And I Thought I Felt Like Garbage Before

Someone made me feel like a pathetic piece of crap tonight. He didn’t say anything negative about me, but his comment cut me at my core. It sent me into a nagative headspace in which I’m reminded that no one in their right mind would want me. 

If you asked my BFF’s to describe me they would tell you that I’m witty, smart, aware of my worth, talented and straightforward. Often times I feel like that’s true, but today I’m the polar opposite.

I’ve talked about how lonely and isolated I feel a lot lately. People close to me laid out all kinds of things they felt were wrong about me, and I haven’t heard much from them since. It’s frustrating to feel like I have to be perfect because right now, what I feel is pain. 

I was reminded that no matter what I’m good at or how I make people feel, I’m still fat, which is among the worst things a person in the U.S. can possibly be. Forget that I spread kindness wherever I go. Who cares that I have a big heart filled with love and that I give it away everyday? 

I’ve come so far. I’ve made incredible strides, but it doesn’t matter because I’m not “hot.” (Please spare me the patronizing comments about how I’m not ugly.) 

I know that the world isn’t fair; I realized that as a child. In spite of that, I’ve almost always managed to find silver linings. I’ve always recognized that there will be good days and bad days. I know that this is a rough season that I’ll eventually get through, but right now I’m hurting. It sucks. 

I hate that it’s so awful to be fat; I hate that I’ve tried to change it and failed. I hate that I let societal opinions (as messed up and unacceptable as they are) take up space in my thoughts. 

The reality is that I will feel better. I won’t allow these feelings to linger forever, but they’ve already made room in my head for far too long. 

I know that God wants more for me, and I wish I could stop the pity party long enough feel renewed by Him now. I’ve cried. I’ve called out to Him. I’ve fallen, repented, waited, and now I guess I have to wait some more. 

Now, as I sit and listen to my favorite band of all time, I’m reminded once again – “no matter how cold the winter, there’s a springtime ahead.” 

I hope I find my way back soon….

I’m Not Ready…Yet

After my last post I read through what I wrote and reflected on it, and one thing became clear: I’m not ready for the kind of relationship that I want. I felt ready at one point, but a lot has changed. I’ve changed.

When I take an honest look at my life, I’m not satisfied with everything. I have moments of joy – like when a friend I’ve been talking about with God for months calls me and says, “I’m totally lost. It’s been a long time since I’ve put God first in my life, but I’m ready. Can we talk?,” or when I spend minutes or hours in worship feeling the outpouring of God’s presence. 

I enjoy spending time with my family, and my nieces never fail to bring a smile to my face. I’m happy when I’m relaxing with friends in my rooftop pool or when I’m spending an evening with friends at a small group or having coffee, etc.

I experience a lot of enjoyment, but right now I’m struggling to find satisfaction. I’ve tried finding satisfaction without asking God for it on several occasions, and I’ve done it a lot lately. Doing it my way feels good too…until I realize that I’m still craving more. (This applies to food, attention, intimacy, etc.)      

Lately it’s been hard to admit that I’m struggling because I feel condemned for it. I’m not perfect; I’m not pretending to be. I suck at having patience, and I know that God wants to work in me. I’m just not sure what His plan is.

I know He loves me. I know He’s with me, and I know He’ll never leave me. I’m just not sure what im doing. I’ve let Him down so many times, and I’m still not getting it right. I’m just not sure what He wants from me right now.

Someone wise told me that God isn’t going to give me someone to love just because I’m lonely. He’s going to wait until I’m ready, which means He’s preparing me…which means I have to wait. (I’m not good at waiting because I don’t want to!)

I do know that God is smarter than I am. I know His ways are always better. I can look back and see how incredibly faithful He has been, which reminds me that I have absolutely no reason to doubt Him. 

My sincere prayer right now is that God will change my heart and line up my will with His. I want to desire more of Him and less of the other things that have led (or could lead) me into sin. I want Him to show me what He wants from me, then I need Him to give me the strength to do it. I’m weak, and in my weakness I want Him to mold me into someone who is living a fulfilled life. I want to serve His purpose, and I want Him to fill in all of the gaps.

