Friday, November 22, 2013

Dating Again

So I am dating AGAIN!

It's strange and weird and creates such a complicated mixture of feelings . True, I dated a couple of men before this "season," but that was mostly about trying to figure out myself, what I wanted....and to be honest numb the pain of healing (even a healed scar can be tender and achy at times). This time, this season is about me owning and acknowledging that I want to be married again...I would like to start a family. There is such fear with voicing this desire..but then there is freedom ....and then .....there is dating!!!...Once again allowing my heart to remain open in a sea of awkward conversations, dinners and blind dates.

This time around, though, dating has been very different. I am less afraid to express what I want in a relationship. I am more confident about who i am and less insecure about my appearance (take it or leave it folks)? I am a bit harsher in my judgements of red flags and boundary issues? I am more self-reflective and aware of why I may or may not be attracted to someone. And weirdly enough I am at place where I finally understand saying no to "good enough" means I am really saying YES to wanting God's best.

I remember a concept I learned back in my high school psych was called the Chemical Map. Basically the idea was that every relationship (casual, dating, committed or just a meaningful encounter) causes a chemical reaction telling you want you do or do not like in someone, and this can, if you allow it to, direct you to the connection you desire for your life. It can be as simple as meeting someone with incredible blues eyes and you are immediately attracted to them or to someone you dated that was completely sold out to God and you find yourself respecting them. And all of this information/experiences can lead you to recognize the person for your life when he comes. And while I recognize much of this concept is humanistic in nature.....I find so much truth in it now entering the dating world again. 

My past experiences/relationships have taught me a lot, and I see how they have even shaped some of my expectations. My past Chemical Map has been challenged, altered and amended by the experiences I can filter out from the past. For one, I realize that my first Chemical Map lead me down a strictly more romantic, highly emotional path. I wanted a certain type...someone who made me FEEL a certain I look back at that map and say, "I want that,  but life behind close doors needs so much more." For me, strong character, an attentive ear, a willingness to be unconditional, an adventurous spirit, a love for doing God's work and a passion for worship and seeking His presence.....may seem so....DUH....but honestly, major points of interest on my new map.

The side of all this that I feel is most that once you have experienced a horrible ripping/devastation such as divorce it is hard( almost impossible)to believe, imagine or know you can have more or want something better. I don't walk around with a scarlet letter, an elevated sense of self righteousness or even a broken heart (anymore) ...I have been blessed to be surrounded with people who have believed in and supported me....but that never stopped the questioning and the concern of choosing the right person in the future....or my worse fear........there might not be someone! Yet this new season feels like a huge learning curve! A place that is both scary and exciting. with all that great knowledge and wisdom(sarcastic)...where am I now? I am dating...and grateful the map is VERY different...and I am grateful because it seems I am attracting such great men. BUT to be completely is exhausting and once you have established a life for yourself it is even more exhausting trying to find the! I am not interested in kissing a lot of frogs to find a prince (and wont). Yet I have learn if you truly want something God always requires prayer and action (easier to turn the titanic if the titanic is MOVING). So I remain open, hopeful, focused and for the first time, in a long time...fighting for my future, my heart....and the plans HE has for me! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Will LIVE For Them!

After reflecting on so much LIFE....I asked do others see me? Whats interesting but also solidifies so much of what I believe (our focus...what we seek...we will find) is that I would be a very different person if I really knew or understood the way others see me.

I remember that once in college a friend told unspoken compliment is a wasted I feel as though I have cheated and been cheated out of so many thoughts. Dont know...but I do  know that in hard, dark times, and in great, memorable moments it is incredibly easy to get self absorbed. To only feel, want, like, need what is good for ourselves....and in those moments we can forget! We can forget what we mean to others....who we are to others. We can lose sight that our lives are but vapors and God has chosen us for such a time as THIS (I know I sound all TBN...but it is true).

For is painful to admit that I have forgotten that I have friends, clients, family all over America (and the world for that matter) that depend and want my advice. I have nephews and friends that have not seen my face in months (for so many reasons...some I havent been able to control) but still talk about me and wonder whats going on. I also have the on the skirts, out of the fringes people (not quite friend...not quite client...not quite acquaintance but still important)  that like my blog, or facebook status...or even contact me via text once in a blue moon.

This is not a self-absorbed...look at me blog...although I just reread my blog  and rolled my have remembered that we live so much life and impact (good or bad) so many people...and that (at least for me) when we get into a rut....a hard place or even just a SUPER busy time we can not get to place that people aren't apart of the equation.

We ARE relationship...and I write this for the broken hearted, the really busy, the ones that can get so lost into their own worlds that they forget that their world impacts others .or needs them.  Dont get me wrong....I started this blog because I was getting a divorce and through the past two years I have been happy, frustrated, feeling loved, feeling hopeful, sad, present, on time, devastated, not good enough, lonely, angry, and gone...but none of those feelings and reality change that when I get a text or message that says I am so glad you are there (here) and I dont know what i would have done without you it has to change from a ME to I will LIVE for THEM!!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cambodia...and the lessons a parasite taught me.

