Potent Potential

When moving to a new place with people you don’t know super well, every attractive man is a potential future husband.

It’s like Schrodinger’s cat. I don’t know if this guy loves Jesus, has character, intelligence, anything in common with me, understands how to treat women, or is even single. But while in the midst of all these new possibilities he has the potential to be all these things.

Which means that even though I know that time will reveal the reasons for vetoing them as a romantic possibility, before I discover those reasons I’m in this exciting place where I feel like the Bachelorette or something.

Key differences between me and the Bachelorette:

  1. No camera’s or script or payment
  2. We are all realistic looking human beings…well…I am a realistic looking human being. Some of these men are rather exceptional looking in my opinion.
  3. No amazing, all-expenses-paid dates
  4. Reality not Reality TV
  5. These men are not vying for my favor (only Brynjolf has actually acted interested, but in what exactly is still a mystery).

Ok so I did say I feel like the bachelorette, not that I am in a similar situation. I feel like this:

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When really I’m just this:

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MY POINT is, right now I’m in this lovely phase of having multiple guys to consider and it’s just so nice after years in the desert. I’m in the pool! The possible dating pool! And the water is fine. I know this won’t last so I’m enjoying it while I can. And heck, even if none of them look my way at least I can interact with some.

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I am going with a friend to an event this Saturday where she’s introducing me to someone. So set-ups are happening! I’ll try to update after I meet him!

There is another guy I have to nickname. Drake was in the very first acting class I ever attended and I immediately was taken aback by how FLIPPING GORGEOUS he was. When Dreamer asked me if I noticed anyone I was like, “Well, duh. Drake of course is so hot.”

“Drake!? Seriously!?” She was obviously confused and startled that I thought so.

“Wait…you mean you don’t think he’s beautiful?”

“No…I mean, he’s ok I guess but…really?”

I couldn’t believe she didn’t think so, she couldn’t believe I did. It was bizarre. He’s tall, fit, and handsome. He’s got the hot lumberjack look, for which I am a sucker. Kind eyes. SWOON.

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She said she didn’t think he was driven enough for me. Too passive. I think I’ve mentioned that I do trust her intuition from learned experience. Not that she’s an infallible source of knowledge but I do put a lot of store in her input because she knows me and she’s good at knowing what people need. So I let it go, and saw for myself a little of what she meant. He does seem like a more passive person, which has been an issue with all the guys I’ve dated and I’m sick of it. So I let it go and haven’t crushed. Through class I did get the sense that he is VERY kind and caring and a genuine person.

One of the first times I got to hang out with class people outside of class I was getting ready to leave. He and I had never spoken at that point and he was headed to his car and called out to me, “Hey! I’m glad you came tonight and I’m really glad you are in our class!” It was just so nice, especially since I definitely felt like the new kid who didn’t quite belong there, and he was just really warm and sweet. It meant a lot.

Since I moved he’s been posting videos of himself singing and I reached out to to see if he wanted make some music together and he agreed. I had such a good time! We were on the same page with what we wanted to do. It sounded beautiful. Our voices go well together and so do our styles. And in the midst of collaborating he saw my DVD’s and we spent at least 20 minutes nerding out together. We like so much of the same stuff!

Because, it turns out, he’s an INFP, too, ding dang it!

I’m not that disappointed because I’d love for us to be friends and can see us being good friends. Plus, Dreamer isn’t wrong that he might be too passive. I’ve dated two INFP’s and flirted with another and the problem is that we are just too dang passive and no one takes the lead in the relationship so it never progresses. But the initial draw is there because we have so much in common. Too much, it turns out, to be good partners…at least in my experience so far which is not everything.

I’m not going to veto someone based on their myers-briggs type, don’t worry. But it does add some perspective that he and I probably are not going to be a thing. There is one vast difference, though, to him and the other INFP’s I dated. I’m actually attracted to him. With Puzzles and the other guy I thought I’d give it a shot and see if attraction grew. I already know that I am definitely attracted to Drake. And he has such a presence of safety. Like…I could be in a terrifying situation and him just showing up would help immensely. He’s steadying like that. And he could really go after someone he wanted if he felt strongly enough. We INFP’s hold back until we feel that it is right to give all. And then I think we truly give all of ourselves. So maybe it could happen if it was right.

Again…no one has asked me for a date so really it’s silly I’m spending this much time thinking about it. But it has been on my mind and if anything were to happen I’d love to be able to look back.

One last thing.

Today I (almost literally) ran into someone I’ve mentioned on this blog before and he took me by surprise. This guy, like no other, gets me all out of sorts. I don’t know what to do with it because I rarely have strong emotions towards people, and hardly ever are they instant. I have a large neutral zone. But this guy has always caused a strong reaction in me (can’t tell if its hate or love or both but it IS SOMETHING!) and it just throws me! I nicknamed him Shanks when I wrote about him in the three posts: here, here, and here back in March-June of 2016. There have been tiny developments since I last mentioned him so long ago, but nothing concrete.

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New Season, New Home, and some Male Attention!?

Hello my fellow horny Christians! Or lonely single Christians! Or Christian who’s friend just told you that they struggle with masturbating and you want to read up to know how to encourage them. Or curious non-Christians. Or perverts looking to get off and somehow ended up here and are very confused. Whoever you are: Welcome. I’m glad you are here and I send hugs from my new home Ambiguous City.