I want Him to eliminate the distractions that are keeping me from moving forward, and I need Him to heal the hurt and anger that I feel toward people who have let me down. I want and need a lot from God. It’s a good thing He’s all-knowing and all-powerful, isn’t it?

I may not be ready for some of the things I want, but I know God’s working in me. I wouldn’t be feeling any of this if He wasn’t. That’s oddly comforting to me, and today, that’s enough. 

—–

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not grow weary; they shall walk and not faint. 

Isaiah 40:31
         

Crying Out

I’ve never been skinny as an adult. Actually, I was a chubby kid too, but there were years in which I didn’t think about how I looked. I felt normal, and I’ve wished for that most of my adult life. 

The last few days have been eye-opening for me. I realize, once again, that I’m not where I want to be – in my body, in my relationship with God, in relationships with others. I mean, I have a few solid friends and an awesome family, but I find myself looking forward to spending more time alone than usual. 

I think I’m just tired. The semester is over, but work isn’t. I understand that it’s real life; I understand that I choose to leave my house most mornings around 7:30 only to return home around 10 pm after a day of work, other fun and interesting responsibilities and socializing. 

I also realize that I have it better than many; my life is good. I don’t have every single thing that I want, but I have most of it. I don’t lack anything I need. I’m just not content.

I spend time alone with God everyday, though not as much as I did before I began this job and started desiring things that don’t line up with His will. I’m going to be more intentional in my time with Him – reading, worshipping and listening. (I’m terrible at the latter part. I’m impatient…I mean, I am seriously tired of waiting to discover His plan for my life.) 

My weight is also a big struggle, and I think it’s causing me to seek rest in this little funk that I’m in. As I type this, I can’t escape the reality of my body’s size. Looking down I see more of it than I did two years ago, and I hate that. I hate it…I am fully aware that it is my responsibility to change it, but I just don’t fight hard enough to do it. Some would say that I don’t love myself enough to do it. 

I do love myself. I really do. I think that I’m lovable too. The disdain I feel regarding my body doesn’t stem from some inner hatred of myself. I know what that feels like, and that’s not where I am now. It stems from society. It stems from worthless strangers who would have me believe that being fat is the worst thing I could ever be. 

I didn’t just start hating the way I looked again. It didn’t happen until I realized that after everything I put into being healthier, I was still just seen by so many as an ugly lump of crap that was of no value. 

This little season of my life (over the last few months) has been exhausting. I want to lean on God and let Him fill me with all of the warm, fuzzy feeings that arise in me when I know He’s with me. I just don’t feel it right now. I know He’s here, watching me, waiting to pick me when I fall, waiting to open His arms when I run to Him. I’ve felt hints of that over the last two weeks, but right now I feel empty. 

I feel angry that I was so tempted to be with someone who isn’t available to me because I liked the affection and how  he made me feel. I also feel resentful that I have so much love in my heart to give and no one (no man who loves me back) to give it to. I’m aggravated by people who spout the, “Well, you have to love yourself before anyone else can love you” crap because I see lots of people everyday who are more messed up than me and in relationships with people that they love. (Seriously, if you’re reading this skip the love yourself stuff, so I don’t dream of kicking you in the chins.) 

I’m lonely. It’s pathetic, but I’m human. I don’t want a random guy. I want to meet the guy. Hell, at this point, I’d just like to believe he exists and that someday I’ll get to do life with him. 

I’d like to think that somewhere there’s someone who will hug me on rough days, seek a closer relationship with God on his own and with me, celebrate my birthday for a week and remove bugs when they’re near me. 

There have been moments in my life in which I felt so full of joy that I didn’t care if I ever met thhe Future Mr. Kenlie, and those moments were when I as experiencing the overwhelming presence of God. I know He’s here, and I know He’s willing to use me even when I feel unworthy (you know, all the time.) I just want to love a human too. 

He gave me these desires, and now all I can do is hand them back over to Him. They’re crushing me, so I’m surrendering right now. 

God,

You see my desires. and my weaknesses. You said that I’ll seek You and find you when I seek you with all of my heart. I’m trying. Okay, I was trying, and now I want to try again. Help me, God. Know my heart, and renew me.

