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No More Lying

I lied quite a few times today. I lied to myself, to my family, to Lynn. And it wasn’t until the very end of the day that I realized I was doing it. But the more that I think about it, that’s how I always am. That’s what I always do.

I kept telling everyone that I had done nothing all day. That my morning and afternoon were completely wasted. But the reality was that I had done so much! I woke up early. I made myself a big breakfast, because I love breakfast and I’m currently obsessed with breakfast potatoes. Then I did a load of laundry. I spent the next hour vacuuming the whole house and every nook and cranny in my room. And since I was already on a cleaning binge, I wiped down the stovetops and scrubbed the gunk out of the microwave. I cleared out the pantry of old cookies, I organized the spice shelf, I took out the trash and recycling. And this was all before 2 PM.

But I kept telling everyone that I had done nothing all day.

I knew that the fact that I even took the vacuum out of the closet was a big deal, but I kept invalidating that as something of worth. I do that a lot. More frequently than I should. I have a conception of what is worthy and valuable and special, and when things don’t fit into that box, I often don’t give myself credit even though I deserve it.

My brain is so hyper-focused on what I’ve led myself to believe is important versus not important. So much so that I even let myself believe I was unimportant. That because I hadn’t accomplished certain things I felt like I needed to or because I hadn’t won the approval of people I thought I needed approval from, that I was invisible. And for so long I believed that lie because I kept telling myself that my worth is defined by other people’s perception of me.

And even as I write this I know it’s completely absurd. I thought I shattered that mindset already. I thought I had gone through this before and overcame that obstacle. But it turns out that old habits die hard.

But I’m really trying to be better this time.

I’m trying to open up my eyes to see the world around me. To see that God is working in so many different areas and in so many different ways. That even if He isn’t working in this one area in this one way I would like him to, that it doesn’t mean He’s forgotten me or is ignoring me.

I’m trying to validate the things that I’ve done and the importance I hold. To know through and through that I am worthy and valuable and special regardless of what other people think of me. That I am a person people want in their life.

Little by little I want to be less focused on the one thing, but instead see all the little things that add up to how great things really are. Because in the grander scheme of life, I don’t think my life is all that bad. I know that God is working out all things for my good. All things. Not just the things I think need to be worked out.

0 In Hawaii/ Uncategorized

I’m Better Prepared This Time

I didn’t hear this one from God. I heard it from myself. I said it to myself, so that maybe, just maybe, I’d actually believe it.

I’m better prepared this time.

We were out on the playground when Heather called me over and asked if I had heard. Heard what? She was telling me that she was watching a live stream with Shannon where the mayor was announcing a two-week lockdown to go into effect later this week. Lockdown, again. Everything closed. Stay at home.

My mind instantly started racing.

I can’t. That’s what ruined me the first time. The isolation, the social distancing, the staying at home. All of it was what threw me into a wave of depression. I was so lonely. I had felt so empty. Absolutely nothing made sense during those months of staying at home, and I was immediately terrified that soon I would have to do it all over again.

Because “alone” is not my strong suit. It wasn’t until the age of 20- when I moved to Hawaii- that I had my own room all to myself. And while I love it now and couldn’t imagine sharing a room with anyone else, it just furthers the fact that my whole life- or most of it anyways- was spent in the presence of someone else. I’ve always had someone else.

So to be forced to stay at home. To be forced not to come into work. To be forced to not go to church. To have everything stripped away from me, ruined me. That’s why my heart dropped at the thought of having to endure that all over again. It was bad enough the first time, but to have to do it a second time would reopen a wound that I’m not sure is fully healed.

I was falling down a rabbit hole. Worrying about my life being pulled out from under me a second time. Until I realized that I really am better prepared this time.

One more time. Just for myself.

I am better prepared this time.

Because the first time I was always living on edge- waiting day by day to see what change would happen next. I couldn’t anticipate what was going to come next, because it was all unknown. But this time around, it’s just two weeks. And even if it goes beyond two weeks, I know that it won’t go on forever.

The first time around I also lost everything that was important and familiar to me. My daily routine, my friends, and my social interactions- all gone. But now I’ve built new foundations. Foundations that don’t require anything or anyone else besides myself, my body, and my own mind. These are the daily habits that have led me to become the best version of myself. The version I truly believe God wanted for me all along, but I was too busy being everything for anyone else.

Now I know what I need. Whereas before I only knew what was right or felt good in that moment. The things I need to be doing are the things that will keep me firmly on the ground even though everything seems like its crumbling and spiraling all around me. The things I need will prepare me to fight this battle and come out on the other side unscathed.

I can do it this time.

I’m better prepared this time.

0 In Hawaii/ Uncategorized

It’s Not If, It’s When

My boss has told us this over and over and over again. At least once every staff meeting she brings it up and it’s her go to phrase. I think to some extent it’s meant to console us, but sometimes it just leaves me feeling more anxious and afraid. Still, I know she means the best when she tells us.

It’s not if, it’s when.

Because ladies and gentlemen, COVID is not going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, it’s just getting worse and worse. And when you run a preschool and are constantly around little humans putting their hands in their mouth and then touching you and touching everything around you, it’s not if we get a positive COVID case, it’s when we get a positive COVID case.

We are foolish if we believe that our preschool bubble will not be touched by COVID. Eventually, someone we know- someone in our bubble- will be affected. And our hearts wait on edge for that day to come. I know my anxious paranoia leads me to washing my hands at a minimum of 20 times a day. But the reality is that one day it will hit us. We can’t avoid it.

So, when it comes, will we be prepared? Will we know what steps to take? Will we know what procedures need to be in place? Will we be ready to tackle the next scary steps?

That’s what my boss said in our last-minute Zoom call meeting in regards to COVID, but in that split second that’s also what God said to me about my promise.

