The sky hooks of safety

So the Lenten season is over. And I stuck to my goal of not seeking out dates and focusing on my relationship with God.

In that time, I did go on two dates. They were…what they were. And I started to think I was ready to entertain the idea of a relationship with someone other than/as well as God. Evidently I still have some more healing to do, because the resounding answer I felt in my heart and stomach was “nope”.

INDEPENDENCE

That one word can bring so much growth, and yet cause so much turmoil. Yes, it is good to be independent. It is good to want to work towards goals. It is good to have the desire and gumption to dream and act on those dreams.

What’s not good? Doing those things without God.

The Lenten season, and the two weeks since, taught me that I’ve been doing a lot of independent-of-God aspiring lately. Yeah, we’ve talked about it before. The bull in a china shop, the child with tourettes on the roller coaster. Take your pick…the theme is woven throughout this blog. I knew it was a part of me, but I could never name it.

These last weeks…I’ve named it. Independence. Self-protection. In aspiring to achieve a fulfilling life, I turned my focus away from God. I assumed He was right beside me, cheering me on. I decided, like the ignorant human that I am, that I could achieve my goals faster and easier on my own, with Him as my failsafe and cheerleader.

Holy cow, I’m dumb.

Time for some architectural metaphors:

Background: In architecture school, there’s always bad students who don’t consider the reality of their design…namely: how it will stand. When it came time for presentations, we joked that their projects would be held up by “sky hooks” – theoretical hooks in the clouds that held the load of the roof and somehow kept the building from collapsing.

So…in me trying to take on the world by myself, in being independent, in protecting myself…I built this wall. Whatever its need was, it was sturdy, and made of real things, and there was “evident” safety in its structure. It held me up. And then the next problem or goal arose, and I built another wall. And another. And another. And soon enough I’m running around in this maze of walls, trying to figure it all out on my own. My “safety” is now my prison.

God? He’s the sky hooks. You can’t see Him. And that’s crazy scary. You don’t know how He is going to hold you up. How He is going to get you to your goals, His goals for you….but you just have to trust. You have to depend on Him, and know that you are safe. You have to know that your life, your plan and path, is this beautifully wondrous design. It defies all human expectations. And it is capable of happening if you just trust God.

Let your faith be bigger than your fear

Your choices are:

1.  the maze of man-made walls with no window to the future

or

2.  the amazing sky hooks that allow views to the wonder of life surrounding you.

It’s a no-brainer to me now.

Now I just have to actually practice that realization.

He is the sky hooks holding up the design of your life. You just have to get out of your own way to trust the safety of His love, and everything else will come in His time.

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Friday Fun-day with words of action

A follow-up to yesterday. MAKE this weekend great!

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TED Thursday: The investment of action

Forget about having an identity crisis & get some identity capital. Do something that adds value to who you are. Do something that’s an investment in who you might want to be next.” – Amy Cuddy

I posted this quote over the weekend. It spoke to me in the sense of moving forward and all of the steps you take to create the person you are, and the person you will become. Your actions are your investment.

A friend commented on the post that Amy had presented a really good TED talk…and after watching it – I totally agree! Thanks Charlotte!

In the talk, Amy speaks on the inverse of the age-old idea that our thoughts influence our actions. While the old adage “happy thoughts make happy lives” makes me grit my teeth sometimes, I understand that if you only dwell on one thing, it can become overwhelming. She chose, however, to look at the inverse. That your actions, the physical way in which you present or carry yourself, affect your thoughts. 
In a non-experiment scenario, read: the real world, this almost feels like a chicken-egg debate. If you’re slouching in your seat, is it because you subconsciously don’t want to be seen. Or is it because you don’t want to be seen that you slouch. Does the person who is confident think confidence and therefore walk taller, or do they walk taller and therefore feel more confident?
Not the point right now.
The point, to me at least, is that actions count. Everything affects everything. Non-actions have an affect too, but what is the investment in your future when you do nothing? Are you creating any future by sitting still? Probably not.
These actions are also, as she mentioned, really good social cues. Especially when words can be so overused and under-meant nowadays – and yes I say that fully aware that my blog could be considered an overuse of words. The thing is, I try my hardest to back my words with actions.

But when people aren’t good with words, all you’re left with are actions. Your actions, even just the crossing of your arms, the way you sit in a group of people, the nod of a head…they’re all social cues to the people around you. And they all affect how those people perceive your intentions and act towards you. Your actions are your investment in your future. They are the possible transaction of value to a better you…or a worse one.
Every day is a transaction. How are you investing in your future?
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Enough

So after my “bring it, dating world” post, I began thinking about the data points the single men on the market (who are worth dating and spending a future with) might also have. And wondering if I would live up to those standards. Like I said, “Divorcee with dog and no steady income”…doesn’t really attract the men.

I would’ve never expected to be divorced, still not licensed in my field, and without a full-time job at this point in my life. I wouldn’t have expected to be sleeping alone, spending holidays with friends and family instead of a man who holds my heart. I think as a child I would’ve pitied my current/then-future self. The outsider sees loneliness, a woman unloved.

If only I could tell her that her heart is worth treasuring. That the life she sees shouldn’t be pitied, but aspired to – maybe lacking the divorce and adding jobs.

That life is worth living…fully…not just surviving.

That sometimes the road worth taking isn’t easy, but that she has enough in her to make it through the rough spots.

That she should never let the fire, the strength, in her die. It is the sparkle that sets her apart. It should be cherished by herself and should be respected and cherished by the man who will someday hold her heart.

