Being an Adult Means Always Changing Plans

A little over three months ago my boyfriend and I packed everything up and moved across the country to my hometown in rural California. Our plan was to stay here for the summer, get jobs, save money, and move to Flagstaff. But with this economy things like that are easier said than done. So we’re still here. Indefinitely.

But I love being home. I’m not complaining. My life has always been up in the air, and I’ve never really known where I was going next until I was on my way. So I’m reapplying for school to finish my masters and seeing what sticks.
I have a good job that I like a lot. Bobby has a good job that he likes enough.

I’m incapable of having a five year plan, because every year my five year plan changes completely. We thought we’d live out our days in Arizona. Before that I thought we’d be in Alabama for a long time. Before I started applying for masters programs the first time around, we didn’t know where we’d end up because Bobby was applying for jobs all over the country. Before I moved to Alabama I thought I’d be in Mammoth for much longer. Before I moved to Mammoth I had plans to live in Portland. I once thought I’d live in England someday for a while.

I’m just not good at making plans. And I used to hate it. Because when I say I’m going to do something and then I don’t do it, I feel like a fraud. But life means always changing plans. At least for me it does.

So if you don’t know where you’re going or what you’re doing, it’s okay to keep going. If you feel like your plans have all failed, they haven’t. They’ve just changed. Because there’s no way for us to actually see the future and see what option is best. Just know that life can still be good, no matter what your plans are.

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Complacency

I feel bored and overwhelmed at the same time.  I forget sometimes that I moved across the country and established a life here all on my own.  I think I forget this because I’m not satisfied and I miss home.

I had a dream the other night that I was trying to get my old job back in Mammoth.  I dreamed that I moved Bobby out there and we were trying to figure out a way to afford a big enough place for his studio.  But that was just a dream.  I have no plans to move back to Mammoth, and in all reality, I would probably feel almost as complacent there.  The only difference is that I would have a community that I some how took for granted when I lived there.

I’m looking for a new job.  Most people know this, but I guess it’s time to make it public.  I’ve been depressed where I’m at for some time now and I haven’t found a satisfactory way to make myself happier there.  I haven’t gotten any bites anywhere else yet though.  I feel so confused as to where my path is right now, but if I look back to my past, things have always worked out the way their supposed to.  So I have to believe that things will work out again.

I’m trying to get myself used to school again.  It’s hard and not hard at the same time.  I just haven’t retrained myself to set aside time in the right way.  I feel like I used to have far more time on my hands.  Where do all the hours go?
And I have to do this group project with no information, so that’s not stressing me out at all.

I decided to go back to therapy.  I’ve had exactly one session.  But how can I be a licensed therapist if I can’t even take care of myself?

I’m doing my best.  And my best probably looks pretty good to a lot of people.  But it feels like it’s not enough a lot of the time.  But I guess that’s what depression is.

Hello my old friend.

Days Like Today

Sometimes I don’t feel like trying anymore.  I don’t want to get out of bed.  I don’t want to go to work.  I don’t want to have to deal with anyone here.  It’s days like these that I’m so tempted to quit everything, pack up my car, and move back home.  Because I know I’d be welcomed there with open arms.  I know I would be taken care of.  Simple things wouldn’t seem so damn hard.

I’m in a place where I feel that no matter what I do, I’m not good enough, not matter how I go about my tasks.  Nothing ever goes to plan, so what is the point in planning anything anyway?

I’ve known for a long time that depression tends to get worse around the holidays.  And I’m really feeling it.  I just want this month to be over.

I need time to reassess.  I need to move forward, not back.

I know that this won’t last forever.  I know that I’ve felt this before and been free of it.  I can and will be free again.  It just takes time.

