Complaints about being shy

I am easily terrified while in social situations. Someone I don’t know approaches and I panic. I begin frantically looking for my social butterfly husband who can talk to anyone–literally, anyone–with ease. His ability to ask questions of strangers and his outgoing personality make him a perfect BBQ-goer, party date, awkward situation fixer, new friend, and (thankfully, for me) husband.

So, with our recent life change, moving, lots of moments with strangers have been thrust upon me. Going to a new church always feels painful, but it seems to be especially so when your husband is known by practically everyone. After you’re introduced as wife, the wonderful person you’re meeting says, “Oh my gosh, I have known Eric since (insert moment at least two decades ago)”. And you awkwardly laugh and smile while wracking your brain for something to say.

And then it gets worse.

They smile at you then begin talking to social superstar husband while you’re left to stand there with a dorky smile on your face.

They finally remember that you’re there and ask how you like Washington. You smile and say you’ve really enjoyed your time there so far and that it’s been a great summer. But then your mind goes blank while you desperately try to think up a question to ask said kind person who saw your husband wear diapers.  And it’s not their fault.  They are kind and wonderful, but it can be hard to talk to a blank wall.  (And, yes, I realize that is really self-disparaging, but I don’t really mean for it to be.  I completely understand that I am shy and my awkwardness can make it seem like I’ve got nothing going on behind that face of mine.  I’m really thankful for the people who keep trying and help me hobble past my fears.)

It’s not that I don’t want to be there. I really do. I can’t even begin to describe how three weeks in, we’ve made some friends and have been welcomed so graciously. I just wish my brain would process faster when I was in a social situation. It would make meeting new people so much easier!

Also, exciting news in a blog post to come in the near future…I overcame my fears and made a friend! We even hung out outside of church! Woo hoo!

If nothing else, being shy has helped me to keep my social calendar empty to read books! I’m fully embracing my introvertedness…

Dogs, faithfulness, and other thoughts

This morning was no different than any other morning.  I woke up, stretched my poor broken foot, got out of bed, opened the bedroom door, and saw this:

Every single morning.  This beautiful face is waiting outside my door.  His tail is wagging, his mouth is smiling (talk about projection), and he is overjoyed.  He can barely contain himself.  And all because I opened the door to see him.

 

Eric and I talk a lot about the similarities between the relationship between people and God, and between people and dogs.

A quick example: when we first arrived to live with our in-laws for this season of our lives, the sweet face above was a terror.  He had absolutely no boundaries, meaning he had absolutely no manners.  As Eric and I took on the task of “training” him, we realized that the more self-discipline he had in his life, the more freedoms he gained–something I consider true of our relationships with God.  The more self-discipline we have, the more freedom we have to explore our relationship with God.

 

This morning I was struck with the image of Moses (ironically, often called Lucifer) waiting outside our door.  Just to see us.  How amazing would it be for us to have the excitement to abandon all other pursuits–in Moses’ case: barking at the UPS guy, standing at the front window to see if any neighbor passed by at whom he could bark, trying to steal shoes without anyone noticing; in my case: reading, writing, kayaking, looking for a job, looking for a home–to simply wait outside God’s door just to catch a glimpse of him?  Why don’t we do that?

At the same time, I felt that Moses could also be God in this picture.  I thought of Psalm 9:10 that says: “those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”  How easy is it to open the door and, in the rush of the day starting with things to do and people to see and life to live, just walk past the excited and expectant God/dog?  To simply pass by because there are distractions that need our attention.

 

I’ve found myself recently feeling busier than ever before.  Strange though, that I don’t have a job, I don’t have a masters program to finish, I don’t have anything to do.  But days pass by in a blur or busyness.  And during these “busy” times, I find myself forgetting to take time to seek the faithful God who is bigger than all of my fears/distractions/problems/busyness.

 

 

What do you think?  What would it look like for you to just wait outside the door?  And God/dogs?  The same, right?

Thankful

Tonight was a good night. We recently moved 12 hours north of all my family and most of our friends. I hadn’t realized the toll it had taken on me until tonight.

We went to our friends’ house for dinner. But it wasn’t just for dinner, it was for friendship. For laughter. For playfulness. For God to remind me how much he loves me.

I’ve always thought I was an introvert. Still think I am. But tonight I was reminded that I also need to have (and crave) time with people. People other than my wonderful in-laws and grandparents-in-law. Even people other than my husband. As much as I’ve loved this past five weeks with just the six of us (plus one crazy dog), my soul was craving time with friends.

