Moving On

Hi Friends,

I know the schedule is kind of out the window right now and for the foreseeable future it will be… at least while I get my head on straight.

For those playing along at home, I am about to graduate with my undergraduate degree and will soon embark on my whirlwind of a career…er, internship: serving in the nonprofit sector and helping others with my communications abilities. From a financial standpoint, it isn’t the wisest choice I’ve ever made. But in terms of happiness, potential opportunity within the field down the line…it’s worth the momentary setback–if you could call it that. In any regard, it is only for the summer; come fall, should I not have a full-time position lined up with this organization, I will continue to seek employment. Full-time employment–with benefits, 2.5 kids, white picket fence, the whole shebang. Just kidding… But really, I know I can’t live in this fantasy land of wanting to do what I love and love what I do forever–especially once my student loans are due, am I right? But for now, I’m going to enjoy this opportunity.

Even though I’m excited for what’s to come, I’ve just been hit with what I’m leaving behind–not so much college itself, but my professors, colleagues, friends–the people, my current internships. All have had real impact on me the past year especially and a small part of me just wants things to stay the same a little longer (now that I actually have time to enjoy them). But alas, living in the past, in regret is not the way to go–so I will attempt to both enjoy the now (as I’ve actually done a decent-ish job of doing lately) and look to the future and the abundance of opportunities it may hold.

But all that being said, I have to tell you guys: I’m going to be taking a break from blogging for awhile. Not forever, perhaps not even a month–I don’t know, really. I just need to sort out some personal things (i.e. my life), just do some things for me, and, maybe, for once, not blog about it all. ūüôā

All in all, I am planning to return–I just don’t know when… So, until then, Friends, have a blessed, peaceful life.

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You Never Let Hard Times Get You Down

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m addicted to doing nice things for people.

Not in the literal sense. I’m not entirely certain one¬†can¬†be addicted to such things–I suppose it depends on your criteria of addiction. But I’m to the point where¬†not¬†doing nice things for others, showing kindness is…out of character for me, it feels alien. It’s like a sign I’m not doing so well.

Or maybe it’s because I do nice things I, myself, am not doing so well. I hadn’t really thought about it so extensively before.

A large part of why I do what I do adheres to Christ’s sentiment, known to many as the Golden Rule–do unto others as you would have done unto you (i.e. treat others how you want to be treated). I treat others with kindness, because, ideally, I’d like to be treated the same. Does that always happen? Most of the time, yes. But also… as I’ve gotten older and fallen further down the well into adulthood, I have discovered the world is not a genuinely happy place. Not entirely. There is so much negativity, so much hate and discontent–it hurts my heart. So, by some crazy logic that only someone like me could have, I attempt to compensate in my corner of this negative world, with my little ounce of kindness.

Plato

But that doesn’t always mean I’m genuinely feeling kind or nice. As you may recall (I mean, I never really let anyone forget it–I’m so transparent), I have anxiety, of the generalized and social sorts. And though I’ve been feeling sooooo much better in the past couple months overall, I still have my breakdowns, my bad moments (like earlier this weekend, for example…). But the thing is, I am honest about my anxiety–just not with every single person in my life. Not everyone knows about these gremlins in my head, and I forget that sometimes. All they see is the kind, thoughtful, happy, sweet girl going out of her way to do nice things for others. They don’t know about the other sides to me. And that was made apparent to me this week.

I was presenting one of my theses to my class this week (yay!) and, following the showcase, was supposed to be a discussion. But instead, I opted to lead an activity–you may have heard of it. Essentially, everyone is given a piece of paper. You write your name on the paper you are given and then that paper is passed around the room to the other participants. Every time you receive a new paper with someone else’s name written on it, you write a compliment about that person, about the owner of the paper. At the end of the activity, you will receive your paper, and will now have a page full of kind thoughts directed toward you. Is that great or what??? It’s kind of like a yearbook page… but more kind.

Most of the comments I received referred to me with the adjectives used above (e.g. kind, thoughtful, sweet). But there was one remark in particular that really caught my attention: “You never let hard times get you down.”

Oh, classmate. If only you knew.

