Dreams, Determination, Defiance…

I’ve been praying for the past year that I would start to dream again, like I used to…I’ve had a lot of physical/medication changes over the past 2 years that have really impacted my levels of fatigue and how I sleep, so there’s been physical barriers that have affected me, spiritually, and I’ve really missed the impactful dreams I used to have on a regular basis…I prayed again on Sunday, that God would break through and stir everything up again. I think that over the past week, some dust is being shaken and some ash is breaking down…

I’ve had some struggles lately in the area of relationships; I have felt, for lack of a better word, trampled, and like I am struggling for validation from people (which is DISASTROUS, for so many unhealthy reasons). I’ve said it repeatedly to myself, that as I turn 40 in November, that I am taking a stand and refusing to feel this way any longer. I have felt like the pending “doom” of turning 40 is more of a rebirth for myself, mentally and spiritually, but for every step I take, 5 more knock me down. I am not giving up, and I am determined to stand my ground, especially in regards to my career and the dreams for my life that I know God gave me. I am so tired of hearing, “God has a plan, He is going to use you,” and seeing nothing…and feeling nothing…and also of not putting the legwork in to build my spiritual life. I’ve struggled with self-discipline my entire life, and now, as a fat and broke adult(!), I have to end this. I can’t live like this anymore, and I need to get it right. I’m sick of myself and of the stupid excuses. God made me stronger than this. It’s time for me to walk in it…but I’ve been saying that for over a year.
Big dreams, bad execution?
When it’s just me, just my face, just this body staring at me in the mirror, there are so many voices I hear…so many ways of saying “you’re not worth it, Cass.” I’ve always been fond of words, but they cut my throat when I see myself.
Who needs enemies when no one hates you as much as you do?
(Actually, that’s not true–I can think of at least one person that hates me way more than I do, LOL–for this week, at least) 🙂
And as much as I dislike certain things about myself, (physical, personality, etc), I do struggle with a sense of entitlement in particular areas. I think my sense of reward is disproportionate to my actual investment, if that makes sense, and I really see that manifest in financial areas. I always have, and as I’ve grown, I noticed that when I have felt safe, loved, etc., I don’t spend anything. It’s when I am under stress or feeling ignored that I find myself in trouble. I try to fill gaps that I should be looking to Jesus to fill. It’s gotten me into more trouble–oooh, girl! He has to be my All; He has to be my Everything, and I have to stop self-validating or looking to others to pat my ego as a temporary patch on what is missing, spiritually.

I write more, when I feel challenged, torn, broken, defiant, stretched, and bluntly, when I feel like throwing up my middle finger to the world and doing whatever the heck I want. I’m being super, super honest here, but it’s the truth, and sometimes, it’s not pretty. Sometimes, I say and do ugly things, particularly when I’m in the breaking process, which is where I am, right now.

There’s a line in a *Nicki Minaj song that says, “I give zero f***s and I got zero chill in me.” I get it. I mean, I GET IT. I am sick and tired as hell of caring what people think, because all it gets me is frustration and emptiness. People walk away. They burn bridges, and there’s nothing left, even when you’ve poured your heart and your prayers and your time into them. They light the match and they walk off, and it’s just you. It’s just me, looking at myself, thinking, “You’re a fool. Why did you bother?”
Why did I bother?
Because Jesus says to bother.
That sucks.

He says to be a friend to the friendless…to pour in your time and your heart and your prayers. He says to be the open door, the shoulder to cry on. He says to be the listening ear, even when you’re irritated or offended (He says, “don’t be offended). He says to make the investment, even when you know it’s not going to come into fruition. He says to love.
He knows you’re going to get hurt. He knows I’m hurt. He knows I’ve thrown up that middle finger and told the world to eff off. He knows I’m angry. He knew this would happen; he knew where I would fail, he knew where friendships would fail, and He knows I’m in the middle of a tantrum (ch-ching!). He knows.

He knows I have to go through this breaking process. He knows a relationship has been required of me, and I see His hand working. I see my mistakes, and I see the patterns. I see they need to be broken, and that I feel like a raw, disgusting scrambled egg inside.

