Message for the Day

12 04 2017

I’m a deaf teacher.  I know many deaf people don’t claim me as deaf because I have two CI’s that I use to hear my students, but the nature of my job as a middle school theatre teacher is that I prefer to be able to hear instead of requiring my students to learn sign language.

When I was going to become a teacher, my supervising teacher told me “You can’t be a teacher, you’re deaf, you won’t be able to hear the kids”.  It broke my heart.

It was the first time, that I’ve ever experienced that type of attitude and recognized it for what it was.  All my life, I’ve heard “you’re deaf, but you don’t sound deaf!” or “I think it’s amazing that you’re able to function….”

I really struggled with it, because all of my life, I’ve been surrounded by people who have always encouraged me and have always pushed me forward to accomplishing the great things that I want to do.  It affected me so badly, I recognize now that I was in a period of depression.

I’m glad to say that I’ve proved him wrong.  I’m glad to say that I am soon to finish up my 3rd year of teaching.  I’m glad to say that I didn’t let that man decide my fate, and impact my choice of careers.  I love my job.  I love what I do.  I bet I love it more than he does.

Don’t let anyone deter you from your dreams.  Don’t let any one stop you.  Don’t let anyone keep you from doing what you want to do.  YOU are important.  YOU are valued.  You are loved.  You have something to offer the world.

-happysloth





Creation: A Creative Retelling

31 01 2017

You have molded the heavens with your hands, you ran your fingers to form mountain ridges.  You uplifted the waters to move the waves.  You punched the soil and made valleys.  You scooped up dirt and made hills.  You ran through the land, dragging a stick through the earth and made the rivers.  You moved the ocean into the land and made lakes.  Made mudpies, and they became swamps.  Dried otu the dirt, and deserts were born.  I have this image of God, you, playing all over your creation, to make all of these things happen.  Joyful in your creation, you bounced around like a child.  You transformed your drawings into fish and birds, monkeys and elephants.  Breathed life into those masterpieces, as all sorts of animals began to walk the earth that you created.  They explored and ate off of the trees and plants, drank of your water, and moved with joy.

Then, you made man.  You crafted every vein in his body with purpose.  You sculpted every muscle from the dirt.  You covered it all in skin to protect him.  And you took your breath and kissed man alive.  In wonder, he looked around, not understanding what had just happened, and saw all of the creation moving and growing.  And you proclaimed all of its goodness!

And then you rested.  You watched your created ones get familiar with your creation.  It was your playground and entertainment all in one.  You delighted as man ate your fruit you provided and you were pleased as he named them.  You laughed at his reaction when he saw a platypus for the first time.  You were warmed in your heart as he freed a baby lion from thorns.  Your curiosity was piqued when he saw his helper for the first time.  You had surprised him, not told him that she was going to be made.  He surveyed her beauty and she looked around the same way that he had, when you first breathed life into him.  At night, you sang them to sleep with the birds and grasshoppers singing their song of praise to you.  Your creation was all good, and it was peaceful.  Days went by, and your joy was increased as you got to spend more and more time with them, they led you on tours of your creation, and they told you all about the things that they had learned about what you had made.  You fell in love with them.  You fell in love with this, all of your creation.

Then, came an intruder.  It wasn’t a battle army from foreign land.  It was an old rival that you had banished.  He was once a part of your inner circle, but then he fell from your grace.  He was conniving and jealous of you, wanted to be more than a worshipper of God, he wanted people to worship him because he knew you.  So you banished him from your kingdom, and he took his own kingdom.  He penetrated your garden.  Slithered into the body of something you created.  He slid across the dirt that you made and wrapped himself into your creation.  He thought that he could talk to your beloveds, even though they were yours.  He whispered words of adultery, and they tried to resist at first.  Then they succombed to the pressure.  The enemy said that they would have power unlike that which they had never had before.  But you watched as the connection that you had with them was destroyed.  You couldn’t believe it.

They were frozen, felt it immediately.  The fruit had given them knowledge which they had never had before, but at the price of intimacy with you.  He slithered away before the true effects of his victory were realized by them.  The fruit, they abandoned as they responded in shame.  Your heart was broken as they exprienced blame and anger at each other over what had happened.  They realized they were naked, and needed clothing.  YOu called out their name as you pushed the bushes aside, hoping against hope that they hadn’t really done this thing that you feared they had.  You looked in their eyes, and it had.  Your heart broke.  The one limit that you had given them, they had broken.  Your paradise was infected and the infection lay within them.  There was no way that you could rescue them from this now.  Later, perhaps, but not now.  Not while your heart was breaking and bruised.  Not while they began the journey out of your paradise.

