Setback

I had a setback last week. Something out of my control, however it awakened some dark and confusing feelings about my self-worth. I was angry, yes, but I also felt shame. I jumped right back on that carousel of suffering I thought I’d let behind.

Round and around again…

 

“Why did this happen?”

“What is wrong with me?”

“Why can’t I just get it together?”

“Where am I supposed to go from here?”

 

But then I realized I had no control over this setback – literally. There was nothing I could have done to change the outcome. I mean, I own that I mess up – a lot. Yet, this one was not on me.

It still was painful.

To deal with the disappointment, I moved to anger…

 

“How dare they treat me this way?”

“Who do they think they are?”

“I was used and abandoned!”

 

Meh.

 

The anger dissipated. I couldn’t be bothered with it.

On the surface? Sure, there is some residual pain and feelings of rejection, but when I examine the situation deeply? Nothing. I don’t mean to sound glib, but I just don’t care.

This is a very, very good thing.

I am beginning to consistently reject the idea that I need to be something to others. Instead I choose to walk authentically in truth. And the truth is…

 

“I am good at what I do.”

“I am loved by people.” “

“I will find my way – I just need to keep getting up and moving forward.”

 

It’s even more than that…

 

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”

“I am a child of God and He has my best interests at heart.”

“He is honing me and shaping me into the best use of His creation.”

 

Yes. There was a setback.

But the setback has awakened something new in me. It has afforded me the ability to explore something I’ve been wanting to do. If this disappointment hadn’t happened I don’t know if I would have been open to be led in this direction.

But here I am. On the cusp of a new adventure. Scared and happy and unsure – all at the same time. One certain thing is the knowledge God will be with me, every step of the way.

 

 

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E-not-so-harmony: Why I Don’t Do Online Dating

frog-prince-1370022_1920I don’t do online dating.

I know, I know – I’ve heard the advice. How is someone my age supposed to meet a potential mate?

Answer? I have no idea. But, I’m not changing my mind.

Now, when I say I don’t do online dating, that doesn’t mean I haven’t.

Case One: The Engineer

A classic case: all the boxes were checked. Good job? Check! Similar interests? Check! Christian? Check! Obviously, a great match, right? Umm. Not so much.

We arranged to meet up at a public place (safety first, ladies!) and within moments of meeting it was clear he was harmless – and NOT into me. At first, I wondered what could be wrong. He knew what I looked like (online profile photos). I was honest with him: I was no super skinny supermodel. But on the phone (yes, we had chatted before meeting in person) it didn’t seem to be a big deal. Apparently, it was.

I’d like to say I cut the date short and went home early, but that’d be a lie. You see, he owned a Mini Cooper and they had just come on the market in Canada – and I wanted a ride! (I was at an opportunistic stage of life.)

The car was fantastic! Dinner? Not so much.

After we were seated I bluntly asked what was up. I mean, I knew this date was going nowhere so I thought I may as well get some insight. I waited for brutal honesty. Instead his head dropped and he responded, “I got new hardware for my home system and it just isn’t installing properly. I should have cancelled the date as I know I won’t be able to concentrate on anything else until it’s up and running.” Um, what? Apparently, I wasn’t the issue. In fact, I didn’t factor into his mood at all. He was so bummed about his computer issues, he couldn’t enjoy my company. I’ve never dated another engineer.

Case Two: The Serial Monogamist (aka – The Boyfriend)

This gentleman pursued me relentlessly via the World Wide Web. Although not a Christian, his wit, charm and lovely sense of humour wooed me and I agreed to meet him at a familiar meetup place: Starbucks.

Ah! A perfect date. Romance. A shared meal of sushi. A movie. (Comedy, of course. Romance? Too much pressure. Action? Not appropriate. So, of course: Comedy.) After movie coffee. Talking until the wee hours of the morning. And finally, when he dropped me off at my car? A sweet goodnight kiss.

Case Two became an actual boyfriend! A pretty good one, too! Until a year and half later when he went on a work exchange to Europe (police force to police force) and came back with a new “colleague.”  He’s married to her now.

