Thinking out loud while "changing my thinking"

in Him


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Change… the inevitable

Throughout the course of my 3 decades plus of life, I have come to a few conclusions.

Conclusion #1 – “Home” is a fleeting concept.

Yes, I have heard the statement, home is where the heart is… or at least where your family is… but what if your heart longs for something that is not present in a specific location and/or within the connectedness of a group of people?

A few years ago, I felt Gainesville was my home. I was familiar with it… I had people there I considered family…friendships…and some sense of belonging…BUT that drastically changed over the last few years that I resided there. Many connections dissolved while others got ignited. The sense of being a part of something… or maybe it was the sense of feeling relevant faded. I found myself pretty isolated and more so in a routine of social excursions, role playing, mundane lab work (thank God that is over)… all of which was becoming less stimulating over time. The pockets of adventure i marinated in, lay in self-created spontaneity and in the ways God included me in what He was up to.  I found these adventures were what kept me going in the midst of my sorting through the fact that my “home” was once again dissipating.

Conclusion #2 – Children have it made.

Lately, I have found myself looking at kids and just admiring the time of innocence they get to bask in unknowingly. Though circumstances can vary drastically… in general, most of the kids I see around are in a safety net. They are nurtured and cared for by a parent or parents or group of family members. They imagine a world that is fed to them through story books, cartoons, etc… they are content in just being able to run with the wind and collapse into a pile of snow (which would typically be dirt)… and they recover quickly from the little disappointments they experience, like not being able to get another piece of cake.

It is simple in those early years of life. Rarely are they clothed in insecurity, thoughts, or states of confusion…not being sure who they are or what’s expected of them…they don’t need little ego boosts nor some self-fulfilling satisfaction in “feeling like” they have reached some new level of confidence…

They are just free and curious…and naturally growing.

Conclusion #3 – Accepting change is hard.

Considering how much change I have lived through… this conclusion for me is a little more of a shocker. But accepting change is hard. Even yesterday as I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, I could not help but think, wow… I was once really close to that person… we stood in a parking lot praying that she would have no more miscarriages and for her unborn children that we hoped for…and now she has them… OR in another case, we shared some really intimate moments of vulnerability. So many relationships that at one time were regular hangouts… and invitations to events… which are now distant and cold. And though I have always been okay with the evolution of relationships… there have always been the few that I thought would remain.

But that is not reality. Even now, some have slipped into their own unique state of “where is this going?”

Aside from relationally, I find myself also still adjusting to living in a new city. Ironically, I was truly relieved to return “home” after the wedding and fun honeymoon period. Having left for so many weeks, I was glad to be back in my territory. But till this day, I am yet to know where I can get my hair done or a once in a blue moon pedicure…i do not have a “trusted” mechanic…not sure where to get certain necessities…have not discovered the hidden treasures nor the hot spots…basically not feeling like I have fully acclimated to the city I live in. And with my job consuming so much of my time, I find myself more in a state of wanting to rest versus my normal, uncontainable desire to explore.

Conclusion #4 – Learning should be embraced.

As much as I complain about how much I have to study and prepare for lectures… and feel the stress of the “imposter syndrome” etc…I find that I actually enjoy learning. The biggest challenge I face is the sense of performing that I am plagued with every single day. The pressure… the anticipation… the unknown detours that come in the form of well thought out questions and challenges to what is being taught… they are all quite overwhelming…with few hits and many misses BUT… they certainly keep me on my toes and force me to engage more with the material… to think and question. The real frustration is in not always being able to find the answer and not having a safe, professional resource to turn to. Other than that, I feel stimulated in the moments that I am learning.

This same stimulation comes in recognizing growth spurts and “fatal flaws”… though the latter takes a moment to accept. As I watch myself take on various types of dynamics in my student-teacher vs mentor-mentee relationships, familial relationships, etc… there seems to be a constant state of transition that I am certainly an observer in. Yet I am learning more about myself, and others along the way.

I think at the end of it all, I am thankful that God has been with me every step of the way… He has never left my side… through heartaches, loneliness and sweeping fits of joy…. No matter the situation…my reassurance has rested in the fact that I know He is faithful, He is consistent, He is present and He brought me to this point… even though I trod along unsure of what this may evolve into.

