I have a confession

I have a confession.  I’m sometimes mean to aaa agents on the phone.  It’s definitely because my original agent messed up so bad and frustrates me so much.  I just found out that he registered my car as having 25,000 more miles on it than it did when I bought it.  So I have to fix that whole mess.  But maybe I’m mean to them because I work in customer service, and people are mean to me all day.  Maybe I’m a hypocrite.  Or maybe I’m just a horrible person.

I also have to confess that I don’t write like I used to.  I’m not as interesting.  Or I’m too busy.  Or maybe I just can’t write anymore.  I haven’t worked on my book, which doesn’t even exist anymore.  I hardly write poetry.  All my writing is complaining.   And I don’t complain that much anymore.  Or maybe it’s all I do.

Another confession.  I’m learning that it’d be significantly easier to find a new house to rent if I didn’t had a dog.  But I love my dog.  And having a dog is one of favorite new things about myself.  She’s basically my best friend.  And she has more personality and anxiety than most people.
I really want to fast forward to when I have my own house, where I can put my own touch.  And have more dogs.

I don’t love the rain as much as I used to.  It’s starting to inhibit more than rejuvenate.  Walking my dog, biking, driving.  It’s all more difficult.  But I still have a dream of living even more in the rain.  Portland still is a dream sometimes.

I have a confession.  I don’t hate Valentine’s Day like I once did.  But I don’t love it either.  But I do love Bobby.  I never knew love could be so easy.  I never knew love could be like this.  After more than a year, I still get excited about spending time with him.  He’s my best friend, if Roxy isn’t.  My best friend even likes him.  He has been approved for life.  I love him love him love him.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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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.

Love is Scary

Valentine’s Day was last week.  I don’t know much about the origin of Valentine’s Day, and I’ve never really fully partaken in the holiday, because it’s become a hallmark holiday to sell merchandise and make single people feel lonely.  However, this year was my first year as part of a real couple on Valentine’s Day.  Not that I find the holiday important, but it has gotten me thinking.

How does one know that they will love someone forever?  How do we trust that our partner will love us forever?  What is forever?  Love is about trust.  Love is about loyalty.  Love is a choice.  I’m in a relationship that I could perceive lasting forever.  I have zero desire for it to end.  It’s just sometimes hard to wrap my head around someone wanting to be with me forever.  People are constantly changing and evolving.  But my parents were together 43 years and would have been together another thousand if possible.  I want that.  Maybe I have that.  Giving your heart to someone is just a little terrifying.

But is it the same with God’s love?  Because he is love and will love me forever.  His love is not dependent on whether we’re in the same place or like the same things.  It just is.  As long as I can trust that, nothing else really matters, I guess.

So what if love is scary?  It just might be worth it.  God’s love brought me all the way across the country, didn’t it?  And there are probably a thousand more adventures to be had.

In the In Between

Somewhere in the in between is where we’re living
Something  between friends and what comes next
Somewhere between secret adventures and just secrets

Terrified of the potential pain here
Between missed opportunity and committing too soon
Between the disappointment that comes with no and the publicity that comes with yes

In the privacy of these walls revelations happen
Between these sheets, new truths are told
And we’ll stay here, in between deception

Honesty and intimacy are holding hands now
Somehow finding safety in this insecurity
As we’ll live here, somewhere in the in between

Blogging Everyday in July|Guys, Girls, Friends

Over the years I’m sure I’ve talked about guy-girl relationships before.  And in this moment I’m not sure why we make a deal out of it.  Can guys and girls be just friends?  Why is that a question?  Obviously the answer is always yes, but it’s as if so many people don’t want it to be.  But that’s not even what I was planning on writing about today.

I am one of those girls who connects more with guys.  I always have.  Maybe it’s because I had an older brother and grew up in the middle of nowhere and liked doing things outside.  “Boy things.”  That’s what they called hiking and camping and riding bikes and playing in the dirt when I was a kid.  Now they’re just “things that people do, regardless of their gender.”  Because people are trying again to realize the equality of the genders.  But again, I digress.
My mother wanted me to be a tomboy.  I wasn’t allowed to be a girl scout because she hated it when she was a child.  I wasn’t allowed to be a cheerleader because she didn’t want me cheering for boys.  If I was going to be on the field at a sports game, I better be playing.
But now she wants me to wear lipstick and dress like a lady, so I’m not entirely sure how this all makes sense.  The first time she heard me swear she blamed the “guys I hang out with.”  Because curse words aren’t said by females, I guess.  Sorry, I’ll stop.

