From the Anxious Friend

Hey Friend,

Or at least, I hope you consider me a friend (I mean, I consider you a friend), but I’ll honestly never really know. Thanks to a not-so-friendly “friend” living in my head whom I call Anxiety.

Now, he’s (it’s a boy–don’t you know?) not so bad all the time. In a weird way, he can be kind of a blessing–but that’s a topic for another day. You, my dearest Friend, are likely to benefit more from learning about the Anxiety that you can see, the less bless-filled part of the Anxiety, the outward, crazy, clingy side of the little gremlin in my head.

Like when I call you friend…but question whether you would call me one right back.

Like when I ask for the bazillionith time whether you like me or not…because my Anxiety tells me you don’t.

Like when I phish for compliments…to assure that you truly like me like you said and have genuine reasons to be my Friend.

Like when I text you and you don’t text me back…so I stop reaching out, stop communicating altogether.

Like when you show any small sign of ignorance or dismissal in any way… I immediately assume everything you said about liking me and being my Friend is false. That I am bothering you, or have wronged you somehow, and that you no longer like me. Or, in fact, that you never did.

Because that’s what my friend Anxiety tells me. And it’s kind of hard to compete with a friend that never leaves. That’s always in your head.

Let me tell you, Friend, that no matter how many times you assure me you’re my friend, that you like me, that you think I’m AWESOME, that you assure me you saw my message–you were just busy–and I’m momentarily consoled, my Anxiety will always be there to demolish your carefully built (and re-built) reassurance. To push me off of whatever pedestal you managed to place me on. So I can return to where I was–afraid and uncertain and, well, anxious.

And let me tell you, Friend, that it BLEEPIN’ sucks. A lot. My mind is constantly moving in circles moving from assurance to doubt to loneliness and depression and back again. Over and over. No matter how many times I try to combat it, no matter how many times I ask you, dear Friend, for help, my Anxiety just comes back strong, barely beaten. And he never leaves. And to an extent, I’m fine with that, I’m used to it; this is my way of life, all I’ve known for as long as I can remember. As I, again, admit, there is a form of blessing in this annoying, detrimental creature  that lingers in my mind. But after years of living in such close proximity, I also admit–I’m tired.

I’m tired of constantly seeking affirmation from you, never being entirely satisfied with or trusting of your answer. I’m tired of confirming your intent with our friendship. I’m tired of worrying about and sometimes having downright panic attacks over seemingly nothing. I’m tired of spending so much time worrying over those nothings, that I can’t focus on the present or remember the past. I’m tired, period.

Because the thing is, despite how I act toward you and I assume you must perceive me based on those actions, I know I’m being irrational. I know I seem clingy or unconfident (not a word, but…) or too “worrisome.” And that’s because, well, I am. Thanks to the continual jabs from Anxiety. I know how my behavior and ways of thinking look. They’re silly, they make no sense. I agree… but I can’t stop it. Even when I try, Anxiety finds a way to appear, seeping into my actions, my behavior toward you. I can’t stop it. Not entirely.

Because like it or not (most days I don’t mind it so much), my Anxiety is a part of me. It is not me, it does not define me–despite how much I may talk about it or act on it–but it is a part of who I am. And has been for the majority of my life. I just wish (and maybe you do, too?) that he would move off center-stage in the play we call life–and wait in the wings for a few acts. Let someone else take the lead  for awhile…

But between Anxiety and me, I don’t always get as much say as I’d like. So I guess that’s part of why I have you, Friend. That is, if you call me a friend–I hope you do. I have you to remind me of my worth, to prove to me despite what my head says that we have a genuine relationship, and to help me keep Anxiety in his place… some of the time.

Look, Friend: I know I’m needy, I know I don’t make sense. I know I worry too much about things that don’t really matter. I don’t need you to tell me that. A lot of the time, I’m right there with you, I agree. I don’t need you to get it, to get me (though that is a bonus…); I just need you to be My Friend.

So thank you for that, Friend. And for what you’ve done, what you will do–all of it. Just, thank you.

Much love,

Your Quinn


Life Update: Everybody Leaves

I was looking back on the posts I’ve written over the course of the past few months (a horrible mistake, really), and realized I tend to write a lot about my personal conflicts, tough decisions, and, in general inner turmoil. But I never really follow-up with, well, the follow-up to those decisions–the aftermath. Presuming you truly care, dear Reader, I plan to remedy those unresolved issues for you now.

Well… a couple of them. To the best of my ability. And also create another new non-problem problem.

