Category Archives: Lifestyle

Hurting People Hurt People, Or Why Blogging Probably Isn’t The Answer

I feel so much better than I have for the last month or so. After realizing that the contents of my work was bothering me, I was able to address it. I addressed everything else that bothered me as well, and I realized that people really are (mostly) good. 

Some of the feelings I faced were tough to navigate through because I’m insecure, but after some self-reflection and straightforward talk from someone close to me, I realized that I’m pretty lucky. It’s easy to count the times when someone has been mean to my face, but it happens countless times here on my blog. 

I find so much encouragement here, but there’s also a lot of negativity from the trolls who are still obsessed with hating me. There only seems to be a  couple of them, but they are loud and obsessive. It’s insane and a little disturbing that people who don’t know me are willing to waste so much energy obsessively hating me. It’s weird, but it makes me feel so sorry for them. I mean, how much does your life have to suck to be obsessed with spewing judgement and blind hatred on someone else’s? 

When I look around at my life, I see so much validation and fulfillment that didn’t always exist for me. I feel content in who I am and what I’m doing even though I still want to make changes. I think there will always be room for growth and progress, and I don’t think I’ll be a failure unless I give in to the feelings of self-doubt that I experienced last week. 

We all have bad days, and I had several in a row. When I think about the things that other people go through my issues seem pretty insignificant. My issues matter, in as much as I need to face them, but today my heart goes out to the people who are truly suffering – the people I read about at work and the people who are so consumed by hurt and anger that they target me and others like me. 

I love to write, and I love to share my feelings. It helps me grow, but I’m processing and progressing a lot right now outside of the blog. It’s hard to imagine not checking in here regularly, but it’s also not something that sounds appealing right now. 

I won’t make any hard and fast decisions, except to do what’s best for me regardless of what others think about it. 

Carrying Emotional Weight

I’ve been doing a lot of self-evalations lately because I’m trying to figure out how I got to the point of disdain that I’ve been at for the last two weeks, and I think I found one of the big sources of heaviness that I’ve been overlooking. 

Right now I’m working on a project that requires me to go into the office daily, and I’ve seen some positive changes as a result. I’ve formed some good habits, including going to bed a decent hour and waking up rested each morning and thinking about what I’m going to eat throughout the day. Those are huge wins for me, especially the sleep thing beccause I’ve never been good at resting enough until now. 

The downside is that the content of the work is really hard to look at. I can’t go into detail, but it’s depressing…really depressing. I hate being privy to it, but I hate that people go through these things. Some of it is awful, and I’m definitely not cut out for this kind of work. (The work itself is great, but the content is weighing on me heavily.) 

Almost every Thursday since I started I go home and cry. That’s not like me. I’m usually pretty upbeat even when life presents challenges. I’ve also noticed a hightened sense of loneliness. I mean, I feel it from time to time, but it’s been really rough over the last few months. I’ve also noticed that I feel angry at times, and I’m not spending nearly as much time with God as I was before I took this position. 

I was looking over a report yesterday when my emotions hit me like a ton of bricks. Life isn’t fair, but I wasn’t sad about my life. I was devastated by the experiences that the subject of the report had to endure. It hit me hard, and at that moment, I realized that these reports are a huge part of the burden I’ve been feeling lately. I’m not angry that I have to do the work; I enjoy tedious tasks more than the average person. I’m just angry that we live in a world that is so full of hurt, and it breaks my heart into pieces to think that so many people walking around my community feel so hurt and hopeless. 

I’m going to finish out the contract that I signed, but I need some strength as I do it. I know that I can pray for these faceless people, and I know that’s all I can do. I just wish I coud take their hurt away. I wish they could feel peace. 

If you know me, you probably know that I’m emotional. Knowing that people feel pain makes me feel pain, and even though it sucks, it explains a lot. I’m relieved to have recognized this, and now I need to figure out how to dela with it. Days like yesterday make it easier to handle, so I’ll probably start by making an even bigger effort to do things that are good for me. 

I am so thankful for this job and for the opportunity to do something in this field, and I think I’ll leave stronger than I was when I got here. I just need to be very aware, and I really need to be wrapped up in God’s love just like each of the people I’ve just mentioned. 