After months of praying, prepping, finding a roommate, searching, searching, crying because finding an affordable and SAFE place to live seemed impossible, SEARCHING more, and finally finding a place…. I am officially living in the city! My new roommate is a godsend and this location is close to everything but just away from the hubbub for both of us introverts to not be overwhelmed.

Today I finally was able to go to a coffee shop and work on my book, just like I envisioned, and I took a walk around the town center, got a Library card (the Library is beautiful!), and got to hang out with my cousin who lives near me and with whom I’m excited to grow closer. My roommate and I do yoga (which I love by the way), I’ve already lost weight by changing my diet and being more active, and I’ve taken another part time job cleaning houses. I’m still commuting to my church job, but eventually I will phase out of that, too. Not sure what my next career will be yet, but I’m content to have a few gig jobs for a while to keep my schedule freer.

After missing about a month due to moving insanity, I resumed my acting class last week.  Ok so I have to admit that two posts ago I wrote a poem about how you can, in seconds,  build an entire world of possibilities in your mind just from one brief moment with someone. You long to experience certain moments or conversations with someone, share certain words and have specific feelings in those moments, and in one instant the person before you fills in the blank of those desired moments and you can see it all.

Well, the poem was inspired by this guy in acting class…the first time I saw him work I thought, Holy crap, I’m in love with him! Who is that! And then I had to remind myself that I wasn’t actually in love with him, but seeing a man be vulnerable and open the way class requires is SUUUPER rare in real life, and insanely attractive when it reveals a caring heart.

This guy, hmmm I guess I’ll call him Knight because he reminds me of medieval castles, Scottish warriors, and cozy studies filled with books and smelling of leather. He has gorgeous green eyes. I’m SUCH a sucker for green eyes. He’s certainly got em! He also has dimples. He’s a little skinny, his ears kind of stick out, and he doesn’t shave his beard to the correct line (see below), but when he smiles at you it’s heart-stopping.

(Let me interject a grooming PSA here. Beard lines. So many bad beard lines!

Staaahp! Instead trim to this neckline! To the crease right above your adam’s apple and no higher!

You’re welcome.)

ANYWAYS

Aside from Dreamer, Knight is the most advanced person in our class, which means he’s so good at reading people, is comfortable with himself and with being honest that he’s confident and doesn’t bullcrap, and he is skilled at putting words to what is happening. Which means when you are paired with him it’s super intimidating because it’s like he can see right through you and isn’t afraid to say exactly what he sees. The fact that I find him attractive most of the time makes it even worse since I’m so shy with guys. Last fall in one of the first few classes I took he intimidated me so I asked him to sit beside me and the girl in the exercise with us was crushed because she thought it was me wanting him close and not her.

“No no! I’m comfortable with you. Him being directly across from me was too much.”

She still didn’t get it. “He scares the crap out of me, you don’t. I’m comfortable with you.”

She still didn’t get it.

“It’s because he’s a man!” I finally said, exasperated.

Then he was really upset.

“I hate that I scare you!”

Feeling so frustrated that they were taking everything the wrong way, I laid my hand on his wrist, “I’m not physically-threatened-scared,” then I said with meaning, “I care what you think.”

The light went on and he finally got it, then he kindly acknowledged, “That was very brave of you to say.”

I was so upset and embarrassed, like I had to out my own feelings and insecurities because I was hurting both of them in their confusion. Before then I would never have expressed that willingly. But I was supposed to operate in what was true and not bullcrap, and right then the truest thing was that I’d rather sacrifice my pride and comfort than allow them to be hurt by me. But it felt a little like taking a bullet for them at the time. And then after that Knight was a little flirty but it made me angry like he was taking advantage of my vulnerability just for his ego. I saw a childishness in him, and then I found out he probably doesn’t have the same values. So for a while I haven’t cared. Still thought he was super attractive from time to time, but not real life relationship material. But then last week in class he was just…once again overwhelmingly breath-taking. I wasn’t even doing the exercise! Just watching him work and just be himself, he was…beautiful. Inside and out. Magnetic and personally kind to people. I think everyone in the room was a little taken with him! So dreamy.

I haven’t been paired with him in a long time, and now I’m far more willing to say what I’m feeling, so I’ll let you know how that goes. Especially if I’m overtaken with heart palpitations which is highly likely.

So that’s one guy I get to interact with regularly now. I still don’t think he’s what I’m looking for in real life but interacting with him really is good practice for me. Hopefully I can learn not to be so shy and intimidated by guys I admire and I won’t resort to weather-talk.

Another worth mentioning I’ll call Brynjolf after a character from Skyrim who appears shady but has a good heart and has your back. I hope this ends up being the case with the Brynjolf from my acting class. The jury is very much still out in regards to this guy and here’s why.

He started the class a few months after I did. Everyone puts up walls that have to be torn down in the course of doing the work. It’s natural and normal to be insecure and to have some defense mechanisms. But eventually there comes a point where you stop the bull and lean into the honesty and the vulnerability. You find that, while uncomfortable, it brings freedom and power to know that you can survive the awkward or hurtful and putting your true self out there, warts and all, is not the end of the world. And what’s more, you gain being truly seen by someone and are often able to receive the gift of them giving a crap.

Brynjolf is a self-protector more than most. He started out by trying to be untouchable (he still does this sometimes) and would basically sit in a challenging posture and basically be stoic the entire time. He was super defensive and not open. One time I got frustrated and told him to stop with the wall. He loosened up and we went back and forth for a bit and then he got scared of the realness between us and put the wall back up. It was so sad and frustrating to see. Instead of getting pissed I was moved to compassion for him in that moment and teared up.