You said that You’ll give me the desires of my heart when they line up with Your will, so here I am…surrendering every feeling of desire, loneliness, and resentment. Have Your way in my life, and line up my will with yours. Thank you for everything You’ve done for me and everything that You’re going to do. 

Clean out my heart and wash away everything that is not of you, and give me peace…Prepare me for my future, and fill my heart with unshakable joy that can only come from you. 

In Jesus’ name,

 Amen

This is all I know to do. God already knows my heart and my innermost thoughts. He also knows my desire to do His will and my desire for immediate gratification. He knows every flaw, and He loves me anyway. He doesn’t judge me as harshly as people do, and I’m thankful for that too. 

I seriouly hope that I can share my feelings of joy and peace soon because I’m tired of carrying these burdens. I need rest, so I’m going to start trusting that God’s got this. 

—–

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 

Matthew 11:28


Tangled Webs, Deception and Freedom

Right now there’s a lot of controversy surrounding a popular blogger who lied about some big things. No, I’m not that blogger. (Whew!) But I used to lie a lot. I still lie sometimes. I’ve been careful not to do it on my blog, but for a long time I lied to everyone. I get it. I’m not going to write a post defending her actions, but I do feel empathy toward her.

There are things from my past that are hard to talk about..hard to think about…that caused me to make mistakes that I shouldn’t have. Most people remember bright spots in their childhood, but I remembered the bad parts for a long time. I don’t talk about those things here because they’re too private. I don’t want to relive the past. I dealt with the issues, but I had to crash first.

I hit rock bottom a few years ago. I spent over a decade pretending to be someone I wasn’t. I didn’t do it because I felt the overwhelming need to impress everyone (though there were times when that was the case.) I did it I because my formative years were excruciating in some ways, and I became conditioned to be dishonest. I took responsibility for that a long time ago.

My sister grew up in the same place I did. We saw things that kids shouldn’t have to see, and we witnessed hurts that no one should have to endure. She didn’t become a liar. In fact, she grew into the opposite while I lied enough for the both of us.

I lied to get attention at times, but most of the time I lied because I didn’t realize that I could actually be who I wanted to be. I lived in a snowball effect of self-hatred, and it was easier to pretend that I was some  sort of impressive, elitist game changer than it was to pursue a path to become a person who facilitated change. I’m in my mid-thirties and just started figuring this out a few years ago even though it should have been obvious the whole time.

In short, it’s easy to say that lying is wrong, and it definitely is. The reasons that we do it just aren’t always quite so black and white. I didn’t do it to put one over on people, nor did I do it to be impressive. I lied because I despised myself and my life. I didn’t like the person I had become, and I felt completely worthless and helpless to change any of it. 

I lied for myself. It started as my attempt at self-preservation, and it turned into a way that I could feel loved (even though it wasn’t real.) I didn’t do it to hurt other people, but I did. I hurt people I was close to, many of whom forgave me without another thought. They allowed me to rebuild their trust, and now I have stronger relationships than I ever could have imagined.

There were a few who weren’t so gracious, and I get it. There are people who don’t think that I deserve forgiveness, and I realize that I have to accept that. I forgive myself anyway. I don’t need their approval the way I once did. Thankfully, most of the people in my life have shown grace.

I think that’s one of the reasons I’m drawn to God too. We all make mistakes; we all sin. (Romans 3:23) He offers enough grace and mercy to cover us every single day. I don’t have to live in shame and unforgiveness because Jesus paid the price for every single sin before I even knew I’d commit it.

The blogger I mentioned in the beginning of this post lied, and there’s no excuse for it. I’m just saying that I feel for her because I know how hard it is to stop lying once you start. I’ve been there, and I think that if we’re all honest, we’ve all been there. She took it too far, and I’m not defending her actions.

When I lied I didn’t do it because it was fun; I did it to cover up the emptiness, loneliness, isolation, guilt, lethargy and shame that I allowed to define me. I lied to cover those things up. I figured that it was easier to falsely impress someone at least for a while than it would be to let them know me because if they knew who I really was, what would there be to like?