For starters, my uncertain future regarding a career has marginally become less uncertain. And yet, not really. Mostly I’ve just transitioned from thinking I want to be solely a journalist or feature writer to wanting to do that and aid in other communication-related mediums for a nonprofit organization. I know I definitely want to work in the nonprofit sector and with communications–mostly written, but other forms too–and that’s about it. Everything else is a bit of a blur. No particular interest in one specific cause (I have several). No particular job position that encompasses all I want to do (there are several).

But I feel called to help people, that I know. And God has given me a gift in writing (though maybe not for a personal journal-esque type blog). The obvious answer seems to be to merge the two. And if that’s wrong, I’m certain He will tell me. So I believe that whatever happens: it will be alright.

But graduation is a few short months away…

Thus, in the meantime I will be working on my theses (woot!)…and continuing my walk with God. I have continued to find ways to connect and talk with Him, growing closer in our relationship. And it has been so invigorating, heartwarming. So much of me feels ready to take that official step, to become a Christian. But the primary belief needed to be a true Christian, or Follower of Christ, puts a halt to that.

Now, I don’t not believe in that particular sentiment. But it’s one thing to understand, to “know” in your mind, and another to feel, to know in your heart. I’m still waiting for God’s gift of faith in the latter. I can feel Him leading me there, placing me directly in front of those walls blocking my path. I only see what’s directly in front of me, I know I need to climb over it all–and I even know how–but I cannot do it alone. And I haven’t had to… so far.


After a significant amount of internal struggle (seriously, looking back, it’s almost comical how intensive this decision was for me), I decided to remain with that beloved third Bible study–the one with the diverse teachings and eclectic community of phenomenal people. Prior to my deciding moment, I ended up confiding in the friend who introduced me to the group and, of course, God. Much like I suspected, I was shown all the good, the potential that could arise out of staying with the group but was also reminded of the liberty I had in choosing my path. So, though still hesitant, I made the choice to stay.

Several months later, I’m so glad I did. I’ve made quite a few absolutely tremendous friendships (and deepened others) out of doing so. That’s a pretty big deal for someone with GAD and SAD! These are individuals whom I haven’t known for the entirety of my life but with whom I feel comfortable discussing my most personal struggles. I come to them with anything big or small, ridiculous or… no, still pretty ridiculous conflicts, and am met with love. Love that takes place in many forms–particularly helpful insight. And from that, I have been able to more comfortably navigate my walk with God, more confidently scale those walls obstructing my path. Only now…

…I have been reminded the immediacy of this love, this love from these particular people, has a time stamp. That love and guidance–at least through the form of this group–has the potential to be taken away.


Okay, that is slightly dramatic. But considering my anxiety and the consequent worrisome, negative emotions, that is how I’m feeling–even if it may not be the reality of the situation. You see, the bulk of this Bible study is made up of people in similar stages of life as I: in college or graduate school or figuring out their career. And that’s great, solidarity and all that. But what follows close by? Graduating, changing jobs, moving around, leaving. With graduation already looming near for several others in the study and myself, you can bet this has already been in the back of my mind for awhile. Only now…

…others in the group have already (temporarily) left–unexpectedly. Hence the time stamp. Granted, life happens. They are placed in front their own walls they need to climb over. And to focus on that, they sometimes need to turn their attention away from other things. I completely understand that; I was just there myself only a few months ago. I do not fault anyone for navigating their life so intentionally, for following God’s path.

…I just wish it could be done without physically leaving.

Now, there are plans for return–some more certain than others. But I’m still hesitant. This is going to seem like a lack of trust, a lack of faith, but whenever something like this has happened in a friendship–namely those that have felt especially close–the relationship ultimately fades into nothingness. Seriously, the few though extremely close friendship I have (aside from Bible study) have lasted as long as they have partially due to proximity. And also that little thing called intentionality–we both make the effort to do life together.

Looking back, some of those friendships that dissolved were likely not meant to be, or were only necessary for that person and myself in that stage of life. God knew what we needed and placed us together, even though His intention for us wasn’t long-term. And we can never really know His entire plan. But my past experiences with close friendships have warranted some understandable hesitation with my newer relationships. With trusting that they will last despite the walls. I hope they do. I pray they do. But maybe that isn’t part of His plan… though that really would help in my walk…


I just need to trust Him, have faith all will happen as it should. And, in the meantime, enjoy what I have while I have it. You know, if Mr. Anxiety will let me–I mean talk about walls…

How’s that for a life update, Friends? Hope you’re having a more peace-filled life than I!

Oh, Dear

In less than 24 hours, I will embark on my final semester of college.

