Happiness, hit her, like a train on a track
Stuck still, coming towards her, no turning back
-- “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence Welch & Isabella Summers
This year has brought a lot of necessary change as well as some mighty useful life lessons. After three years of wrestling with whether or not I should move to Los Angeles, I shifted into gear and drove across the country and landed in the San Fernando Valley. I quickly became accustomed to the LA area traffic windows, pedestrians and the unfortunate parking situation that is known as the City of Beverly Hills. I mean what is there not to love about this town? It is beautiful here and it usually boasts awesome weather to boot. While I wish I could say this journey has been all smiles and no frowns, I would be lying. I recall that in one of my resolutions from last year I stated that I felt God might have some intentions that were not on my radar and He did.
Enter Life Lesson #1: For reasons beyond my understanding at that time, God deemed it necessary that I get clean and sober and stay that way. After taking a couple of classes with Mastin Kipp (you can find him over at The Daily Love) I came to realize that my lack of sobriety was the one thing keeping everything from falling into place. It became clear to me that God was holding the key to my being able to stay in LA and that the only way He would hand over that key was if I handed Him my alcohol – something I wasn’t willing to do, but under the circumstances I had no choice. As the fog cleared and I started feeling feelings I’d never really felt before ( aka loneliness) I stumbled upon …
Life Lesson #2: I found my Creator and Sustainer and He wasn’t mad at me nor did He want to punish me; quite the contrary, He wanted to love me and prepare me for the gifts He still plans on giving me. As I continued on my sober journey and took a second class with Mastin, I came to realize…
Life Lesson #3 … that my fear of not being good enough is the root to every problem I have, including the alcohol. I learned that I continually sabotage myself by subconsciously seeking out people, places and things that reinforce my status of “fuck-up” or “black sheep” or “not good enough”. I learned that I have continually put myself in situations where I either didn’t have a chance to shine or never could shine so that I could keep my comfort status. I apparently decided that I’d rather amount to nothing and never achieve anything than face the fear of finding out if I am indeed good enough for myself, my family, my friends, much less a good man and the lovely masses.
So for 2013 I only have one resolution and that is to reinforce the positive in my life, which in turn allows me to face my fear of not being good enough on every level possible. This means putting myself in situations where I have responsibility so I can start changing that comfort status of mine. God, being several steps ahead, already has things set in motion. I have a new job where I am learning how to handle studio assets and accounts, a volunteer position where I am learning how to handle the media portion of a church service and an internship where I will be handling a live show or two come spring. I am also reinstating my writer status and have three projects to kick me off. Reinforcing the positive also entails spending time with quality people that have good hearts and good minds and are supportive in nature and you know actually give more than a flying hoot when it comes to my world.
Happiness does indeed sometimes hit like a freight train, especially for those like myself who fear anything that is actually good for us. I define happiness as a change that you don’t want or fear because you don’t realize that it sets the stage for all the things you want to come into your life. For me, sobriety hit me like a freight train. I hated it. It turned my comfy, miserable world upside down and made me realize what was actually keeping me in a deadly holding pattern. It also set the stage for me to uproot my greatest fear from my life and thereby make it possible for all the things I have secretly wished for to finally make an appearance in my life. So as we start this New Year, my only question for you is what is your freight train? What change do you need to make? I cannot promise it will be an easy ride, but I can promise it will most definitely be worth it.
Once a tissue box, now a prayer box.
They say that Jesus loves you. What about me? - Jewel
Oh, the T-word… I spoke about it last month, but it is has been a serious struggle for me this month. Yes, the word I am referring to is TRUST. I have to say that I have been in and out of church my entire life, but I don’t think I ever grasped the real, everyday concept of trusting God. I guess in a way, I have always had other people to rely on in the event I got myself in any sort of physical or financial strain, whereas, now I do not. While it is important to trust God for a roof over my head rather than a park bench, which is a reality that is extremely too close for comfort at this moment in time, my main concern is my seemingly inability to trust that God really does love me.
A Christian man at one of the meetings I attend always asks me why I’m having such a problem because as a Christian the twelve steps should come easy to me. This made me think about the things I easily trust God with versus the things I have a hard time handing over to Him and leaving in His care. What I found is the things I have absolutely nothing to do with are easy to hand over, but the things that I play a part in are the things I keep taking back. As it turns out, I have a serious trust problem. I mean the Bible doesn’t say our works makes us righteous; it says our TRUST makes us righteous. Never mind the fact that my inability to trust states that I have more control than my Creator and Sustainer. I mean come on! Yes, the choices I make and the actions I take do have consequences, but if I am honestly doing the best that I can and seeking God’s will daily, does God not honor that effort and add His touch to the situation? Did I not write about this last month?