Every place we are in life, every relationship we have, everything we do, weaves into this tapestry that we cannot see…I like to think about Harry Potter, and the room in Sirius Black’s house, where there’s an enormous family tree. As people defy the family, his mother burns their faces out on the tapestry, leaving a huge, burnt hole. I’d kinda like to burn a few faces out, LOL, but that’s not my point. My point is that our tapestry is full of milestone moments, forks in the road, and when we look back, we will see how they are huge turning points. Those forks in the road can be very, very dark, but are so beautiful, in retrospect. We can try to burn those milestones out, but there will always be a mark, and we will always, despite our best efforts, have those memories of deciding moments.  We decide our behaviors, we decide our response, and we walk out the field we’ve sown.
I want to choose the behaviors and the responses that show a tapestry of fruitful fields, not a tapestry of burnt holes and fallow ground. 
It’s not easy, and sometimes, I suck so unbelievably hard at it. I can be such a punk, and frankly, it’s no secret that I can be a total b***h. I’m pretty sure part of my tapestry looks like Death Valley.

But…
I am POSITIVE that part of my tapestry is beautiful. I have seen the hand of God work in my life so powerfully, so undeniably, that I know and I believe in Him. I believe His Holy Spirit works in crazy, incomprehensible ways. I know He’s working even now, whether it’s in a healing way, a restorative way, a breaking way, whatever; I know He’s working, trying to rehab or reconstruct me in the middle of this process. I am positive that He can make even the ugliest parts of my tapestry absolutely beautiful in His way…

Jesus lays out some pretty crappy, difficult stuff for His children to do. Forgive? Disciple? Befriend? Share? Help? Who wants to do any of that, man? Who wants to stop on the side of the road and help someone who blew a tire? Who thinks it’s funnier to drive by and yell expletives at them out the window (and maybe video tape it and upload it to YouTube to go viral)? Who wants to forgive someone who slapped their face or threw a slushie at them? Who wants to open up their building to house the displaced, with reckless abandonment to anyone who may be trying to come in for nefarious reasons? Who wants to befriend the obnoxious, nerdy kid who sits by themselves in the lunch room?
Who wants to share their Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream (not this girl. Don’t touch my ice cream.)?

Who’d rather go on about their lives, living for themselves, without any eye on eternity or making an impact?

Jesus makes life difficult. It’s true. Yes, He’s awesome. His Love is amazing. He’s so real, and He’s so present…but it doesn’t always feel that way, and sometimes, He feels distant and we feel alone. We feel the chill of this earth and the lack of heart. We have to push through what we feel, and what we know, to draw closer to Him and to do what He asks.

No one has ever felt lonelier or more abandoned than Jesus.

NO one has ever loved harder than Jesus.

No one has ever been expected to do more, with less of a payoff: “Hey, Jesus, go to earth! Die on a Cross in a horrible, brutal, awful way, okay? Those people are going to hate You, to totally reject You, and maybe 10-20% are ever going to love You—and only 5% of those people are not going to totally suck at following Your commands–but go ahead, drop down to earth, and suffer, ‘K?” WHAT IN THE WORLD?!?

Jesus Loves Us.
He loves me, and He would have done it all for just me…fat, narcissistic, petty ME.  He’s the Thread that keeps my messed-up, ashy tapestry from falling apart. He’s what makes my life beautiful…even right now, even during my gross, raw, scrambled egg, broken hot mess phase.

I want to flip off the world. I want to tell everyone I run into–strangers, friends, family–to leave me the hell alone, and let me drown in my debt and my misery. That’s pure, selfish garbage. That’s humanity.

Life is spiritual.

Humanity is cold and solid. Spirituality is fluid, breathable, warm, and embracing. Humanity says to “shut down, reject.” Spirituality says to “reach out, to pray, to love.” Humanity is armored. Spirituality is open.

Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to comfort us, to keep us from embracing humanity and telling the world to eff off. He sent His Spirit to keep our hearts open and soft, prone to injury (because He is our armor), and reliant on Him to show love.

I will show love, even when it’s difficult, because He says I have to.
I will feel loved, even when no one shows it to me, because He says He loves me. I believe Him.
I will make the investment, over and over again, into people, regardless of what happens, because he makes the investment into me, over and over again…

And I will rely on Him,
In so many, many ways,
To make my hot mess of life into something beautiful…
I will trust in what I don’t see…
I will break, but I will not be broken…
And He will restore my soul….

*I do not make it a habit, of listening to or of endorsing Nicki Minaj, LOL.  I just happened to catch that line and thought it was perfect. 🙂