Friday, March 15, 2013

Talk about Trust

Is anyone else having a SUPER hard time trusting lately?

Even if it is just me... this is rough. If you ask my husband he will tell you that I like to know why people do, feel & say the things they do. What is the cause? & I guess at it constantly. I am usually not self-aware enough to know when I am going through something let alone question why it is I am feeling/doing certain things. But this "trust issue" is an exception.

Trust: an action that leads you into a place of peace, hope & security that is real, true & lasting. It is not based on gimmick or mirage but upon a sturdy foundation that is reliable in it's integrity & ability to provide for all your needs. (That is my definition, so take that Webster).

I would first like to blame it on Time. Oh you heard me right. Gosh darn Time has been hanging out with me these past few weeks at an alarming rate. There is no escaping it! Constantly giving me opportunity to think, think, think, think. What a jerk! I suppose though that Time is not the only culprit; Control has played its part quite well. Except Control has done the opposite of Time and made it's self scarce. Not cool Control. For those who don't know me well; Control & I  have been going steady for quite a while. Since I became a big sister at the appropriate age of 1 year & 2 weeks, in fact. It was my way or the "boss-your-ear-off-til-I-get-my-way" highway. My mother has home video tapes to prove it! (I would like to point out that I am ashamed of that outrageously bossy girl in the tapes). None the less, the fact that I have been abandoned by Control is very inconvenient given I am in a new place & would very much like to feel secure. Control almost always brings his friend Illusion with him. Illusion is pretty awesome at making you "feel" many things, like security. But as we all know "feelings" are always real but not always accurate; they often lead us to the wrong conclusions.

Add in Life and you have yourself a triple threat of Olympic proportions!
(I know better then to have to explain Life to you. You probably wish, like me, to have a little less of Life's generous gifts of bills, worries, car trouble, sickness, stress, and the not-so-occasional bump or bruise.)

The trouble with all of the above is that you never have to seek them out. They find you like a bloodhound finds a, a... a whatever a bloodhound finds. Or maybe like a angry girl finds chocolate. Or a hurt baby finds his momma. You get the idea. Time, Control & Life never miss an opportunity to give you a good ol' slap in the face. So kind.

But Trust is another story. Imagine a little baby kitten, with its little kitten paws, crazy kitten fur & little "mew" first meeting you. Skittish is probably an adjective you would use. Little baby kitten needs a bit of coaxing, maybe a lot of coaxing. In fact little "mew" crazy fur kitten may need you to go pick it up, maybe even chase it first before it gets all cozy with you. (I don't care who you can't help loving a little baby kitten when it is cuddling up next to your cheek purring little purrs.)
Trust is like a little skittish baby kitten. You have to do some Work to get it to stick around you.
Gosh darn it...I didn't mean to. I promise I didn't. Work slipped into this accidental party we are having. There is literally no excuse for Work. You do it or don't but wow can you see the results either way.

What kind of Work is involved getting Trust to hang around you? Well let me tell you...

1. Daily perspective has to be a priority. Perspective is the art of outlook. Looking at a situation while taking in all the different aspects individually and as a whole. Basically what it does is allow you to stop focusing on one thing and forces you to view the whole. Most of the time, that is all you really need to get back in the good with Trust. Those little details on their own are not as important when combined with the the whole as when you are looking at them under a microscope.
2. Stay away from self-reliance. The moment that you think you can do it on your own, ooh baby you better watch yourself cause you are in for it! We are made to need each other. Lift each others burdens and keep each other away from focusing on only one detail. Being with people allows for a natural perspective change. When was the last time you were going though it rough when you heard of a friend of a friend who had it way worse? What happened? I know what I did, I snapped right out of my funk thinking, "my stuff is not that bad."
3. Be careful to avoid comparison. An easy trap to fall into when you are wanting to feel better about your life but trust me, bittersweet is all you will meet. Followed close by resentment, the inability to be satisfied and finally anger. We have all seen those angry old man who permanently have their anger etched into their forhead. You know, that guy. Don't be that guy/girl. You loose more then just the cute face in the mirror. You loose your close friends, hope & peace.

Number 4 is the most important one for me. I don't know you but my bet would be that number 4 could be your most important to...that is if you really are seeking trust.

