Monday, November 21, 2022

A New Day


Good morning my friends.

Today is not a good day mentally for me, so I will try and keep this a bit more inspirational and positive for all.

Life is always about ups and downs, and I guess today is just my down day.  Hoping that changes as the day goes on.

I came across the verse above doing one of my Bible studies this morning, and I thought, "How appropriate."

That's sort of been the story of my life the last ten days.  I thought I'd be overpowered, but one came along and then another and then still more.  My "cord of three" was not "quickly broken."

I still have my moments, like this morning.  A little down in the dumps, as the devil has his way with me and my mind wonders.  I'm trying to gain (or regain) composure to accomplish a few things while I have this "empty" day in front of me.

But God has reminded me this morning, by private messages from friends and text messages from family, that those surrounding me are fighting battles far greater and significant than mine.  A wife that has lost her husband; a husband who is fighting for his life; a daughter separated from her sick Mother by an abusive Father; a sick family member; and the list goes on.

Humbled by my own cord of three strands, but I can't be focused on me.  There are others that need me to focus on them.  God will heal my heart and restoration will come either from outside or from within.  I've spent too much time this morning letting evil overtake my mind.

And with that, let me shift gears for a second.  A sweet neighbor friend of mine shared a new Bible study with me called, "Carving out Quiet."  If you know me intimately and not as the loud and often big-mouthed Italian, you know I am an introvert.  I shared this post on fb, but then I removed it.  Figured it was all better said here than there.  Not many people grace this blog, so I feel it is a safer place rather than littering my social media feed with my ramblings.  😀

I struggle with what some might called low-grade anxiety.  I work in a nontraditional high school, and many of our students are HIGH-anxiety.  I don't possess anything like they do, but I do have some tendencies of anxiety that will cripple me if played out just right.

I've always had them.  I was a shy child, born to an extrovert Father.  It wreaked havoc on our relationship.  My Mother, on the other hand, was an extreme introvert, and it ruined their marriage.  I've tried hard to work on it and hide it.  I do pretty well with it I think - but like I just said, sometimes, if all the factors combine just right, it cripples me.  Here's the perfect example...

Rewind to about two weeks ago.  I was scheduled to attend my Partner's high school reunion.  He very specifically asked me if I wanted to go.  I said yes.  How could I not go?  What would it look like to all my friends and family if I didn't go and support him?  In my mind, they would all ask these questions and they would all go to support their own spouses and/or partners.  I also thought about how wonderfully supportive my own Partner had been throughout our relationship, and how could I not return that favor?  (To be fair, my Partner is an extreme extrovert, like my Father.  A personality I don't really understand or can transform into easily.)  So, I said yes.  I'd go to his high school reunion.

Fast forward to the day of the reunion.  I had no idea where it was, how many people were going to be there, or at what time it was.  Only the day.  And on that specific weekend, I ended up being under a lot of pressure for travel quote deadlines - one being my nephew's honeymoon - and he was texting me trying to find out what I had for him and his fiancée.  I was feeling a lot of pressure and sinking fast.

In my head, my memories were swirling back to my own high school reunion (the last one I attended) where there were 100s of people.  I remembered my spouse, at the time, standing in a corner or sitting off behind me as I laughed and talked with old friends he didn't know.  I absolutely cringe now when I see those pictures or look back.  I was so young, and I had zero empathy for him and that feeling.  Who was I?  Why did I do that?  Thank goodness for change, but I am so disappointed and embarrassed by my old self and what I did to him.

I took those feelings and those memories and put it on my Partner's high school reunion I needed to attend that weekend.  My reunion was just one class; his was going to be THREE!  My mind starting sinking, "I can't do it.  I can't do it.  I have so much pressure on me from Clients waiting on me; I won't know anyone; I will be by myself in a corner or 'fake laughing' to all their old stories."  So, I kept sinking until I sank.  I sent my Partner the money he paid for my ticket and a quick text saying I couldn't do it.  I just couldn't do people that weekend.

When you have anxiety, of any level, it is so much easier to just shrink back, lock yourself away into quiet, calm down, and regroup - regain the control your body and mind require to stay "in one piece." Forcing yourself into the situation you're dreading seems like a death sentence, even though you might arrive at your destination with the fear and anxiety melting away.

If you don't have anxiety on any kind of level, you will never understand these kind of stories or the weight they carry.  If you are an extrovert going head strong directly into every unknown, you can't know the feeling.  I'm not here to decide what is right and what is wrong.  I am just here to document and share the journey.

In that vein - I am sharing the Bible study my sweet neighbor sent me.  If you are interested in the Bible study, "Carving out the Quiet," click here.

I received my first Bible study email, and I love this paragraph it.  It resonates with me, and I feel like there is healing.  Healing in transparency, healing in admitting you fail and sometimes fall, and hope for climbing up those ladders and right out of your valley:

"Can I tell you something right up front? I'm an introvert, and because of that, one of my biggest challenges is the noise level in my home. I highly value my people, but I also highly value peace and quiet. It took me years to realize that introverts aren’t being selfish when they say they need time alone, time to just be quiet. Our personalities demand it. Actually, I think it’s safe to say our bodies themselves demand it. If I go too long in “on” mode I’ll start to develop a headache. It’s like my body—my very physical, biological, and spiritual makeup—starts to shut down and force me to get away."

Sound like you?  Do you need the quietness sometimes?  Do you put a high value on it?  Are you viewed as selfish?  If so, then maybe you too will resonate with this short Bible study, and maybe it will be a kickstart to healing and transparency for your life as well.

I've learned over the past ten days to be transparent with my "introvertness." I've learned we all can be mean and selfish, and while God implores us to work hard on those things in our character, we must also embrace that sometimes, those qualities can be misinterpreted.

Today, I am struggling.  Struggling with all the, "What ifs..." but I know there is hope for me and for all of us.  I can work on my shortcomings, but I can also understand how God made me and work on and embrace that as well.

It's the first day of Thanksgiving week my friends.  Pray for those coming into your path that need prayer - those that are sick; those that are mourning; and those that have loss of all kinds in their midst.  This world is going to be hard.  Things will not get easy until we hit the gates of Glory.  But, thankfully, we have a God that is so much bigger than all the hard things we face.

Together, our strands will not be broken.  It's Biblical!  Get those ropes out, join your strands together, and move forward in strength and unity!  Happy Monday my friends!

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