I was tired of feeling lonely, but I felt lonely anyway. Lying didn’t bring me closer to people. It helped to create surface relationships, but nothing lasted because I couldn’t let anyone know who I was. I hate that I wasted so many precious years trying to make everyone like me. I regret wasting so much time before realizing that I’d rather have a few friends who genuinely know me and like me than to be surrounded by people who never scratched the surface.

When I started blogging I learned that I could be myself and that people would probably still like me. When I started making friends in New Orleans, I laid everything out upfront. I told many of my friends, starting with Clint (aka The Suit) and many people at NOLA Church, that it was hard for me to be honest. I explained that it was rarely my default response, and through lots of prayer and graciousness from the people sitting on the front row of my life, I began facing the truth and putting into practice. (James 5:16-17 is pretty clear about how to handle that.)

I’m still tempted to lie sometimes pretty often. (I proved that recently when I talked about my potential to enter into an adulterous thing in a previous post.) Sometimes lying feels easier in the moment, but it gets out of control quickly.

I am so thankful that I’m no longer a slave to the self-loathing and lies that I used to allow to define my existence. I’m so thankful for God’s incredible and unwavering mercy that allows me to live in freedom every day. I’m thankful for the second chance that I received, and I sincerely hope that the popular blogger gets a second chance as well.

*****

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Romans 7:18 

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

James 5:16-17

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe I Can Be A Morning Person After All

I’ve been going through a period of adjustment lately, and I’m surprised that it hasn’t been more taxing. I thought it would feel really harsh to wake up at 6 am, but it’s not as awful as I feared it might be. Sunday afternoon I wasn’t looking forward to waking up early, but once Monday came it wasn’t too bad. I like what I’m doing at work, which makes it pleasurable to go in. 

I miss seeing my early afternoon Starbucks buddies, but I see most of them when I’m there to tutor, have meetings and/or coffee with friends, etc. Life doesn’t feel terribly different than it did before this transition, which makes me think that being a morning person isn’t so bad. I actually love that I’ve accomplished so much by 9 am. 

I’m not sure what my next step will be. ( Well, I have an idea, but nothing definite yet.) I just know that I’m much more open to the idea of getting to work early most mornings. That frees me up to do some things that I wasn’t willing to do previously. 

Who knew that growing up could be so rewarding and not at all dreadful? 😉 

An Honest Look At My Weight

I lost four pounds last week. Having a schedule that requires me to plan what I’m going to eat has definitely been helpful, but I had mixed emotions after looking at some photos that my friend, Simone, took of me over the weekend. 

  

I know I’ve gained a lot of weight. I don’t beat myself up for it because that doesn’t lead to positive results (at least not in the long run.) I don’t try to hide it, nor do I feel sorry myself. My weight gain, which happened for the most part last year, came as a direct result of choices that I made. I’ve talked about them here many times before, so I’ll skip that today. 

The added weight feels more noticeable now that it’s back than it did before I ever lost it. I’m still thankful that I stopped myself before I gained it all back, but I’ve gained enough to feel a significant shift. It’s incredibly visible too when I look at photos of myself from 2010, 2011, and 2012 compared to now. 

It’s easy to get frustrated, but that won’t yield any postive results. It’s just hard to recognize and admit that I don’t look or feel how I want to. I dress well, and I am well-groomed. I don’t feel ugly. In fact, I’ve been feeling kind of pretty a lot lately. (Thank you, GwynnieBee.) I’m just still aware of changes that I need to make. 

Life is so much better than it was a few years ago. I’m more content on the inside than I’ve ever been, but I also know that there’s more work to do on the outside. I’m glad I lost 4 pounds this week. Now I’m working toward being smaller next week, which has happened several times this year. 

I know that if I shed some of the excess I’ll feel better than I do now even though I don’t feel awful (yet.) I’d rather see the scale move down than move up, and it seems like the only way to make that happen is to go back to tracking everything that I put in my mouth. I started doing that when I started my new position, and it definitely makes me more congnizant of what I’m doing.

It’s incredibly frustrating, but I don’t hate myself for messing up so much of the work that I put into getting healthy. The truth is that I love myself enough to see my needs here and to change them. 

