Maybe the Daniel Fast will fix my problems

Last year I spent my life unbecoming who I was. Several realizations in 2017 led me to face my problems and issues instead of pretending they didn’t exist. I wanted to stop balancing between God and the world and find sure footing with my Savior. I couldn’t pretend to be the same person anymore.

The process of unbecoming broke me.

No longer could I hold to my safeguards. My soul was laid bare in counseling sessions and I was forced to face my biggest demons and anxieties. Through small groups I let go of the shame I’ve lived with and finally found freedom. For someone who claims to be an open book, I’d never felt more exposed.

Now, more than a year into this process, I realized I broke down a lot of the pieces of who I used to be without building up anything new. I’ve left things go and now in my life is silence. Sometimes I just feel like a shell who remembers the human experience but can’t quite feel it herself.

Now, don’t be alarmed. That isn’t a statement of depression, just realization. My life was filled with facades and stripping them away left me here. At first, I blamed the medicine I had to help with anxiety. Surely it was why I felt so bland. Until I intelligently quit essentially cold turkey and after two weeks of dizziness realized it went deeper than a substance altering my brain chemistry. I had changed, I knew this, but I didn’t know where to go.

I’m reading a leadership book with a group at my church and the one question asked us to write out our goals and plans for five years. I realized I didn’t have any. It was hard enough to formulate resolutions for this year, let alone decide where my life is going.

You could argue this is a good thing. I’m learning to follow God one day at a time and trusting He is my way. It’s a nice argument, but it’s wrong.

It’s harder now more than ever to cede what little control I feel over my life, even though I know it’s destroying me. My anxiety has been so high this month I’ve spent most of the time trying to release the tension in my shoulders and breathe so the chest pain stops.

It’s like this. Imagine it’s the apocalypse and literally everything is falling apart in society. Fires are blazing, people are becoming cannibals, and gangs run rampant through the streets. One person realizes he can’t do anything, so he sits inside spraying a plastic plant with water, acting like he’s in control of at least one destiny.

It’s pointless, right? That’s me.

I’ve realized how little I can control so I’ve let the small things blow up inside of me. Growing my relationship with God has been wonderful, but it’s opened me up to so much spiritual warfare and strife that I know is part of the territory. I just hate it and want to keep watering my plastic plant.

This morning my emotions finally reached their breaking point when the scale told me once again, despite being more active and careful about what I eat, I’m still 20 pounds heavier than I’d like. This weighing followed the first day of the Experiencing God study and realizing I want to follow God, but I just can’t do it one day at a time.

Literally every part of me is standing still.

I don’t want to be here. I want spending time with God to be full of excitement and expectancy. I want to be filled with joy and look forward to things and not be so blasé about everything. I want to be a person who managers her anxiety and doesn’t let it rule her. Really I just want to enjoy my life again. And that’s when it hit me.

The Daniel Fast.

Here are three important things to know about me: 1. I’ve never successfully completed any food fast in my life. 2. I buy so many processed foods I’m practically made out of preservatives and 3. My meal prepping involves making a sandwich with white bread, meat, and American cheese, or cooking something frozen. I am not equipped to do this fast.

When I look at all my problems, I know there’s a common solution, and it’s my faith. I need to turn to God every single day, beyond just my daily reading in the Bible, and learn to depend completely on Him. Not ask Him for the big picture, but just have Him lead me today. With the Daniel Fast, I’ll need Him more than ever to give me a strength and perseverance I don’t possess. I won’t be able to do it on my own.

More than just relying on Him to sustain me, I’ll have to have faith in my financial situation. One of my biggest excuses for the way I eat is that I can’t afford to eat better, but I honestly don’t know if that’s true. I’m too afraid to change my life and try. With this, I have to rely that God will make a way even when my bank account is like whattttt.

Plus, part of being a disciplined Jesus Follower involves taking care of our bodies and I know I’m not treating mine as well as I could. Beyond the weight I want to lose, I know there are systematic issues I need to address, like the way I fuel myself.

Now, I don’t plan to do this and then never eat sugar or meat or French bread pizza again. God gave us food to enjoy, right? Physically, it will be like a reset and a way to show myself I can do better because right now it would be hard to do worse.