If You Don’t Like It, Change It

Monte shared a message about discernment at NOLA Church Sunday morning, and while there was so much food for thought, the biggest takeaway for me was when he said, “If you don’t like your relationship with God, change it.” This isn’t going to be a post about that even though that’s really important, but the statement can apply to practically anything in our lives. 

I’ve been feeling down a lot lately, and today I decided to do some things to change it. Last night I spent some time singing and playing piano (if you can call what I did playing) just to break through some of the nervousness that I feel when I think of playing in front of people. I did it a lot growing up because my parents made me, but now I’d like to because I enjoy it. I’m passionate about singing, so maybe at some point I could feel the same way about keys. if not, it will still be fun to do it from time to time.

  

I changed up my lunch routine a bit today too. I went to Whole Foods and ate a healthy, hearty lunch, then I picked up a spa water (okay, two) to bring back to the office with me. I drank my fruit infused water instead of coffee, and it made me feel healthy and a little fancy. (It doens’t take much. Ha.) 

  

I also spent some time on my rooftop after work today. Having a snack and drink in your bed is gross and depressing, but do it by the pool, and it’s awesome. I had a couple of friends over too, and while we were up there a nice guy offered us some of the steaks he grilled. I had a few bites, but I grilled some stuff as well. 

After that I hit the gym with my aforementioned friends. Two out of three of us didn’t feel like it, but thankfully, the one who did convinced us to do it too. I spent 30 minutes on the treadmill, which feels a lot better than nothing. 

  

I also signed up to do a 5k with another friend on May 30th. She’ll reach the finish line before I do, but I’m fine with that. We’ll both leave with finisher metals anyway, and there will be someone waiting to take a picture of me. (Ah, the perks of being slower.) 

I can’t say that I feel 100% better and completely amazing yet, but I can honestly say that I feel so much better than I did yesterday. 

Now I’m going to curl up under my blankets, spend a few minutes reading the Bible, then have a good night’s sleep and pray that I can stay focused and empowered again tomorrow. (That may not be easy because I have to have a conversation that I’d rather not have tomorrow, but I’ll worry about that later.) 

I’m here, and I’m trying to jump out of my comfort zone to change what I don’t like while rediscovering my worth, which I seemed to forget for a while. Overall, I’d say I’m on my way back to the right track. 

I’m Not Ready…Yet

After my last post I read through what I wrote and reflected on it, and one thing became clear: I’m not ready for the kind of relationship that I want. I felt ready at one point, but a lot has changed. I’ve changed.

When I take an honest look at my life, I’m not satisfied with everything. I have moments of joy – like when a friend I’ve been talking about with God for months calls me and says, “I’m totally lost. It’s been a long time since I’ve put God first in my life, but I’m ready. Can we talk?,” or when I spend minutes or hours in worship feeling the outpouring of God’s presence. 

I enjoy spending time with my family, and my nieces never fail to bring a smile to my face. I’m happy when I’m relaxing with friends in my rooftop pool or when I’m spending an evening with friends at a small group or having coffee, etc.

I experience a lot of enjoyment, but right now I’m struggling to find satisfaction. I’ve tried finding satisfaction without asking God for it on several occasions, and I’ve done it a lot lately. Doing it my way feels good too…until I realize that I’m still craving more. (This applies to food, attention, intimacy, etc.)      

Lately it’s been hard to admit that I’m struggling because I feel condemned for it. I’m not perfect; I’m not pretending to be. I suck at having patience, and I know that God wants to work in me. I’m just not sure what His plan is.

I know He loves me. I know He’s with me, and I know He’ll never leave me. I’m just not sure what im doing. I’ve let Him down so many times, and I’m still not getting it right. I’m just not sure what He wants from me right now.

Someone wise told me that God isn’t going to give me someone to love just because I’m lonely. He’s going to wait until I’m ready, which means He’s preparing me…which means I have to wait. (I’m not good at waiting because I don’t want to!)

I do know that God is smarter than I am. I know His ways are always better. I can look back and see how incredibly faithful He has been, which reminds me that I have absolutely no reason to doubt Him. 

