Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I Moved

I just moved 1,200 miles away from the state I grew up in. I drove for three days and had a grand ol' time. I didn't really get bored, I didn't really think about things. I just sang, laughed, got trucks to honk, and drove. It wasn't until the second or third day that I got to my destination, four or five days later from me starting my journey, when everything hit me. I realized that I had just moved. I moved to a a new state, with no job, almost no money, no friends, no concept of the people or the community...And I had a major breakdown.

But I had no one to cry to, to tell these things too, to hug. I didn't know what to do. I was afraid to call people back home because I was afraid they would just think I was complaining. Which, I was, but not to be negative, but I was hurting. I was, and still am, deeply hurting. I called my mom and she told me, "You just went through a traumatic, traumatic, life changing event. You have to allow yourself time to grieve. You've never been good with change, so it's going to take time. And that's okay."

She was right. I hadn't allowed myself to grieve. I hadn't allowed myself to really reflect on what I did. Grieving about my move doesn't mean I regret it or that it was a bad choice. It just means that I left some incredible things and incredible people behind. I left really wonderful relationships and one of the best jobs ever. I'm scared.

People keep telling me that things will get better, and I know they're right. But I want things to be better now. I want real friends right here, right now. I hate that I have to "rebuild" relationships. I hate that I have to essentially start my life all over.

This cool guy who I knew at NAU wrote this article for Relevant magazine that was encouraging: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/whole-life/how-move-new-city

Going Back

I'm going back. I miss Jesus. I miss having a relationship with Him. I miss knowing Him. I've done some major questioning and rethinking, but I think I want Jesus. I think I've decided that He is real and what He did was real. I think He really does love and has boundless grace.

Really, I think I started to get caught up in religion and that scared me and pushed me away. But when I look at Jesus, I'm drawn. I'm not some religious Christian who hates people who view things differently and I hated that people assumed that as soon as they heard "I am a Christian". So I tried to separate myself completely from it all. But Jesus radically loved people. Every person, with every tongue, from every nation. I want to be like that. I don't want to be a religious Christian fanatic and all the assumptions that go with that. I want to be logical about my beliefs and understand real issues and radically love.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Vulnerability TED

I love TED. I'm not talking about the movie, I'm talking about TED. Ideas worth spreading. I don't fully understand the ins and outs of it, even after spending lots of time on their website and watching a ton of their talks, but here are the basics--TED is a conference that is done all of over the world where brilliant people go and give a 20 minute lecture on a profound idea. Check it out--www.ted.com or, the way I really got hooked on it, was the iPhone app.

I have found my first hero via TED. I have plenty of real life heroes--I have great people in my life. But the first person who exists that I don't know and who I want to learn from in a more personal way. Her name is BrenĂ© Brown. She has two TED talks and they are both fantastic. Google her!

Anyways, if you have 20 minutes, watch this video:


And if you have another 20 minutes, watch "The Power of Shame".

Dr. Brown has her Bachelors, Masters, and PhD in Social Work and researches shame and vulnerability.

Her findings, much to her dismay, is that being vulnerable is worth it.
People are worthy.
Tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.
Have compassion with yourself and others.
Connect as a result of authenticity.
Fully embrace vulnerability.
Be willing to say "I love you" first.
Be willing to do something with no guarantees, be willing to invest in a relationship.
Believe that you are enough. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Heart of the Question

Time for a real and vulnerable post...

I went to church this weekend. Based on the content of this blog, potentially my FaceBook, and really, most of my life, that may seem like something not really out of the ordinary. Except that, for the year 2012, it was. The last time I went to church was on Easter. The time before that, I think Christmas. Actually, I went once between those two holidays because I had to take someone. It's been more than eight months since I've consistently been to church.

Not until late April did I tell anyone that I was struggling. Almost five months, and no one knew. As of now, two people know of my lack of attendance. I didn't really make it a secret that my last semester of college was extremely difficult, but the more precise reasons as to why it was so difficult were secret. Besides the fact that I have nearly perfected the art of not answering questions I don't want to answer, I'm also good at hiding things.

My friend responded with the question of Ash, what's going on in your heart? I know you, and I know you don't just do something or don't do something for no reason. You always have a reason. There has to be something deeper, because I know you. As important as your actions are, they are just a result of what's going on with you. So tell me about your heart. 

She was absolutely right. She wanted to get to the heart of the issue. It wasn't really about my church attendance. Or the fact that I hadn't prayed or read in my Bible in almost just as many months as I hadn't gone to church. Yes, that mattered. But I had deeper issues--much deeper issues--than just the fact that getting up by 9am on a Sunday was difficult for me. It's going to be a very long time until I get some of them sorted out--it's already been nearly eight months and I am hardly at the point of mentioning it (not equivalent to talking) to people and it was just now that I was at the point of being in a church.

I was going to sort of go into some of the reasons, but I'm not up for that yet. But with this post, I hope it does show that I am working on my vulnerability. People keep putting me up on this pedestal of perfection and I shouldn't be there. I don't want to be there. I mess up, I struggle, I question, I doubt, I get confused, I hurt. Probably, a lot like you.