Question to Consider: Since I was made to last forever, what is one thing I should stop doing and one thing I should start doing today?
This answer made me smile a little bit… the first thing I need to stop doing is being anxious and scared about taking risks in what I’m doing with my life. I laugh because I have an anxiety disorder. So it’s a little funny seeing that the one thing I should stop doing involves the way I was made.
Going along with that answer, I think I need to start making more risky commitments. I think I mentioned in my last devotional how I always line things up practically because it makes me feel comfortable. Whenever finances or plans are up in the air I get extremely anxious… Like when I moved, for instance. After graduation, I moved to a new town where I really didn’t know anyone and didn’t have a job waiting for me there like a lot of people do when they move. It was sort of an emergency move, so I didn’t really have a lot of choice in the matter, but I remember just sitting around all day waiting for people to get back to me. I actually used to send myself test emails just to be sure that employers were able to contact me.
Applying for jobs has always been an issue for me because I’ve had quite a few negative working experiences in the past. I’m always worried about whether I’ll get along with my boss, what kind of work I’ll be doing, what my hours will be, etc, etc and then I have such a hard time pushing the SEND button (especially for jobs that I actually really want) because I think to myself, “Oh GOD what if I don’t get this job!?”
When I was 16 I made so many plans for my life, and I find myself not running towards those ideals because it just wouldn’t be “practical” right now. I’d love to pursue and have the courage to go after my dreams, and stop spending my time worrying about stupid details.
Questions? Comments? What would you stop doing? What would you begin doing?
“They have forgotten that below all the apparent loss, chaos, and disorder of a young man’s life there is really a central purpose and a single faith which they themselves have lost.”—Thomas Wolfe- The Web and the Rock
“Pity comes from the infinite accumulations of man’s memory, from the anguish, pain, and suffering of life, from the full deposit of experience, from the forgotten faces, the lost men, and from the million strange and haunting visages of time. Pity comes upon the neck of time and stabs us like a knife. Its face is thing and dark and burning, and it has come before we know it, gone before we can grasp or capture it. It leaves not a shrewd, deep wound, but a bitter, subtle one, and it always comes most keenly from a little thing.”—
Thomas Wolfe- The Web and the Rock
The last line is absolutely beautiful. How true it is, whenever we find ourselves sitting around on a Friday night by ourselves, that it isn’t a bitter pain but more of a dead, aching throb. I wish I could put words together like this :(
Question to consider: What would my family and friends say is the driving force of my life? What would I like it to be?
Not too sure what to say about this one…. If I had to guess I would probably have to say security. My friends and family both know that I really keep my finances in check and work my ass off and set goals for myself. I know the way I like to live and I work as much as I can to attain that level of security and comfort in my life.
I wish that when people thought of me, they thought of serving others. Actually, I just had this conversation with a friend the other night. I feel as though my life is very self-serving but she argued that I’m not. I’d like to have the courage to go where God calls me and when without thinking about taking off work and affordability and logistical factors first. I’m a very practical person in my every day life… I would like to be a little more carefree in actions in my spiritual life.
Questions? Thoughts? What do you consider your driving purpose in life?
“It was perfect, and it was the kind of folly and unreason that was characteristic of them all: the great plans and projects and the protestations they were forever making, and their ultimate surrender to impulse and emotion when the moment came.”—
Question to consider:I know that God uniquely created me. What areas of my personality, background, and physical appearance am I struggling to accept?
I think this is one of the hardest things to answer as a Christian. So often, when people want to talk about religion with me, they ask, “If there is a God, how can he let so many terrible things happen to people?”
I’m not going to go so far as to say that my life is terrible (or ever has been) but I’ve struggled a lot coming to terms with a lot of things in my life. Sob stories ensue:
My dad was an alcoholic who would get very abusive when he drank. There was definitely a history of emotional and physical abuse in his family, so he was just fulfilling a pattern instead of breaking it, but I remember so many times sitting there and hearing the terrible things he would say to and about my brothers. I also remember sitting in bed and hearing him beat the hell out of my oldest brother one night. Though I never suffered any abuse at his hands, it was still so troubling for me as a child. My brothers obviously hated him, but I was torn as to what to do. He’d never hurt me or done anything to me, but my loyalty was with my mom and my brothers. Finally, one day he just up and left. So while I know everyone has a “daddy-didn’t-hug-me-enough" story, I just want to emphasize how hard it is to actually get over that. I never understood why I wasn’t worthy enough for him to keep in touch with, and I know that’s not the right way of thinking, it was still lodged in my brain and has been for years.
My senior year of high school an older man tried to force himself on me, and while ultimately I feel I was responsible for letting him think they could do that, I felt even more ashamed when my best friend of years told me so. I never felt like I could tell anyone else after she turned me down after that, and I think that’s one of the last people I ever tried to open up to.