This road is a long and tedious one, but I’m still here…still not indulging in everything I want and recognizing that I spent far too much time trying to fill the gaping hole in my heart with food again last year. 

Now I’m focusing more on seeing myself the way God sees me, and I’m asking Him to be strong in my weakness. He promised to do that before I ever asked, and now I’m finally starting to take Him up on it in several areas of my life (including this one.)

I’m bigger than I want to be, and I’m working toward fixing that. It’s not my top priority, but at least it’s back in my top 5. I need to incorporate exercise back into my daily life, which means I may have to skip other things. (More on that later.)

I have a long way to go, but it feels like I’m moving in the right direction. 

The Slippery Slope of Temptation 

We all know that sometimes doing the right thing is hard; sometimes it just sucks. I’ve been struggling with desires that aren’t exactly in line with what God wants for me (and by ‘not exactly in line’ I mean absolutely not in line with His will.)

I used to be really closed off. I know that’s hard to believe because I’ve been spilling my guts here for years, but it’s true. I like attention, and I don’t have to work hard to get it these days. That can be a good thing, but it isn’t always. 

I’d love to say that I don’t know what draws people to desire a friendship/relationship with me when I meet them, but I know exactly what it is. I have a pretty positive outlook. I have some cool characteristics to offer. I’m friendly, sincere, and I extend a lot of grace because it’s been extended to me. I listen more than I talk, which is a relatively new characteristic for me. (I’m still striving to improve that one.) In short, I’m kind of cool, blah,blah, blah…and I love people. 

A few months ago I met someone that I had seen nearly everyday for months prior. He’s tall and handsome, and I often felt the desire to pray for him even though I didn’t know him. Earlier this year a mutual friend introduced us, and a friendship was born. There hasn’t been a single day that we’ve crossed paths without him hugging me, having a seat, and exchanging stories about our day, our past, our favorite grocery store, etc. 

He’s adorable and easy to talk to, and lately I’ve found myself struggling to keep boundaries in place in my mind even though he’s married. We have absolutely not done anything inappropriate outside of my agreement with his acknowledgment that we need to be careful with each other. We’re always in public, and we’re typically surrounded by other people that I know who come in to chat. I’ve just noticed that I think about him even when he’s not there. (I’m thinking about him now, and he’s not here.) 

I’m acknowledging this here for a couple of reasons: 1. It’s the truth, and I face the truth now even when I don’t like it, and 2. Loving Jesus doesn’t mean that life suddenly becomes perfect. Yes, He paid the price for my sins, and He extended His grace because without it, I’d be damned to hell. I’m so thankful for that, but I still struggle with doing the right thing. Right now I’m struggling more than I’d like to admit, but I’m facing it anyway. 

Religion likes to make us believe that once we become believers that we’ll no longer have problems. Religion urges us to act as though we no longer face temptation. God didn’t promise that life would be filled with sunshine and rainbows. Actually, Paul said just the opposite. In some ways, at least in this moment for me, it’s harder to fight the desire to sin. I didn’t feel tempted nearly as often when Satan wasn’t bothered by me; now he preys on my weaknesses, so I have to be on guard constantly. 

I have no plans to act on any of the thoughts that have played in my mind over the last week or so, nor will I be throwing him on the floor to do ungoldly things at any point…ever. I just won’t. I value myself more than that, and I value my relationship with God a lot more than that. There are lines that I simply won’t cross, but it would be naive of me to think that I’m immune to falling on my face if I try to deal with this without inviting God into the situation. (God knows I’ve done it a million times in different circumstances.) 

The thing is…Jesus was very clear when He said that anyone who even looks at another person lustfully has already committed adultry in his heart. (Matthew 5:28) Ouch!

God takes repentance very seriously, yet I seem to be struggling with turning away from my sinful thoughts (which include a desire for more attention from him among other things.) Confessing these feelings won’t change anything unless I stop giving them space in my mind, yet I’m having trouble wanting to do that too. 

The man is often at a place that I frequent, and that won’t likely change in the immediate future. I like him. I want to be his friend. I want him to experience the love and grace that I’ve experienced since getting to know Jesus. I just need to get out of the way so that can happen. 

