Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thunder and Lightning

I have never been a person who enjoyed storms. As a kid I was more afraid of the thunder than the lightning because it was big booming and scary. I actually loved the lightning. When I was very small I would sit with my dad out on our covered porch and we would watch the sky light up, shouting out the different colors we saw streaking through the clouds. It's a tradition I want to carry on with my kids and was greatly dismayed when I became more afraid of the lightning than I was of the thunder. Though my fear was somewhat justified.

It was one night when I was probably sixteen or so. I was still very much rattled by the thunder and it was one of those late night/ middle of the night storms. Neither of my parents was home so it was just me and my little brother. Steven, if he wasn't beating me up, was very protective of me and knew I hated storms. So he came out into the living room and slept on the couch to keep me company of sorts while I sat in the recliner wide awake and petrified. The storm felt like it was swirling right above our crappy apartment and the next strike would set us aflame. Luckily that didn't happen. Well, lucky for us I suppose. Lightning did strike the house behind us and set them ablaze, and then traveled through the electrical wires to come shooting out our VCR which I was only a couple of feet from. No one at the house behind us was injured and the actually had minimal damage to my recollection but I was no longer fond of lightning. In fact, even now I cower and need to be with other people when a storm surrounds me.

I wish that carried over into emotional and mental storms. I am and always have been the type of person to isolate when things are rocky with my spirit. It's partly because I don't want to be a burden to anyone but also partly because, as I have recently discovered, it's a branch of my control issues. I need to be able to fix me. Growing up, I had absentee parents and fake-people friends (Heather aside) so any problem I had needed to be self-solved. As an adult I have far more true, heart-to-heart friends but I still feel like I have to fix things on my own. Even though my relationship with Christ is stronger and closer than it has ever been before, I still think it's my responsibility to handle what I've been dealt with, to not cry or complain and just deal with it.

This whole moving thing has been stressing me out to no end. I have felt from very early on that it is what God is telling me to do and believe I know when he's told me I need to go. And I've had people question whether or not He really is telling me to go, others question if the timing is His or mine, others who remain skeptical and likely will until I actually am headed to Texas because, let's face it, I am not the girl who follows through on anything. So this entire process has been trying to say the least. And as a person who used to suffer from extreme depression and anxiety, having all this stress is not fun. I have had a few crying spells that released some of the pressure. I even had a few hours the other day where my brain actually shut off and I remember very little. In talking with Ben I realized it was a self-defense mechanism. My brain knew it was on overload and if it didn't do something drastic, something very dramatic would happen. While I'm thankful my brain is smart enough (see what I did there?) to do that, it's also a pretty frightening thing. Honestly, I remember going through produce at the grocery store, getting Pop Tarts and driving to another store for meat and that is all from a two hour period of my day. Insane, right?

I had finally reached a breaking point, that was more than obvious. But there was no end to the things that were stressing me out. Leads came in for possible vehicles that led to dead ends which was disappointing. I had a friend trying to help me figure out alternative ways of getting myself and all my stuff to Texas, all things that wouldn't work for some reason or another upon closer examination, and it just seemed like the hits to my mental stability just kept coming. And then I had group last night.

Since July I have been part of a Celebrate Recovery (but not Celebrate Recovery) group at church. It's not an easy thing to be a part of. We go into deep hurts, habits, and hang-ups and work through them. And last night I just couldn't take any of it. I couldn't concentrate on anything anyone was saying, I could only focus on myself and put all my energy into keeping myself from losing it completely. I managed to make it through one question fine but when the next question came around and it was my turn to answer I completely lost it. To the point where I couldn't even speak. In that moment I felt as helpless and hopeless as I have felt in a very long time. I hate crying in front of people. Ugly crying is even worse and that was where I was.

After hugs and touches of comfort once group was over and some prayer with one of the group leaders I headed home feeling extremely vulnerable and exposed. It was like an old would had been opened and I was bleeding. It was unsettling and uncomfortable, and I wasn't sure what to do with it. I didn't feel better, I didn't feel like there had been some miraculous revelation, I didn't feel anything like you're supposed to feel after something like that. I just felt...there.