My sincere prayer right now is that God will change my heart and line up my will with His. I want to desire more of Him and less of the other things that have led (or could lead) me into sin. I want Him to show me what He wants from me, then I need Him to give me the strength to do it. I’m weak, and in my weakness I want Him to mold me into someone who is living a fulfilled life. I want to serve His purpose, and I want Him to fill in all of the gaps.

I want Him to eliminate the distractions that are keeping me from moving forward, and I need Him to heal the hurt and anger that I feel toward people who have let me down. I want and need a lot from God. It’s a good thing He’s all-knowing and all-powerful, isn’t it?

I may not be ready for some of the things I want, but I know God’s working in me. I wouldn’t be feeling any of this if He wasn’t. That’s oddly comforting to me, and today, that’s enough. 

—–

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not grow weary; they shall walk and not faint. 

Isaiah 40:31
         

Tangled Webs, Deception and Freedom

Right now there’s a lot of controversy surrounding a popular blogger who lied about some big things. No, I’m not that blogger. (Whew!) But I used to lie a lot. I still lie sometimes. I’ve been careful not to do it on my blog, but for a long time I lied to everyone. I get it. I’m not going to write a post defending her actions, but I do feel empathy toward her.

There are things from my past that are hard to talk about..hard to think about…that caused me to make mistakes that I shouldn’t have. Most people remember bright spots in their childhood, but I remembered the bad parts for a long time. I don’t talk about those things here because they’re too private. I don’t want to relive the past. I dealt with the issues, but I had to crash first.

I hit rock bottom a few years ago. I spent over a decade pretending to be someone I wasn’t. I didn’t do it because I felt the overwhelming need to impress everyone (though there were times when that was the case.) I did it I because my formative years were excruciating in some ways, and I became conditioned to be dishonest. I took responsibility for that a long time ago.

My sister grew up in the same place I did. We saw things that kids shouldn’t have to see, and we witnessed hurts that no one should have to endure. She didn’t become a liar. In fact, she grew into the opposite while I lied enough for the both of us.

I lied to get attention at times, but most of the time I lied because I didn’t realize that I could actually be who I wanted to be. I lived in a snowball effect of self-hatred, and it was easier to pretend that I was some  sort of impressive, elitist game changer than it was to pursue a path to become a person who facilitated change. I’m in my mid-thirties and just started figuring this out a few years ago even though it should have been obvious the whole time.

In short, it’s easy to say that lying is wrong, and it definitely is. The reasons that we do it just aren’t always quite so black and white. I didn’t do it to put one over on people, nor did I do it to be impressive. I lied because I despised myself and my life. I didn’t like the person I had become, and I felt completely worthless and helpless to change any of it. 

I lied for myself. It started as my attempt at self-preservation, and it turned into a way that I could feel loved (even though it wasn’t real.) I didn’t do it to hurt other people, but I did. I hurt people I was close to, many of whom forgave me without another thought. They allowed me to rebuild their trust, and now I have stronger relationships than I ever could have imagined.

There were a few who weren’t so gracious, and I get it. There are people who don’t think that I deserve forgiveness, and I realize that I have to accept that. I forgive myself anyway. I don’t need their approval the way I once did. Thankfully, most of the people in my life have shown grace.

I think that’s one of the reasons I’m drawn to God too. We all make mistakes; we all sin. (Romans 3:23) He offers enough grace and mercy to cover us every single day. I don’t have to live in shame and unforgiveness because Jesus paid the price for every single sin before I even knew I’d commit it.

The blogger I mentioned in the beginning of this post lied, and there’s no excuse for it. I’m just saying that I feel for her because I know how hard it is to stop lying once you start. I’ve been there, and I think that if we’re all honest, we’ve all been there. She took it too far, and I’m not defending her actions.

When I lied I didn’t do it because it was fun; I did it to cover up the emptiness, loneliness, isolation, guilt, lethargy and shame that I allowed to define me. I lied to cover those things up. I figured that it was easier to falsely impress someone at least for a while than it would be to let them know me because if they knew who I really was, what would there be to like?

