Trump, There It Is!

I’m processing and stewing over the presidential election results from earlier this week. Facebook has been flooded, as expected, but many of the posts have been slaps in my face and I have been fluctuating between frustration, sadness, fear, and confusion. Yesterday I read something along the lines of, “If you voted for Trump, be ready to explain to your Muslim, gay, and/or black friends why you don’t love or support them”. Today I was extremely disheartened to hear of school-aged children that are frightened for deportation or judgment. It should not be this way and something is clearly wrong.

Trump is sexist and crude. That I don’t deny. Where I stray from some of the people I love on this issue is that I don’t see where he is a racist and hateful. I don’t understand why someone believes that he wants a “white America”. I feel that the media has done a “quality” job in bashing and twisting his words and not acknowledging any clarifications he may have made to mend misunderstandings. What I see is that he clearly does not think before he speaks, nor is he “politically correct” in the things he tends to say. That became misconstrued to mean he’s a racist and hates people unlike him.  I think he doesn’t want illegal criminals crossing over into our country and he wants to do something drastic to stop the flow of criminals bringing both danger and drugs into our country. I think he doesn’t want extreme Islamists coming into our country and plotting dangerous ISIS-related terrorist attacks on our soil, not a Muslim family wanting new opportunities in America. The video showing him allegedly mocking a disabled man…the videos of him doing the same hand motions when describing other non-disabled people, even in the same speech,were honestly very convincing to me that he did not do what he’s accused of doing. This is not me trying to find excuses for the man. Why would I? I am honestly confused and honestly frustrated. It is so interesting to me that I can see this so differently than other people in my life and that’s not meaning that they should be seeing it the way I do. To me, it seems the media hates him so much and they took his tacky way or maybe even inaccurate way of saying certain things and have blown them up in an outrageous way, to the extend that we have children scared and frightened because they’ve been told that Donald Trump hates them. It should not be this way! They (the media) were trying to make certain Clinton won and as a result, have helped to spread this fear. On top of that, the real crazy citizens that do hate like that, feel like they have the right to spew it out on others and think Trump represents their beliefs, too, and I just don’t think it’s the case.

I’m not an idiot for thinking that either, but of course I’ve been indirectly accused of it. Frankly, it pisses me off that I, someone that circled the bubble next to Donald J. Trump, am being lumped into a group being labeled as racist, heartless, hateful, etc. Are there “white sexist men” out there who hate gays, blacks, Muslims? Sadly, yes. Are they the majority of voters that elected him? That’s doubtful. I have been made to feel that I am not allowed to feel ANYTHING except what YOU say is right. I do not hate ANYONE. I do not spew hatred in any direction! I simply see things differently than you and have looked at the issues: concerns on terrorists and illegal criminal activity, abortion, freedom of speech and religion…and made a decision. I know it’s the people-pleasing tendency I have that makes me care so much what others feel about me and that I shouldn’t care, but I do; mainly because I want them to know that I honestly see it differently than they do, and although it’s so strange that we can be so different, that should be ok.

On a slightly different note, if this hate hadn’t been misconstrued, I wonder if Trump would be an somewhat ideal candidate for all political parties. He seems balanced on some of the important issues. Unlike a stereotypical Republican, he doesn’t hate Planned Parenthood and sees the good they do (besides abortions). I also don’t believe he’s against gay rights for marriage equality.

What is to be done at this point? I’m frightened for now. I’m hoping that with time and continued clarification over Trump’s intended plans, that everyone will feel safer and calmer. As my Dad would say, “it is what it is” at this point, and we as Americans need to do the best we can. The hate-spewing and riots ain’t doing the trick though.

 

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I Don’t (Wanna) Give a Crap!

 

I have a good friend who is a big-time people pleaser and I can really relate. I’m tired of caring so much about what other people think of me. Are you one of those that don’t worry much about what other people think? Do you have a “girl power” attitude and are just naturally proud to be you and can say, “I don’t give a crap what people think of me”? I am sometimes doubtful of that persona and wonder if anyone really feels that way, but I imagine some do and I envy that quality. I think back to a couple of guys I knew back in the day that acted like tough cookies with sarcastic responses given left and right, but in reality, they were just as self-conscious as I was. I think we all care to a certain extent, but I’m more on the unhealthy end of the spectrum and I’m ready for a change. Last night at a party, I prayed again, “Help me to just be me” and today I tried to be extra mindful of it, but it is much harder than I’d like. P.S. I overthink things. That might be the problem!