Nah, don’t feel bad for me. After the relationship was over I recognized some VERY unhealthy lifestyle traits: hoarding, credit card debt and (shudder!) cats. I can’t say he was a bad boyfriend – well, except for the cheating. I’m not innocent in this either. That sweet kiss? I knew he wasn’t right for me at that moment, but convinced myself otherwise. Eighteen months… sigh.

Case Three: The Monk

A perfect on paper match. A seminary master’s degree. Former pastor. Home owner.

I’ll admit, when we met I wasn’t attracted to him. But I’ve never been about looks, so I let it be and engaged in a lovely “mini” relationship. I say mini, because it was clear he had no interest in marriage or family – something, at that point, I was desperate for. It’s all on me with this one. I was convinced God placed me in this man’s life to be his partner. And then I wasn’t so confident. Thank you, Jesus – I came to my senses quickly! I look back and wonder, “What the heck was I thinking!”

I discovered a few months later that he had himself on every Christian dating site available – to what end? Meh. (Yep, he’s still single.)

 

No. I don’t do online dating. I am at peace with this decision. I still don’t know where I’m supposed to meet a potential mate…

This is where trust in God is paramount. I long for relationship. To get married. (Imagine my mother yelling, “Amen, let it be, Lord” at this point. What can I say? I’m her only daughter.)

Several years ago, I came across a book (I can’t remember the name!) by a female colonel in the US Air Force. A beautiful African American lady who married the wrong man in her twenties and divorced a year later. She was in her early fifties at the time of writing and had a lot of wisdom about the state of singleness.  I don’t remember all the details about the book but one statement stuck with me for years:

Get busy with the things of God and He will bring the right person to you.

And for women? The right man will see your value and pursue you.

Get busy with God.

What that means to me:

  • Be more concerned with my character than my comfort.
  • Prefer others in love. Serve.
  • Embrace humility.
  • Seek wisdom.
  • Get to know God – through his word. In prayer. In meditation.
  • Get so immersed in a relationship with God that I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself.

Simply, I’m working on being the person I’d want to be with. Relationships are not a fantasy la-la land – they’re work. Rewarding, sure. But, also demanding.

The right man will pursue you? Oh! My modern sensibilities rail against this.

Yet…

Remember Case Two? The one thing he did right, that felt RIGHT is: he did the pursuing. Boy, did that feel fantastic.

So, I pray for a man who will pursue me.

Mostly, I pray God’s will. At 47 it’s hard to still be waiting and longing. Yet, I don’t regret a moment of my singleness. No life is easy or simple: being single has offered and taught me much. I hope one day to say the same thing about being married.

I suspect I will.

😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Sweet Little Laugh

I am not photogenic.  Not even slightly. I mean,  I look in the mirror and think – okay! Not bad for 47! Then someone snaps a photo and bam! Not good. Goofy, yes. 

Today I saw a pic of myself and it was BAD. Really bad. And no, I’m not posting it here. 

But instead of crazy self loathing, I laughed! I giggled. There might have even been a snort in there. 

And I let it go. 

I can’t tell you what a massive step this is for me! It’s one thing to want to be loved for who you are – but I needed to embrace my tall, curvy, sometimes comical looks – and love myself! 

Such a sweet, sweet moment… (but also a good reminder to not sit that way when someone has a camera out… sigh.) 

Softening My Heart

Today was a soft day.

Work was busy. There was a push to complete tasks on time.

Yet, I was at rest. One of those rare, gentle days when I dwelt on being, not doing.

It’s taken me this long – 47 years – to grasp the power of “be.”

We always have something to do. Work, household chores, personal commitments and even play involve a level of doing. Our problem lies in how we approach necessary tasks; we stress about things we can’t control. We place unrealistic time constraints on ourselves. We try to live up to the expectations of others.  In short, we make required tasks more traumatic than they need be.

In my past, I have wasted so much time and energy on things I can’t control. Anxiety. Insomnia. An inability to control emotion. At one point, I worried myself into a nervous breakdown. All for something I had no control over.

