Numb

 

“Phew, she canceled on me, I don’t actually have to leave the house today.”

I didn’t have to get out of my pajamas for another couple hours.  I had spent the day before, laying on my couch for most of the day, and here I was wanting to do the same.  Even with piles of laundry on my bed and a sink full of dirty dishes, and I had a BBQ that I was invited to later. I was given relief for a few more hours.

No one really talks about the hard days growing up.  They tell you things like, “Work hard and you will be successful.” “Get an education and you can have a great job.” “You never know when you will meet your spouse, but you will.”

Life is hard.  Sometimes there are things we encounter that are hard simply because they are.  It isn’t necessarily because we did something or there were big changes, but because the daily grind of life is a toil.  It is hard.

However, the hard days are glossed over for this thing that we are chasing, “THE GOOD LIFE.” The life that is comfortable and secure, with enough money in your bank account, a good job, marriage, kids, a minivan, a house in the suburbs. Or maybe a version of that.

But what we don’t talk about enough is that life is hard, difficult and messy.

People get cancer, people end up not finding the love of their life in college, jobs get cut, houses fall apart, cars break down, babies never come or miscarry, people change, move away or hurt you.

In the midst of hard days, we chose one of two routes, either push through the hard or numb ourselves out and avoid it.

The later is usually my choice.  Hard days lead to exhaustion and spent emotions.  I long for rest and refreshment and for some reason, the idea of laying on my couch doing nothing always sounds appealing.  I turn on Netflix and zone out. My addictive personality is fed and satisfied, and craving more.  T

wo days later it is time for me to go to work again and I still feel exhausted.  I just spent my weekend not really living, just numb. Feeling far from God, not really experiencing anything.

I let myself hide, not face the hard things, because I think it will be easier.  I avoid friends, and pretend it is just because I am not working out and didn’t get enough of my summer. But that is a lie.

It hits me Monday morning….

“Is this the life you really want?”

Even though I am living a life that I didn’t necessarily imagine, it can still be a life that I choose.

Because if I am truly honest, I just react to what life throws at me.  I tell myself that it isn’t my fault, “things changed,” “I am not in control of certain things in my life.” I let myself fall into the depression, when I know that there are patterns that perpetuate these feelings.  These patterns pull me down in the pit.

But it is a lie that I believe that I can’t help how life has turned out. Because I chose how I spend my days.

I chose whether or not to get out of bed in good time on a Saturday morning.  I chose to turn on the TV instead of just going to bed.  I chose to not text my friend back because I just want to escape from the questions.

That other route…the one that involves pushing through the hard things. The one less traveled. It means doing hard things. And the truth is….we are fully capable to work through hard things.  We can chose to face the hard things and still live despite the trials and level of difficulty.

I am not saying that this is a white knuckle through hard things, just trying harder, doing more or fix it yourself. That’s a lie too.

Because the greatest promise is that we aren’t left on our own.  Often I have chosen to be numb because I believed that I had to push the hard thing on my own, I had to face down the demon by myself.

I don’t.  I don’t stand on this earth without someone standing right beside me/in front of me.

Friends, this isn’t a confession of figuring life out, or telling the story how I have conquered the avoidance tactics I take when things get tough.  This is a confession that I am not good at this, running towards life instead of from it.

This is a recognition that this is not the life that I want to live.  This is not how I want to spend my days! I want to live life present and alive, in connection God and with the people that I love.  I want to uncover the life and passion that are underneath the surface of these numb feelings. The older I get, the more I realize that the hard days make the good ones even sweeter and more full. img_7373

The ironic thing is that I said these words to a student last week that maybe I need for myself, “I know that this hard, but I believe that you can do hard things.  You have the potential to do a lot of hard things.”

If you think about human history, and how we continue to advance, break records, and overcome odds against all sorts of circumstances, we are capable of more that we would ever believe.

AND we have one that overcame first and did THE HARDEST THING so that we wouldn’t have to. He overcame the world, he fought back the enemy and won.  So that even in the midst of trials and tribulation we would know that it isn’t the END!

