Money is a worldly worry–our relationship

I think I should make a point to tell you that my relationship with God is pretty hilarious to me. Sometimes I think he looks down at me and giggles that he made such a wild thing, and that this wild thing is His. I bet He giggles at the hilarity that is my life, the silly decisions I make on a regular basis, the bravery I try to have even when I’m deathly afraid. 

Last night was proof enough, again, of our relationship and the intricate way He just gets me, regardless of the range of intense emotions I am feeling at the moment. He always does, and sometimes my breath catches when I realize this fact. When I remember that even when I don’t feel Him, He is always there. 

It was before bed. And I had been thinking about how, after my interview and job offer, I never asked what I would be making an hour. Moving here has put a serious dent in our savings–as we expected. We knew that we would have to pay for the moving truck, and for the new plates, and the different insurances, and so on and so forth. It’s life in a new place, on our own again. It’s going to be expensive, and we had prepared for it. 

But as I sat in my living room last week, overwhelmed by the fact that the monthly bills were piling up, that life here is simply more expensive than it was when we had 40 hour work weeks at a place we were miserable at, and when we were hardly seeing each other. The price of a good life is faith. And He’s been showing this to me–constantly. 

So last night, I had been thinking that I didn’t know how much I was going to be making, that I accepted this job offer because I knew, somewhere deep down that this is where I was supposed to be working. What if the hours and the money just didn’t add up and I couldn’t make enough for us? 

But then He said to me “What if I didn’t let you ask what you would be making because I knew you would be trying to add it all up in your head, trying to decide if you could make it work. But remember, you asked me to put you right where I needed you, to give you the right job. And I did. I want you there.” Then it hit me. Again. Money is a worldly thing. He’s been teaching me this slowly, off and on the past few years. But right now is the biggest test of this belief. I’ve always said that I would rather be homeless than do what He has for me in life. And coming out here, so far away from home, has really tested my belief in this statement. What if the money ran out before we could get jobs and we were forced to join the throngs of homeless people lining the streets of Portland? No, our God would take care of us. If we trusted Him enough to tell us where to go, He would open up the doors for us to have the right jobs, at just the right time. Like I have said before, He doesn’t do something early, He doesn’t do it late, He does it right on time. And getting this job, this is no mistake. I know this deep down. And if this wasn’t a mistake, if this was His plan, He will work out the money. We just have to be wise. 

I think it’s funny that He knew all this. He knew my type A mind, who wants to plan out every step, and to calculate and understand. But I don’t have to. If I really have faith. If I really trust that He has it all planned out, I’ll let it go. Money is a worldly worry. I’ll say it again, He is the accountant. I will be wise. Money is a worldly worry. 

And as much as there are so many unknowns here. As much as I am discovering people and places and trying to find my way, I have never felt more peaceful. Never been more peaceful. 

Finding peace in a world full of hate.

It always brings the demons back.  Sometimes I can hear the memories in the floorboard, slipping along the sunsets like a burnt out cigarette end. I can feel the pulse of the restless creaking, for it does not lull me to sleep any longer. It only signals the rising unrest felt between the sheets at night. Been this way for a while now—life has been all too frequently resembling something like poison-laced heroin. Oh god, it feels so good going in, rushing around the stem of my brain like the most beautiful sludge of ungodliness, until time settles in.  Until I remember that I don’t know what I’m aiming for, all I know is the vision of the future and I don’t know how to get there. And my toes curl at the joy I feel until I remember the choke of depression, tight on my vocal cords, shutting out the desire to speak. At all. To anyone. It has always been this way.  It’s like a rhythmic pulse of the underlying current in my life. For a while I can hold my head above the wreckage, until my bones become dry from not being plunged beneath the water. Sometimes I play around with my sanity, listen to it clanking boldly against the inner workings of my brain and realize deep down that, thankfully, at least I am not much like this world. I don’t need to breathe in the pollution to know what fresh air looks like, but maybe I’ve just been trying this whole time, too hard, to not feel senseless. So I fill myself up with all these memories of happiness, try to hallucinate on images of star filled skies and childhood laughter to make up for the deep sea of bad flashbacks I sometimes find myself consumed with.  I remember when my mom used to tell me that some suitcases were too heavy for me to carry as a child. Would shut me out when all I wanted was the truth, and she used to explain to me that sometimes children aren’t meant to know everything, we just have to wait until we are older to understand those burdens we carry around with us like boulders. Then a wildfire consumes my soul and I am reminded that she gave me the greatest burden of all to carry, and I wonder if she even saw the luggage she kept piling on my heart in the darkness. The irony life sometimes tosses our direction. It’s like an iron being pressed on your heart to smooth out all the wrinkles, but finding wretchedness in every corner, and you are left to wonder why it takes so much starch to make things right in your life. The realization that sometimes it takes a lot of heat and pain and suffering to make something beautiful again. To find the masterpiece that is found beyond the imperfections. Such a wilderness we find sometimes in the crevices of our brain when we delve into why we feel such wreckage at a sound. Curious things we find behind closed doors, or traps we thought we closed a long time ago. And then I remember that last week, God told me that he never meant for me to carry those burdens, but they were given to me, and He was sorry. And I wept, deep into my lungs I felt the heavings, the mending I have attempted a million times with friendships, late nights kissing necks in the dark, and desperate failed realizations that the bottom of a barrel of vodka isn’t a healing agent. The tears on my cheeks felt like rain in a desert, a well that needed escaping from the confines of life to burst forth and be free. I laid that baggage down at the cross, my last desperate attempt to be removed from captivity as a slave to the mind.