When I am in a room of people, I naturally find myself sitting with a group of guys.  I seek out guy friendships before girl friendships, until I become aware of it.  In high school, almost all of my friends were guys and they made all the guy jokes and it didn’t matter that there was a girl in the room.  In college, I had a few choice female friends, and then a lot of guy friends.  That’s how it is everywhere I go in life.  And this isn’t because I’m subconsciously looking for a boyfriend.  I don’t date or develop feelings for most of my guy friends, and I’m sure they could say the same for me.  We just get along.
And it’s not even that I don’t like hanging out with girls.  My best friend is a girl.  And since I’ve moved to Florence, I’ve made a point to develop some strong female friendships.  A group of us have a Bible study/hang out every Thursday.  And I’m so thankful for it.  But part of the reason I want strong female friendships is because it seems like it’s time.  Like I’ve finally started to believe this lie that guys and girls can’t be just friends.  That it’s always something more on one end.  Or that all of my guy friends will be intimidating to a future partner.  But this isn’t true.  I don’t know what is true.

I like people.  I like friends, old and new.  I like that we can make the world a better place if we try to.  I like that although we are all flawed, we make a kaleidoscope of good intentions.  I get that genders are different.  But also, I don’t.  I understand anatomy and thinking.  But hearts and souls are the same.  Can’t we all just be friends?

Blogging Everyday in July|Is it Hopeless to be Romantic?

Someone asked me to blog about what it means to be a hopeless romantic.  Or maybe what I think the definition is.  Which is possibly one of those things that I can’t quite grasp, so I looked it up.  Google is telling me that a “hopeless romantic” is someone who loves love.  Someone who believes in happy endings.  Someone who wants a fairy tale.  Someone who won’t give up.  This makes me wonder, am I one?

I love love stories.  I love when my friends find their person.  It would be nice to have a person.  But currently, I’m enjoying discovering myself.  I don’t think I’m hopelessly romantic.  I don’t expect anyone to go over the top to chase me down or woo me over.  Life is not like the movies.  But whenever I get to hear a crazy story about something someone has done for the person they love, it makes me glad I’m alive.  Because I want a story.  I want an adventure.  But I want more than that.

Grand gestures probably exist.  But I think they’re rare in this day and age because people are so afraid of getting let down.  Most people spend so much time in the beginning of their relationship unsure if they’re actually in a relationship that they’re afraid to be romantic at all.  And I can’t think of anyone actually following through on anything romantic involving me.  That doesn’t mean that it’s something that belongs only in the movies though.

I think that by defining something as hopeless, we make it unreal.  We make it something that people are afraid to be a part of.  Why do a grand gesture to show how much someone means to you, how much you want to be with someone, if it’s hopeless?  Romance is not hopeless; at least it shouldn’t be.  It should just be romantic.

So maybe hopeless romantics don’t exist.  Because they’re all still hopeful.  Hopeful that the world will be a better place.  Hopeful that someone will love them back.  Hoping for a happy ending; or even better, no ending at all.

In Love

I have never been in love
I have been in love a thousand times

I fell in love
With Wesley in preschool
Told my dad all about our future life together

I fell in love with that boy in my elementary class
Fell in love what that boy at camp
I couldn’t stop looking to the future

I fell in love with the first guy to crush me
The first one to use me
The first one to put me last

I fell in love with my best friend
Again and again and again
Though he fell for me first
He’ll say it wasn’t love at all

I fell in love with the prince of eBay
And slowly fell out
As I quickly fell for another
And as he dropped me too
I felt my cracks widen
As my contents spilled out
And I fell in love with dying

I fell in love with my failure
Then fell so in love with my music
That I fell in love with spinning words too

I felt myself fall for the bad boy musician
Every bad boy musician
But specifically the one who kept coming back
I let myself fall for him three times too many
He kept coming back for more
Before I finally learned to lock that closed door

I fell in love with the car guy
Every car guy
Who would find some way to rescue me
When they were the ones needing saving

I fell hard for the guy from my work
The first one who I’d let see my soul
The kindest, the sweetest, the one I wanted to give everything to
The first one that was really my fault

I fell in love with the filmmaker in training
And I fell for the guy on the bus
Because they really listened when I spoke
As if my words meant anything at all

I fell in love with the alcoholic drug salesman
Before I ever knew what he was
I let him have me and know me
Learning that I never wanted to be in love

I fell in love with fiction
With thoughts sent from broken minds
Because I forgot to believe in myself

But I fell in love with living
With beauty and vibrance and life
I fell in love with dreaming my reality
And adventures worth more than any love

I refuse to fall in love
I fall in love every time

I have never been in love
I have been in love a thousand times