Some Beasts Die Hard

While this was written awhile ago, February (which is National Eating Disorder Awareness month) seems the appropriate time to post it…

It’s been awhile but I cried hard yesterday. Hard and ugly at the bottom of the shower- my safe place, my old solo silent refuge.

 

Wishing I had something to throw up, to literally purge my body of this feeling. To find some control in a beast that lies dormant, never leaves.

 

But it was 6am and a blessing I’d only had coffee and  an angel held my dripping, heaving body from falling down that slippery slope again.

 

some beasts die hardSome beasts die hard.

 

And so I sat and cried.

 

I sat heaped and felt the heat and gazed at pictures through steamy glass. At peaceful smiling faces, a façade I’m living in.

 

And wondered if others’ photographs sometimes felt as fake.

 

The irony of a perfect moment captured on film and sent into the world as the face of this “perfect life.”

 

Smiling faces, embraced, leaning into one another, trying and enjoying, but hungry for so much more.

 

So hungry I want to throw up.

 

Maybe you’ve never experienced that dichotomy, I’m sure most reading this haven’t. …the opposite action to fill up a soul thirsting.

 

A struggle as stupid as it is real.

 

And there’s not a happy ending to this short blog, just some shower confessions. Some raw ponderings and a thankful heart for just coffee before 6 am.

 

And four little arms and sticky hands to keep perspective. Too keep grounded.

 

To keep trying despite the hunger.

 

And a God bigger than this beast.

  • J

Give Me Some Reinforced Drawers

Almost everyone in my family loves to find discarded treasures and revive them.  This could be a coffee table turned into a padded seat.  My favorite is a desk that had been put out to the trash that my mom repainted for me.  Sometimes, it just means a deep clean and polish.  Other people may not see the plan or best use for these items, but when we find them we have a vision for how to use them.

35ecfddd4bbafe2a9d6e8317fed178a7I think that is how God sees us sometimes.  Others may not see our best assets; we may not know how best to serve Him.  We can get blinded by the dents and dings to our exterior; we are fully aware of the limitation of our foundations, our fading color.  However, He has a plan for how to continually work us towards His vision, if we let Him.

Sometimes He has to reinforce some drawers to hold a heavier burden than we thought we could.

Sometimes He has to redo the surface to reflect more of His character to bring in more people.

Sometimes there is some damage done that He has to fix before we are fully functional.

He notices all of our quirks and intricacies (after all he put them there).  He lets those stay because those are what make us uniquely fit for his specific vision for our lives.

We are His treasure, not that He found, but that He made; meant to live and serve a purpose for him.
I like being this work in progress for Him.  I like knowing that He is constantly working on me, sanding, painting, reinforcing.  It’s because of His love and value for me that He challenges me, sands me, never lets me settle as adequate.  He has made me to serve a higher purpose I cannot even see yet.

– S

A Work in Progress

God has blessed us all with natural talents, tendencies, and capabilities.  I believe He was just as intentional with what He did not just “give” us.  I’ve been thinking about this list lately.  The things that I am not – so, He can.

I am not brave.  I like the comfort of the familiar and known.  I like to know what’s going to happen and plan for any veers that may take me off course.  I need God to grant me courage on a daily basis for things I cannot control.  I need him to build courage for things that can be big, scary, and looming.

I am not coordinated.  Luckily, this isn’t really necessary for my everyday life.  (Well, except for the dropping things, tripping, slipping, falling, slamming, breaking, etc. that I don’t mean to do).  However, God has given me the physical capacity to do just about everything I’ve ever wanted.  (Except I think it’s safe to kiss the professional figure skating career goodbye)

I am not out-going or gregarious.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe I can be friendly.  However, I REALLY don’t like big, social things or even small, social things.  (Again, I like the small, comfortable, and familiar.)  God helps me still lead and participate in these situations.  198511_20140531_112114_tumblr_n6fd9w6aPd1r9v6c0o1_500

I am not good at asking for help.  I am stubborn and independent.  I like to do things myself and know that I worked to do them all on my own.  I’m still firmly in touch with my inner 2-3 year old that can do it herself.  God helps me need people.  He puts people in my life who I feel safe going to for help/assistance.  He grants me the acceptance that I can’t do it all myself.

