Friday, June 28, 2019

JOY

I promise I am not always as negative as I seem on this blog.

I do enjoy aspects of my life and I do find things that make me smile. But I tend to live in the moment when those come and not feel the need to comment on them to you.

2019 has kicked me hard. Repeatedly. I recently developed my second ovarian cyst in four months, I am still hovering at 100 pounds, and I am tired. Tired of feeling like at have to fight for everything. Tired of feeling that I can't do anything right. And like what I do accomplish, is never enough.

But there is good. I know there is.

The last two years I did a "Jar of Joys". It's a little jar I covered in yellow scrapbook paper and used to keep slips of paper on which I had scribbled down moments of joy. On New Year's Eve I opened the jar, dumped them out, and looked back on all the happiness I'd had in the past twelve months.

I didn't do that this year.

I still think my reasons were valid but I half wish I had taken the risk and been more mindful of my joys. Because I think that is what joy is. Not happenstance--happiness (yes the words are related) but a choice. An attitude of choosing to rejoice in the Lord always even when my circumstances feel overwhelming. There is the stereotypical Sunday School definition.

Jesus first
Others second
Yourself last

Overused though it may be, I do like it.

Choosing to honor God first, is not natural, it's something I have to do intentionally. Thinking of others before myself goes against the grain. I have to be purposeful. And putting myself last...well... that often feels impossible.

I feel like I talk about prayer almost as much as I complain. But I truly cannot think of a more important aspect of my relationship with Christ (though I think it could be argued it is on level with reading God's Word). To me, prayer is the spiritual version of breathing. You cannot have life without it. And it should be something we do in every moment of our days.  

So my goal for the rest of 2019 is not to stuff the unhappiness.

It is to choose joy.

When it is difficult to find, talk to the Lord about it. When I do find it, share it with Him. Consider Him first in every aspect of my life. And rejoice in His goodness!


Friday, June 14, 2019

Adventures In Adulting

Flowers from my Adventure Buddy 💛

Graduation was a wonderful day. Apart from the supposed one-size-fits-all cap constantly trying to slide off and my arms getting tangled in the half dozen tassels, cords, and stoles, I couldn't have imagined things going more smoothly. Because I went to a small college they were careful to personalize our ceremonies. Each student was required to write "Thank You's and Future Plans and Goals" a month before and these were read as we walked across the stage.

It had taken me a long time to write mine. Partly because I had no exact plans and because there was not enough space to really thank those who deserved it. In the end, I scribbled something down and forgot about it until I was on stage and facing the crowd.

"Arnica---Graduating with a Technical Certificate in Business. Suma Cum Laude, National Technical Honor Society, and Phi Theta Kappa. Arnica would like to thank her friends, family, and Adventure Buddies, for all the support, encouragement, and french fries."

The crowd seemed mildly amused. My Adventure Buddy was the only one who really got the joke.

"After graduation, Arnica plans to get a good job so she can buy good food and die happy."

That startled the audience into thunderous laughter.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A Leading Question



There have been so many times when I really thought this day would never come.

Now that it's here I have mixed feelings about it.

I do not want to work in my degree. I did not enjoy school. 

But...

I have grown like the weeds in my garden--so much and so fast.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

And the Adventure Tripped

I was in my last semester of college with harder classes than ever before.

I had a painful ovarian cyst.

I was out of a job.

I was in a wreck which totaled my car.

I felt like I never had time alone since my Grandma moved in.

My parents were frustrated with my guy for not responding to an email they sent.

My guy thought they just wanted an argument and was avoiding making a reply.

I couldn't make either understand.

The scale stopped showing three digits.

If I went more than 24 hours without crying I felt I had accomplished something.

I was going crazy.


Friday, March 22, 2019

An Adventure in Accepting Forgiveness


Related image
In a relationship, I always thought I would be the one to make it work. The one who fulfilled my duties, forgave unconditionally, and swallowed anything else that might go wrong.

It never occurred to me that I might mess up. I might be the one who made a mistake that had to be forgiven.

