Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What I'm Learning Lately

Life looks and feels much better after a good night's sleep. (Conversely, everything looks and feels much worse after a scant two hours of sleep.)

Sunshine makes everything better, too.

Oh, and a little diphenhydramine never hurt anyone.

I actually have the ability to lose my appetite. (I used to think my love for food would never allow this phenomenon.)

But farro is still so yummy. It's the "new quinoa" least in my pantry.

I can make decisions...and stick with them.

Having a job to go to every day is a sweet, welcome blessing. Having a job that I enjoy is a bonus.

Post-Labor Day traffic in Northern Virginia is the worst. (Where did all of these people come from?)

Facebook is evil.

I love to run. It is my sanity.

My parents are the best. Their love for me is as Christlike as mortal love can be.

Scripture is my daily bread. (Psalms 27, 29, and 30 are current meditations.)

This too shall pass.

God is worthy of my praise always, regardless of my circumstances or feelings.

He makes beautiful things out of the dust. He makes beautiful things out of us.

What are you learning lately?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

On Doing What I Want

Some people have no problem saying "no." Or saying "yes." They do what they want.

Some people can't say "no." Or they say what they think others want them to say, and then back out at the last minute because they're overcommitted. I've fallen into this category before.

Some people weigh every decision they have to make with the utmost care, afraid to make a choice that will offend or anger someone, but very aware of their true feelings on the matter, which (often) may directly oppose the assumed expectations of the other(s). I fall into this category every day of my life. Welcome to my head; it's a scary place to be.

It's no secret that I'm a people pleaser. Always have been, always will be. I'm also a perfectionist. In kindergarten I still remember an incorrectly circled picture on a worksheet—the only answer I got wrong all year. Yes, I'm aware that I have "issues."

And I'm controlling, but this is something I'm working on. (I believe people can change, and I've seen some measurable progress in myself in this area.) My favorite person to control is me. I'm fantastic at controlling what I eat and drink, how much I exercise, and how meticulously clean I keep my house. The problem is, it takes a lot of mental and physical energy and time to be controlling. So when people pose requests that don't fit within my well-planned weekly routine or perfectly crafted daily schedule, an internal dialogue ensues in which I must decide between saying "yes" to my own carefully calculated desires, comforts, and needs or saying "yes" to the other person whom I so desperately want to please. (Again, welcome to my head.)

(I realize that if I have children, I will receive a crash course on letting go of personal control. Hopefully I will not project said control onto my kids. But let's be honest, they'll probably be in therapy for years.)

Usually I maintain a decent balance of doing what other people ask/expect of me, and doing what I want. Sometimes I ignore what I want in place of pleasing others. Rarely do I say "no" to someone in lieu of making myself happy...until recently.

Lately, I've felt like doing whatever the hell I want. And I'm not caring what others think—as much. It's a weird feeling, I must admit. A new phenomenon. And I think I'm gonna roll with it for now...

No, I don't want to go to the movies with you, even though that would make you happy. Instead, I want to sit on my couch with a glass of wine and read my Marian Keyes novel. No, I don't want to run that race for the third year in a row. I don't care that we'll wear glow-in-the-dark tutus and do post-run tequila shots, or that it will be "such a blast!" No, I can't travel out of town that weekend. It just won't work for me, my impending freelance project deadline, or my wallet.

Maybe I'm merely feeling a bit antisocial these days, and this mood shall pass. Maybe I'm making wise choices and protecting my time, my finances, and my "margins." Maybe these are all just lame cop-outs, and I really need to get out of my comfort zone, stop being self-indulgent, and start saying "yes." But for now, I really don't care. I'm gonna do what I want and will try not to make excuses.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How He Loves Us

How He Loves has been on repeat for the past few weeks because a dear friend sent me a surprise care package that contained a mixed CD with 13 life-giving songs (as well as Scripture and chocolate, also life-giving. :)). She knows what I need and she knows what I like. Fifteen years of friendship will do that.

As I was driving to visit my family in Pennsylvania last weekend, belting out the lyrics and buzzing from my Starbuck's grande bold, I had a moment of incredible clarity and overwhelming thankfulness about how I have tangibly experienced God's love in my life during the past few weeks—through relationship.

You see, I have the best family and friends. Truly, the best. They are full of sincere generosity, intentional thoughtfulness, undying compassion, and abundant wisdom. I do not deserve them. I thank God for showing me His love in small, huge, sweet, extravagant, and powerful ways through them.

She calls me every day just to talk. To check in. To hear my voice and so I can hear hers. To tell me what she ate for lunch, share stories about her crazy co-workers, and update me on her thriving social life. She is my soul sister. :)

One friend recently lent her "jack-of-all-trades" hubby not once, but three times, to offer his expertise with some house issues. She texts me regularly to share the moments that comprise daily living.

Another stopped by on a random weeknight with supplies for rossinis. We camped out on my couch and talked all night long—about good sweat sessions, about the tough stuff life relentlessly throws at us, about love.

She offers her home—mere miles from our office—as a place to crash after a night out, when my A/C was busted, or "just because." We've shared many a pepperoni/banana pepper/crispy shallot pizza and bottle of Chianti and never run short of conversation or laughter.

Last weekend I spent an evening with these two, whom I've known since I was 13. They are some of the wisest women in my life, know me better than most people, and never fail to make me laugh until my stomach hurts.

My sister, one of the busiest women I know, used her weekend off (she only gets one or two a month) to drive through the armpit of the DMV and visit me. We enjoyed two beautiful days of sweet, quality sister time. She is my rock, she is my inspiration, she is part of me.

Although I am nearly 30, my parents continue to be steadfast, nurturing, provisional forces in my life. It's like I know everything will be OK after hearing their voices say "Annie" or "Punk." They are my safe haven, my home. I can be utterly real and honest with them knowing they will listen and love me no matter what, but also tell me the hard truth and ask me the tough questions.

To me these friendships are gifts from a God who allows me to experience his goodness through relationship. I am at a loss for words when I catch a glimpse of understanding about how much he loves me and how rich my life is because of these people.

Thank you.