If What I Have Is Everything, Why Do I Want More?

I used to listen to a certain album a lot back in 2008, and one particular song’s lyrics reminds me of the emotions and internal struggles I felt back then.

The lyrics to the song are: If what I have is everything, why do I want more?

I remember posting those lyrics as a Facebook status one day. Someone asked me what it meant.

Oh it’s just from a song, I replied.

But to everyone who read it, it probably screamed of deep-rooted unhappiness they felt I was hiding.

And boy, I was hiding it. Though I didn’t really accept it at the time.

Who really wants to admit they’re not happy living their life of pleasure?

But I was unhappy. Of course, at the time I’m thinking, “Heck yeah I’m happy. I’m doing what I want and living the life I want.”

I was a little reckless. I did what felt good in the moment. The spark of rebellion was lit at fifteen, and I thought I’d never want to turn away from that partying life I chose. (Cue the “Pleasure Island” song from Geppetto lol).

But then the unhappiness hit. I’d cry. I’d doubt. I’d sit in my room after some thrilling thing I did and think (but never express out loud) “What’s wrong with me? I have everything, and I’m doing everything I want. Yet I feel like something is missing. Like I’m incomplete.”

That cycle continued until I was about 21 years old. It was then when I knew what I was missing. I didn’t have God in my life. And He was tugging at my heartstrings. (Thank God for my praying sister and mother!) That’s when I knew I had to start listening to that tug.

So I started receiving Bible studies. I started attending church. I made changes. I stopped hanging out with certain people, stopped doing certain things.

But my journey was a rollercoaster, of course. I was faced with all kinds of temptations, going back and forth between my old life and my new life.

I had to ask myself: What am I doing? If I am going to commit to God, I need to stop with this back-and-forth nonsense.

And friends, God is good. He has called me out of the darkness and into His marvelous light. He filled that void I had in my heart and in my life. He helps me get through struggles when I’m tempted and fills me with hope when I’m hopeless.

I didn’t have that before.

And I could never go back to my old lifestyle again.

Never!! Because if I did, I’d be choosing gross fast food over a gourmet four-course meal!

I didn’t have everything I wanted before because I didn’t have Him. And I wanted more out of life. But nothing this world as to offer will ever be good enough.

Nothing.

We miss so much of what God has to offer because we think He is cruel/doesn’t exist/is for stupid, uneducated people.

I can’t convince you. It’s not my job to convince you. But it is my job to share Christ and to share His love and light, to share what He has done for me.

Look up and trust, friends.

Until next,

A Life that was Changed

As I’ve been at home sick the last couple of days, it is  appropriate for me to write about what I think it means to live my life for others and to live for a greater cause, while appreciating sacrifices others have made for me. If there is one thing I’ve learned while being newly married, it’s that I no longer do nor want to do things just for myself anymore. Pre-marriage I was doing things like working for myself, laundry for myself, meal prepping for myself, planning the day for myself, etc. But now I’m learning to put myself aside and put anything that has to do with his well-being as a priority.

And while I’ve been sick,  my husband has made his own sacrifices (like getting out of bed to drive me to Target at 10:30 at night to get pill-form medicine since I’m too picky to swallow the liquid stuff).

And lately I’ve been starting to see the shift in my own self-centeredness to being more, well, self-less.

I think a common misconception about selflessness is that selfless people are passive and weak, while other people feel they need to be self-centered and selfish, making ‘ME’ a priority in order to look strong and independent

I can recall few advertisements where helping others before helping yourself was the main theme, while I can clearly recall commercials, billboards, television shows, and magazines where self-centeredness is dominant.

Okay,okay the point of this blog is not for social commentary, so I’ll end that here. The real point I want to get at is the change I noticed in myself.

Another thing I want to note is that to me, putting his needs as my priority doesn’t make me “lose” myself or my own needs. His happiness is my happiness.  Others’ happiness is my happiness.

A few months ago, I was asked to take over a class at my church on the mornings before church service and, naturally, I was eager to say ‘no’.

Oh no, I thought. I’m afraid to commit, and I don’t know how to teach!

Fear already started to plant itself in my mind, but I’m learning not to make quick decisions if I don’t have to, and am learning to really think, pray, and meditate on any decisions that I need to make.

So I prayed about making the right decision every day after I was asked, and kept reciting in my prayers:

Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.