“I’m sorry for whatever happened to you that made you feel like this is necessary.” Then he teared up. Our instructor pointed out that it is better to let people in than to keep the walls up. Brynjolf explained that he’s not used to people being genuine. After that he stopped the statue thing more quickly each time he did the exercise.

But at this point he shifted to a new tactic. If he couldn’t get away with the stoic statue thing then he’d keep control by sexily smoldering his way to the “more powerful position.” And this is where I got the impression that this guy is used to dumb women fawning over him and him getting his way per his good looks. He’s not used to genuine people who have standards. He would do this thing with his eyes where it was like he was trying to look cute and he would start to do that with everyone when he felt out of control in the exercise. Well, it didn’t work on me and a couple other people in the class and he got called out for it plenty of times.

Meanwhile he’s realizing that sexy smolder-guy is getting NOWHERE with me and changes his tactic YET AGAIN so that he acts like he’s genuine and I relax a little and then he starts being flirty. UGH!!!! It’s so manipulative!

Now we are at defense tactic number 3 or 4! For the love, dude! Just be real already! By now he’s been taking the class for months and still treats it like a power-struggle game. He’s preventing himself from learning and growing as an actor and he’s muddying the work with ego.

When not doing the exercise he was awkward and a bit standoffish. Did not strike me as a super outgoing person. During the move I missed quite a few weeks. But one of the weeks I was able to go my new roommate was able to go with me. He and I were paired and he seemed surprisingly open and relaxed. She said that he was far more comfortable with me than anyone else in the class. And before class he and I chatted and he seemed genuinely happy to see me. He complimented my shirt. I thought Hmmm, you’re trying to butter me up so you can manipulate me if we are paired. I know that sounds very paranoid but you should see this guy in action. I wouldn’t put it past him.

Missed about 3 weeks of class while moving and then went back two weeks ago. He sat next to me and complimented my shoes. Mmmmhmmm, I thought, There he goes again. Then he does the exercise with Knight and is just the biggest jerk! And he got away with it which was infuriating to me because Knight can usually catch the bull crap and call it out. Brynjolf comes and sits back down next to me and I’m annoyed with him for being a jerk, my opinion of him has lowered. I’m sitting back in my chair with my legs crossed and my arms crossed, and he is sitting forward with his elbows on his knees. Then, for who knows what reason, he turns his head and blatantly scans UP ME and then gives me a freaking UPNOD!!! With eyebrows!

I did this:

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So then last week (the week I fell in fake love with Knight again) I didn’t sit near Brynjolf, and we weren’t paired together for the exercise at all. But theres this younger girl who has a whopping and obvious crush on him who was flirting with him during the exercise. You are supposed to have all your attention on the people you are working with. The rest of us watch in the audience. Well, as she’s awkwardly flirting with him, his eyes keep freaking darting to me. In the audience. Like, he’s conscious of what I’m thinking of the exchange.

I went outside right after class to make a phone call. As I’m trying to contact the person he comes out, closely followed by Lil’ Crushy McGee, closely followed by the rest of our class. As soon as he steps out the door he starts rambling about this cat that is near me…and I mean rambling. Right then my friend calls and I answer, walking back into the house through the people. As soon as I say hello Brynjolf cuts off his rambling and I realize he was talking specifically to me. Not to ‘Lil Crushy or the rest of the people there.

I make my phone call and go back outside. Only two people are still there: Brynjolf, walking in circles and half paying attention to ‘Lil Crushy who is desperately trying to have a conversation with him. I walk past them and say, “Have a good week, guys!”

“Uh, nice talking to you!” Brynjolf sarcasts (not a word but should be) dramatically, portraying great offense. Ok, so he’s waiting for me, then?

“Hello, how are you, how was your week?” I say placatingly, like jeez.

“No no! You have somewhere to be.”

“I’m not in a rush, Brynjolf. I can talk for a minute,” I say calmly and kindly. His entire demeanor changes. Suddenly this guy is way more animated and outgoing than I’ve ever seen him. I ask him what he has going on. (At some point in this Lil’ Crushy left) He tells me he has auditions and just got booked for this role as a viking chieftain.

“You know, so it’s all like, ‘I fight with the power of Odin!'” in this crazy macho voice complete with muscle-flexing like this

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Me:

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I don’t know what to do right now!

Then he proceeds to ask me questions about myself and is very attentive and enthusiastic and we have a pretty good conversation for like 10 minutes. Then we part and I’m just shook. He obviously has some interest considering he stayed behind to talk to me and his body language was eager. Plus the weird looking at me during the exercise and the random awkward flirting.

So yesterday I had class and again we weren’t paired, but the only open seat was next to him again because I was late. At one point he let out this giant sigh through his nose and I turned to look at him and he gave me a nice smile. Not weird. Just nice and genuine.

Then when we were taking a break he complimented Knight’s pants and then said, “I couldn’t wear those probably because my thighs have more… GIRTH.” and gestures toward his leg but also way too close to his crotch to be 1) using that word and 2) emphasizing it with hand gestures. I had to turn my face away to hide my shock/laughter. So awkward, dude! STAHP!

After class I asked people if they wanted to go grab a bite and he was all for it. He then proceeded to once again be obnoxiously outgoing. Tons of talking. No Listening. Like a teenage boy showing off. And based on his eye contact it seemed to be for my sake. I can feel the Jim Halpert expressions constantly on my face. I don’t know what to do with this. I’m NOT used to this sort of attention and definitely not from someone as physically attractive as this guy. But I’m also embarrassed for him because he’s being so weird!