It was all over.  All for nothing.  All of your dreams and all of your efforts were just wastes of time and effort.  It was all for nothing.  You tried something, gave of your heart to create something that would bring your joy, and it was all for nothing.  Wasted.  Futile.  Anger swelled in your heart, they had done wrong.  They must be punished.  Food would no longer grow freely, man had to work at it now.  Her body would no longer live in harmony, as you gave monthly pains to her.  You sealed the garden when they left, now it was plagued in sin, it had been smudged and you had to clean it up.  You would never let someone into your paradise again.  Your anger covered up the fact that you were heartbroken, and they could not see that.  All that they saw was your anger.  Your heart was broken, your creation betrayed you.  In your mercy, you could not destroy them because you loved them.  So you let them live.  But it would never be the same.  Ever again.

You did not give up on them.  One day, they’ll see that.  One day, they’ll see your plan of restoration.  But today is not that day.  Today, you’ll nurse your broken heart.  Today, you’ll cry and ache.  Today, you’ll experience pain.  So that you can give forgiveness.





For My Good!

26 05 2016

Author’s Note:  I didn’t mean to take a break from the Fruits of the Spirit series….this topic just could not get off of my heart and I learned so much from writing this post and I hope you do the same!

It’s a different experience to hear the news secondhand than it is to experience it.  Everyday, thousands of newscasters report on the events of the world, but I rarely think that those who experienced the event firsthand, rely on these newscasts to inform them of what happened.  But, once the event happens, there’s no way for us to go back in time for us to move from being a second-hand observer who learned about something on the news, to becoming a first-hand participant.  The man who served in a war, can never move to being a second-hand observer.  He felt the heat of battle, the sting of death, the brush of bullets and bombs.  The person who hears about a riot cannot experience the riot itself personally.

I used to think that the disciples, they really had it made.  They were first-hand observers of Jesus.  They walked with him, smelled his body odor and they ate with him.  They were shocked by him, cried with him and slept near him.  What an experience that must have been!  I used to get jealous, because I thought that if I only walked with Jesus and saw the miracles, then surely, my faith would be like a mustard seed, the smallest of seeds that produces the largest of results!  But then, I read some scripture that Jesus shared with them, John 16:7, which says “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”  Wow!  That verse is really powerful.  Jesus starts it out saying, “this is the truth” and then he drops the bomb on them  “It is for your good that I am going away.”  I would have disagreed with my friend, if I were a disciple.  I mean, sure I know that he’s the creator of the universe and all, but I would miss him.  My life was made complete by having him in my life and it was made better with him.  He made me wine out of water, fish and bread out of nothing, provided growth and love and companionship, where I didn’t feel it before.  I found acceptance, despite my lack of faith or ability to trust, despite my low social status, I found love.  And to think that this source of love and friendship was going to leave me, and I was going to be better off than when he left me?  That’s preposterous!  That would mean that I would be moving out of a relationship with Jesus and then back to life as normal!

A Second-hand Watcher
This type of person is a benchwarmer, so to speak.  A benchwarmer is a part of a team, but they often miss out on the real action of the game.  They may be substituted in and step up once in a while, but they are not a consistently actively involved person.  If I, as a disciple, would’ve went back to my life as usual, then I would be considered a second-hand watcher.  I am someone that knows the expectation, because it was clearly explained and outlined to me by Jesus, but instead of living up to the expectation, I simply expect it to happen to me!  When the day is over, I’ve neither contributed to the game as a whole nor detracted from it.  I have simply floated along and have nothing to show for my time with Jesus.  Instead, I have evidence of my existence, but not much beyond that.

To me, this sounds very similar to that of the experience in the Christian church.  Honestly, if we want to criticize the world and our society for being “godless” and going against the call of God, we have to first look at ourselves.  Matthew 7:3-5 says “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite!  First, take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”  Although it seems that Jesus is talking about the companionship from believer to believer.  I think it can expand beyond that.  I don’t think that he means that the way we relate to each other is not applicable to the way we relate to other people in the world.  We must give respect and love to the people who are around us, regardless of the shared faith or lack of shared faith.  I honestly think that Jesus means for us to treat our Christian brothers and sisters with the same regard as we give to those who believe different from us.  And vice versa.  Think about that.  And vice versa.  It’s harder to make us look at ourselves than it is to criticize the world.  Before we even think about criticizing others, we need to take a long hard look at ourselves, and how we have failed to be anything more than a benchwarmer.  Jesus tells us that it is shameful for us to criticize our brother, when we are guilty of having issues that keep us from growing.  WE cannot criticize the world and its policies without first critically examining ourselves.  And honestly, if we had been doing so all along, we would not be the secondhand observers that the world knows us as.  Shortly speaking, it is the church’s fault that our society has felt the diminishing impact of the church upon that society.  We stopped doing the things that make us active participants, and started warming the pews, and being content with Sunday being the only day reserved for God.  Instead of remembering 1 Corinthians 13:1, we gave Christianity a bad name by clanging out our objections without love.  And we were not growing spiritually.  We were not making disciples of Christ.  WE were simply living our lives and going to church on Sunday, and somehow, we thought it would be enough.