Actually, she technically did know at the point, as I had just revealed my anxiety to everyone in the room (as it was¬† the basis for my thesis–combating anxiety in college). Yet, she still believed in this sentiment about me enough to tell me, even after my big revelation.

But that got me thinking about how others perceive me, how my continual kindness and optimism are interpreted by others. Apparently, I don’t let the tough goings in life deter me. Unfortunately, that’s not so true.

People are already burdened with so much grief in the world; I want to relieve it–at least momentarily–in any way I can. Being kind and optimistic is one way I can do that. Besides, adding my personal troubles to the pile doesn’t resolve the collective grief everyone is experiencing, it will not improve the general mood. I don’t need to deepen the burden… though, ironically, I have no problem attempting to empathize with the grief of others…

So, I’m afraid, I too, have my moments. Have my hard times. But helping others feel good, feel better is more important to me than dwelling on hard times.

After all, kindness doesn’t cost; so, just remember to be kind, regardless, because you never know what may going on in life.

Stay kind, stay blessed, Friends.

Breaking My Norm

What’s this? ANOTHER surprise post? Ahhhhhh!

Whelp, since my schedule is going to be pretty hectic for the next month and a half which is not conducive to having my blog ready by my usual time, I shall compensate with random timely posts every so often. You’re welcome!

I just got done doing something crazy: I broke my norm. I did something completely out of character from my past pre-college self. Are you ready? Wait for it…

I just went to a movie. By myself. By choice. Isthatcrazyorwhat?

I know, I totally just shattered your expectations–didn’t I? I know, you’re probably thinking: LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMEE!!!!!! Quinn, you really need to re-evaluate your idea of “crazy.” But hear me out.

My idea of crazy isn’t trekking across the States by myself or jumping out of a plane (though either of those situations would totally amp up my anxiety). If anything, I’m more into the take-a-walk-by-myself-in-a-foreign-country-and-get-hustled type of crazy. But this time, no lying individuals were present, no terrible artwork. Nope.

I just went to the movies. Alone. For me. I had a date with just me.

Keep in my mind: I’m an introvert. Not only that but a very introverted introvert when it comes to the spectrum of introversion. Add to that I’m relatively independent, self-reliant, and, oh, I have social anxiety–all in all, I’m not the most fond of unnecessary social interaction. (Not that you’d know by my perma-smile whenever faced with a stranger in public. I mean, c’mon guys. I may not love socializing, but I’m not going to be rude about it. Anyways.) I don’t get out much, and up until college, embarking on a social outing¬†alone¬†would have been included in the list of my Top Fears… which is pretty weird when you consider the traits I just mentioned…

It’s just, in a place like the U.S., social life matters. Having friends,¬†extremely visible¬†friends plays a vital role in your image, in how others perceive you. Especially in the grade school years. And when I say visible, I’m not talking of the non-imaginary variety; I mean friends who go with you everywhere. And when you do spend time apart, you’re communicating with one another via message system or social media, as if to say¬†Look, everyone. Look at how social and popular I am. Yes, it is so neat how close we are.¬†

But the thing is, once you get to where I am in life–in college, about to enter that “Real World” (or maybe you realize this earlier in life, if you’re lucky)–you realize that 1) It’s really just a big facade, and 2) It’s not that important, really.¬†Looking¬†like you’re social and have friends really doesn’t matter, doesn’t compare to¬†actually having¬†genuine friends. Who may not be there to fill a physical absence, but who is always there to console my anxiety episodes, to help me think through my problems, to make me laugh uncontrollably with just a look. That is what genuine friendship looks like, and it can’t always be made clear by a physical being standing or not standing beside you.

And I guess it took me going to a movie by myself to–not realize that. No, I realized this earlier on in college, in¬†high¬†school, even. But, to be fully comfortable with the idea, to embrace it, that’s what this movie date did for me. Sure, I’ve done things by myself before, like running errands or going out to eat. I mean, I’m an introvert–I spend a lot of time by myself. But running errands and eating aren’t deemed solely social activities by society. Something like a movie is…even if it’s literally spending two hours in the dark¬†not¬†socializing (Hey! Introvert’s dream date come true! Kidding…). So this was a pretty big step for me. To not only be introverted in public, but excessively so.

