The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

moving across the country…to discover what God has in store

_____ is lonely.

As I was kneeling on the cold ground wiping green goo off of my numb fingers, I couldn’t help but feel completely and utterly alone.  My dad wasn’t texting me back.  No one was stopping to help.  There was no one to call.  No one to talk to.  And I was getting my favorite slacks dirty!

That’s where I found myself after school today when I walked out of the building and saw the rear, left tire on my adorable little Jetta flat.  More than pancake flat…crepe flat.  My mind races through the options of calling people, going back into the school, and crawling into my car to hibernate until the time when the tire magically re-inflates.  Obviously, one of those options is completely idiotic: calling someone.  I guess hibernating is also idiotic.  And I was too proud to go back into the school.  That didn’t leave much of anything…besides whatever magically appeared out of my trunk.

As it so happens, there was a spare donut tire in my trunk (not cinnamon-covered or jelly-filled) and a fix-a-flat kit.  Whoa!  I am sure you are wondering how I ended up with fix-a-flat in my trunk, since I’m never prepared for crises like this.  Let’s go backwards a bit…

At Christmas eve celebrations with my mom’s dad’s family, we always have a “white elephant” gift exchange.  One year, I ended up with a fix-a-flat kit.  I tried to get someone to steal it, but no one was interested.  Since that time, it has been in my trunk.  Who knew that it was destined for greatness?

Anyways, back in the present…I read the instructions on the goop…err…slime…about five times before I figured out what I needed to do.  (Please note: I tutor kids in reading fluency, not comprehension.)  And then I began.  During the 40 minutes that I was working, three people stopped to see if they could help.  No one would…there’s not a whole lot to help out with when the process consists of squeezing slime and then airing up.  I appreciated their concern though.

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And when it was all done and I was sitting in my warm car, I called my dad to see what to do next and at that point I had to cry.  During the whole process, I had felt completely alone.  Sure, there were people in the school and people from church who would have answered my desperate cries (the sermon series this month is about family).  But I was feeling too independent and self-sufficient.

Who knew that such feelings would lead to feeling utterly and completely alone?

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Post-Thanksgiving Slump

Thanksgiving was a much-needed opportunity to be with my parents.  And when I say “be with” I mean more than just spending time with them.  I can’t really convey how much that phrase carries.  There aren’t any tangible details into which I could delve, so I won’t bother.  But, the warmth that I received when I was with them made leaving that much harder.  I came home Saturday night and cried myself to sleep.  All day Sunday, I felt fragile.  This has never been me.  I’ve been the type of person who turns around and forgets about friends, family, connections.  My fragility scared me…it still does.  I question whether or not I am who I thought I was.  I wonder if some switch has suddenly flipped and I am now weak.

Monday morning seemed impossible.  The motivation that I normally have was completely absent.  I wanted to curl back up in bed and sleep until Christmas break.  Somehow I managed to get ready for school, though, and I had some time to spare.  So I turned to the warmth of my heavenly Father and this is what he had to say:

Be joyful always;

pray continually;

give thanks in all circumstances,

for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

He will supply.  No matter how “fragile” I feel, His strength will protect me from the knocks and bumps that the world throws my way.  Or, that arise from my inner angst and fears.  And when the path seems foggy, my prayers and joy and thanks should continue.  There is no better way to exist.

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Being Still

I went on an excursion yesterday.  There’s a local “mountain” that I enjoy climbing.  There is a steep path that leads to the base of a pile of rocks.  Multiple crevices between the rocks make summiting an easy task.  It is a climb that I have done several times, each time enjoying it just as much as the last.  Sometimes I have someone to go with me, but more recently I’ve been hitting the trail solo…which I love.

A place to focus

When I am sitting on top of that little mountain all alone, the world tends to fade away.  It becomes easy to focus on things.  Yesterday, I focused on my life.  I talked to God about the overwhelming pressure that I am feeling from every side.  My parents are pressuring me to get a job, completely natural.  The problem is that they are pressuring me to get ANY job.  I don’t want any job…I want a job that will allow me to tap into my passion…go beyond myself…do something worthwhile!  It’s not just my parents, though.  My friends are starting to drop hints that maybe I should focus on the “now”…what can I do right now to better myself?  One friend said that I should just look at it as “just detouring” and another, after mentioning an opening in accounting (blah!) at her husband’s company, said she was “just letting [me] know there are options.”