…er, at least, of undergraduate years…

That’s pretty amazing (read: disturbing) when you really think about it. But I’m actually  kind of looking forward to it, to venturing out into the “Real World”. Even though I don’t know what it will entail–what God has planned for me…

I don’t know what’s coming, but I’m eager for it. Not necessarily ready for it (are we ever), but I’m waiting with barely contained enthusiasm for His plans. When I should be focusing more on today rather than four months from now… That’s kind of hard to do when you’ve spent most of your life focusing on the future. The problem is you tend to miss out on the present. We need to work on that.

…mm. My theses are pretty much my present/now/today at the moment. But even those require some thinking ahead. Small compromise, I guess…

But with that, there’s a chance (more like a definite) I won’t be posting as regularly over the course of the next few months. I’m going to try every other week, but heading into spring, even that may be too much. I don’t know; I’ve never written an extensive senior thesis before, much less two. But I’m pretty sure there isn’t ample time for blogging (er, in my case, pouring my inner-workings out to the internet masses). So we’ll try, but shoulder shrug. I can’t worry about the future.

Because I’m focused on the now.

Or something…

Oh, dear.


The Oddities of an English Major

In light of finals week (hence the lack of post last week–sorry guys!) and finishing the bulk of my remaining English classes this semester, I thought I’d post about one of my more recent experiences and lessons learned from studying a subject I so adore. Enjoy! Maybe…

Being an English major, I write. A lot (shocking I know). What this means is, about once each week I have some kind of writing assignment due. Usually more often. Usually more higher-stakes–than most other majors, that is.

As an avid writer (and reader), I realllly don’t mind this. In fact I quite like it! To an extent… But see, when you take multiple English courses in a single semester on top of other non-English courses that are just as writing-intensive, you tend to become a little… burned out in your writing endeavors.

Consequently, if you’re me (you do quite like writing), your desire to give each and every assignment your best effort diminishes over the semester somewhat. Plus, what energy you do have is all directed toward constructing your senior thesis (or, theses… haha don’t be like me)–that big, bad writing project that pretty much determines whether you can graduate from the all-expensive, stress-inducing preparation for the real world phase in life we call college. All this to mean I don’t always try as hard as I could on some of the papers I turn in for class.

Now, me being me, my “not trying” is still quite a bit of trying. But I don’t stress quite like I would with writing assignments during an “average workload” semester. Like, seriously guys, I once spent seven hours writing a two-page paper. Because I’m me. And I stress in even the calmest of situations. Isn’t anxiety grand? So, in a sense, having a relatively “care-free” attitude in regards to writing my papers has been advantageous, but I digress.

Unfortunately, “not trying” does not go unnoticed–especially at a small school. And when your “not trying” takes place in a class with a professor who loves you and your writing abilities. This loving professor recently handed back a paper I’d turned in and had not (even I admit) done my best work on, and, though I received an awesome grade, the comments let me know my paper wasn’t perhaps quite worthy of the grade… or was it? Basically, my professor said my argument didn’t make much sense, was unclear. However, whatever it was I was trying to say was well-supported and well-worded. So there’s that. But then I say, well which is it? Can I really write a strongly-supported claim even if it’s, essentially, completely obtuse?

According to my grade–the evaluation of my skill–I sure can. In the case of English-based term papers, assignments are graded more on evidence and presentation (eloquence) more than context and relevancy. And I guess if I have the skills to put together an argument and do so eloquently, I shouldn’t worry whether my points are completely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

But I do.

Because in the real world, relevancy is a big, big factor that drives assignments. Relevancy evokes the need for written content (think: news); without it, we have, well, works like my blog. Much like my term papers, though perhaps entertaining and occasionally enlightening, it doesn’t always provide much grounds for application, for action. Not realistically speaking, at least. But see, I enjoy the creative side of formulating an argument, realistic and logical or not. Unfortunately, then I’m met with responses like those of my professor’s–my writing is “brilliant but lacking rationale”. Sigh…

It’s no wonder people speculate with skepticism the job prospects of those in my major (which is just, totally incorrect, by the way–I mean the world needs communicators, analysts, creatives, which all can arise from English degrees, but, believe what you want to believe). Just kidding! It appears I have skill. I just need to… perhaps revise my approach. Be realistic. Logical. Caring. All completely doable… when I don’t have three others papers, a speech, and a test to prepare. Off to a great start here. Perhaps next semester? Oh wait, I’ll be writing my theses. So yep, I’ll definitely need to be incorporating that logic and care there. Ohhhh excitement…


The Loophole

Friends, I have figured something out!

