Sunday, February 12, 2012

Can you hear me now?

I am a hypocrite.

Like a huge, blaring pin-the-red-letter-H-to-all-my-shirts kind of hypocrite.

I spend all my time, all my life, really, to get to a point where I am legally qualified by the state of Oklahoma to work at a job that helps people learn to be more effective communicators and stop hiding behind silence, passive aggression, and and feelings of embittered resentment.

Yet in my own personal life, I am the worst at communicating. Sure, I can tell my friends that I love them, what I think they should do if they're struggling with a problem, what they should say in a particular situation they're unsure about. I can communicate things that are happy, I can communicate for people who aren't me. I can do that, and I'm really, really good at it.

But I can't tell a friend when they've really hurt me. I can't voice when I'm feeling betrayed, or neglected, or irritated. I can't tell somebody when I have feelings for them, and I definitely am the WORST at telling someone that I don't have feelings for them any longer. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to bed literally kicking myself for not being honest and expressing what's on my hear.

 Maybe it's because I'm afraid of what will happen if I say what I think; that I will be met with anger, rejection, or lose the person I'm trying to communicate with. Maybe it has to do with the fact that  if I do somehow get up the courage to be honest, I normally get huffy, or overly-emotional, and completely butcher the crap out of what I needed to say. And so I let my fear become greater than any healing or satisfaction I might get from being honest. Or I let my emotions get the best of me and blow it big-time.

I always identify with Moses when he's talking to God in Exodus and basically says: "Lord, I'm terrible at speaking, and I always have been. I really, really suck at it." (I'm OVERLY paraphrasing Exodus 4:10, by the way)

But the cool part is what God says back to Moses (basically): "Who even gave you the mouth to speak with? I did. So go on and do what I tell you to do. I'm going to give you the words."

God never said "oh, you're bad with words? nevermind. that really sucks for you, man."
God took Moses, who probably sucked at communicating even more than I do, and gave him the words he needed to get through some very, very complicated social situations. All because Moses chose to obey him and trusted that God would give him the words.

I believe he can do the same for me.

So I'll keep praying for a faith like Moses. That God will give me the courage to be honest and unafraid, and the ability to express my thoughts in a spirit of love and humility.

So here's the first step. See all the above words? That's me communicating.

It probably would have been a little easier for Moses, too, if he was able to start out blogging first..

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My Volvo. My issues with contentment.

It's been such a long time since I wrote a blog post. I distinctly remember starting this last year, and thoroughly enjoying writing every entry, but for whatever reason life became a little too complicated (that always seems to happen) and this just dropped off my priority list. If you were one of the potential 2-3 people who ever read it: my apologies. I can't promise I'll start writing frequently again, but I promise that this, right here, is a new blog post written by me.

I'd like to talk about contentment tonight. Contentment is the topic that my triad group (don't even ask what that means) in my old testament wisdom class chose as our semester long theme for our project, so I've been meditating a lot on it. Good thing too, because it's one of my greatest short-comings.

So... the topic is contentment. Let's start with my car.

I have been driving around a 1988 Volvo 240 for a couple years now. His name is Toby and he is my first and only car.  I love him, but let's be real: he's an old man and he's falling apart. Driving Toby means, I never know what's going to break off, get stuck, or literally disintegrate in my hand.  A couple days ago something broke majorly, and now he's got to be towed to Tulsa. This leaves me without a car. Albeit, a rickety, dirty, rusty old car, but without a functioning car, nonetheless, for an indefinite period of time.

 And being without that piece of junk has taught me a couple things about myself.

Toby is more than a car to me, he represents freedom. I can go where I want, do what I want when I absolutely want to, and never really rely on others for things. I'm a pretty independent person, and I need daily blocks of "introvert time" where I can just be apart from others. Not having a car makes all of these things a problem, and i instantly start panicking and feeling trapped. I have to get off campus, I need to be able to go do whatever dumb thing sounds like a good idea at the time.  All of this is stupid. All of this is not true.  I just instantly think that that is what my need is and panic because I can't have what i want. I realized that this restlessness I feel without Toby is similar to the lack of contentment I deal with in a lot of other areas in my life.

I struggle with the ability to be content with my current place in life. I think about what things were like in the past or what I can expect from the future. I think about what I could do to make things better. I can never be fully present because I am so caught up in trivial none-sensical things that will pass away so soon.

But I've been thinking lately about what my life would look like if I stripped it down. If I stopped putting my joy and hope in things that could fail and really plugged into what is constant, what will never pass away. The Lord speaks over and over in the Scriptures about fulfilling every need of his children, how he will provide sustenance and strength, and a love that will triumph over any human relationship. 

And so if I picture my life where I stop worrying about what I think I really need, and more on what I Know I really need, which is a deeper, more intimate relationship with my heavenly father, I recognize what is trivial and needs to fall away. I don't need to worry about having a million friends, a boyfriend, a better job, being well-thought of by my peers, or getting into grad school.  I need to find contentment in my Father, who will never fail me. I need to walk in his word, be reminded of his constant grace and mercy, and submit to his will.

He will supply my every need. I just need to stop deciding what my needs are. It's time to start stripping things away and getting to what matters.

I know I normally post goofy stuff. But this is what's on my mind tonight. I am capable of being serious, you know.