Validation from a stranger

“Stop condemning yourself,” she said as she laid her hand on me. I took this with a grain of salt as she continued speaking. “You’ve already been forgiven, you don’t need to condemn yourself anymore.”

Powerful, right? Yeah, that was about the point I burst into sobs for about the fourth time last night. All this from a complete stranger. Again, I had never met her and she had never met me. How did she know what I needed to hear?

She didn’t. God did. I’ve already admitted to myself, and everyone else through this blog, that I am my own harshest critic. And not in the way that makes me try harder to be a better person (although I do this as well), but more in a way that causes me to agonize over everything. And, while I know I do this, I can’t seem to let it go. I know the first step to letting this go is recognizing the problem. But I also need to hold myself accountable for the times I’m actually putting myself through the wringer.

And with this kind stranger’s words last night, I finally heard that God knows I do this. God knows I can’t let my past indiscretions go. He knows I feel I should be punished, and I punish myself any chance I get. But he’s already forgiven me. And while I thought I knew that before last night, hearing this woman deliver God’s message directly to me validated everything for me.

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Regrets? Yep.

I don’t believe anyone who says they don’t have any regrets in life. I used to think I was one of these people.

If everything happens for a reason, then I’m not really responsible for what I do because it is all part of God’s plan, right? Wrong.

I can’t justify my past poor decisions as God’s will. But I can recognize that they were poor decisions and work to make good decisions in the future. I’m not proud of my recklessness, but for reasons I can’t fathom I came out of a lot of dangerous situations unscathed. 

I know I will stray from the path in the future. I know I won’t stray as far as I did in the past.  

Excuse me, do you have the time?

I don’t. I’m a product of our American society. I’ve always felt rushed, rarely feel rested and have a never-ending list of things I want to do before I bite the dust (more to come on this topic in a later post).

I have always struggled with time management. Not at work, I’m great at managing how long I can spend on a project. But time as it pertains to life has always eluded me. First, it was the school/life balance. Learning how to manage school, after-school activities, a part-time job and friends while still finishing my homework and getting enough sleep at night was tough. Add in a sleep disorder and I had a whole bundle of stuff to deal with.

Now, I  find myself in the same situation, just with different elements. I struggle to find the hours in the day to do everything I want and need to do. Two hours for transportation to and from work, 8  hours (sometimes more) of work each day. Come home, eat dinner. Relax before an early bedtime (still have some sleep issues to deal with).

I’ve tried a lot of different methods to combat my issues with time and energy. Vitamins. Iron supplements. Different diets. But it’s taken me this long to realize that maybe I just need to chill out. Maybe this isn’t just my struggle. Maybe it’s everyone’s struggle. And they seem to deal with it okay. And while they’re most likely not nearly as high-strung as I am, they aren’t much different than me.

Regardless, I’m recognizing that my inability to chill out and take things as they come is hindering me. Constantly feeling like I don’t have time is a huge pressure to deal with. And while I can accept that I’m somewhat of a basket case and I’ll probably always have sleep issues, I shouldn’t let this rule over me as I have in the past. What fun is there in that?

It’s my party

and I guarantee I will cry. A lot. Someone makes me angry, queue the water works. Someone makes me sad, grab your flotation device. I even cry when I’m happy.

I’ve always struggled with controlling my emotions, as I do think they hinder me in a lot of what I want to do in life. I’m a natural communicator, but when my emotions get in the way, I can’t help but feel that my messages become less clear.

Tears can be a powerful way to express a powerful emotion. I recognize that I am an emotionally vulnerable person. I feel everything, and I take it all personally. But I find it hard to take others seriously when they display their emotions with tears, which is wrong, since I obviously want to be taken seriously.

Lately I’ve been focusing on reigning in my emotions while not trivializing what I feel. This has been a difficult balance, but accepting that I am an emotional person and always will be is the first step. If I don’t accept my own emotions, how can I ever expect others to accept them?