 

I can’t say that healing has been found completely. Or that I don’t look down at the insides of my heart and don’t see a little super glue still oozing from the stuck-together shards of my recently formed being. I still wake up a lot of mornings and try to pick up that familiar luggage again, hoping to breathe in the scent of pain again so I have an excuse to hold close when life is too hard for me to handle. So I can lean back on these past wars deep in my veins to explain to others why I sometimes struggle, as if struggling isn’t somehow innately human. I guess that somewhere along the search for healing I began the quest for everlasting perfection. I’m not the only one who has done so. The more people I meet along the way who have a checklist of pain sprawled in their sock drawer, the more I come face to face with the understanding that perfection is often looked at as a substitute that might suddenly be the beginning of an immaculate, beautiful existence. Suddenly. Why do we try to find such wholeness in attempting to complete ourselves with a mixture of insanity and impossible, unattainable goals? It’s just one more thing my mind haunts me with at night when I squeeze my eyes tight and try to rid my spinal cord of the weight of a million pressures I waged against this afternoon. Another scream flinging itself at my ear drums violently, hoping to make me aware of the hundreds of ways I fell short again. Today.. Somehow, our humanly feeble attempts at finding flawlessness in a world oriented in hate, only makes us more desperately cognitive of how far we fall short. I have to believe somewhere inside of me that God knew we would try to find healing in the way we run our lives. That we would try to find grace in the way we handled ourselves in public and that deep down we would hope it would fix those charred remains of our forests just before the fire. And He knew he had to make us imperfect, or we wouldn’t need help living our lives to the fullest of it’s capabilities. We would think that because we could win the war, we didn’t need people or relationships or to feel connected to anything else in the world that wasn’t neat and orderly and perfect puzzle pieces of sanity to tie in with the beautiful white floor in the kitchen. Maybe when we all stop trying to attain these unnatural expectations of beauty and health and imagination and just start being something other than insignificant, is when we actually begin to be memorable. And maybe at that exact moment when we allow ourselves to be set free from all of the unnatural expectations placed upon us from the moment we shot out of our mother’s womb, we are able to find ourselves amidst the rubble, we are able to expand our minds to accept the necessary connectedness each one of us is made for. There is music in your voice and the only way it can be heard is by unlocking the shackles around your feet and dancing amidst the tribes. Joining in the call of nature to love and to end the hate we see all around us like a virus.  And there is beauty in admitting our inadequacies, slamming our fists along the pavement, and finding life in the revolt. I dare you, to live walking against the current, even if that means coming close to being run over by traffic. Because at least, honey, you dared to live a little. 

The life goal of encouragement

Tonight, I’m filling out online applications for a new job. The task is daunting. I hate doing this. I always get so nervous filling out applications. Nervous if I am making the right decision, nervous that I might sound like a fool once I hit send and they read my answers to their questions. 

One of the questions for the job was this: “What is your goal in life?” Ugh, seriously, that is a tough one. My goal is to become an activist poet who stands in front of audiences that fill rooms up, and spread love, not hate. I want to be able to use the power of words to bring others to life. To make them aware of their passions. Obviously, when applying for the job of a hair salon receptionist they do not care about these life goals. They want to know that you will be a good fit to answer the phones. To make their guests feel good about themselves in every way upon entering that door. To know that a bright smile and wonderful personality would be shown to everyone regardless of their attitude or outlook on life. 

So, I came up with this crafty answer: “To inspire others to be the best person they are capable of becoming. So many of us are lights, but are unaware of our brightness until someone shows us the switch.” And really. This is my life goal. I want to be able to make others feel as inspired as I do when I see the joy they spread to me. I want others to feel welcome in all situations, to know that they are loved, even if they refuse to see it. I wish that more people in life could see the potential and power of their words. I wish they could see that they have the ability to impact hundreds, maybe even thousands if they could find the courage deep down inside of them to share their opinions and ideas with others. 