Nobody’s Story

Nobody’s story is simple
To get to where you are now had to come from somewhere
Even growing in perfection has moments of misdirection
Every stained glass had its broken moments

The one who has it all together had to learn to stretch to wrap their arms around the broken years
The one who shines so brightly in the light has trouble falling asleep at night because of fear of darkness
The early riser, morning conqueror never fell asleep in the first place
The one so quiet and concentrated has learned to gather scattered thoughts to keep from going crazy

We try to put everyone in a box
Believing no one can understand
That everyone’s life must be easy
Because you can watch them breathe while you feel as though you’re suffocating

Things don’t go to plan
Because the chaos of the universe already has its order
As we try to grasp it we fall apart
Developing a story to be told

Nobody’s story is simple
To get to where you are now had to come from somewhere
So tell it

In Conclusion

You may be unaware of this, but I have been unintentionally angry with God for quite some time now.  I’m not sure when it started.  It’s kind of like he’s that friend that you want to be mad at, and then he does something wonderful and you’re like, oh right, you’re actually great, I’m just being a beezy.  So I was mad for a lot of college, but after I graduated and moved to Mammoth and got to spend almost a year just listening to his voice, I fell back in love with him.  I remembered what it’s like to have a good relationship with a loving God.
After I came back from Ireland, which might possibly be the highlight of my entire life, I wanted to move right away.  I tend to try to rush God.  And really, it might not have been God at all that kept me from moving in October.  I stayed for the winter.  And really, it was a fantastic winter.  But I pulled away.  I pulled into myself.  I became someone else temporarily.

Being in Florence, I’m learning to find myself again.  I’m learning to listen again.  But all of this is just digression to the story I want to tell today.

Last Monday I flew back to Nashville from Reno via LAX.  I knew that when I landed in Nashville I would have to get an uber or a taxi to get back to my car, because my flight was delayed so much that the shuttle would no longer be running.  I also knew that I had barely any money left to do this.

On my second flight I sat next to this girl who kept catching my eye.  If you follow me at all, you know that I do my best not to talk to strangers unless they first address me, and even then I get awkward.  I’m not good with small talk.  So this girl caught my eye.  Our plane took forever to get clearance to take off, so we kept taxiing around the runway and I realized that she was editing photos on her phone using the same app that I use.  I always edit photos on planes too, because it gives me something to do.  This is not that strange of a thing to have in common though.
Then (I’m such a creeper) she started going through her music on her phone and picking songs to listen to on spotify.  We have the same taste in music.  Again, not that strange of thing to have in common, except that I listen to a lot of folky indie music.  She started working on editing a short film on her computer, mostly just the title sequence, and I was trying so hard not to watch her as she did this, but I couldn’t stop noticing this girl.
Finally, they came around and asked what we wanted to drink, and I almost always order coke on planes.  It kept running through my mind that this girl and I were cut from the same cord, and then she ordered a coke.  And we both got a second bag of pretzels.

As the flight went on I tried to fall asleep, but God kept speaking to me about this girl.  I felt that if I didn’t write her a note that I would regret it.  So I grabbed my notebook and wrote to her, telling her that God was speaking to me, possibly, and that she didn’t have to believe me and I told her how I never do this and that I would understand if she thought I was crazy.  I told her how I had been angry at God, but I needed to write to her anyway.  I told her what God was saying to me.  I said if she ever needed help from a stranger that she could email me, and I gave her my email.  Then I folded it up and put it on her tray, while she had her head in her hands during the turbulence.  I went back to my music, stared out the window, and tried to fall asleep.

About ten minutes later, maybe twenty minutes before the flight landed, she tapped me on the leg.  She said that the note was exactly what she needed to read, and that I had no idea.  She asked me my name and told me her’s was Molly.  We talked about her school, how she’s in her last semester.  We talked about how she grew up in the south, but she wanted to break free from it, and talked about how I was trying to embrace it.  We didn’t really talk about God.
Molly asked me how I was getting back to my car and I told her that I honestly didn’t know.  She said her mom was picking her up and then they offered to give me a ride.  These strangers drove me the 8 minute ride to my car all because God made me a creeper on the plane.

