Confessions of a Woman Struggling to “even”

Sips tea… Can’t even!! Tries coffee… Nope, can’t even!! Brings out the wine… Nah, nah… Indulges in dog petting, baby admiring, meditation… hmmmmm, No… STILL CAN’T EVEN… The urban dictionary defines “I can’t even” as:

“The complete… onset of the cessation of brain activity, brought under the presence of acute stress, which fully affects the person only a short time after it strikes them. Said person, under the duress of the symptoms, demonstrates their affliction by alerting to others that they can’t even, in reference to their inability to deal with the symptoms, or their inability to perform simple actions which have been made impossible by their afflictions.”

Yep, I quoted urban dictionary because why not. Life is a struggle! A joyful, entertaining and satisfying journey but a struggle none the less. Sometimes the struggle overwhelms you, sometimes you don’t realize there’s a struggle and, countless times, you are such a boss at managing the struggle that others don’t realize that it exists in the first place. Have you ever looked at someone and thought “wow, she’s got her life under control” only to find out later that they’re a hot mess. Isn’t it funny that, when you “can’t even” (let’s see how many times I can use “can’t even” in one blogpost), everyone else seems to have things in check? This blog post is for everyone who feels like they are struggling… Homie, you are not alone! I gots you!!

I can’t even ADULT

I said it. “Adulting” is hard! The act of making life choices is one that is delicate and deserves a “handle with care” note on it. Sometimes it requires us to create (or cut) relationships that we once thought were life giving. It requires us to think through the steps, to process, to create spreadsheets and graphs of the pros and cons of all the potential routes. I am quickly realizing that the process gets complex really quick! I know I often get to a place where I pretend those decisions are nonexistent. If you’ve ever piled up mail you know what I mean.

It starts slow: you put one envelop on the table and tell yourself it will be opened later. Next thing you know, there’s a pile of envelops and you are too lazy to open them all. I often do the same with tasks, responsibilities and decisions. I have been doing that a lot lately, actually, and I probably need to open up (and sort) the different “mail” in my life. Piling things up usually seems like a good idea at the onset until you realize it isn’t. My IB teachers used to call it getting to the “bottleneck” or something like that. If you’re on that same pile-up route, maybe you should stop reading and take care of ish, yes? Yes!

I can’t even CHRISTIAN

Raise your hand if you are a perfect Christian (or Moslem, or Babist, or traditionalist or spiritualist)… Basically, raise your hand if you are perfect in exercising your faith (or lack thereof)!! Oh, you liar!! I see you!! Guys, faith is so complicated. I mean, it is and it is not – which in itself makes the whole dynamic that much MORE complicated!! So, you see, there’s no winning.

I have been a Christian for most of my life at this point and I’m still not sure how to do it “right”. I see people doing it oh so well and feel like I am not even trying. I watch my friends successfully fast during Ramadan and think “Nosi, you need to do better”. I listen to people defend their spirituality, defend atheism, stand on the street corners and tell me why scientology is the way to go and I’m out here questioning God (and his plans for my life) over and over again.

I sin, oh boy do I sin! Sometimes my sins are small, petty even, and I defend myself and cook up justifications for why that’s “not too bad”. Sometimes they are huge and I hope that I can bury it all and pretend nothing happened. Sometimes a lady has to channel the inner Joseph and flee which, let’s be honest, is easier said than done. I use sin here as my personal focus but sin may translate to different aspects of failure: the times we act contrary to what is deemed morally right; when we break the law intentionally (and sometimes unintentionally). There’s also those times we act in a way that’s contrary to the ethical and moral standards that we set for ourselves. Yeah, you get me now don’t you? There’s that one time that I had a bar of chocolate after I’d told myself I was on a diet, sin against ‘self’ right there!

I can’t even with RELATIONSHIPS

Woah, now this is a legit struggle. Why is loving so hard? I’m not just talking about intimate relationships here, I’m talking about any and every form of “SHIP”. I have a great friend circle, my family is amazing and I have some pretty good mentors but, man, keeping up with “SHIPS” can be hard. Creation and managing ties gets complicated and sometimes I lack patience. I let friends go and return to relationships I should have killed a long time ago.

In different situations, we may pursue relationships with others from a selfish perspective. We seek fulfillment, joy that we believe we can only find from others. We don’t want to be alone, we want to be loved, we want to FEEL love and in order to do this we rope people along. We forget that “SHIPS” are a two-way stream and seek to take and take without giving back. Why are we like this?

My mother taught me what  I consider to be a fundamental goal of any “SHIP” I may pursue. This goal: growth. Now let me break it down for you. Hahaha! Mama taught me that, whatever connection I create with another individual, I should be asking myself how that persons life will be better because I am in it. It is the idea that, whether a relationship lasts forever or 2 days, that person needs to look at the time they spent with me and feel like they became a better person because of it. At the point where they experience no change or, at the worst, a digression in growth then there is a problem.

