Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Perceived Perceptions

I don't know if I've shared this before or not, but I get caught up in perception. Not so much in how I perceive the actuality of something, but how I perceive what others are perceiving about me in the actuality of something.  I KNOW!  It is such a convoluted mess.   It is so stressful that it has my mind and my emotions all twisty -ALL. THE. TIME!  Here in lies the problem.  Allow me to explain.

When I think I know how people are seeing me, I begin to act upon those perceived perceptions.  I put those ideas into play, despite how contorted and wrong they may be.  In some ways I know them to be completely wrong, and yet I am remiss to stop myself from believing them. And you know what?  It hurts.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have done this and wish I could take it all back.  How I wish I could undo the amount of time spent acting out those perceptions.  Most especially when they involve those I love.

It's funny really.  A while back, I don't know when exactly, my ex-mother-in-law told me something I will never forget.  So you know, we still talk and have a good relationship.  She is a wonderful woman and I greatly enjoy her company and miss her cooking even more!  I'm quite thankful my Littles have her as a grandma.  To my point. She told me (and this is a paraphrase because I don't remember the exact words), "you really just need to be who you are and not try to be everyone else too".  What!  I know!  Those words continually haunt me.

That's just it too. Because I am constantly trying to live up to those perceived perceptions I don't know who I am for the most part.  Or more so, I never let who I am grow and become.  Sadly,  because of this, I have lost so much.  I have lost time. I have lost love.  I have lost relationships.  I have lost opportunities.  I have lost.  And why do I do this?  Oh, without a doubt, I do it out of fear.  Fear that if I am not some person, or can do something, then I will never be enough. I want to tell you that the identification of this fact will get me on the path of, well, not doing it, but I cannot.  I don't know what tomorrow holds any more than I do the next 5 minutes.

I often reflect on the times I let those perceptions create in me a character I do not like.  A character that doesn't even resonate with who I want to be.  For example, I want to be the cool person who is good in groups like my brother and sister, gosh even like my husband.  They can work a room like it is no one's business and be a person other's want to be around, and even like.  Me, I'm awkward. I get scared. And when I do I try all the harder because I perceive them as seeing me as someone I am not.  So I act on those perceptions.  And it is a disaster every single time. Every. Single. Time.

One would think at my age I would be passed this.  Mostly due to the fact that once you've successfully navigated and nearly completed your 3rd decade of life you should have a handle on all of this. Yet, I don't.  It is something that I try to let go, but struggle to do.  I want to be comfortable with who I am and know that who I am is ok, but I don't. I worry about those perceptions.  I worry about being liked and wanted and it eats at me.  And when it comes to this point I start to question why God made me like this.  Why he would create me to be someone that is easily forgotten or that no one wants to be around.

But I realize that isn't the truth either because I know what God says about me.  I know he doesn't make mistakes.  I know he made me on purpose, for a purpose.  I know that he has plans for me.  I know I am his because He chose me to be. And yet still, I yo-yo between the knowing and the being.

There isn't a profound purpose to this blog today. No lesson I wish to impart. No tidbit of incredible wisdom. Just the thoughts I have in my head at this time and the thing I struggle with most. This thing that feeds all other things I struggle with.  It is this that breeds all of my nuances - both right and wrong.  I want to let it go. I want to drop it at the feet of Jesus and be free from it.  I want to just be me. And I want to like the person I am.

Since this is life and it is taken a day at a time, I want to think I'm making a successful go at it all, but I am most certain there will be lapses and relearning and struggles on the journey to get there. Without a doubt there will be pages and pages of words you will read (or not) during this time. I just hope that in my openness, some good can come.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Finding Thanks To Give

Today is Thanksgiving.  Here in our neck of the woods it is cold, damp from 24 straight hours of rainfall the day/night before, and now dark (thank you daylight savings time for that reality at such an early hour ~ ok, fair is fair, mother nature has a thing or two to do with that as well...I digress!).  I need to be honest here - I didn't wake up today ready to feel thankful.  In fact, I woke up today not ready for today to happen - at all.  Oh, it isn't because I don't love Thanksgiving, I do.  In fact, of all the holidays we celebrate this one is my absolute favorite.  (Yes, Chrismas and Easter are wonderful, but I love those for completely different reasons.) Why? You might ask.  Well, for these reasons here.  Today my Littles are off with their dad meeting their new step-family (yes, he's getting married! To a woman that I actually admire and think is a great person and will be a wonderful influence and help in the girls' life), my family had their Thanksgiving a couple weeks ago while my little sister was in town (she lives in Denver), and my Mr. had to go to work.

However, as I was sitting here alone this afternoon, several things have come to mind for which I am truly thankful for.