Friends, take heart.  We have an savior that knows that trials will come, and hasn’t left us alone.  He has overcome the world, so that the world won’t overcome us.

Do you take the hard road or the avoidance one like I do?  Do you lean in or run away?  How do you find encouragement when things are just plain hard?

(As I was finishing this post, I looked back at some of my previous posts in the last month. They are all about hard things, change, conquering hard things….it is sort of a theme, but I am okay with that! I hope you keep reading!)

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Change is hard

It is actually is hard. Really hard.  Whether it is your ways, your life, or even the people around you, it is a terribly hard thing.

I have found of all the things that I have to deal with as an adult, change is one of the hardest.  Sure it can be exciting and thrilling, but it is still hard.  

We get used to things.  We get used to our routes to work, the people we see on a daily basis. Then….things change. We move, things happen, people leave, and suddenly everything is different.  Maybe not bad or terrible, but different and we suddenly have to get used to everything again.

Were we disillusioned in thinking that after all that change from high school to college (where you move every year) that after all that, everything would just settle down and be normal and predictable? Maybe we thought that we wouldn’t have to encounter hard things like this? Probably.

In reality, life turns out so much different than we think or imagine, and can be so hard at times.

Me too

I had a conversation with a student about some of my co-workers that changed jobs. (Meaning they don’t work in my school anymore.) She came to school the first day and realized that they really weren’t there. Just new people.  This young lady was upset at them.  She was acting out and complaining about not having them to talk to anymore. Most likely in her immaturity, change doesn’t always make sense, and it feels like an attack against her and her life.

The funny thing is, I can remember feeling that way.  It was a couple of weeks ago.  Things were changing and people were leaving.  It felt like the life that I was very used to suddenly wasn’t the same anymore.  A dear friend moved away, I suddenly was living by myself, people were having ALL THE BABIES, and the school year was shaping up to be VERY different. I was so depressed about it.  Like the kind of depressed that I didn’t want to leave my house for a couple of days.

Fortunately, someone affirmed something in my soul..all of these changes were a loss.  And I needed to grieve over them.  If I just pretended everything was fine, I would stuff down all the sadness and hard emotions and not deal with them.  Un-dealt with things have a tendency to come back later to haunt you, right? So I had to face these losses and start the process of moving on.

In my conversation with this young lady, I told her this.  I told her I was sad too.  I missed my friends and it is hard when people leave.  I knew that she was thinking hard about this because she asked, “When does it get easier?” What do I say, when I myself am not yet quite out of it.

I told her that there isn’t a timeline, but every day it will feel just a little better.

In this situation it gets easier to live life without these people around, but does change ever really get easier.  Probably not. Change will always be a hard thing to deal with, but what I think is that we get better at dealing with it.  We learn to emotionally process the hard things we encounter.  We lean harder on the One who doesn’t ever change.

Promises

We were never promised an easy life.  We were promised an eternal one.  Our world screams at us, that if we work hard enough, we can create an easy life for ourselves.  We start to pursue it and find that it is just an empty promise, just like many of the other promises of this world.

Sometimes I think that God allows change and other hard things to happen in my life because I become complacent.  I become lazy in my pursuit of him.  He wants to remind me that I should be dependent on him more than anything in this world.  He does this to rip away my codependent tendencies I have with the ways of this world.

“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

(Isaiah 41:13)

What a sovereign God that I serve that continues to desire for me depend on him.  He continues to draw me near to him and doesn’t let me get lost in the promises of this world. Which are enticing and seemingly good at times. He doesn’t let me stay there, he shifts something, he stirs up my life to pull me back to him.

I could get mad and angry at him, (I have and probably will again) that he lets hard things happen in my life, but He sees the big picture, he knows what is coming and he knows that more than anything I need to be leaning into him and holding on to the anchor in the midst of the storm of change.

For the better

My trainer told me once that our bodies figure out the most efficient way to move, and sometimes that means we don’t use all our muscles, then the muscles we don’t use get weak and we are prone to injury.  We have to change up what we do when we work out to use all our muscles.