I guess I should add that I am having a problem seeing myself as a person of worth and value which is why I am having a hard time grasping the reality of God’s love for me. All of my self-sabotaging ways are a result of this deep inner feeling that somehow, some way I’m just not good enough, but God has an entirely different view. God created me to be a blessing and not a curse. He created me for a specific purpose and has a specific plan for the contributions I will make to this world. I’ve been trying to force myself into agreement with God’s view of myself and getting absolutely nowhere except for Discouragementville. Then I heard God whisper that I am trying to make a leap where I need not make one. All I need to do is be willing to accept that what He says about me is true. If I am willing to accept that what He says about me is true then I can be willing to act like what He says about me is true and as I act like what He says about me is true I will eventually become His truth. I will become all that He says I am. I just have to be willing to accept His truth, which allows me to act on His truth, which will at some point down the road make me His truth. AWESOME.
I’ve started praying the following prayer each morning: Lord, help me to trust You. To believe that you really do love me and to know that what You send me is good. Because sometimes the best presents arrive in the ugliest wrapping paper.
“There comes a moment when you have to stop revving up the car and shove it into gear.” – David Mahoney.
Anyone remember that video you saw in biology class? You know the one where a jaguar has two little cubs and the male cub is very active while the female cub is timid and refuses to do anything but hide? Well, for some reason I have always identified myself with that female cub. In the video this female cub’s fear causes her to refrain from activities that would teach her to survive resulting in her becoming someone else’s dinner. From the moment I saw this documentary something inside of me said, “That’s me. And that’s what’s going to happen to me.” Why, I haven’t the slightest idea. There is no proof to back up such a thought, but nonetheless, I have believed and acted upon that very thought for quite some many years.
I am now in the process of taking back my God given power. I think I’ve been afraid to make mistakes. Someone I once looked up to spoke about how if we get off our divine paths we would miss the blessings of God. While I think this person probably meant well, I took what they said and allowed it to create a state of fear in me and just like that female cub I chose to simply not. I’ve never had the privilege of being one of those lovely people who practically came out of the womb knowing exactly what they wanted to do with their lives and my timid personality did nothing but prolong the ugly situation. As life would have it I have gotten a well-rounded idea of what I do not like and what I do not want to do with my life by refraining to do and just be. So now I am starting over at the about to be lovely age of thirty-two. Am I scared? Yes. Do I care? Not really. If I want to design a new life for myself and go after my own God given dreams I cannot stay in my current city, as it does not meet my needs. And I have to admit that the prospect of just picking up and moving across the country in the middle of a not so great economy does not sit too well with eighty percent of my being. The other twenty percent, however, is one hundred percent on board with the notion.
This whole scenario has me thinking about Abraham and Isaac. I mean if I’m this uncomfortable with the simple notion of moving across the country without a secured job, how much more freaked out was Abraham to take his son up to that alter! Thankfully, for Abraham and Isaac, God only wanted to see the extent of Abraham’s loyalty and never actually intended on making Abraham perform such a sacrifice. That’s pretty much the scenario I’ve been hoping for… However, there are times when God does want us to step out of our comfort zone and do something that we might have zero comfort in doing. But if God does require us to step out of our comfort zone or go through something unpleasant we can be sure He has a reason for asking us to do so. I have found that God usually uses such experiences to teach us something about ourselves, about Him or both.
Take the very well known tale by the name of Alice in Wonderland, for example. Alice struggled with doing what everyone told her she ought to do versus living life by her own rule book and following her heart. During her trip to Wonderland she yet again gets confronted with everyone trying to tell her who she is and what she is supposed to do only this time she was being told things she couldn’t begin to believe about herself or her own ability and it was not until she remembered who her father was that she realized who she really was and finally harnessed her own power. Drawing a parallel between Alice in Wonderland and God might seem a bit odd, but just like Alice, once you and I realize just who our spiritual Father is, we will recognize that we too have the power to make our own God-given dreams a reality.
Will there be fear? Yes, but one thing I’ve learned you can always count on is this: God will either provide the way or walk with you hand in hand the entire way through. So, if you, like myself, are about to embark on a journey that you know you must make, but feel a bit overwhelmed concerning those darn what-if thoughts… Well, take heart. God has a plan to either supernaturally supply what you need like He did for Abraham or He will walk beside you the entire way while imparting His wisdom to boot. Either way, if you keep close to God and keep moving forward you will reach your destination and come into your own destiny and I know I will too.