With all of this, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  I want to do what is right by God…not my parents, not my friends, not even me.  God’s plan is the only one that concerns me right now…and that’s what I could focus on while I was sitting on top of the mountain.

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Not the (second) bubble!

Okay, so this bubble, right?

I like to think that the bubble protects me.  It keeps people away.  It prevents hugs and pats and…other yucky things.

The bubble protects me from letting other people share in my burdens.  It keeps people from learning about my faults and fears.  It prevents love.

Oh, crap.  This bubble is a problem, it seems.  The very thing that I have “created” to protect me, as it turns out, is hurting me.  I have seen and felt it over and over again.  When I meet new people, I keep them out.  Sure, I’ll talk to them, joke around.  But it rarely goes beyond the surface.

Time and time again, I have been challenged to go beyond this.  College, the basic atmosphere, has forced me outside of my bubble.  Friends weren’t included with the check I turned over to the business office when I started.  They were something that I had to find on my own.  I have discovered two people that I would define as “best” friends and then there are a pile of other people.

A lot of these people have brushed up against my bubble in a Christian organization on campus.  There really are some great people in there.  And, to tell the truth, that is where I have been most challenged to get out of my bubble.  People have looked at me and told me that I must get out of my comfort zone.  They have not minced words.  They have fit into the Biblical description of a friend: Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).

That is what I need, right now.  I need someone to take a sharp, iron sword and slice through this bubble.  Free me from myself.  Maybe, just maybe, I’m ready to do it myself.

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Not the bubble!

I have a bubble.  Yes, a bubble.  This bubble surrounds my body, extending out by approximately two feet on every side.  It protects me from unwanted physical contact with people.  When I say people, I mean “all people”.  Unfortunately, people do not always respect the bubble.

Strangers sometimes bump into me.  In crowded places, I sometimes begin to get, ummm, stressed.  Holiday shopping is torture, to say the least.  And visiting a theme park that specializes in Christmas lights a mere week before Christmas–I thought I was going to start foaming at the mouth.  That is not unusual.

And then there’s family–my parents know about my “issues” and typically respect the bubble.  We hug in greeting and in farewell…but in between, there’s not a whole lot of physical contact unless I initiate it (or, unless they decide to be ornery).  My extended family hug only in farewell, as a part of our social norm.  But my grandmother…she smothers me with physical “affection”, or as I see it physical “assault”.  Patting, rubbing, hugging, tapping…argh.  There is no other way to respond.  I have to bite my tongue to stay on my best behavior!

Finally, there are friends.  My oldest friend is one with whom I have never shared much physical interaction.  Hugging is weird for us…we just never did it very much.  So, physical affection isn’t a big deal there.  Newer friends, though (and by “newer”, I mean that we’ve been friends for two and a half years to three years), have their own ideas about physical affection.  The two girls that I have lived with over the past couple of years love giving hugs.  But, this relationship could not have survived this long if they had not been familiarized with my bubble.  Most of the time, they respect the bubble.  We hug in greeting & farewell…and when I get a little drunk.  Beyond these three close friends, there are a few people who are aware of the bubble and abuse the knowledge.  Most others, though, have never approached me for a hug…

Until last night.  I met up with a friend of mine for dinner.  He graduated last year and I hadn’t seen him in a while.  We met up, chatted, ate.  And then, we were walking out to our cars.  We got to his.  I said “bye” and he started walking towards me like he was going to give me a hug.  I started to panic and backed away.  There was an awkward pause and he approached me again saying “Yeah, let’s give this a shot.”  And, he gave me a hug.  Oh.  Man.

I don’t know where my aversion to physical contact came from.  It has been there for years.  Supposedly when I was very young, I loved snuggling and hugging and cuddling.  So, what happened?  The bubble.