Spread the love, let others know you care, today. Post an uplifting comment on someone’s wall today. Send them an encouraging email or text. Call them and let them know how much of a blessing they are in your life. We need to stop looking at our own lives, but open ourselves up to those around us. We were made for relationships, and the moment we forget that is the moment that we do not allow ourselves to be open to a world of blessings. 

The Importance of faith in a “me-oriented” world.

I just want to take a moment to talk about the rewards of continuing to grow a strong faith in your relationship with your maker. I feel that so many times we are focused on our needs, that we become unaware that our faith desperately needs to be revamped. Our faith has the constant potential to become a powerful tool to move us in ways we would otherwise be unable to accomplish on our own. And while it is not wrong to ask God to help us out when we are struggling and just need some money to make it through the next set of bills, or to pray that will we be blessed with a new car that doesn’t stall every time an important day comes up, our faith should be exercised in a wider range of ways than our own selfish needs. Sometimes, we ask for things because we want them, not because they are a need, and that’s not always wrong, but maybe if this is how we think it is time for a perspective change of sorts.

I have been listening to a group of messages about this topic the last few weeks and putting into practice some life-changing beliefs about faith. First of all, I think that people sometimes fall under the confusion that says, we should do everything in our power to make our lives work out, and then when we cannot do something we should ask God for that item. More like “God helps those who help themselves.” The problem with this mentality is that there are a lot of flaws that come with that plan. For starters, we each are like horses with a pair of blinders on. We can see the path ahead, and the plans that we have made for our five year hopes and so on. We have the ability to know some things, to see some destinations ahead and to walk towards them. However, we cannot see to the left or to the right unless we turn that way, and in this we are prevented from seeing in all directions at once. God can see all things, forwards backwards and sideways. He  is able to know when a car is whizzing ever quickly towards us.

If we allow ourselves to only be tuned into our plans, dreams, and desires, and then focus on Him when we feel we are struggling, we will not get very far. He wants the only best for us, and I have a small feeling that when we do not listen to Him, all the time, He will do everything in His power to draw us to Him even if that means we have to go through some circumstances that derail us from our originally intended path. Do not be upset, because this is His way of ensuring we are not run over by the car coming towards.

On the other hand, if we step out into faith every single day, we allow ourselves to be opened up to His plan and only His plan every day. It does not mean that our path will be easy, it does not mean that we will flawlessly do everything He requests of us each time either. What it does mean is that instead of wandering around, hoping that our five year plan for our career or our family will work out, it means that we have now been given the opportunity to tune into the daily plan He has for us. Maybe that does not mean having children in the next ten years, but imagine how much different our lives would be if we had not tuned into that blessing? We might not be able to have everything we want, but there is an entire new level of blessing we are given if we our faithful, I promise each one of you.

Secondly, if we are consumed with helping ourselves, we might miss the chance to see the others in need all around us. I am not perfect, I often have selfish moments and I am trying to work on that. But tuning into the Holy Sprit has given me so many opportunities on a daily basis to connect with those around me and bring restoration to their lives as well. If we want to leave a legacy for others to admire and respect after we are gone, just think about it. Some of the most remembered characters in the Bible were faithful in every circumstance to their Lord. For Noah, there had never been rain before, and here God had instructed him to gather supplies and build an ark because the world would be covered in a flood–one hundred years later. Can you imagine the torture of being made fun of every single day for following the ultimate plan of the Father? Like I said, definitely not easy, but here thousands of years later we teach about his faithfulness. If he had been unwilling to listen, we would not be here today. Just let that sink in a moment.

Living a life that is faithful, every day, to a higher power can be terrifying. I was told a while back that after school was over, we would figure out what to do next. My husband and I had been looking at going away to school, but then some things happened that made us reconsider that plan after all. God instructed us that we would have something big happen after that, but we weren’t sure what that looked like. After a few weeks, I became distraught, not understanding why the answers weren’t clear to me right away. But after listening to these messages I felt His hand on my soul telling me that it doesn’t matter what I’m supposed to do, it matters that I am, right now, in His presence. The more time that I spend daily removing my focus on me, and how I feel, and place it on Him, begging Him to fill me with more of Him and less of me, the more that I am rewarded with the blessings of overwhelming peace. I was so stressed out every.single.day, and now, while stress does still creep up a lot, I feel rewarded with a much larger sense of peace in all things. Because I know I am ultimately listening to the one who not only knows me best but knows just what should happen ahead at all times. There is positively no feeling like this one. And if you are longing for peace, struggling to find it, please understand it is attainable.

I will write more on this later, but I hope right now this gave some perspective to chew on. I know this topic is not easy, but it is so very worth it in every way to delve into the promises that we have been given if we are faithful in everything. Even if we do not receive the fruit of these blessings in our lifetime, they might be passed down. But the truth of the matter is it should not be about the blessing, but the heart process it takes to get to the destination. Our lives will be able to impact the world if we allow the whisperings of our maker into our every day existence.