Be a Weed

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I had a thought today as I was looking at the weeds in our grass. Our sprinklers broke a few weeks ago and the grass has mostly died, but the weeds are still coming up green. As I looked at those weeds (and the other weeds growing between the cracks in the sidewalk), I had the thought, “I want to be like that.”

It is interesting to me that weeds are the plants that are the most stable, grow the best, and stay the greenest longest. Weeds have deeper roots than grass and as such, are very hard to kill. Everything about weeds is great, except that they are weeds. If grass came up without much work and stayed green without much watering and would keep coming back no matter how many times it was stepped on, most people would be delighted.

So what makes weeds so bad?

The short answer is that they don’t fit in. The longer answer is that they look out of place with the rest of the lawn, and they are hard to get rid of, even with weed killing spray and digging deep to try to take up the roots.

Anyway, to get to the point…

Being a weed is not always a good thing, but it can be very good to have the qualities of a weed in a lot of life’s situations. I want to be like a weed because of their resilience. I want to be like a weed because of their boldness in standing out from a crowd. I want to be like a weed because of the deep roots that ground them when life gets tough.

Don’t be afraid to be a weed in difficult circumstances. Be a weed in standing up against injustice. Be a weed in standing your ground when others are asking you to compromise your morals or values. Be a weed in fighting depression or anxiety or health issues or other trials. Be a weed in coming back up when life knocks you down. Be a weed in having roots so strong in what you believe in that no matter how far someone digs, they cannot kill that part of you. Be a weed when your circumstances are not ideal, but you are determined to grow up strong anyway.

And perhaps most of all, be a weed in being okay with being a weed. Be okay with being different. Be okay with not going with the crowd. Be okay with standing up for yourself. Not everyone will love you for it, but sometimes being a weed is the best thing you can be.

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Trusting Someone with Your Anxiety

There are some people that you can just trust, that you know won’t hurt you, that you know won’t make you feel bad about yourself. My best friend is one of those people for me. It has taken me a long time to trust her, but she has patiently been there through it all.

The other day I was hanging out with her and realized that I was getting to the point of anxiety where I would either freak out or shut down. So I did what I always do and tried to escape as soon as possible. Of course, you can’t just leave without an explanation and because she’s my best friend, I told her the truth. Instead of just letting me go, she asked what would help. By the time I tried explaining everything, I couldn’t handle things anymore. I shut down and then freaked out and then shut down again, but it helped. I got it out of my system and could hang out again.

And she was totally understanding and didn’t make me feel bad about what happened or make me explain why I felt that way. She just hugged me and listened and let me still spend time with her afterwards.

I’m not sure what my point to this is, other than to just trust someone. Let someone know what you’re going through. Let someone know all of you, even the parts you don’t like. Maybe they will be more understanding than you would think. Maybe you will find someone who loves you anyway. And maybe then, you can heal from all the hurt and brokenness, from all the voices in your head that say you are not good enough and you are a freak and no one will ever love you. Maybe then, you can be whole.

I hope you find that someday. I hope you find someone that loves you and would do everything to not hurt you. I hope you find someone to trust with the hard things. I’m still working on becoming whole. I’m still working on the healing and recovery process, but with someone I can trust, with someone that loves me and doesn’t hurt me, I have hope that I will get there someday. I will get better. I can be whole. And maybe, just maybe, I deserve that.

A Wreck

Last Sunday, I was in a car crash right about this time. I was going to a friend’s place to return her cat that I had been watching the previous week while she was out of town. About two streets away from her house, a car swerved around another car in the left turn lane and made a left in front of me. I barely had time to step on my brake and honk my horn before crashing into the side of her car.

The good news is that no one was badly injured. My airbag deployed, breaking a small bone in my thumb. The cat that was with me has had a limp since the accident. But we were all very lucky considering the severity of the situation. When it first happened, I was shocked and shaken up but not upset. I took it really well and forgave them right away. In the days following, things have become harder to bear.

Just after the accident, I was fine. My thumb hurt and my car was totaled, but I was mostly okay. Not having a car to get around was inconvenient. I couldn’t go get something to eat whenever I wanted. I had to wake up early for work because that’s when my coworkers could take me. My thumb throbbed and I had to shower with my arm wrapped in a plastic bag so it wouldn’t get wet. It was more difficult, but all of this was mostly an inconvenience.