That’s pretty scary-committing to something you don’t want to do for the sake of helping others… That idea is kind of foreign to me. I’ve grown accustomed to just doing what’s comfortable for me, myself, and I.

I’m trying not to think that way anymore. Any skill or talent I have, I want to use it to bring other people to truth, not to glorify myself

 

Whoa, that’s crazy! I never thought those words would come out of my hand. In the past, all I ever wanted to do with YouTube, music, or writing was to make ME the center, to make myself the highlight of any project.

What a difference, now. Now I want to be a blessing to others, to help other people, even in the smallest of ways.

During the week I was praying about the decision to teach the class, I got an urge to listen to old worship songs my mom would play for me and my sister as kids. As the songs started playing, memories flooded my mind. But when one particular song came on, the beauty of the lyrics touched me so deep, I started crying. Right then I knew what my decision needed to be.

The song was about all the people who were touched by the sacrifices one person made, touched so much that their entire lives were changed.

My sister and I performed that same song at our old church a long,long time ago, but I never truly appreciated the words until now. It’s amazing how God works.

And then later in my studies I read:

The plant does not germinate, grow, or bring forth fruit for itself, but to ‘give seed to the sower and bread to the eater.’  So no man is to live unto himself. The Christian is in the world as a representative of Christ, for the salvation of other souls.

There can be no growth or fruitfulness in a life that is centered in self.

What a change I need to make. Thinking of only myself can no longer be a thing anymore. I meant to publish this post weeks ago, but timing is everything. Being sick at home allowed me to see selflessness in others, and allowed me to listen to programs during the day that just happened to be talking about how important it is for representatives of Christ to use their talents and share their knowledge of truth with others.

I have been teaching the class alone for the last two weeks and it has reassured me that I’ve made the right choice.

We have been blessed to be a blessing, and I pray that God can use me to reach these young people, especially since high school is or soon will be a reality for them and they are going to make choices that will shape who they will become.

 

Em

Through Being Cool (Pt.2)

Lately I’ve been getting caught up in moments where I’m taken back to my high school days and early college years, taken back to things I said, things I did, people I hung around with, the way I dressed.

It totally blows my mind how all of those memories were actually my memories, my stories.

And to be honest, I was a different girl. And what blows my mind even more is when I look a myself now…

I’m like, totally whoa.

Who is this girl?

Or rather, who was that other girl, that other me?

Was that who I really am, or is this who I really am?

I recently overheard a conversation between a couple of people I know about their ongoing activities together. I think I just happened to look over and make eye contact, so one of them asked, “Why don’t you ever come out with us?”

And I said:

“Why don’t you ever invite me?”

To which one responded: “We’ll invite you next time.”
To which I responded, rather playfully: “Is it because I don’t drink?”

“Nooo, we don’t drink when we *name activity here*.”

Mhmmm, I though to myself. Sure you don’t. And suuuure that wasn’t your reason for not inviting me.

I know how it is sometimes.

Oh that girl? She doesn’t drink anymore. Don’t invite her, she’s no fun.

They may not say it, but I know some people think it.

I’m not that “cool,” rebellious chick that everyone admires.

And really, I probably wouldn’t have gone out with these people. Not because I don’t want to hang out with them, but because I think I would have felt kind of awkward.

Why, you may wonder?

Well over the last two years or so, probably around the time I really stopped drinking, I noticed I started to shy away from making acquaintances at school, at work, anywhere I normally would, really, and I think it’s because I felt and still feel like I can never really bond with people, like I can’t really relate to them all that much anymore because a lot of my tastes have changed in many ways.

So I just stay away. This may or may not be the best thing to do, but it’s just what I’ve started doing after awhile.

I’ll be real, here: My social life resulted in a few relationships being messed up, and many relationships were formed that should have never been formed. It’s because of those situations that I think I’m way better off not being as social as I was, at least not in those kind of environments Boy, I feel like just this paragraph can be a blog post on it’s own…

And naturally after two years of “social abstinence,” I’m pretty awkward.

*Refer to previous TBC post to read my definition of “social abstinence”.

“Come out with us this weekend!”

“Sweet, I’m in. What’re we doing??”

“Bar hopping!”

Well shoot…I’m out.

Womp womp womp.