4. You have to surrender your worries, fears, hurts & control. You have to let down your guard and seek out someone that is really in control. You see the truth is... Trust is impossible. Who was the last person that you "trusted"? How did it go? Ya, um, imagine a gorgeous priceless vase shattering on the ground in a million pieces because it accidentally fell out of the hands of the person you gave it to. Now imagine that person did not drop it but threw it, on purpose. Ya, that is what people do with our trust. On accident or purpose no person will ever be blameless. So placing our trust in people will endlessly fail. BUT there is hope. Oh so much wonderful hope. It comes in the way of a divinity that no one will ever fully understand but offers the only reliable foundation able to bring me peace, hope & security that is real, true & lasting. (Cliff hanger!!)
I find my trust in the only one who has the ability to keep me safe. God. He never fails. He is good always. He loves always. And he promises good things for me. It sounds cheesy but I really don't care. Just writing those things about him brought me joy & hope. I just had to pause writing to talk to my husband about our severe lack of money and what we will do. But I still have hope that it will be ok. Not for any other reason then God is good & he loves me. Life is a jerk. It is hard and cruel. But God is always near. He hears me fuss about mistakes that I choose to make & their consequences; he still comforts me, even in my guilt. He is bigger then the bills I owe, the sorrows that I feel, and the person I am. He is greater then my proudest moment, my love for my husband & sons and biggest success. He is the creator of stars, galaxies, fish, ducks, grass and people. And for some crazy reason that I will never understand he wants me. He cares about the $5.00 in my wallet and the sorrow that fills my soul. He cares so much that he wants more for me then who I am now but loves me right where I am. Ya, I think anyone who is willing to do that is worthy of any & all of my trust.

Pshhh, worries don't stand a chance when I throw my untrusting heart at his feet. This last few weeks has been hard. I honestly don't expect it to get any easier, at least the things around me will not change. But what I do expect is to grow in trust. I will do good for an hour then spend the rest of the day internally battling if it will be ok. I will have epic moments of confidence that will buckle when I get another bill in the mail. But as long as I surrender...if I can just surrender. I will surrender all. Because the reward so outweighs the sacrifice. Time is but a concept created. Control has nothing on Peace. And Life bends under the pressure of The One who created it.

A man with leprosy came & knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. "If you want to, you can make me well again," he said.
Moved with compassion, Jesus touched him. "I want to," he said. "Be healed." Instantly the man was healed. (Mark 1:40-42)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

If you want to, you can...

I am distracted tonight. I should have set aside time yesterday to write but there were other distractions that I gave my time too. Which means that this post will be a bit half-bottomed. At least in my personal opinion. goes!

Compassion is the deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relive it. Often it can be interchanged with the words: pity, mercy & sympathy.

When I think of compassion the first thing that crosses my mind are those T.V. commercials with the little children or dogs. The sad, depressing music & celebrities cries for me to give 10 cents a day. And I change the channel. I absolutely hate watching that. I understand why they work; for who can resist the pathetic guilty stupor that overpowers us as we are lounging on the couch with our favorite show on and laptop out? I can, by changing the channel. 

That is my view of compassion and I am not alone. When confronted with the concept many are frustrated. Why must I be compassionate? Many couple it with weakness in the character of the person who is showing it. Very commonly the biggest issue of extending compassion is who is receiving it. What kind of person is it that deserves compassion? The Homeless, poor, broken, dirty? WHY are these people in the state they are in? Whatever the reason for their "issue" I am sure that it is justified in some way. WHAT does their life have to do with mine? I am a lower middle-ish class person who works hard for money, lives on a budget, has a family to support. I have no time to give. 
I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way either!

I was sitting in Starbucks with my hot chocolate in hand and laptop out. Mentally I was trying to figure out how I was going to get away from the sorrow that had settled in my soul. I had been in Texas for a week(ish) & was feeling alone. Really alone. Which is odd because there were plenty of family around. But change was taking its toll on my heart. "Are you from Oregon?" A girl asked. She was sitting across me in one of the chairs. I was a little surprised. "Yes." "Oh wow, me too! I am...." Me & this lady chatted for about 10 minutes about Oregon, Texas, and the whys and hows of our moving. At the end of our conversation she said, "It was really nice to meet you. I know you probably feel lonely but you can do this. Have a great night." She left me wondering at how & why. The how was easy; I was wearing an Oregon sweatshirt. The why took me a bit longer to understand.