Anyone in the Lakes Region knows the amazing light show we had last night. Though it was dark the stars were blotted out with thick black clouds, and behind them came flashes of light so colorful and so frequent it was like some sort of ethereal performance. And sitting in the car watching it, I realized that's exactly what it was. Each strobe of light, each bolt that managed to break through the clouds was part of a performance, an exposition of God's amazing and awesome power. It looked crazy and unpredictable to me but I knew He had already decided where each strike would land and precisely when. It was perfectly choreographed to His rhythm. And I was awed.

Had I not been allowed to open my old wounds, to really cry and be so raw I would have gone home focusing on all my stress. I would have ignored the celestial presentation all around me. I was reminded that God is in control of everything. If He can control a bolt of lightning He can certainly control the events in my life. He knows exactly where each blessing and each trial will come from and precisely when. It is perfectly timed. His power is amazing. And it was the exact reminder I needed.

This morning as I was checking the weather on my phone, trying to decide what to wear today, I started feeling those residual threads of stress and hopelessness trying to creep back in. The forecast was cloudy and humid, but dry for the most part. It was at that exact moment that a huge crash of thunder tore through my quiet morning so loud and so close that I literally jumped and my cell phone flew from my hands.

God was reminding me again of His power. And I laughed because I needed that not-so-small reminder.

I've decided storms are no longer things to fear, but opportunities to sit back and watch the amazing power of God. I will not run from lighting and cower in the thunder. Instead, from now on, I will remember everything is in the hands of my Father, and I'm going to come through to the other side to see the sun again eventually.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Under Pressure

I don't know about anyone else but I've never been good at handling pressure. There are certain types of pressure I thrive on (deadlines, for example) but when it comes to any other type of pressure I suddenly forget I'm almost thirty-four and turn into a big ball of tears and sulking. I am proud to say this has gotten better over the years but I am ashamed to admit it's only on the surface. Inside I am still that child, I've just learned how to better conceal it. Which isn't always a good thing. Actually, it's hardly ever a good thing.

As passive as I appear to be, I have some serious control issues. I am not lacking in trust - in God, in other people - but when I have no control over things I tend to become a little...unwound. I feel like if I don't do things myself then they won't be done correctly and they won't be done in a timely manner. Managing and producing "Harbinger" with other people, overseeing actors and artists has definitely been a test of my controlling issues and helped me learn how to loosen my death grip on a lot of things. People don't always get their lines to me when they should, don't respond to messages or emails, communicate they way they need to, and there's only so much I can do about that. Through all the eye-twitching and yelling at my computer screen after reading an email or ending a Skype conversation, I really have grown in that area even if it sometimes doesn't feel like it.

But I'm still struggling.

I have a little over a month to somehow get a vehicle so that I can move. Sure, I can hop on a plane to Texas and be there but I would have almost none of my stuff but what I could pack in a suitcase. That, and no one up here can store, nor should they store, all my crap. It's my crap. I should be able to take care of it. After that I also have to worry about dental work I desperately need done, and getting my own place. Oh, and I still have six chapters left of my novel to be gone over before I make revisions for the final draft.

No wonder I'm not sleeping!

There has never been any doubt that this move is something God is calling me to do. Not since the morning I woke up and felt that push. There have been moments of fear, of anxiety, and definite moments of being emotional but never doubt. So why am I having such a hard time believing He will provide what I need to get there? I keep feeling like He's going to wait until the last minute before showing me the way because...just because. To teach me to trust more and to loosen that death grip.

It drives me crazy that I have this desire to come up with a contingency plan, a "what if He doesn't come through?" plan of action. That's not trusting at all. But at the same time I'm so afraid to completely trust because I'm terrified of being let down. Like God won't come through which means none of this really was from Him and it was just my own desire to go and then I'll be stuck here with yet another "I'm going to do this!" declaration that will not come to fruition. I am the queen of pipe dreams, the one who always has big, bold ideas that fizzle and die like a campfire built on soggy logs. I don't want to be that person anymore.

So for those reading this who believe, as I do, that prayer is so important and powerful, I ask for prayer. For my circumstances as well as my attitude and thought-life. I need my head to line up with the things my mouth professes and what my heart feels. I need to really trust God will come through if I'm saying that's what I feel. I'm also kind of struggling with self-worth lately, so...yeah.

On another related note, there will be a yard sale at my house September 14-15. Come by and buy stuff! Give me all your money! ^_^

Only half kidding.

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