And I don’t trust him. For all I know this is just another game to him. He likes the challenge because I don’t fall for his usual crap and it’s all ego driven.

Maybe he just wants to get in my pants.

Maybe he is actually attracted to me and really does appreciate who I am as a person.

I don’t know. I also don’t know what to do but wait it out and see, I guess. Not judging him prematurely but also not letting my loins or desire to desired do the driving. Because he is pretty so it would be tempting. So I’m praying that I see him with God’s eyes and view him as a person first, regardless of how he is viewing me.

So, like I said, jury is still out. He’s ridiculous, awkward, and has some issues for sure. I have no idea what he believes and get the sense that he has some stuff in his past he’s trying to hide, make up-for, or outrun.

But, boy is it a nice ego-boost! Puts a little pep in my step and hope in my heart that this move really is bringing opportunities and opening doors for life to happen.

 

Thanks for reading my long post!

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Cha-Cha-Changes!

Guys!!! I’m finally moving on to a new season!!!!

In the past couple of months the Lord has finally released me from this long 8-year season and has called me to move to the city.

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(No, I’m not moving to Dubai but just look at that gorgeous fantasy/sci-fi insanity! Ima pretend that that’s where I’m going on my new hovercraft with my AI bestie and robot dog.)

I’ve been restless since the fall of 2016 and have been praying and searching for over a year. I kept thinking God would reveal the next job direction for me so I was surprised when instead he gave me a place! I’m not really sure when because I have no other details yet, but probably sometime this year.

I’m both excited and terrified. It feels like freedom but also a crazy trust exercise. The Lord keeps reminding me to take one day at a time. Very Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

In November I started to take an acting class in the city with Dreamer (she’s actually an professional actor) because I felt very stuck and she recommended I try it to challenge myself. The class is this exercise for actors that can very much resemble therapy in certain ways. It pushes you to be truthful, present, and vulnerable. I have benefitted from getting out of my comfort zone, seeking connection with people and being willing to be vulnerable with them in a safe space to do so. It has helped me use my intuition to really see what is going on with others. It is also helping me identify and process my own thoughts and feelings which is usually a challenge for me.

There are men in this class.

 

Single. Attractive. Men.

 

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Granted, they’re not all Christians nor are they all my age, but they are fantastic practice for interacting with attractive single guys. Practice that I desperately need after living in my small town for 8-years and having hardly any prospects.

I’m not a shy person usually. I can have great conversations in which I’m animated and funny and warm and engaging and knowledgable. I can talk this way to a guy I’m not attracted to as the day is long. But as soon as I start talking to one I find appealing every thought flees and I politely start grasping for topics and say stupid things about the weather. THE WEATHER, guys! This happened at New Years and I’m not kidding.

So PRACTICE is fantastic. Also, the acting class requires me to keep eye contact with some very sexy men for a long time and I’m terrible at doing that in real life so its good!

It’s been so nice to interact with them, in many ways I feel like a boy-crazy teen again. I don’t hate it!!! But also I have to force myself to calm down a little.

Me:

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Me to me:

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Me:

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Me to me:

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Me:

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Me to me:

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Current Mood: Poetry?

I haven’t written poetry since high school, so be warned. I have no idea if this is good or not but whatever. Tonight I found myself swept away by my powerful imagination yet again and HAD to write what I did about such experiences. Here is the song that I had on repeat while writing this, if you want the full experience 🙂

Some Other Place

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Where I’ve Been

Five years. It’s been five years of writing this blog (and ghosting in true INFP fashion in-between). Sorry for the extremely long ghosting session this time and if I’ve worried you. I’m alive. I haven’t forsaken my faith in Jesus. I haven’t randomly boned someone and quit writing out of defeat.

And it’s crazy how not much has changed in my circumstances and yet much has changed in my heart.

First, I want to say, God is good. His mercy and His grace are complete and wonderful…and undeserved yet so lovingly given.

I’m 30. I’m single. I’m a virgin. I’ve never been kissed. I’ve never been in love or even in a serious relationship. I’ve never had a boyfriend.

2016 was a crazy year of growth for me. Going to the small group for the first half of the year was amazing and such a good experience. I learned so much, met people who challenged me, and was creatively inspired. The small group stopped in the middle of the summer, and though I was sad and missed it, I knew God had His reasons for it ending.

Work kept me busy all fall, and I asked for some time off. I was granted a 7-week sabbatical which I took in March and April. I rested, traveled, and it was soooo good. I began to learn more about my personality-type and it has been eye-opening to say the least. I know that Meyers-Briggs is not the Be-All-End-All but it has definitely helped some things fall into place for me.

I went on one single date with an acquaintance of a friend but nothing came of it. Dating is even more obscure and confusing than ever, and the experience dredged up some old insecurities and frustrations, but I survived.

One of my close friends has been divorced. The first of my group to do so. Her experience kind of reinforces the side of my brain that appreciates my singleness. I know God loves me and His love is perfect, even if it isn’t always easy, and so I can trust Him. But trusting another person that way when it’s guaranteed that they will hurt me because they are human… Good gosh my fairytale ideas of romance and marriage are laughable as the years go by and humanity, my own included, takes a big dump on that sort of foolishness.  I think God has continued my singleness to keep my little idealistic self from being completely destroyed by disappointment. Real love isn’t appealing the way romanticized love is. It’s the humility of the mundane. It’s hearing someone tell the same story a million times. It’s accepting that people don’t change in ways we wish and do change in ways we don’t. And sometimes it’s getting your heart ripped out and your identity being stripped from you because everything you thought was true suddenly wasn’t because that other person chose not to keep their vows. Once again I’m learning lessons by proxy, from people braver and more impulsive than me.