Compassion is seeing another person & engaging them. Once you are engaged you can start to comprehend who they are & even what they really need. If you choose to meet their need, you are being compassionate. Your best friend could be needing your compassion. Your co-worker, spouse, the cashier ringing up your groceries. If your really bold, it could even be the stranger on her laptop at Starbucks, who is not smiling. She could really use a moment of uncomfortable compassion.
Compassion is not only giving to the stranger on the corner or donating to the T.V. program because you feel guilty for what you have. In fact, compassion really does not ask you to even give a dime.  

"A man with leprosy came & knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. "If you want to, you can make me well again," he said. 
Moved with compassion, Jesus touched him. "I want to," He said. "Be healed!" Instantly the leprosy disappeared- the man was healed." (Mark 1:40-42)

If you want to, you can....

Look at another person instead of down at your phone. Say "hi" to a stranger instead of looking around or through them. Warning! This will be super uncomfortable. Our society, my generation has been programed to avoid verbal contact with other humans. Seriously, I do not lie. We don't talk on the phone anymore, we text. We play games online & watch T.V. & movies together. 
A couple of days ago I saw a kid listening to music while playing games on his phone & his friend (who had come over to visit) doing the same thing. Wha?! You can not tell me that this is a good thing. Last night I was sitting in the living room (Sammy was in bed) and EVERY person in that room was on either a laptop or cell phone & the T.V. was on. Do we even know how to talk to each other any more? I am needy! I need people. I need to be engaged. But it is so much easier to look down at my phone or text someone then face a room of people I don't know. It is like I have forgotten how to hold a conversation that is not riddled with LOL's.

We, as people, have the ability to being joy, hope, peace, love, growth into the lives of other people. If we want to, we can... How can we meet the needs of others when we are so damn distracted? The answer is simple. We can't & won't. (Minus the occasional moment of compassionate brilliance that is passed through a text message.)

Moved with compassion, Jesus touched him. (and he was healed!!)

Well that is a topic we will have to save for another night! 

My goal: See people, engage them & act with compassion.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I have unconsciously been living under the assumption that being an "adult" would be...better, easier.  I can only hope that I am not alone in this. When I was child I was excited to grow up so that I could eat whatever I wanted & stay up late. When I was a teenager the reasons blended more along the lines of so I can do what I want and when I was 20 it was so I could be married & not alone. Now here I am, an adult, and I am not happy about it!  Why did I not pay attention to the adults around me more when I was young. Surely I could have seen the stress & strain on their faces. Perhaps I could have even perceived the internal struggle for meaning that we all seem to face at one time or another. Maybe I would have enjoyed being a child a bit more. But alas, I was not quite as observant as I now wish. Yet I suppose that it would have not changed a darn thing. *deep sigh* because here I sit struggling with all of the weight of being an adult.

(Talk about a depressing introduction! It gets better...I think) *wink*

Moving away from all that I have ever known to a place completely foreign has caused my confidence to be shaken. Please wait a second before you judge, I will explain I promise.
I was married to a man (though infuriating at times) whom I loved with all my heart. I was the mother of a wonderful son and I had the best job ever. We had enough money to pay the bills & play a little. Yet we were not quite who we were suppose to be. Which is a very vague way of saying that we were no longer growing, no longer excelling in life. We were comfortable. Sooo, we made the decision to move. I knew the moment that Matt's parents moved to Texas that we would eventually follow and follow we have. So we left our comfortable home, jobs & security and drove our way into a world filled with endless change. There lies my frustration. Adult life was suppose to be easy. It was suppose to, suppose to... well I don't know. It was suppose to be less work.

But it seems that ALL I have been doing lately is work. Mostly working on figuring out what on earth is wrong with me. Jokingly & seriously. What the heck is wrong with me? Moving was something that I completely believed in. I knew that it would be good. I knew that getting away from the things holding us back in Eugene would be a good thing. So why, why, why am I so sad & frustrated?