After getting over the fact that I was literally the only. Single. One. in a theater full of couples (might’ve had something to do with the fact I was seeing a coming-of-age romantic comedy and it was discount night for students at the theater, but besides the point), I was pretty content with myself. I was happy with where I was, I was at peace. I was¬†comfortable. I didn’t need a friend next to me to look credible, normal. And when you have social anxiety, and are convinced everyone is always watching you, when in reality they are likely doing anything but, that’s an AMAZING feeling. Maybe it’s just the irrational, anxious part of my brain talking, but I felt like everyone around me could see I didn’t mind being so independent, so single in a room full of socialites, and were secretly in awe of me. Or something. Yeah… all in my head…

So after coming down from the high of doing a big social thing all by my big girl college self, I just wanted to document my experience for you Readers and share what I learned. Hopefully, if you are wiser than I, you’ll have already learned this lesson. If so, enjoy the review. Take pride that yet another individual has finally embraced her independence. If not, well, here’s to something new.

It’s time to break your norm, Readers.

Times Like These

It’s no secret I’ve been suffering through some copious amounts of anxiety as of late. More than I usual–and understandably so, I think. But all that came to a momentary halt when I came home from work on Friday and was greeted by my younger brother, Max–and a present. He had specially made. For me.

Let me just pause here to review for you Readers who may not be as familiar: I’ve written about Max a bit on here, but just in case you do not feel like searching through my blog’s archives for accounts of our sibling interactions, here’s the gist. Max is my younger brother whom I love with my whole heart…and who also happens to be on the high-functioning end of the spectrum of Asperger Syndrome (which is on the high-functioning end of the spectrum of autism). Basically, he has AS, but functions so seemingly “normal” (by society’s definition, anyway) in everyday life, passersby would likely not know he has it unless told. At the very least, he may simply come across as eccentric, but beyond that…

Asperger Syndrome and autism have made remarkable waves throughout media in recent years, so I think the general population has a decent grasp on the concepts. But, in a nutshell, autism is a developmental disorder that interferes with the ability to communicate, to interact with the outside world. Asperger Syndrome is much the same, only the interference with communicating is, I suppose you could say, to a lesser degree; as I said, AS is more high-functioning. So while someone with autism may struggle to interact with another, with the outside world, to the extent of being nonverbal (no talking), someone with Asperger’s¬†does¬†talk and interact with others, but there are conditions. Maybe they talk too much about a certain subject yet are notably silent on others. Maybe they pace back in forth while they talk. Or don’t make eye contact. Or speak in a flat, monotone voice. It all varies, case-by-case. In short? Autism folks struggle to communicate; Aspies, as well, but to a lesser degree–so much so that they are more perceivably “normal” to the rest of us… yet, not normal enough.

Back to Max’s gift. My little brother has surprised me with his behavior throughout the years. And this past weekend, he continued that trend. Individuals with Asperger’s are not typically known for their thoughtfulness; they tend to live in their own world, focusing on their perspective. I attribute it to a starring character in a movie–the person with Asperger’s takes on the main role, while everyone else serves lesser roles. Everything that happens to the former is a BIG DEAL, and is interpreted and reacted to only based upon on how said happening affects them. Seems kind of selfish, yes? But I think we’re all pretty guilty of that from time to time. In any regard, while Max exhibits this way of thinking, he also balances it out with his random bouts of thoughtfulness.

Evidence A: I’m a pretty big fan of Disney. I mean who isn’t, to some degree? I’m certainly not a fanatic by any means, but do I like the movies, the catchy songs, the overpriced theme parks? Yeah! I do. So anyways, Max is taking an art class at school this semester and I guess his teacher was giving students some free reign in their latest project and so Max sketched a detailed replica of the acclaimed Disney Castle…with the intention of giving it to me. Which he did! And Readers, let me tell you my heart became so full right then–so much that I think it promptly melted as a delayed response to the kind gesture.

