Learning to be Vulnerable

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Learning to be vulnerable should be the sub-title to my blog or to my book. These last months have forced me to be uncomfortably vulnerable. Though at this point I don’t think that being vulnerable is comfortable. No one likes it. We shy away from it and when we get too vulnerable, we certainly pull back from people because we don’t think anyone else can handle it.

We think they can’t handle it for many reasons. Maybe we aren’t comfortable with our baggage or we haven’t processed through it yet. It could be that it was too much for us or for people who saw us go through it. It may have pushed people away before or we know that it may cause others pain. Whatever the reason the reason is that we don’t like to be vulnerable, it keeps us from truly being ourselves around most people.

I knew I wanted to write this post, as I have been more vulnerable in the past few months than I have been in quite some time. This is due to finally feeling like I could be myself around some people. And guess what? I got closer to some people and further from others. I’m actually sitting here with tears pouring down my face. It’s a mixture of happy tears and deeply hurt, sad tears. And for the first time in a long time, I’m okay with it.

I was reading through my journal and something that I wrote at the end of last year and beginning of this year. I said that I wanted to love people more. Well guess what happens when you do that? You are forced to be more vulnerable. It means you get hurt but you also receive love back in very unexpected ways.

I have been praying for years that I will find strong, real female friends. I have always looked at the pictures of the groups of girls/women who seem to have each other’s backs. Sometimes it was real and sometimes it wasn’t, so I’ve learned. And I had to get burned a few times but guess what, I found some of the best and strongest women that I know. I know that they will do anything for me and I for them. It brings me so much joy just thinking about them. I pray for them often and thank the Lord that we are in each others lives. It doesn’t mean it’s easy but it’s real friendship. It’s true friendship, where I know that they will call me out when I am being dumb and be there when I need a hug or someone to sit with me. There is no back stabbing and cattiness. There is loyalty and vulnerability. We support each other and encourage each other. And it took work to get here.

I didn’t trust them overnight. It took time. It took me being vulnerable to see that they were going to continue to be there for me, truly be there for me, in spite of everything that I was doing to push them away. We had to make a choice to be vulnerable. And along the way I learned that there were some that I could not trust.

It’s this way with all relationships. We have to figure out who we can be vulnerable and real with and take the risk. We may get hurt and let down. But we won’t really know someone or truly know ourselves, if we keep putting up this facade like we do on social media. I’m guilty of it too. I use the filters and post the fun things that I am doing. No one wants to see the bad and ugly but we all go through it right? And we all need a little help to get through it. Life is not always perfect. Even when things are going well there is usually something going on or we are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

As much as I hate to admit it, being vulnerable is necessary for real relationship and growth. I’m for sure terrible at it but learning to be better at it and grateful for what I’ve learned so far in being vulnerable about my hurts, aches, pains, fears, and failures. I hope that we can all learn to be more vulnerable and loving to those who are vulnerable.

~Lynn

Limiting Ourselves

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I have spent most of the weekend sitting outside soaking up the sun and slowing down. My life has been feeling more and more like a rat race again. Some of it I do to myself. I don’t always know how to slow down and I’m a workaholic. However, I consciously made a choice these last two days to stop and it has been fantastic. Being outside is one of my favorite things. While the beach or the pool is where I would prefer to be, I’ll take my back patio because well it’s more cost effective. I’m trying to do this whole being wise with my money thing. It’s a slow going process but I’ve realized that I don’t need to spend money every weekend and I have a great back patio….lizards and all.

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On to what I really wanted to talk about today. So while I mentioned that in some ways life has been feeling like a rat race, I know that I am not reaching my full potential. I still doubt myself and what I can do. Why do we do that as women especially. I know that the Lord has blessed me with gifts and talents, yet I daily doubt myself and don’t put them into use. I let the rat race of life get in the way.

I make excuses of being too busy with other things to really take that giant step of faith and go after some big things. I settle with what I have because it’s good. It’s really good. I have a good life. But what if I could have a great life. What if I could be the one who took that giant step of faith that the Lord uses for other people and for his glory? What if I stopped doubting the abilities that I have and put them to use? I constantly talk myself out of things because I hear all the voices of other people in my head saying that someone else is already doing it or there is someone else who can do it better. And maybe those things are true but what if I can bring a different perspective or add to the cause? What if the Lord can use me to impact someone else? Am I not being selfish by not taking the step and speaking up?