After day 3, things started to affect me more. The soreness set in and kept me awake from the pain. I got a rental car and emptied out my car. Looking at the front of my car and seeing parts of it hanging out was emotionally scarring. This was my first car, the car I learned to drive in, the car where I spent countless hours with my best friend. You might even say I made my best friend in that car. And here I was, cleaning my life out of it. It didn’t help that it appeared to have been broken into while at the tow lot and some of my stuff was missing.

Aside from my car, the increased pain continues to take its toll on me. I have finals next week and with the lack of my thumb, I don’t know how I’m going to complete them. The pain also makes it hard to think or concentrate on my work. In addition, I have no time off left at work. Due to everything that happened this year, I was running low on sick time and vacation time. The trip I planned to California for Christmas will have to be cut 4 days short.

I am honestly struggling. I have hope. I have faith. I believe things will get better, but in the meantime, life is difficult. Sometimes I wish it was just a little easier. Sometimes I wish I could get a break from all the hardness. But, I must be strong. I must hold on. My only question is, how strong do I have to be?

Faith to Not Be Healed

Depression takes everything from you. It takes away your friends because they can’t handle it all. It distances you from your family because you become too sick to know how to reach out. It affects you physically, emotionally, and mentally. You lose yourself and you lose your support. And all you know is the pain and loneliness. When this happens, what do you cling to? What is left when depression strips you down to your core?

For me, it is faith. A few years ago, I heard a story about a man with cancer seeking a cure. He talked to everyone from doctors to religious leaders, but the cure did not come. Finally, one of his leaders asked, “do you have the faith to not be healed?”

This story has always stuck with me. I know that for me, depression will not go away soon. My journey with it is not over yet. I still have a long way to go. But as I have watched depression strip me down to my core, I have found that faith to not be healed. I have found the faith to hold on even when things don’t get better.

Maybe one day this will be better. Maybe one day I won’t struggle with depression. Maybe one day I will be healed. Until then, I cling to faith. I cling to hope because when all else fails, that’s what I choose to hold on to.

 

Build up your Reservoirs

I have been going through the worst depression I have ever experienced. The darkness and despair seems never-ending. But as hard as it has been, as dark and hopeless as it feels, I have not completely lost hope. I have not given in to the darkness.

The reason for this is because of what I do every day. It is the hope and the peace and the service, the building up of faith that has been a part of my life since I was a child. As low as I have become, I have not lost hope because prior to this time I built up reservoirs of faith and hope and love. I built up a sanctuary of peace that could not be destroyed in a moment.

That is how I have survived this. That is how I survive every day. There are things that build up my hope and light now, but if I didn’t have those reservoirs to rely on, those things would not be enough. I would not have the light I need to keep going.

So my counsel to you is to build up your reservoirs. Build up your faith. Increase your hope and understanding. Hold on to love and peace. Whatever brings you hope and peace and love, cling to those things. Cling to the things that bring light and goodness to your life. You never know when you are going to need it.

I know that this is not over yet. This darkness and depression is not ending any time soon. But I also know that I am not alone. I am loved, and I am needed, and I am wanted. No, this isn’t easy. And the heaviness I feel will not just go away. But the light I have built up still shines. And no matter how low I go or how long this lasts, I know that my reservoirs are deep enough and wide enough to see me through it all.

And my friends, my amazing, beautiful friends, will not let me fall. They share their light with me and together we both become stronger. I could not be more grateful for that.

Becoming Okay Again

As stated in my previous posts, the last month has been awful. I felt like I was trying to tread water while attached to a descending submarine. The last few days have been much better though. Even though I have been extremely sick to the point where getting out of bed was a bad idea, I was mentally okay. Sure, I had a couple breakdowns and meltdowns in the last week, and I probably made myself more sick by going in to work, but this past week seems to have been the beginning of better days.