It’s been nearly a year since I’ve posted and I can tell you most of the reason why: I’m still horny. I still masturbate. But I’m in a new place with it and I have been figuring it out and I also don’t want to cause anyone to stumble. This is the main reason I haven’t written. So let me explain where I’m at with this as carefully as I can.

One of my married friends mentioned that she had trouble in her sex-life with allowing herself to be vulnerable with her sexuality. She was struggling with being embarrassed and inhibited in certain ways, and asked me if I was still staunchly against masturbating.

“Now that I’m married, I can’t say that masturbating is the worst thing for you. I just wonder if it might help you more comfortable with yourself and so it might be easier for you when you get married than it’s been for me. But don’t take that as from the Lord. If you still have that conviction then please keep it.”

Basically she was wondering if she’d shamed herself into an unhealthy view of her sexuality, making her own pleasure a place of insecurity and embarrassment.

I did think about this.

At this point in my life I’ve finally realized that my sin no longer separates me from God. It does have consequences and it does have an effect, but it does not have separation. By this I mean that because of Jesus, in the very moment you screw up, God is there. It is forgiven. No distance exists. No working yourself back into His good graces. His good graces are already on you full force in that moment. His good graces being His love, His kindness, His fondness of you, His acceptance of you, His approval of you. He doesn’t even have a disappointed face on when you turn back to Him.

Sin and pride produce shame because we know when we screw up. And that shame tells us that we have to wait a couple weeks until God cools off from His latest disappointment in us before we can hear from Him again. Shame tells us that as our latest screw up fades from our memory it will do the same with God. Shame tells us that if we are extra good we can make up for our mistake and slowly take down the giant wall of sin we put up. Brick by brick we can take it down until we can once again be in His presence.

But shame is a lie when Jesus is involved. Shame is the tool used by the enemy to keep us from realizing that God is right there, waiting for your relationship to continue. There’s no barrier in-between. Jesus paid the price so the veil could tear and nothing comes in-between anymore. No working back. No tearing down. It’s already been done.

Masturbation is not the problem. Masturbation can be a symptom, however, of a deeper problem.

It is something I’ve turned to in place of God. It was a habit I relied on as an excuse to distance myself from Him because I couldn’t live up to what I thought I should be.

Pride. I wanted to be perfect. I knew I needed God, and I was a sinner, but pride made me want to need Him less. It’s that damn independent thing inside us that demands our own way, when we were created to be dependent on Him.

Somehow, it’s just easier to be a lustful failure who rages against the sinful desires that plague her than to allow myself to be accepted just as I am. I want to change and be rid of these shortcomings, but it isn’t to please God, not really. It’s to please myself.

These truths started to sink in. Grace permeated yet another layer of my heart. And with it came the realization that my masturbation habit was no longer an excuse. God was right there. EVEN WHEN IT WAS HAPPENING. And I could resume the conversation with Him at any point and in any moment and not have to work back into relationship at all.

If you’ve read some of my oldest posts maybe you remember my processing at the time.

But then I think, “If it isn’t wrong then why am I so hesitant to ask God if it is? If it isn’t wrong then why does it happen when I’m not close to God? Why do I feel farther away from Him when I’m doing it?”

I think masturbation becomes wrong and damaging when:

  1. It is interrupting and controlling your life. If you can’t function without it. If you can’t abstain from it. If it is a habit and it controls you vs you controlling yourself.
  2. If it is lustful. Lust is fantasizing about someone. Which of course leads to…
  3. If it supports the consumption of porn. Porn is harmful and damaging on so many levels. Porn is the embodiment and food of lust. Porn hurts not just individuals and their sex-lives, but society as a whole.
  4. If it is replacing intimacy in a marriage instead of supporting it. And last but not at all least…
  5. If you are convicted by the Holy Spirit that you are turning to the act instead of God to meet your emotional needs.

I no longer hold myself to a standard of living masturbation-free because I no longer believe the act is itself sinful. But I do know that having the freedom to do it holds very specific parameters for me because it can become sinful. I also know that I cross the line at times, that I still turn to it instead of God. But instead of being this huge road-block it’s an indicator. It’s a symptom of something deeper going on. When this happens I need to ask myself: Why am I turning to this lately? What am I feeling that I need to take to God?

Let’s stop making masturbation the issue and get to the heart of the issue. If you are struggling, please believe that grace has you covered and be brave enough to start asking yourself the question why?

And then go boldly to the Lord with the question and the answer. Easier said than done, I know. But until you accept that Jesus has given you His righteousness so that you can go freely before God, shame will continue to plague you and drive you to anything other than relationship with Him. But shame is a lie. There is no more guilt and no more shame. So live in that freedom! Stop trying to make yourself a more palatable version of yourself! Because that person is a mirage. The only truth about you and me that matters is that Jesus saved us and we are new and His. We will never stop needing Him to be that savior. Praise God, He will never stop being that savior for us!

This confession was a long time coming because I hate inconsistency in people and this is definitely a change from my previous writings. And I don’t want someone who has been experiencing freedom differently to stumble. And I haven’t known for certain that I’m right. But it’s where I am. And if that changes, then ok. That’s covered by the grace of God, too.

