Monday, April 29, 2013

Wilderness...

So I've been reading this book called "Prototype" by a Pastor at church that my husband and I have been checking out lately, and I feel the book is on Point about where and what God has been teaching me lately.

Before I even started this book, the Lord has been taking me through a struggle in my life with something I thought I was done struggling with is Doubt.  Not that I doubt that there is even a God or that Jesus is God's son, I've already dealt with those struggles in the past and it only made me believe stronger in the end.  I guess the thing I'm most struggling with is Trust.

As Humans, we want to know that some things are in our Control, we don't want to re-lie on God if we can control it on our own and this is where I have been lately. Sometimes when things don't work out on our terms, we think God has left us or forsaken us.  In the book "Prototype" Jonathan Martin shows us the more Human side of Jesus and it is refreshing that even though Jesus is God-in-flesh he still needed to know that he was God's Beloved, he just didn't forget like we/I tend to do.

I thought it was neat that before Jesus even started his ministry, he had to get baptized first and when that happened the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven in the form of a Dove and God spoke "This is my Beloved, in whom I'm well pleased."  I use to think God did that as a confirmation to the others around but now I think God did it not only for that but more importantly a confirmation to Jesus, himself.  That was the starting point of his ministry.

Just like we hear voices from everywhere: media, television, friends, family etc. about who we should be (and sometimes they mean well)  and what we should do to be more deserving or better; God is calling us into a different place.  The worst thing Jesus could have done after hearing the voice from His father is to go straight into the ministry where the  hustle and bustle of society's voices are everywhere, God's words could have easily been drowned out. But Jesus' ministry/mission were too important to risk it so instead, Jesus was lead by the same Spirit that called Him Beloved into the Wilderness for 40 days.  This is not an easy place to be, even for the Son of God, but it is a very crucial place to be.  It was a test to withstand the Enemy but also a place where Jesus prayed and fasted for 40 days, this is where Jesus became Jesus.

In our day and age the Wilderness is not seen as a good thing.  More than ever we are more connected with social media, news and people easily with the click of a button.  I decided last week to go "off the grid" lol it seemed better in theory till it came down to it.  For 2 days I didn't look at ANY social media.  Whenever I felt tempted I read my bible or a book.  It was actually refreshing, I started "listening" to God more, wrote one of my best blogs and took a step back on some situations that I just didn't know what to do with.  But slowly I was creeping back on.... It started when I posted my blog, I just wanted to see some reactions, lol.  Then I wanted to see what one of my Fav authors was saying, because his statuses are very encouraging to me.  Finally, I just said "aw, screw it!" I wanna see whats going on with people!

Whether I like to admit it or not, I kind of like all the voices coming at me, and I like Man's approval of me.  Sometimes i get confirmation from them, but after I got back on I realized "This is what I've been missing?"  I started missing the Wilderness a lil more and realized God wasn't quite down there yet.  I miss that place where God was clearer and you can even see the Enemy's temptations more exposed in the Wilderness.  And some of the things I've been through lately, I really need my alone time with God because I can see more of WHY I'm going through some of the things I'm going through.

So I'm not on social media as much I would like to be cut off again, I'm working on that, I can't promise it will happen though.  I like social media but I don't want to be addicted to it like I was and I'm trying to go away from seeking my confirmation in Man.  I'm looking to Jesus as my Prototype and I want to FEEL like God's Beloved like Jesus did.  I don't want to look for my self worth in things, people, experiences etc.  Actually through some difficult experiences in life, I'm learning just how much God loves me and I'm one of his favs ;).  The Wilderness hasn't always felt like that and a lot of times it seems like a dry, lonely, doubtful place, somewhere I would have earlier never wanted to be.  I'm facing my doubts and fears head on, and my demons sometimes come out to taunt me.  It is a place of attack from the Enemy and it exploits my weaknesses and preys on my greatest fears.