This isn’t to say that I feel like my whole life needs to be out there for everyone to know. But I do think that there is more to things than just a 9-5 job. The problem is that I have been burned a few times trying to figure out what that more is.  Friends have hurt me, spiritual mentors have let me down, family hasn’t believed in me, and I’ve doubted myself. Yet I can’t shake there is more to this. I am tired of letting the doubts win and not taking a chance to do more and make a difference. While I don’t doubt that the Lord has used me where I am at, I have doubted what he can do and settled for less than my full potential because I know that I will be hurt more and let down again. And well I am sure that I will do the same to others.

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It’s easier to shut down and settle in. It’s safer to not take a chance. It’s easier to not put everything on the table. But what is life without taking a chance? You never know what could happen. There is no other person like me. Just like there is no other person like you. Why do we let other people talk us out of being great? Why do we talk ourselves out of being great? What do you need to take a chance on?

Me I want to take the chance on my writing. I want to take a chance on teaching. I want to take a chance on getting out of a small town and living in a big city. It’s time for great things and not just good things.

Empty Places and Spaces

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Today was one of those days where I didn’t want to come home. It would mean I would come home to an empty place and space. No one is here to share my day with, have a glass of wine with, or just sit with.  While I have truly enjoyed having my own space to grow and stretch my wings or honestly escape to at times, I truly hate coming home to an empty house. It means sometimes I get in my own thoughts and feelings and go down a dark rabbit trail, as I am sure happens for many of us. While it’s for sure necessary sometimes and helps us to better ourselves, it can also be problematic to think and dwell on things for too long. I also don’t know how to not work all the time so it’s tough for me to come home and not work.

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I also just love to be around people. I like to be surrounded by people (most of the time). While there are times that everyone needs to themselves, I would rather be with someone than alone. In larger groups I like to take it all it all and hear what others have to say. In smaller groups I like  and want real conversation and connection.  I want to know people, what they are doing and where they are going in life. I have a passion for loving people.

I’ve repeatedly been asked what I want to do over the last month or so. I always pause for a moment, at times struggling with what I do want to do next. I love what I do now and love the people that I work with. Stressful as work may be at times for anyone, I love my job. I get to help people and work with people.  That’s what I want to do. I want to help people, whatever that may look like.

In order to do that, there are times where I probably do need to be by myself, where we all do really, no matter what the job is that we have. However, I hate it. I know it’s necessary and I will crave it eventually. There are times where I do but not today. Today I want to be around people. I want to be doing things and experiencing things.

But the Lord showed up in a way that only he can. And the tears started to flow.

People may think that I am an introvert because I am not always saying something. Most of the time I am taking the moments in and enjoying the fact that I get to learn about someone else. We don’t always take time to hear someone else out because what we think we have to say is much more important. And I have my moments where I feel that too but I love to hear other people tell their stories. They’re truly interesting and I usually find something that I can learn from them. I want to know how people think and what brought them to the conclusions that they are expressing.

Tonight was a tough night to come home to an empty house. But it was a necessary one. The Lord reminded me to come expectantly before him. Isaiah 65:24 And a question that I wrote down earlier this year and happened to stumble upon again:

 

What are you talking yourself out of  that God is trying to bring  you into?

 

Some nights coming home to an empty place and space are necessary for the growth and stretching to continue to happen. Thankful he gave me a change of perspective.

I hope this encourages you if you are feeling like you are on your own in an empty place and space.

~Lynn

What is the Purpose Behind What You Want?

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The church service today was spot on with the message. It hit me like a ton of bricks out of nowhere. Well not really nowhere, it’s just it made sense to what I have been feeling over the last couple years. I realized that I have misplaced the expectations that I have. I firmly believe some things that the Lord had confirmed with me on multiple occasions but I put those expectations on my own idea of what his plan was. I put these expectations on certain people, certain places, and certain things. When I was let down in the end I had a hard time moving on from there. I shut down and said that God couldn’t do those things anymore. I lost faith in what he had promised me and felt like he couldn’t do it anymore.

I decided that it was easier to have no expectations because then I wouldn’t get hurt or let down. I would be safe and wouldn’t have to put myself out there. In doing that though it means that by having no expectations then I will in the end get nothing. I will have nothing. I don’t want nothing. In fact I want what the Lord has for me. I don’t want any less than what he has for me and I know what he wants for me is more than I expect for myself. I have felt like it’s okay to expect nothing and get nothing.