But that is how it has to be, my friends. What am I going to do bar hopping? Spend money on expensive soda while trying to yell over loud bar music? No thanks. I need to be different from the world, I need to be set apart, trying my best to avoid the things that can bring me down.

That is what He calls us to do, not to blend in with the crowd.

 Look, I know what you may be thinking…

“You’re being way too judgmental and legalistic, Em. We’re all sinners. Nobody’s perfect. We are in the world, after all.”

  Yes, some of that may be true, but I strongly believe and have reason to believe there are things in this world people as followers of Christ really should not be doing…at all…not even a little bit.

Think about who it is we are supposed to be representing…

I read the other day that

“We(I) have spent enough time involved with worldly people, when we (I) took part in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties…”

And it’s so true. I spent a lot of my time doing those things Peter says they (we) wasted time doing and need to stop doing.

So I woke up from the daze and confusion of the life I was living. I’m fighting against my fleshly desires to do what is right in His eyes, to be set apart, to be a special people…

To suffer for what is good.

( “Wait, fightingsuffering? Why would a God of love want us to fight and suffer?” I’ll try to address this in another post… Part 3 maybe?)

And really, why would I go around saying I’m “Christian” when I act like everyone else? How can I be God’s special possession when I’m still flirting around in darkness?

Until Part 3,

Em

From the End of the Earth Will I Cry

Sometimes there are things I think I’ll never write about, and other times it feels right to write about them, so I think one of those times to write about one of those things is right now.

(Ha ha, hope that wasn’t confusing to read)

I know part of the reason why I don’t write or talk about these things is because it will make me entirely vulnerable.

And also entirely open to criticism because people could think a number of things, like:

“Why is she publicly writing about something so private?”

Some of it should stay private, and some of it should be shared, and it should be shared because it might help others, it might help you, and it will most likely help me.

I am all about making connections, and if any of these posts help make a connection, I’m all about that.

So here we go.

I recently came back from my honeymoon, and while it was great and beautiful, I battled with something inside me for what felt like the entire time of the trip.

Actually, I feel like I’ve been battling it for awhile. Something like 9 years, awhile.

Now, I get that this time in my life calls for such “normal” feelings. Feelings like nostalgia, sadness, homesickness, growing pains, etc, which basically means I’m having a little difficulty transitioning into an entirely different life. I mean, a couple months ago I was still living at home with my dad and brother, curled up next to my cat every night, and now I’m sharing an entire living space with one other person in an entirely new area (  and sans cat 😥   )

But these feelings go beyond that.

Way beyond that.

I can’t remember exactly when, but I recall maybe about a year ago or so I was feeling depressed a lot. I don’t mean just sadness, I mean I would be sitting at dinner with my husband, my then-boyfriend, totally spacing out, not eating, start crying for who knows what reason, and blurt out that if I had an off switch for life, I’d switch it off.

Yeah, it was that kind of sadness.

It felt like a dark pit. And the worst part was that NOTHING was going wrong in my life.

And after all the nights I’d cry myself to sleep, I finally stopped trying to fix myself and started praying, hard. Thank God I was relieved for awhile, a long while.

But those feelings came back a few weeks ago. I would feel this overwhelming sadness, and the tiniest thing would start this avalanche of emotions. In the happiest and most romantic moments, I’d end up crying.

And then I would get even more sad because I felt like I was ruining the trip for my husband. But I thank my God that He blessed me with an amazing, caring, selfless, patient, and generous being who doesn’t have a selfish bone in his body and tried to help me as best he could.

On one of the worst nights, we were sitting in a nice restaurant when I felt myself start going down…I started to space out and the people around me, the smiling, the laughter, all became a bunch of noise, noise I couldn’t handle, so I ended up walking out, leaving my husband and more than half my dinner at the table, tears spilling out uncontrollably.

It was awful.

As I sat in the car by myself, head against the steering wheel, I prayed for God to take the pain away, to take away all the heaviness  I had in my head and my heart.

After all, He said His grace is sufficient for me, for His strength is made perfect in weakness…

In MY weaknesses. All of them. And little by little, every moment I remembered to lay it all at His feet, I instantly felt better.

And the same can be said now. It’s remembering not to take on the burden myself that is the hardest thing to do, because the last thing I feel like doing in times of hurt is praying.

But when I feel myself having a bad day, or a bad week, I sing:

“From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.”