…Er rather, I have uncovered the answer to a personal inquiry by means of internet browsing. Credible, I know.

Growing up with social anxiety, I struggled to do seemingly minute, social things, such as participating in class, talking with friends one-on-one in a social setting (other people were in the general vicinity), and ordering food for myself at a restaurant. Things about which others do not think twice. They just do. And don’t worry about them prior to doing them. Or even after, for that matter. While, on the other hand, us anxious folk are convinced we’re being watched/thought of/judged the entire time during all/any of these activities.

In reality, no one thinks much of you when you make a comment in class (at least not of you as an individual) or judges the food you order in a restaurant. But it’s one thing to know that in theory and another to actually remember and believe it–especially when the Anxiety Gremlin strikes again. You can tell me nobody is watching. Nobody cares. I can know that. But that’s like telling me not worry, to not be anxious. Because sure I know, I understand I’m being ridiculous. But it’s notThatEasy. But you, Level-Headed Friend are no match for the All-Knowing Anxiety Gremlin in my head. More like you’re no match for the excessive serotonin levels in my brain, but, you know, personification (it’s more compelling and humanizing for audiences). I have to believe that knowledge and act on it. But I can’t do that. Unless…

Someone else is present. Wait, what?

So I couldn’t participate in class or order food with confidence in my younger years when it was for myself. But if I did this for someone else, well…

Introducing the Anxiety Loophole!

The only way I was able to skirt around my anxiety in social situations similar to those aforementioned was when what I was doing was to benefit someone else, to help someone else. So, for example, ordering food at a restaurant for myself was incredibly anxiety-inducing. What if my order is weird? What if I’m ordering too much food? I’m speaking too quietly. I sound so unconfident (I know). Why am I like this? Ahhh. But then someone asks me to order food for them while they do x, y, z, and suddenly I don’t even know what anxiety is. Yeah, no problem. I got this. This isn’t even about me, but helping my buddy out. I live to serve. I always found this ability odd yet strangely compelling. And until recently I thought it was (relatively) unique to me. Until.

I came across this beauty on Pinterest (ah, Pinterest) and uncovered solidarity:


Thanks, Pinterest!


We’re going to ignore the lack of credibility in the formatting of this finding (Pinterest isn’t known for being a sound source), but rather focus on the credibility that arises from others recounting similar experiences in this post. I mean what’s more supportive in an argument than corroboration from similar stories? Oh, how defensive I am today… Anyways.

Essentially, as not-so-formally-explained here, the focus on others in anxiety-inducing situations actually curbs the anxiety. Anxiety really is, as much as I abhor this phrasing, “all in our heads,” and is truly only successful in conquering us when the focus is on us. When a loved one is thrown into the mix and we strive help them, even in the smallest and most realistic of ways (ordering food for a friend, for example), our proneness to empathy is provoked and we can temporarily shut out our anxiety. Because anxiety attacks us. And when the situation isn’t about you and about others and therefore your focus is on others, the anxiety can’t conquer. At least for the time being.

Also, more “official” (I tried) research has found that helping and placing a focus on others leads to more positive thinking, in general and of the self. When we are selfless and conscious of others, and strive to serve them as best as we are able, our self-esteem rises, evoking general good feelings and combating anxiety (and depression) to a degree. Nifty, right?

It’s like God’s gift to us anxious folk in reminding us of what is possible both when we let go of our anxieties and strive to look to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4). Happy sigh.

If only it were less of a temporary loophole and more like a more longstanding loop…gate. …I don’t know. It’s by no means rocket science, but I thought this was interesting and somewhat groundbreaking for any of my anxious readers out in the blogging abyss who may benefit from this little tidbit of information. Or not… And that’s okay too!

Thank you for indulging in my oh-so-strange whims, dear Friends! Until next time…


You Can’t Please Everyone

…so you may as well do what seems best for you.

And, ideally, what you consider best for you aligns with God’s plan for you. Only… it’s often rather difficult to know with utter certainty what that plan entails. I believe that, to an extent, God will guide you and use your gifts no matter which path you choose in life, no matter which choice you make. But, in some instances, because of your choice, your plan may pan out differently, though the result is the same. In that respect, a choice may not seem like it really matters in the long run, but it does. It so does. Even if only a little. Because with so many alternatives, there is likely one (or two) that proves greater than the rest. Even if only a little.

This is what I have been telling myself for the past couple weeks as I come to face one of those infamous (somewhat) life-changing decisions. Er, make that two (somewhat) life-changing decisions.

