I mean we all know that’s not true, but I couldn’t come up with anything clever to name this, and I posted to Facebook that I was trying to blog but couldn’t come up with a title, I jokingly said “maybe I shouldn’t be blogging” and a friend said “maybe you should call it MAYBE I SHOULDN’T BE BLOGGING!”
So here it is.
Maybe I shouldn’t be blogging.
I don’t have a lot to say, but as is usually the case, I tend to write the most when I have the least to say, so we’ll see how this pans out.
I have been really blessed lately. Like really, knock my socks off some days, can’t believe I’m this lucky, blessed. I am discovering community in a whole new way with a couple of girls from church where the openness is just flowing readily and we’re being real and raw and whole with each other, and it’s unbelievable.
I’m back where I feel I belonged all along church-wise, and I’m so glad to be surrounded again by people who love me instead of a sea of nameless faces. They eventually would have gotten names, I’m sure, don’t get me wrong, but I missed my family! And it’s good to be home.
But some days I’ve also really been hurting. Through the blessings… still thankful for the blessings, but hurting nonetheless.
I’ve been struggling with the notion that the career I chose maybe isn’t the one I see myself in forever, not if things continue the way they’re headed. Everything’s so highly politicized right now that this year won’t be a good one for making decisions, but as is always the case when I contemplate a change, I don’t know what else I’d do — maybe it’s time I threw this out there for those who know me well: What else am I good at? Where do you see me succeeding? What can I change to or supplement with that won’t leave me dead set on never having children?
I’ve been hurting… aching, really… over what I see as my own shortcomings. I can’t seem to control what I want to control, I can’t seem to lose weight that I’ve been carrying around, and adding to, for the past year. And at first it seems like, you know, whatever, it’s only 10 pounds, and I still look great, and I’m fine. No one even noticed! But now… my clothes don’t fit. I’ve had to buy new stuff. I still have a few shirts that look alright, but I’ve had to buy new pants. Still largely refusing to give in to my new (semi-old) body, I only currently have 4 pair of pants that I feel comfortable wearing out of the house unless I’m running or going to Zumba. What I need to be understood here is this: overeating often gets overlooked. When you refuse to eat, you’re labeled anorexic, and there are eating disorder clinics for that. When you eat, but then barf it all back up, you’re labeled bulimic, and there are eating disorder clinics for that. But when you come home and you feel like you can’t control the trips to the fridge, to the freezer, to the fast food chains, whatever… you’re labeled a pig and people laugh at you. Your friends don’t want to enable you, but at the same time they don’t quite know how to handle you. You want to be thin, you want to be fit, you want to just put the chocolate/chips/cookies/food down…. but it feels like you can’t.
I’ve been struggling with the idea of community. Who do you fight for and who do you let drift? When you try and make plans repeatedly and you aren’t met in the middle, do you hang on? Or is that foolish? I’ve been struggling with how much you reveal of yourself to the people you’re in community with. I find it so so much simpler to spill my guts to a computer screen and hope people don’t bring it up in person than I do to share my inner self with a group who is supposed to be my friends. Part of it is that I’m afraid that I’ll be judged. Here, if someone says something I don’t like… I’m the moderator, I can simply refuse to approve a comment. I control that. Are you seeing a pattern here?
I’ve been struggling to trust. I need to trust God’s timing, God’s provision, God’s care for me. His love. I know that all of those things will be taken care of, but I am a worrier. I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise given my aforementioned desire to be in control. When I’m not in control, I fret. At any given point in my day, there are several things rolling around in my brain that are demanding my attention. They can’t all have it at once, I have to focus on what I’m teaching for the most part, but in the background, I’m running all these worry scripts subconsciously. “Are we going on strike?” “Will I be able to pay my mortgage?” “Should I get another dog? Can I afford that?” “I need to get that stuff marked.” “I should go for a run tonight…. followed usually immediately by I really don’t want to.” “I have to get my wisdom teeth out. Are they going to cover the anesthesia? I need to be put under or this isn’t happening.” “Why am I single? What’s wrong with me? Am I not good enough? Where are you in this, God?”
And then I feel guilty. Especially when I think “where are you in this?” I feel like it’s none of my business where He is in this. Like I’m this little kid demanding “are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet?” I feel like my feelings are invalid and I have no right to feel the way I feel. I feel sad and guilty. Should I feel that way? Or is this OK? Is this normal? All of those things, several times a day, they haunt me. That question echos in my brain “what’s wrong with me?” and it travels into my heart, into my very soul.
What’s wrong with me?
I reveal it in a setting that I’m not entirely comfortable with, and I don’t get met with the solution that my heart is searching out, and so I pull back into myself a little farther.
Nah, it’s fine. When it happens, it happens. God knows best. I’m really not that concerned about it, honest.
