this...yet, it so hard to see the equity in this situation.
As I am writing this, I remember the Israelites being asked if they would like to go back to Egypt. Sure, it was secure...they had food, shelter, a predictable future, and a standard of living that far exceeded what they were experiencing in the desert. But, it all came at a price, just as my material and financial comfort at my CMH job came with its own heavy price.
Of course, I know God is not always "fair", but He is just. I know that God is much more interested in my character than He is in my comfort. I know that life is to be viewed from the perspective of eternity, not from the perspective of what I see here and now. That is how God looks at it, and I need to consider all of life from His point of view. I know all of this, but it is still so hard to be at peace when I see things like what I saw today.
In other news...
I am here in Chicago, for my brother's wedding. I have stolen a few hours of solitude as my family attends the wedding rehearsal and then dinner. I am happy for my brother and his bride-to-be. I am also wondering, though, when the love I ache for will come to me. I have so much to give, and no one to give it to. I get so lonely sometimes.
I've never been the kind of girl who dreamed about getting married someday. I am not the kind of girl who started planning my wedding when I was 12 years old, just waiting for the final piece of the puzzle (the groom) to me walking through the door. I do not daydream about wedding gowns or bridesmaids dresses, or picking the perfect colors to match the flowers to match the texture of the linens to match the color of the floor in the reception hall. All I have ever wanted was the simple things...someone to build a life with, in a household of love and faith. Madly in love, based on a solid foundation.
I think my favorite love stories are about couples who were never couples. Friends who had an amazing friendship, and one day, just realized there was something more. It was not a big deal, they didn't go through months of dating and romance...they were just THERE. It was the obvious next step in the relationship. They just kept moving along with the natural progress of the relationship, and it wasn't a huge display for everyone to watch and speculate about. I think that would be my ideal "romance". The romance without all the drama of dating and couplehood that so often accompanies the whole progress of dating, then engagement, then planning the wedding, yadda yadda yadda. No thanks. :) I truly believe that when we (meaning me and whomever God has for me) know it's right, we will not need all the extraneous flare. We'll just know it's right.
But, where is he...???
Finally, an explanation...
|You Are 20% Capitalist, 80% Socialist|
You see a lot of injustice in the world, and you'd like to see it fixed.
As far as you're concerned, all the wrong people have the power.
You're strongly in favor of the redistribution of wealth - and more protection for the average person.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
This morning, I was down to my last dollar, and used that dollar. I had paid the bills I could pay, put a little bit of gas in the car, and...that was all I could do. I was not able to buy groceries. In fact, I have not been able to do any real grocery shopping since I moved here. My grocery shopping has consisted of going to Dollar General and buying Ramen noodles and crackers. (Thank God for parents who would send apples, bread, and other dietary staples my way...).
I really did not know what I was going to do. I did know that there was money coming, but I was not sure when it would get here. Would it get here in time to pay the rent? And when would I be able to do any real grocery shopping, anyway? And, my clothes are literally beginning to fall off because they are too big. Would I be able to buy clothes that actually fit, anytime soon?
Well, this afternoon, in God's most timely fashion, my student loan refund came in quite unexpectedly. Some would look at this and say, "Well, that's not exactly divine. The money was coming." Yes, that is true. It is not so much the money itself as it is the timing, and the lesson I learned in that timing.
I really do think that God lets us get to the end of our rope from time to time, if only to teach us what it means to just hold on awhile longer and await His deliverance. I had made the choice to be obedient, not knowing if that money would be here in time to meet my needs. Being able to buy groceries was the least of my concerns. I was not even sure how I would be able to pay the rent this month. Yet, it has all come together. I truly believe that God honored my obedience, giving me just what I needed, just when I needed it, because I had made the choice to step out in faith and let go of what was not mine to begin with. Everything is His, and He always meets our needs, in His way, in His time.
So, tomorrow I will go grocery shopping. I now have clothes that fit, and I was able to buy a few sweaters and sweatshirts to keep me warm during these cold months. (Oh, and I was able to try on several pairs of pants and confirm that, yes, I am now a size smaller than I was 2 months ago...yay!) And...the rent is taken care of, too. All in all, God has supplied for my needs just in the nick of time, and has gone exceedingly and abundantly far above all I could ask or think.
I am once again humbled. Why do I continue to struggle with doubt? God is constantly moving me forward into better things, yet, like Lot's wife, I am always looking back, not quite able to move forward into the fullness of His blessing. Gripped by phantoms of past failures, I am constantly wrestling with being able to move forward into what He has for me now.
