Thursday, January 31, 2013

Reversing Autopilot

At least I know when to throw in the towel. The depression blog wasn't going too well, so I just merged it with this one. It all seemed to relate anyway...my screwed up existence. That's what it feels like sometimes. I'm just OTF - Out There Flapping

That being said, there have been several changes I've wanted to make in my life recently:

~Lose weight/Stop being "hungry" (and no more eating when I'm not)

~Exercise/be more active during the day

~Read my Bible more/consistently

~Write everyday

~Stop being depressed

This last one is a biggie for me. I keep trying to stop the sadness, to get better





Always...


With my futile attempts to get better comes the realization that I am indeed worse. Worse than what? Someone without depression. Someone with depression. Maybe just worse. Well, to be fair...I really wasn't that great a year ago. I don't understand how I could have been stable for all these years and suddenly I'm not anymore. It feels like an excuse to say that the meds aren't working anymore. I'm just doing a crappy job dealing with life situations properly. What is wrong with me?





Isn't this the truth! Most of the time, I really don't. Even though I was diagnosed with it almost 18 years ago, I still don't have a firm grasp on what this depression is doing to me. Why it feels so different. Sometimes I feel like a freak. Like I'm on "The Truman Show", only this is no movie. There's no escape from the thoughts in my head. And these thoughts bother me...make me angry. Who gets angry over dumb stuff like not liking a movie (i.e. Twilight)?

Anyway...

The whole reason for me getting into this is because of a devotional email I got today about trying to change things on my own. Simply put, without God's help, none of the stuff on my to-do list (above) will ever get done. Especially when I'm trying to force a change...which is what I do.

"I just won't eat when I feel hungry."
"I'll make myself walk more."
"I WILL get this chapter written today."

Of course, none of that ends up happening because it feels wrong...then there's anger. All because I'm trying to reverse my autopilot (the part of me the cruising along with minimal effort) by myself.

It's not always easy, but asking God for the strength and will to change has to be the first part of the change. The rest will fall into place as long as it lines up with His will .

Monday, January 28, 2013

Nowhere But Up

I just finished reading Nowhere But Up by Pattie Mallette, who just happens to be Justin Bieber's mom. I'm a little too old to be obsessed to the point of fainting and crying hysterically when he's mentioned, but the kid's got talent...REAL talent.

I had the amazing opportunity to meet Pattie when I went to the Women of Faith conference in Orlando last year. I also got a free, autographed book, that was free...I love free! After she spoke, I was interested in her book, but had already spent WAAAAAAAAAYYYYY over my limit and couldn't afford anything else. I never really thought of it before now, but God blessed me...not only with a free book and a chance to meet someone famous (which most of the world knows since I bragged about it on facebook as well as to everyone I know...more than once), but with truths I needed to hear and things I need to face. And as yucky and un-fun as that sounds, I know I won't truly feel better until I do. Which is why I feel that my blog is the best place to be...well...real.

I think the one thing I was always afraid of is being honest with God...laying it all out there. I don't know why...He knows it all already. Not like it's a big surprise to him. As Pattie was talking about her struggles and how she came to find God, I noticed a lot of similarities between her and I. With a few differences sprinkled in for good measure.

To start, I was raised a Catholic...went to Catholic school, church on Sunday, sang in the choir (God help us all!). I'm not exactly sure what my parents believed and I can't ask them (but, man, what I would give to be able to), but I believed in God...and a little too much in sin. Everything I did 'wrong' was a sin, and I was going to hell...not kneeling when I pray, coughing during church, resting my butt on the pew behind me when kneeling at church. After actually typing all that out, I can now see where my being so anal stemmed from. To me, religion was legalistic...not a relationship...not love.

I went on this way pretty much through the end of high school, and in college, I realized that I didn't have to go to church every week, so I didn't. In grad school, I started to really question and figure out who God is...and whether I wanted him in my life.

That was a very abbreviated testimony because the important stuff (relating to the book) comes more recently, but I wanted to give a short background. Anyway, when I got saved in 2002 (sometimes I wonder whether I really am), there was no big hoopla...no ta-da...I wasn't "on fire" (I don't think I've ever been). In fact, I think I enjoyed the attention I received from friends more than anything. But one thing was different: God was back on my radar. I learned that He was more than just some hot-shot in the sky (hopefully I won't be struck down while writing this), but He actually wanted to know about me, cared about me. Here's where the honesty kicks in. I'm not sure I believe that. I mean really believe it...not just know it in my head. I believe that it's true for others...

The one thing I want more than anything is to be married (well, okay...have one date -- yes, embarrassing tidbit -- I've never been out on a date...never been kissed). The way I write it off in my mind is that God is so busy giving others picture-perfect lives, there's nothing left for me. Then guilt sets in:

You're not a true Christian

...not praying hard enough, not reading the Bible like you should, still listening to secular music, have no faith...

God doesn't want this for you...if He did, you wouldn't be disabled. You'd be more attractive. You wouldn't be a loser in her mid-thirties who sits around all day writing about teenagers who have the chances you will never have

I promise you, this is not a pity party...in fact the LAST thing I want is for someone to feel sorry for me. We all have our crosses to bear and I'm so not excluded from that. So please, don't feel sorry for me. And the first "Awww...you poor thing. You are beautiful. God loves you. I'll pray for you" I hear will be knocked through the window.

No, I don't want pity...I just want to be able to say how I feel sometimes. I feel like God isn't listening, He doesn't care, I'm not doing enough to reach Him, He's upset because I don't read my Bible everyday, He's mad that I don't trust Him, mad because I don't know if I truly love Him, mad that I haven't won any souls over...the list can go on and on. And usually does in my head.

