blessed

So I wrote this thing about a month ago, when the reality of being unemployed truthfully settled in and my emotions surrounding that were at an all time high. Although now, I am employed. I actually start orientation tomorrow, so life came at me fast. But our generation has a tendency to only show the peachy, positive, bright side of life on social media. Too often, we only celebrate our successes, but don’t embrace our failures. I wanted to delete what I wrote, because I thought it was too whiny, too spiteful, and now, too irrelevant. However, I’m hoping to speak to people like me, who find it hard to rejoice when others are doing really well or seemingly better. For people who want to be or do something somewhere else, but don’t know what that “else” is.

 

My spirits have been up and down. I know the job search is difficult. I was warned it’d be a long process, and potentially a discouraging one, but that I would need to remain encouraged and persistent. I know that most of everyone has been through this stage. Some unemployment periods longer than others, but many people have had the sheer joy of doing 30-45 minute long applications, never hearing back for weeks, and then finally getting an email that just says something along the lines of “we decided to pursue another candidate”.

I know in a few months time, I’ll look back and scoff at how worried I was. I’ll get something eventually, and have a new list of concerns that don’t include being unemployed. But right now, I’m really not in the mood for people to tell me my time is coming, to be patient, and to enjoy this time. Because I am doing all of those things. I feel good most days. I have plenty of time to workout, I can make my own meals, and I get to read books for fun in my spare time. Money is tight, but I’ve been getting by with the help of really loving parents. I’ve been able to refresh and keep up so many good friendships, and have been able to invest more time into church and ministry. But when you apply for 5-10 jobs a day, for weeks and weeks at a time, it feels like it’s own job. I’m tired of talking myself up in these copy pasted cover letters when those words can’t sum me up in person. The more jobs I get rejected from, the less I want to apply. And the more time I spend in bed. And the more baked goods I eat. And the sadder I feel.

As graduation was approaching in the spring, I started to make efforts to change my attitude about certain things. In March, I made the decision to a.) Not compare my journey to others’, and b.) Celebrate my friends who are getting jobs even when I’m still looking.

And it has been really difficult. I deleted all of my social media for a month this summer, hoping to avoid those God-awful “I’m pleased to announce” posts. Those have always rubbed me the wrong way. Seriously, it’s great that you got exactly what you wanted at this world-renowned organization that loves you so much. YAY let all of Facebook join hands and praise your success. Like seriously, did you do that to inform your friends and family that you’re doing well, or did you do it out of vain? I don’t plan on doing that whenever I get a job. And now, I have friends who are close to me getting interviews for the same exact jobs I applied for. It’s nearly impossible for me not to constantly debate in my head whether or not I did something wrong or that I’m just simply not good enough. I’m just kinda over this whole thing.

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I’m trying not be down about it, and I’m trying not to compare myself to others. I’ve been doing pretty well about remaining optimistic. But today is particularly hard. And I kinda just want to cry and watch This Is Us.

You would think by now that I finally found the light at the end of the tunnel. I have a job now! I can finally pay for my car without help, I can stop getting samples of makeup from Sephora and just get the real thing, and actually get more than just a drink when I’m out to eat. But it’s funny how we can be when God gives what we’ve been asking for. I’ve been waiting to be out of this awkward post-grad stage, and now that I’m on my way out, I’m kinda asking God to rethink His decisions and take back what He’s given me. A friend of mine said “I have to remind myself that everything I used to pray for is what I have now. Too often, we beg God for things, and once He delivers, we say it’s too much.” And that spoke to me because that’s where I’m at.

I realized my motivation in not posting about my new job wasn’t genuine. I didn’t do it because I wasn’t proud, and because it wasn’t my dream job. If I had got hired at one of the best hospitals in my area, there would’ve been no hesitation in broadcasting that. Because that’s what we want people to see. But that didn’t happen. I’m working at a hospital I didn’t anticipate, on a floor and with a population I didn’t expect. And that is okay.

I’ve been reminded to always celebrate those doing well around you. There’s something so special and humbling about sharing excitement with your achieving friends. Their victory becomes your victory.

I’ve been reminded that the timing may not be what we expect, and the blessing may not be what we think, but we’re still blessed. God doesn’t play favorites; He has our best interest always and has purpose and reason behind everything.