 

Active Participant
Who wins the games?  Who handles the trophy?  Who goes down in the sports halls of fame?  It’s not those that keep the bench from floating off the game floor, it’s the people who are the active players and do whatever it takes to be successful.  It is the ones who intend to accomplish something, who are intentional about what they do.  Active players don’t just wait around for skills and special abilities to happen to them, they are the ones that continuously strive to become better and the ones that desire very greatly to be better players.  Players don’t wait for life to happen, they don’t wait for accomplishments to just be handed to them or spontaneously occur.  Instead, they devote afternoons, hours to improvement.  Each practice, they show up, regardless of how they emotionally feel about getting out to practice, and they practice, knowing each practice makes them better, stronger.  Excuses don’t matter, because if it is important to you, you make time for it, no matter what.

The more and more I study Jesus and the more and more I read the gospels, the clearer it becomes to me that he expects me to realize that belief doesn’t matter all that much, unless its an active thing.  Until we believe it so much that we live it, we will never learn more than mere drops of grace and small fractions of love.  We will not learn how to love people a smidgen of the way that we are supposed to, the way that Jesus loves us.  Unless we get off of the bench and get in the game, the Bible will be mere words of fiction, Jesus is a mythical character and love is a construction paper cut-out heart.  Matthew 7:3-5 says “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite!  First, take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”  When we are not active participants, yet we are pulling out planks out of others’ eyes and criticizing others and not critically looking at ourselves, we fail to embody the call of Christianity.  We fail to be the lovers of people that we are called to be.  We fail.  That’s it.  Until we get off the bench and are actively growing, we have no idea what our faith really calls us to do and be for others.

Well, that’s all well and good-but how do we get off the bench?  From what I understand, spiritual growth has several components:

  • You must spend time in the Word with God.  It’s not enough to just read the Bible, we must also understand the meaning behind those special words.
  • Pray and ask God that he will help you find understanding, and apply that understanding of the scripture into your life and into the interactions you have with other people. He will teach you how to interact with others in love.
  • Seek to serve God through the church and on an individual level. Use your natural talents to help you figure out how to serve God and others.
  • When given the opportunity to share your faith, do it! Your story is an experience that they can’t take away from you.  What God has done in you, they can’t contest.
  • Remain faithful to your growing relationship with God. It’s easy to let the emotional fire die, but remember that there are some things work committing to doing despite how you feel.

Don’t let the excuses get in your way.  We can make anything an excuse.  Don’t.   If this is truly important to you, and if you believe that your faith makes a difference, you will see the fatality in  being a bystander.  If it is worth it, you will make the time.  If it is meaningful, you will choose to remain faithful and committed, despite the feelings or excuses.  Be warned though, the excuses are overbearing.  The task is difficult because it involves a departure from your selfish way of things.  It may ask you to sacrifice, it may hurt you a little bit, but you will grow.

Take encouragement though.  Jesus said once says “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”  The thing that makes it different for us than it does for the disciples, is that we have never experienced the human Jesus.  We have the Holy Spirit inside us, instead!  How cool is that!  See, Jesus isn’t interested in us depending on him for physical or depending on his physical presence for us to gain his assurance and peace in his presence.  Instead, he wants to reside in us!  How cool is that!?  Our assurance and security does not rest in the physical presence of Jesus, but in the unending presence of the Holy Spirit.  And this is for our benefit!  How cool!  This is for my good!  It is for my good that I am an active participant and not a benchwarmer.  It is for my good that I am growing!

And let it be for your benefit as well!

 





When People Stay

7 12 2013

Author’s Note:  Earlier this week, I wrote a blog post entitled “When People Walk Out” and in this post, it talks about when people leave you, and do so without looking back, and what our response should be.  I realized that I never assumed the best in people, and described what happens when people don’t walk out, and when they stay.  So this is for that purpose.

Congratulations.  Someone didn’t leave.  They had the opportunity to do so, and they didn’t go.  If you’re in the middle of a conflict or a trying time, I know that you appreciate their commitment to you in a way that you’ve never had it mean to you before.  I know what that’s like.  A few months ago, I was going through a rather difficult time, and I didn’t want to drag the person that I was dating through that mess…and I gave them the opportunity to walk away.  I gave them that freedom and I said, “go, make life less stressful for yourself.”  And they stayed.  And they’re still staying.  This is rather overwhelming to me, because like I said in the earlier post, I’ve been left a lot.  When the hard stuff happens, people are prone to leave.  It’s just easier.  It’s easier to give up and walk away, than to stay, and work through it, fight through it, or support through it.  So yay you!  You were not left.  What now?

