I Don’t Want to Live in This World

I hate this world that I’ve created.

I hate that I moved across the country with big dreams, none of them being fulfilled.  They’ve been destroyed so much that I’ve let them go altogether.  I don’t even write anymore.  I probably don’t even exist anymore.

I hate that I moved to the south and have encountered far more entitled people than I ever did living in a resort town.  I hate that I feel that I can do nothing right.  I hate that I don’t have anyone to depend on, so I’ve learned to depend on myself.  I hate that my heart aches for a church like the one I left behind.  I  hate that I can’t find that here.  I hate that every promotion brings more misery, instead of confidence.  I hate that I complain so often.  I hate that I’m depressed.

I miss my home.  I miss my family.  I miss my friends.  I miss my mom.  If I had known that moving here would mean losing her, I never would have come.  I miss that she made me empowered.  I wish that I had appreciated it while she was around.

I don’t want to be alive in this world anymore.  I know it’s supposed to get better.  I know it always has gotten better.  But I don’t like the in between.  I don’t like that I’m in the in between again.  I don’t like that I’ve gotten so lost, that I’ve disappeared completely.

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I Thought We Were Done

I’ve disappeared a little.  At least I feel that I have.  Sinking into the floor.  Sinking into my work.  Sinking into a life that I’m barely living.  So I think I’m ready to be done with this.

Next month I have an interview to get into grad school.  I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and I realized that I really love stories.  Maybe that’s why I thought I would be a writer.  I’m not a writer.  Not anymore.  But I’m going to get my masters in counseling.  I can hear stories.  I can walk through stories with someone else, because I’ve learned that it’s really hard to walk through a hard story by yourself.

I’m looking for a house to move into next month.  My lease is up and I’m so ready to be done with the roommate life.  My things keep breaking or going missing.  Kind of like my heart.

My car is in the shop again.  For the same problem as before.  Because the mechanics missed something.  I’m learning that it’s better to go for quality over price, and even though I’m poor, I’m going back to taking my car to the dealer, just like I used to.

I don’t want life to be hard anymore.  I don’t want simple things to seem impossible.  I’m completely over this pointless depression.  I thought we were done with this a long time ago.

About Church

One thing that I realized last week is that I’ve always gone to church because I’ve always had connection there.

I grew up going to church because my parents took me to church every Sunday.  And I went to youth group because my friends went and I liked it and I felt like I was learning things.  I felt a connection to the living God.

When I was in college I went to church because I had to be serving in church at least two times a month for my degree.  You didn’t have a choice to opt out if you were in Bible college.  But I got to know my pastors.  And I enjoyed being a volunteer, even if it wasn’t the fun jobs that I was doing.  I liked the connection.  I liked the family that I had there.

After college, I moved to Mammoth and I started re-attending the Lighthouse, and I found real family.  But I first knew about the Lighthouse because I would visit with my brother all the time growing up and when I visited during college.  I had friends there.  I felt community there.  And I connected with God there.

I’m just wondering how to get that community and connection back.  I’m wondering where it is here.  When I first moved to Florence I immediately started attending a church, but my only friends in Florence were a part of this church.   After being there for more than a year, I felt less connected than when I first moved.  My newness wore off and it kinda seemed like I wasn’t good enough to be connected.  I wasn’t good enough to be involved.  None of the original connections I had there include me anymore.  Unless they see me in public.  Then they complain that we never hang out, but I can’t remember the last time I actually got an invitation to do anything.
I got a text from the pastor saying he missed hanging out with Bobby and I.  I said he could ask us to hang out any time, but I never got a response.

I feel like church is something that I’ve had forced into my life for so long that I’m not sure what is real and what is fake.  I miss community and I miss connection, but it has to be genuine.  It cannot be forced.  I’ve visited other churches, churches with small groups, but I don’t necessarily agree with their theology.

I’ve felt a little lost lately.  I don’t like feeling lost.  So I might be breaking up with church for a while.  I can pursue my relationship with God and learn what I need, because I’m obviously not going to find what I’m craving.

Sorry I complain so much.  Sorry I’m not elite.

Being Thankful in These Trying Times

I usually write some post about Thanksgiving and what I’m thankful for, but I’ve had no time or energy to write lately.  This is a season of thankfulness, but I’m not sure that I’ve felt very thankful.  Sometimes I feel so pessimistic that I forget that my life has been far more privileged than that of a lot of people.  I have a family that loves me.  A boyfriend that makes me smile a lot.  A job with benefits and great coworkers.  I have my own place and a really cute dog.  I have a car that I don’t have to make payments on.  And for the most part, I’m healthy, except for the current moment, because Bobby gave me his cold.

And maybe I find these times trying because I don’t have the community or church that I had back home.  And I thought I didn’t have community there, when I did.  Life never really turns out the way you expect it to.  Thus, I complain too much.  I complain, and I don’t make enough effort to make things better, because I’m too tired or too lazy or just too… too much myself.

So I had a meeting with someone from the counseling department to get my masters in counseling at UNA.  And it seems like a real possibility.  So maybe I should be thankful that I moved to a college town, and even though I really want to move out of it sometimes, Florence is not a bad place.

People, be thankful.  You’re not starving.  You’re not a victim of genocide.  You have a roof over your head.  And things can always get better.

To Myself

I can’t remember the last time I really got to relax.  I can’t remember the last time I got be alone and think and work and write.  Which is why I feel almost nonexistent.  I’m always working.  I’m always with someone.   There’s always something else that has to be done.  Why don’t we cherish things when we have them?