Blessed assurance.

I ran into a woman today who shared with me her experience with sleeplessness and depression, and it reassured me that this post was appropriate to write after all.

And on top of that, I have a heavy burden tonight for a particular family of young men who have been going through rough times at home. I hope this post finds you, and reassures you that you are loved and you are not alone.

Until next time,

Em

It’s Too Late to Apologize

Well, as I’m thinking about writing this post I’m almost sure a ton of emotions will instantly flood my mind and body. Even though I’m afraid of revisiting those times and emotions, I think it’s good to release some of those feelings and figure out ways to gain control of them, and better yet, to fix the problem.

So what sparked this blog post was something I read the other night:

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” And that passage lead me to read this:

“Healing includes the healing of relationships , which is why we are exhorted: ‘confess your sins to one another,’ meaning those we have wronged. That is, if you have wronged or offended others, confess to them.”

Hmmm…the healing of relationships…

Hmmm…confess your sins to one another…

After reading that, I naturally thought and asked the question to my husband, “ Is there anyone you have wronged?”

While he thought about it, I thought about the people I have wronged and the relationships I hurt. I hurt them so much, that I begged and begged for their forgiveness, and even after they forgave me, it took me years to forgive myself.

It’s not a pleasant feeling, thinking about the pain I caused. The heart-wrenching betrayal and hurt I caused by selfish decisions made. I’d like to blame it entirely on maturity, but I think my actions in the past resulted in the absence of God.

There is a parable in the Bible where Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother who had sinned against him, and Jesus responds with what basically means, there is no set amount of times, you keep forgiving.

Whaaattt?? You’re saying I have to KEEP FORGIVING?? UGHHHH.

What gets me the most about this parable is that we must forgive a person who has wronged us in order to be truly changed at heart: it is commanded.

Love one another.

A few months ago, I think I was reading the same passage about forgiveness (James 5) and I instantly thought about a person I never, ever thought I could forgive. And even though years had passed since the wrong-doing (yes, I wronged her, too), I would continue to say such vile things about this person.

And then I thought, hmm, should I really go and find this person and make things right? I had already tried it once before, and the relationship ended up turning sour again, but is that enough reason not to try again, this time more sincere?

And THEN, a good friend whom I would always talk trash to about this girl said she had been seeing the girl around town a lot lately.

Coincidence?? I think not…

And THEN my husband saw her at a local grocery store within the same week my friend saw her…

Coincidence?? I think not…

So I asked my bff, hey, should we like, make things straight with this girl?

And to my surprise, she actually considered it, too.

But then I forgot about it, and forgot about fixing things with the girl.

Until now.

Can I forgive her? Should I forgive her? Should I ask her to forgive me? The answers to those questions should be a resounding ‘yes,’ but holy guacamole, how do I even BEGIN to do that, especially since I don’t trust her anymore?

“Fervent prayer avails much…”

So pray I shall.

And if you’re reading this right now, can you think of someone you have wronged?

Be honest, of course you can 😉

So why not think about mending bridges, or at least saying your sorry? It doesn’t mean you have to rebuild that relationship, but at least you know you made your peace.

Until next time,

Em

p.s ( can you even p.s. yourself? and in a blog post to boot? lol)

In previous blogs I managed to be a little ambiguous about the mentioning of God, purely because I only have a few blogs up and I didn’t want readers to instantly turn their eyes away  at the mere mentioning of a deity.

But, it is what it is, and I’ll gladly go with it.

And, dear reader, I hope that you keep reading. Atheist, agnostic, or whatever you may be, I think we can all learn from each other.

Words Will Always Hurt Me

Do you ever have those moments when you say or do something, and you’re like…

Where the HECK did that come from? And WHY the HECK did I just do/say that?

Of course you do.

And bloody freakin’ yeah, I have those moments too.

All. Of. The. Time.

Alright, I’m just going to come out and say it:

I have a problem.

Or I think it’s a problem, at least.

When I was in middle school (shoot, maybe even younger) I would say I had developed a bit of a cursing problem. Darn, there’s that word again:

PROBLEM.

So much so that my friend and I made a bet to see if we could last a certain amount of time without cussing. I’m pretty sure that bet was made in middle school. And I’m pretty sure it didn’t last.

And once high school came along, FORGET IT. I was Bad-Word Betty.