One last thought as to why it’s taken me so long to post again: honestly I’m just kind of over this subject. I’ve been content and focused on other areas in my life for once and writing would simply be more of the same story: I’m single, ya’ll. Same old thing, ya know? The fact that there’s nothing to report is in itself a bit painful. In this season, if I’m not having to write about it, I’m not thinking about it. So I might not write as much.

If any major happenings take place in my love-life, there will probably be lots of posts about it because I will be freaking out and need to process. So I’ll tell you what I told my mom: If anything happens, I promise I will let you know.

Because I love you for caring enough to read and comment. Thank you for that.

 

 

 

 

Isolation & Connection

I’ve been in an intense struggle of choosing relationship over isolation, battling loneliness and desperately wanting connection, but feeling frustrated when I can’t connect and thus wanting to shut down and isolate more. Possibly being overly introspective in an inaccurate sort of way which has led me to be exceptionally selfish lately. I’m so focused on wanting to fill my need to connect that I’ve stopped actually caring about the people in my life. It sounds backwards, but it’s true.

One of my closest friends called me out on this last night. I zone out on him way too often. Like…if I don’t deem it “actual connecting” or if it’s something frivolous in my estimation I just stop listening. I don’t mean to…but it’s been happening more and more. So I’m also feeling like an asshole right about now. I used to pride myself on being a good listener. Now I’m having to convince myself I still actually love the people in my life. I’m also struggling to believe that making new friends is even worth it.

Some of this comes from some difficult changes that have happened with Bushbaby over the past year. She’s very different now and our friendship is too. Overall it’s not a bad thing and we are still friends and still love each other, but the process has caused a lot of pain and I think I have trust issues that I never had before. I don’t like being someone who has trust issues.

In May I had a few weeks where I was really struggling with the specific residual wounds of that situation. On top of that I was struggling with feeling isolated whenever I was with my family simply because I’m single and relating to people who all got married and had families young is difficult.

I realized that the isolation you feel because you are the only single person in the group is worse than the fact that you are still single. You can’t contribute to the conversation about child labor or the various joys of childrearing or sex, and those people don’t know what to ask you so they just don’t. That isolation is far worse than the fact that you don’t have a husband yet even though you want one.

And then you ask yourself,”Do I want one? Or do I actually want to go be a hermit in the mountains with a few sheep and my cat?” Because hermithood would be easier than wanting and trying and failing to connect and then you wouldn’t hurt anyone when the process morphs you into a selfish asshole and no one could reject or misunderstand you ever ever again. Just you and Jesus, some sheep and a cat.

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But it would be a waste. And I believe that none of this season, this pain, is a waste. It’s life.

As tempting as it is, hermithood is not true living.

Other contributions of this season:

Falk (while still a fantastic human) is not right for me and I’m longer interested the way I was. The more I spent time with him the more I realized we wouldn’t have the right kind of connection that makes you want to talk and talk forever.

Ironically, the Lord forced me to hang out with Shanks for a few hours so that I’d have to see him as human and stop flat-out disliking him. I had to face why he made me so insecure and got under my skin so damn easily.

First, it’s easier to paint someone as an all around unfeeling, inconsiderate jerk than to be ignored and rejected by a good man.

I also realized that he reminds me of some guys I went to college with who were very cerebral and only cared about people who impressed them with their intellect and wit. Anyone else was rarely acknowledged and definitely not valued. I spent about two semesters in this friend-group and then realized I always felt horrible about myself afterward so I stopped hanging around those people. I attributed the same snobby callousness to Shanks because his treatment of me felt very much the same and I saw his intellectual side come out more than any warmth. As I have said in previous posts, I value warmth and compassion, so when I felt the opposite I immediately assumed he was just like them: snobby, arrogant, and exclusive. I also realized that I’m snobby toward people I view as snobby. Then I realized that just because his intellectual side might show more dominantly, that doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t love people.

At this point I still don’t know much about whether he’s a jerk or a prince charming or what. He could be a nice person and he could be a total snob. But I’ve at least been stripped of my preconceived notions enough that I don’t seethe when I see him, because 90% of my feelings about him were derived from my own issues and only about 10% of it was actually his doing. Who he actually is remains to be seen and I’ve cleaned all my scribbles off his slate at least.

He still intimidates me. I also realized that part of my whole “my man has to love people and see people and be warm” thing might be because I don’t think a guy who was particular would ever give me a chance. Maybe it’s this subconscious belief that it would take a guy who really loves people to notice and have enough grace to pursue me.

Yikes, that is a vulnerable confession. I hate that that level of insecurity is in there.

I was also sick for a few weeks (which was not fun) and my roommates have been busy with trips so I’ve spent a lot of time alone. I’ve watched a lot of TV which hasn’t helped because you are watching shows about connection and seeing characters connect or suffer being disconnected and you long and then relate and then feel like you have no life and you want something to happen because nothing ever happens and somehow you are the hermit already except you are still having to interact with people and still having to try. None of the perks of being a hermit. Only the disadvantages of feeling alone.

Ay-yay-yay what a mess.

I’m a mess.

 

The Unrequited Love Saga Pt 6

I’d love to wrap this saga up in a nice little bow. I’d love to say I have no more insecurities and my confidence now brings all the hot men to the yard more sufficiently than my milkshakes. But I can’t.

I can’t notice Falk’s qualities without instantly feeling the weight of my flaws. I fight it, but it is definitely a struggle that I’m not entirely sure how to fight.