My heart is not broken, but at the same time, it is.  I miss home the most in the summer, when it’s so hot here that I can hardly breathe.  All you have to do is exist and you’re sweating.  And the rain does nothing to cool the land.  I miss my dad and my brother and my best friend.  I miss home cooked meals and long drives and being allowed to spend the day in bed.  I miss my mom.  You never quite learn to appreciate things until they’re gone.

This life is not what I thought it would be.  But then again, life never is.  It’s full of surprises, good and bad.  I used to call myself a writer, but I don’t think I can say that anymore.  I’m not even trying anymore.  Any talent that I may have once have has disappeared in the busyness of work, and relationship, and life.

I don’t know what I want.  And I don’t know why I complain so much.  As humans, I guess that we are never quite content.  I miss the days when I would sit in silence and meditation, but I live as though there’s no time for that anymore.  I can’t make the days grow any longer.

As I write this, I know I still need to go buy groceries.  I still need to clean my apartment.  I still need to do so many things that won’t get done if I’m not the one to do them.  Because I am an adult.  Adulthood snuck up on me.  It probably sneaks up on all of us.  Even though we spend our childhood chasing adulthood.  How foolish are we to want this freedom that isn’t really freedom at all.

When an Invitation Becomes a Sale

One thing that I’ve really learned over the past few years is that my relationship with God is a personal one.  And I really believe it should be that way for everyone.  Your relationship shouldn’t be pinned to what church you go to.
I live in the South now, which means that I live in the Bible belt.  There are literally churches everywhere.  And that’s fine.  But every single church here believes that you should attend that church.  It creates a competition.  That competition between churches is one that exists everywhere, but I notice it the most here because the volume is so much higher.  Most Christians believe that everyone should go to church.  The problem is that churches want you to go to their church.  Don’t go to someone else’s church, come to my church.  There’s a sign outside the church near my apartment that says, “Need home improvements?  Bring your family to church.”    

My boyfriend and I visited a different church today.  It’s a fairly new campus here (as far as I understand).  But he attended this same church when he was in college in Tuscaloosa, so he’s been wanting to visit it here, since he enjoyed the church so much before he moved back to Florence.
There wasn’t anything wrong with the church, and I actually enjoyed the sermon.  It was a type that I missed, because it was just theological enough for me to follow.  It was the first time I’ve been in a church with a bulletin for a while.  But this church is huge.  There’s campuses with multiple services all over Alabama.  So they have money.  It’s practically a mega church, and the sermon was live streamed from the main campus, which is not my thing.
They kept talking about how next week is Easter, and Easter is the perfect opportunity to invite someone to church, which technically is true.  Unchurched people are most likely to visit church on Christmas and Easter.  Those are the two times a year that people go to church.  But every time they talked about inviting people, it was like a pitch.  It was like they were selling something.

I personally don’t want to sell anyone on whatever church I go to.  I don’t even really want to sell someone my savior.  Yes, this is a consumer society, but faith isn’t something that should be bought.  It’s not something that should be pitched.  It should be personal.  Yes, salvation is something that I believe we all need, but telling someone that seems so impersonal.
I’d rather be introduced to a loving God in the same way that I’d introduce someone to my best friend, my dad, or my boyfriend.

I was afraid to talk about visiting a new church today, because it feels like people get so offended when you don’t go to their church, or if you even miss a week.  I didn’t visit a new church to offend anyone, or even because I’m unhappy where I am.  It’s not because of the worship or the sermon or anything else.  Church services, to me, seem to be a way to teach someone about God.  But I know about God.  I paid to study the Bible for four years.  Then I spent another year paying to focus on my relationship with God and his Spirit.  I don’t want to be taught.  I don’t want to be bored.  I want a family.
I have a family where I am.  They’re there when I need them.  But we’ve become a bit estranged, because I got used to a certain routine, and that routine was then disrupted.  I got used to the community that came from life groups that happened once a week.  It was something that gave me life.  One of my favorite things is doing life with other people.  Community is something that I have craved for a long time, and every time I seem to grasp it, it’s almost like it pulls away from me.  But I’m not going to blame anyone else, because I easily get too tired to chase a community that changes with the flow of the river.
“Life groups” are starting again, but not in the way that I’m craving.  They want to read a Bill Johnson book together.  I just don’t feel like going to a book club.  I don’t want to read another Jesus book that’s going to bore me.  Which is okay.  It’s okay that other people find life in an environment that drains me.  We are all different, which is something that I recognize and do my best to celebrate.  I believe that everyone who goes to these new life groups is going to get something out of it.  I’m just not sure that I would.

One of my favorite classes that I took in college was Teaching Small Groups.  Yes, that sounds boring.  The point of the class was to learn how to teach small groups.  But the class was so small, we actually got to be a small group.  We actually got to do life together as we learned.  That’s the kind of community that I’m craving.
So no, I’m not switching churches.  That’s not what this is about.  I’m not even trying to bash churches, like I have done so often.  I just don’t want to be told to sell my church.  I’m a terrible salesman, and I’m not even usually sold on church.  I don’t even always want to go to church, but that’s where my friends are.  I want to be sold your small group.  I want to buy your community.  So pitch it to me.  And I’ll invite you into mine, when I find one.

You can invite me.  And maybe I’ll invite you.  I just wish it was more about community and growing in relationship with God, than about selling all of the great programs and resources your church can provide.

And who knows, maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe I’m just too darn cynical.

Too Hot

You say, “it’s too hot here”
Too hot in here
Can’t handle the heat
And I can’t help but think
That if you find it so damn hot
Maybe you should stop
Stop breathing so much
Stop thinking so much
Stop moving so much
Stop being so much
These complaints in the stillness of my heart
The hardness of my heart
Where I still live in the cold
Leave me icy
Chilled
Unbroken
Unable to comprehend
Why you think
“It’s too hot here”