God is all about connection.  Connection to him.  Connection to the people around us.  I think I’ve been so angry because I’ve forgotten that.  I was so stuck in my own reality, in my own social anxiety, that this connection terrified me.  Really, he just wants us to be able to enjoy the life he gave us, and he gives us the tools to do this.  We just like to do it on our own so often.

In conclusion, once again God has taken care of me.  And once again, I will do my best not to forget it.  He’s great.  You’re great.  I’m great.  We’re all great.  Also, I’m tired and losing my train of thought.

In My Doubting Midst

I gave my heart to Jesus when I was five years old.  I even have a rock that says so at my parents’ house.  Is this something that I remember?  Not really.  Are there tons of other people who probably had the same rock and have since tossed it out?  Probably.  Are these people still considering themselves Christians?  Maybe, maybe not.  But that’s not the point, is it?  I just wonder, was I brainwashed?

I’ve only known a Christian life, even when I haven’t wanted to.  I went to church with my family every week, and it was normal.  I went to a Christian school for eight years.  I read the Bible in class.  I sang songs about Jesus with my classmates.  I was warned of the dangers of having non-believing friends.  So I never even had a choice not to believe.  

The small town I grew up in didn’t have a Christian high school, and there were so many other things happening in my family, that I had no choice but to go to a public high school.  The thing is, I was excited.  I never talked about my faith or my upbringing at school, because growing up it was something that had just always been known.  Everyone had always known I was a Christian, because they were all Christians too.  We had all made commitments to stay “pure” until marriage, and to not drink, and to never smoke.  There was never really any discussion.  So going to a public high school where very few people knew me was a chance for me to entirely reinvent myself.  

However, there were some other factors.  Right before I started high school, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had to leave town for treatments quite frequently.  I also was experiencing my first conscious episode of depression.  It never occurred to me to wonder where God was in any of it, though.  

I started cutting myself, but I still prayed.  I dated guys, but I didn’t have sex with them.  If I liked someone, I would bargain with God.  I would tell him that I would stop cutting myself if just this next guy would ask me to be his girlfriend.  And after that happened, I would start again, because I couldn’t stop.  

By the time I reached my sophomore year of high school, I had isolated myself from my Christian family, too afraid to tell them that I might have doubts.  I started hanging out with two friends that had no desire to have anything to do with God, one of which was homosexual.  My mother really frowned upon it, but it was okay.  I told my friends that it would be less scary to tell my parents that I was pregnant than it would be to tell them that I didn’t want to be a Christian.  Neither of which really seemed like a possibility anyway.  I wasn’t pregnant, and I didn’t know how to not be a Christian.

I had taken God out of the equation entirely.  My faith had become about church, and family, and shame.  

But then I had the opportunity to go to LA with my church’s youth group to go to a conference for New Year’s Eve.  My parents, with no idea of my doubts, were all for me going.  So I went.  And I experienced my first real encounter with God.  During one of the services, while I was dwelling in my own darkness, one of the speakers called me out.  Not by name, but by heart.  He said exactly what was on my mind.  He spoke of being unlovable, of being broken, of wanting to die.  Which was everything that I let define me.  At that moment, everything inside of me came pouring out.  God spoke to me.  I gave him my life, for real.  He told me where to go to college, and from that day forward, I made plans.  

I thought I was healed.  I thought that I was only dealing with depression because I was trying to walk away from God.  It wasn’t long before I found that I was entirely wrong.  But instead of being honest about my depression, I hid it, because if you’re a Christian, you must be happy.  Although all evidence spoke otherwise, I for some reason believed that following God meant that there were no more problems in your life.  This meant that I was doing something wrong if I was still experiencing crippling depression.

I ended up graduating high school and going to Bible college, heading toward a theological degree, and thinking I’d maybe be a youth pastor.  Except I had social anxiety that was only getting worse, and the idea of leading any kind of group was terrifying.  It took me more than a year to realize that I had maybe made the wrong career choice.  

I suddenly fell in love with writing, but knew that God had called me to be where I was at.  And then I broke completely.  Everything within me screamed at me to end my life.  I had no reason to feel depressed and empty, but I was.  I experienced small highs, and devastating lows.  I wanted to transfer schools and get a degree in creative writing, but even more, I wanted to end my life entirely.  