The list could go on.  These are the things that keep me humble.  These are the things that keep me relying on God.  These are the things that combine to make me who I am – a work in progress.

-S

The Power of Knowing You Are Loved

I’m currently reading (well actually listening on my drive to and from work) Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking  by Susan Cain.  It is excellent by the way.  As I’ve been listening, it has really affirmed much of what I have experienced and know about myself as an introvert.  It provides some of the science behind it, but also speaks to the societal pressure to act as an extrovert.

I feel incredibly uncomfortable and out of place in large groups when I don’t have a prescribed purpose or role for the entire time.  The thought of simply mingling, talking, and/or enjoying myself in these situations puts my teeth on edge and raises my heart beat.  This goes for everything from the time spent before a meeting starts to holiday gatherings with the extended family.  It doesn’t matter if it is people I have known my whole life or strangers.  (Actually sometimes it is easier with strangers.)  However, I’m not as awkward in these scenarios as I feel on the inside.  There is not actually a blinking, light up arrow pointing to me so people know I don’t fit in.  My actions (thankfully) don’t match my feelings, though.  I think I am able to pass through most scenarios without people realizing how unbelievable out of place and awkward I feel.

This book has made me reflect on this more.  My temperament, my natural stance is one of a quiet introvert.  However, I give public speeches pretty much weekly.  I interact with new people all the time in a vulnerable way through work.  I have learned and adapted how to work as an introvert in a world that requires me to be an extrovert.  How?

As I’ve been listening, I’ve also been reflecting (a classic introvert move according to this book).  I can succeed in an extroverted world for several reasons, but a main one is my parents.  I was blessed that I grew up knowing I was valued and loved.  I have known many kids who haven’t had this luxury, which is why it has become such an essential part of my identity as a human, but especially as an educator, to let people know that I value and love them.

Growing up I could write off my parents comments with “You have to say that.  You’re my parents.”  However, I knew it was true.  There is power in knowing you are loved and valued for exactly who you are, just the way you are.  My parents recognized my potential, while also recognizing my areas for growth.  I grew up hearing (and believing) that I could literally do anything I wanted when I grew up.  Okay, by the time I was 13, I realized I was never going to be a professional figure skater, but I still hadn’t ruled out president.   I could subconsciously recognize my unique value as Shauna, for just being me.

What is my point here?  God can do anything despite our weaknesses?  God uses all things for good?  All these things are true, but I think often the power we have comes from our knowledge and acceptance of God, not necessarily His undeniable might.  We have free will – both our blessing and our curse.  God can do all things, but that doesn’t mean He will or that we will let Him.  What am I willing to do?  I am willing to do a lot more, push myself more when I know I am loved and valued.  It helps me to love and value myself.  As I’ve said before, I’ve never struggled with faith or the idea that there is a God who knows me and loves me.  I believe this is one of my gifts, but I also can’t deny that it is probably easier for me because I have known and experienced unconditional love/value from my parents my whole life.  What a blessing!

I am a service-action oriented person – which is why many of my posts are calls to action of some kind.  It is just the way I think and operate.  So, what is this a call to?  It is more than a call to love and value others.  It is a call to empower others.  My strength comes not from being loved and valued, but from KNOWING I’m loved and valued.  Let those around you know they are loved and valued.  Let them know they have limitless potential because of their value.  Let them know it is their perceived weaknesses as much as their strengths that make them who they are and will lead to them becoming the person they can be.  I am as much the woman I am because of my weaknesses as because of my strengths.  My quick processing has helped me gain more leadership opportunities.  However, my sensitivity contributes to my increased empathy, which helps me work with others and build trust faster.  I could not be as effective at what I do in any capacity of my life, if I had erased things that I saw as weaknesses for so long.  Believe it or not, God knows what He is doing.  So, share with others why you value and love them a little bit more.  It makes a difference, even if you don’t see it.

– S