My brain wants everyone to like me. I don’t mean that I desire to win the “most popular” award, but just “approved” by a variety of people. The ultra-trendy gal (and you’ll notice that I lost the chance of describing myself as trendy seeing as I just used the word “gal”)that I occasionally run into, my neighbors, the mail lady, my kid’s teachers and fellow moms at school, even family members…I try to keep up my smile and hope they think I’m “cool” enough, or even more than that, I want them to think I’m kind and friendly enough. It sorta makes me tired.

I’ve said before that I don’t always feel the need to wrap faith into this blog of mine, but it inevitably finds its way there; especially on a topic that has to do with my value. I can go to verses in the bible that serve as reminders of what is most important when it comes to my worth and how I’m ultimately seen: Psalm 139:13-14 says “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” I have been created on purpose and am loved very much. I don’t need constant approval of others, but I also don’t want to be a big grump that doesn’t smile at anyone either. I think it can be a tough balance and may be harder for folks like me (and other friends I know) who tend to lean more on hoping others like us. Another encouraging verse on this matter comes from Zephaniah 3:17, and one of my very favorites: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” He adores us!

Knowing I don’t have to have anyone’s approval can feel like a relief and that’s what I love about verses like the one above; it serves as a sweet reminder to my little heart. But knowing it, and then living it, is hard. However, I also think that if we can practice resting on that truth of being loved so deeply by our Creator and that it is enough, it will only naturally allow us to want to be genuinely kind and friendly to others (not talking every moment of every day here because we are humans living life).

I wear an extremely bright, possibly too-bright, neon shirt to exercise sometimes and it says, “Be the Light” in reference to Matthew 5:14-16 where it says,You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Isn’t that a beautiful picture? I don’t want it to place a burden on ourselves to strive to always be liked, but rather rest in our God-given value and allow Him to work through us to love others and glorify Him.

 

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That’s Not Fair!

There are numerous issues that stump people when they wonder about a powerful and loving God or are questioning the Christian faith. Some have major and valid questions, like why He allows such awful things to happen if He’s so loving, etc. Being a bit of an over-thinker myself has led me to question these things and many more as I moved forward in my faith. One of my largest faith struggles has been that although I know I am very sinful, I struggle with the idea that we are deserving of hell for it. I feel a bit nervous even typing it because I feel like everyone else that “gets” the Gospel doesn’t question that idea and that I shouldn’t either. All the time I hear that we should be extremely grateful that Jesus died for our sins and that He saved us from hell. I am amazed and thankful He did that for us, but my basic question that has bothered me is, “I can try my very best to be perfect and not sin, but I’ll never be able to help it completely, so why would I get in trouble for that and get such an awful punishment as hell?” It doesn’t seem fair and I find myself sometimes still getting hung up on it and feeling guilty that I don’t feel settled over it. This used to fester inside me and worry me that I wasn’t really understanding it like I should and feeding the worry that God sees me as a disappointment. A key part of my anxiety disorder is that I get stuck on a worry (or a memory, etc.) and dissect it to try and settle it or make it feel better; less guilty or uneasy. It usually just ends in mental exhaustion and irritability or sadness that I can’t fix it.

This question is one of many things I’ve been “stuck” on, but through prayer, asking lots of questions, listening, and time, I’ve found rest in the bigger picture on this issue and even within the last week, have learned more that has cleared the air for me even more. If this has ever crossed your mind, I hope this will be helpful. Here’s what I know: I’m a fat sinner and I ultimately can’t help it because it’s human nature.  I also have put my faith in the fact that God is so just and so perfect that He had to have the ultimate sacrifice in order to save us. Because our sin is the opposite of God’s majesty and perfection, He can’t tolerate it.”This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) YET, He understands!!

I’ve shared this verse before, but it was one of the first gifts of rest I received on this confusion and I still go back to it in relief:

“as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

As a father shows compassion to his children,

so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

 For he knows our frame;

he remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103: 12-14

In the Old Testament we see that God gave the commandments to Moses of what our internal and external behaviors should be like.  People continued to sin and some recognized their inability to even coming close to meeting those demands and then they had to use an animal sacrifice to atone for or represent the cleansing that is needed for their sins.  God did this on purpose in order for us to clearly see that we can NOT do it perfectly. Over and over, humans failed and yet God showed compassion to those that repented.