I had a good group of friends who begged me to get help, and when I wouldn’t do it on my own, walked with me as I did what I needed to do to get healthy.  I was finally diagnosed with manic depression.  I went home for Christmas break and decided to end my life.  Instead, I failed.  

I couldn’t understand where God was in this.  I couldn’t understand why God would make me with a mind that didn’t function correctly.  I wanted to know his plan.  And I wondered if he had no plan at all.  I wondered if he was cruel.  But after a few months of meds and counseling, I stopped wondering this.  I was better.  I was okay with the way I was made.  

A few months later, I stopped taking meds all together.  Probably a mistake at the time, but I had made it through.  I spent another year and a half without having any major episodes.  I didn’t want to end my life.  I wrote a lot of poetry and music.  And I accepted myself for who I am, because it made me a better writer.  However, that wasn’t good enough.

Towards the end of my senior year of college, I started dating a guy who wasn’t a Christian.  And then my grandmother died.  And then he stopped talking to me.  And I went on a drive up a mountain, wondering if I should drive off of it.  I sat, with my feet hanging off the edge, and I contemplated.

I contemplated the pros and cons of continuing on.  I contemplated leaving my faith behind.  I contemplated what my life would have been like if I had gone to a different school, if I had pursued something else, if I had lived somewhere else.  Because I couldn’t come to terms with a God who would allow me to go through life unable to have rational emotions.  I couldn’t grasp why he hadn’t healed me.  I could see no good in this, I could see no plan.  But I decided to drive home anyway.  I yelled at God.  I told him how angry I was.  He had to know that I didn’t want to follow him anymore.  Even though I was about to graduate with my degree in theology and ministry.

For the most part, I kept my doubts to myself.  I blogged about them some, but to the majority, I was a good Christian girl.  I had decided I was going to move to Portland and live with strangers and get a crappy job and write and drink.  But instead, my mom went out of remission, and I felt God calling me home, even though I was angry.  Even though I wasn’t sure I wanted to follow him.  Even though I was broken.  

But that was more than a year ago.  And I spent the last year learning to hear God again.  I stopped dwelling on the theological implications of my doubts and my beliefs, and I just listened.  

A couple months ago, I found myself at a jungle church in Costa Rica with my Finnish roommate and a team of missionaries who barely spoke Spanish.  God pointed out an elderly woman to me and told me he was going to heal her.  So my roommate and I started praying for her back, because that was where she had said there was pain.  A minute or so later, she looked up at the light and started crying.  With my limited Spanish, I could only deduce that she could see.  She could see the light.  She could see the light!  But wait, we were praying for her back.  And that was healed too.  

So yeah, sometimes I doubt.  But maybe I don’t need to anymore.  Because I saw God do exactly what he said he would, without knowing or understanding his plan.  He healed the blind in the Bible.  And he healed the blind right in front of me.  So in my doubting midst, there is hope.  That day, that woman saw the light.  That day, I saw the light too.

Contemplating Reality

Currently contemplating reality when I’m broken inside.  At a time when I shouldn’t be broken at all.  And I feel that no one actually cares, because no one actually gets it, because my feelings aren’t fully known, not even by myself.
Today, for the first time in a long time, I wanted to disappear.  I want to cancel everything and run away.  Because that’s what I’m so great at, running away.  I’ve tried so hard for so long to hold it together, and I can’t.
I feel that I’ve had something taken away from me, something that I loved.  I feel that the possibilities are endless, I just can’t find the right ones.  I feel that I’m the one who’s supposed to stay positive, because I’ve already been through so much, but instead I can’t breathe and the only people who could possibly understand are hundreds of miles away.
My plans keep changing, and I have no control over them.  Whatever happened to being able to make decisions myself?  Do I not get a choice?  Probably not.
I don’t know where to go from here.  Swimming upstream has always been the hardest.

But maybe it’ll be okay.