Look, I know, in most other cases, with “normal” siblings, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Some siblings might be genuinely touched but not make a huge commotion out of the affair. Others might not think anything of it, limply accepting the drawing and then forget about it in the weeks to come. And there are those who may not do much of anything at all. I mean, it’s only a¬†drawing, right? Of something I only like, but not fanatically love. What’s so great about that?

Max and I are not a “normal” case (is there such a thing with any set of siblings, though?). I don’t see a measly sketch. I see tangible evidence of my dear Aspergian brother thinking of someone else. I see an act of kindness, of love, that lets me know Max loves me and thinks of me and values me. To receive that, when people with autism/Asperger’s aren’t known for their consideration or their affection, just warms me to my core.

And gives me momentary respite from my constant, nearing-graduation-anxiety. Nothing distracts you from life’s hardships quite like love…or something. And I’m thankful I’ve been granted times like this to remind me of that.

Love on, Readers.

Okay, Fine–I’m Scared

Do you remember a few posts ago, when I was so confident, so at peace with where I was in life–despite not having my future figured out beyond graduation? I remember concluding with something along the lines of, “I hope this season of peace lasts!”

It’s like I know myself so well, like I knew my unusual bout of contentment wouldn’t remain.

Now, I wasn’t being negative, just realistic. I know myself (you know, to some degree) and I worry about¬†everything. It’s just who I am–it’s side effect of anxiety, or something. So when I wasn’t worried about my lack of post-grad job, lack of calling, lack of purpose, I suspected it was only a matter of time… And I was right! Not that I wanted¬† to be…

Once I officially hit the two month mark before graduation, reality really set in for me. I’m doomed to a series of lasts with where I am in life. Er, a suspected series of lasts. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go back to school after all. But at the moment, I’m planning on this chapter of my life to come to a close. After I walk across the stage, receive my diploma, I will be diving into the workforce, impressing my new employer with my super awesome writing skills. Better yet, helping people in need with those writing skills… somehow. But once all that begins, I will no longer be in school. A life I’ve known for the past 17 years or so will be replaced by another. And that’s kind of daunting.

I should clarify: I’m really not that sentimental about leaving school behind, no longer being a student. Sure, these past four years have been filled with an abyss of change; I’m not the same person now as I was coming into college, that’s for sure. But I’m ready for something new; I’m ready to break free from the coddling of school and enter the real world. Ready to¬†help¬†the real world.

No, what I’m more fearful of is: I don’t know what this real world, what this new life will entail. I don’t know my path, what His plan is for me. Sure, I’ve talked about on here my ideals to write and help others and to somehow merge the two, but that’s what¬†I¬†want to do. I don’t know if that’s what I’m supposed to do, what¬†He¬†wants me to do. There’s a difference between passions and talents and callings–only in some instances do those happen to be synonymous (also known as a vocation, but I digress)–and I’m not sure my wants and abilities align with where the Lord places me. I mean I imagine He’ll interfere at some point if I’m barreling down the wrong path; I’ve prayed for Him to direct me. But so far, I’m still waiting. I’m still uncertain. And that scares me.

I don’t know what’s in store for me next. And when I hear everyone else disclose their plans following graduation, whether it be workforce (already signed on for a job) or graduate school or mission work or some other amazing Plan XYZ, how they seem to have everything all figured out, I’m led to feel… left behind, I guess. Like everyone else has their life together and I don’t. Look, I know there’s a chance they don’t, in fact, have their life together as much as they may say they do. I know comparison is detrimental–especially for someone with anxiety. But knowing that isn’t going to stop my worry, prevent me from wishing I had A Plan after I move from one phase of life to the next. I just want to know what I’m supposed to do, what I’m¬†meant¬†to do. But I don’t. And man, Readers, it’s teaching me a whole lot about patience and God’s timing.

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I actually haven’t even seen “FRIENDS,” but this seems relevant…

And if any of you Dear Readers who may be going through something similar, who are about to embark on a new time in life, who don’t know what’s next? Whelp. I feel your pain, I do. Huzzah, solidarity! I’m here, too, waiting right there with you… I guess we’ll see what happens, right?

Also, for the record, I¬†don’t¬†hope this season lasts.