And that  I would have to accept this forgiveness. 

All my life I have worked and paid for myself. If I wanted something, I put forth the effort to get the money, saved, and bought it. If I broke something of someone else's, I replaced it.

A relationship is not like that. I cannot take back my harmful words or actions. Making up for them is not a possibility, the damage had already been caused. My only option? To say, "I'm so very sorry" and accept my man's forgiveness.

I have found this nearly impossible. I keep apologizing. Keep trying to make it up to him because I need a way to alleviate my guilt. I push him away because he inadvertently reminds me of my fault.

He finally stopped me the other day and said, "No more apologizing. It is all forgiven, in the past, worked through. Let's move forward."

It occurred to me I have the same battle with the Lord. I want to earn his forgiveness. I don't like feeling indebted! And when I can't seem to stop hurting Him, I push Him away.

But through it all, He still loves me, still woos me, still tries to bring me closer.

These thoughts and feelings are, of course, what we see pictured in Hosea (I have said before I sympathize with Gomer) and nothing new to the human race. Nevertheless, until I had a lover myself, I couldn't understand the full impact of God's love and desire for us.

It's incredibly humbling and terrifying.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Adventure Continues


Intentionally Adventuring has been both less difficult and more difficult than I expected.

Sometimes it is hard to explain why I struggle with it. My Adventure Buddy is a great guy. He buys me fries. Promises me that he's never bored around me. Makes me laugh at the silliest things. Tells me I am more beautiful without make-up, even when I am badly broken out.

But--

He is messy.

He runs late.

He likes to start projects and never finish them.

He struggles to be around my dad. My sister is a bit skeptical.

He has difficulty accepting some of my parent's requirements for our relationship.

And I am left wondering, should I have no doubts? No one is going to be perfect. But how many cautions are too many? When are they serious and when are they just something I need to get over?

It's especially difficult when he has none about me.

He assures me he will get mad at me sometime. And we will talk it through. He agrees that I am not perfect. And insists he wants to choose me anyway. He is so sure I am the right one. But I still question. And I can't shake the terror that I will make the wrong choice. And then, for better or worse, it will have to be the right one.

He's been in other relationships and has admitted he gave more than he got. He falls quickly and hard. So when will he climb back out and think, "What huge mistake did I just make?"

Sometimes I accidentally say something that brings up bad memories of other girls and I don't know why he is bothered.

He had a wonderful girlfriend years ago who was in a car wreck. She is now crippled and doesn't speak much. It was two years before he got in another relationship. Sometimes I wonder if he is trying to fill her spot in his heart and will one day realize no one ever fully matches up. He never compares me to her but I know she left a hole and he still cares a great deal about her. In my heart, I know this commitment is a good characteristic. And I am not jealous. I just question my ability to...not always fall short?

I have so many fears and doubts.

And so many hopes and dreams.

This adventure is a tug-of-war between the two.

Will it be a brief? Or have we started a lifetime of adventure together?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Grandma, School, Work, and Intentionally Adventuring


I keep starting this post and then feeling overwhelmed at the thought of all that has occurred. So I put it off until a future time and...even more happens! 😄 I apologize for a lengthy post.

We got my Grandma moved in with us. In many ways, it has been easier emotionally than we anticipated.  We all feel the loss of time and liberty but mostly, it's enjoyable to have her here.

I survived my finals--fever and all. Quite frankly, by the time they occurred, I had more important things on my mind and was too exhausted to care about my scores. I walked out with a 3.93 GPA and am convincing myself that is acceptable. Started back for the spring semester last week. So far, so good!

At the beginning of 2019, I quit my job at the community music education center. Last week, in the midst of filling out paperwork to accept a librarian position at school, I received a call informing me there had been a clerical error. I was not actually eligible for a work-study and should never have been offered the job. So  I am back to the idea of cleaning houses for income until this semester ends.

I have now taken care of 3/4 of the title of this post. So what on earth does "Intentionally Adventuring" mean?

Well, that's where things get interesting. And long.

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