Holding Hands

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We live in a world that takes everything to extremes.

Success is measured by money and power. Talent is determined by worldwide fame. Physical touch means sexual intimacy.

In earlier years, I was a driven person with over-reaching expectations for myself. I believed my spiritual maturity was validated by my outward appearance, relationship status and/or worldly impact. Something drove me to want what I could never achieve and that something was certainly NOT God. Always pushing myself into a societal mold (even a Christian one) did nothing but increase my anxiety until I was ripe for a mental breakdown.

In the last few years my definition of success has changed. I’m no longer driven by the old rules. I’ve found myself completely in love with a new way.

Unhurried.

Unambitious for worldly pursuits.

Unashamed.

Post-modern society doesn’t have much use for the slow, soft and gentle. The minimalist. Where “enough” is not hoarding, but a sufficient amount for the day.  We are constantly in a rush to be “something” and do “important things” – with no idea what those are.

I find myself enamoured with new things. The quiet of nature. Hours of silence. Driving to work in intercession. Longing for more, but content with what God gives. And even taking joy in the wait.

Success now means obedience and the fruit of the spirit.

Talent is using the gifts He gave me for His glory.

Touch means conveying love and hope and grace in the simplicity of holding someone’s hand.

 

P.S:  This post came from a quiet drive home from work in the midst of a snowfall. Maybe not the best time to let your mind wander, but it is what it is. I admit it: I miss holding hands with a man. Yet, what a delight to know that when that happens in my future I am able to give and submit and love in ways I couldn’t have a few short years ago. To God be the Glory. Only and always. XOXO

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ghosted

Have you ever been ghosted?

For those who aren’t familiar with the term “ghosted” is when someone you are in a friendship or relationship with abruptly stops contact with no explanation.

I’ve been ghosted. And it was the worst.

Ten years ago I made morning trips to the local dog park. My dog, a golden doodle was still a puppy and needed a lot of exercise. If you don’t frequent dog parks, you should know you meet a lot of different people there. In fact, I met “The Amazing Kate” there – still a good friend to this day.

One day I met “Matt” – not his real name for obvious reasons. Matt was a sports reporter from out east. He had a rambunctious dog, who loved my pup, so we often met up at the park and walk laps. I admit, I did entertain the idea of romance with Matt – he was super funny, quirky handsome, tall and well-employed. However, his spiritual life was not what I was looking for in a potential boyfriend and I was happy to remain his friend.  I introduced him to some of my friends, continued our chats about life and basically grew into buddies.

Then one day I get a phone call. It was Matt. Could I meet him at the corner of such-and-such and pick up the dog and take her to the dog park with me. You see, Matt had gotten into a car accident and the dog was in the car with him. She was stressed and needed a good run. Of course, I could. I picked her up, gave Matt a supportive hug and went off to the park.

After a good run, I took the dog back to his place, along with a cup of comfort coffee. He was stressed too. When I got to the house Matt wasn’t alone. The ex-girlfriend was there. The ex-girlfriend which he shared ownership of the dog with. A quick exchange and thanks for the coffee and a door shut in my face.

Okay then.

The next day I went to the dog park as usual. Matt was there, along with the other regular dog park folks. I went up to ask how he was doing and he didn’t reply. I asked again – maybe he didn’t hear me? This time he turned around and walked away.

Huh.

Obviously something was up, so I gave him space. Later on I texted him. I received a reply, “Leave me alone.”

Um, what?

From then on Matt did his best to avoid me at the park. And although we weren’t dating, I was a bit heartbroken. I had made a friend and for some reason unbeknownst to me, I lost one.

Ghosted.

At this point, I didn’t want to continue a friendship with Matt, but I felt I deserved an explanation. I knew one wasn’t coming. I suspected, at the time, it had something to do with the ex, but who knows?

And wow, did this hurt. I would say it hurt worse than several of my romantic breakups. Why? Because of cowardice. I had thought well of a person and they disappointed me. They took the easy way out and left me high and dry.

Oh don’t worry. I got over it.

Yet, still, it challenges me to be brave. I would never want to hurt someone in this way. Be direct. Be honest. Chances are saying “no” – to relationship, a job, an opportunity – is going  to hurt anyway. But at least show them why.

But what if you are on the other side? If you are being ghosted?

Place that relationship in a jar and put the jar up high up on a shelf. Let it gain some dust. Let it rest. Maybe, one day, it will be taken down from the shelf, dusted off and opened up. But for the time being, put it away.

Then straighten up. Hold your chin high. Walk on.

You, my love, are beautiful and worthy. It’s not about deserving. It’s about self-respect.

Walk on.

 

 

As Good As It Gets

Remember the 1997 movie, “As Good As It Gets”? Jack Nicholson plays famous writer, Melvin Udall, who suffers with debilitating OCD – and makes those around him suffer right along with him. In one scene, Melvin marches into his psychiatrist’s office demanding to see the doctor. Of course, his demand is denied by the front desk nurse. In his frustration, Melvin turns to the waiting room full of depressed patients and says:

“What if this is as good as it gets?”

What if this is as good as it gets, I wonder.

Now, the “good Christian girl” inside immediately replies, “Of course it isn’t! We are children of God! The best is yet to come!”

Hmm.

Lately, that “good Christian girl” has been on vacation. Instead of responding with positivity and joy, my response is tired and my heart a little bit broken.

I’ve been facing an inordinate amount of disappointment lately. Disappointment is a part of life, but this year it seems to be one thing after another. Plainly speaking, I’m struggling.

And I’m wondering, what if this IS as good as it gets. I mean, we are, after all, living in a fallen world. Our hopes and expectations are bound to be out of our reach, right?

Nothing is utterly tragic – rather little pokes of sadness and disillusionment. Tiny things. Career uncertainty. Struggling with singleness and loneliness. Mild depression.

The nagging thought that this isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

And there is truth in that – this isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

How it’s supposed to be is not about me, rather all about Him.

Earlier this summer, during my regular prayer time, I felt God challenging me to lay down my prayers for myself and instead grow my intercession for others. Specifically, wait on God to lead me to pray for three people daily. This is not to say God wasn’t interested in my needs/desires. He knows my heart. He was instead, showing me how to become more selfless and concerned with the lives of others.

I’d like to say this experience has been a rousing success and I’ve been so changed by the practice.

But I can’t.

I’m not.

Yet.

If I’ve learned anything in my spiritual life in the past few years’ it’s God’s demand on my obedience.

I came across this golden truth today:

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And I do. Love Him. And right now the only hope I can access is found in this belief. That I can’t come close to imagining His plan.

So for right now, that’s going to have to be enough.

(Please feel free to comment or if you’re local you can always ply me with coffee and comment face to face. 😉 )