The Senior Effect

I’m sure any of you who have been in school and attended for a final year and knew it was your final year had some feelings about that being the final year. For some, that might be what is coined¬†senioritis, wherein your near-completion status fuels the desire to¬†not do anything. Ever. The motivation is just not there, because you can already see the end, see what’s coming. For me, I’m not sure what to call it–it’s definitely not¬†senioritis, so I’m calling whatever-it-is-I’m-going-through The Senior Effect. Well,¬†my¬†Senior Effect. I can’t guarantee anyone will identify with this feeling, not specifically.

The Senior Effect is…weird. It doesn’t fuel or deplete my motivation, or contribute extra feelings of disdain or affection for my school. Honestly, it hasn’t really affected my actions/behavior at all. It’s more a way of thinking, I guess–a viewpoint. The Senor Effect is like a lens through which I see and interpret everything I do now and gauge what influence these things may hold–if any–toward my future.

Because I know what I know: in a few short months I’ll be finished with school, possibly forever (unless I decide to go back) and enter the working world full-time as well as the Real World (i.e. commence “adulting” on a more independent level). And I know (er, more like I¬†think¬†I know–God may totally have different plans, unbeknownst to me yet) that a lot of what I am seeing and doing will be my last. Last class. Last lecture. Last witty banter with a classmate suffering through the same lecture. Last committee meeting. Last time walking through the academic buildings of campus. Last article written for work. Last internship. Last hanging out sessions with friends (for awhile). Last months living with family. Just. Lots of lasts. And¬†knowing they are my lasts (to some extent).

And while I may be more sentimental about some of those lasts than others, the kicker is, I’m not really¬†sad¬†about any of them. Well the friends and family stuff, yeah, but the others? Not really sad, not really excited. Not scared, not anxious (well, you know), not impatient. Not anymore. I just… have this sort of peace for where I’m at right now. When I’m not stressed about writing my theses (and even then, I’m insanely excited to work on them, but I guess that’s why they tell you to focus on what interests you…). I know what’s to come yet all the uncertainty it brings and what I still have to do to get there between now and then. But I’m in a place where I’m not sprinting to get to this next chapter of my life and I’m not wistful enough to crawl in attempt to stay where I am longer. I’m just living life at its own pace, trying to focus on one day at a time. Or at least one week…

The Senior Effect is… kind of nice. It’s like the Acceptance stage in coping with Life Transition. Because I’ve definitely undergone Anxiety and Discomfort and Fear and Depression (and I’m totally making up my stages here) and all that impatience and lack of motivation that come with those at the beginning of the academic year. I mean, have you read my blog? But I’m finally in a place where I’m content with where I am. And am patiently (kind of) waiting for my next steps, for whatever God has in store.

So let’s hope I didn’t totally wreck this peace by blogging about it… Have a blessed, peaceful(ish?) week, Friends!

What Drives Her?

Heyo Friendos!

First, I’d just like to express intangible gratitude to be finished with the semester (and halfway done with my SENIOR YEAR of college). In all honesty, it reallllllly wasn’t that bad–mainly just trying to finish all my projects and papers on time. So anyways, yay! I’m off for a few weeks! ….Unless I try to work more on my thesis, which, knowing me… We’ll see. ūüôā

Anyways, subject for the day’s post. I actually have quite a few ideas all jumbled around in my head right now–some of which, you’re probably glad I haven’t taken the time to sit down and write–but they’ve all been momentarily sidelined by something else that happened this week. A conversation I had with my Dad, actually…

This particular parent of mine travels¬†a lot for work. And what is traveling but discovering new places… and meeting people new people… and perhaps further bonding with those who’ve accompanied you on your journey. So my Dad also has to socialize. Also, a lot. Which is, yikes, introvert that he is, but he’s a¬†charming,¬†outgoing¬†introvert so I guess it works. And it was during one of these little periods of socialization that has me so perplexed, inspired–enough to share with you all to maybe evoke a similar reaction. Or not.