And for the most part,

I didn’t care.

I would even cuss in front and even to my parents (Lord have mercy).

And when I became angry… it was like silver bullets from a machine gun into the heart of an unguarded werewolf (yay me for that cheesy analogy).

Around the time I turned 21 or so, I started to make some pretty big changes in my young adult life. All of it stemmed from new discoveries I made of something greater than anything on this earth, and a new relationship I formed with something greater than myself.

And I thought all my problems with cursing would go away.

But it didn’t. And it still hasn’t. STILL. Even with all the change in my heart, even with all the commitments I’ve made and the advice I’ve given and the character development and the righteous life I try to live…

I fall short.

And it makes me want to give up every single time. What the heck have I been accomplishing so far? People aren’t going to listen to what I have to say, they’re all going to think I’m such a joke.

It is as if there has been no change in me at all, and that is an awful, sinking feeling.

I recently read that the tongue is an untamable force, and words can make or break a person, potentially ruining them for life.

You would think after reading something like that that it would make me extra careful with my words, especially towards the people I love.

And yet there I find myself time and time again blurting some nasty thing out in a fit of anger…

And I hate myself for it.

But that is just it. Even despite all that, I am reminded that I, in and of myself, cannot control a single thing in my life. I can only trust that my efforts in becoming a better person and the aid I’m receiving in doing so will reap rich rewards.

I just have to keep pushing through and working to change all my annoying character flaws and have faith that my efforts are not in vain.

Heck, shouldn’t we all be doing that?

“And therefore, brethren, let us be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath…”

Bonus points if you can finish that sentence.

Until next time,

Emdigistar

Great Expectations (Expecting the, well, Expected)

You all know the phrase: Expect the unexpected. And I’m all for that for the most part; In fact, I’ve been trying to go about my daily biz with that phrase in the back of my mind, because we all simply cannot expect everything to go our way (cue Mick Jagger).

So correct me if I sound a bit of of place here.

Last night I had a conversation with one of my best friends, and of course we gushed over the details of my magical wedding night that took place nearly 2 weeks ago. It was PERFECT in all ways, every bit of how I wanted it to be.

However, there were of course minor details that I didn’t notice during the wedding that my friend had brought up ( well, duh, of course I didn’t notice, I was totally focused on that gorgeous guy I can now call my husband).

Let me preface before I continue:

My husband and I did our wedding a little unconventionally. We only had vegan and vegetarian food, we didn’t have the typical ceremony nor the typical first dances, nor the typical music, nor did we have alcohol. Yes that is right, no alcohol *gasp*.

But more than that, we specifically noted on our wedding website that we did not want anyone sneaking alcohol in the parking lot or anywhere else on site ( not only for us, but the venue requested it too).

If anyone were caught, they would charge us a pretty penny. And even more than that,

We simply did not want alcohol at our wedding.

Alright, now here is the juice: My friend told me she had seen people sneakily dumping out small bottles and/or flasks in the grass of the reception area toward the end of the night.

I’m pretty sure they weren’t dumping grape juice out of those things (I know, I know, not everyone is a cool juice-drinking girl like me).

So I was like, ummm…WHAT??

Okay, so maybe I am being a little too sensitive. BUT I really think it’s a little disrespectful to show up at someone’s wedding doing or bringing along the very thing the couple asked you not to.

I mean after all, we only specified not having alcohol. And we only specified not to bring it on the property.

But who cares, right? I’m just being too sensitive and self-righteous, right?

Now I know there were some people who drank prior to arrival, and quite frankly that is none of my business,

but to show up somewhere and completely disregard a request is, well, kind of rude.

So is it a little too unrealistic of me to expect people to respect my wishes? Is it? I mean, if someone made a request to me, I would do my best to honor it.

And maybe these people really didn’t think about it or really didn’t think it was a big deal (clearly), though the sneaky booze disposal kind of implied they knew they had to hide what they were doing.

This whole idea of me being someone different from who I was and not doing what I used to do has really put a barrier between me and other people, between my friends and even my family.

A wise woman once wrote:

While we pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” we are to shun temptation, as far as possible.

And that’s all I’m really trying to do.

I mean, maybe I hold people at too high of a standard. Maybe I’m being too unrealistic and am being too much of a princess…

Maybe.

 

xxx,

Emdigistar