Tag Archives: alone

Turtle Like Tendencies

7 Jan

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the old adage, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  I get the heart of this message and agree with it, truly this world does not need another voice joining the chorus of negativity, whining, complaining or insult throwing.  Beyond that, I try to be a person that if I am speaking I am hoping it is to add to the equation and not subtract. 

A couple of months of dealing with serious family health struggles left me physically and emotionally tired, dealing with my own feelings of shame for failing at making desired progress in my life, for not being able to do everything well, add in my own physical crisis and all the issues that can make one consider left me in a place that I’d been before, back in my shell.  It’s dark and lonely there and deceptively “safe”.

What happens when life overwhelms and you’re trying to survive and feel a bit like an empty shell hoping that if you keep hanging on, the winds will shift and you’ll be able to sail again?  I can tell you what happens to me.  I don’t want to but I will.  I follow my inclination to become turtle like, I tuck inside my shell.  Radio silence. 

I mean, what is there to say?  What do I have to offer at this juncture?  Nothing you probably want.  So I go with my propensity for solitary confinement.  There’s nothing cute to talk about and I’m out of wise tips and quips so I’m quiet.  No need to meet up for coffee, I’m not good company these days.  I even stop writing so I don’t have to deal with my own internal conversations.  It’s rough when you annoy yourself!

Maybe, I’m the only one that follows this custom, but I kinda doubt it.  It seems there is likely to be a few who will read this and admit at least to themselves that they go with the train of thought that “I’ll get through this on my own”, “No one’s knocking down my door anyway”, “If they really knew what was going on with me, I’d be even more alone”, “I don’t want to be a pain or a drain”….on and on, it’s easy to believe lies when you’ve pushed anyone away who could speak truth.

My shell-like tendencies that I have often struggled with have not served me or others well.  They ensure that I stay in the pain and shame.  They cut me off from life and whisper the same old sad song. 

I want to be the kind of person who can listen to others when it’s not convenient or fun.  I want to be a person who talks with Jesus even when I don’t feel like He is answering because I hold tightly to the truth that He is for me even when my faith is faltering.  I want to be vulnerable enough to say something when it’s not cute or clever.  I want to be humble enough to admit my need and accept help.  I want to be brave enough to speak, even if it makes me feel weak and needy, because truth be told I am.  Truth is we all are. 

I’m peeking out from the shell and don’t want to retreat any longer.  If I cling to my turtle like tendencies I am fighting against the very way God intended me to operate.  He created you and I to share life, to do life together.  Sorry, but I need you and you need me!  I have recently placed some on purpose accountability in my life in different areas.  I have asked people to check in with me and check up on me.  To knock on the shell and drag me out if necessary. 

I pray that anyone reading this who may also struggle with turtle like tendencies will also choose to stick their neck out and invite others to walk this journey with them.  I’ll admit it, it’s a little scary coming out from under that shell but what is scarier is not living the lives we were meant to live because we are too busy hunkered down trying to survive. 

Be encouraged my friend!

The God Who Sees You

8 Feb

I was sharing with a friend a few months ago that I had really been struggling with feeling alone.  This is not completely off base, as I live alone, therefore I am physically alone, a good amount of time.  However, the feelings I was struggling with ran a bit deeper than this.  It is difficult for me to even explain, but I’ll try.  I think every person desires to be known, to be seen, to have a witness to their life.  It’s simple things, like someone knowing when you leave for work and if you got home late, someone who is around to see that I’m extra tired today or if I’m thinking about something.  It’s something as simple as the feeling I’ve had when I’m traveling for work, arrive at the hotel, check in and realize that no one is dying to know I arrived safely.  Mostly, I wade through these circumstances, try to avoid pity parties and keep moving, but every once and awhile the feelings come and wallop me and well to be honest, I feel downright sad and alone.

