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Shadows

Divorce, Single Mom

I’ve had my eyes opened to melancholy as a personality trait of mine…it went with the artist personality type in the enneagram test. I believe I’ve been melancholic often, but I’ve always denied it..this isn’t me, how do I fix this? How do I get out of this slump, what’s wrong? I’ve lived in a world where a smile is supposed to be pasted on my face or it worries the people around me, but how freeing to just be how I am and not have to worry about the anxieties of others. It’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to be angry. This is the cycle, this is healthy.

“Every year about this time, I sink into a sort of quiet melancholy. It’s not the sort of melancholy that lands me in the bed for days on end or in the therapist’s office. In fact, it’s not a particularly unhealthy melancholy. It’s more of a realization that I’m little more than breathing dust, that I’m more shadow than gold (though I might like you to think otherwise), that I’m the incarnation of Solomon’s wisdom. It’s the sort of melancholy that might be concerning if it weren’t so damned cyclical, and though I’ve tried to push it down for most of my life, I don’t feel the need anymore. I’m honest with it. It’s part of the process of living.” ~ Seth Haines

The shadow’s the thing.
If I no longer see shadows as “dark marks,”
as do the newly sighted,
then I see them as making some sort of sense of the light.
They give the light distance;
they put it in its place.
They inform my eyes of my location here, here O Israel,
here in the world’s flawed sculpture,
here in the flickering shade of the nothingness
between me and the light.
~Annie Dillard from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Photo by Teddy Kelley on Unsplash

My Top 5 Strengths

Career, Divorce, Single Mom

I took the Clifton Strengths Finder test (it’s cheapest if you buy the book). I discovered my top 5 strengths. They both confused me and made me think.

1. Responsibility
2. Intellection
3. Adaptability
4. Restorative
5. Input

I’ll explain them a little:
Responsibility: This means that when I commit to something, I absolutely follow through. It will get done. Honestly, the word responsibility as a way of defining myself is annoying. I don’t like that word, it is pretentious and heavy burdening. I am changing it to trustworthy.

This one really rings true for me, although I’m kind of embarrassed about it. I tried to hide it from people sometimes because I think they will think I’m too uptight, but when I find someone else with this trait in their personality, it is a relief. Knowing I’m not the only one who cares so deeply about doing right is refreshing.

Intellection: This means that I love to think deeply about things….lots of things.

Sooooo true! I love thinking! I could spend all day in my head. Is this weird? Sometimes this trait makes it really hard to be a mom, I think this may be the main reason I couldn’t go back into teaching….I like quiet jobs?

Adaptability: prefer to “go with the flow.” They tend to be “now” people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.

At first, I was a little ashamed of this strength, thinking I was a chameleon of sorts, but that isn’t what it is really about. It’s about adapting to different situations and being able to fit into many different places. I often feel like an outsider, so it’s a little weird to read about my adaptive abilities. I do imitate people often to try to fit in better, their dress or their mannerisms…I try not to be too excitable around serious people..although my natural tendencies are to be happy and upbeat. I can talk with many types of people and am very accepting of many people, I can usually find the good in anyone, but I tend to judge negative or proud people harshly.

Restorative: I like to solve problems

When their is not harmony in my world, I get very stressed out. I feel it deeply and work hard to fix it. I find math fun and soothing, also computer programming is fun for me….

Input: People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to
collect and archive all kinds of information.

I actually hate collections, I consider them clutter, but I have been known to collect words that I love, quotes that I love, and I love to learn new things. I love to read and discover new places, I love ordering foods I’ve never had before.

Overall, I thought the Clifton Strengths finder test was very helpful and I plan on using the action planning guide. I also liked that it suggested I match myself with someone who had the strength of focus and discipline to meet my goals. I also noticed that many of my strengths are not in the relational category, which is weird for a girl. Especially for one as feelings based as I am. But it does explain why I’m not as good at making friends as others might be.

I’m trying to decide whether to quit my job and go to a web development bootcamp. I like web development because it is a quiet job, I like solving problems, I like learning new things….I think it might be a good fit for me, unless they give me one job to do and have me do the same job every day. Then I don’t think I’d like it very much.