I was tired of feeling lonely, but I felt lonely anyway. Lying didn’t bring me closer to people. It helped to create surface relationships, but nothing lasted because I couldn’t let anyone know who I was. I hate that I wasted so many precious years trying to make everyone like me. I regret wasting so much time before realizing that I’d rather have a few friends who genuinely know me and like me than to be surrounded by people who never scratched the surface.

When I started blogging I learned that I could be myself and that people would probably still like me. When I started making friends in New Orleans, I laid everything out upfront. I told many of my friends, starting with Clint (aka The Suit) and many people at NOLA Church, that it was hard for me to be honest. I explained that it was rarely my default response, and through lots of prayer and graciousness from the people sitting on the front row of my life, I began facing the truth and putting into practice. (James 5:16-17 is pretty clear about how to handle that.)

I’m still tempted to lie sometimes pretty often. (I proved that recently when I talked about my potential to enter into an adulterous thing in a previous post.) Sometimes lying feels easier in the moment, but it gets out of control quickly.

I am so thankful that I’m no longer a slave to the self-loathing and lies that I used to allow to define my existence. I’m so thankful for God’s incredible and unwavering mercy that allows me to live in freedom every day. I’m thankful for the second chance that I received, and I sincerely hope that the popular blogger gets a second chance as well.

*****

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Romans 7:18 

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

James 5:16-17

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tornado Warnings in New Orleans

The power is currently out at my office, and we are experiencing some pretty severe weather. My office is on the bottom floor of the building’s interior, so I feel safe even though tornado warnings are always a little disconcerting. 

  
Growing up (mostly) in Texas and Oklahoma means that I’m no stranger to severe, tornadic weather, but it’s been a long time since I sat through a rought thunderstorm. 

Thankfully, I stopped for coffee on my way to work, so I’m content until the power resumes. I’ve heard that there’s an electric pole down a block or so from the building, but I don’t know that’s true or not. I do know that the wind blew a train off of the elevated bridge, not far from the Starbucks that I frequent! A TRAIN WAS BLOWN OFF OF THE ELEVATED TRACKS. 

It’s roaring outside, but I’m safe. I’d be safe at home too because I live in a tower that has survived nearly a century of severe weather, but I’m happy to be here because I’m among my co-workers. 

If you’re reading this, what’s the weather like where you are? 

Maybe I Can Be A Morning Person After All

I’ve been going through a period of adjustment lately, and I’m surprised that it hasn’t been more taxing. I thought it would feel really harsh to wake up at 6 am, but it’s not as awful as I feared it might be. Sunday afternoon I wasn’t looking forward to waking up early, but once Monday came it wasn’t too bad. I like what I’m doing at work, which makes it pleasurable to go in. 

I miss seeing my early afternoon Starbucks buddies, but I see most of them when I’m there to tutor, have meetings and/or coffee with friends, etc. Life doesn’t feel terribly different than it did before this transition, which makes me think that being a morning person isn’t so bad. I actually love that I’ve accomplished so much by 9 am. 

I’m not sure what my next step will be. ( Well, I have an idea, but nothing definite yet.) I just know that I’m much more open to the idea of getting to work early most mornings. That frees me up to do some things that I wasn’t willing to do previously. 

Who knew that growing up could be so rewarding and not at all dreadful? 😉 

An Honest Look At My Weight

I lost four pounds last week. Having a schedule that requires me to plan what I’m going to eat has definitely been helpful, but I had mixed emotions after looking at some photos that my friend, Simone, took of me over the weekend. 

  

I know I’ve gained a lot of weight. I don’t beat myself up for it because that doesn’t lead to positive results (at least not in the long run.) I don’t try to hide it, nor do I feel sorry myself. My weight gain, which happened for the most part last year, came as a direct result of choices that I made. I’ve talked about them here many times before, so I’ll skip that today. 

The added weight feels more noticeable now that it’s back than it did before I ever lost it. I’m still thankful that I stopped myself before I gained it all back, but I’ve gained enough to feel a significant shift. It’s incredibly visible too when I look at photos of myself from 2010, 2011, and 2012 compared to now. 

It’s easy to get frustrated, but that won’t yield any postive results. It’s just hard to recognize and admit that I don’t look or feel how I want to. I dress well, and I am well-groomed. I don’t feel ugly. In fact, I’ve been feeling kind of pretty a lot lately. (Thank you, GwynnieBee.) I’m just still aware of changes that I need to make. 