(Proving that you never EVER stop learning, growing & being told what to do)

Here are my reasons for my sad frustration:

I have just made a few of the biggest changes you can make in your life, at once. I moved across country, I quit my job & became a stay-at-home mom. So number 1, 2 & 3 this is natural. I am struggling through finding myself in a place I have never been; while staying at home & seeking gratification from working not with a hundred people but 1, 20 month year old little boy (who can not talk).  #4. Other then the natural fact that being at home is difficult I have added to it a personality that has forever thrived on verbal affirmation from others. One of the reasons that I loved & excelled in my former job was because I was working with people who knew me. My boss knew my personality. For those who have never had the privilege of working with leader who paid attention to what made you tick then used that knowledge to help you grow into a better employee & person... Well I sure hope you have the opportunity. What that means is I was in an environment that was not perfect but still allowed me to be fulfilled as a person. I saw that I was appreciated, I heard that I was appreciated & I received gratification every time I helped meet a customers needs. All that to say...those needs are not being met any longer. At least not in a way that I can easily derive hope, encouragement & joy from. I constantly feel like I am failing as a mother. Oh surprise there right? (Ever mother in the world just inwardly nodded). Though these feelings are not unusual for me they used to be balanced by the success that I had is my business life. Since that balance has shifted I am left drowning in the struggles of being a mother without tangible results that bring confidence.

I am not a fool, so please don't assume that I don't get joy from being at home, I do. I love being at home with Sammy. It just requires me to change, grow & work. Really work. Work at who, why, & how I will get Sammy from a toddler to a strong, wise, confident young man who has a great & positive impact upon the world. Ya, that is kind of a big deal. Can you see how my struggle could cause a bit of confusion or frustration?
Not to mention how I am used to adult interactions and now am confined to the adorable ramblings of a little mister. Oh the power of conversation. You don't realize how much you miss it until you are in the living room replying to your toddler's "maw ta baw bot me da ta ja ma da da" with "oh ya, I totally agree with you Sam. That is very interesting. What else do you think about that car?" (That was a real conversation we had today. And it was only one of the 100 we had)

#5. Life does not stop just because you need it to. Or perhaps a better way to say that is... bills don't stop because you need them to. I only want a month off. Just one month. Come on, not too much to ask. Oh right, adulthood. :-) I like to have money. As if that is a confusing thought. And not having money is...different. I have $5.00 in my wallet at the moment. I have had that same $5.00 for two weeks. (Record time if you ask me) And I have almost spent it, oh lets say, one hundred times in the past week. Give or take 10 or 15 times of course. I have had a paying job for the last 10 years. So to now give up the ability to make/have money is a BIG change. We all know that money holds tightly to our self worth. Our ability to run to the store and by a candy bar or go to the mall and get a shirt is a privilege that we hold as a right. And when we can not do that for whatever reason we feel trapped. Frustrated by the lack of control we feel many of us go shopping with money we don't have or should not be spending. The feeling of control...we have to have it. Even if it is only an illusion that is paid for by a credit card. An illusion of control is the second best thing to having control.
So no money, for me, is a struggle. It means I have to re-evaluate what brings me joy. If it is money then I am disappointed with myself. And if I am unable to find joy in walks with my son then gosh I am glad that my wallet had only $5.00 because clearly I have some priorities that need to be adjusted & pride that needs to be burned away.

Sigh. Whoever said, "You live & learn"was surely not kidding. This is only the very surface of the learning that living is forcing upon me.
But in reality I really am pleased that I am struggling my way through these tough subjects. I want to be a better person. I want to be a better mother. I want strength that does not rely upon where I am, who I am speaking to or what money is in my wallet. I want to be the kind of person that smiles because that is what is inside. I have been needing hard lessons that force me to face myself. How often do we truely look at who we are & what makes us tick. How often do we judge ourselves and then DO something that causes us to change. Being an adult is WAY more work then I anticipated but it has some amazing perks. And being a stay-at-home mother is a huge struggle but with effort & perseverance (plus lots of reading, learning, growing and the not-so-occational call/text to a friend) it is not only possible but an absolute certainty that I will be a 65 year old woman who is so outrageously proud of the man my son is.

Ya, why don't we just forget this whole post... I will struggle through anything that is needed if that last sentence comes true.

Silly me! Talk about a loss of focus.

Ahh... it is all about perspective.

How is your perspective doing? :-)