I also considered psychology, but I don’t think my people skills are high enough for this profession.

I also considered a business degree where I’d go into marketing….maybe in the future. My skills seem to point to web development as a good choice for me.

What would you suggest a career choice for me? Honestly, I’d love to read books and write all day and paint pictures, but that isn’t too practical and it’s not really an acceptable career choice in my family. I’ve also considered have a dog care business, I think that sounds fun, but not even sure where to begin.

Losing Myself

Dating after divorce, Devotional, Divorce, Single Mom

I read a book last night about personality types. It’s called Reading People by Anne Bogel. It was the first time I’d read about enneagrams. Wow! Sinking low today. Enneagrams have a way of digging deep into your psyche and shining light on your biggest flaws. Turns out I’m a peacemaker type, and my biggest flaws are that I am so adaptable, I turn into the people around me to please them. I have no idea who I actually am because all of my energy is put into being perfect for others. I completely neglect my own needs to care for others. That and I’m complacent. I had to look up complacent because it’s a word I don’t hear much. “showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements”. Woah, that really gets to the heart of it. Yeah, I’m that too.

I got really scared about this while driving to work today, but was reminded God is in me, so it is impossible to lose myself. He is guiding me, showing me my next steps, and it is in my very weaknesses where He shines brightest. Even this is to His glory.

Maybe this is why I focus so much on what I like to do….I’m trying to figure out who I am without other people around.
I like dancing.
reading,
long walks
my kids
my God
writing
deep conversations
coffee at the river market
the sound of fall leaves crackling on the sidewalk
driving with the music playing loud enough that I can feel the vibrations

I like being alone

I don’t like being asked to give to charity
I don’t like cupcakes and cookies in my house
I don’t like bossy people
I don’t like stiff clothing
I don’t like really high heels

I really want to go dancing.

(edit: so after writing this post, I actually took an enneagram test and it placed me as an artist instead of a peacemaker. Artist’s main fear is losing their identity which made me laugh since I’ve written several posts on that issue and this post itself is all about identity. I’m not convinced I’m not still a peacemaker and it’s simply the life phase I’m in that is skewing it towards artist. It’s an interesting new way to look at myself though…)

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

slow building and quiet faithfulness

Divorce, Single Mom

Photo by Ludovic François on Unsplash

I’m going through a time of needing, of not being satisfied and needing to go to the Lord. Of bringing my hunger to Him, and seeing how He truly does fulfill. Slow building and quiet faithfulness, planting but not yet seeing the harvest. Sometimes my needs overwhelm me and I wonder why He doesn’t fulfill them, but it forces me to His feet….to sit and ask Him, to find Him, to hand Him my desires. It’s peaceful here, but hard. I don’t know quite how to not say no to my wants and choose Him instead. Trusting Him, that He is doing something, that He will provide, that He is creating something new. Scraping off the wounds of my past so new skin can emerge.

and my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:19

Identity

Career, Divorce, Single Mom

Burning…not being consumed…engulfed in flame, surrounded by heat, like a burning bush

We look for our identity in so many things. In our jobs, our roles as wife, mother, daughter…
In our abilities, in our past, in where we’re from..this question of who we are lingers. Am I being true to who I am? Am I authentic, am I a fake, am I a wannabe, am I who I seem I am?

When Moses spoke to God and asked Him, “who should I say you are?” God told Him I am.

I AM

“As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.” Joshua 1:5.5-7

and the great I Am is with us, and He is in us.

You are a woman whom God is within.