When someone chooses not to leave, it is a lesson of love again.  I don’t care how well you think you know what love is.  I don’t care how many times you’ve told someone you love them.  But many times, when someone chooses not to leave, and decides to stay in your life, this is the prime opportunity of your life, for you to learn a little more about love.  I guarantee it.  Like in the scenario in the opening paragraph above, since that person has stuck by me, I’ve learned a little more about what it means to love someone.  It still amazes me sometimes, that someone thought that I was worthy of sticking by when the going got rough.  But love is like that sometimes.  Sometimes, it teaches you that you are worthy of being loved.  Which is overwhelming, in of itself, but more than that, sometimes, the fact that someone loves you enough to stay with you teaching you more about what love truly is, and what it is not.  I am sure that the following is familiar to you:

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, It is not proud. It does not dishonor others, It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

 

In all of that, we see that love requires a lot from you.  This list is just the barely beginning.  If I am truly to embody love for someone, then at all times, I am supposed to have all of these emotions towards those that I love.  I will be the first in line to admit that I don’t meet this criteria at all times.  I am selfish sometimes, I sometimes can’t get over things that my loved ones have done in the past, sometimes I am distrustful…but I’m working on that.  I am trying my best to be that loving person in that loving standard, but I will be the first to say that I don’t always do that.  I am working on that.  But the point is, that once you make the decision to stay with someone, or when someone makes that decision to stay with you no matter what…the test of love comes out.  You and that loved one will probably be put through a rough period of trials for awhile, until life decides that you’ve proven your love to each other enough. 

When someone chooses you, this is the time for you to grow.  One of the things that I love the most about those that I love dearly and who have chosen to stick by me through thick and thin, is that they’re not afraid of telling me the truth.  And they tell me the truth and call me out on my stuff.  They hold me accountable, they tell me to quit being an idiot.  They call me out on my stuff.  When I am pushing them away because I’m going through something….they tell me to stop doing so.  When I’m avoiding them because I don’t like their truth that they told me, they hang around me all the more.  They discuss things with me, explore my heart, get to know my thoughts, because they truly care about me.  Suddenly, when someone loves you, they care about your well-being and challenge you to grow.  They do so in a healthy way.  However, a word of caution:  their challenges are only as effective as the positive attitude that you are able to receive that challenge.  If you approach their instruction and correction with a heart full of pride and arrogance, their challenges will be useless and will create havoc in your relationship.    A story:  I knew this couple once.  They’d been together for forever, and the couple once had a relationship where both of them called each other out on their stuff, and they challenged each other, and grew together.  Then something happened, and one of them started to struggle with self-identity and confidence issues, and started taking these challenges as criticisms.  Today, the relationship is not the same, it is unhealthy and damaging to both of them, because they are unable to communicate and are unable to express that love in anything but through two shared negative experiences.  The moral of that relationship is that if you’re unable to receive someone’s honesty, you cannot give it, and you also will receive it in the wrong terms.  And that is not a healthy way to respond.  I have found that in my experience, when I am challenging someone to grow, it takes the pressure off of my own individual total pursuit of perfection, and I just get to focus on one thing at a time, which is majorly helpful.

When someone stays, don’t constantly test their commitment to staying.  At some point, you just gotta know it for a fact.  This is one that I struggle with.  And this is a struggle that is mine and mine alone.  I can’t expect anyone else to fix it, nor can I expect anyone else to tell me how to fix it.  I have just got to learn it with each person that comes into my life and stays.  But, I really struggle sometimes whether worrying if someone is genuine when they say they’re not leaving me.  For some reason, I doubt them once the commitment is made.  I don’t know why.  I’m sure a psychologist would tell me that this comes from a line of people leaving me before, and trust issues that I have.  I don’t really want to by psychoanalyzed here, nor do I really want to go in-depth here.  But the short and sweet fact is that I struggle with knowing that a person is committed to me, and no matter what happens, they’re standing by me.  This person is in my corner from now on.  I don’t feel like I constantly test whether or not someone will leave me or not…but within the space between my ears, a parade of questions comes marching in from somewhere, wondering if the person is leaving me just because I haven’t heard from them in this amount of time, or because they’re distant, or etc.  Constantly worrying about someone’s presence in your life is a very unhealthy way to live.  Doing so has the ability to suffocate the other person.  I have learned this from relationships in the past, and this time, I am doing my best to combat those militant questions with the facts of how that person has not left thus far, and will not leave.  Don’t make the other person prove to you something over and over again, when they’ve proved it to you in the first place.  At some point, it no longer becomes their problem, but your problem for not accepting that.  It’s suddenly your problem for making them prove to you over and over again, that they’re not going anywhere.  I am doing my best to ensure that the people who have chosen to stay in my life do not have to prove to me why they’re with me, and I am doing my best to simply accept the gift of what they are to me and all that they bring to my life simply because they’ve chosen me.  