All I know is to focus on what the Lord is teaching me. What He’s shown me.

It has definitely been a month of asking and listening about all this. And also Jesus answering.

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I recently watched the Meryl Streep film Out of Africa for the first time. Now, I haven’t experienced dramatic love affairs in the African savannah, or even dramatic love affairs in the US…or even dramatic love affairs…

…or …love affairs.

BUT

What resonated with me the most was that, yes, Karen was a strong character and she did what she had to do and she survived, but at the end of the day she didn’t want to do it alone. Was she capable? Yes. She proved that to everyone.

The real tragedy in the movie wasn’t the death of the man she loved. To me, it was that, though she was capable of going it alone, she didn’t want to have to. She wanted a partner to help her do life. And none of the men in her life were willing to truly be there. They wouldn’t step up. Were they capable? Yes. But they chose not to be there, annoyed that she even expressed that desire. He uses the excuse that his freedom was a better mark of his love for her. That he comes back because he truly loves her and not because he’s obligated to. He doesn’t see that she’s tired. He doesn’t see that for once she doesn’t want to fight alone for herself and her livelihood. That she wants him to fight for her by fighting alongside her instead of galavanting off to his easier life and leaving her with all the work and toil and uncertainty.

How often have I desired that? Am I capable of doing this life thing without a man? Yes. I am. And thank Jesus I’ve got the Holy Spirit so I’m not truly alone. But at times I long for a partner to help me carry my life’s burdens as I carry theirs. I long to have someone in my corner. Someone who has my back and shares the load of “running my African coffee farm.”

This lack also extends beyond the romantic realm. Sometimes it is very discouraging in ministry when men don’t step up…almost as if they view relational ministry as “women’s work.” I’m the head student ministry leader and it’s hard to see the girls growing and the number of guys dwindling. Us female leaders can only lead the boys so far. We can’t teach them how to be godly men and we can’t invest very deeply without it being inappropriate. They need male leaders. Male disciplers and mentors who lead them by example and invest in their lives. We have volunteer leaders but none of them know how to invest relationally. At times their presence seems to be more of a hindrance than a help because the example they set is to be passive, aloof, and clicky. The opposite of servants.

What’s more, around the time I watched Out of Africa I also was, once again, having attitude issues with the guys in the band.

Quite often I go through bouts of questioning why God decided to make me the leader. Why God? You know I’m non-confrontational. You know I’m not good under pressure and especially when I’m angry. You know I’m like a fish out of water when trying to relate to men. You know how hard it is to lead while trying not to come off as a bossy “bitch” who is disrespectful to the men she’s in charge of. Why did you put me in a job where I’ve got to handle people? Lead them?

The attitude got out of hand one Sunday and I was so shocked by what he said to me I didn’t respond. I could only stand there in unbelief at the level of disrespect he’d just shown in front of everyone. I didn’t get the chance to confront him about it afterward in private either and was so upset that week, feeling like a failure and also hurt that he’d acted that way and hurt by what he’d actually said. Mostly mad at myself for not handling it when it happened.

That week at the small group I shared my struggles, thankful that this group of people was unrelated to the rest of my life and a safe place. I needed encouragement that God would enable me to lead if He’s called me to lead. I’d even have been happy for some advice for how to talk to the guy in the band and deal with the issue. Some of the people did encourage me. But then Irishman, who is also a worship leader I look up to, asked me how long I’d been in my job. When I told him he said that maybe I needed to look elsewhere.

He didn’t say it as though it were a word from the Lord or anything. He said it kind of flippantly. But it hurt because he basically was affirming the idea that they were never going to respect me no matter what, that I’m not cut out as a leader, and I should just quit. He didn’t hear me. He didn’t see my need. He didn’t see me.

Already feeling unseen and misunderstood, things got worse when Shanks arrived super late when Dreamer and I were the only women left. Dreamer asked this young guy what kind of girl he was looking for.

“Oh, I’m not worried about that at this point,” he answered.

“That’s true,” she mused, “You’re only 22. You have time.”

Then Shanks piped up, “I don’t know, though. When I was 22 I thought I had time but when you get to be my age the dating pool is ugh!” And he pulled this face of disgust.

“It’s super late and I’ve got a long drive home,” I declared and left fairly abruptly. Between the house and my car I paused and seriously considered going back inside and giving him an earful.

“Ace Rosalind, you get into your car right now and drive away,” I commanded myself. You know it’s bad when I’m considering actually chewing someone out, swearing included. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve lost control of myself in anger but when it’s happened I scare myself. INFP’s ya’ll. Great depths of emotion that don’t come out very easily but when they do…boy are they strong! Like a bursting dam.

This was my imagined rant to Shanks:

If you had ended that sentence with, “the dating pool is smaller,” or, “it’s so much harder to find people who aren’t married,” I would agree with you and would have no problem. But “ugh!?” Really? You’re really going to say that in front of me with no hesitation? I’M IN YOUR FREAKIN DATING POOL! So either I’m “UGH!” or I’m so far beneath you you don’t even consider me as in your UGH pool! What’s more, you say this to people who are part of the small group that is full of beautiful, intelligent, single, Christian women. No wonder you’re single, you jerk!”

After raging all the way home I tried to go to bed. I couldn’t sleep. I let God in on my thoughts and emotions and found myself crying and felt my heart breaking.