The predictions and prophecies of the Messiah coming were promised in the Old Testament and when Jesus did come, He did the ultimate cleansing for our sins; once and for all. He loves us enough that He did that. I don’t understand why because we can be ugly and mean sometimes, but He sees us as his children and He asks us to trust in Him. Although this is probably clear to most believers, here’s a very important piece that I just learned this past week: We will be held accountable and risk hell for eternity if we choose to deny Christ, not simply because of our sins. I’ve been so caught up in whining over why our impossible-to-control sin life is being judged, but it is instead our choice that will be the final verdict. It is the choice that He gives us (we’re not robots), but if we choose not to accept Him, where we spend eternity is also chosen.  I am very thankful that God loves me enough to rescue me and promise me eternal life; a forever of bliss, joy, and beauty, even though I don’t understand many of His ways. I’m probably even more thankful that He is compassionate and patient with us.

I think it is vastly important to think on the questions and doubts we have. We are allowed to have them and ask them of both God and our friends and loved ones. Although I know there’s more involved with this part of my faith and I want to learn more, God asks that we recognize our sinful nature and see that we are in need of someone else to help us with it and rescue us from it.  If He gives us the opportunity to hear Him and put our trust in Him and yet we turn away (not feeling like we need it, busy living, not bothering to dig a little to be sure of it’s validity), then the only alternative is the opposite of finding shelter in God, which is eternity far, far away from Him.

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Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

Why don’t I just jump right in and write a really awkward list of some of the song bites that I have stashed away in my brain from when I was a kid:

“Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s talk about you and me.”

“Freak me, Baby, awe yeah. Let me play with your body, baby, make you real hot.”

“I need $50 to make you holler, I get paid to do the wild thing”

“Boom, boom, boom, let’s go back to my room…”

“I wanna sex you up, all night!”

I could go on and on (till the break of dawn. ha!) and make myself and most readers continue to squirm and have sweaty palms. Did my parents know I was listening to such inappropriate songs at a young age? I doubt it. One of the funniest jokes a friend and I have is over the overtly sexual piano sheet music that she bought and we played and sang together as young girls. Oh, how our mothers would have cracked if they’d known! Has mainstream music always had an edge to it that required older folks to declare, “Those young kids and their loud music!!” Sure. But, do we really have any clue how sex has infiltrated our current generation of kids and teens beyond just the lyrics in mainstream songs? I don’t think so.

I have twice now seen a commercial advertising a new reality show and one of the quotes coming from a 20-something girl was, “Am I still bang-able?” Yikes! It’s the norm. It’s what young ladies (and guys) are seeing everywhere. I know the basic idea of sexuality being woven into music and entertainment is nothing new because it has been a risqué piece of many former generations, but again, I don’t think we really have a solid understanding of how entertainment and social media is distorting sex for both Millennials and beyond. The YouTube videos bombarding our youth about sexuality, the pressure to be Instagram ready with just the right selfie, the television shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians that are portraying what our young girls should look like and act like and talk like. Modesty has gone out the window. Am I sexy? Am I hot? Am I “bang-able”?

This past weekend, I attended an extremely interesting and informative conference on sexuality. It was from a biblical perspective, but it was no holds barred as it covered almost every aspect of sexuality in the mainstream culture, from same-sex attraction, pornography, the biblical definition of both women and sexuality, singleness, how to address it with kids, etc. I was thankful to get a nitty-gritty discussion going on this issue because I don’t want to lay low on this as my kids grow. As the conference’s guest speaker, Melanie Cogdill (managing editor for Christian Research Journal), emphasized, God created sex and we must talk about it age-appropriately, frankly and regularly. Does it make me squirm a bit to think about bringing up these issues with my children? You betcha. But, it’s a part of my job and as I try to do with our Christian faith in general, I want my kids to know what they believe and why they believe it. That requires an open and welcoming environment at home where they can ask anything they’d like and feel comfortable sharing any feelings they have. Is that far-fetched? Maybe, but it can at least can be the goal. 

What I learned this weekend that was so incredibly important to remember, but that initially sounds like it’s removed from the issue of sexuality, is that of our core belief in God. Without a moral compass that was instilled by our Creator, what value is found in modesty or sexuality modeled in the bible? Why not fall head first in to the sexual revolution that’s taking place in our current times? As Melanie Cogdill said, “It all goes back to Genesis 1-3.” Do we believe in God? If so, do we believe that the Word of God is our authority? If so, what is the biblical definition of sexuality?