Many things are being redefined at this point…there is part of me that is anxious about the inevitable changes but there is a part of me that anticipates the shift and hopes.


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Genius

 

I’ve always thought to myself… and shared with a couple of my close friends… that I believe God is a genius. What better way for our character to be revealed than through our daily interactions with people. Whether by what we dosay or the most concealed of them all, what we think… there is absolutely no hiding the reality of your heart condition. Though some may be “oblivious” due to lack of reflection or maybe are content in who they are irregardless of the outcome (aka fruit) evident in their lives or _____ whatever else. Some are so consumed with comparing their idea of what they are to those around them, which in reality is a nonsensical approach given that people are fickle.

In most scientific fields… I can not speak for any other field…you are taught that a standard should be used… a control… some measure that stays constant or is easy to interpret because it is known… “well-studied”… etc…something that can be compared with measurements of interest to yield “conclusive” observations. So even though I fall into the categories I mentioned above…being oblivious at times… consumed with my ideas at times… etc… my only basis of true comparison is God.

But what makes this all the more exciting, is that at any point, I can see a reflection of my character through the relationships I have with people. To say the least, there is one in particular that has brought me flat-out to the conclusion that this, sometimes seemingly giving person… is actually very selfish in comparison to the ultimate giver. This friendship has challenged me in SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many ways…what seem to be endless demands and expectations of me as a person…some of which are legitimately not mine to fill…others which come to the core of my default state.

Before I share that in detail, I have to talk about the general levels.

Level One:

I think it is safe to say that when you are in fleeting relationships, the ones that you visit on occassion…see in passing… even some that go deeper than surface conversations…you are on your “best behaviour”. Though some may consider this fake… its not necessarily.. it may truly be your response and attitude of servitude when you see another person in need of something so basic… whether your bringing them a cup of something to drink, undivided attention which only takes up a few minutes of your time, etc…

Level Two:

At this point, maybe the requests made of you, demand a little more… they become slightly inconvenient…maybe it’s a ride to somewhere at some odd time…maybe its a little money for whatever reason… maybe it’s the expectation that you will demonstrate some level of care by investing a little more time (showing up to events, etc)…

Level Three:

The real deal. The ones that you can not escape. Your either found in situations where they are tied to you through blood…(let’s save the debate of whether blood is thicker than water for another day)…engulfing you  in a mountain of expectations… you make majority of your choices (especially when you are younger)… to gain their approval… to feel secure in your sense of belonging… accepted…loved…

Aside from the implied family ties (parents, siblings, etc)… they can also be found in other relationships which cross all barriers…whether in marriage… close companionships… even with room mates… these are the people you are tied to by CHOICE…. your own conscious decision to commit.

I have a handful of level 3 relationships, and all of them seem to expose my most selfish… self-centered/self-absorbed (almost feels like these are interchangeable)… and self-sufficient…of qualities.

Even in watching their generosity toward me, and knowing I fall short… I still find myself prone to think on what I do or do not want to do… how I am just being me… I should not have to… and I can  (fill in the blanks)  myself…. I … I … I …I…

The I comes up a lot. Does this make me unworthy of those relationships? Does this make me a failure? Does this make me a bad person?

I think not!… I was one of those people that he spoke of… “they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.”

There is no need for me to wallow in guilt and/or anguish over where I am now and what seems like an overwhelming gap in character… because there is no gap between Him and I… though my actions scream  of so many wrong qualities… who I am is still the same because of who He is (1 John 4:8)… He chose me to become like Him (Rom 8:29).. He adopted me (John 1:12, Eph 1:5)…He took me in… and He is at work (Phil 1:6)…

The beauty of this is… it’s not an excuse to stay the same… or to ignore the evidence presented before me.. but its all the more motivation to become more dependent in the midst of knowing where I fall short. Knowing where I lack… should push me into the reality of the “I am”… it just makes sense…

The more I am there, the more I can receive… and the more I can give… aka… I become less demanding… less full of my high expectations and standards… less full of myself… less “all-important”…a real journey… not always fun…. but definitely interesting.