I’m going to risk sounding relatively selfish for a second here and say that in this chat, my Dad was discussing me–my school, internships, volunteer work, writing, post-graduation plans, etc.–usual my-daughter-Quinn stuff, I thought, when my Dad later relayed to me this conversation. But what set it apart from the rest was, rather than simply responding with a smile and encouraging comment–“You must be so proud!”–this particular conversation partner wanted to dig deeper, below the surface of basic school/work information. They wanted to know¬†why¬†I was doing what I was,¬†why¬†I kept so busy, so seemingly motivated. Dad did best he could to provide sufficient responses, like I simply enjoy keeping busy, using my time to serve others, etc. But apparently that wasn’t enough.

“But what¬†drives¬†her?” they asked.

It’s like that phase we (mostly) all go through as kids–the “why” phase. We question every little thing, asking why. We want to seem profound, wanting to know more, when really we’re just being ornery little kids, amusing ourselves more than anything. But this colleague of my father’s was very intentional about uncovering the core of my motivation. And my Dad, who wanted to give the right answer more than anything, couldn’t, as he later confessed to me.

I think he wanted to get my answer so he could be ready for next time. So he could realllllly know his kid–on an even deeper level (though I’m not sure that’s possible. I try pretty hard to remain as transparent as I can be with those close to me). But when he recounted to me this archaeological dig into my life, I couldn’t go any deeper. Because I didn’t have an answer.

I still don’t. But it’s not because there isn’t… I just don’t know what it is yet.

What drives me?

Serving others? Serving God? Because without my drive, I wouldn’t have much in this world except the life with which God granted me?

Why do I do what I do? How do I really know? Because I don’t think I do… Not at this point. I wish I could contrive a temporary answer that’s even a remote jab in the right direction to provide for you all asking yourselves the same thing, to provide myself. But at this point I’m at a loss. I’m still pondering. I’m continuing to ruminate.

Once I figure this out, maybe I’ll return to this post and share, but for now…

What drives you?

Stay curious, Friendos.

Tell Me Something Good

In a world so full of tragedy and hate and cruelty, it’s a wonder we find solace, find happiness. In any regard.

But to keep going, I think we have to. We need to uncover the joys in life–no matter how small–and recall why we’re here and what purpose we serve. Even in the darkest of times.

And with anxiety–with any type of mental illness, really–those dark times can occur much more often than not. With or without the weight of a world prone to tragedy.

As I’ve come to step into my anxious identity more and more, figured out my triggers, my patterns, my behaviors in certain situations, I’ve been able to develop some forms of coping, responsive routines. They are by no means a solution, but they¬†do help. To some degree, in the heat of the moment, so to speak.

My most recent mechanism, I’m not sure how I started it, but I’ve been using it more and more this semester. On days when my world is just a little too dark, too heavy to take in–even with God on my side–I attempt to bring in a little light, to distribute some of the weight. At least, for a little while.

Tell me something good.

This is my request to family, to friends, to loved ones. This is what I ask for when the world gets a little too real, too scary, too anxiety-inducing. This is the message I send via text when I need to regain my grip on reality, return to the Real World and escape from my anxious mind.

“Tell me something good,” I plead to my best friend, work colleague, parent when I sense the makings of an anxious day. Or when I feel the beginnings of an attack coming on. And, within minutes, I receive my reply. Usually, the messages I receive pertain the wonders of God’s Creation, the positives of an event to take place later that same day, or sometimes even the promise of tomorrow–the need to survive through the day to see the tomorrow.

Essentially, all responses I’ve received over time have reminded me of the simple joys and the simple beauties in life we’ve been granted. All responses have reminded me things are not always as they seem and that they certainly need not be endured alone. That help is never far away.

And that’s why I reach out.

Tell me something good. It’s one simple mechanism to provide simple grounds for coping. And all it really requires is the will to ignite and the patience to receive and help will come, I know, from loyalty and love and, to an extent, understanding.

I don’t expect my community of support to necessarily empathize with what goes on in my head. And I don’t ask them to. But this one little request is my way of utilizing the help and love they so generously offer without (I hope) burdening them my minutely outrageous anxious troubles. And often times, while it may not necessarily work, pull me out of my anxious state, it reminds me of the good of the world. And, sometimes, I think that’s all you really need.