Proverbs 19:23 says that the fear of the Lord leads to life, and He who has it will abide in satisfaction. In Monte’s sermon yesterday, which was timely, he said that living satisfied is a choice. Jesus is all I need, and I know that if I focus on Him, he’ll work this out just as He has in every other situation. 

My goal is to focus on who He is, to worship Him, and to fill my mind with gratitude for that and all He’s doing. He’ll just have to take care of the rest, and He will because, you know, He’s God and everything. 

Obesity and Energy Levels

I receive a lot of unsolicited advice about my “health,” and most of the time I appreciate it because people care enough to say something. It’s an important issue, but my size doesn’t accurately portray my energy level to many looking at me from a distance. 

Say what you want about my need to lose weight. That’s an undisputable fact, but I’m going to brag about my energy levels for a moment. 

I get up around 6 am during the week, and I’m up almost as early on Sunday mornings. Most days I’m away from home for more than 12 hours at a time. I’m gnerally not the “sit on the sofa while eating pizza while binging on Netflix” type, though I did make an exception for House of Cards. I’m the “wake up, hit the ground running, let’s smile because it’s finally time to be awake” type (at least most days.) 

I sleep well. When my head hits the pillow, it usually isn’t long until I’m dreaming. I typically feel rested when I wake up. I indulge in occassional Sunday naps, but it’s not a requirement…not even close. 

I have more energy and endurance than a lot of people who are much smaller than I am, but I don’t have as much as I had two years ago. This isn’t a post about comparing myself to other people because I don’t do that; this is about me. 

I’m aggravated with myself because I gained a significant amount of weight back, but I’m doing better. I’m consistenly eating less and making better choices. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but it’s been better for the last few months. 

My routine feels pretty solid now, but I need to exercise more than I do. I need to do it consitently because I know that it will lower my stress levels and increase my energy levels. It’s a win-win, so why am I struggling to do it? 

I’m busy from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep. I enjoy everything I do, so rarely does it feel like burden. I’m thankful for that. I don’t prioritize my workouts, which is no secret here. I know that needs to change, which is also not a secret. 

I know that I need to continue taking steps in the a healthier direction. I’m doing that by cooking chicken in my slow cooker and bringing my lunch to work, making more time to get enough sleep, drinking water, and eating vegetables. I know that there’s so much more to do. 

I just find it a little frustrating (and silly) that people (though most of them mean well) spend their time and effort telling me how I should detox, or how I should do this or that because it will give me more energy, etc. It’s odd because those people (the recent ones) aren’t as healthy, balanced, or energized as I am. They’re just skinnier. 

I don’t offer a lot of unsolicited advice, but if I did, I’d start by suggesting that people offer less unsolicited advice. I’d follow that up with the need to recognize that our looks don’t always portray everything that’s happening on the inside. In fact, it rarely does. 

This isn’t something that I plan to lose sleep over. It’s just a little PSA for those well-intentioned, yet misguided folks. I’m okay. I could sugarcoat what I’m about to say, but it’s not intended to be mean:

If you’re talking about this with me and I yawn, it’s probably just because these talks bore me. Thank you for caring. Just take a bit more time to pay attention to the reality of my situation if you’re going to comment on it. I’m juggling my priorities right now, and I’ll keep trying to do better. 

—–

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. 

Collossians 3:17

Two Years Later

I can’t believe that it’s been two years since I first walked in to NOLA Church. I know I gush about it frequently, but it’s because of the incredible impact being there has had on my life. 

When I arrived I was broken and in desperate need of the radical life change that Paul described in Romans. I was drowing in sin, directionless, and I was scared to change any of it. 

I thought I had to get my act together before I could turn to God. I knew what the Bible said about repentance, which is the act of turning away from sin. I just wasn’t ready to turn away; I honestly didn’t know where to begin.

My sins felt so big; my shame felt all-encompasing. At the same time I was filled with pride. I wanted the folks around me to know that I had grown up in church. I know verses like Romans 3:23 and Jeremiah 29:11. I had tons of Bible passages memorized, even the one in John when Jesus says that we’ll have troubles, but don’t worry because He’s overcome the world. (John 16:33)

I knew all about Him, but it wasn’t until I showed up (and kept showing up) that I began to understand the difference between knowing about Him and having a relationship with Him.