I can think of many ways that my own perspective on sex was distorted and most of that was from the exposure I had and lack of any memorable conversations that may have helped. I don’t write this to lay fault on my parents because how many millions of other families typically avoid it because of it’s awkwardness? It only increases my concern for our up and coming generations with the seemingly quadruple amount of exposure they have nowadays and leaves me wondering how they will view sex as it pertains to marriage. How do they think they need to look in order to attract someone from the opposite sex? What language, forward flirty-ness, or sexiness must they exude in order to get attention?

It feels like a drowning fad to consider the idea that girls dress modestly and that boys are gentle and encourage girls to act like a lady. I have an entire future blog idea on how we, alongside other parents in the same peer group, can hopefully support our kids through the dating phase, but for today, I’m leaving you with this: If God created sex for good, and as Tim Keller described it, “Sex is God’s appointed way for two people to reciprocally say to one another, ‘I belong completely, permanently, and exclusively to you.'”, then how are we helping to encourage this truth, whether that’s in our own marriage bed, in relationship with others if we are single and/or dating, or in guiding our children? It’s a question I’ll be asking myself, too.

 

Sources:

Crowe, J. (2016, July 28) 5 Lessons My Parents Taught Me About Sexuality [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/5-lessons-my-parents-taught-me-about-sexuality

Cogdill, Melanie, (2016 October) Conference on Biblical Sexuality at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Lakeland, FL

 

 

 

 

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Oh, No You Didn’t…

I’m often wondering what direction this blog will take and whether or not I have an aim or theme under which most of my entries will fall. A majority of my posts have been faith-related, but that’s not always my goal or where I feel I have to stay. I listen and observe the news, social media, etc. and as I begin to form an opinion on it, I sometimes think, “maybe I should blog on that.” Most of the time it doesn’t happen because I wonder if I’ll even have more than 4 lines to say about the matter and then the idea will fall behind other pressing daily obligations. I know I could hop on and blog about anything I darn well please, but knowing that there are potentially more than just two people reading it, also gives me cause for pause. I don’t want to tick off someone and, (gasp!) lose them as friends on Facebook. However, I like the idea that someone could read it, disagree, and then give me some food for thought from their perspective on the issue. That’s what it should really be like, right? Respectfully having the right to share opinions and welcoming feedback, like grown-ups. Not expecting every human being to think just like you.

I follow a blog that I enjoy that’s clever and light-hearted most of the time. It makes me laugh out loud and she even does a Fashion Friday post each week that makes me envy her closet. I’m quite far from trendy and fashionable, so don’t worry about my adding fashion tips, but for my own sake and as the creative outlet I hope this can be for me, I want to write whatever’s on my mind and click “publish”, even if it’s a mindless, light-hearted read on my love of matching my underwear with my outfits. However, today’s not one of those kind of entries.

I hear the enormous load of political chatter from every direction and it can make my eyes cross and I generally want to avoid any and all discussions over it. When it comes to even considering a blog on an issue, I have to feel like I’ve settled into a place where I don’t feel as scattered, and that’s what all of this mess is; scattered, messy, and an often times unreliable pile of bricks. Lots of misleading headlines, articles filled with scathing descriptions on each person or party. I don’t like either presidential candidate. They are both yucky and a bit unnerving to me in their own way. One is known to have lied and is often described as a sneaky life-long politician. The other is aggressive, and says inappropriate and often disgraceful comments that make us squirm or feel downright angry. Then there are videos like this that hilariously expose a bit of the ridiculousness.  We all say, “How could this possibly happen that these are our two candidates?!? What’s going to happen to the future of our country?”

Regardless of this stark reality, most of us decide to, sometimes begrudgingly, stand behind one of these two candidates. Maybe we plan to hide it carefully under a bushel until Election Day for fear of persecution from “the other side”. Many people may still be unsure of where they stand simply because this election does not follow the general standards. I’m a Christian and I would say mostly conservative. Generally, I’d be more likely to favor the Republican candidate, but it’s not an automatic for me. One of my favorite authors, Phillip Yancey, just declared a couple days ago that he doesn’t understand how conservative Christians are possibly supporting Donald Trump because he, “stands against everything that Christianity believes”. Yikes. Although I know there are other well-known Christian leaders that are supporting Trump, it has still left me unsettled as to where I should place my vote.

