Impossible

I had this insight at church today about Luke 1:37. One translation says, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” I think it is interesting that it says “shall be” because sometimes things are impossible at the moment, but that doesn’t mean they will always be impossible. God can mold and shape us into a new person that can do what was impossible for who we used to be.

I have done things that were once impossible for me, but are now natural and even easy. I asked for help to do these things. I tried over and over, but I had limitations that I could not overcome by myself. But, then, I changed. I became a new person because people saw something in me that I could not see in myself.

We are so often told that God won’t give us more than we can handle or that all things are possible with God, but the process is not explained very often. God makes us so that we can handle things. Sometimes that is through trials, but I think most often it is through other people. People teach us, change us, and stretch us to become more than we once were. And sometimes it is not a good experience. Sometimes it is difficult, painful, and heartbreaking experiences with people that force us to become better.

I think in the end though, we can find reasons to be grateful for all the growth experiences, even the unpleasant ones. The key is allowing yourself to be changed, so that the impossible can become possible.

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Grateful for Opportunities to Spend Time with Others

I have felt incredibly well over the last few weeks, which has allowed me to do more than ever before. I have been to all my church activities and taken advantage of every opportunity to spend time with friends or talk to people. It has been absolutely wonderful.

There are days when depression makes me not want to see or interact with anyone. I am an incredibly social person. I love spending time with people and talking to them. But autism and depression can make interacting exhausting. And there are times when I don’t want to try.

I do a scripture study group with a few friends on Sunday nights. We have been meeting at my house for a few months now, and it has been such a blessing for me. There have been Sundays where I thought about cancelling the group because I felt depressed and didn’t want to see anyone, but I didn’t because I didn’t want to deprive anyone of our weekly study time. On those days, the group meant even more to me. I didn’t want to have to try, but I needed the company. I needed to be around people. And that weekly group has been a constant that has helped me through difficult times.

Now that I am feeling better, I am grateful that I can take advantage of so many opportunities to spend time with others. But I am even more grateful for the opportunities I had when I wasn’t feeling well. I couldn’t always take advantage of them, but they meant so much to me and helped me so much when I was struggling with things no one there may have realized. Those moments have helped me in my darkest times. And I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given and for the people who made those opportunities possible.

Grateful for Goodness

I have been struggling today. I watched a show last night that had some teenagers bullying others, and it just broke me. The show was made well and had a good message and everything ended on a good note, but seeing people being mean to someone else was more than I could handle. I haven’t really been okay since then. I am not sure why I am so sensitive to these types of things or why it hits me so hard emotionally, but it takes a long time to get me back to normal after something like this.

It makes me more grateful for all of the goodness in the world though. It makes me grateful for everything that every person everywhere does to try to help someone else. Today is Veteran’s Day in America and I am grateful for the people that have served and are serving our country in the armed forces. There are so many people that sacrifice so much for others. From people in the military to teachers to nurses to parents, and so many more, there are many people in the world working to make this a better place.

On a day like today when I am drowning because of all the bad in the world, I am so grateful that there is so much good to focus on instead. Maybe there will always be bad things that happen. No one is perfect, and there will probably always be people who hurt others intentionally. But there are many more people who are trying to help others. There are many more people who are trying to generate goodness. It may not make everything better, but on a day like today, I can be grateful for the good in the world.

 

Extrovert with Social Anxiety

I have come to a point in my life where I can start trying to understand my thoughts and why I have some of those thoughts. I am starting to come to terms with different mental models and philosophies that I hold. I know that a lot of my thoughts come from past experiences, and I know that a lot of those thoughts are not really true. The problem is that though I understand these things on an intellectual level, they have not been fully processed mentally and emotionally yet.

One of the most eye opening realizations that I have had in this process has been that I am an extrovert with social anxiety. I absolutely love people. I need people. I need to be around people, lots of people, tons of people. If I am not around someone or talking to someone or messaging someone, the majority of the time I go crazy. I just really need people. On the other hand, I hate people. I hate crowds. I hate noise. I hate people being everywhere all the time and not being able to breathe because there are so many people. I love spending time with people and being invited to hang out or go to an event or have dinner with someone, but I also totally freak out. Sometimes I don’t go, or I go and sit outside and then leave without going in, or I go and stay for a couple minutes and then sneak out, or I go and stay for longer than I am comfortable until I get to the point where I can’t hold in all of the anxiety and I rush out as fast as I can before I can’t hold it together anymore.

