Friday, August 20, 2010


My friend (and soon-to-be roommate) and I have talked often about the mythical Christian "checklist"...that list of steps and tasks to be completed before one reaches the Holy Grail of self-awareness and near-Godliness. That moment when you are no longer who you were, but the very best you will ever be.

We talk about it because we hate it. We hate it because, quite frankly, it doesn't exist. There is no moment when you are safe from yourself, when you are "cured" and no longer at risk of slipping down the muddy slope you've been struggling to climb. Deep down, I know I just have to say the word to be carried out of that. That faith and perseverance stop the slide. But that isn't how I FEEL.

I started this blog because I wanted to share the new direction I've chosen to point my life. But it would be useless to only write the triumphs. It would be dishonest and a disservice to you and to me to deny the moments where my shoes get muddy and I just want to sit down in the mud and get dirty. No pun intended. Well, not exactly. But the truth is, there are times like this week, when the old me seems to be BANGING on my door. She's asking when I became so boring, why I won't text that guy, why I won't have another drink. She's wondering why an e-mail to my ex would be a big deal. She's reminding me of all the pain of the past, but she paints a pretty picture of all of those experiences. She sees them as these wistful, romantic, slightly tortured love stories. My mind knows that the only truth in the previous sentence is found in "torture". No (true) romance. Certainly no true love.

Yet here I sit, missing it. Missing feeling wanted for something, even if that something left me emptier than before, every time. Missing phone calls, text messages, the drama. Why?

And then I think of footprints. Two sets, His and mine. I know someday, I will look back on today, yesterday, and so many others and see only one set. I know I'm being carried. I know this because as much as I want to, I haven't given in. I haven't texted that guy, had that drink, or sent that e-mail. My heart knows it's worth it. My mind is being a whiny pain in the ass, but that's today. Tomorrow...tomorrow, we'll see.

Makes me think of this:
(Tenth Avenue North, "On and On")

Life is waiting for you
And life I have given to you
Tell me what else can I do
What more have I left to prove?
That I am what you need
Still I will hold on to your heart
Through the chaos and the dark
When your eyes fail to see

So what are you waiting for?

On and on we go
Come love take my hand
On and on we go
As you run away again
On and on we go
Back to where this all began

So come love take my hand

...Okay. I can do that. Muddy shoes and all.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Foundations Part 2...Moving!

With all of the other tumultuous happenings, some very exciting news to report from the past few weeks...

I, Jessica, am for the first time since my junior year of college (that's 4 years...oh my) am moving out of my parents' house. It's been a very foreign, but lusted-after concept for me for some time now. A few times I've come exceptionally close, but the timing, the finances, etc, were never right.

I knew I couldn't do it alone. Enter one of my favorite people in the world, randomly texting to see if I was considering moving. To be honest? I wasn't. Mostly because I didn't have anyone to move WITH, a roommate whose lifestyle would support my own, and whose presence would be a blessing. We said we'd start looking for a place. And the first place we looked at, we loved. It all seemed too good to be true. So we prayed. And then prayed some more. And while a few obstacles came up, the doors just opened. And it just seems RIGHT.

So much will have to change for career future, though it looks promising, is not yet guaranteed, so taking this step is in fact a HUGE leap of faith that I will be provided for and taken care of. I'll have to change the way I live in many ways, and learn to budget (a completely foreign concept to me, by the way) and prioritize. I'm sure I'll think differently a few months from now, but I see this as somewhat of an adventure. Maybe it's dating old men, or living with my folks, or something, but I seem to have a very distorted view of where I should be in my life right now. I'm not yet TWENTY-FIVE. If there was ever a time to experience the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle, now is it. Before the husband and babies (God willing)...before I have mouths beside my own to feed, now is when I need to learn to live below my (meager) means. Of all the changes in the past few goodbye from one or two people that just can't be a part of me anymore, a new job, etc...This is the one change that catapults me into the realm of "right where I should be" and it's WONDERFUL, and it's SCARY, but it's REAL.

So here goes grown up life. Can't wait.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Foundations...part one.

I have much more to update on, but I'll rewind a bit first.

I can't say the past few weeks have been my healthiest or smartest. After finally making it impossible for my ex to be a part of my life, and feeling SO good about it, I decided, naturally, it was time to directly defy my counselor's advice and do the thing I do worst: date.

After WORSHIP night, of all things, about a month ago, I went to the restaurant next door to my church for drinks with a friend. There I managed to meet a guy. Cute. Really cute. Too cute, truthfully for his (my) own good. We talked. I flirted, because that's WHAT I DO...I gave him my number. Magically, he called! I decided I was strong enough--what kind of damage could one date really do?

And I had a really good time. For the first time ever, I was just myself. No attempts at being anything more or less than I am. No, I didn't get trashed and sleep with him. Yes, I do get 10 bonus points for this. Thing is, he walked me to my car, gave me this awkward kiss goodnight that I didn't expect and that was that. No call, nothing since that night. Ouch. If I had been ready to date...if I'd been secure enough in myself and in my faith that the right man is not mine to choose, my reaction to that rejection might have been much different. Instead, I spent a good week cancelling plans, overeating, underexercising, and generally feeling sorry for myself.

All of those negative thoughts came right back. Why not me? What's wrong with me? Why am I not good enough for this person? Pacing the floor (literally...I did this, I paced) wondering what it is about me that makes me NOT WORTH IT.

How quickly I forget. I momentarily let a stranger shake the foundation I'm trying to build. I let another person determine my value, when God set the bar so much higher for me before I ever drew a breath. My value to Him, YOUR value to Him, is infinite. Truth be told, I'm glad it happened. Despite the temporary setback, that one date and subsequent rejection also confirmed how far I have indeed come. Years, or even months ago, I would have sent the occasional text message, letting myself be strung along, clinging to any crumbs of attention or affection tossed my way. I would have found creative ways to remind Mr. Wonderful that I exist, searching for his validation. This time, after my mild tantrum and bout of hurt feelings, I can honestly say this guy's validation is not the reassurance I need.

The foundation shook, but didn't crumble. In one of the books I'm reading, "Having a Mary Spirit", Joanna Weaver writes of earthquakes that are bound to strike our lives. They will come, but if our foundation is strong and we're willing to bend and sway and move a little, we won't just fall apart. I'm still building that foundation. The tubs of cookie dough and chocolate ice cream I downed one night last week can attest to that. But what a relief, when the aftershocks subside and I am still again, to see that I'm still safe and whole. What more reassurance could I ask for?