Maybe our hearts and brains are like that.  Change can be good because we figure out the most efficient way to live, we become dependent on people and routines, and don’t actually live to our full potential. We sort of half live, because that is the easiest thing to do.

God knows this, he allows change to happen because he knows our hearts, he knows our weaknesses and wants to challenge us to live our lives to the fullest.

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Friend, perhaps you are staring down a big change that is happening or just happened.  You are struggling to deal, you are wanting to run away and avoid this hard thing.  I know the feeling.  I can’t always claim that I did the best to run to God, but know that the moments I did, it was better.  He sustains and helps.

How do you deal with change?  What do you do when things get hard in life?  What is change that is hard to deal with lately?

 

Things I love!

Perhaps July will be my month of blogging, I have probably posted more in the last 2 weeks, then I have all semester!

Much of what I do all day in the summer is follow the goings on of Twitter!  Most people think it is pointless, maybe they don’t really know how to use Twitter to its full potential, but I honestly learn a lot from it.  A lot of people I follow post links to articles and blogs, that I read and pass on to others who might want to read it too!

Recently Relevant Magazine posted a link to this article.

You should read it!  And maybe use it to think about the things you love instead of the things you hate.
I am like the other, I probably talk about the things I don’t like more often then I think about the things I do love.  
 
In that thought, I wanted to make a list of a few things I do love! 
1. Summer mornings- the cool breeze, smell of cut grass, birds chirping, and the time I have to sit on my porch and leisurely drink my coffee from a cute mug instead of a travel mug on my way to school.
 
2. Coffeeshops- the constant buzz of people in and out, the sounds of the baristas making lots of yummy drinks, the smell that lingers on my clothes and in my books after I am gone, and the people I meet in them.
3. Corny jokes- I just love puns and silly jokes that kids tell you.  It makes me remember the simple things that cause joy.
4. Road trips- I love getting in my car and driving with friends somewhere! I recently took a trip with a few friends and it was amazingly soul refreshing.  Not to mention it was to my hometown and that made it so much better. 
These are just a few, maybe in the next couple of weeks, I will post a few more!
What are things that you love and love to talk about to others!

Sweet Summer Time

Last week about this time, I gained my freedom for the summer!

I certainly didn’t go into the teaching profession to have my summer’s off, but I won’t refuse the opportunity to sleep in, leisurely sip my coffee on my deck, read for fun, and spend my days by the pool.

If only that’s all that I did!

For several days, I have sorted through all of the things I have left undone throughout this year, things long ignored because of the pressing: ungraded papers, lessons to plan, emails to send, and meetings to attend.

As I have begun my annual cleaning of my entire apartment, and cleaning out of my closet and files.  I have also begun my bucket list of the summer!  I was inspired to make a list of things I would like to do this summer, but not things that have to be done.

Here is what I have so far:

1. Cook strange things!
– I have been pinning recipes on Pinterest all year, now is the time to actually try them out!  Perhaps, I will fall in love with cooking again.

2. Make new friends and spend quality time with old ones
– This is really a goal in life always, but I like to think that now I have some extra time, I want to be around my people.  The people that are ignored for those papers and lessons.

3. Write more
– I love writing and dreaming and thinking.  I want to spend more time penning thoughts on paper instead of always having to say them out loud to someone else.

4. Be creative
– Perhaps this goes along with writing, but my creative energy has been low this year, I want to spend time feeding that part of my soul. 

Where to begin…

I don’t even know how to update at this point. It has been a long while since I blogged.  My life is a little crazy busy right now.  I thought about updating during spring break….but I was trying to take a break and rest as much as I could.

So here are some quick updates of my life.

1. 6 weeks till summer!  We just finished state testing and there are a lot of things my students and I need to accomplish before the end of the year.  One includes reading a novel and doing lit circles. We had a super encouraging and beneficial training on lit circles last week. (You don’t hear that often about professional development, but it was!)