For these, I have so much thanks to give:

1. I am wholly and deeply loved by a God who saves, forgives and leads.  I am a broken person, but I am not beyond the grace of our Savior.  I am a child of the one true King and He is totally NOT FINISHED with me yet and I cannot WAIT to see where He takes me next.

2. I have been blessed with a husband that not only loves, cares, provides for, and protects me, but does so daily - by choice.  There is so much I could say here, but I will leave it at that.  He. Chose. Me.  He still chooses me. And I, without a doubt, believe God brought us together for a reason.

3. I have three of the most beautiful little girls, in the entirety of the world, who call me mom. Seriously, I don't know what I would do without that honor.  Yes, they can make me cry, get frustrated and angry, but oh how they make me smile and laugh.  I am so in awe of who they are and the women they are becoming.  Truly, to have the blessing of raising them and watching them grow...renders me speechless.

4. I have the privalege of being a step-mom to two rambunctious little boys.  They are not mine by blood, but I do love and care for them just the same. In fact, I believe step parents have a greater honor than biological parents, because in these relationships you not only have a choice, you get a choice.  If only everyone would look at it through those lens', I think there'd be a greater amount of joy in blended families today.

5. I was able to talk with my mom today and wish her a Happy Thanksgiving.  Since we had our family get-together on the 12th she was home watching football and decorating for Christmas.  Go team...whoever you are that is playing...LOL!

6. I called my brother and got his VM,  which I appropriately left a brilliant message displaying my awesomeness as his big sister.  A while later he did send me a text.  So, in the grand scheme of things, I scored a cool sister point - somewhere!  HA!

7. I texted my little sister and got a reply back - way later (I'm chalking it up to the 2 hour time difference and the fact she had surgery yesterday.) Then she surprised me with a phone call just a bit ago.  We talked for over an hour!  An hour!  And it was wonderful (we didn't discuss politics so I'm mostly certain that is the main reason why.  LOL)  I cannot tell you when the last time was we actually talked - like got past the obligatory conversational pleasantries and talked - and here we got to...uninterrupted...for a long time. In the end we came to the standing conclusion that I am the logical/practical one and she is the people-y one....either way, the several minutes of talking in between forming that conclusion, was priceless.

8. I got to spend the morning/early afternoon with my Mr.'s family.  Yes, he was there too, for a bit,  until work beckoned.  In that time we got to visit with others, eat some yummy food, and go through a lot of old family photos.  I have to tell you, my Mr. was an absolutely adorable kid!  I've come to the conclusion that boys don't really change their looks as they are growing as much as girls do.   Any way, we got to bring many pictures home and I can't wait to scrapbook them for him.

9. I have time to spend with myself.  If you aren't one who likes this, or even needs this, I don't expect you to understand.  But I am a person who needs time to decompress.  I can't be "on" all of the time. When I am it makes me cranky and I start to have panic/anxiety attacks and I get really out of shape. This quiet time is exactly what my soul needed.  There is no shame in needing this, and I have none for admitting it.

10. I have been blessed with a wonderful job.  I cannot begin to put into words how much I enjoy my new job.  Is it challenging and hard?  Yes.  Are the people good, kind, considerate and helpful?  Absolutely.  Am I learning new things?  Without a doubt. In all, it was the best decision I made - following God's prompting on this move.  There are many things I had to give up (benefits/pay wise), but in the grand scheme of things, I know I'm in a place where God can and will use me.

11.  I cannot even put into words how thankful I am for the material blessings God has provided for us.  We have a home, vehicles that run, clothes to wear, food to eat, and activities to enjoy.   I am, without a doubt, humbled by his graciousness.

12. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve others at church; for their confidence in me to be their Hospitality Team Coordinator.  I am so extremely excitied to see where God leads me, but more so in how He can use me to further His kingdom.  I only pray that I don't let Him or His church down.

13. This one I saved for last.  Probably because it will become a post of its own one day, but mostly because it is something that I am hesitant to share.  First, I am thankful for answers to prayer.  Second, I am doubly thankful for a God that doesn't give up and gave me the courage to have a heart of obedience. You guys, I am proud to admit that I have not had a drop of alcohol in 25 days.  While some may not recognize this for what it is, there are many who will.  I could not have done this without the support of my Mr. and the daily grace of my Savior.  There is still much road to travel, but I've got amazing people on my side.

So, while you are all out there having family time together, roasting turkeys, eating mountains of mashed potatoes with gravy flowing down into a pile of stuffing, remember the things you are thankful for.  While I could have ended the day focusing on all the things today didn't hold, I found looking on the things it did hold was such a greater joy.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  May you have a blessed start to this Holiday season and find the truest gifts life has to offer.

Much love,
M