Those are the things I hope little girls growing up now know. They are the things I grew up being taught. And they are the things that, when faced with the possibility of a future of bad dates, remind me now that I am worth the work. I should be treasured, just as I will treasure the man who will have my heart.

I am enough.

 

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Thursday Video: A diamond, a rose, a most precious material

A military friend sent me this the other day. It’s amazing how God speaks to you. This video is a reminder I need to give myself daily.

I am beautiful. I am smart. I am funny. I am kind. I am unique.

I am worthy. I am worthy of being treated like the most precious of gems.

I am worthy of a love and affection most powerful.

I am.

And until I am blessed with that love in this human life, I am secure in the knowledge that I have that love in Him. Unconditional. Unfailing. Without hesitation or question.

He gave me strength, and still loves me in my weakest moments. He gave me talent, and still loves me when I’m silly. He gave me a great love to give. A great love worthy of loving.

While I seek to find that person in me, those characteristics, again – the strength, the love, the talent, the kindness, the patience – I have hope because I know He already sees it. While I journey to find a person to share my life and my love with, a person who will love me as God loves me, who will show me happiness in the darkest of days and be my partner, my equal in my life’s adventures – I have faith because I know He already sees not just the journey, but the destination.

I am awesome.

And when I forget it, I have awesome friends to remind me. I have me to remind me. I have HIM to remind me.

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Have a little faith

What’s the adage? Two steps forward, one step back?

After all my talk about sitting back and enjoying the ride, tempering my inner crazy child, I had a minor meltdown this weekend/today. The details don’t really matter. Suffice it to say 50hr work weeks + fever-inducing illness + gloomy weekend = Lora in a funk.

I wasn’t necessarily questioning myself and my choices…just a minor panic attack of the unknown. I warned here and here that I was/am a planner. That the unknown, the sitting back and letting life happen both scares and frustrates me. It makes me feel helpless. I am a woman of action, and being in this in between…this unknown amoeba of still settling into my new life, unsure of where it’s going…is helplessness by the very definition.

On Sunday at church (tested out a new church, starting the search for a new church family) the interim pastor gave a sermon on getting down in the thick of the mess and getting your hands dirty to get things done. That even in the most seemingly uneventful or unworthy situations, miracles are happening. Good things are happening. We only have to notice them.

I never would have pictured myself where I am now. You don’t get married expecting to get divorced. And this new life may not be quite figured out yet, but each day is a step forward. Sometimes life throws you curve balls. Sometimes you bonk 10 miles from home. And there’s nothing you can do but grit through it and look for the good things along the way to help the time pass. It doesn’t do you any good to get off your bike and stomp and curse your situation. Your path, which may seem slow and tedious. Your destination, which may seem unknown. All of these things are part of God’s bigger plan, which means there’s miracles along the way. You just have to put on your shades and find them through the blinding light of awesome. Oh, and maybe stop thrashing and cursing.

Who knows. We’ll see about that last bit. ;)

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Brave Part 2: The Inspiration

Everyone who knows me, knows I’m an uber-fan of Sara Bareilles. The voice, the style, the personality…it’s all there. Her music is true to herself. And maybe that’s what I like best, that self-truth. After all, that’s a part of this journey called life, right?

Her most recent single (off of her new album! eekk!!!) is the above and titled “Brave”. Her reasons for writing it are different than my reasons for finding it inspirational, but the underlying thought of courage and bravery resonate no matter the intended subject.

“Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave”

I think everyone could deal with a bit more bravery in their life. The courage to know they are worth fighting for, and so are the things that matter. But to also know when to lay down the sword because the fighting is getting you nowhere.

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Brave part 1: Overcoming Fear

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”
― Meg Cabot

As I have begun to consolidate my thoughts swirling around my head, wanting to put pen to paper – or words to keyboard? – I had been stifled by the concern that my words, my thoughts, my feelings would be misconstrued to a negative connotation toward L.

I’m beginning to realize that I can’t let that fear continue to stifle me. Not, at least, if I intend to act on my blog title. If I intend to be brave. Be happy. Live fully.

I realize there is a difference between blunt honesty and tact, and I will try to always be mindful of this as I share my thoughts. But I must be true to myself. These are my life lessons and my growing moments.

Please take them as you will: learn from them, ignore them, whatever your fancy. This is as much for me to get thoughts out, learn, and move forward. If you happen to enjoy my stupid quips (I promise not all posts will be serious), or learn something along the way – added bonus. But don’t come here looking to read in between the lines or with a vindictive nature. I have no intention of badmouthing him. He is a great man and I will always care for him. I own my experiences and lessons and mistakes, as I know he does his. This blog is *my* brave new adventure. My new chapter. I hope you will join me as I move forward now, on my own.

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A New Chapter

And so a new chapter begins as the one prior comes to an end. Without getting into details – because the only persons that need to know them are those directly involved – after much soul-searching both on our own and with each other, together we have bravely decided to move forward on our paths separately.

Many people will see this as failure. I hope they are able to see in time the strength that it takes to make such a decision. As a part of this process I have come to thoroughly understand the “walk a mile in the person’s shoes” aphorism. I can only hope that as we move forward on our journeys, we will be surrounded by support and love as we bravely search for our happiness.

I still care for him, as I know he does for me. I still wish the best for him. I still consider him one of my closest friends, and I hope that in time we are able to maintain that friendship.

But for now, the new adventure begins…

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