My goal is for this to be one big kickstart to my life before it’s too late. I don’t want to accept that this is how I’ll always feel and let complacency convince me solitude is best. I want to find joy in my relationships and have dreams again. I want to wake up every morning (or at least most mornings) excited to see what God is going to do with me that day. I want to stop trying to do everything by myself.

I want to rejoin the human experience and I hope the Daniel Fast will get me there.

[Apologies if none of this makes sense and there are typos galore. Sometimes you need to get a thought out of your head without worrying about if everything is correct.]

Insecurity

I didn’t miss last week’s email. I actually had three pieces lined up, including a riveting review of Netflix’s most recent foray into cheesy Christmas movies. Everything was ready to send, I just needed to add in the link for the devotional when it published Sunday.

Before I could finish it and hit send, insecurity snuck in.

Writing about myself isn’t anything new, but my typical style was be so compelled to spew my feelings I typed everything out and shared without a second thought. Because I would write and share so infrequently, I never worried about people getting sick of me. But now I’ve been doing this for two months and (if you’ve subscribed to my emails) you’ve received nine emails full of me and my never-ending emotions.

I began to wonder if it was sustainable, if I was sustainable. It’s not like I don’t have more to say; I have lists of essays to write and I’m constantly processing emotions that need to be discussed. What happens when I have more to say and no one wants to listen anymore? How often can I talk about my anxiety, my dad, and my faith before you tire of my opinion?

Before I continue, I’m not writing this so my three faithful readers send me encouragement to keep up the good fight. I know I have people who believe in me and that’s powerful.

Writing like I do also makes me feel like a hypocrite. One week I write about weight and finding peace in the struggle and the next week I’m crying on my living room floor because I can’t lose weight. I detail my financial plans and realizations only to fall back into credit card trouble. I tell people they’re loved only to feel worthless the next day.

I know that this makes me human, but it’s hard to bare and share your soul when you want to keep readers. If I truly was honest each week, you’d be in the exhaustive struggle I face between my two sides: the one who wakes up every day determined to make this the best day of her life and the one who doesn’t want to get off the couch. It’s a rollercoaster I want people to avoid because selfishly I know eventually people would get tired of what I had to say.

When I try to vary my writing, it feels forced and I second guess myself. This is because I’m not really a trained writer and it shows. I don’t have a plan, so I rely on my emotions to feed me with quality content. Frequently they let me down.

In the past, writing in the heat of the moment and throwing it on Facebook made it easy. I wasn’t sending it to anyone in particular so any feedback was good. Now, I’m reaching a group of people who want to hear from me (or at least support me because they’re kind). I don’t want to write just to send an email every week, but I also don’t want to hide behind that excuse.

For the past week, I’ve gone over what I wanted to say in this post in my head repeatedly and clearly I didn’t come up with a cohesive way to hash everything out. What I know is I want to write and I want my writing to reach people. Not reaching as in a large number, but creating a meaningful experience.

Most importantly, I believe in my own writing. God gave me a gift and for a long time I’ve felt a need to share. I don’t have all the answers, but I know there’s a reason I do this and I want to keep pursuing this path. But right now I need to take a break.

One of my goals for December is to take away the things the add stress so I can enjoy the Christmas season. My fast for the month is no lists or diets, so it’s already going to be a doozy. Instead of worrying about having to send an email and what to write, I’m going to chill and pray about where this is going. I might actually make a plan. I guess we’ll see what happens in 2019.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and Happy New Year!

 

 

Why actually meeting someone terrifies me

This morning I slept in, checked social media and made myself frozen waffles for breakfast. I read my Bible, finished a book and started a new one. Then I made myself an egg sandwich for lunch and decided to do some writing.

This is my life and schedule. For my entire adult life, everything has been on my terms. I’ve never had to consult with anyone about anything. I simply decide what I want to do and then do that thing.

It’s one of the reasons I’m actually terrified to meet someone.

When I’m home alone watching a movie, I think it would be nice to have a snuggle buddy. Or when it’s snowing a lot, I wish I had someone to get snowed in with. Some nights I want to go out and be young and have fun with a man I love.

Those are all fleeting, superficial desires that mask the real fears. I’ve been single for so long and I cannot imagine adding another person into my routine.

If I think about it too long, I spiral down to a place where all the fears from a beginning of a relationship (like is it okay to hold hands or kiss in public or do you even want to spend time with me) to the more serious (like what happens if we get married and then have to live together – how do two people get used to living with one another??). When I’ve reached the bottom, and my anxiety tells me there is no solution except singleness, I thank God I’m here. It’s here that I’m like maybe being called to singleness wouldn’t be so bad.