But I'm coming to realize in the Wilderness God is leading me back to Him.  I'm thinking more clearly in here and though the Enemy comes, like he would wether I was in the Wilderness or not, he is more identifiable in here.  And its all comes back to the same temptations that Jesus struggled with. "If you are the Son of Man....If you are who God says you are...then prove it to me. Prove it to the world.  I love this one passage from the book about this:

"But that's one way we can identify the devil's voice:  It always plays on our fears.  It is the voice that tells us we must DO something to prove who we are, to prove that we're worthy, to prove that we are who God has already declared us to be.  When we know we are loved by God, we don't have to prove anything to anyone.  There is nothing we can do to make ourselves MORE beloved than we are."

So to my friends, (if you've even noticed) I'm not as connected as I was.  I just want to be in Obscurity for a lil bit right now and figure out all this mess in my head.  I love my friends and hold them dearly but the best thing for me right now is to keep my head down and press forward till this gift of Wilderness ends for me.  :) :)


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Getting more comfortable in my skin (introvert-style)....



First off being Introvert doesn't necessarily mean you are shy, in fact, no one is totally introvert or totally extrovert.  I, myself, am an Introvert and not a shy person talking to people one on one, but get me in a crowd of some strangers and I become quieter and a lot of times get "drowned out" even if it is a crowd of friends.  I hate when I go to work and have to be somewhere right after and don't get my recharge time at home.

I do looooove having my ME time and tend to be a home-body.  I enjoy my one-on-one time with my hubby but I don't mind when he leaves me alone.  I am not a TV watcher and usually when I have my alone time it is spent in a good book, writing, or sitting there dazing off and reflecting on my day or life.  I am terrible at small talk and can seem dis-interested a lot of times and this is probably true.     If something doesn't hold my attention span, I tend to be in Becky world and it is very hard for me to come back to the present sometimes.  I recently read a quote from Donald Miller, (one of my fav authors, who also does a lot of self-reflection) he said "It is painful for me to have small-talk" and boy am I right there with him.

I think the kind of small talk he is talking about is superficial conversation.  I am a hair stylist so of course I have small talk all the time, but I LOVE getting to know my clients! I want to know their life experiences and I want to share mine.  I share struggles and even contemplate my faith with them and probably ask them probing questions lol.  My clients know the REAL Becky and in turn I feel like I know the REAL clients.  Same with my friends, I am myself around my friends and I want them to be the same around me.  My husband and I joke that we have nerdy friends and its probably true (partly because we ourselves are nerds) but that is the kind of people I love! People comfortable in their own skin and aren't afraid to be themselves.  9 times out of 10 if you are yourself people either think your weird or nerdy and to me thats a complement! And it works both ways, if you are worried about people and their perception of you, you are probably (in my opinion) not being the real you and the real person God called you to be.

Do you ever feel like society in general puts pressure on you to be a different kind of person than yourself? I know I do! Not to say society thinks of me in a terrible way, it just seems that sometimes society doesn't know what to do with me or get how I work. I've been reading a book called "Quiet" a book on the quiet power that introverts have in this world. In the book Susan Cain, the author, talks about how us introverts are encouraged to be more like our friends, the extroverts.  We are encouraged to be louder and keep up!  A lot of times us introverts are overlooked with job promotions etc, because we are encouraged to "keep up" with the social part of our jobs which we sometimes fail at.  Introverts get their best ideas and more stuff done when they work alone.  This can be looked at as snobby or shy and is frowned upon in the American society.  Actually in Asia, the opposite is true there the more Quiet you are the more wise and studious you are.

When I was a child and even a baby, people thought there was something "wrong" with me.  As a baby I was very content just sitting there staring at things.  I didn't walk until I was 18 months and didn't potty train easily like my extroverted older sister.  My mom has told me she often wonder if something was wrong with me and in elementary school when I wasn't keeping up with my fellow peers they had me tested for learning disabilities.  I seem to pass them all with flying colors and their only logic was that I must be lazy, which was probably part of it.  Laziness is a constant struggle I have in my life.  But also because people always thought there was something wrong with me, I was starting to believe it too.  I made mediocre grades because I didn't think I was smart enough to be like my fellow peers.  I didn't think college would EVER be in the works for me.  It wasn't until I became a young adult and started thinking for myself that I decided I CAN actually be smart if I want to, I just have to apply myself.  I enrolled myself in college full-time, worked full time and payed for college upfront with my own money.

