I Want Your Advice

I’ve decided to begin writing a book.

As I mentioned, I was sort of bullied in high school and teased because I was viewed as “innocent.” And if you remember anything about high school, it’s not cool to be innocent or naive at that age. That innocence and curiosity has been questioned on a number of occasions, and people have thought it is an act and that I was playing dumb for attention. It really affected the way I viewed myself, and it’s taken a long time for me to be okay with who I am.

So I want to help other girls.

I’m beginning the journey of writing a book on this topic, for girls who are like me. I want them to know it’s okay to be that way, it’s okay to question, it’s okay to not fit in. I want them to know they are not alone and that they will come into their own. They will survive and they will flourish.

But to begin, I need your help. I have a few questions that I would love your input on. You are welcome to comment below or email me, whichever you are most comfortable with: digitalinkandparchment@gmail.com

  1. What advice would the current you give to high school you?
  2. What is one thing you wish you would have known in high school?
  3. Were you teased in high school? Why? And how did that affect you?
  4. Have you grown in your faith since high school? How?
  5. How has God moved in your life since?
  6. What do you think high school girls need to know that maybe they don’t?
  7. Any other comments.

I love the community in the blogging world, and I hope you are willing to share just a bit of your story so we can help others.

 

 

Revisiting High School

I recently rediscovered all the music on my iTunes. It’s all music from high school, and every time I listen to it, I am inundated with memories. The thing is, I hated high school. Sure, I have some good memories, but, for the most part, it wasn’t my peak.

I was verbally bullied (and once physically). I was made fun of. I wasn’t the pretty one or the smart one or the talented one. I just sort of…was there. I was the little sister to all of my guy friends, even the guys I liked. I was a band nerd. I was on swim team. Nothing set me apart, and I felt like everyone else had something I didn’t. That idea really had an affect on me.

I started thinking I would never be good enough, and that thinking really hasn’t entirely disappeared.

I like the music, and I’m listening to it again, but it brings back some of those painful feelings. Because that’s where it started. I never understood the lyrics behind a lot of the music that was popular. The lyrics to Milkshake, for instance, always baffled me. I actually still remember one interaction with someone I thought was a friend where I expressed this confusion, and she ruffled my hair and told me, laughing, “you’re so innocent” before walking away. I was naive, and no one missed an opportunity to remind me of it. So as I was listening to this music again recently, I chuckled because now I get it.

When I was younger, I thought I was the only one who had this experience. As I’ve grown up, though, I’ve thought that maybe I’m not. And it’s my desire to help other girls through those awkward stages and let them know they aren’t alone and they will come into their own. God has a plan for you.

. . . . .

What was your high school experience like? Do you remember it fondly or not?

What would you tell your high school self now?

It’s Just Part of My Job

Due to some departmental changes at my job, I volunteered to take on some additional responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is overseeing the selection of employee of the month and employee of the quarter. Today was my first time actually doing that.

Once the selection was completed, I had the privilege of informing the selected individuals of the “next steps” in the process, as they get an reward for their hard work and dedication. Having never done this before, I was a little nervous. Am I even credible to do this? How are they going to react? How should I react?

I informed the person who received employee of the month of their recognition, and as soon as I said the words, they said “Wait, really?” in an excited, almost disbelieving voice. As I was telling them, one of their coworkers, who had been a part of the selection meeting, walked by and gave them a thumbs up and a smile. As I finished letting this person know what was going to happen next (photo, etc) they seemed so happy and keen to have this honor. It really made my afternoon, and I walked away from the interaction smiling.

I know that choosing and celebrating an employee of the month and employee of the quarter is important for work moral. Not only does it celebrate hard work, but it also reaffirms those selected that they are recognized. It also gives others a goal to work toward. This showed me that employees are truly thankful for these types of procedures. It reminded me that even the smallest of interactions can have a positive impact on someone’s day.

Everyone wants to be noticed for their hard work. So say “hi” to someone. Smile. Tell someone you appreciate them. It doesn’t go unnoticed.

 

The Paths We Take

“What seems to us bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” – Oscar Wilde

. . . . . .

I never wanted to take this path. I never thought I would. But God has used it to help me find my way and draw me nearer to Him. He has provided me opportunities to begin a career I never thought would be possible. He has provided me community. He has always provided at the right time.

I was once asked if I feel like I’m wasting my time. The answer was, and still is, no. It’s not wasting your time when you’re learning from it. Nothing God does is ever a waste of time. And we have to trust that, even when we feel in the dark, He is guiding our path.

. . . . . .

Sometimes we don’t like the path we end up taking, whether it’s our fault we are there or not. We often can’t see the benefit the experience will have when we are in the midst of struggle because we are so overcome with emotion. But remember: God is faithful. He will see you through it if you will seek Him through it.

A Sudden Realization

I woke up today realizing I no longer wanted to teach.