Life is so much better than it was a few years ago. I’m more content on the inside than I’ve ever been, but I also know that there’s more work to do on the outside. I’m glad I lost 4 pounds this week. Now I’m working toward being smaller next week, which has happened several times this year. 

I know that if I shed some of the excess I’ll feel better than I do now even though I don’t feel awful (yet.) I’d rather see the scale move down than move up, and it seems like the only way to make that happen is to go back to tracking everything that I put in my mouth. I started doing that when I started my new position, and it definitely makes me more congnizant of what I’m doing.

It’s incredibly frustrating, but I don’t hate myself for messing up so much of the work that I put into getting healthy. The truth is that I love myself enough to see my needs here and to change them. 

This road is a long and tedious one, but I’m still here…still not indulging in everything I want and recognizing that I spent far too much time trying to fill the gaping hole in my heart with food again last year. 

Now I’m focusing more on seeing myself the way God sees me, and I’m asking Him to be strong in my weakness. He promised to do that before I ever asked, and now I’m finally starting to take Him up on it in several areas of my life (including this one.)

I’m bigger than I want to be, and I’m working toward fixing that. It’s not my top priority, but at least it’s back in my top 5. I need to incorporate exercise back into my daily life, which means I may have to skip other things. (More on that later.)

I have a long way to go, but it feels like I’m moving in the right direction. 

The Slippery Slope of Temptation 

We all know that sometimes doing the right thing is hard; sometimes it just sucks. I’ve been struggling with desires that aren’t exactly in line with what God wants for me (and by ‘not exactly in line’ I mean absolutely not in line with His will.)

I used to be really closed off. I know that’s hard to believe because I’ve been spilling my guts here for years, but it’s true. I like attention, and I don’t have to work hard to get it these days. That can be a good thing, but it isn’t always. 

I’d love to say that I don’t know what draws people to desire a friendship/relationship with me when I meet them, but I know exactly what it is. I have a pretty positive outlook. I have some cool characteristics to offer. I’m friendly, sincere, and I extend a lot of grace because it’s been extended to me. I listen more than I talk, which is a relatively new characteristic for me. (I’m still striving to improve that one.) In short, I’m kind of cool, blah,blah, blah…and I love people. 

A few months ago I met someone that I had seen nearly everyday for months prior. He’s tall and handsome, and I often felt the desire to pray for him even though I didn’t know him. Earlier this year a mutual friend introduced us, and a friendship was born. There hasn’t been a single day that we’ve crossed paths without him hugging me, having a seat, and exchanging stories about our day, our past, our favorite grocery store, etc. 

He’s adorable and easy to talk to, and lately I’ve found myself struggling to keep boundaries in place in my mind even though he’s married. We have absolutely not done anything inappropriate outside of my agreement with his acknowledgment that we need to be careful with each other. We’re always in public, and we’re typically surrounded by other people that I know who come in to chat. I’ve just noticed that I think about him even when he’s not there. (I’m thinking about him now, and he’s not here.) 

I’m acknowledging this here for a couple of reasons: 1. It’s the truth, and I face the truth now even when I don’t like it, and 2. Loving Jesus doesn’t mean that life suddenly becomes perfect. Yes, He paid the price for my sins, and He extended His grace because without it, I’d be damned to hell. I’m so thankful for that, but I still struggle with doing the right thing. Right now I’m struggling more than I’d like to admit, but I’m facing it anyway. 

Religion likes to make us believe that once we become believers that we’ll no longer have problems. Religion urges us to act as though we no longer face temptation. God didn’t promise that life would be filled with sunshine and rainbows. Actually, Paul said just the opposite. In some ways, at least in this moment for me, it’s harder to fight the desire to sin. I didn’t feel tempted nearly as often when Satan wasn’t bothered by me; now he preys on my weaknesses, so I have to be on guard constantly. 