I’m thankful, for friends, for delicious dinner, for not so delicious dessert, for love, for an opportunity to be reminded of the importance of community.

Sometimes I find myself in a funk. In a cyclical, weird, lonely state of mind that causes me to further isolate myself from people. I hate that about myself, but it’s such a hard habit to break. When I do break it though, when I allow myself to be freed from the insecurities and fears that bind me to home, I see opportunities to grow and change and love. I find new friendships. I am amazed by how God uses other people to show me love.

How do you find yourself hiding from others? When you break free, what do you find? Am I just crazy?

Not “pau” yet

This morning I really struggled at church. The message was on Psalm 73. The pastor spoke dissected it, nearly line by line, as he gave examples of what that would be like nowadays. The “arrogant” are people with fancy cars and jobs and they have big houses and they’re never sick and nothing bad ever happens to them. He spoke of how we can question God, asking why we should follow him if life is so hard for us and we’re good. Why not just live how we want to and disregard God if, apparently, we’ll be blessed that way?

But, it all gets better because those suckers, those arrogant folks, well, “surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.”(Psalm 73:18 NIV)

And while that’s something that I know does happen and I know is just, the pastor’s next words shocked me. He said, multiple times with every example he gave, “well,we know their end now, don’t we?!”

And I was disgusted. I felt sick that he would rejoice over a death or a downfall, even if it was for the wicked or unjust. Don’t they, whoever they are, as God’s people, deserve grace? Don’t they deserve at least the kindness of prayer for their heart?

I had thought all this while listening to him speak of vague examples. Then he said, “well now, how about Tiger Woods? We know his end now, don’t we?”

And I wanted to stand up and shout that it’s not his end! He’s not dead. He still lives and breathes and feels and hurts. Shouldn’t our action be to pray and encourage and love? We should not be rejoicing in his fall and in his brokenness. If we do, where does that leave us?

In a book I read as a teenager I remember the two main characters talking about their friend who had made some bad choices. One character said it was sad that the friend’s life was over now that she was pregnant as a teenager. The other friend corrected her, saying that she was not finished, she was not “pau” (finished in Hawaiian) yet. Her life was far from over. Until she was dead, there was time to love and pray and encourage.

What should our reaction be to an arrogant person’s downfall? Are we arrogant by calling other people arrogant? 🙂

Rude.

Confession: I’m super rude.  I think terrible things about people and I judge them.  I laughed to myself when a kid’s voice cracked a bunch in class today.  Seriously, I’m a jerk.  Ugh.

It’s frustrating and hard, and the worst part (well, maybe not, I’m still figuring this out) was that I was rude to my husband today.  He seems to get the brunt of my ickiness.  Sorry, sweet husband.

I texted my friend and said that I was grouchy (a mild description, as I was really just being bitchy) and she texted back these words:

We’re all rude.  Grace is hard, man.

Ugh, why is grace so hard?  And why are we so terrible to the people who love us most?  I’m torn, because I think it’s awful to be jerks to the people who love us.  But I also think it’s equally as awful to be jerks to the people in the world we don’t know or love.  I definitely don’t show them love.

I watched a video today and I felt like I was going to be physically ill.  I don’t know if I’ve ever had that reaction before.  This man was going off about “God” and I just about barfed on my school-issued laptop (wouldn’t that be fun to explain to the principal?).  I thought terrible things about this man and I wanted to punch him.  I actually felt that, if he were in the room, I would have the desire to physically hurt the guy.  How scary is that?

I was sorely disappointed in myself today for many reasons:

  1. Wanting to punch Mr. Fundamentalist Jerk.
  2. Being frustrated at the bike rack lady from Craigslist that forgot to show up.
  3. Teasing kids in my head as they acted their age.
  4. Getting mad at my husband for something completely out of his control.
  5. Being a judgmental driver.
  6. Praying that God would smack Mr. Fundamentalist Jerk in the face.

What is it with me and OC Supertones’ lyrics?  I still love them dearly.  As I was writing this post, my Pandora station of Five Iron Frenzy began playing the Supertones’ “Jury Duty” and it struck me.

I don’t always thank you for the rough days and
The hard times in my life
Even though I should

What does it look like to thank God for the rough days and the hard times in life?  What does grace look like for daily life?  I wish I were better at that.