There are extremely sour moral concerns in both candidates and many people have valid reasons to argue why one of them is worse than the other; choosing the lesser of two evils, as I’ve heard so many times. There are many descriptions made and twisting of truths about the candidates and I think it’s extremely important to question the validity of news media.  Yesterday, I read something and it finally clicked with me on who I believe I’ll vote for on Election Day and why. The reading (ironically from one of my least favorite Republican candidates, Ted Cruz) made me put aside the moral concerns for just a moment and I then asked what it is I most care about and what are top priorities that I know the next presidential candidate will have the power to change. (For those of you still reading that are liberal-minded, here’s where you may roll your eyes or do a mental SMH emoji). I care about the millions and millions of babies that are dying through abortion and I care about our freedom of speech and religion. Our president will have a great power in choosing future members of the Supreme Court. There are many issues on which I’m just plain ignorant: coal vs. oil and gas, etc. and others where I’m torn: immigration, Obamacare, etc. It’s boiled down to recognizing what matters most to me in the political/government basket of concerns and that’s left me with the choice to vote for Trump. If you’d asked me to pick from anyone in the country, he would not be even near the top or even on the list at this point, but to me, with these two choices, it is where I’ve landed for now and I reckon I could very well change my mind between now and November. Like I mentioned, I’m a fan of respectful dialogue on this issue and will keep my ears and mind open should I hear differing opinions from those I respect. If you are also uncertain as to where you’ll place your vote in November, I would encourage you to briefly push aside the messiness and murkiness of it all and ask yourself that basic question: “what do I care about the very most when it comes to the future of our country?”

 

 

 

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Are You There God? It’s Me, Emily

I’m in the midst of reading Tim Keller’s book called, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy With God. I’m enjoying it because it’s both speaking down to my level on this sometimes tough topic and doesn’t sugarcoat what prayer can be “in just three easy steps”. One piece Keller addresses is how The Lord’s Prayer, as it was intended by Jesus, can be a guide for our own prayers as simple humans. As I’ve been reading I keep thinking, “Aha! My pastor must have read this book!” because we were emphasizing The Lord’s Prayer in church for a while where we took the basic outline of the prayer and filled in or elaborated with what that realistically looks like in our current world and community. To me, this practice in corporate worship has given it meat and more substance than we stereotypically give it since it’s become a rote memory version for many people. This prayer came directly from Jesus Christ in response to the question of how to pray. It’s not long, yet is deep and covers a lot of ground. Keller says, “Prayer in all its forms-adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and petition-reorients your view and vision of everything.”

I’ve written on my struggles with prayer in a previous post, and one of the refreshing and encouragingly honest reminders I read was that prayer is often hard work and that we should do it even when we don’t feel like it. Keller says, “We sometimes have to wrestle even in order to pray. We often wrestle in prayer just to concentrate” and he quotes Austin Phelps (nineteenth-century theologian): “When those hours of the day come in which we should be having our prayer sessions with God, it often appears as though everything has entered into a conspiracy to prevent it.”

Not only have I found it challenging to establish consistent quiet time, but I have also felt like I rarely “hear” from God (at least not like I’ve been thinking I should). When I do pray through the day or sometimes write out my prayers, I’ve been focusing on specific people that need help, circumstances, etc., but often about how to best use my time or I’ve asked to be guided by Him on decisions and how I can both glorify and rest in Him. I also spend a lot of time asking God to help me see how He loves me, to settle my mind and heal the broken parts that alter my thinking and outlook. With all of that asking, I have been hoping to really sense direction or “hear” it in my mind, so when it doesn’t come like I think it should or as often as I think it should, I bop around in a bit of doubt, frustration, and loneliness. However, I was reflecting recently on my frustration with myself and God on this issue of prayer and wrote this in my journal:

“I’m finding myself upset with God because I don’t think He’s making himself evident or close to me, but my definition of Him being accessible is that I would also feel good each time; giddy and peaceful, knowing He’s there. That can’t always be the case though, I wouldn’t think. How do I feel uneasy or unsettled inside, but also sense God? I don’t know. But, I don’t want to have a silly expectation that frustrates me with God and even possibly miss Him in other ways He reaches out to me.”

