I’m a woman, in case you haven’t figured that out yet, and in light of that fact I want to talk about something that every woman(yes, every woman) struggles with. (Preemptive strike. Some of you are going to claim you don’t struggle with this. Stop lying to yourself.)
I was scrolling down facebook as I tend to do way too often and I saw a picture. Of a different woman. Which made me feel incredibly inferior. Not only inferior, but fat, awkward, and undesirable. You know the feeling. Seeing a picture of someone with a thigh gap and an itty-bitty waist that makes you look at your own stretch marks and feel like a cow. Yeah.
Confession: Logically I have no reason to feel that way after scrolling through my news feed. I’m fairly certain I’m guilty of striking envy in the hearts of other women as well. You know, leftovers. I can still see my ribs for some reason which completely eludes me. So why is it that when I see someone who is my idea of beautiful I automatically identify that type of beauty as not belonging to me? It boggles my mind that I’m so blind to myself that I compare my looks to everyone else and always find myself wanting. “Her lips are fuller than mine, her hips round better, look at her nice petite shoulders, if only if only if only….” but yet those same people that I’m judging myself against and finding myself inferior to are probably doing the exact thing to me. “Her hair is so curly and voluminous, wow curves, etc. etc. etc. if only if only if only…”
Legitimate question: Why do we live in a culture where inferiority complexes are the norm? Why can’t we just see ourselves the way that other people do?
I have dropped off the face of the planet. I sincerely apologize. A lot has changed since I last posted. I moved out of my parent’s house and am living in a house. I pay rent now. I grocery shop. I cook for my roommate like a good little housefriend. She cleans though. And we both think we’re getting the better end of the deal.
I was driving home from work this evening and I was really disturbed by one thing in particular. Not really a thing, but an absence of a thing.
My check engine light isn’t on.
It hasn’t been on for about a week now.
I think it must be broken.
Why is this such a big deal, you may ask? Well I’ve been in possession of my car for two and a half years and never has my car gone this long with out at least flashing the check engine light if not just flat out lighting that baby up like a firecracker. Additionally, just because my check engine light isn’t on that doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong with the engine. What about that whatsamakallit that the guy who sold me the car told me was going bad and said I would have to replace eventually? Every time I’ve gone to the shop to get something fixed the mechanic has asked me if I want to fix it and I always say no after he tells me I can still drive it without the repair…. The check engine light went on for that issue literally as I drove it off the lot. Why isn’t it on for that? I haven’t fixed the problem, so what’s happened? Clearly my check engine light is broken.
But tonight as I was driving home perplexed because of the absence of problems I was struck by the idiocy of my own thoughts.
Jesus taught us to pray and ask for our daily bread. Not our monthly bread or our yearly bread… our daily bread. And what is the proper response when God gives us our daily bread? We thank Him of course. Because He has infinitely provided for us.
That means that even for the five minutes that my check engine light isn’t on I praise God. That means that while I’m frustrated because the poor drive-thru worker can’t hear what I’m saying over the noise of my engine I praise God that I have a car to take through the drive-thru. That means that even though tomorrow everything that I ever thought was safe and secure might be ripped away from me I still praise God for today. Because he has blessed me far beyond what I deserve. And God deserves more than my bad attitude as I hoard his blessing and bemoan that I have no guarantee that my worldly success is permanent. How terrible is it that I can’t enjoy the blessings of God because I’m too busy looking over my shoulder at the past and into the future saying “this isn’t going to last. it’s a trick.” Of course it isn’t going to last. It’s of this world. It’s not meant to last.
So this Thursday I’m thankful that my check engine light isn’t on.
At this point in my life I’m working the evening shift full time until school starts. It’s been pretty great so far with the exception of, you know, the occasional craziness. But I mean what was I expecting. I work in an Alzheimer’s care facility. Sundowners is the name of the game. But I mean aside from that shenanigans it’s been fabulous.
But as all health care professionals can attest(most?) evening shift(second shift, whatever you want to call it) is the worst for having an actual life outside work.
I’ve been working 1500-2300 for the last two weeks and I’ve slipped into half-vampire schedule. You know, sleep until 1300 and stay up until 0400. You know. That schedule. Unfortunately for me I live in a red state and everything in town closes at 2200. Except for the bars and Walmart…
Today I had a day off. I went shopping with an old friend and then treated myself to a double feature(thanks Amazon Prime). It is now the time when decent people go to bed, but I haven’t even been awake for 12 hours. It’s like lunch time.
I AM BORED OUT OF MY MIND!!!!
SOMEBODY GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!!!
A week and a half ago I was wading into the Pacific Ocean with one of the most terrifying men I have ever had the privilege to be acquainted with(and it truly is a privilege. But that’s a conversation for a different time.) My foot was strapped to a surfboard and the long sleeved Duck Dynasty shirt I had borrowed from my roommate to cover my nasty, awkward tan-line forming burn swirled around me and created resistance to me seaward trek. Brad asks me where I’m from. I reply “Nebraska”. He cracks a smile and says “Oh yeah, I have some Husker stuff back home!”
Joke’s on me he’s actually a Buckeye fan, but he loves the schools with traditions and “You just have to love Tom Osborne.”
Spoken like a bro, sir.
And then I caught some sick waves.