And I’ve gotten some of that nothing. Have I been safe and not gotten hurt. To some extent yes but then because I put the expectations in the wrong people, I still got hurt. This world isn’t one without hurt. And I have come to realize that it’s part of life. But I can put my hope and faith in the Lord and while I may still have those painful moments, he will help me through them.

With these renew expectations and desires that I have, I was also challenged in the message to think about why I want these things. Do I selfishly want them or do I want them for a particular purpose. Do I want things like marriage, family, to move, to write for a certain reason? Is it all for the purpose of serving the Lord and what he has for my life or do I want them to fill my own selfish desires? I’ve been thinking about this and seeking to determine where my heart is with the desires. Ultimately I want what the Lord has for me. But do I want these things for the wrong reasons. We can want good things for the wrong reasons and that is truly what I am trying to figure out in the moment.

Desiring a spouse and someone to walk through life with you doing what the Lord has called you to do is not a bad thing. Wanting a spouse for your own selfish gain and simply to satisfy a want or desire for sex or lust is not okay.  Desiring a bigger house isn’t a bad thing. Are you paying your tithes and investing in the church and your community. Could your money be spent better elsewhere? These are some of the things that I was challenged with this morning and the things that I am now thinking through today.

Why do I want what I do? Is my heart in the right place?

Fading Away

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I once was on fire

Full of passion and desire.

Inspired.

But you took that from me.

I once felt desired

But since have withered away.

Now I’ve got to wake up

I need to get back to life.

But it’s not that simple

I’ve faded way

My bright skies have turned to shades of gray.

I feel alone and completely on my own.

It has to be better than this.

I don’t think that you are the one that I truly miss.

I should forgive you.

But you took me away.

I once was on fire

Now I have this lack lust desire.

The fire has burned out.

Ashes are all that remain.

There is no use crying about it.

Instead, I will rebuild it.

From the ashes that remain,

I’ll rise up from this pain.

I don’t need you to ignite this spark.

You are not required for me to regain my life.

While you left me to turn to dust,

I will rise up like the phoenix.

I’ll restart and regrow.

One day you’ll know,

That you can’t kill my glow.

Bummer Birthdays

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Another year has concluded and another year of my life has begun. I had dreams and expectations of what that would look like and yet again they were not met. This was supposed to be the redo from my 30th. My 30th was awful. My friend bailed last minute and I honestly don’t even remember why at this point. We had even talked about how much we wanted to make sure that other people didn’t have crappy birthdays because we had both experienced it and yet she cancelled.

So what did I do? I had already taken the day off of work because I really don’t like to work on my birthday. I did the most mature thing of course. I got caught up in my feelings because my plans fell through and instead of trying to figure something else out I sulked in my house by myself. I didn’t look at my phone, didn’t do anything but cry and feel sorry for myself. I was sad because the guy that I was still hung up on at that time had forgotten my birthday and I was a miserable mess for no reason other than my own doing.

I had made up my mind that this year was going to be different. I have come a long way since a year ago. I’m not so hung up on that same guy, I’m in my own place, I know who my real friends are and I thought this was going to be the chance for me to redo last year. I even made plans to go to the same place. Washington, D.C. is my favorite place to visit so I planned to meet my friend there and catch up with an old roommate. Nothing too crazy but wanted to do something special.

It didn’t happen….of course. I found out a couple days before my birthday that my friend had ended up in the hospital and wasn’t going to be able to make it. Thankfully she is okay and is recovering from what put her there. I got in my feelings. The people again, who I thought would have acknowledged my birthday didn’t. I had expectations of people that were not met. But then I had a friend, one of my dearest friends, who made me feel special. She said I know what it’s like to have a bad birthday. She took me to the movies and dinner and we hung out for most of the day. This made me feel like I actually mattered and was important. It was a low key birthday but was absolutely wonderful.

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Time is a huge love language of mine. If I know that you are making time for me, then I feel valued. If you aren’t willing to make time for me, then I don’t feel like I matter. And it doesn’t matter how much time you make for me, as long as you make some kind of time. It doesn’t have to be anything over the top or fancy. I enjoy the simple things. And that’s what I got to do for my birthday.

