Wednesday, December 14, 2016

#AMonthofFaves: Best Changes We Made This Year and a Tearful ONE WORD

Best Changes We Made This Year #AMonthofFaves2016 – to your Day / Life / Routines / Blog / Habits

Don't we all know what I'm going to say? This is officially the #AMonthofFaves2016 prompt most likely to make me cry. 

This was the year I quit a toxic job. The year I started running. The year I was willing to do really scary things in order to make myself, my life, my health, my family, my mental health better. It's crazy that this year, what started off pretty damn glorious, is ending with a mental fog, a lot of broken-heartedness and lost-feelingness because of the way the world is. See politics, hatred, war, apathy, etc.


I find myself in a really dark place. This morning has been an example. I read the news: Aleppo, mind-boggling Cabinet picks, and I just don't even know what the fucking hell I can do. I feel guilty for being tired, gobsmacked, sad because there are so many people fighting so much harder for so much longer. I know that. I feel it right down to my toes.

Screaming into the Facebook and Twitter voids are echo chambers, which can help me feel less alone, but there are limits. I want to be more hands-on where I am in my daily life, but I have a hard time finding those opportunities because I live...here. Let's be real: the people around me are, mostly, not distressed. Especially my government officials.

I am looking for my people. I am looking for a church of accepting believers. I am looking for the helpers. 

I am not excited nor hopeful about 2017. Resolutions feel empty right now, so I started looking at the "one word" idea. As I was reading, I zeroed in on the idea of finding a word for something you want to be. Where you want to land. I did some Googling and some mulling, and I was tossing a few different words around. Friends on Twitter suggested things like revolutionary, radical, hopeful. They're perfectly wonderful words, but I'm feeling too ineffective for those. Like I can't live up to them. Maybe all the more reason to choose them, but they just didn't feel right. 

I landed on "assurance." 

I still wasn't sure it was right...until I started digging. 

I've mentioned on the social medias and up above that I'm looking for people here in Texas who want to help. HELP HELP HELP. I feel like a church is the right place to start...to dig into the community. To do something tangible. I'm looking for a place where my political and spiritual beliefs can live together....be respected together as part of a good-doing heart.  

I Googled "scripture about assurance" and came to one of my favorite verses: 

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jer. 1:5

I'm not a prophet to any nations. I'm not touching enough people, doing enough, making a difference. I doubted that this really applies to me...even though I'd like it to.

And then I read around this single verse. 

The word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." 

"Alas, Sovereign LORD," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am too young."


But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am too young.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD. 


Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."

I'm feeling completely powerless and ineffective. What can I say, what can I write, what can I? What can I? Words are my gift and they're not HELPING. Or at least that's how I feel in my solitude. 

My students tell me different. My friends and family do, too. I often have a hard time believing it. I found myself in tears over these verses about righteous words. Moreso, when I took a close look at the definition of assurance. 


as·sur·ance
əˈSHo͝orəns/
noun
noun: assurance; plural noun: assurances
  1. 1.
    a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise.

    synonyms:word of honor, wordpromisepledgevow, avowal, oathbondundertaking,guaranteecommitment
    "you have my assurance"
  2. 2.
    confidence or certainty in one's own abilities.

    synonyms:self-confidenceconfidenceself-assuranceself-possessionnervepoiseaplomb,levelheadedness; More
    • certainty about something.


This post is a garbled mess of feels, but here's where I am: 

There's no assurance that everything will be ok. There's just not. But I assure you, I promise, that I will do my personal best. I will give what I have whether it's words, love, encouragement, resistance, grace. And I have to accept the assurance of those I love and trust that the things I'm doing, trying. striving for, are not worthless. They are not in vain.

I read these words from Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves (and so much more). that gave me an injection of hope and purpose. I know I will come back to them over and over again. This short essay is titled, "We Were Made For These Times."


"Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale."

...and...

"In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for."