I’d say the last major struggle I’ve had in my life (other than lame financial issues) is my relationship with my oldest brother. We never really REALLY got along all my life, but we never hated each other. At the end of April 2010, I talked on the phone with him and everything was fine. On May 5, 2010, I woke up to a text message saying he had killed himself.
I remember sitting in my bed thinking that I just wouldn’t get out of bed, because until someone else knew I was awake, I wouldn’t have to face the reality of the situation. I thought about the funeral. I thought about contacting an old high school friend I hadn’t talked to in years whose brother also commit suicide to see how he dealt with Christmas, birthdays, Thanksgiving….
But then, I found out he faked it. Yes, my brother faked his own death as weird and disturbing as that is. And over the next few weeks, he called, texted, and Facebooked to make amends with everyone. Everyone but me. He purposely chose to not contact me anymore, even though I reached out to him and let him know that I would always love him and be there for him. Weeks went by, then months, and now here we are two years later and our relationship is still estranged. I’ve thought that maybe I’m not a good person, because I know that I shouldn’t have a hardened heart and just forgive, but there’s so much underlying all of it that I know I wouldn’t truly forgive. This issue has broken my family apart, and every day I struggle with it. I feel like this is the largest hindrance in my faith, because how can I feel that something that I have never seen, never spoken with, never touched loves me forever when two people who were obligated to love me, had their blood pumping in my veins could bail?
I go back and forth, wondering if I’m a halfway decent person. I could end all of it and just pretend like it’s all okay and sweep it under the rug like everyone else in my family did, yet I insist on refusing to speak to him until he acknowledges that he FAKED HIS DEATH and answers for what he did. Hell, I’d even be okay if he told me that he enrolled in serious counseling and was on medication. But it’s so hard for me to forgive when people aren’t willing to work on their own happiness.
So it’s a lot…especially in terms of family situations. Sometimes I sit in bed and really question why God made this happen in my life. Sometimes I understand it a little bit… I meet a person and really relate to them because of our similar family lives. Sometimes I feel immeasurably saddened by it all. I’ve gone through deep depressions would I could barely hold everything together for the day for months at a time. I’ve had anxiety attacks over laundry. I’ve been medicated. I’ve turned people away. I’ve been through hours and hours of counseling.
I know that it will all come to light eventually, but there are days like today where I simply cannot get it.
So I just started the book The Purpose Driven Life today and figured for once I would use my tumblr account for words and thoughts of my own. God knows I steal enough of everyone else’s. I’ve tried a few times to do daily devotionals but it always manages to fall through which is odd because I’m fairly disciplined about reading every night. So maybe I’ll have more motivation if I do it here… I don’t have very many followers so I don’t think a little bit of rambling will be an issue.
The first day’s question to consider is: in spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God and not myself?
Funny, because I was just thinking about how frustrated Ive been feeling about my life lately. When I was in high school, I didn’t want to even go to college… I was just going to book it and go save the world somehow. I knew there were so many places in the world that needed so much, and didn’t require a college degree for people to come help them. I truly wanted my life to be about serving others and not myself.
Wanted? Well, I still do want that more than anything. But then I went to school and found my life so full of putting myself first… Constantly working to pay rent, tuition, groceries…just random crap that is everyday life. I thought once I was out, things would change but I still feel like I just spin my wheels. I now find myself tens of thousands of dollars in debt and lusting over a new car and apartment and only thinking about how I’m going to get a better job and me, me, me.
It’s a saddening life where I feel like I worship myself instead of glorifying what really matters. What step do I take next? I don’t really know to be honest. I know that put in my work down here and God always manages to work something out for me. But I’m not sure how to find ways to be selfless in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
One thought that has been running through my head the last few years is that I truly have so many people in my life that are total and complete blessings to me. Really, I don’t deserve such amazing people at all, yet God has put them in my life. They’ve helped me through simple things, such as getting around places and helping me find jobs. They’ve helped me with huuuuuge generosities that I will never begin to repay, such as giving me a place to stay rent free until my feet are on the ground. They’ve also helped me with my mountains, such as being there and being patient through all my depressive stages and anxiety attacks. All these people who have done so much for me… And sometimes I don’t even think they know how I feel about them.
My thought for serving God in this crazy world is to be as much of a blessing to someone else as God has given me, whether it’s helping someone struggling financially or just having basic empathy. The feeling of peace I get when I can help anyone with their burdens I know is the one way that I can at least ty to be selfless. But…as with everything, it is still a work in progress.