He shapes us in every way, our emotions, our words, what we do.
He defines us.
Beyond our sense of us, we can base who we are in the sense and self of Him.
Our achievements and failures will not effect that.
Are we sufficient? Of course not, but He will be with us.
The conversation of who we are MUST always move to who Jesus is and can I trust Him.
Our journey is one of God making His people His.
making you His

Photo by mahyar tehrani on Unsplash

Becoming

Divorce

I’m becoming someone different, and the people who know me won’t recognize me. Approval annoys me. I have to become new, determined, not afraid to fight, doesn’t care about pleasing for the sake of avoiding conflict.
Who has learned to survive, whoever may get in my way and however bad it may feel. In the arena…..
You can’t have me, I’m not yours anymore.
Death to my sweet past.
….Entering the darkness

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9


Photo by Ryan Moreno on Unsplash

Throwing A Pot

Devotional, Divorce, Single Mom

I got to throw a pot on a potter’s wheel this weekend with a dear friend. She is a potter and has been for a long time, so it was fun to share in her passion with her. I guess it takes a good week or two to learn the art of throwing a pot and getting it started so the clay is centered. The wheel spins so fast that if you don’t get it centered, it quickly goes lopsided and falls apart.

What a great life analogy. Not that we could ever figure out how to be centered on our own….but if we fix our eyes on the one who is in control of all things. He is our only hope to finding our center, our peace, our life, and without Him, everything goes to pot…

Jeremiah 18: 1-12
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’
“But they say, ‘That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’

Photo Credit: @quinoal

Why I’m Skeptical of Self-Help Advice

Career, Dating, Dating after divorce, Devotional, Divorce, Friendship, Single Mom

Seems like I doubt everyone and everything anymore, my investigative skills are on high when something appears to get my hopes up about something. The latest thing I’m done with is self-help advice. I read a good article about how we can divide our goals into health, family, work, and relationships. The article said we could be good at two, but not good at 4. We could be average at 4, but not good at any. Or we could look at it as seasons where we’re good at some things at some times in our life, but not at other times in our life. It was impossible to be good at all four at the same time no matter how amazing we were, we simply don’t have enough time and energy. Looking at my own life, I’m good at work and family. I know people who are good at relationships and health, but terrible at making money and they live far away from their family and ignore them. In fact, when I look at people, I can almost immediately discover which two are their strengths and which two are their weaknesses. This idea drove me crazy, because I truly do want it all. I want to be good at all four things. I want to be a good mom, I want to be healthy, I want to be awesome at my career, and I want cool friends to hang out with every weekend.

I found peace though, I think I figured it out. (or maybe a better way of saying it is: He opened my eyes)

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

Completely switch your focus off of “having it all” and focus on having Him. We are promised everything. We are free from striving. This is what freedom in Christ looks like. He is everything.

I used to get mad at the prodigal son story because it was so unfair to the older brother. He didn’t get anything. Now I’m realizing I didn’t understand what the treasure was. I didn’t understand that the party, the land, the money was worthless. The treasure was the father. Having the father is everything.
Photo Credit: @nicomiot

On Making Hard Decisions

Devotional, Divorce, Single Mom

Have I mentioned how exhausted I’ve been…..trying to make huge, life-changing decisions this year? That choosing careers, and homes, and life paths in the midst of depression and anger has been overwhelming? That I’ve had to hand my life to the Lord over and over again and say “please just point me somewhere”.

Well, here is an amazingly wise woman giving advice on just this topic!
http://www.whitepitchers.com/8-ways-to-make-hard-decisions-wise-and-well/

“As we make decisions and choose paths, what we are really doing is becoming. With God’s help and a whole lot of vulnerability, in the process of making hard decisions, we are becoming more wholehearted human beings made in God’s likeness. That likeness is the one we were designed and called by God to be.”

“Just when I need my healthiest, grown-up self to navigate the choppy waters of a difficult choice, I find my deficits magnified.” Yes!!

“I don’t know what her decision will be. It almost doesn’t matter. A tiny part of the process of making the hard decision was sitting still with good questions.”

“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Jeremiah 6:16

Trusting Deeper

Devotional, Divorce, Single Mom

Free 1 2 Timothy 1:7 Scripture Printable

We can rest in the shelter of His wings.
Give Him your burdens.

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Sometimes choosing to trust Him can’t be based on what we think or how we feel because everything around us can seem to be defeating us. Everything can seem to be crashing. But trusting God is a choice, and often it’s a choice of faith. Of choosing not to trust in what I see in front of me and believing His words are true.

Joseph spent 2-10 years in prison before the Lord let Him go, perhaps a lot of humbling and learning to trust happened during that time. Letting the roots grow deep.

T