20 comments:

  1. That's a good word pick :) And congrats on shedding the job and acquiring running! Two awesome changes.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! It's been a good year. The way it's ending, sometimes it's hard to remember all the good stuff really has outweighed the bad.

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  2. I am sorry that with all the changes you made this year, you feel like the year is ending on a bad note. I am hoping 2017 will be a good year, but I can see why it might not be. :(

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    1. I have all my fingers crossed, lady! And toes, too.

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  3. Your post moved me to tears, too!

    We need to pick a date for getting together for our meet-up over the holiday break. And now that I have every other weekend free, I think we should try to do a get together once a month. It might be ambitious, there might be times when it can't happen, but I know seeing part of my village in person will do nothing but help. Maybe it's for coffee, maybe it's a book club, maybe it's to volunteer somewhere. All I know is finding more of my village right now is what feels RIGHT!

    Have faith, dear friend. Maybe you discovered you were a self-rescuing princess at the beginning of 2016 because the universe knew you would need to have that knowledge to muck through the end of it.

    HUGS!

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    1. Awww, thank you, dear Katie! We definitely need to pick a date. I think I'll message you now, as a matter of fact! We should most definitely try to make it a regular thing. <3

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  4. Yeah, this year is certainly ending on a scary downer.

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    1. Right? It's a bit overwhelming.

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  5. Do you follow Sarah Bessey, Rachel Held Evans, and Preston Yancey? They are all young, religious folks who are former evangelicals but have moved left of center the last few years. I don't always agree with them but they are people to check out.

    Myself, I'm conflicted on so many things but I am grateful none of my family voted for Voldemort (well, my side, I'm pretty sure my husband's side did) but none of them are nearly as apoplectic and no one seems to be discussing politics. I wish I had someone to talk to. My husband didn't vote for him either but again, not nearly as ragey and also likes to do the false equivalency thing with HRC. *hugs* I hope you find your group. If I was in DFW I'd meet you for coffee.

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    1. Just this week someone mentioned that I should follow Rachel Held Evans, and I am LOVING her so far. I really want to read her books. I'll check out Sarah Bessey and Preston Yancey, too!

      You are mighty lucky none of your fam voted for He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. Mine did, and there's a lot of tongue biting at holiday gatherings. Wishing for that coffee date! <3

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  6. It's been a horrible year, and I'm not feeling hopeful. You have some wonderful thoughts there and I love the scriptures and quotations you chose. I try to help in my own sphere -- there are plenty of people struggling around here even if they aren't refugees or anything -- but half the time I feel like I'm maybe drowning myself too. I'm not doing enough and I don't know how to do more. (Like Misti though, I do have a family that unanimously rejected Voldemort. So that's nice.)


    And all I posted about was learning to do dishes. ;)

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    1. Thank you for stopping in and commenting, Jean! I'd been trying to figure out how to work this post in because these thoughts were bugging me and trying to get out some kinda way. I'm definitely looking to be more hands on in my sphere, and my mom is trying to recruit me for a new park committee. I'm in! That's a start.

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  7. Great word for 2017. And proud of you for the running and quitting your job- I think that's fantastic!

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    1. Thanks, Tamara! I have to focus on how good the good was!

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  8. Beautiful. You expressed all I've been feeling so eloquently and chose the perfect verses to empower. Such a great word to focus on for 2017

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  9. Thank you for sharing this and thank you for your honesty. Even small actions like these help because they help me see I'm not alone in grappling with these issues.

    I hope you are successful in finding a church that feeds your spirit.

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    1. So many hugs, Akilah! I know there are a lot of us, and if nothing else, the turn of events this last part of the year has pushed people (like me!) to be more involved. Holding steady!

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  10. Love that word choice! I'm with you - the world is a terrible, scary place and our country is just as bad right now. But I have to take the little assurances I get that there are more good people than bad and hope that they will all make sure their voices are never silenced. Thanks for continuing to speak out.

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  11. I assure you that I will be here reading your blog in your journey of being assured and assuring others in this difficult time. :)

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