Power In The Waves

I walk these shores over and over again. The waves tumble against the sand, spewing particles in every direction.

What is forward, what is back? Can we return to things we once lost, even things that have now been forgotten? Can we step forward into a new life, every piece of what we have been, tied together and brought into harmony as they unify.

It’s been so long since I’ve revisited certain parts of myself. Thoughts, feelings, activities. Even friendships.

Slowly I’m reemerging from the ash and cinder that was left by the flames. Slowly I’m coming alive again.

Old things take a new form. This can be good or bad.

I look out into the vast seas, endless depths and unknowns, waiting to be found. The beauty and power within the storms, now harnessed within the waves. It looks so peaceful, and yet, there’s such strength.

Something as simple as a drop of water, joined with billions of others, endless awe, endless destruction. There’s a fear that accompanies that, but I suppose that’s also where the awe comes in.

If water, joined with itself could hold that much strength, power, and ability, then how could we look to ourselves, or to our God, and say that anything is impossible?

Saying Goodbye To The Old

Last week my writing group came to an end. It was abrupt, sudden, and unexpected. I feel God’s faithfulness as He’s moving me through this transition. I know I’m done writing in that way for the foreseeable future, but there’s still a sadness as I say goodbye.

I didn’t have a chance to prepare, or think about the implications.

Caught off guard. But still protected and feeling peace.

I know this is just another step out of the previous phase and into the new, yet it’s hard to let go.

I think what I’ll miss most is hearing others’ stories. I loved listening, and hearing the ideas, perspectives and thought process behind other people’s writing. I loved seeing behind the curtain, into another world, where problems can be forgotten. I loved seeing things that the world may never see, things that even if they are someday published, will be so changed and altered from where they originally came. I liked seeing those beginnings. And I liked seeing the evolution of a story as it grew into something bigger and better.

I love the joy, the excitement, the feeling of accomplishment.

At the end of it, I don’t feel regrets, but rather thankfulness and gratitude that I was allowed to be part of something so special, even if only for a short time.

I’m on to the next thing, I haven’t truly been invested for a while. I feel like this is God removing one more of my many busywork tasks that isn’t propelling me forward. And I trust Him in that.

As this book closes, I look forward with the anticipation for the next chapter. Endless possibilities, and I’m not fully sure what it will be.

Defined

I don’t want to be defined by my struggles. And yet, I find myself talking about them, even here.

Others ask me about the things I struggle with, and I know it’s out of concern for me, but I also feel a little diminished almost every time they do. I don’t want these things to control me, or label me. I want to be seen for what and who I am, apart from all the things that have broken me.

It really is true that others will see us as we see ourselves. Confidence makes all the difference in the world, and the few times I’ve been able to act in that, rather than my fears, insecurities, and general quietness, I’ve found my interactions with others go much differently.

Do we control the lens that others view us through?

I think the answer is yes, but it’s often far more subconscious than what any of us can control. That’s why we have to heal the inside first, because cleaning the outside will never do any lasting good.

No caterpillars with pasted on wings, but true butterflies that have the freedom to fly.

Quiet Confidence

There’s a time and place for quiet confidence, but I think that last piece is often missing from the equation. Are we quiet out of fear, or security? This makes a huge difference.

I was recently at a book group. I can’t stand the book we’re going through, and probably won’t read the rest of it, but I have friends there I want to support. What was interesting though, was that every time we meet, I sit there silently. It’s common that I’m quiet in groups, but this one is especially bad.

People talked about their families, things I fear I will never have. In the past I would dissolve into a bucket of tears unable to articulate any of the intense and complicated emotions that would rush through my soul. But this time. This time I was silent.

I was able to recognize the pain, the loss, and also able to hold it together (without even feeling those overwhelming emotions urging me to cry), because I realized that I’ve healed enough that those wounds no longer cut as deep. Sure, things still hurt, but God’s brought me to a place of acceptance, and not only that, but a new kind of hope, that He still has plans for me. That somehow, I still have value.

And so I didn’t speak. And through this group I’ve noticed a difference in myself. As I’ve remained silent out of the confidence within me, rather than the fear, that confidence has grown. I no longer (at least in that group) feel the fear I used to feel, urging me to speak, to share, to say anything because everyone else is expecting it.