Realizing that I have misguided expectations was good for me. I’m hoping it will continue to help me let go of the efforts to try and pray just the right way in order to get Him to hear me. It doesn’t work like that. He does hear us. I have just recently seen encouraging reminders of that, too. After a rather honest journal/prayer entry about my frustrations, I ended it with, “I want you to change and heal me. I also want you to blow me away with supernatural direction or insight; to have certainty that you hear me or want to use me in some way. I know that doesn’t have to be spectacular, but I guess I want and desire affirmation from you that my issues and struggles aren’t for naught.”

A couple weeks after writing that, I was honored with the opportunity to encourage a dear friend’s child who is having an incredibly tough time with anxiety. Although his mother is one of my favorite friends and is devoted, loving, and tender, she couldn’t relate to many of his obsessive worries. I could though and I knew how his little brain was wracked with icky thoughts. I have had enough “practice” of my own with it to send him encouragement and tips that have helped me find rest along the way. I feel like God gave me just the right words, too. You should have heard his response and gratefulness! What a joyful treat it was for me to feel as though I have finally been able to use my own mess to bless another. I feel like God heard my prayer and that He gave me a gift of encouragement, too. Even though I had tangible evidence that He heard me in that situation, the truth is that He always hears us.

Tim Keller, using the wisdom of John Calvin as inspiration, says, “Cry, ask, and appeal-you will get many answers. Finally, where you do not get an answer, or where the answer is not what you want, use prayer to enable you to rest in his will.” He also directly quotes Calvin as writing, “Though cast down and overcome by true humility, we should be nonetheless encouraged to pray by a sure hope that our prayer will be answered.” 

I hope this can serve as an encouragement to you that even though it may seem as though you’re not being heard or if you’re feeling frustrated with God or worried you’re not good enough for Him and avoid prayer as a result, our prayers are not empty or unheard.  Ask Him to help you to pray and KEEP GOING. Tell Him everything and be open to the many ways He may respond, whether it be His word, others around you, opportunities, etc. You are heard and can rest in that truth.

 

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Oh, You Again…

I’m here on one of those days. I have a nervous energy deep in my gut and feel unsettled. I felt it poking at me the last couple of nights and then felt like I was awake almost all of last night, with every little thing startling me and a bundle of anxiety. That starts the spiral worry. You know the one that says, “what if I can’t get to sleep tonight and then my day is filled with anxiety tomorrow and then what if this snowballs and I can’t sleep tomorrow night, or the next?” It tries to frighten me that I might fall into the pit again; the one filled with anxiety and uncertainty and overwhelmingly reminds me that I’m not in ultimate control of my circumstances and emotions. Sure, I know I have the choice to focus on slowing down my breathing, etc., but if a wave of fear or uneasiness is going to hit, it will do so. However, I know I can do many things to keep it from being so loud and scary, but I don’t always do those things like I should because I get caught up in my life and striving for the next good thing. 

I think that’s what’s going on right now. I’ve got a mix of everyday stresses, extra financial stresses, hormones, the “anniversary” of when anxiety took hold of me 12 years ago, poor eating, etc. Maybe my little brain is telling me it’s feeling overloaded and scared. That’s ok, little brain. I’m not mad at you (although I’ve been known to say an ugly thing about you from time to time, wishing I could switch brains with someone else or just buy a new one). Hating my circumstances doesn’t help the matter. There’s a big difference between the frightened Emily of a decade ago and where I am now. I’m still feeling all of those worries, fears, disappointment, and sadness, but I know some of the nicer things to remind myself of, like, “it’s just nervous energy and I don’t have to give it control” or asking God how I might grow during this time rather than fighting against it. What I think God reminded me of this morning is the phrase, “Keep going”. He told me that years ago when I felt like I couldn’t take another step because life was so scary to me. I did keep going then because I had no other choice and slowly, at a snail’s pace, I found some wiggle room and could breath. I’ve not yet gotten to a point where I feel free or Easy Breezy Beautiful Covergirl, but I’m hoping God has more of that for me, snail’s pace or not.  I hope He helps me to draw near to Him and that I fall in love with Him in the process. What I have learned over the years is that if I sit down “in it” and give these feelings credit, it will only feed it and delay movement back to healthier days. It’s a huge challenge not to engage, but I’m praying God will help me today and every day to lean in to Him and keep going. 

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