Perhaps it is part of being human. Perhaps it is part of being Stephanie. I suspect it is a bit of both. Slowly...ever so slowly...I am learning to reach beyond these fears, and live by faith, not by sight.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Back to the basics
I have been going through a lot of adjustments lately as I get used to this new life I've got, and there are a lot of things that have fallen by the wayside. I have not been able to go to Oasis because of my new work schedule, and I've been so tired with only having one day off a week that I haven't been going to church on Sundays. Everything has been off kilter lately, and I can see the effects in every aspect of my life.
My dearest of dear friends assures me that these are just growing pains as I learn to balance all these new things in my life. I know he's right. I also know that I need to get back to the most basic things, not only as an act of obedience to God's urging us to remain in Godly fellowship, but also for my own spiritual and mental health.
I tend to worry a lot about finances. I think this is something I've inherited from my dad. It is very difficult for me to relax and trust that things are going to work themselves out as long as I am doing my part, and I tend to take matters into my own hands. For the past several weeks, I have been very easily justifying spending tithe money on paying bills, buying food, or whatever. I am realizing the need to be obedient in doing what God asks of me, and simply trusting that God is going to see that my needs are met. It's difficult for me not to worry about how I'm going to make ends meet, but I have made the choice to be obedient and see how God brings it all together.
As difficult a time as I'm having with all of this, I do realize what a treasure I have here. This is a wonderful journey that is teaching me more about God and what it means to have real faith in Him. These are lessons that are going to carry me through many things as life goes on. I don't know what's around the bend, but God does, and He is preparing me for the things I will face tomorrow by taking me through these things today.
I am making the choice moment by moment, determined that I will not live in fear, but will live by faith. God has everything in His hands. I am learning...however slowly...the freedom that comes with not knowing. I do not need to know everything. I do not need to know how everything is going to come together, I don't need to know what is going to happen to my life six months from now, or even tomorrow for that matter. I can trust that, whatever happens, God has it in His hands, in His control.
Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
|Your Christmas is Most Like: Miracle on 34th Street|
Sweet and caring, Christmas is about helping for you.
While Santa may not exist, you try to share his spirit.
Well, not quite yet. But my favorite part of the fall season, other than the brisk cold and the beautiful colors, is that it is the perfect way to usher in the holiday season.
Let me be plain...I LOVE Christmas!
In just a few weeks, we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving, after which it becomes officially okay to begin putting up Christmas decorations, play Christmas carols, and start shopping for that perfect gift...More than all of that, though, it is the feeling of "peace on earth and goodwill toward men" that comes with the season, which I love most of all. For a few short weeks, people seem to be able to put aside differences in world views, social status, financial standing, etc...and we're on a level playing field, somehow aware of the tremendous grace that has been extended to each of us.
I do wonder why it is only at Christmas that we are able to extend this grace to each other. For all too brief a time, a glow settles over humanity, and we're all just...human. For a few weeks, anyway. Then, all bets are off.
It just occurred to me yesterday that this wonderfully delicious time of year will soon be upon us, and I couldn't help writing about it. The holiday season...more specifically, the Christmas season...seems to make all the garbage of the rest of the year somehow worth it.
I am already envisioning putting up a small Christmas tree in my little apartment, and celebrating my first Christmas in my new place. Maybe have a few friends over (no more than three at a time, due to limited space) for something Christmasy. I don't know. All I know is, I am very glad that this season will soon be upon us. I even called my mom today to see if she and my sister wanted to plan a trip to Bronner's next month. Silly? Perhaps. But, it puts a smile on my face and warms my heart, so it's all good.
Merry Christmas (a little early)!
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Just Some Stuff
I spent the day with my family today, and it went remarkably well. Sometimes, visiting with the family is stressful, but it wasn't bad today. I really enjoyed spending time with my niece, who seems to be just a little taller every time I see her. She is also talking quite well, speaking in complete and very intelligible sentences, and I am having a lot of fun having conversations with her. Today, she was asking for horsey rides, and neither her mom nor her Oma felt up to it. So, my little 2 and a half year old niece comes over to me and says, "Auntie, will you give me a horsey ride? Momma won't do it." That child is definitely well-spoken. She constantly amazes me. I don't remember what life was like before God gave us Heidi, but I can tell you that, these days, that child is the light of my life.
My apartment is looking more inviting these days, thanks to the addition of a table and chairs, and a kitchen island. Leonard and I put the island together last night, and it was SO EASY! lol...Really, it wasn't that bad, and the addition of the island gives me a lot more counter space and storage. Thanks, Leonard! And, by the way, I did end up putting down the extension, after I came thisclose to hitting my hip on it as I passed through the kitchen. :)
Anyway, this weekend has been wonderfully...normal. I am feeling almost human today.
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