The first, you may already have an idea of, if you frequent my blog regularly. In my path to solidifying my faith, becoming more comfortable with and certain of my beliefs, I have joined several bible study groups. And each has been great and challenging in different ways. But one of them has proved especially challenging in a way that I don’t think it should be–I’m not really solidifying my faith with this group, not becoming more certain with my beliefs. In fact, attending sessions usually reminds me just how new I am to my faith. And while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and while, ultimately pursuing a relationship with God isn’t solely about me, I believe one of my goals in a small group should be to better understand Him, to grow closer to Him. And I’m not sure I’m achieving this with this group.

But on the other hand, the people are so, so kind and welcoming. I really see a potential group of fellow believers, of people to “do life with” with whom I could connect through our prioritization of faith in this group. And I learn a lot. So, so much. About other religions. About differing perspectives. About the diverse backgrounds from which everyone in the group originates. It’s groundbreaking and enlightening! But right now… I don’t know if these are enough of reasons to stay.

Ideally, I’d love to return to this group (should I choose to leave), but I think, at the very least I may need to take a break for awhile. Figure out what I need to figure out. And return later. But… I just don’t know. How do you really know? What God has in His plans for you? What’s right? What’s a mistake? Am I being too selfish if I choose to leave? Not accepting enough of others? That’s what makes this decision so difficult; not knowing what’s in store, and knowing with some certainty what I’m leaving behind. Plus, one of my really good friends, who referred me to this group, is in the group, and my anxious self would fear I’d indirectly hurt them by leaving. And I don’t want to do that. I hate the idea of hurting others–especially when unconsciously done (though here it would be consciously done…). Which leads me to my other “life-changing” decision…

To leave or not to leave? One of my jobs (technically internships, but I use the terms interchangeably at this age) has given me the freedom to decide if I’d like to continue serving at their organization for another few months (until I graduate this coming May) or if I’d like to spend that time fitting another, different internship experience under my belt.

Before the choice was left up to me, I would have, without a doubt, preferred to stay on. The job is diverse (I’ve really learned so, so much in the time I’ve been a part of the organization), flexible (especially in regards to a student’s crazy schedule), and, in all honesty, convenient (hey, I still need the internship credit…). Plus, I love love LOVE the work environment; everyone is so comfortable and familial with one another, the group truly is like one, big family. That’s a strong value in the workplace for me, especially if I am to be genuinely happy in my work (you know, aside from enjoying the work I do).

But now that I’ve been reminded of the potential opportunity to open myself up to new experiences, I… I’m not so sure anymore. As much as I have undoubtedly cherished my time in this position, I recognize I have grown comfortable. Perhaps, too comfortable. You know that’s pretty comfortable if even I acknowledge it (and you know I adore being comfortable–yes, I realize I’ve said the word a good four times now…). I wonder if I need to really challenge myself in the workplace, to open myself to new experiences while I have the time and the opportunity. While I can still (kind of) make mistakes on the job and not get completely reprimanded for them. While I continue to figure out what I want to do specifically in my job or what I may be open to in the future. I need to push myself, I know that.

But, again, there are people involved. People I really care about and love. I’ve made great connections in this job (something that doesn’t always come easy for an introvert with SAD), and a small part of me fears I’d damage those upon leaving. Unconsciously hurt others, lose my friendships. In an ideal world, that wouldn’t happen. But I’ve suffered through two decades worth of lost friendships with people I guess God thought only necessary to keep in my life for a little while. Usually lost due to changing interests or distance or just plain lack of communication. That shouldn’t be difficult for a student of communication studies, but… friendships (all relationships, really) are a two-way street in that regard. One person can’t be giving everything all the time. But that’s usually what happens, and I’m afraid the pattern would continue with my friends from this job should I decide to leave. There goes that unconscious hurt again…

Sigh… it all comes down to people doesn’t it? The decisions really shouldn’t be so much about others in this case, but I can’t stop thinking about the influence my choices could have on the people in my life. Gah, you can’t please everyone, I know. But, what if pleasing yourself is partially dependent on pleasing others? How does that work?

Alright, I’ve got some decisions to make–with God’s guidance.

Here we go.


How Do You Know?

This trail has a lot of forks.