Ah man…there is a lot more to say about this bubble.  But, I think that it’s too much for one post.  I’m going to end this post right now and continue my thoughts about the bubble later.  It will all come together under the idea of “Lukewarm Waters”…I promise.

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My Story…Today, at least

Friday was rough.  I was facing my future and it was a terrifying prospect.  I dread the next five months (I’ll be student teaching…and I no longer want to be a teacher).  And beyond that, well I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  So, obviously there is a lot of terror–known and unknown!  But then I came across Psalms 121 (thank you awesome Facebook friends!).  For some reason, my favorite part was verse 6: “the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.”  That really spoke to me: God isn’t going to set you up to be miserable.  I found such relief in that verse.

All right, that was kind-of random, right?  Well, I have to open up my heart and let those fears and the comfort that I found in that verse out (that sentence was awkward–sorry).  I am a part of this Christian organization on campus…and a part of the leadership.  We’ve been talking about how we want to become closer to one another, the other members in the group.  Part of that is opening up and just being real, or authentic (that’s the name of the group–Authentic).  I’m not very good at opening up or being real.  I like to keep things in, especially the scary things and the things that are emotional.  But tonight, we are just sharing.  It’s called “Your Story.”  We’re all supposed to show up with a verse in mind and be prepared to talk about how it’s impacted our life.  If I was just any other member, I wouldn’t really have to talk.  But as a part of leadership, it’s kind-of expected…especially since I am probably the “least known” member of leadership (I’m the only senior…I’m quiet…I live off-campus…etc).  This sense of community is important.  It is what we are all about…but it’s terrifying.  To share my burdens and my fears.  I don’t want people to know that I am weak and that I am terrified of what is to come in my life.  Tonight though…I’m ready to share.

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Father/Daughter Discussion

I realize that I just put up the posting from my first attempt at leading a Bible Study, but here’s the next one.  And, it is closely following the actual physical gathering and study.  The other one, yeah, that actually took place a couple of weeks ago.

Anyways, moving on.

Take a moment to stop and think.  Reflect on your relationship with your mom/dad/aunt/uncle/grandfather/wolves that raised you.  Now, focus in and condense all of that reflecting into two adjectives: one good and one bad.

For some people, coming up with a bad adjective is hard but for most, I think that the good adjective is a bit more difficult.  It’s not that my relationship with my parents has been miserable, but…the bad moments tend to remain in my mind.  So, here are my adjectives: stressful and educational.  Want to guess which is which?  Yeah, stressful is bad.  One of the biggest problems that causes the stress between my parents and I is communication.  I, personally, suck at communication…and my parents aren’t really that great at it either.

To see a father/daughter communication fail, I suggest you check out Mo Willem’s Knuffle Bunny.  Yes, it’s a picture book.  I promise, though, you will enjoy it…you would probably enjoy it more if I actually read it to you, though…can’t happen, though.

Anyways, so, this book–epic communication fail.  Nearly any daughter (or son–sorry if you are a guy reading this…I did present this in a girls’ Bible study) can relate to little miss Trixie in the story.  We can compare events in the story to events in our own lives with our own parents/aunts/uncles/grandparents/wolves.

But…how does the Trixie/daddy relationship compare to the “You/God” relationship?  God is not going to misunderstand our requests and He is not going to drag us home when we pitch a fit…even when he knows what is best.  Here is where I might suggest that you pull out a Bible for visit http://www.biblegateway.com and look up Matthew 6:25-27.

Take a few moments and reflect on these verses…think about how they show up in your life.  Think about the times when you think you know where you’re supposed to be going, how your life should flow…and then BAM.  The “bam” isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  The “bam” is just God’s way of reminding you that you are merely human and your experience running a life is limited.  His experiences, though, are limitless (think every person on the earth now + all those that came before + all those that are still to come…yeah, there might be a limit but I’m not going to try to add those  massive numbers).

God, as our Father, knows our needs even when we suck at communicating our needs and when we want to ignore his attempts to communicate with us.  And, more importantly, he cares deeply about each and every need that we have…and he addresses them in the very best possible way.  We can trust him to have our back…and he will always find our lost bunny.

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