Lord, it’s not just Shanks. It’s also the men I do ministry with and my friends and these singles. God, they’re breaking my heart! I feel like Karen in the movie. I want help. I want to be seen. I want them to want to understand. But they don’t. Not in ministry or friendship and certainly not in dating.

For the first time I felt a discouragement about men that caused actual despair. That night, What Men Lacked seemed to have a weight of its own that crushed and buried me. They lacked the ability to care to see. I lacked the ability to cause them to. I felt that I would forever go Unseen, Unknown, and completely Misunderstood.

The irony in all of this is that Bushbaby gave me a Giving Key with the word “Cherished” on it. Basically the idea behind The Giving Keys is that you give someone a key with a word engraved that the Holy Spirit directs you to give. That person wears the key until they embrace the word and then they pass it on to whoever the Lord directs.

So I’m trying to embrace that I am “Cherished.”

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Over the past months I’ve felt quite the opposite of cherished. Loved, sure. I know God loves me. But cherished? How can someone Unseen, Unknown, Overlooked, and completely Misunderstood by what felt like everyone around her be cherished? 

But then that Saturday I put on the new Bethel album as I drove and the Holy Spirit directed me to pay attention to the words of a certain song. I cried as I listened and then I listened again and cried more. I love it when God speaks like that. So specifically to your need. And not only to dispel lies and speak truth but also to prove that I am cherished by the fact that He does so!

After worship and much prayer, the Lord affirmed me in the leadership role He gave me. Throughout the Bible He never says that He will take away the weakness of those He uses. I’m not going to be cured of the things that cause me to struggle as a leader. However, He always tells them that He will be with them. He equips them to do the work. On their own they can’t, but He will act out His will through His power and their weakness will be the means of displaying that power. The same goes for me. He’s called me to lead. I’m not equipped on my own but I don’t have to be. He will give me what I need in the moment. I must rely on Him to come through in my weakness.

He did. The next day went really well. I got some attitude from the one guy. Instead of inner turmoil the Lord gave me the words and the tone and an inner peace that were perfect for the situation. He came through for me.

I went on a mission trip. It was very challenging for me this time. Again I was in a situation where I had to work with someone very difficult. I wondered why I was even there and felt useless and Unseen in totally new ways. And yet, I ran to God in the midst. And in each instance where I wanted nothing more than to lose it on this difficult person or get snippy or really passive aggressive, I asked Him for patience and self-control. For grace. And He sustained me. I’m still shocked that I contained my frustration as well as I did, and can only say it was Jesus doing it in me. He was very much my refuge on that trip. And in the end I was exhausted because it had been hard but I was also very much in love with Jesus and so thankful for His care in the midst.

On the trip there were some very precious moments of connecting with people. Even though the work I went to do was disrupted and frustrating, these moments of connection were the bright points. One of these moments was a conversation with a leader from another group that was staying the same place we did. (This was not a romantic thing) He and I talked about theology and philosophy, but occasionally he would say something like, “You seem like a (insert descriptive word here) person.” And he would totally nail it. Like…he got me. He saw who I was after only talking to me for half an hour. And as I walked away I felt really encouraged and heard the Holy Spirit say, See? There are people who can see you and get you. I’m not the only being who can. And there will be men who can too.

What matters, what He has been showing me through all of this searching and questioning and feeling and hurting…well, basically I’m cherished by Him. Maybe the idea isn’t to cure me of my insecurities about other people. Maybe He’s brought this up in order to show me His sustaining power, His tender care, His deep personal desire to show me that I’m understood completely by Him and so loved for who I am. And to show me that His desire is not just for me to understand that He loves me, but that I was made for loving Him in return. The kind of relationship I long for He longs to have with me! He wants me to seek to See Him and Know Him and Understand His heart.

This is the song that He led me to, that I’ve gone back to over and over lately because I need its truth to sink in. To seep into my cells. It’s super good…and then the bridge hits and it goes to a whole new level. COMPLETE Lyrics are below (The vid only has some).

“You Don’t Miss A Thing”
When You stand I feel the floor of Heaven tremble
As You breathe we live and have our being
When you speak oh I feel it in my chest
When You sing all my fears are put to rest

CHORUS

What a wondrous thing
I can stand to sing
Cause when I fall to my knees,
You’re the one who pulls me up again
What a mystery
That You notice me
And in a crowd of ten thousand
You don’t miss a thing
You don’t miss a thing

When you sigh the wind becomes a sonnet
When you laugh the storm around me ceases
You whisper and all my enemies are scattered
You surround me with angels on assignment

CHORUS

And I am seen
And I am known
By the King of Kings
And Lord of Lords

There’s no place I can go
Where your love won’t find me
No place I can hide
That you don’t see
There’s no place I can fall
Where your love couldn’t catch me
You see it all,you see it all
Through the eyes of love

There’s no place I can go where your love won’t find me
No place I can hide that you can’t see
No place I can fall where your love wouldn’t catch me
You see it all, you see it all
And you’re in everything, you’re all around me

When I withdraw, still You pursue.
There’s no place I can go where your love won’t find me
No place I can hide that you don’t see
When I’m misunderstood your love understands me
You see it all, you see it all
You’re in everything

You’re all around me
You surround me

There’s no place I can go that you won’t find me
There’s no place I can hide that you don’t see
No place I could fall your love wouldn’t catch me
You see it all, you see it all
Through the eyes of love

So come and see me
Come and know me
Come and search my heart and make me
Like You, like You
I just wanna be like you

Come and see me
Come and know me
Come and search my heart and make me new
Make me new
I wanna be like You