The urge to find a terrible comic of a road with eating utensils sticking out of the ground is so strong right now, I just might do it…


You probably thought I was kidding…

HahahahahalifeissostressfulrightnowIgottalaughwhenIcan–anyway. It would seem my sense of feeling uncertain, like I have a choice to make, like I’m at a crossroads doesn’t seem to be going away. Or, when I think I’ve tackled the issue, made my decision, and continued on my journey, I find another fork. It’s kind of… frustrating. So yes, I am facing another decision. I suppose now’s the time to either pull up a chair or throw your computer across the room and walk out the door, depending on how much you enjoy or tire of reading about my ongoing first-world battle with identity. Wow, for someone who considers herself to be more on the older, mature side of college students, I sure act youthfully dramatic…

This is about my faith, and continuing my journey. Now, my decision isn’t about whether to continue (no, no, I’m in this for the long haul), but more about next steps. I’ve mentioned my efforts on here before about actively seeking God out through daily prayer, reading His Word, and attending (three) bible studies. And I admit, in recent weeks, while I’ve kept up as best as I can (praying daily, at the very least), I find myself falling short. In trust. In love. In action.

Everything begins with your relationship with Him, and from there, your heart becomes changed or influenced, in turn influencing your actions. These all work together, cyclical. But it’s a rather slow process. Though I’ve experienced much frustration with this, with wanting to be more trusting and loving, and to act on those principles, I recognize this requires much patience and prayer and genuine desire to live for Christ. And I’ve come to accept this (though it’s been very challenging) in regards to my personal faith. I’ve even experienced change within me to a degree. When I focus on solely my journey with God, I feel (relatively) at peace with my progress, with where I am in my current stage–even with its hardships. But when other people are involved, well…

I’m not very far along in my walk with God–I know that. And, again, I’m (kind of) comfortable with that, with simply exploring at my own pace. But when I interact with fellow adventurers, I come to realize just how near the beginning of the journey I am.

I recently joined my third bible study at the recommendation of a friend to learn more about the Word, grow closer to God, and, ideally, find a community of others looking to deepen their faith. And to an extent, I think this study adheres to my needs. And yet… at the same time, I don’t know if it does…

You see, I am learning a lot–about other religions. And I am finding community–but the relationships feel only surface-level. And the sense of growing closer to God still comes from my personal journey, not from the study. And I think that’s the problem. I still feel like I don’t know very much about my faith though I am trying. Even so, I’m very much in the beginning phase (though well into that phase at this point), and when I’m in this study, I feel like a left-handed person trying to act like a right-handed person in a group of right-handed people. It doesn’t seem to be working. Everyone is so patient and welcoming, but I still feel like I’m on the outside looking in.

I want to give the group a chance, I’ve been giving the group a chance. Despite my consistent discomfort with my feigned right-handedness, I get the sense this is where I’m supposed to be. I don’t think God would have led me to this particular study, to this group of people who have met me with utter kindness and interest and who make the effort to reach out if I wasn’t supposed to be here. But then why does my uncertainty remain? Is it because of my lack of complete trust? A reminder from God to continue to strengthen my beliefs? Is it my social anxiety (I mean the people are great, but there are so many…)? I know that, ultimately, the study isn’t about me, but deepening faith and solidifying a relationship with God. But shouldn’t I at least feel comfortable with the group I’m looking to do these things with (sorry, preposition)?

I think I’m supposed to be here. But truly I don’t know. I’m at a loss. How do you know, really know? How do you know God’s plan for you? What He wants for you? I’m praying and I’m listening for Him, and I’m staying with the group at the moment. But ultimately I have a decision to make, a fork to walk through. And I’m going to need His guidance to do it.

Have a blessed, thoughtful week, Friends.


Figuring Things Out

Hi Friends!

I’ve gotta say, I’ve endured quite the whirlwind of emotions for the past week and a half, and all because of fairly good things! I tend to disclose my personal feelings on here rather than the events the provoke them. But for this week’s post I thought I’d change things up and instead talk about my reasons for feeling so abnormally happy and (mostly) non-anxious. Because apparently I only like to dissect my feelings when they’re negative. When genuine happiness is involved, I don’t question it… Shoulder shrug.

So, two things. In the last week, I have:

  1. Applied for a pretty bang-up-sounding job in my field
  2. Taken another step in my walk of faith

And (clearly) I’m really excited about both actions. So, what’s up? Well…

First: the job. A professor of mine at school who, over the years, has really looked out for me in terms of uncovering experiences that have contributed to my personal growth in college, referred me to a job opportunity. A reaaalllllllly nifty job opportunity. Like, I don’t think the excitement I would likely experience upon being offered this job could be contained (if I were to be offered this job). So, what is it?

I would work as a feature writer, traveling across my home state to uncover the hidden stories of local communities, covering a variety of subjects. Essentially, I’d be a storyteller as well as a student of my homeland. Doesthatsoundcoolorwhat???