When people stay, this is when you get to be the most “yourself.”  Let me explain this concept.  Let’s apply this to a friendship.  Say you become friends with someone simply because you both like video games.  Initially, all you two talk about are video games.  Eventually, the conversation will sway to other topics.  And let’s say there’s some divisive issue that the two of you disagree on, but you come to the conclusion that there are plenty of other things that you agree on, and that one issue won’t break your friendship.  As time goes on, and the years pass, you notice that you’ve stopped worrying about what this person will think, because love is acceptance.  You no longer worry about how they’re going to react, or what they’re going to say, they’re simply just going to accept many things about you.  Some things may be a struggle, but at this point, you’re no longer going to be concerned with pulling off a certain type of “image” with them, they get to see you without your makeup, so to speak.  As time passes, they see you at your best, and they see you at your worst.  They see how happy coffee makes you, and they see you when you’re sleep deprived and ill.  You’re no longer trying to be a good person, you’re just yourself.  I love this. I love when I can stop trying to appear cool and they see me for the big nerd I am in reality.  Let them see it all! Go beyond the surface, and talk about the real stuff, the true stuff.  Learn their past, their history, and allow them to study you as well.  This is where a real relationship, a true relationship, a deep relationship….this is where it all begins. 

Because you are a beautiful person, and you are worthy of someone choosing you, and staying despite all of the muck and dirt in life.  Everyone needs somebody that they can count on.  Be that to someone in this world.  It just makes things a lot easier. 





When People Walk Out

2 12 2013

I’m sure you’ve been left before.  I am sure that there has been someone in your life that has left you.  I’m sure someone has broke your heart and left.  I am not alone in heartbreak, there are tons of songs and tons of poems and movies and TV shows that deal with the subject of leaving.  This is real pain, when he walks out, despite your every protest.  This rips you into pieces when that girl that promised that she’d never leave, walks right out that door, and doesn’t even look back.  People leave sometimes.  That’s just a fact of life. 

I’ve been left.  I’m gonna get a little personal here, and if you’re mentioned here, don’t take it personally, this is not your story and it’s not anything other than my story.  The first time I was left, it was actually when my biological mother kicked me out.  I was homeless.  This was after months and months, years even, of emotional abuse, an atmosphere of fear and control.  I was told to leave, that I no longer had a mom…and no longer had a home.  All I had were the clothes that I had packed, and the car I was driving at the time.  To make matters worse, I apparently wasn’t moving fast enough, so she started breaking the glass in my dad’s shotgun case…I didn’t stick around to see what would’ve happened if she actually got the gun out.  The second time I can remember, I was in this relationship with a person who meant alot to me.  I recognized that if I continued on this course, that life as I knew it, would change, and I wasn’t quite ready for that change just yet.  This person left, because I wasn’t ready.  They left because I wouldn’t be ready for a few years.  I met a girl in college, and she became a fast friend.  We were connected not only personally, but spiritually.  It is because of her that I grew so much in college in a spiritual sense, because she challenged me.  She didn’t always agree with me, but she would challenge me to make sure that I knew why I thought what I believed, and why I believed what I thought.  Eventually, we both realized that this wasn’t going to work out.  There was one thing that I was, that she could not reconcile me with that one thing.  And I pushed her out the door, and she didn’t look back.  I was in a relationship about a year ago, and the person I was with, got scared, realized the relationship was more serious than they wanted it to be, and they left.  Then they left again, when I was honest with them and told them exactly why it would never work out between us.  And they left.  There are several more stories of me being left, but I think you get the point. 

Why do people leave?  This is a question that I posed to a very dear friend of mine.  And the only response she had was the following quote:

“You keep listening to those that seem to reject you. But they never speak about you. They speak about their limitations. They confess their poverty in the face of your needs and desires. They simply ask for your compassion. They do not say that you are bad, ugly, or despicable. They only say that you are asking for something they cannot give and that they need to get some distance from you to survive emotionally. The sadness is that you perceive their necessary withdrawal as a rejection of you instead of as a call to return home and discover there your true belovedness.” -Henri Nouwen

 

I cannot say it more clearer than that.  You see, initially, I realized that all of these people left me.  They left ME.  What was the problem with me?  Why could they not handle staying?  But then, this quote, which has become more and more beloved with each time I meditate upon it….it says that should a person leave…it’s not your fault.  It has nothing to do with you.  Instead, it has everything to do with other people, those who left.  They gave up, they cannot give you what you’re asking from them, it’s just not one of their capabilities…and in order to flourish, in order to be okay, they have to distance themselves from you. 

Let me use an example from my life:  Four and a half years ago, a very dear friend was taken from me.  In many ways, this was the first time that death became personal to me.  I struggled.  I really had to endure pain as I’d never encountered it so before.  A very special friend died.  I didn’t know how to cope.  I didn’t know what to do.  I would cry, scream and pout that this beloved person was taken away from me.  I tried to live my life, I tried to move on, but it just wouldn’t happen.  And I had this friend, who just told me to “suck it up” and “move on.”  They told me my grief was irrational, because they knew that I would see them in heaven, and that I just needed to grow up and not be so selfish.  I grieved for a really long time.  The longer I grieved, the less important the friendship became, because in the end, I realized that this friend truly did not know how personal grief is, and had never experienced true pain like this, and was incapable of relating to me and relationshipping with me.  And so she left.  What I was going through, she could not handle and imagine, and did not understand. 