I wrote about that a year ago. Those changes were significant, but I’ve gone through many new changes over the last 365 days. I’m definitely still in a season of major change, but it’s cool to look back at where I was and where I am right now.

At this time last year I had experienced a lot of growth, but I was still struggling with surrender. I struggle with it now, but it’s not as hard to invite God into my situations as it once was. 

The first time I met with my pastor, Monte, he said, “Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable” or something like that. I remember looking at him like he was crazy (and a little scary) because I love comfort. I seek it constantly…through food, relationships, and all kinds of other things that provide momentary satisfaction. I didn’t understand what he meant back then, but I do now. 

Surrender isn’t easy; it’s not comfortable, but it’s important to recognize that without God, I’m nothing. I mean, if you know me, you know that I haven’t always made perfect choices. I’ve made mistakes; I’ve been too dependent on things for satisfaction. I’ve been wrong a lot. 

In January of last year I had an opportunity to surrender my feelings to God, and I said, “no way.” I was prepared to fight Him for something that I didn’t really want instead of asking what He wanted from me. I did things my way once again because it was too scary to let go, and as a result I went through a lot of unecessary pain. 

For months I refused to ask God to intervene in that circumstance. I gave other things up (things that I liked that I knew didn’t please Him,) which made me feel as though I had given up enough. (Uh, note to self: God’s way is so much better.) I did not yet understand that I’ll never surrender something to Him that He doesn’t replace with something better. 

In July of last year I had an even bigger crisis of faith. I wasn’t prepared to give God what was already His in financial circumstances (tithing,) and after the realization that God doesn’t need my money, I started tithing because I wanted to put Him first in every part of my life (even money.) That wasn’t exactly easy to do because I like to be in control. I’ve always taken pride in being autonomous, and I still am. I just choose to say, “Hey God, I trust you to be My Provider,” and He has been so faithful. (God is awesome like that.) 

Life didn’t suddenly become perfect because I love Jesus. I still struggle with food and other things. I know that my desire to eat more than I should is something I have to surrender. (Again, I’ve proven that I can’t do it on my own.) I’ve also been open about how hard it is to turn away from it.) I just know that life without God sucks, but knowing Him gives me so much hope. 

In looking back I see that I’ve grown in my relationship with God. I’m not as self-centered as I was, and I love sharing His love with everyone I meet. I want others to feel the peace, joy, and contentment that I feel because of His mercy and unconditional love. I get passionate about it because  it has radically altered my entire life. 

I couldn’t have imagined all of the amazing changes that I would experience the first time I went to NOLA Church. I am so thankful for God’s love and for the community of people there who have walked with me on this incredible journey so far. 

I’m humbled and amazed by God’s willingness to use me as His vessel, and I’m already looking forward to seeing where that leads in the next year. As long as Jesus stays at the center, I know it will be better than I can imagine.

*****

You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.

Romans 2:3-4 (The Message)

Are Cankles A Job Hazard?

I feel like I’m adjusting well to life at the office, but I’m having one issue that I wasn’t expecting. My feet and ankles are swelling.

Is it safe to assume that it’s because I’m sitting a lot more than normal? Several people have said that, but why would sitting make your feet swell? What should I be doing to combat it?

I’ve been taking my lunch to work each day, and I’ve made packed healthy and well-balanced meals. I’m also drinking a lot of water. I bring it by the gallon, so I can refill my pretty Starbucks tumbler all day.

I’m not incorporating exercise into my daily routine yet, but I know that will help the swelling too. Won’t it?

It’s amazing to realize how much I move around on an average day. Coming here has definitely made me much more sedentary than I was, so I need to figure out how to be active during the days that I’m here too.

I walk to the far restroom when I need to go, and I spend my little breaks walking around the building. I just need to do more, and I’m not sure where to start. I’m only here Monday through Thursday of most weeks, but that’s a big chunk of time.

I’m eating healthier things, and I’m going to bed earlier. I’m drinking water, and I need to exercise.

Does anyone have ideas to help reduce the swelling? If so, I’d love to hear them.