When I got accepted to UNCW it was one of the proudest moments of my life.  I accomplished something I never thought I could do on my own.  Education became VERY important to me.  Now, I love learning and even though I'm not in college anymore, I am forever googling every question I have and finding answers to everything.  I've learned I either have to be OCD about something or I'm not interested in it at all.  Guess there's no in between with me.

This part plays out in my relationships too.  I am all in or I'm not.  If I care about you, I want ALL of you and I want to give ALL myself to my friends.  As an Introvert we are very sensitive to stimuli and our surroundings.  When my husband lies or is upset, I sense it right away. Poor thing, he can't keep anything from me! The same with my friends I sense when there is a wall built up and although I hate confrontation I will ask them about it. Most of the time it gets resolved and sometimes it doesn't end the way I want it to but I would rather it end and there be no pretending anymore, it gives me anxiety to act like everything is normal when I know it isn't.  I think that's what wrong with us people, we like to make sure we like to look and act like everything is completely normal and that is dangerous.  It's okay for things NOT to be normal.  It's okay to see a therapist and its okay to be broken.  None of us are all put together so lets quit acting like it.

I recently took a hiatus from Facebook because sometimes to be honest, it makes me sad.  I recently read a study where it said that Facebook was making people depressed.  People felt like they weren't measuring up to their friend's lives that were posted on their news feed.  This has happened to myself and I was relieved that I wasn't the only one suffering from this.  To me, and I am sooo guilty of this too, it has become a brag-feed.  Let's show how cool, cultured, or active we are to our friends so people can think were keeping up too.  I want to be that person on my Facebook profile but sometimes I fall short of it.  I'm actually probably not that person.  That person is probably what I inspire to be. That person is probably nicer and more understanding than I can be but maybe I will get to be that hopeful more all inspiring chipper person I am on my newsfeed.  It has been a breath of fresh air not being connected and I find myself doing more important and productive stuff and not worrying about mundane things, as much. I like not having the pressure to be someone else all the time.

But anyways, after my Facebook rant, I am thankful for extroverts too because God uses them differently and we need all different kinds to build our society and also the body of Christ.  But I am glad, God made me the way I am for a reason. He is still working on me and I am nowhere near perfect.  But in the last couple of years, I have been finding out that God loves me for myself wants me to be no one but myself.  I love how Jonathan Martin in his book "Prototype" talks about Jesus understanding himself as God's Beloved and was sooo comfortable in his own skin, it blew people's minds!  When he cast demons out of a vexed man and afterwards the man was sitting beside Jesus in his right mind and whole, the people became scared and questioned him!! When you are comfortable in your own skin it becomes an infringement on people who aren't comfortable in their own skin.  They start trying to find something wrong with you and put you in a box you don't belong in.

I am VERY passionate about this because this has happened my whole life!! I am just now to the point where I am comfortable admitting that I was that lil girl that fell behind her peers and was a late bloomer in everything!  For a long time I was ashamed to admit it for fear that people would think I'm dumb.  Now thanks be to God, I am secure in myself and I am not measured by what people think of me but of what God thinks of me.  I am thankful for trials that help me to realize this even more and I have peace knowing everything happens for the greater good of his people!  I challenge you to be yourself and naturally you will probably be a MISFIT and naturally people won't like it.  It's okay, we need more misfits like Jesus in this world!!   There is no greater peace than your assurance that you ARE God's BELOVED walking in that will bring the greatest Joy you ever had. You will start to accept other people for being themselves and will appreciate and understand them more! Acceptance and Love are Key!

 Love yall and thanks for taking the time to read all of this! :)