I’m currently taking a break from planning my bible study for tomorrow in order to rest my poor fried brain. If I can be perfectly honest with y’all, I’m completely exhausted in almost every way. Satan is taking the opportunity to attack at full blast and I simply don’t have the energy to deal with it. As I’m feeling inadequate and undeserving of all the information I’m getting and feeling like it’s a good thing the project is almost over because these people are going to decide they really don’t like having me around(lies from Satan all) all I want to do is sleep for the next twenty hours. Not because I’ve been sleep deprived, but because my soul is in desperate need of rejuvenation. As I take a step back from the crazy preparations to go home on Thursday I am struck by how desperately I need Jesus.
I don’t need 20 hours of sleep, I need 20 hours in the word. I need a pot of coffee, a piece of VI pie, and my thumbed up Bible. I need 20 hours where I have nowhere to be except in the presence of my savior, redeemer, and best friend.
So am I ready to leave Pasadena? I don’t know. Am I ready to see my friends and family? Probably. Am I ready to have free time in the presence of God? Yeah. Absolutely.
So I’m sick. I have been for a quite a while now, and I’m exhausted and crazy. Because of how tired I’ve been(from being sick and also from being so busy with project) I’m literally confused for a large portion of the time. We went to the Buddhist temple this morning, which was actually fantastic, and I have several thoughts about it. I’m pretty sure the Buddhists were excited and thought I was going to convert to Buddhism because I kept sitting down and just gazing around with this crazed, I’m guessing peaceful expression on my face. To clarify, no I wasn’t meditating/praying. I was taking a mini-nap. Secondly all morning I had thoughts about things that were super weird or whatever I don’t even know because I don’t remember, all I know is at random times I would get it in my mind that I needed to do something and the reason in my mind would be completely random. For example: I was convinced I needed to look in my purse and the only reason I could think of was because there was food in it. Well, there wasn’t and isn’t any food in my purse. And I can’t for the life of me remember why I thought there was food in my purse because that little bit of logic is like the fuzzy bits on old VHS tapes that goes all gray and black and makes an obnoxious sound. Every time I try to think about why I thought that my brain hurts and there’s just blank space.
It’s rough. But after the temple I got a good 45 minute nap in. Which I desperately needed because I ran out of nyquil last night and ended up not sleeping well at all because of coughing. The good news is that I composed a nice poem about toasters. The bad news is that I can’t remember it. Life is so hard. I will be home in one week and one day, and then I will eat real home-made food, and then I will get better. It’s going to be great. And I told my work for simplicity’s sake that I would start back up on the first. So I can recuperate a little bit.
At the beginning of the summer I took the love language test because a bunch of my roommates were asking about it and I hadn’t taken it in a while and had forgotten what my top languages were. Unsurprisingly quality time came up as my top one.
What you see in the image above is a taste of 90 minutes of quality time with God. It’s crazy but it didn’t really register to me that since I love God I will show my love to him by spending time with him. I don’t know I guess in words that sounds like Christianity 101, but it’s just sinking in this summer. I’m learning what the Psalmist is talking about when he talks about loving the words of the Lord and them being as sweet as honey. Truly, meditating on the words of my God is a delight. I am so thankful that I have the Bible in my own language and that I can dwell on the words of God and memorize them and wrestle with them in my heart. I am so blessed.
As we were all praying over our PD’s looming trip overseas long-term it hit me that in two weeks I’m going to have to say goodbye to all these crazy people who have been a part of the ruining of my life. Yeah I’ve been crying. But we had Pronto Donuts afterward, so how bad can it be? In the morning we are heading to the mosque. We could use prayers as we go and observe and learn.
God has been so good this summer. For my supporters who are reading this, thank you so much for investing your time and energy into my personal growth toward this crazy plan that God has for me. My whole worldview has shifted on so many levels, and I pray that I will never slink back into the hazy, complacent coma that I was in before I came on this project and God punched me in the face.
I feel a little bit like Isaiah. My whole life has been ruined. Just completely shattered.
Matthew 10:39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
I’ve taken quite the hiatus, I realize. And I would apologize except I feel like there’s so much good stuff that is happening that y’all would yell at me for it, so I’m not going to.
I spent the weekend in San Diego with my small group and I really got to know them a lot better and just got to relax a little bit in the midst of Perspectives Intensive. We did a little hike at Torrey Pines and then went to several beaches. I got burnt to the crisp. But you know that’s what happens when white girls go to the beach.
Honestly I am learning a lot about God’s heart for the world, but I think, also importantly, I’m learning about God’s heart for me. I had never realized just how many strongholds the devil has in my life until being in a healthy community of women who are all just loving on me and pouring into me. Lies that I didn’t even know I was believing have been coming to the surface and I’ve had to seriously reevaluate who I believe that I am in Christ.
Final food for thought: where is the very fine line between self-deprecation and self-hatred?
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been a little AWOL the last few days. It’s okay though. Everything’s fine. We’ve been talking about the time between the New Testament and present time. I had no idea the dark ages were so fascinating.
I have a new personal hero. Grace Wilder. She prayed and God started the Student Volunteer Movement. So that’s pretty awesome. And in case you are wondering, yes she is a relation to Laura Ingalls Wilder. Niece to be exact. Royal’s daughter. But yeah. Pretty awesome.
We had Rendez-vous night last night and apparently there’s this thing in California called PizzaRev. It’s like Subway only artisan pizza. Which after creeping on their website they’re building one in Lincoln. So now I’m really really excited.
I’m learning a lot. My life is being shaken. In a big way. God has really shown up in a huge way in the last fifteen days. Additionally I’ve never gotten so close to so many people in so short a time. Pretty much fantastic.
See y’all later. I’ve got some sleeping to do. We’re going to San Diego this weekend for funsies as a small group, so I need to catch up on all the rest.