But here’s the catch: The position is full-time with benefits. It’s middle-management (I would have some leadership responsibilities in addition to my writing). It involves a bit of traveling. I know, these all sound like good things. Great actually, for a first job out of college. But that’s just the thing: I’m still in college, about seven months from graduating. I don’t know that this company will be willing to wait that long and/or even want somebody so fresh out of school for a middle-management-level position.

Of course, me being me (and since I’m blogging about it), I applied. Sort of a What the haydecision. If I don’t get it, I mean I’ll be a bit disappointed, but oh well. I at least get my name on their roster. So if a better-suited position does become available… Plus, this opportunity has shown me the types of things I want to do in my post-graduation job do exist. So, yay! Calling! Well, maybe not exactly a calling, but the passion is certainly there…

Second: my faith. Oh – that sounds reallllly bad. Like I’m putting my faith second… That’s not what I meant, just that’s how I ordered my list/the order in which these events occurred! Erm, anyway… As I’ve discussed in previous posts, I’ve been slowly making my way to God and solidifying my faith, the key word here being slowly. I’ve definitely plowed forward in my actions toward this in the past few weeks: I’ve graduated to praying twice daily, I read a bit of God’s Word everyday (er, mostly everyday – though beginning this habit during senior year of college isn’t the best idea…), I’m involved in three Bible studies, and I’ve even begun to disclose my recent journey to some of the people in my life.

On paper (screen), I’m making a lot of physical progress in a little amount of time. But, for me, my faith is still very internal. How I think, what I believe. And I don’t feel very solid in what I believe 100% of the time. I don’t always feel close to God. And then, I don’t feel satisfied in my actions executing my beliefs. This is all very frustrating to me. I want to get to a point where I feel so much more passionate about and satisfied with God and can readily adhere to His Word. Satisfied is the wrong word, I know. I know I won’t become satisfied with where I am in my walk, I know that’s not the point. But… I want to be in a better place than I am now. It just takes time. And, I’m having trouble accepting that. Have been having trouble.

But this week, I attended my first meeting of this third Bible study. And I was telling one of the girls there about how I came to be at the study (newbies tend to stand out in small groups) and about the start of my journey in faith. I expressed my frustrations with wanting to be “further along” and she responded with such comforting insight. I wish I could quote verbatim, but my memory is near-non-existent. In short, she reminded me this journey is one that takes time–our whole lives (of course)–and that we will likely never reach a satisfactory point in doing God’s work. But, she countered, God loves us. Loves all of us, no matter what we’ve done. No matter what we believe. No matter whether we follow His plan, His Word. No matter where we are in our journey with Him. He loves us and continues to guide us…so long as we welcome it.

I try to remind myself of this when I’m in my spells of self-doubt and frustration–of God’s love and the length of the journey. But hearing these sentiments expressed by another (especially from someone who’s much further along in their journey than I) just really amplified their meanings for me. I’m really inspired to continue my journey–very determined to deepen my faith, spells of self-doubt and frustration aside. And to do so, I’m continuing my outward actions exhibiting my walk (with more determination), but above all, continuing to pray for His guidance in coming closer to Him. So now, I wait…

In a sense, both of these events haven’t rid me of my crossroad-y, limbo feelings in terms of my career and faith. But they have really solidified my confidence in my desires for these aspects of life. And, as confidence is something I don’t consistently possess, finding it here in these seemingly minute happenings just brings a bit of happiness. And I wanted to share. 🙂

So there you have it. Have a blessed week, Friends!


Celebrate the Victories

“You’re an introvert… who has social anxiety… and yet you make it a point to say ‘hi’ to everyone.”

My best friend’s observation initially struck me by surprise. We had just finished eating a late lunch together and were heading out of the building when, of course, a group of people were waiting to enter. Me being me, I held the door for them… and did, in fact, say ‘hi’ to each and every member of the group. I think now is the time to point out this group only consisted of three people. Three. (Three people, ah ah ah… anyway). I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I even assured her, “Saying ‘hi’ is easy. It’s holding up a conversation that’s the hard part.”

But as we continued to walk to my car, I thought about it more. I am an introvert with social anxiety. Is my effort to be social excessive–uncharacteristic, even–for someone with these qualities?

Truthfully, people who are introverted and/or have social anxiety (these qualities aren’t correlated, FYI) vary in degrees of socialness. It depends on the purpose. And for many, it’s not for lack of trying.

Yes, I am introverted and yes, I have social anxiety. But I also, when the circumstances are right, can appear so outgoing it’s unnerving. And I haven’t always been the way. Only a few years ago, I was the consistently shy/quiet kid. I mean, I still am, but clearly to a lesser degree. I would never have dared to go places by myself, volunteer to lead a discussion, or *shudder* say ‘hi’ to strangers. But college–the experiences I’ve found in college–has, though exacerbated my introversion and social anxiety greatly, also aided me in embracing and combating these parts of who I am, depending on the situation.