2. Still plugging away at grad school!  It isn’t so bad, but it definitely causes me to think about the future a lot which is scary and exciting at the same time.  (In fact, I am sitting in my favorite coffeeshop writing this post instead of doing homework!)

3. Running! I ran a 10K with my sister and brother-in-law over Spring Break and it was so exciting to run my fastest pace time!  I am getting faster and I can’t wait till this summer to have some more concentrated time to train.

4. THE WEATHER!  After 4 snow days and lots of cold mornings, the weather is starting to look up.  It is amazing how much this changes my outlook on life. I am so much more excited about my days!

5.  Finally got to meet Henry! The newest addition to our clan is here!  And I had to wait 6 weeks to meet him! But isn’t he adorable!

6.  Prayer! This last month as I began to think about what I am praying for my 27th year to look like, I decided that I am just going to continue surrender all those desires to the Lord and trust him to make things happen or change those desires!

7. Easter! My church got the whole family together and we celebrated at the Kansas City Convention Center.  I had to be there super early, but it was definitely worth it to watch the sunrise! It was awesome to see people I haven’t seen in a long time and make some new friends. 

The rest of the semester is full of activities, homework, planning and getting ready for the summer and next year!  As difficult and overwhelming as some days are, I am so blessed right now.  I look forward to this summer!

My Thanksgiving in Pictures

My new fav pic of myself!
The Place
The western Kansas sunset!  Food for my soul!
Happy to be going Home!

Senior parking spots at the old High School!
Fancy Bleachers! (Glee should be filmed here!)
 The Activities
Had to play “good guys” and “bad guys”

 

Went on a pre-feasting run with the sibs!

  The Food!!
Brussel Sprouts…tasty!

Sweet Potato Casserole!
Mac and Cheese!

Such good food!!
Another form of sweet potatoes!

The People!
The nephew!
His new toy!
We are all a little strange…some more than others!
The running crew!

Finishing

My freshmen year of high school, I thought I would go out for basketball.  I sort of tried to get in shape before hand.  I had played basketball in middle school, I was mildly successful.  Being tall, I was expected to play post and rebound balls.  I was okay, but not great. 

I went to 2 days of practice…maybe not even that. (I can’t really remember.) I was not good at all, even at the practice.  I was slow, my knees hurt, I had no dribbling coordination.  I was not cut out for it. 

…..But I didn’t want to quit, because we didn’t quit things in my family. 

I had the hardest time telling my dad, who put a lot of stock in sports.  I didn’t love it enough to put myself through grueling practices and most likely not play in any game.

But I quit anyway….I felt horrible.  
I felt like a quitter, a giver-upper.  
I felt lame and worthless.  

Even though I know it was the right decision at the time, I still hated quitting something. 

I hated that feeling.  It felt like failure.  

The enemy uses failure in horrible ways in our hearts.  He likes to use it to tell us that we are worthless, nothing, scum, and that God doesn’t love us.  He tells a whole lot of lies through that feeling of failure.

For many years, I lived under that feeling of failure, even after finishing a lot of other things. Quitting sports has hung over my head, until now.  

Now, years later, I am experiencing the opposite….I didn’t quit, I kept going and I finished what I started.

I was just crazy enough to run a Half Marathon a 3rd time.  Yep, I am officially half crazy.  This time it was a little more fun.  I didn’t want to die until mile 10, but I think that was because I started too fast and I didn’t pace myself. 

There is something about running a race, there is excitement and joy for the people who are doing this for the first time or are overcoming a lot of things while doing this. 
There is something about being cheered on for a physical accomplishment. 
There is something amazing about witnessing human potential. 
There is something incredible about pushing yourself further when you think you have nothing left. 
There is something about coming up the final hill and hearing people cheer whether they know you or not!

There is something so satisfying about finishing something you started! (3x over!!)

My trainer and Angie after finishing 13.1 miles!

There is something that is so addictive….might have to keep doing it!

What is something that you want to finish?  Where is an area that you feel like a quitter?