I do think that birthdays are now overrated and I don’t have much of an expectation for next year. Plus next year will just be an ambiguous number, nothing important or special. I’ll just feel like I’m getting old. I still want other people to feel special on their day and will do what I can to acknowledge them and make sure that they feel special, even if they don’t do the same for me.

The Lord made me feel special that day in so many simple ways, from letting me have a lazy morning to going to the movies, spending time with my dear friend, seeing a rainbow, realizing that the my registration for my car hadn’t expired (this was a huge moment!), and so much more. While this birthday wasn’t what I had planned or expected, it was what I needed and what I loved. I’m excited for what’s in store for the next year, as I know the Lord is getting ready to do so much more.

May you all have wonderful birthdays where you feel loved and valued!

Shalom

~Lynn

Ending a Chapter

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Have you ever realized that one chapter in your life is getting ready to end and another one is about to begin? That’s where I am at right now and I’m not entirely sure what that means or what that looks like. We talked about it in church this morning. The season of transition is over and it’s time to start new. But what does that mean and how will it look?

I really wish that I had all the answers sometimes. I wish I knew what to expect and what the answer is to the decisions that I have to make. And yet I don’t wish that I had the answers. I think it would be more terrifying sometimes if we did have the answers. Doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t mind a sneak preview sometimes. Maybe just a hint. Something to give me a clue. Sometimes we get it. Sometimes we don’t.

But that’s the whole point of faith right? We have to trust that the Lord really does have our best interest at heart, no matter what it may look like.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited. Terrified beyond belief but excited. I know it’s been a long time coming and I’m sure it would’ve arrived sooner, had I been obedient. But I get scared. I shut down and settle for the comfort of just staying in my house and doing the familiar. However, I know that I want more than familiar and I want more than settling. I want adventure. I want to see new things, experience new places, meet new people.

But what does that look like? It could be anything. I have to be ready for anything and trust that it’s the way I’m supposed to go. I have to trust that the Lord is opening up the right doors for me and that I am following him. It’s so simple and yet so complicated. I have let distractions get in the way before. I’ve said previously that I won’t let them get in the way and yet they do. Why am I expecting this time to be different? Because I am different.

I am different, as I have grown. I went through heart break and being let down by people who were the closest to me and survived. I have survived restructuring at work and come out on the other side. I have lost friends and people I care about along the way. Yet the Lord has always provided and taken care of me. This time won’t be any different. It just might not look how I thought or expected and that’s alright.

I am sad that this chapter is ending, as it has been one of much growth and learning. At the same token, I am excited for what this next chapter holds, as I know the Lord is getting ready to blow my mind like never before.

Shalom!

~Lynn

My Heart Awoken

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Woken up from this sleep that I have been in

Unsure of how this happened

Mesmerized by this passion

Walking around with my head in the clouds

Happy and truly smiling

At times for no reason

Knowing that really it’s because of you

And yet you have no idea

This influence that you have

Out of nowhere

Rather unexpectedly

You came to be

Nothing like what I thought

Not what I had pictured

And not what I had been looking for

And yet

It’s making perfect sense

This slump I had been in is ending

In part because of your presence

Feeling like a school girl

Telling my girlfriend that I have a crush

Not sure how I feel about it

I haven’t felt this way in quite some time

Unsure that I would have butterflies again

Now I hope you’ll walk by

Trying to catch a glance of you throughout the day

Look to strike up a conversation

When did this happen?

Where did this come from?

How long will this last?

Everyday hoping that something will happen

Wondering when the time could be

Trying to figure out if I am imagining

Hoping he may feel the same way

Maybe he will

One day

 

Where You Ought to Be

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It’s a question that many of us ask ourselves, “Is this where I thought I’d be?”.

If I’m truthful in my response, it’s a resounding, “Heck, no!”.

When I was younger and starting college, as with many people my age, I had a 5-10 year plan. That’s what they taught us to have right? We were supposed to be planning for our future. Get a degree, find a husband, start a career, and start a family. Settle in for at least the next 50 years of your life. If you didn’t follow that plan, you weren’t going to amount to anything.

Well, some may say then that I have amounted to nothing. I did finish my undergraduate degree but didn’t start a career. I waited tables for almost 2 years instead and then took a job in a call center. I needed steady income, health care, and didn’t want to move home. I was terrified to start my career. In that job though, I have earned a Master’s degree and moved up within the department. I’m about to start a post-graduate degree too.