Lies. What’s wrong with me?
Then the advice rolls in. All of it is valid. None of it is what I want to hear.
And it hits me. My attitude SUCKS.
Like legit, 100%, needs to be flushed down the toilet and replaced with a new one.
My attitude blows chunks.
The God who created this universe can’t see fit to put me in a good relationship when the time is right?
Am I even ready? I mean, I’m terrified to my toes that I’ll marry the wrong guy and am probably pushing them away with my unspoken fears anyway, so maybe THAT’S what’s wrong with me! The ‘what ifs’ and the things I can’t control get the better of me even here.
But yesterday during church we were reading in John 8. I had been mulling this predicament I found myself in over in my head for the past few days — what’s wrong with me? Will I ever know? Why isn’t God showing up for me here? All the while feeling guilty for feeling that way.
Here’s what I found in my Bible. I found what’s called a “Lament.” My Bible has them interspersed throughout the scriptures all over the place. They’re written by regular people and they’re just that person’s way of sharing things they struggle with so that the reader knows they aren’t alone.
This is what I found on Sunday morning, on the side of the page opposite John 8. The writer of this ‘Lament’ is named Cathy Morrill. She’s the director of Soul Restoration Project… and she’s a licensed marriage and family therapist. http://www.soulrestorationproject.org/counseling/cathy/
This is what she has to say.
God, I put my hope in you — as best as I know how.
Or at least I used to. When I was young, I chose to wait to marry a man who loved you and to wait for that time to have sex. I committed my ways to you, and I trusted, I waited…. and waited. I dated. I worked on myself, my issues, or so I thought.
Is that it, God? Have I still missed it?
The waiting hasn’t been all bad. I’ve enjoyed the fruits of a clean conscience before you. I’ve enjoyed the kudos from your people. You’ve used me to help others move toward you and each other. But the gaping need for real, raw, earthy, messy human intimacy remains. I always assumed, since I was a little girl, that I’d have my own children within a marriage.
Where are you for me in this? Why are you silent? Is it too much for you? Maybe I was kidding myself. I don’t fit in anymore, surrounded by seemingly happy people experiencing intimacy or by those who aren’t but pretend they are. I ache for that sense of belonging. I mourn the fact that I’ve done the right thing but remain alone.
But I prefer what is real. And what’s real for me isn’t the shiny expectation that it will all be okay. Does that make my faith eak because I don’t believe that happily-ever-after is a given? Or is my faith stronger because I am honest? I can’t tell.
You are not who I thought you were because you didn’t fulfill my hopes for intimacy. That scare me. And I am not really who I thought I was either. That scares me even more.
What was so black and white now seems grey. Is this reality? Did you make me for intimacy and then keep me from it? Maybe I am wrong about many things. My heartache has the power to break me. I feel inconsolable.
You say that hope deferred makes the heart sick. My heart is sick. At least if I were grieving a death, I would know that the worst was over.
I want real love and real hope. I hide and avoid saying these things to you. It’s too painful. Don’t leave me here, please. I want real life. Would you meet me in this place?
And with that, one woman has said pretty much everything I’ve been afraid to. She has a different situation, she sounds older than me, and I believe nothing is impossible for God, and if nothing is, then certainly a 27 year old finding that isn’t…. but… the fact remains that a lot of those feelings are my feelings, and I don’t know how to deal with them.
I was floored Sunday morning. To find this after an announcement from the pulpit that an elderly couple at my church is getting married, which should offer hope to all singles. The timing can’t be coincidence, can it? Is it ok that I’m struggling with this? I don’t know… but I do know that I echo a lot of that. I wouldn’t have blogged about this again if not for finding that. I found it almost encouraging, to know I’m not alone, and that someone else feels similarly.
It’s funny, I was reading in Colossians this afternoon, and came across the wives submit to your husbands passage. So often, I glaze over that entire section because I go “I’m not married, this doesn’t apply.” But I didn’t today. I almost did, but I read the whole passage. I’ve missed entire sections every other time.
18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.
20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.
22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. 23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.[a]25 But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites. (Colossians 3:18-25)
Verse 21 got me. Big time. So did 22-25. It just all got me. Funny what we can miss when we close our minds up and say no, that doesn’t apply. It’s just like… Sunday morning our speaker at church was a small, older man. I wrote him off in my head on a snap judgment and said nah I’m not really into this right now. But when he started speaking, he caught my ear. And I listened, fully. Had I not, I wouldn’t have turned to John 8. I wouldn’t have found what I found. Maybe I wouldn’t even be blogging right now. Though I’m in the process of trying to become a writer for a running blog as well, so perhaps I’d find a way to write regardless.
With those thoughts I leave you and bid you goodnight. Keep your eyes open and look for what’s out there for you to find. It may surprise you what you’ll notice and retain.