Sometimes, it’s tempting to look after the one who is leaving, to attempt to drag on their coattails, hoping they’ll stay.  Sometimes, it’s easy to look at the person who is leaving you, while forgetting to look for the new person that has come to take their place.  Sure, sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to have not let that person walk out the door, to stand there and fight for them, fight for them to stay in my life.  But here’s the thing, if someone is leaving, it’s best to just let them go.  They can’t give you what you need, and so, let them go.  Instead of grieving over what has left, take a look around, look at the people and things that haven’t ever considered leaving you, and hold on to those instead. 

Those who leave were never apart of your destiny.  If someone is supposed to be in your life to see your destiny fulfilled, they cannot leave, and they won’t leave when given an option.  If someone is able to so easily walk out of your life without a second look, they were never a part of the destiny you have.  Let them go.  Don’t try to make them stick around, don’t fight for them, stand up, and take a good look around, and recognize that if these people are meant to be a part of your destiny, they’re not going anywhere.

I considered leaving someone once.  It was a few years ago.  Me and this person were going through an extremely rough time.  And I considered walking out on them, leaving, because the relationship was just stress and rough times.  But I didn’t.  I didn’t.  Something inside me knew that this person was a part of my life, and I was supposed to be a part of this person’s life.  Something inside of me knew that I was connected to this person for the rest of my life.  Since, we’ve left that rough place in our relationship, and are currently enjoying peace and connectedness, and wisdom and support, regardless of what’s going on.  I have since learned that leaving is not quite so easy, when your destiny is tied to that person. 

They left us, but they were never really with us.  If they had been, they would have stuck it out with us, loyal to the end.  In leaving, they showed their true colors, showed they never did belong.  -1 John 2:19 (MSG)

 

I just recently found this passage of scripture.  It has been really powerful to me.  In context, the writer of 1 John is talking about those who are not a part of the body of Christ, and those who have abandoned the faith, but I think it can also apply to those with whom we share our lives with.  If the people we share our lives with are supposed to be with us, and are supposed to be a part of our lives for a really, really long time…then they will never leave.  Should they leave, then that is the moment that we know that they are not supposed to be with us for the long haul, because they are not equipped with whatever it is that we need, in order to be successful and thrive in this relationship.  Should a person leave, don’t look longingly out of the door, don’t go through their facebook pictures, don’t lament and moan and groan over the fact that they are gone, simply know that they’re not part of your long-term life, and move on!  Don’t be hung up on someone who is clearly and obviously not hung up on you!  Don’t long for what was, and don’t ponder the “what-ifs,” go on!  Get a move on!  Grow up!  They couldn’t possibly give you what you need and what you’re asking for from them, so why do you want them in your life???  Go on!  Have the courage to make that break and look forward to what is coming!  Have the courage to make a break with that past and move on!  Do not let the unanswered questions of today hold you back from your destiny.

But Mary Beth, I love them.  Don’t you dare say that!  Don’t you dare use love as an excuse to allow yourself to be drug around by someone’s coattails, don’t you dare use love as a reason to be all depressed.  If someone is going to leave you, let them walk!  If a person truly loves you so deeply and personally, they’ll be unable to walk away.  If someone truly loves you and is truly capable of being everything you want in a person, they won’t consider leaving you for a moment, they won’t be capable of it.  Let them walk!!!  If they won’t look back at what they’re leaving, you should not waste your time with them.  Pull yourself up, pull yourself together and recognize that something greater is coming.  It may not be a person, but something greater is coming, and that is part of your destiny, that is closer to the life you’re going to live for a really long time. 

Learn to recognize the difference between people who are tied to your destiny and people who are seasonal.  Both are important, I truly believe this.  Some of the friends I’ve had for a season have been some of the most valuable and refreshing relationships I’ve ever had.  I treasure those moments, and I am so grateful that we had that time together.  I define seasonal people as the relationships you have for awhile, and then for some reason or another, the relationship  ceases to exist.  Nothing blew up or caught fire.  It just was no more.  But those people with whom you are supposed to spend the rest of your life with…you know it.  Something invigorates your soul in being around them.  You have a spark, that connection that you just simply cannot let go of, for whatever reason.  Some people define the seasonal people as those with whom you live and share life with for awhile, but then you don’t.  This can include those people that walked out.  Regardless of your definition of seasonal people, either way, there comes a time where the relationship is no more.  Not every person you meet is tied to your destiny.  And that’s okay.  It’s not a bad thing.  There’s a peace in knowing whether the relationship is seasonal or “destinal.”  And if they’re seasonal, recognize the value of what it is, when it is, and understand with compassion, when it becomes no more, and is no longer a part of your life.  Let them peacefully go.  Don’t cause havok, but let them go and chase the people who are a part of their destiny, as you chase those who are a part of yours. 