I don’t think God feels the same way, though.

As much as my anxiety wishes it were true, I don’t feel as though this is God’s complete plan for my life (although that could be denial, who knows?).  It’s more my insecurities because I’ve been so single for so long. My last real boyfriend was during my senior year in high school, and it lasted three whole months. It’s also my longest relationship to date, nbd.

When I see the ease at which other people date and show affection, immediately there’s a voice that says I’m behind. Something is wrong with me. It’s so easy for everyone else, why can’t I meet someone? That evil voice is quickly refuted by my anxiety into convincing me being single is a good thing. We can control that. Why bring someone else’s emotions into the mix?

If I meet someone, and invite him in, I’m losing control and letting someone else affect my emotions. My time is no longer my own. I will make sacrifices. After all of that, he may change his mind and leave. The hurt doesn’t always seem like the risk is worth it.

I’ve seen people stay in bad relationships forever, and I’ve seen people settle for what they thought would be the best. I’ve seen the best relationships crumble in a moment, and I’ve seen even the most solid relationships struggle.

I’ve been told pain is part of letting someone in, and maybe that’s why I’m really so afraid. I pursue situations occasionally and am practically always looking, but how sincere are my efforts? Am I just pretending so it feels like action when deep down I’m too afraid to really start? Have I already made up my mind he’ll leave like everyone else?

One of my biggest character points is being prepared. I am at my best when I feel I have put in the work and I understand what I am getting myself into. A change in variables can send me into a tailspin. With dating, I am so out of my element that the whole process becomes frightening.

Texting guys can be painful. My best friend tells me to just be a human and not be weird, and it’s cute that she thinks I’m capable of either. Usually my banter becomes harmless taunting to mask what I really want to say. Not that I’m not sarcastic by nature, but it’s definitely a bad crutch I use in romantic conversations. I’m too afraid of being honest in what I want.

It’s not like honesty has screwed me over in the past. Typically, it’s probably my lack of honesty. I had a crush on a guy for a couple of years in college and finally, FINALLY, we were hanging out. One night, after he left, he asked me what I thought about what was going on between us. I knew on several occasions he expressed not wanting a girlfriend, and despite wanting to be his girlfriend more than anything else in the world, I panicked. Sam was sleeping and not responding to my texts, and I needed her bravery and advice. Instead, I told him I’m not interested in dating but if I were I’d be interested in him, which sounded okay at the time and he agreed but then nothing ever happened again.

I’m not sorry this didn’t work between us because ultimately I don’t think it would’ve, but it’s just an example of my complete inability to feel secure enough to be honest. People always ask what’s the worst that could happen, and I HATE THAT. The worst that could happen is I face reality and leave this world of maybe and learn how he really feels and I’m alone and embarrassed for even asking.

People who think that’s not too soul crushing to risk clearly don’t live inside my brain.

I have issues, I know, and I’m hoping counseling will help me work through some of them. I want to meet someone and trust that all of my fears will work themselves out, as these things tend to do. Perhaps I need to stop putting the burden of making me feel secure on him, and recognize I need to be secure in myself. If it doesn’t work, it won’t actually wreck me. It will just hurt, but I can’t keep a running list of everyone who’s left me because it makes me lose sight of the people who stayed.

I am not here because of all the guys who hurt me. I am here because I let them and refused to grow. I entered the same cycle over and over again and knew I wouldn’t get good results, but tried anyway.

Sometimes I worry that in writing something like this, someone will read it and think I’m some freak. I’m almost 30 and I’m this afraid of dating? And then the voices tell me because of these fears, no one will want to start anything with me. Who would? My lack of experience is laughable. I’m just faking my way through everything now. I’m insecure. I don’t know how to act or what to say. I wouldn’t be a good girlfriend anyway. I’m too weird and awkward.

I’m all bravado and now I’m showing that to the world. Beneath my confidence, I am afraid of the reality of meeting someone who actually wants to be with me. Because I think all these things about myself, I immediately distrust his interest, and therefore distrust him without reason.

I suppose, at the core, I don’t see why someone would want to be with me, and everything else is just an excuse to keep the possibility of it happening away.