Twenty or so years ago, I joined a writer’s guild at my church. On the night of our first meeting we exchanged email addresses and one man’s address was restisaweapon@… Rest is a weapon. The notion that willfully letting go and letting God take over could be an offense was such a powerful concept. And for someone trapped by anxiety like me, it made so much sense. Unfortunately, I was years away from putting this into practice.

More recently, I started to observe the conduct of those I looked up to – respected. Amidst any trouble, they walked with grace. Never stopping what they had to do, but living with absolute trust. I longed for their confidence. Their assurance that no matter the circumstance, God was in control. I began to pray for this kind of peace; this shalom.

I believe these prayers have brought me to a day like today. When I should feel pressure – important things needed to be done! Yet, I don’t.  A deep transformation is occurring – one which is changing my reactions –  from anxiety to rest.

God,

I thank you for your faithfulness to me. I thank you for softening my heart. For helping me to rest in each moment. I’m beginning to understand the vast power of a gentle spirit. Make Your concerns my concerns. Continue to place people of strength, virtue and obedience in my life. Remind me daily of your plan for me which you formed before the beginning of creation. Transform me, mold me, use me. In Your holy name. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Themes…

Blog friends!

I have good taste in some things, but it seems I’m hopeless with design. I’m trying out some premium themes for my site. Feedback is welcomed! I’m looking at you Nick and Kate!!!

(Oh and if you’re wondering about the ad content, I’m hoping to recoup the cost of the premium account, penny by penny 😉

Cheers!

Sandra

The Illusive Calm

Prayer is funny, isn’t it? Two years ago, I began to pray ten specific requests. I was prompted to do so after reading “Praying for Your Elephant” by Adam Stadtmiller. In his book, he advises praying for ten items and then slowly building up to a hundred items of requests for others, the World and yourself. I started with ten, but the number never increased. For over two years I have prayed for what I desired God to do/change in my life.

(I won’t get into all the specifics in this post, but these ten prayers have been transformative and life changing.)

Prayer No. 9: Character

When I started to pray for character, I had already come so far. I own that I used to have some rotten characteristics. I could (can?) be judgmental, critical, jealous, quick to become angry – the list is long. But in the past 15 years, God has done some remarkable work with my character. Primarily, He has taught me to love and love unconditionally. Like all other humans, I have a long way to go. Yet, as I began to pray I sensed He was leading me in more complex direction. I recognized an intrinsic part of “Who Am I?” was being overlooked. He created me for more than the behavior I was currently exhibiting. He was calling me to calm.

Not just to be calm – but, a call to be at rest. Admittedly, I am nowhere near reaching this goal.  There are some unique hurdles I have to leap over:  I have Tourette’s syndrome – not exactly a condition known for relaxation. I deal with some social anxiety, in that the more people there are, the more difficult it is for me to “chill.” I present myself bubbly and friendly, but this behavior isn’t always authentic. It isn’t how He created me to be. In calling me to calm, He was calling me to BE in Him. By acting what I wasn’t it was all about DO.

So, what do I think calm means at this point?

Lack of pretense.

Not working to impress others.

Humility.

Christlikeness.

There is emotional calm. Spiritual calm. And a biggie for me: Physical calm. All these I will explore in the months to come.

I have so many years of conditioning to unravel. Society rewards the happy face and the “I’m fine” responses. Yet, my God is calling for truth. This blog is one act of obedience to this truth. It’s full of grammatical issues and blinding honesty. My words aren’t flowery or poetic. Yet I attempt to make each post genuine

There is so much I can say about this as I am only just beginning this calm journey – another step in to the authentic.

 

 

 

 

Comments?

Hi Friends!

Some of you know me, some of you don’t – either way, I invite you to comment on anything I write. It’s deeply personal writing, but perhaps you have a story which you can relate to something I shared. I LOVE STORIES! Maybe you have a question or something to add to what I’ve written – let me know! I will respond.  Thanks for reading! Blessing to you!

Sandra