It’s not if God will grant me the desires of my heart, it’s when.

When it’s time, will I be prepared? Will I know what steps to take? Will I know what disciplines need to be in place? Will I be ready to take on what God is calling me to?

I know that God hears me. I know that He’s paying attention to the things that matter most to me. So it leads me to believe that He has a promise in store for me. A promise that not only meets and exceeds the desires of my heart, but a promise that only He can put together. That no matter how much manipulating and scheming and weaseling I do, I can’t make it happen. At least not in the same, amazing way that God can.

So in my waiting- the thing I hate doing the most- I can remind myself that it’s not if, it’s when. That my waiting won’t go to waste. It’s not a useless season. Rather it’s a time for me to get prepared before God completely changes my world. Because when it happens- when the promise is no longer a dream but real life- I want to be ready.

I want to be firmly planted in God’s truth. I don’t want to waver back and forth between the desires that this world has accustomed me to achieving and the desires that God has for me in order for me to fulfill my purpose. I know I will because I always do, but I want to be more prepared so I’m not mistepping so frequently. If I practice now and if I position myself adequately enough now, then maybe later I’ll be better equipped to navigate the fallout. That when the inevitable mistakes are made, I’ll know how to quickly turn to God instead of crying out in frustration and confusion. That’s what I want for right now. I want to be ready.

So I guess I just need to keep taking the right steps. Keep walking closer towards God. Keep going in His direction instead of my own. Because it’s not if He’s going to answer my prayers, it’s when He does. And when that time comes, will I be ready?

0 In Hawaii/ Uncategorized

Nothing

I don’t think I heard anything.

It’s not for lack of trying. I listened to worship music on my way to work. I paid attention to any signs or words of wisdom throughout my day. During my evening walk I put my AirPods away and just walked in silence.

But still, nothing.

So instead of writing, I turned to my Bible. I read 2nd Thessalonians, and I dove deeper into that word. Because I didn’t have anything to write about, I could skip that part of my routine and get straight to my Bible reading.

Even when it feels like God is doing nothing, it’s still important to choose Him first.

That is the lesson I’m learning. That’s the lesson I’m getting better at. Truly, I should receive a most improved award for how well I’m doing. Because before, when I felt like God was doing nothing, I put Him at the very bottom of my list. I tucked Him away, shoved Him in the closet, and just let myself forget that He was even there.

But not now. Not again.

I know better, but really it’s because I refuse to feel that pain again. I still get upset and confused and angry. I still feel like yelling at God and getting mad. But now I know that won’t work. Now I know the battle isn’t worth the energy, because I’ll always lose in the end.

So I’m getting better at choosing God first- even when I feel like God is doing nothing. It’s becoming more of a natural first response rather than a last resort consequence.

And it’s making life so much easier.

Rather than fight and argue with God, I surrender and agree to go along for the ride. And God has not let me down. He’s showing me that incredible things are happening in my life if I just look around. Same goes for the things that are happening to my mind, body, and soul. Incredible things are happening if I just open myself up to God’s transformation.

And it didn’t require much. I just had to choose God first.

0 In Hawaii/ Uncategorized

Who You Say I Am

I heard this one. But then I ignored it. I tucked it away, hoping that I wouldn’t have to face it or think about it.

But now it’s time for me to think about it. Literally, as I write these words, it’s time to think about it.

Who do I say God is?

This one is straight from Sunday’s sermon. There was no digging or reflecting or waiting required. It was shot at me straight from Pastor Rob’s mouth.

Who do I say God is?

If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said God is distant. I would have said that God is far, far away, and although He might hear you, He definitely doesn’t listen to you. I would have explained how God set me up for failure and how God wasn’t working for my good. Ultimately, I would have gone on and on and on about how God left me.

But not anymore. Thank goodness not anymore.

It has taken some battling. It has taken tears and questions and more tears. I have prayed. I have sought counsel from friends, family, and professionals. I have listened. And through it all, I know now that God is not distant. He was never trying to be distant. I was just too busy listening to all the wrong voices to realize that God was trying to speak over me.

And while there were many voices telling me something that didn’t end up to be true, there was also one voice much louder than the rest. It was a voice that kept screaming on and on about pain and suffering. It was a voice that kept driving a wedge between me and my relationship with God. And for some reason, this voice kept fighting against what I knew to be true in my head.

It was my voice.

It was me.

I kept telling myself that God didn’t care. Rather than move on and focus on getting better with God, I allowed myself to be angry and bitter and resentful. Which if you know me, is not me at all. My voice kept repeating the expectations I had in my head, and it came to the conclusion that if these expectations didn’t become a reality in my life, then God must not care. So for a very long time, I kept listening and I kept believing that God simply did not care.

And all that gave me was nothing.

I gained nothing from listening to the voice of hurt, and I so desperately wanting something. I wanted anything that could spark life in me again. So I finally admitted that I was going down the wrong way, and I turned back to the voice of God. And what God told me was that He was always there and that He always cared. Had I not let my voice of expectation get in the way, I would have seen what God was doing.

So if you ask me today who I think God is, I would tell you that He is working for my good because He cares. In every facet of my life, He is working. I might hyper focus on the area of relationships and conclude that because I am still single as ever that God is not working in my life, but that’s simply not true. Because when I zoom the lens out, I see that God is working everything out so that when the time is right all the pieces fit together. He’s doing so much more than I could ever understand.

Because…

God is good. God loves me more than I can ever imagine. God is doing a good work in me, and I will see it to completion. God hears my cries, and He is doing everything He can to bring me peace and comfort. God knows the desires of my heart, and He wants me to have them. God will exceed even my wildest expectations. God is with me every second of every day. God will never leave my side. God cares about my life.