I’m anxious about working and getting a taste of the real world for sure, but I’m also really excited to start a new journey. It’s going to be challenging, and my perpetual state of exhaustion will only be heightened. Thankfully, I’m surrounded by fantastic human beings who are all in with me, willing to meet me where I’m at, and share in my victory.

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just do it

I was talking to someone the other day who felt like she was stuck in a spot. She shared how she has longed to move on & be the foster mom she’s always wanted to be, but feels like she has issues to work through first. Issues that have been in place for years, but haven’t been resolved because of work and negligence of counseling. I asked her if she felt like these problems had to be fixed right now in order for her to achieve motherhood, and she said she doesn’t know if it’s really holding her up, or if it’s just an excuse.

We think that because we are not as loving as we could be, as selfless as we could be, as adventurous as we could be, that we can’t do great things right now. We are perfectionists, and want to show up in tip-top shape, looking our best, but God does the coolest things when we are the most out of shape. He wants to meet us right where we are, in the grit and rubble of our lives, and show us how He can take something that is broken, and remake it into something that is beautiful. You don’t need to be all fixed up and wrapped with big red bow to be useful. Sometimes, we have to be really screwed up in order to recognize our need. I think that is incredible.

I struggle with this a lot. There are some goals I want to achieve that I won’t say out loud because I don’t want to fully commit, or I’m scared it won’t come to fruition. There are so many opportunities that I turn down or run away from because I don’t think I’m a good enough person to go for them. I think there’s a lot of work to be done and I never think that I’m ready to take on certain tasks that come my way. But having these weaknesses and doubts are a chance to see what grace is all about. Some of the greatest growth and blessings come through not knowing what the hell you’re getting yourself into. Not being ready. Being broken.

Embrace the fact that you may not be your best self. You think you’re unlikely; well you’re not. God has used some of the most amateur, unlikely people to take on his most marvelous deeds.

june 11th

It seriously breaks my heart that there are people in this world who don’t know people care about them. They do not think one person cares for them enough to make them stay on this earth.

There are people who think their life is so un-worth it, so meaningless, so devalued. They think their life has no purpose. and that it’s not work experiencing or persevering through. And so they take their own lives, not fully realizing the impact their absence will have on the lives of people. On their mothers, nieces, brothers, teachers. And even in strangers like me.

And what doesn’t help how these people view themselves is the wicked world we live in. A world that’s full of sin, corruption, and deceit.

It’s gut-wrenching, really. And every time it happens, I can’t help but think what if I just got the chance to talk to those people. Just to have a conversation with them. Sometimes, that’s all people need; for someone to look them in the eyes, to listen to then attentively, showing them that they are valued. That they matter.

And through that, to show them the unsurpassable love that God has for them. Although they may not see It or feel It. To share with them that It comes through the fact they see the sun rise, or that they make it home safely. To show them that’s It displayed all over creation, in the vast greenness of nature, and the crashing wades of water. To show them that It even makes appearances in the little things, like a smile, a hug, or a conversation.

It breaks my heart to know there are people out there that do not know the favor and admiration God has for them. They don’t know how pursuitful He is of our hearts. They don’t know how quickly he’d move mountains just to have us.

If they could’ve just had that conversation, just maybe.

R.I.P. Kalief Browder

this love

This morning, it was hard for me to read the Word. I wanted to so deeply feel something as I read the truth spoken by God in Genesis, but I just couldn’t. The possibility of not passing this semester crossed my mind. The thought of missing a deadline for my job distracted me. The lack of time spent in the gym this week put me on a guilt trip. So I closed my journal and Bible, and played my Pandora radio. The song “This Love” by Housefires played, and completely broke my walls. Towards the end of that song, my Bible app notified me of the verse of the day, 2 Corinthians 3:17 — “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” God knew just what to say.

As the weight of the world hones in on me, as I’m swayed to believe I’m not good enough, I can rest in these truths portrayed in that song:

“This love, is an everyday kind of love. Every morning, I’m in it

This love, is an everyday kind of love. Every evening, I’m in it

This love doesn’t leave me alone; it never forgets its own

This love won’t leave me because my past is bad

This love lifts me up above the waves; I don’t need to be overwhelmed.