My best friend is getting married tomorrow. I have been excited to go to her wedding for months. I have been ecstatic to see her, but I knew it would be hard for me. I know that crowds and noise and people are hard, but I forget about that sometimes. I forget just how hard it is to stay sane with all of my anxiety in social situations. Tonight was hard. The last week has been hard. The last few months have been hard. But tonight, I didn’t want to go anymore. I don’t want to go to my best friend’s wedding reception because the anxiety has gotten to the point where I feel like I’m going to break all the time. She gets it because she’s my best friend, but other people don’t understand or even try to understand sometimes. Of course, I’ll go. I just don’t know when or for how long or how I’ll react or what I will do.

But having social anxiety means that there’s always a tension when you are around people. It’s like having a spring inside of you that gets squeezed the longer you are with people until it finally pops out. And being an extrovert means that once you finally are alone and don’t have to worry about everyone around you, you fall into a bitter loneliness that you just can’t get rid of. So you do this over and over again. You get squeezed until you’re about to snap because you desperately want to be around people and then you retreat until the loneliness is so thick that you can’t bear to be alone. So you go back to the anxiety and then back to the loneliness and back to the anxiety and back to the loneliness.

And you wonder if you’re just killing yourself slowly or if you should just consign yourself to loneliness because trying to be around people is so ridiculously hard. And maybe it is, and maybe you should just stop trying, but… there’s that other voice that says, “maybe this time will be different. Maybe this time it won’t be so bad. Maybe this time you’ll be okay.” And maybe you will be okay; maybe this will all end. And if not, maybe it will be worth it anyway.

Everyone is Busy

Everyone is busy. Everyone feels sad or alone or overwhelmed sometimes. Everyone is living a hard life; no matter how easy it may seem on the outside, we all have our inner demons, our unseen struggles.

I tell myself that often. When I feel sad and alone and would just like a hug, I remind myself that sometimes I just have to be lonely because everyone has their own life to deal with. When I go out with a stack of candies or a bouquet of flowers to drop off at people’s houses, I remind myself that everyone needs something to help them be a little happier. When I write someone a letter or note or give them a compliment, I remind myself that everyone could think more positively about themselves, that everyone needs more positive thoughts to remember. When I sit next to someone sitting alone, I remind myself that everyone feels alone sometimes.

Life is hard. Doing things to make the world a better place is hard. Reaching out to others is hard. But I keep reminding myself that everyone feels that way. Everyone feels too busy to help someone else. So I must make the conscious effort to not be too busy.

Everyone is busy. Everyone is hurting. Everyone is facing their own demons. I understand. But if you find a little time, if you can spare a moment away from Facebook or studying or cleaning or watching shows (or even while watching a show), try to not be too busy to do something kind. Try to not be too busy to make someone’s day better. Try not to be too busy to love someone. We are all busy, but we could all use the extra kindness as well.

Responding to Trials

Over the past year I have met 3 people that became paralyzed and then had to relearn how to walk and write and do all the things they used to do on a daily basis. I’m not sure if they all have the same disease that caused this temporary paralysis, but they had a similar experience in the suddenness of what happened and what followed. What was interesting to me though is how they responded to what happened.

One person responded by laughing about it. She laughed as she told me how interesting it was that she forgot how to hold a pencil and how strange it was to learn how to walk again. Another expressed anger and frustration over having to learn how to walk and do things again. And the last became emotional recalling her experiences and the difficulties she had faced.

I couldn’t help but think about my own trials and difficulties and how I have responded to them. I have responded in each of these ways at different times to my trials, but I think most often I probably get emotional about my experiences. I don’t think it’s bad to get emotional or even angry about what happens to us, but I would like to learn to laugh more often. I would like to respond to my trials with an attitude of learning and the ability to laugh at myself.

I firmly believe that people take life too seriously. People tend to see only the now of a situation. We get upset that things don’t seem to work out or aren’t going the way we planned. The truth is though that it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t really matter that much if you’re late for something. It doesn’t really matter that much if an event is disturbed by some sort of accident or disruption. It doesn’t really matter if you make a mistake and someone yells at you for it. It doesn’t matter because it’s not the end.

Why do we focus so much on the now when the present will be the past in just a few minutes? The now doesn’t matter so much if we realize that it will pass. I don’t mean by this that the present isn’t important, because it is only in the present that we can create the future and the past. By our choices in┬áthe now, our past is recorded and our future will be written. However, a mistake or problem in the now does not have to be a regret in the future. By learning to overlook problems and forgive ourselves and others now, the mistakes of the present will become merely funny or interesting memories of the past.

The thing I keep telling myself lately is it’s only life. It’s not about the next step or the better job or the perfect evening; it’s about living. And if we can just remember that it’s about the living, it’s a lot easier to respond positively when something negative happens.