Sometimes, relationships last.  Sometimes they don’t.  As the old Adele song says:  “Sometimes it lasts in love, and sometimes it hurts instead.”  And when they don’t, this is the very time to recognize that you need to get out of that bed, get off of that couch and go live your life without them, while you wait for that person or people with whom your destiny is tied to!  Do not allow yourself to get discouraged!  Remember this, you are far too amazing to beg someone to stay with you.  If you have to beg someone to stay with you, then they’re not supposed to be with you!  Look for those people who already recognize how awesome you are and don’t need to be told why you’re so amazing!!  Go forth! 





Myers-Briggs Personality Test Results

13 09 2013

Last Saturday, I spent nearly the whole day with two of my favorite people, and helped them move out of the place they were living, and into a new home that is literally 4 minutes away from my house.  Where it was an hour away, it is now a few minutes’ drive away from me.  I am SO excited about them being closer.   Anyways, as we were packing things up in their old home, we started talking about the beginning of their relationship, and on one of the first dates they were one, she made him take the Myers-Briggs test.  (Which you can take here!)  I highly encourage you to do so!

So, I got the inspiration to take the test myself.  I’ve taken it before, and in general, my type has never changed.  But it’s nice to see if you’ve changed or grown in certain areas or shrinked in some areas.  I am INFJ, if you’d like to see an explanation of my characteristics or persona, here‘s a link to that explanation.

I’ve read the explanation before, but I don’t think it really affected me, or perhaps I haven’t read THIS explanation.  But it really affected me.  Here are some facts about me, and perhaps a little discussion:

  • INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities.   I like to think that this is true of me.
  • Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types.  Um….wow.  Let me expound upon this:  I’ve recently (within the past few months) encountered some people who have consistently told me how rare I am.  That there’s something special about me, and that is something that they cherish.  The things that they say make me special, I don’t see as a very special quality to have.  I mean, it’s just what I do.  If I listen carefully, and give a response that is reflective and sensitive, that’s just the natural response I have in sharing my life with someone.  To me, that’s nothing special…but when I look at the lives of those around me, I realize that sometimes, this response is not quite the norm.  It’s not that I haven’t believed that I am pretty awesome, but the rarity of my personality type surprises me.  This has just been something that I’ve encountered in all different walks of my life, personal, professional, you name it.
  • INFJs place great importance on having things orderly and systematic in their outer world.  I organized my junk drawer and random utensil drawer.  I have a random utensil drawer in my kitchen.  I have a daily routine each morning.  I’m surprised that OCD isn’t in the personality type description.
  • Consequently, most INFJs are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it. They are deep, complex individuals, who are quite private and typically difficult to understand. INFJs hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive.  This is pretty true to me.  There is a inner stability that I’ve always had.  No matter what, there are certain secrets and thoughts that I don’t share.  I used to think that I was an open book and that I could tell anyone anything.  To certain people, I am, but I don’t just share absolutely everything at whim.  It sometimes takes some poking and prodding before I will share a certain arena of thoughts.  And when I do, that thought process is often more filtered out than just the harsh reality that it is.
  • But the INFJ is as genuinely warm as they are complex. INFJs hold a special place in the heart of people who they are close to, who are able to see their special gifts and depth of caring.  This is rather true.  I am so grateful for the people that I share my life with that have chosen to spend their lives with me and who have seen that value in me.
  • INFJs are concerned for people’s feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone. They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive the normally peaceful INFJ into a state of agitation or charged anger.  I learned this fact about myself very recently.  It was an interesting process and fact.  I should’ve learned this sooner.  In high school, I lived in a home that was highly abusive and degrading.  My biological mother was very controlling and demanding.  As a consequence, I started to withdraw into myself and actually started a process of almost starving myself because I couldn’t handle the stress.  In my circumstance, I thought that if I ate or something like that, I would lose it later on the porcelain throne.  I experienced this at some point this summer.  I guess you continue to learn things about yourself a lot.
  • INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves – there’s always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don’t often take time to revel in their accomplishments.  Speaking of which.
  • INFJ is a natural nurturer; patient, devoted and protective. They make loving parents and usually have strong bonds with their offspring. They have high expectations of their children, and push them to be the best that they can be.
  • The INFJ individual is gifted in ways that other types are not. Life is not necessarily easy for the INFJ, but they are capable of great depth of feeling and personal achievement.  This is really encouraging to me.  I once had this roommate who simply said to me, “It’s so sad that you have such a rough life.”  No matter how happy I am or how content I am, it seems like each moment of happiness is accompanied by like 4 or 5 different potentially depressing or difficult moments/events.  The joy of a new job is compounded with a difficult process personally, a difficult relationship and a rather terrible drive.

It’s nice to learn something new about myself or appreciate something more about myself.  I appreciate these moments for what they are, and I simply wanted to share a little bit more about myself than I do typically, because I am that private person.

I’d love to hear what personality type that you are!  Feel free to hit me up (not literally)and let me know what you are!





Love begats love all the more.