As much as I may try to use my anxiety and introversion as shields to hide from people, extract myself from situations, or simply explain my sometimes odd behavior, I have to admit I’ve come a long way with both areas of my identity. And I definitely have to admit it when the childhood best friend points it out to me. Sometimes, that’s what needs to happen to notice your successes. Sometimes, God needs to guide you to recognize His gifts in you, your accomplishments through Him… by way of the people in your life hitting you over the head with blatant observations.

I guess that’s one way to do it.


I know… Sorry

I know my focus on here has been full of self-doubt and anxiety and generally all-around depressing topics lately (you know, for the past few months). But I appreciate those of you who have stuck with me–my blog–to hold witness to my journey of self-discovery in its many forms. So thank you… for putting up with the rain to catch a glimpse of the rainbow (er, trudging through my typically depressing writings to maybe, kind of enjoy my somewhat happier posts).

Have a thankful, loving week, Friends!


That Awkward Moment

Normally, when you see or hear the word awkward, you associate it with something funny. Or, at the very least, relatable. But in this instance, I’m indirectly referring to neither with my awkward moment, as I’m not sure how funny or relatable it is (though kudos to you if you find it as such). Alright, so, what is it?

Let me set the scene: it’s a new day and a fairly good one at that–all seems relatively right with the world, and whatever that means to you. Maybe you were on time to work. Maybe you were commended on a job-well-done by a supervisor or friend. Maybe your dog smiled at you. I don’t know–the point is you feel as if nothing could disrupt your good vibes! Until.

Until your receive news from a friend or family member or some other sort of loved one. News of the not-so-good variety. Again, this can vary depending on what not-so-good means to you. But in any regard, the news just brings you down. This new information does, in fact, disrupt your good vibes. Here’s what makes this scenario awkward (I don’t mean the term literally): the news has absolutely nothing to do with you. None. At all. This bad thing is happening solely to them, is only negatively affecting them. You are literally just someone they told. Yet, now being made privy to this not-so-great information, you become not so much a confidant as much as someone who is empathizing. Maybe just a little too much.

This is the awkward moment, the awkward moment in which you turn someone else’s bad day into your bad day. You make something that has nothing to do with you somehow all about you. How does that even happen?

Perhaps to say making all of another’s hardships about you is extreme. Rather, I’m thinking about this as someone who maybe cares about others a little too much. Too much in that the problems of those they care for become their problems too. Does that seem too excessive? Too caring? Is that a possibility? I think so…

I guess it’s not so much I make the problem about me, but act as though it’s my problem too. Because my loved ones are who I care about, and so when they’re in distress, I’m in distress. It’s like sympathetic distress! I don’t know why that was written with excitement…

Maybe this will help: Friends, are you familiar with The Secret Life of Bees? More specifically, May Boatwright’s character in The Secret Life of Bees? For those who don’t know, Miss May Boatwright is primarily a supporting character in the novel, who likely wouldn’t be much thought of if it weren’t for this defining characteristic–she treats all bad things that happen in the world (at least those she knows about) as though they are happening to her too. The story doesn’t provide concrete rationale behind this, but readers are left to assume this excessive care and worry over the world’s troubles are effects of childhood trauma. She learns of someone else’s histrionics or tragedy and she becomes so upset, even visibly shaken. And if not for her ability to cope, she would clearly fall apart. Well–anyway…


Concerned May…

I’m not quite up to May’s level, but I identify with her proneness to caring excessively. Loving and caring for others is so, so vital to living well, to following Him. That, I know. But is there a boundary to caring? Is it possible to care too much? Have I reached that boundary with my treating others’ hardships as my own? I tend to think so, hence why I call this an “awkward” moment (though it has not ever nor likely ever will possess the awkward quality). I (and I suppose anyone who experiences this) need to work on how I approach caring and worrying for others. Of course the basis of this is okay, but I need to remember I’m not responsible for others’ well-being and happiness. I need to remember to be there for my loved ones, as needed, not to, essentially, be them, in their troubled times.

Don’t carry the weight of the world like May Boatwright felt so inclined to do. Don’t have that “awkward” moment, Friends. But do carry love for your loved ones how you see fit (just not excessively). And do be your best awkward in other ways, the best ways. Actually awkward ways (and not in the connotative ways I used the term in this post). Just keep being you, Friends.