I have no plans to act on any of the thoughts that have played in my mind over the last week or so, nor will I be throwing him on the floor to do ungoldly things at any point…ever. I just won’t. I value myself more than that, and I value my relationship with God a lot more than that. There are lines that I simply won’t cross, but it would be naive of me to think that I’m immune to falling on my face if I try to deal with this without inviting God into the situation. (God knows I’ve done it a million times in different circumstances.) 

The thing is…Jesus was very clear when He said that anyone who even looks at another person lustfully has already committed adultry in his heart. (Matthew 5:28) Ouch!

God takes repentance very seriously, yet I seem to be struggling with turning away from my sinful thoughts (which include a desire for more attention from him among other things.) Confessing these feelings won’t change anything unless I stop giving them space in my mind, yet I’m having trouble wanting to do that too. 

The man is often at a place that I frequent, and that won’t likely change in the immediate future. I like him. I want to be his friend. I want him to experience the love and grace that I’ve experienced since getting to know Jesus. I just need to get out of the way so that can happen. 

Proverbs 19:23 says that the fear of the Lord leads to life, and He who has it will abide in satisfaction. In Monte’s sermon yesterday, which was timely, he said that living satisfied is a choice. Jesus is all I need, and I know that if I focus on Him, he’ll work this out just as He has in every other situation. 

My goal is to focus on who He is, to worship Him, and to fill my mind with gratitude for that and all He’s doing. He’ll just have to take care of the rest, and He will because, you know, He’s God and everything. 

Obesity and Energy Levels

I receive a lot of unsolicited advice about my “health,” and most of the time I appreciate it because people care enough to say something. It’s an important issue, but my size doesn’t accurately portray my energy level to many looking at me from a distance. 

Say what you want about my need to lose weight. That’s an undisputable fact, but I’m going to brag about my energy levels for a moment. 

I get up around 6 am during the week, and I’m up almost as early on Sunday mornings. Most days I’m away from home for more than 12 hours at a time. I’m gnerally not the “sit on the sofa while eating pizza while binging on Netflix” type, though I did make an exception for House of Cards. I’m the “wake up, hit the ground running, let’s smile because it’s finally time to be awake” type (at least most days.) 

I sleep well. When my head hits the pillow, it usually isn’t long until I’m dreaming. I typically feel rested when I wake up. I indulge in occassional Sunday naps, but it’s not a requirement…not even close. 

I have more energy and endurance than a lot of people who are much smaller than I am, but I don’t have as much as I had two years ago. This isn’t a post about comparing myself to other people because I don’t do that; this is about me. 

I’m aggravated with myself because I gained a significant amount of weight back, but I’m doing better. I’m consistenly eating less and making better choices. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but it’s been better for the last few months. 

My routine feels pretty solid now, but I need to exercise more than I do. I need to do it consitently because I know that it will lower my stress levels and increase my energy levels. It’s a win-win, so why am I struggling to do it? 

I’m busy from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep. I enjoy everything I do, so rarely does it feel like burden. I’m thankful for that. I don’t prioritize my workouts, which is no secret here. I know that needs to change, which is also not a secret. 

I know that I need to continue taking steps in the a healthier direction. I’m doing that by cooking chicken in my slow cooker and bringing my lunch to work, making more time to get enough sleep, drinking water, and eating vegetables. I know that there’s so much more to do. 

I just find it a little frustrating (and silly) that people (though most of them mean well) spend their time and effort telling me how I should detox, or how I should do this or that because it will give me more energy, etc. It’s odd because those people (the recent ones) aren’t as healthy, balanced, or energized as I am. They’re just skinnier. 

I don’t offer a lot of unsolicited advice, but if I did, I’d start by suggesting that people offer less unsolicited advice. I’d follow that up with the need to recognize that our looks don’t always portray everything that’s happening on the inside. In fact, it rarely does. 

This isn’t something that I plan to lose sleep over. It’s just a little PSA for those well-intentioned, yet misguided folks. I’m okay. I could sugarcoat what I’m about to say, but it’s not intended to be mean:

If you’re talking about this with me and I yawn, it’s probably just because these talks bore me. Thank you for caring. Just take a bit more time to pay attention to the reality of my situation if you’re going to comment on it. I’m juggling my priorities right now, and I’ll keep trying to do better. 

—–

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. 

Collossians 3:17