There have been comments from others about my silence, but I’m actually ok with that. I don’t feel insecure about it like I often do when I’m quiet in groups and the comparisons and shame (for introversion and inability to share) piles up.

So today I’m feeling thankful. For the ways that God has grown me, and the ways that He has healed me. I know it isn’t finished yet and I have a long way to go, but it brings hope to my heart that I see Him working in me, that I have this very real and tangible example of where I was verses where I am today.

Lessons From An Extrovert

I’m realizing a lot of my recent agitation is due to overstimulation and taking on too much. I don’t know why it took me so long to get it, but maybe this time the realization will stick.

When my extroverted friend told me, “you’re doing too much,” I brushed it off with a, “probably, but what can you do?” (Not my wisest or most insightful response.)

That should have been enough to warn me, but it wasn’t until visiting her that I was able to embrace the calm and solitude I needed.

Even introverts need community. The question isn’t about whether socializing is good or bad as a whole, but about what interactions, and how often, are healthy or not.

I’ve finally taken the hint from my friend, and stepped back a bit. She helped me to see that what I was doing and trying to keep up with, would be too much even if I weren’t an introvert.

It’s okay to take time to rest, and it’s okay to not always measure up, to not be perfect. It’s okay to take the time we need to relax and just live the lives we’ve been given, without having to be busy all the time. And it took an extrovert and social interaction to show me that.

What unexpected results have you found with social interaction? Are there any lessons you’ve learned from your extroverted friends?

New Sense Of Peace

I sit here this morning with a cup of tea and an empty mind. I’m beginning to feel again. God is so good, so faithful, and yet, I’m not entirely sure what to do with it.

I’ve tried journaling, and it’s been good to get my thoughts down on paper. I’ve felt a little drifty lately, unsure where I’m going, but I’ve also been feeling more peace about it than I usually would.

It’s like the storm has settled enough that I’m now able to begin interacting with normal/real life again. And I have to confess, I’m not really sure what to do with it.

Things have been a bit intense over the past few weeks (maybe months), but after the extremes and intensity, I’m finding a new sense of equilibrium.

Stabilizing may or may not last long. I’m not sure. But God’s giving me peace about it in this moment.

He’s teaching me, and growing me. And it’s interesting to see this new part of myself emerging. I no longer have to hide behind what I do, or my creative outlets. But I can stand here confidently in the unknown, just being what He created me to be in this moment: Me.

No masks. No striving.

A pure and simple solution that has taken me so long to grasp. All I really need is to trust in Him. To be still enough to hear what He speaks in my silence.

Baby Steps

I’ve felt dry and stagnant for a long time now. Last weekend was truly refreshing, and something I desperately needed. There are highs and lows, all of them even out to a gentle hum that keeps my mind ever busy, never present.

I feel like I can’t articulate words or thoughts very well, and I’m not sure what I’m even doing with life half the time. Okay. More than half.

A busy weekend is coming up as I go back home to celebrate the first birthday of a close friend’s child. So much is missing from life, it feels as though everyone’s moving on without me, and yet my feet are glued to the floor, unsure how to step forward.

Do any of us really know what direction we wish to take? What direction would lead the best way? Maybe it’s okay to be uncertain. But what isn’t okay, is something I’m slowly realizing about myself.

I have so many self-doubts, so many fears, so many insecurities, I don’t know how to move forward in life. I stop myself halfway, I think because I’m afraid of succeeding. And yet, on the flip side, I feel so utterly alone and invisible sometimes.

But what I’m realizing is that I’m chasing idols to fill the void of a life I thought I’d have.

Things are good now, in many ways, but beneath the surface, I’m still broken, and sometimes falling apart in ways I can’t even understand. Maybe in losing the things I wanted, God is protecting me from something that I couldn’t understand from this vantage point. Maybe there’s a reason for the pain, the emptiness. Maybe, what I perceive as falling backwards, is actually a step forward, to have the life I truly want to lead.

Maybe, God still has a plan and is ever faithful through it all. As He leads me one step after another, will my heart be willing to surrender my plans, for future He wants to bring me to?