Hope was here.

On Wednesday a student in my class was severely embarrassed.  It was a really awkward situation that could only happen in middle school to the shyest girl in the whole class.  It was horrible.

I cried for her that evening and just felt so weighed down by the whole situation.  The worst part, what kept haunting me, was the reaction of her peers.  Giggles, points (really?  I was shocked at this.  I felt like we were being Punk’d.  Who points at an embarrassed student while they’re standing up front, mortified?).

My husband, then the ladies in our small group too, helped me to brainstorm how I would deal with this on Thursday.  I was embarrassed (and let’s be honest here, I’m pretty awkward) and I knew I hadn’t handled it as well as I could have when it happened.  Since they were all laughing and she was in the middle of her presentation, I told the class to be mature and respectful, and I told her to finish sharing.  Not the best way to deal with it, I know.

Anyway, Thursday morning, 3rd period rolled around.  I sat on my stool just watching them and I waited until they were all seated and the bell rang.

I don’t remember what I said, but I know that they were just as uncomfortable as I was.  They watched me with wide eyes, embarrassed that I was talking about internet safety and stranger danger and gossip.  I told them that I was disappointed in their reactions.  That I expected more from them.  They looked guilty and lowered their eyes from my gaze.

I finished.  Told them I hate lecturing.  Sorry.  But did they have any questions or comments?

And then the most beautiful thing happened.

Hands went up.  And 12 year olds redeemed their fellow peer.

“I’m sorry I gossiped about what happened to you.  If it had been me, I would have been so embarrassed.  If I hear anyone talking about it again, I’m going to tell them to stop.”

“I am embarrassed by how I acted.  I’m going to find everyone I told and tell them I take it back and was a jerk.”

The most amazing part, I think, was that when these students were apologizing, they weren’t looking at me at all.  They looked at her, the ashamed student, and they looked at each other.  Their apologies weren’t for me.  They were for her, and for each other.

The words flowed from sincere pre-teen hearts and I saw hope and redemption firsthand.

One voice

In October I got in a big fight with my best friend’s mom.  It was really strange because I’m not a fighter.  I’ve been haunted by our conversation since then.  I was shaken, so shocked by what happened, but more than that, I was horrified by the words she said.  It started out with politics, went to Prop 8, then the ugly words began.

(Please simply know that I’m telling what happened; my goal is not to pass judgement on her.)

I told her that I didn’t really know where I stood on gay marriage, but I thought that too many Christians’ actions have been discriminatory and hateful.  I didn’t think we, as Christians, should police what other people do.  She said that we need to hold people accountable to God’s law.  All I could think about was how sinful I am but that I don’t get crap for it because I’m a woman who is married to a man.  My sin isn’t open for all to see.

Anyway, at the end of it all, I was deemed a “bad Christian” who didn’t “believe in the same God” that she did.  And I was horrified.  Why can’t Christians just all get along and love each other?  More importantly, why can’t Christians just get along with other people and love others who don’t share their same beliefs?

 

I don’t have answers.  I want to throw my hands up in the air in defeat, disgust, fear, sadness.  While pondering this (it seems to be on my mind at least once a week), “One Voice” by The O.C. Supertones came on my iTunes shuffle.  I was struck with their words:

And can we sing with one voice,
if we all love the same God?
Can we agree to disagree?

I think my hope, my prayer, my desperate plea, is for Christians to love each other deeply and to love non-Christians deeper than deeply.  How do other feel Jesus’ love if not from us?

My, like, super deep thoughts

They don’t happen that often, let’s be honest.  The majority of my thoughts are about my sweet husband and my ridiculous thesis (due 24 days from now) and the 98 12 year olds with whom I spend my days.

My first and last thoughts each day are usually the same (ugh, I wish I could sleep more).  I once read about how your first and last thoughts are related to the most important thing(s) in your life.  Sleep, apparently, is my top priority.  I wish, instead, that they were thoughts about God and my love for him.  That’s something I’m trying to work on.  The first time I think about God each morning is usually when I am about halfway through my shower.  And often, it’s something like, “God, please help me be nice to kids today and please let me sleep really well tonight since I’m so freaking tired.”  Oh well, a girl can try.

So with that all said, my hope is to catalogue my thoughts here.  There are some relatively large life events coming up in the next few months and I want to have a forum to express my really important and deep thoughts.  Like, seriously.