It’s been coming on for a while, really. One thing has led to another, and I just feel it’s not for me. Now, with a full time job, I don’t feel I can give teaching the attention it deserves. But it’s more than time management abilities. It’s desire. I woke up today wanting to go into my writing and editing job–to the office–and do that work and see those people. In that moment I realized I found what I am supposed to do.

I’ve been praying about this for a while too. Do I completely stop teaching? Or do I just limit what I’m willing to take on? Today felt like a clarification from God about my next steps.

I went back to teaching when I left my previous job and this storm started. It was something I knew, and I was desperate to get out of the job I was in. In a time of complete turmoil, I needed a comfort zone. Since my second year of graduate school, I have enjoyed teaching, but I always felt there was something missing. I think I know what that is now, and I’m going to go after it.

I’ve also been praying about beginning a new project. I would not have time to devote to this project if I continued to teach, and this project is something that has been on my mind for a long time. (I will reveal more when it is solidified and I have taken the steps to make it happen, but keep an eye out.)

I feel like God is leading me in a direction I have waited a long time to be led in, and I am really looking forward to what is next.

These sudden realizations can be scary, but if you have been talking to God about a potential change, it may be a sign from Him. I’ve learned it’s important to stay in prayer, even about “the little things.” He may use the little things to begin moving us forward.

So if you have a decision to make, big or small, ask God. He will provide you an answer.

Inked

“As a woman of faith, how do you feel about tattoos?”

When I was asked this question, I wasn’t sure how to respond initially. I had just been talking to this person about my tattoos and my desire for another. (I have 3 tattoos, and hopefully that 3 becomes 4 soon.) But when I finally understood the meaning, I was able to explain a little better.

This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten this question, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. A blog from HuffPost sums my own viewpoint pretty nicely.

The Old Testament is often quoted when dealing with the more law-like “rules” of Christianity. But when Christ came to earth and died on the cross, He did so to establish a new law: that anyone who believes in Him will have life. In my readings of the New Testament, tattoos are not mentioned. Instead, Christ is concerned with the heart of those who are seeking Him.

Tattoos cost some serious money and should therefore be serious considerations. Personally, I think–Christian or not–your tattoos should be meaningful. But if you are a Christian, the decision is between you and God. It is about conviction, and God gives us each different convictions. It does not make us wrong or right; it simply means He has spoken to each of us differently. For me, I have not felt a personal conviction against tattoos, and I don’t think my tattoos diminish my relationship with Christ. Each of mine have meaning: I have a fleur-de-lis on the inside of my left wrist, a calligraphy quote of “love never fails” between my shoulder blades, and the paw prints of both of my cats on my left ribcage. I thought long and hard about each of these, and I do not regret a single one.

I am currently in the works of finding an artist to create my next one: a sea otter floating in kelp for my right upper arm. I have thought long and hard about this one, too, and I have prayed about it as well.

Each of my tattoos represents something about me. They are just a beautiful, outward reflection of my passions. Just like my heart is a reflection of my love for my Savior.

. . . . . .

Do you have tattoos? What do you have? What do your tattoos mean to you? Do you want any? What do you want and why?

The Lies We Believe

Each time I make new friends, a terrible thought has wormed its way into my head and my heart: they’re only my friend because they feel obligated to be.

I have had this thought more often making new friends this time around. I met them through church. I see them often. They know my storm. They ask how I am. And each time, a sinister voice whispers, They only hang out with you out of pity. They only ask to talk about you later. They think you’re such a fool. 

I may not be able to read minds, but I know those are lies.

People befriend others because they want to, not because they are forced to. We spend time with others because we want to. If we didn’t want to, we would always make excuses. The voice telling me I am worthless, telling me I cannot possibly be a good friend, that I annoy people, and any other negative thing is the enemy. God would never tell us we are not good enough; He says we are loved and He is enough.

In studying In The Middle of the Mess, I have had a lot of moments where I think “me too.” This was one of them–that I am a burden to others, that they are only around me because they feel they have to be. I believed this long before this storm, and I know it affected my relationships and my mental health. I don’t know when this lie formed, only that it did and I allowed it to take root deep within me. I know it took stronger roots when I began to remove myself from others because I had begun to believe it. It became a cycle. But no more.

We are all told lies at some point in our lives, whether they are from the spiritual enemy or a worldly nemesis. If we remove ourselves from community, from those who can speak truth into us, then the lies will take hold, even when we don’t mean them to. The truth then becomes hidden because we are so focused on the lie. Words, good or bad, mean so much more when they come from someone else.

I’ve realized I need community. Even though being around others for long periods can drain me, I still need community. I need friends I can share my secrets–my truest pain and struggles–with. We all do. That is what brings healing.

. . . . . .

What lies have you been believing? What truths do you need? What relationships do you need to recommit to?