I haven’t found a husband, yet and don’t have any children. I did fall in love though and I’m finding it hard to let myself feel that way again, since it didn’t work out how I had thought. I have my own apartment now with my two cats and manage to pay my own bills every month. I have the freedom to make plans and do what I want when I want. (This is something that I know my friends with families say they long for.)

I have a good job and have a great house. I really am truly blessed by everything that I have and all that I have done. It’s definitely not where I thought I would be at this age. This year hasn’t gone how I thought it would go. Part of that has to do with the fact that I put walls up and became very introverted, which is not who I am by nature. I’m slowly coming back out of that shell.

I’m about to have another birthday and I don’t want this year to be the same. I don’t want to settle into a routine of going to work and coming home, being exhausted from the long day I had. I want to go out and do things with people. I want to make a difference in my community. I want to invest in people’s lives and not just sulk away, sad that I am not where I thought that I would be. I am blessed beyond measure and have so much more than I could ever imagine. No, not everything is perfect all the time but I have all that I need with the Lord. He has been with me and provided for me each and every step of the way. I have lacked for nothing.

Is there where I thought I would be? No, it’s certainly is not. At the same time though, I wouldn’t change the path that I have been on. It has taught me so much and I have experienced so much. I have much more to learn and I believe much more to share. We all do. We don’t have to go on some pre-prescribed path that someone else has laid out for us. We can forge our own path and learn along the way. There is nothing that says that I have to be married and have a family by a certain age. There is nothing that says that I am any less of a person because I am not married. I am my own person and I am loved and valued as I am. You are loved and valued for who you are. Figure out the direction that you want to go and run as hard and fast in that direction as you can. Don’t let anyone drag you down or tell you that you should be at a different point in your life than you are. You know you and where you are is where you are supposed to be.

Shalom!

~Lynn

6 Months

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It’s been over 6 months since I have posted on here. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t want to or didn’t think about it. I had topics that I wanted to post about but life changed a lot over the last 6 months. Though I think if you would honestly look back at the last 6 months of your life, you would also say that a lot has changed. I’ll reflect on things in a later post.

This post, this post is my re-introduction post. I’m reviving this, as I have been revived recently. There is so much that I have experienced and done in the last 6 months. I can only imagine what the next 6 months hold. I do believe that it will be more than I imagine. What’s in your next 6 months? Excitement, adventure, or relaxation and finding yourself again? I hope it’s whatever you need!

I hate that it’s literally the start of a new year and I’m talking about reviving my blog.I don’t want to restart this blog because it’s a new year. I should have revived it long before now. I was scared. Terrified actually. So I procrastinated. Even though I knew it was supposed to be something that I had revived 6 months ago. But do you ever get so overwhelmed that you literally turn and run the other way and hope that whatever it is that is looming over you disappears and vanishes from your life? I tried to do that.

It worked for a time, pretending that I didn’t want to write. But I enjoy writing. By no means am I a word master. There are many people who are much better with words than I am. I let those people convince me that my words weren’t worthy enough to write and share. However, there opinion doesn’t matter much anymore. It’s not about them and what they want. To some extent it’s about me.

I know that words will continue to be hard for me. Vulnerable words are difficult to share and difficult to type. It exposes parts that we may not always be ready to share. At the same time, it’s cathartic and necessary to share what I have experienced and gone through. Because it’s not always just about me. Sometimes other people can relate.

I’ll try this again. This blog is going to be 100% me. There will be my creative writing attempts that you may or may not appreciate or think are good. But it’s my way of processing. I will share with you some recipes that I try. Along with that, I will share to you my experiences of being a Christian single woman, living and working somewhere surrounded by mostly married people. I’ll share my road trips and adventures that I take. And the DIY projects that I’ve completed around my townhouse. Most of all I’m going to be vulnerable and let you in so that way you can see that there are other people in this world who are going through the same thing as you.

So cheers to this revived version of me and this blog. I’m going to take some chances and post some things that I have been thinking about for a while and have been too scared to share. For now, I’ll leave you with my ridiculous self and one of the things that I do to unwind…selfies with ridiculous snap chat filters! Sometimes you gotta not take yourself so seriously!

 

Be you my friends and have a little fun. Life’s too short not to make fun of yourself. 🙂

~Lynn