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

Ok, so there are a lot of areas that I think “I can’t even” in but these three are some main ones. The beauty of it all, however, is that I am not alone. I have conversations with people in my life and realize that our struggles are oh so similar. If you are like me and often feel like your struggles are not experienced by anyone else but you, you’ve got it all wrong. We are here, we are many and we understand. We understand that sometimes decision making is hard; that loving and living can get complicated; that faith needs a lot of work and shortcoming should be met with love.

I believe in freedom albeit I find myself believing it for others more than myself. The existence of freedom means that we always have a right to choose and that, while we can wallow in our struggle to “can”, we have the freedom to work on the areas that we struggle in. I believe that freedom allows us to learn where we need to and continuously do better in areas where we struggle.

I believe in grace for others and for myself. I know that perfection is overrated and therefore refuse to conform to the expectation of a perfect me. Sorry not sorry!! It is often easier to offer grace to others and hold it back from ourselves. I listened to a podcast the other day and someone spoke on how she tries to reason (and have conversations) with herself like she was talking to someone else. While that is a little weird, hehehe, I love the concept because it, somewhat, makes you a tad bit nicer to yourself.

I am constantly learning how to exercise freedom in my life and have grace for myself! Every day gives an opportunity to do this better than yesterday. I advocate for grace and freedom to “self” and believe that success comes in allowing the days of struggling to be building blocks rather than opportunities to stumble.

So, this Monday, how’s about you cut yourself some slack, give yourself some grace and exercise your freedom. While you’re at it, I’ll be out here trying to do the same thing!

(P.S. I used “Can’t even” 11 times if you weren’t counting)

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I’m Going To GUATEMALA!!!!

In T-18 days I’m headed to Guatemala!!!Whoop Whoop!!!!! Words cannot even begin to describe how excited I am for this trip, how expectant I am for all that God is yet to do and how, on the flip side, that adds one more region on my travelling directory. (Everyone has one of those right?)

The Background Story

      Coming into college, I had a lot of reservations. For one, the State, no one seems to know where Oklahoma is and if they do the only reason is they have heard about the tornados down here. Surprise!!! I was anxious about the church: Would I find the ‘right’ church (‘right’ in inverted commas because, truth is, God exists and works regardless of where you go to church because the Holy Spirit lives in you, yah?)? Would I WANT to go to church – and in that (sorry dad) a part of me felt like I had gone to church enough growing up and “maybe I should take a break because the parents won’t know”. All those anxieties were dealt with, Thank goodness.

 

The Right time

      In my anxieties being dealt with, a lot of “me” was changed, grown and matured, especially in this past year (note: my year runs July to June. yay college life).I think, more than any other, it has been a year where God has worked on my heart, mended some things, tore down some walls and awakened some dreams. And man, was that hard!!!I think sometimes when you are made to realize things about yourself that you didn’t think were there, there’s a lot of denial, maybe some anger and finally, when you do accept it all, there is a lot of running away. At the end of the day though, I CONQUERED!! And coming out of this past year, this trip marks an end and a beginning – An end to fear and holding back, an end to hiding behind walls and boulders. It marks the beginning of walking out in faith, believing for the impossible, taking God’s vision and running with it ~ head on!!!

When Jesus Says yes (It’s a song)

      So it might sound like the perfect picture right – it’s all good, you decided to go on a mission trip and then you go. Easy right? Nope!!! (Hopefully) I am not the only one who hears God tell me something and then find a million reasons why He didn’t really say it. For me it was things like, “I’ve never been on a mission trip so it’ll be better to wait”, “I don’t speak any Spanish, what’s the point”, “I’m not at the right place with Jesus (or Spiritually even) to go on a mission trip”. The list is endless. And then there was, of course the big one…DRUMROLL… Money. Hey, I’m a broke college student, I had to take a summer class and those Benjamin’s don’t come by that easily. Rationally, if I was going to ask my parents for that much money, it made sense to go home to Swaziland for the rest of the summer. I couldn’t send support letters either so, in my head, I really just had to raise my mission trip money on my ace one way or the other.
           Fortunately God has already seen it fit for me to go, and when the big guy says something has to happen, it happens. I have been blessed over the last month or so to see money coming in from different places to support my trip. I have seen people give generously, some of them people I haven’t even had conversations with about my trip. It has been so, so humbling to have people reach out like that. It is hard to express in words the emotions that I have felt: the appreciation, the awe, the “I’m overwhelmed by this generosity I might cry”. Each one of the people who have partnered with me has again reminded me of God’s goodness, of his love and just even how he paves all our ways.

All that to say, money has been coming in from places I didn’t expect and it’s awesome!!!!

Countdown Things

           As the day approaches, I get more excited. Excited about the group that I get to go to Guatemala with ~ somebody say AHHHMAZING TEAM!!!! Excited to see the team get fully funded, IT’S GONNA HAPPEN!!!Excited to partner with Jesus, UHHH YES!!!!And reminded, daily, to trust him, listen an obey!!!!

GUATEMALLLLLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAA aaaIIIIIIII!!!!!

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 [AMP]