Dysfunction Junction

I don’t have a great memory when it comes to my childhood. I remember a lot of experiences, but a lot of interactions with others have become lost. I don’t remember much about my sisters when they were small. I was five when my first younger sister was born. I had preschool, then kindergarten and then friends on my mind.

I also don’t remember learning how to be in a functional relationship, which explains a lot about why my relationships were dysfunctional. It’s no one’s fault that this happened, I just wasn’t given the tools to function in a healthy relationship. In fact, when it comes to my own relationships, I don’t even know what a healthy relationship would look like.

While I understand my relationships have been dysfunctional, and it takes the efforts of two people to make a relationship work, if I better understood the elements of a functional relationship was I could implement them in my life. Unfortunately, I’ve never taken the time to think about what I need in a relationship. And, while I hate cliches, I also need to continue to figure myself out before I’m in another relationship.

Two questions I need to ask myself during my dating hiatus: who am I? and what do I need?

Playing the blame game

I’ve always been very hard on myself. Especially with relationships, both friendships and those of the romantic sort. I blame myself for the failures, even if I know it takes two to make something work.

Some may see this as selfish, as in “The world doesn’t revolve around her, why does she blame herself for everything that happens?” But if you knew the agony I often put myself through, you would no longer see it as selfish. You’d probably wonder how I am so blessed with as many friends as I have. I have a tendency to completely fall apart whenever something goes wrong or doesn’t work out the way I had anticipated. I’m getting better at dealing with the fallout, but I know I still have work to do.

The truth is, I am blessed. And I know I need to remember this whenever a relationship doesn’t end up the way I had hoped. I’m torn in these situations. On the one hand, I understand God has a plan, and all my experiences play into this plan.

On the other hand, I can’t help but wonder what I could have done differently. What if I hadn’t said this? What if I hadn’t allowed this to happen? What if I tried harder? What did I do wrong? What if I wasn’t fun enough?

By asking these questions, I’m essentially admitting my own feelings of inadequacy. But I’m also questioning God’s plan for me and admitting I have a difficult time trusting His plan. Opening myself up to His plan is very important to me. And, by opening myself up to His plan, I might also be able to better open myself up to the important people in my life.

Let’s Talk About…

impulse, baby. Bet you thought I was going to write something else, right? Dirty mind!

All joking aside, impulse is something I often struggle with, especially when it comes to men. I have a tendency to make poor decisions. The only difference between me and others who make poor decisions is that I’m always fully aware the decision is a bad one. I just never cared.

I don’t make poor choices that affect others negatively. But they do affect me. And I’ve always been willing to accept the consequences, good or bad (but mostly bad). While this may seem to rationalize my behavior, I can see that it really doesn’t. I wasn’t hurting anyone…except myself.

By not placing value on the decisions I make and the outcomes, I’ve come to not place value on myself. I believe like attracts like. Therefore, I attract men who don’t value themselves and don’t value me.

During this time of not-dating, I will learn to value myself and recognize the value God puts on me. Instead of making decisions that satisfy myself and others in the moment, I will focus on recognizing the impulse and making the right decision.

Some dude with super powers

I have to admit that I have a difficult time wrapping my mind around all the miracles Jesus performed in his life on Earth. A friend once described Jesus as a man who had super powers from God, and that description has stuck with me.

I’m a questioner at heart, I question everything (studying journalism probably made this a little worse). So for me to accept that some dude born to a virgin made the blind see, the deaf hear and the handicapped walk is kind of a stretch. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe in miracles. But this is just a tad intense for me.

In pondering this, I’ve come to two conclusions. One, Jesus was the human version of God. Which explains the super powers. Two, it doesn’t really matter if I believe Jesus made a blind man see. What matters is what Jesus taught us about God and ourselves. On the one hand, we’re inherently selfish, greedy and envious. One the other hand, Jesus taught us to be compassionate, loving and generous. He taught us to overcome our inherent sins and live how God wants us to live. He taught us faith.

So, while I might have a hard time grasping the idea of a guy walking on water, I can say I have unfailing faith in God. Dear Jesus: Mission Accomplished.