There are a couple things that have caused some positive reflection this past week. For the most part, people actually seem to really like me. Crazy, right? First, I was invited to a friend’s wedding. I was super anxious about my gift and how I looked and just going in general, but I did it because she means a lot to me. Anyway, she was very happy to see me and even complimented my appearance. (I still don’t know how she liked the gift, but I’m hoping for the best.) Next, one of my friends invited me to be there when she opened her mission call. I was pretty surprised to be invited since I didn’t think we were that great of friends and missions are usually pretty personal events, but again, she was happy to see me and grateful I came. Then, a couple people from church called me this week or talked to me at church when they really didn’t have to. Anyway, it’s little things like that the break through the walls of my self doubt and reassure me that maybe I really am doing okay. Maybe I really am loved and wanted and needed and important. Not that I’m going to become overly confident and obnoxious about it, but it’s nice to feel like I matter. 🙂

Anyway, so as all of this has been happening, I have been reflecting on what exactly has happened in the last two years or so. I made a decision around that time to do hard things. I think of things I can do all the time. I think about going and talking to people that are sitting alone or dropping off gifts at people’s houses or complimenting someone on their lesson or comment. Up until that point in my life, I told myself that no one would ever want to hear what I had to say. Who was I to think that I could make a difference in someone’s life? (Reminds me of a quote 🙂 ) About two years ago though, I decided to set my fear aside and do things anyway. I decided that if I had a thought to tell someone I enjoyed their talk, that I was going to do it. And if I had a thought to drop off candy for someone, I would go and drop off candy, even if I didn’t have the courage to say who it was from. My point is that miracles happened because I chose to let go of my fears and just do what I wanted.

So my advice to you is: Do the impossible. Do the things you tell yourself you’re not good enough to do. Do the things you are afraid of doing. Do the things that you talk yourself out of. Get out of your comfort zone. Be you. Don’t let your fears stop you from trying to do good. And I promise you will see miracles. I know I have.

The God Connection

God isn’t just my father. Jesus Christ isn’t just my brother. They are my best friends. They know the good I’ve done and the not so good. They know how much I beat myself up for my mistakes and how much I crave to feel loved and like I belong. They see it all and they love it all. They have held me on broken nights when all I wanted was to die so I could be with them again. They have shown me they loved me, but that they want me to stay in this world until my time is done.

People usually struggle with faith. They struggle with doubts that God is really real and if he really is there for them and loves them. I struggle with the opposite. I struggle with knowing how much God loves me. I struggle with feeling a connection to him so strong that I constantly want to die. I struggle with wanting to be with him so much that this world seems to lose all color and beauty because I forget to see him in it. I don’t struggle to know God exists. He has been the most real thing in my life. Night after lonely night, I would pray to a God I not only knew was listening, but I knew loved me. God has always been and will always be my best friend.

Sometimes I ask God how much longer. I ask him how much more I will need to endure. This world holds no beauty for me without God in it. If I didn’t see God in the world around me, if I didn’t see him in the people who love me, I don’t know if I would ever feel light or at home. I feel at home when I feel God’s presence surrounding me, when I feel his love through other people. I see beauty in the world around me because I see God in it. I see his hand, his love, his creativity.

I know God. I know God so well that I want to die to be with him. I talk to him like I would talk to my best friend. I tell him how I feel and how sad I am and how grateful I am and how happy I am. I tell him about my friends and my worries for them and my love for them. I tell him how much I miss him and how hard, yet beautiful life is. I talk with God and I sing to God and sometimes when I lie in bed, he feels so close that I’m pretty sure he holds me so I can fall asleep.

Maybe this all seems strange. This relationship to someone or something you can’t see doesn’t make sense to you. But this world doesn’t make sense to me. This love people have for money or power, the way people can hurt others, the things people say and do to each other, doesn’t make sense to me. God makes sense. We don’t feel pain because he’s not there. We feel pain because he’s not here, because we’re not there. This world is broken. It’s flawed and imperfect. God is the only one that can change that. He’s the only one that can make it right. I hold onto him. I cling to him. I love him. I know he holds me when I’m hurt and cries with me when I break and loves me at all times.

I don’t know what it’s like to struggle to have faith in God because God is the only thing that has felt stable in my life. But I do know what it’s like to struggle. I struggle to have faith in this world. I struggle to have faith that things will get better. I struggle to believe that people love me, that I do good things, that I have worth in this world. I struggle to fit into a world where I feel like I can never belong.

Maybe you struggle to believe in God, maybe he seems far away and distant, maybe his love seems difficult or out of reach, but I want you to know that he loves you as much as he loves me. I may feel him more because I have an undeniable connection to him, but I know he loves you too. Believe in God. Hold on to hope. He is there. He does love you. “Things will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end.”