It wasn’t long after this conversation with my friend that I was sitting in a workshop and God used the instructor to drop a truth into my spirit.  As I sit here right now, I am not sure how the little nugget she shared related to the subject of the workshop, although I’m certain it did!  All I know is that when she shared it, her words shot straight to this heart.  The instant welling of tears in my eyes were an obvious indicator 🙂  She mentioned a person in the bible not often talked about, Hagar.  The trainer said and Hagar said to the Lord, “You are the God who sees me”.  In that moment, I knew that statement was something I needed to listen to and hold onto and this woman Hagar was someone I needed to investigate a bit further.

I won’t go into the whole tangled web that Hagar was a part of (check out Genesis 16 for more), but the short version is that Hagar was a maid in the household of Abraham and Sarai.  God had given Abraham a promise that he would be the father of countless generations.  There was one big hitch to the plan, at least from Abraham and Sarai’s perspective.  Sarai was unable to conceive, so they came up with a solution and had Hagar be a surrogate.  As one can imagine, especially us ladies, this caused quite a bit of angst in the relationship between Hagar and Sarai.  While there is much that could be said about Abraham and Sarai’s decision to take matters into their own hands instead of trusting God, I want to focus on Hagar.  The relationship with Sarai turned very sour and she ran, she wanted out of her mess.  Pregnant, alone in the middle of a desert.  I imagine she probably felt used and uncared for, I really can’t imagine the pain of her predicament.  It’s at that very moment that an angel sent from God, shows up on the scene to speak to Hagar.  He knew where to find her, he knew the whole sordid mess and he knew what the future would hold.  He gave instruction and promise.  This encounter leads Hagar to exclaim, “You are the God who sees me!”

When I heard those words “You are the God who sees me”, they brought such comfort to my heart.  I do have a witness to my days, to my moments, to my moods, He sees me.  He sees you too.  He sees the struggle, He sees the mess, He sees the quandary, He sees you trying, He sees you!  We may have to walk through some stuff and we may not want to, but He sees us.  We may have to struggle and persevere and we will likely grow weary, but He sees us!  It was in Hagar’s struggle and desperation that she saw God and realized that He saw her.  Maybe it’s in our struggles and our tough circumstances that we just want to run and hide from, that we can finally realize that God sees us and maybe we can learn to see Him a little clearer?  Food for thought and comfort for this girl’s soul.  Be encouraged my friends, He is the God who sees you!

The Christmas Blues

11 Dec

Well, this isn’t the happy little Christmas blog, I had anticipated writing, but it has come to my mind several times already this Christmas season, how melancholy I can sometimes feel during this “most wonderful time of year” and I see it in those around me as well.

I remember growing up going to my Grandma & Grandpa’s house every Christmas Eve, where we would hang out with the family around the very obnoxiously tinseled tree and we would open whatever Grandma had picked out for us that year from the Sears catalog. I don’t know how poppin’ of a party it truly was, but I sure look back on it fondly and even though my grandparents have now been gone for more of my life than I had them here, I still miss them at Christmas and every Christmas Eve feels a little empty.

I’ve been thinking about my Uncle who left us too early and loved to be around all of his family. I remember him sharing his heart in letters with us, I remember crying and laughing together as a family and wish that he could be here with us this year and the heart hurts.

I think of my friend from youth group Bill whose birthday was this past week.  He was such a pillar to so many people especially his family and left us far to soon after battling cancer.

We all have stories, we all have loss and if we look around long enough we can see more heartache and sadness than we care to, but there is something about the Christmas Season and the traditions and nostalgia that comes with it that make us long even more to be with those we miss, whether they are still on this earth and we are separated by distance or whether they have left this world and taken a piece of us with them.

You know, it’s ok to feel the loss and to mourn it, a matter of fact it’s important.  However, I would encourage each of you even as you may be dealing with your own sense of sadness or grief to look around and count your blessings, tell those you hold dear that you love them, let them know what they mean to you and reach out to those who are feeling lonely this Christmas.

The truth is…the one whose birth we celebrate at Christmas loves us every day of the year and He will never leave us or forsake us and that means that even when we walk through difficult places, He is there.  We are not alone.

Wishing each of you joy and peace this Christmas!