26 05 2013

When love chooses, it chooses with a perfect sensitivity for the unique beauty of the chosen one, and it chooses without making anyone else feel excluded.  We touch here a great spiritual mystery:  To be chosen does not mean that others are rejected.”  -Henry J.M. Nouwen

So I am reading the book, Life of the Beloved and this was one quote that I read earlier today.  If you know anything about Nouwen, you’ll notice that I’ve quoted him before, and I doubt this will be the last time I quote him.  I value him as an author, because he makes me think about things.  He makes me think about what I believe and who I believe in, if I believe in this, or if I believe in that.  Right now in my beliefs, I struggle with identifying myself as a particular religion because that’s just where I am and that’s just what I am going through right now.  This is actually a year or longer process, but I am okay in not having a definition of what I believe precisely.  But I’m sure that’s for another day.

I’ve been learning about love lately.  And I have been thinking on quite some pretty significant thoughts lately about love.  And I’d like to share them.  You will probably assume that I’m talking about  a relationship from a particular direction or significance, and while yes, those relationships are particular and significant, that’s not really what I’m talking about here.  I hate that when someone talks about “love” it automatically gives off this idea that I’m talking about a dating relationship.  And while those are important, I don’t feel that this is the time or place to talk about that.  But really, rather, I’m talking about just love in general.

One of the very few things that I believe in is the healing power of relationships.  I believe that many of the problems that people have arise out of the way that they have been loved.  Many times, that love was not enough, or was not shown in such a way that they are sure in their hearts, that they are loved.  Those closest to me know that I have a hard time taking compliments, because I honestly struggle with whether or not I am good enough to receive such a love or compliment.  This stems from a type of emotional abuse I suffered as a child.  I was told that I was unlovable, and that no one would love me.  It is difficult for me to accept and process that love when it is given.  And many times, I simply reject or doubt the validity of the statements made, because I was told that I wasn’t worth it.  The words we say have a huge effect on other people.  I remember the moment when it was first said to me, and my self-image and worth was shattered beyond my understanding.  I am working on that.  I suppose it will be something that I work on for awhile.  Anyways, back to the point….relationships have a whole lot to do with the development of the person.  They do.  Relationships can either affirm that knowledge that you are loved (that you already have in yourself) or they can tear that knowledge down.  Either way, relationships are powerful.  And when the knowledge is ingrained within you that you are not loved is destroyed slowly but surely, by someone who loves you and is patient enough to stay with you to help you see that….there is powerful good to be had there.

When you are aware of how loved you are, there’s something explosive that happens.  When you accept it all, and become suddenly aware of it, where it was stolen from you before, there’s something amazing that happens.  The nature of love is expansive.  The nature of hate is restriction.  When you love someone very deeply, I’ve been told that your capacity to love grows.  That you suddenly have more love to give to those around you.  The thing about love is, when it is there, and fully realized, then you have the capacity for the amount of love you have to explode infinitely.  When you find love, it doesn’t mean that you love others the lesser, but your love for them grows as well.  This is a truth that many of my friends have told me, and over the years, their words echo in my ears…but it’s like I never experienced that before just recently.  It’s like I never understood it.

I don’t feel inclined to give you the specifics of the story, and I doubt you’ll even understand it all.  But as I was reading this particular page in my book, I just couldn’t stop thinking about all of the experiences I’ve had over the last few years.  I’ve fallen in love and fallen out of love.  I’ve loved and had that love die, but then grow and affect me in ways that I could’ve never imagined.  I’ve had love run away.  Love came back.  Other love ended.  I have cried over love.  I’ve also rejoiced in love.  I’ve watched love begin, and I’ve experienced specific days when love was declared.  I have loved in a new way, I’ve seen a new type of love come into my life.  But never, in these experiences of love, have I seen it shrink.  I’ve never seen it diminish or grow faint.  In fact, my capacity for love has grown throughout all this time.  It continues to grow.  Just because I love a new person does not mean that I love other people less, it just means my love inside of me continues to grow.  And trust me, by the end of my teaching career, my capacity for loving people is probably going to be really big, because I have learned to love my students greatly!

But, to echo what I just said, in all seriousness, Just because I love a new person, does not mean that I love others less.  It means quite the opposite.  It does not mean that I reject others.  And it does not mean that others mean less to me, it means that the life I live allows me to continue to love other people more.  I think that this is a really profound truth in my life.  Recently, a few babies have entered my life.  Remember when a baby entered yours.  Just because you loved that baby, does that mean that you love others less?  You loved your spouse less?  You loved your mom and dad less?  Absolutely not.  It means that your love grows and will continue to grow.

The very cool thing about love is that it is in a growing business.  Anytime that “love” is used to restrict or constrain….you can be certain, it is not love, but jealousy or selfishness.  And that is when the word “love” is being abused and misused.  That is when there’s a greater problem within the restricting soul than in the restricted.  You can be certain of that.  Love is continuously growing and evolving and changing.  At sometimes, love is commitment and devotion.  Other times, it’s passion.  Others, sorrow.  There’s joy.  There is support.  The point is, the word “love” has many more connotations than just love itself.  It changes, it grows and it evolves.

That is the love that I know and claim as love.