I know it has been forever since I have posted anything, but a creative bug (my parasite buddy) has made me rather self-reflective lately....for many reasons.

One reason is that I have not been able to do much other then work and sleep (and think). Another reason is that all that downtime (and cabin fever) has caused me to really adjust my perspective and what I value in life. And lastly, I feel like I owe God! For all the anger and frustration I spewed at Him after returning from Cambodia and being sick....He actually had more of a plan then my narrow understanding allowed for.

Okay so quick back story for those of you who do not know what happened. About five days or so into my Cambodian trip I got really, REALLY sick. My old Teen Mania buddies would refer to it as the Big D...but it ended up being a lot more then that. I literally did not leave, could not leave the hotel for three days....and the frustration set in. Why in the world would God bring me clear across the world to only end up living in my hotel room. I missed the prayer walk...I missed the village day...I missed a lot!!! Course at the time I didn't have much energy to formulate to much thinking...but once I began to feel a bit better all I could do is see was intense frustration and then have an all out cry fest. (I know...woe is me! lol) I later found out I had a parasite. 

On the fourth day...I began to feel better and things began to change (but it was only later I found out that the change was for the good). Since I could leave my room for more then 10 minutes without running back to the bathroom in desperation I decided I wanted to join the team. Well i did it..but I had to take a LOT of breaks...and at one point I laid down...and ended up passing out.  During one of the breaks, I began to frustrated that I was sick...and a few women from my team came to pray over me. One of the words I received was that God had put me on my back on purpose. He wanted to talk to me....He knows I can DO things but He wanted to BE with me...and wanted me to go deeper, be an intercessor for Him..for the team.  Some might thing...WELL see there God did have something for you....but for my personality prayer feels like doing a lot of nothing when there is painting, cleaning and actual work to be done. Oh how wrong can one little lady be?!?!?!

After I returned home I was feeling better but quickly relapsed...and from that point I got really angry with God. I couldn't work, I couldn't leave my house....I basically disappeared from life. Confused, fighting depression, unhealthy I would lay in my bed and just cry...I have traveled all of the world and have NEVER gotten sick. And I knew (know) that God told me to go to Cambodia...I didn't have to raise a finger to raise the was effortless. So why? What was the point if I was only going to end up sick and miss some of the trip...and now missing work, and not seeing my family or friends. What the madness? It doesn't make sense? Ever felt that way?

Slowly (what actually felt...v....e.....r....y.....S....L....O....W) I have gotten better....and since that slow climb back out of the dark hole I have noticed my perspective on a few things have changed. For one...I value my health like never before. You don't know how bad you feel till you start to feel good again. To me in those moments of desperation, loneliness and frustration I begged...I pleaded with God to heal me. You know the whole.....God I promise to do this if you do I know but in those moments I would h ave done anything. Since, I have been aware of my PHYSICAL HEALTH (you will start to see a theme).

Another perspective shift is the importance of my friends and family. Its not that I feel as though I was taking advantage of either, but I am not sure I was as grateful for them as I am now. In Cambodia my United Womens team was one of the most special things to me about the trip. We were so unified and focused on supporting each other...that when I came back and could not go to church or to any of the outings that were planned...I felt robbed. Why God did You allow me to fall in love with these women only to have me get sick and lose touch (geez how narcissistic can one person sound?..whine, whine, whine) But that wasn't entirely true...during that time...I had friends and family (my amazing mother) that would come over at all hours of the day AND night to bring me Gas-X, Campbells soup, Gatorade, lecture me about not going to the doctor, etc. So coming out of my stupor I realized how blessed I am to have people that care...even care enough to tell me to suck it up and stop being a whiny baby.    lol No joke. Realizing the shift in EMOTIONAL HEALTH

Lastly, through all of this I have seen how God broke some things in my life and reignited a passion for Him.  He broke some unhealthy dependencies, altered a few negative thinking patterns, and really changed my focus from myself (I can do things on my own) to focusing on Him. Honestly for months I have struggled with how to get my passion/love/zeal for God back. The start of the trip really kicked things into gear...being around such Godly, amazing women...but honestly the digging and going deeper happened when I was by myself, praying....listening to worship....reflecting on the last two years. Realizing I need a desperate shift in my SPIRITUAL HEALTH. God convicted my selfish focus and unrealistic expectations for myself....and thus a crazy, perpetual cycle that had my focus fixated on what I didn't have verses what God has blessed me with.

So as you can see...HEALTH...physical, emotional and spiritual health...three HUGE areas that I truly feel have been effected by 6 weeks with my gut buddy parasite. It might be obvious...and/or it might not be what we want to see in the moment...but God can and will use some of the most trying of times to change the deepest parts of ourselves.