Now, I don’t pretend to know how all anxious folk feel, how everyone experiences their anxiety. But this is my story, my coping, my mechanism; and it works for me, more or less.

Maybe it can work for you.

Stay real and stay good, my Friends.

You Just Know…

I was in such a writing mood this weekend that you guys get a bonus post this week. How exciting! ūüėÄ Or not…

This is the phrase I have been hearing the past few weeks now.

Regarding my school work. Regarding my job search. Career aspirations. In my faith. Pretending to adopt a cat (school project, don’t ask). Really everything in my life.

I’ve been asking for advice both from God and my loved ones here on Earth regarding several decisions weighing on my mind that need to be made both in the near and distant future. And for me it all comes back to¬†How do you know you’re making the right decision? How do I know?

And again and again I’m met with¬†You just know.

Honestly, I could probably ask an easily proven question, but begin it with¬†How do you know…?¬†and be met with that very answer.

How do you know 2 and 2 equates to 4?

You just know…

How do you know the Earth is round?

You just know…

Gah, that’s not the all-assuming answer for everything, you know! It doesn’t work all the time…

But in all seriousness, though this is actually a wise reflection (at least the first few times I heard it :)), I have not met the sentiment with the utmost acceptance. The belief to simply know does not resonate well with me. Well with my persona. For you Myers-Briggs fans, I’m an ISFJ. S, for Sensing–I sense things, get a feel for a situation before diving in fully. I do not jump in wholeheartedly before I know what I’m getting myself into. I do not use my intuition well. But I’m being told time after time to do just that, to follow my feelings, my heart. And that has been, in some ways, very difficult for me to do. At least regarding the biggie decisions.

Currently, I am embarking on a quest to find a church to attend and, ideally, join as I continue on my Walk with God. And just today (er. yesterday now) I visited the first (of likely a few) that could maybe be The One. I attended the service, and while there were some parts of it I really didn’t like, there were aspects that I really did. So where do I go from here? How do I know this is the church for me? How do I know when I’ve found The One?

My pastor/friend from my school who attended with me (awww) gave me the oh-too-familiar answer I was readily awaiting at that point: You just know.

Hmmm. Well, if I “just know” and yet didn’t have that knowing feeling at this particular church, it must not be the church for me, right?

Well Friends, you see, as a Sensing individual, I’ve never felt 100% this-is-where-I’m-supposed-to-be comfortable in my initial experiences with anything. Ever. And sometimes not even the second or third. I’ve been at one of my internships for almost a year now and, as much as I have loved in the time prior, I only just began, in recent months, to feel fully comfortable there. It was then (like eight months later) that I “just knew”. But apparently my intuition is supposed to surface more quickly? I mean, that would be more practical. I can’t realistically attend services at a church I feel unsure about for eight months waiting for the feeling that tells me I’m in the right place.

So what then? How do I evoke this intuition sooner in new scenarios?

The obvious answer seems to be to pray. To trust in God. To ask for His guidance. In making decisions, in knowing. But I have, you see. And I haven’t been disappointed by any means. I’ve been nudged. But not explicitly told “Yes, Quinn, this is¬†the¬†path for you–you are so right. Keep going!” Okay, that isn’t even remotely how I envision God audibly speaking to me, but besides the point… I’m not saying I expect to receive a concrete answer or absolute assurance I am making the “correct” choice. I still adhere to, to an extent, God will guide us and use our gifts regardless of our choices (sometimes our paths just end up a little more scenic than originally planned). But I’d like to have more certainty in my decisions. More confidence. Before I make them (and not eight-plus months after them, ideally).

Perhaps this wise, omnipresent “just know” response is God’s assurance to me. His encouragement to follow where He is leading me. To follow whatever path He lays out before me. Because as I said earlier, He continues to guide us, no matter the path. So, technically, I¬†do¬†“just know”. I¬†should¬†be confident in my decisions because He is with me in every step. I just need to extend my full faith, my full trust in Him.

…That’s a lot of Intution for someone who prefers to Sense. Let’s start with this “church shopping” and go from there.

Have a trusting, blessed week, Friends.