One thing Pattie said when she was talking about her move from Canada to Atlanta at the start of Justin's career is that she missed home so much at times, it physically hurt...that's me. I'm a lot...A LOT...better than I was at this time last year, but I still get teary and wistful...it doesn't seem fair that I had to be completely uprooted and give up all my friends while he gets to stay there, nice and comfy and not have to change a damn thing!

It's been a year and this still hasn't gone away! I'm depressed, anxious, moody and tired of dealing with these feelings. Some days, I feel like I should have just stayed in "that" part of the hospital and some days, I really want to go back there. It's these times when I feel like God is off giving someone I went to high school with another baby to make their already perfect family even more beautiful.

Even I'll admit, that now it really sounds like I want pity, but I really don't. And in my head, I know that this is all satan and I shouldn't be led by my feelings anyway, but you know what? I don't want to hear it! I want to be mad and pissy...not because I have a right to or deserve it (I don't deserve diddly squat at this point) but because I am mad. I am pissy.

Though my words suggest otherwise, I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it to everyone

Monday, January 21, 2013

Forgiveness


Are you "tortured" by an unforgiving spirit? Ephesians 4:32 has the answer: Meditate on Christ's forgiveness. There is no better way to cultivate your own.
In my email today was a devotion about forgiveness. This last line hit me hard. I never thought I had an issue with unforgiveness, but I suppose I do. Yes, there is a person I need to forgive; but more importantly is forgiving myself. Especially for things that aren't my fault.

I think that if I offend or anger someone, I need to make up for it...specifically by buying something. It's the only way that I feel I am worth something...spending my money to buy people things...food, music, movie tickets, etc. I can't fathom that I have something to offer besides money.

But that won't work on myself. I'd rather be mad at myself than other people because I can control it and "pay for what I did wrong."  It's easier to torture myself and be mad at me rather than others because I feel guilty for being mad at others in my life. Deeper than that, the other person probably doesn't care if I'm angry, hurt, or offended because of them. That knowledge often hurts more than the anger I started with. And I can't "buy" my own forgiveness. I deserve to be tortured.

That sounds like unforgiveness to me. Do I think I know more than God? Meaning...He forgave me (the Almighty Creator; King of the world), but I think I'm not worthy. That puts it in perspective. I never want to assume I know better than God, but I am assuming just that.

I need to forgive myself...easier said than done though.

Today I will remember that my failure to forgive myself is a prideful choice to not receive your grace.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Goodbye, 2012!

Time really flew by. Usually after I blog, I get revved up and can't wait to do it again. This time, not so much. I just couldn't get into the flow of it. Possibly because I didn't want to write about things and rehash all those memories in my mind. Writing forces me to think...really think things through, and I was getting to the point that I just wanted to forget...I didn't want to be sad anymore.

I'm moving on...I'm happy to be where I am. Mostly. Every once in awhile, fragments of the times I had in LOL and Tampa poke through and the sadness threatens to swallow me whole. It's in these times that I wonder: where is God? Why am I devastated, on the brink of inconsolable, while he has moved on with no problem? Even thinking about it now makes me well up. I often feel that God is not doing anything and praying is not worth it.

I opened up the Bible Verses folder in my email box, and this is what I got:

Hebrews 10:35-36

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

Persevering gets tiring; especially when I don't see a result. People (other Christians) say that God often works "behind the scenes" and we rarely see it. I guess that's where faith comes in; believing that God is working even when we don't see it. Maybe in 2013, I need to set a resolution to display more faith. And not just say it...but really believe it.

I think starting a new tradition in this blog might help...or give me something to write about anyway. Last year, I signed up for goodreads.com shortly before I got my kindle and I consequently developed an interest in reading. (Better late than never, huh?) It would be cool for me to review the books I've read and talk about what I am reading. Thanks to inspiredreads.com (throwing websites at you today), I have over 100 books on my kindle that I haven't had to pay for. Everyday, Inspired Reads offers great Christian fiction and non-fiction for the kindle that is FREE.

I actually paid for this book, but it's the first book I finished this year.

Kiss by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy

Description (from Goodreads.com):


Let me tell you all I know for sure. My name. Shauna.

I woke up in a hospital bed missing six months of my memory. In the room was my loving boyfriend - how could I have forgotten him? - my uncle and my abusive stepmother. Everyone blames me for the tragic car accident that left me near death and my dear brother brain damaged. But what they say can't be true - can it?

I believe the medicine is doing strange things to my memory. I'm unsure who I can trust and who I should run from. And I'm starting to remember things I've never known. Things not about me. I think I'm going crazy.

And even worse, I think they want to kill me.

But who? And for what? Is dying for the truth really better than living with a lie?
 
This book was completely different from what I expected. That's not always a bad thing, right? In this case, it's most definitely not. Dekker weaves a story of conspiracy, intrigue, and suspense. It's difficult to know who to trust and "first" impressions are not what they seem.
  
Starting off, I automatically feel for Shauna (main female character), as she has no idea where she is and while trying to get answers, her credibility is ruined by Patrice (her stepmother). From there, we are taken on a ride with Shauna and her "boyfriend" Wayne to find her missing memories. She finds that she can steal memories from others by close physical contact and a willing spirit. Shauna's journey leads her to unravel a conspiracy reaching all the way to her father, Landon, a senator.
 
I give this book 4 stars. I didn't quite get all the nuances...but I got enough to understand the "mystery"