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.

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¬†not.¬†That.¬†Easy. 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.

College Isn’t Conducive to Family Time

I’ve gotta say, commuting may be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in college.

I chose to live at home my final year of school primarily to hopefully evoke a change in my feelings on college. But I would be lying if I said the fact that I’d be closer to my family wasn’t a factor in the decision.

My family is such an important part of my life. I don’t really talk about them much on here, I realize, but they truly play a central role in my existence. The idea of not talking with them or being around them long-term frightens and saddens me–it’s unfathomable. And I thought when I made the choice to commute to school from home, I’d avoid this very fate. And technically, I have. But some days, I may as well still be living in a dorm away from everyone.

I do see my family more–a lot more–than I did the years I lived on campus. Obviously, not at least catching glimpses of one another when you live under the same roof isn’t possible. But short sightings of one another and “I love you!”s called over the shoulder as you head out the door for the day only sustain the family fix for so long.

Senior year has kept me busier than my underclassman-self would have ever imagined–and I’ve been a busy, 18-credit-hour-taking, two-job-holding student most of my collegiate life. And as a result, I practically only go home to sleep or hole up in my room to do homework.

When I made the announcement near the end of last year that I planned to live at home my final year, my Mom, though excited, predicted she would hardly ever see me. And she was right. And yet, we were both so hoping she wasn’t.

In the past few weeks especially, I’ve been feeling guilty about not spending as much time at home or not very social when I am home. And my family hasn’t depleted this feeling in any way with their passing remarks on my absence and distance.

Just this last week I had major car trouble, to the extent of which help from another was desperately needed. Not only did I not reach out to anyone in my¬† family for assistance, I didn’t even¬†tell¬†anyone about my mishap until after the fact. And even then, not right away. Understandably, my family–my Mom, especially–was hurt by lack of transparency.

I don’t why I didn’t think to reach out (aside from my strong resistance to ask others for help unless I realllly need it, while I have no problem helping others whether asked or not. This could really be a blog post in itself.). Part of it stems from independence, I think. I’m very self-reliant, and I have been for as long as I can remember. But another part of me assumed help wouldn’t have been given. By my own family? By people who have stood by me and have continuously proved they will always be around to help, however possible?

Apparently so.

This past week has been a major reality check for me as far as my family is concerned. Fearful of my Mom’s prediction, I have been making a special effort–on the weekends, at least–to spend time at home with my family. But as time has moved forward and deadlines have become unnervingly close, I’ve begun to slip. I’m praying this won’t continue, that I’ll be able to find ways to be around when time is limited. Realistically, I know though, it will be a challenge at the very least.

I’m on my guard, so here’s to a very familial-centered rest of the year.

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 hay?¬†decision. 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. ūüôā

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.

Behind the Smile

Earlier this week, I was getting food on my way from one commitment to the next (as is the life of the college student), and as I was paying, the cashier who helped me made a remark about my unwavering smile.

“You seem¬†really¬†happy […] Maybe some of your happiness will rub off on me,” they said.

I tried to brush it off, to convince them my face is prone to smiling. But to no avail. This isn’t the first time someone has taken notice of my constant smiling and interpreted it as a sign of everlasting happiness.


I’ve received several comments over the years reflecting on my constant smiles and positive attitude (i.e. “happiness”). And it’s because, often when interacting with people (which is all the time in this age), I smile. Anyone who knows me knows with absolute certainty I will be smiling a good percent of the time I’m with them. But not everyone knows my smile stems more from feelings of awkwardness, anxiety, and, okay, happiness… but usually for the other person. I care a freak-ish amount for people close to me, and when I get to enjoy their company or hear of their good fortune, I can’t help but smile. But that doesn’t mean I am always as equally happy for myself. Because, lately, behind my smile for others and their happiness, have been thoughts of immense uneasiness and confusion. Thoughts that don’t typically warrant a smile.

To say these past several weeks have been stressful is an understatement. I’m nearly a quarter in to my final year of undergraduate school, but that’s the least of my worries.

Okay… Maybe third or fourth on my worry list.

I’m at such a crossroads in my life right now. And while that sense of uneasiness originally stemmed from my sudden doubt in my ideal career/passion (that I’ve been working the past few years toward), it’s sprouted into an uncertainty with who I am and what I know about myself. Because I feel like I don’t know myself anymore, not completely. Though I guess no one knows themselves completely… Except God.

Over these last few months, I have held such pride in figuring out who I was in terms of my introversion and anxiety. I’ve made measurable progress in acknowledging and embracing these facets of my identity. I am who I am–it’s different from a lot of the people in my life right now and that’s okay. But as much as I’d like to think I’m completely at peace (and have likely said as such on here at some point–side effects of an especially low-anxiety, high-confident day), I know I have a ways to go. And that’s fine. I’ve come to grips with that (some days). But while I’m navigating through this ongoing journey, I’ve embarked on another. And, depending on how consistently you read my whirling, disorganized, bordering on a public diary of a blog, you have likely figured out what it is.

The remainder of this post discloses more on my journey with my faith and God. I strongly encourage you to continue reading. But should you wish to stop here, I respect your decision and thank you for reading to this point. Have a wonderful day.

I’m finding and solidifying my faith, my relationship with God. And that’s where I’m feeling especially crossroads-y right now. I don’t come from a family of faith. I don’t have many people in my life who practice faith. And that’s completely okay! I love the life I’ve been given and the people in it. But coming from a background with such little essence of faith has made it all the more difficult for me to openly express and feel at ease with my journey (but not enough to stop me from posting about on my blog–all of which they know about and have access to…). At least for the time-being.

But the other issue is, I don’t even really know what it is I would be saying or revealing.¬†I¬†don’t even fully understand where I am with my beliefs and how deeply I believe them. So how can I expect others to understand?

If right at this moment I were asked to explain my beliefs in concrete terms, I’d consider myself what I’m calling an “in-betweener”. I have faith–more than I used to: I have a relationship with God (I talk with Him and think about Him so much–it’s almost fear-inducing considering how little I used to do either) and I strive to live life according to His standards. But at the same time, I don’t surround myself with members of the believing community. The few times I’ve ventured out I’ve felt so out of my element with people who have a firmer grasp on understanding His Word and have had a relationship with God almost their entire lives, who have committed their lives to following Him.

It’s not a competition–I know that. This all stems from a relationship with Him and the striving to live through His Word. But I’m not there yet, not completely. I’m not ready to commit my life to His standards, not in the way He asks. And I don’t know if I will ever be. I feel gratified in the beginnings of this relationship, but I can’t stay in this early stage forever.

So in the meantime, I’ve sought guidance and support from those around me who have continued to greet me with love and acceptance so that I may figure out what I need to figure out. And while I’m hoping to do so soon, I know in the grand scheme of things, this will be an extensive, lifelong journey. And once I do and come to a concrete decision, I pray that those who have remained in my life up to this point will remain, regardless of what that decision means.

…I don’t think there’s a facial expression that accurately depicts internal journeys of self-discovery. But despite all I’m going through, I will always be ready and willing to give my smile, my happiness, and my love to my loved ones (whoa, shocking) and random cashiers and anyone who need it.

Thank you, Friends. Much love.