“Against my better judgement, I feel certain that somewhere very near here somebody’s having a hilarious pint of pus taken from her lovely young body and I can’t be running back and forth forever between grief and high delight”—Franny and Zooey- J.D. Salinger
“And while people perished on the far side of the planet, other people had their teeth filled, and filed for divorce, and made love in parked cars…small simple things, yes, but as in some great nationwide darkroom, the most ordinary human snapshots would be fixed in memory by the acidic ways of war—the music, the lingo, the evening news.”—July, July- Tim O’Brien
“Outside, an ambulance or a police car went by, its siren at high emergency, and in those miserable moments it occurred to Marla that the world was indifferent to all of this, deaf to betrayal and deceit and petty passion.”—July, July - Tim O’Brien
so the other day i was at work and i saw this one kid and just asked him how he was doing, how life was. he said “ohh… so so.” usually when kids say stuff like that they’re pretty bummed about something, so i said, “SOSO?! WHY NOT HAPPY?” and this kid looked at me with the straightest face and said, “happy is a really powerful word. so is fun.” i had no idea what the fuck to say back to that so i just asked him what he meant by that and he was all, “it’s a hard thing to be truly happy.”
WHAT KIND OF DAMN KID SAYS THAT?!
but then, i thought about it the rest of the night like, “omg… he’s right… am i REALLY going to call myself happy? or am i just pleased with where i am right now in life?”
basically led to a two hour philosophy discussion with my boyfriend about standards of happiness and how fun and happiness have really just been incorporated as something necessary in the last 300 years and the evolution of happiness in general.
“They liked him as the South likes people, and likes language, and likes personalities, and likes jesting and protesting and good-humored bicker— as the South likes Earth and its humanity, which is one of the best things in the south.”—
Thomas Wolfe- The Web and the Rock
A beautiful description of life in the South. Though it’s not always true, this is how I like to imagine the world.
so i just saw a post on tumblr about the sprouse twins and i’m like oh yeah, wtf ever happened to them? so i googled them and did you know cole sprouse looks like such a fuckin hipster wth… and that was that.
“There are nice things in the world— and I mean NICE things. We’re all such MORONS to get to side-tracked, always, always, ALWAYS referring every goddamn thing that happens right back to our lousy little egos.”—
J.D. Salinger- Franny and Zooey
Instead of just having confidence in ourselves, why do we insist on posting dozens of pictures of ourselves on the internet, just to receive validation from strangers that we are attractive? Or why must we post all of our most personal, intimate writings online to know that we are wonderful writers? Or our jokes, so that strangers can determine that we are funny. And when we post something that was so gutting to write, or so hard to make ourselves look that way, and get no support from random anons… somehow, we feel less important in the world.
“Every morning the same bright sun rises, every morning the same rainbow in the waterfall; every evening that highest snow mountain glows, with a flush of purple against the distant sky, every little fly that buzzes about him in the hot sunshine has its part in the chorus; knows its place, loves it and is happy. Every blade of grass grows and is happy! Everything has its path, and everything knows its path, and with a song goes forth, and with a song returns. Only he knows nothing, and understands nothing, neither men nor sounds; he is outside it all, and an outcast.”—Fyodor Dostoevsky- The Idiot
“You know it really is true that we’re absurd, that we’re shallow, have bad habits, that we’re bored, that we don’t know how to look at things, that we can’t understand; we’re all like that, all of us, you and I, and they! And you are not offended at my telling you to your faces that you’re absurd?”—
“He didn’t watch where his brush was moving but, instead, looked directly into his own eyes, as though his eyes were neutral territory, a no man’s land in a private war against narcissism he had been fighting since he was seven or eight years old.”—
Franny and Zooey- J.D. Salinger
Maybe I’m creepy, but I’ve always loved watching people get ready to start their day in the morning. Agree?
“There are people who derive extraordinary enjoyment from their irritable sensitiveness, especially when it reaches a climax, as it very quickly does with them all. At that moment, I believe they would positively prefer to have been insulted rather than not. These irritable people are always horribly fretted by remorse afterwards, if they have sense, of course, and one capable of realizing that they have been ten times as excited as they need have been.”—
so yesterday i was driving home from work for my lunch break when i noticed a big turtle in the road. i stopped my car and thought, oh, how nice, i’ll save a turtle! i love turtles. upon closer inspection i noticed it was a snapping turtle. then the voice of God told me i had to save this damn snapping turtle, and i said, “but God! i am so effing afraid of snapping turtles!” but i had to do it anyways.
anyways, so there it was, wilin out in the road, trying to snap at me, and there i was, in my high heels and dress clothes, kicking it lightly with the edge of my shoe so that it would get the hint to move it’s ass, but instead it was just pissed.
“Can there really be Somebody up aloft who will be aggrieved by my not going on for two weeks longer? I don’t believe it; and it’s a much more likely supposition that all that’s needed is my worthless life, the life of an atom, to complete some universal harmony; for some sort of plus and minus, for the sake of some sort of contrast, and soon, just as the life of millions of creatures is needed every day as a sacrifice, as, without their death, the rest of the world couldn’t go on.”—
Fyodor Dostoevsky- The Idiot
See: Reason Not to Kill Yourself Today posts.
btw….running out of reasons. Anyone have any suggestions?