It raises me upon a rock so my feet can finally stand on ground.

This love is every moment, of everyday, always.

This love makes it so that you can finally be free.”

discover the secret

Reading a book called Fresh Brewed Life and an excerpt from this particular chapter is blessing me today:

“There is no beauty in makeup. Expensive clothes will not make you beautiful. The secret lies in being an alive, awake woman with something to offer the world. Namely, yourself. Real beauty is less about your actual face and more about the heart that beats underneath it. It is less about the trendy shape of your eyebrows and all about the light in your eyes. Less about the shape of your nails and more about the openness of your hands. Less about the length of your legs and more about the bounce in your step. Real beauty must radiate from a place no makeup can reach, no tweezers can shape, and no bronzer can color. As you participate in your life with a compassionate, warm smile and a generous spirit, you are beautiful.”

great worth

I’ve always been the active listener, the good friend, the question-asker, the supporter, the advice giver. I’ve always been the one who will almost never interrupt or interject because to me that is rude, and the other person is important. I’ve always been a mystery to others, because I want to know so much about them and never offer the chance for them to hear about me. I’ve always been the girl who knows everything about everyone, but people know very few things about me.

And I never really thought of these traits as something to fix, or something to be proud of. I just accepted them as a part of me, knowing that’s just who I am and that it makes me unique.

But love has shown me other wise. Love has shown me that when people really care for you, they want to hear everything you have to say. Love has shown me that when you are a human, and you are a creation of God, you are worthy and valued. Love has shown me that my words carry weight, and should never be put on the back burner.

It’s been a common theme that in almost every relationship I’ve had, whether it be with a boss, co-worker, a close friend, or colleague, they want to hear more from me. They feel like they’re talking too much, and haven’t heard a word from me. They think that I look like I have something good to say, but I don’t say it. They think there’s so much more to me; that I’m a mystery. I use the excuse of being an introvert or reserved, and it’s usually understood. But personality is not black and white. We can’t be divided into introverts and extroverts because life would be all too boring, and humans are too complex to be one or the other.

The truth is that I’m not loving myself enough. I don’t think what I have to say is important all the time. I do think I’ve had plenty of exciting moments in my life, but I don’t think people will feel the same way. I say I think of others before I think of myself, which is such a selfless thing to do, so of course I pat myself on the back. But the truth is, I don’t think of myself first enough. I don’t see myself the way God sees me, and that just sucks.

And I feel bad. I feel like I’ve sold people short. I hated high school because the popular people were the only ones who really mattered. People were mean and would come at the easiest target: someone who is quiet and most likely will not argue back. But had I loved myself more I might’ve had a different experience.

I have a 13 year old sister who is in high school now, & she means the world to me. I see myself in her every single day. She has picked up so many of my traits and gosh. I would hate for the awesomeness she has to offer to not be shown. It is so draining to only love others and not yourself. So I sent her this note:

“I just want to let know that you should really love yourself for who you are. You are worthy and beautiful not because of the number of likes or comments you might get on Instagram or any network, but you are worthy and beautiful because you are Arielle and because God handmade you. And the words that you say have a lot of meaning. They matter, and so when you talk to someone and there’s an awkward silence or a break, don’t ask a question about themselves (unless you really want to know), because you don’t think they want to hear what you have to say. Talk about yourself. Share a funny story. Talk about something you love talking about, whether it’s about a character in a book or this awesome dancer on So You Think You Can Dance or Justin Bieber or this new outfit you bought. Don’t ever think that what you say isn’t important, because the people who care about & love you would not carry a conversation with you if they didn’t want to hear what you have to say. Don’t become too wrapped up in being a great listener or asking good questions. You’re an interesting person and have so much to offer and are so wise for someone your age and you have great opinions and ideas and I think you should embrace that. There will always be someone who’s faster, or prettier, or smarter, but there will never ever ever be another you, and you should love yourself for that.”

Although that was for my sister, I think it was very much for me too. And so in future conversations if I kindly interrupt, or go on a random tangent, or talk a lot more than I usually do, know that I’m just on the trail of trying to love myself better.