Friday, May 18, 2018

The Old Elbow Grease Method

Things come pretty easy these days; you don't really have to work hard to get them.

I want the new album by so and I just download it from Amazon. I don't have to wait for it to be in physical form. I don't need to hunt it down at the music store. I don't need to wait for it at all. I can get it now.

There are so many more examples, but what got me today was a devotional I had done earlier this year. It's not anything spectacular and I feel like some of the days so far haven't really meant anything to me...until today.

It was "Assess the Goods: Becoming New". It talked about how God is in the business of taking broken things and turning them into glorious displays of His love.

Say what?

Didn't I just blog earlier this year about how I'm trying out this new me, trying to let go of the old? #oldme, #newme? He is going to take me as I am and work on me with good, old-fashioned elbow grease. He's fixing my gears. He's polishing me. He's taking time to make a better version of who I am. Not who I was. Who I AM. He is making me new, not me.

2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old has gone, the new is here!"

This is groundbreaking, even though I've heard it a gazillion times.

So, on the days when I'm missing music, missing my job, missing the comfortable, I need to remember that God is just polishing me. He's not taking the music out of me. He's not making me go through the trials I do just for fun. He is polishing me to be used in even better ways. It's going to be uncomfortable in a comfortable way.

I need to take God's elbow grease and apply it as well. Kick the little devil off my shoulder who whispers in my ear. Keep pressing on and pressing forward. Onward and upward! Onward and upward. Onward. Upward.

I choose joy.
I choose Bryce.
I choose not to lie.
I choose to not be wicked.
I choose to not seek out music today....
I choose to trump worry with worship.
I choose to not be bitter.
I choose to surrender my timeline.

I choose to believe that God will use me again. I believe it. I know it. I claim it. He has promised me that this is His plan.

Now....I need to get to work and keep working on the little things, one day at a time. It's going to be hard work, painful maybe, I am brave, I am bruised and I am who I'm meant to be...but the end's going to be awesome.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Fitting In When You Just Want To Belong

A friend and I were talking the other day and she said something that made me tear up. I don't remember the exact words, but it was along the lines of this:

"We try to fit in when all we really want is to belong." why the tears?

I look back at the 6ish years I was the worship leader at church. The longer I was in the position, the more people knew who I was and the more people I knew. I genuinely liked people (almost everyone) and liked getting to know new people. I tried to fit in with everyone and I tried to help everyone fit in.

Rewind to October of last year, when B & I started attending church again: I spent months trying to fit in again, but I couldn't. I didn't understand why. People still knew who I was and I still knew the people. Something was off. The more I tried to fit in, the more I felt left out.

Fast forward to February of this year: I was serving in Kid's Night, I was attending a small group, I was attending MOPs and I was going to church. I still felt like I was a cog out of place. I felt bitter, sad, angry...even ostracized. I mentioned a lot of this here.

I think it was the last week of February. There was one Sunday left in that month. B & I had a fight that week (which was still common) and of course, it was over music and church. He brought up a point: I was singing in the seats like I was singing from stage.

And it hit me.

I was trying so hard to fit in I was still the worship leader. But I wasn't the worship leader. I was acting like it, singing like it, pretending like things were okay, but they weren't!

That set me thinking, so I tested it out on that last Sunday. I listened more, I tried to sing normally and there it was....he was right.

This is why I felt like something was off.

During this break, I've been able to do a lot of thinking and I feel like I'm starting to come to a conclusion:

I need to be a normal person the way I used to be, before I was on stage. When you would attend church, sing songs you may or may not know, listen to the sermon, see your friends and then you're done. You didn't linger around the stage. You didn't sing like you had been on stage. You didn't act like you were someone important. You were And you belonged. You felt like you belonged.

That is what I want again. Instead of being the fallen leader, I can just be Cassandra. Heck, there's so many new people at church who don't even know who I am, that should be easier than it was before. I want to belong.

I think this is relevant in a lot of things. Big events in our life change us. They change our course, they change our goals, our opinions, the way we do things, the way we think. We are sometimes in the darkness and sometimes just skirting around it.

We can't be who we used to be. The more we try to force that, the harder it is to accept the truth and let it become our reality. If we were to stop trying to fit in and just let ourselves belong, I think we would see that we are happier being who we are, the way we are, the REAL me.

I tried so hard to fit in, when all I really want is to belong.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Friend Wanted With No Strings Attached...or Baggage...or Problems...


Life was simple and living was easy. Carefree. This was who I was. I think it was a few weeks after this epic picture that me & Joc found out that Anna & Ashley were moving...out of all the way across the U.S.

The group was breaking up. Like a band. Like the Beatles (sorry, I had to throw that one in there).

Fast forward 2 years. We're still friends, we keep in touch, we miss each other a lot. Me & Joc? Well, we don't hang out as often as we used to. She had baby issues and I had marriage issues. Those are valid excuses.

Or...are they?

Two things occurred today that made me think. One was a coffee date with someone I had never had coffee with before and the other was a picture of coffee & avocado toast with the caption that said this: STAY CONNECTED.

Let me talk about that one first. The person who posted it said this underneath the picture: Don't forget to invest in your friends.

Crap. I have been a crappy friend. Sure, it is valid that I was having marriage issues and needed to spend that time with B. It was super important. My friends understood. Who wouldn't? Joc was having baby issues and that is extremely important. Her friends understood. Who wouldn't? Well, crappy friends or maybe people you thought were your friends, but that's not the point. The point & B are doing way better, Joc is doing way better, but I have still been a crappy friend.


I think because I keep waiting for people to reach out to me when, in fact, I haven't been reaching out to anyone. I haven't been investing in my friends who matter to me. I haven't been investing in Joc. I haven't been investing in the friends I have from church. I've been waiting to have my cup filled by others.

Selfishness in action.

That brings me to the coffee date. This was with someone whom I've never purposely hung out with, yet I've known her for years. She's going through some personal stuff and wanted to reach out to me. We both agreed that when you go through crap, people drop out of your life because you don't fit in anymore....when all we want to do is belong (more on that tomorrow).

She also said that she's been waiting to know the real me for years, but never made it into "the Cassandra group".

Yikes. Was I that consumed with being popular that I had made a group? The answer is YES. Remember, I have been a selfish person. I was so inundated by people who liked me that I only drew in those who satisfied me in some way.

So, in short....I was that pretty cheerleader who only let certain people into her circle and pretended to be someone she really wasn't (no offense to my MANY cheerleader friends).

That sucks. It sucks that I was such an ugly person on the outside, it sucks that I lost a lot of friends when I was in a crisis and it sucks that I have let my real friendships fade because I haven't put any effort towards maintaining them.

I am NOT in crisis mode anymore. I now have a somewhat normal life and have publicly admitted how much of a selfish jerk I was. I'm ready to move forward, to choose joy and say this:

Friends, I am sorry if I have neglected you or made you feel neglected. I'd name you one by one, but I think you'll know who you are. I care about you and I love you and I'm sorry that I tried to fade off of the map. To quote my friend, "I secluded myself." I thought it would be better for you if I didn't pursue you. I want to hang out with you, I want to have coffee/lunch with you and I want to celebrate what is going on in your life. I want to invest in our friendship. I need to invest in B as well, but I need you in my life too. Don't let me drift away.

Don't forget to invest in your friends. And don't forget to make new ones too.