Monday, February 28, 2011

Humbled but grateful

I don't know about you but I was adversely affected when the economy took a turn for the worse. It had an effect on my finances, health, and overall well-being. In an effort to fight the good fight and make lemonade out of lemons, I got a second job. At times, I am very exhausted and sometimes feel as if I don't have much time to do anything but I am extremely hopeful that things can change in the blink of an eye in my favor. The past two years have been very trying but the lessons that I've learned have been invaluable. I can honestly say that I am wiser and stronger. The things I did yesterday, I wouldn't do today. I am a different me and had to go through a few storms to get here. Despite how my circumstances may look from the outside, not only am I hopeful, but I am extremely grateful. I have to tell you that what I may have taken for granted in the past, I certainly don't take for granted anymore. There is a season for everything and the past two years have been everything but a harvest....but it's on its way.

In spite of this “planting and waiting” season, my needs were always supplied and they continue to be. People have unexpectedly done kind things to move and touch me without realizing it. I see that during my storm, I have become extremely empathetic, sympathetic, caring, and thankful for the smallest things. It's not to say that I didn't have these attributes before but I definitely see it more than I did before. Something else I've taken from this period of my life is how important people are to me and they should be treated as such. I feel immensely blessed to have the people in my life that I do, especially my family. Prior to "the storm", I would visit my family often, treat my siblings to dinner, give my family gifts here and there, etc...I was Ms. Independent and wanted my family to know how much I loved them but then the tables turned..Initially, it made me cry. The first time my brother said, "I'll treat you to IHOP for lunch," I broke down. In my mind, I am the eldest. When did things get to the point that my brother would be in the position to treat me when I was always doing the treating? I cried because it reminded me of my circumstances but once I was able to get pass that, as other similar scenarios presented themselves, I just thanked God for how blessed I was (and am). I thought I was the rock of strength, assistance,  and encouragement for everyone else so it was a period of adjustment. I must tell you a couple of things that are different today. 1. I realize that I truly cannot lean on my own understanding. I may not comprehend fully why unfavorable things take place in my life but I trust that GOD has the master plan and although things may be difficult, I need to just trust HIM. At the very least, weekly, something touches me, reminding me of God's greatness and I know that I am not alone. 2. I realize that I have to praise and give thanks. I don't have to wake up in the morning but I do. I wake up, clad in my right mind. All of my blessings, no matter how small, I count and I say thank you. 3. Being through what I've gone through has helped me to encourage others as well during their time of need, whatever it is. 4. I've learned that I don't always have to be on the giving end. It is okay to receive as well. 5. I have such a strong relationship with my Mother, better than it's ever been. She has been a rock, an encourager, and one of my biggest cheerleaders. I was so busy being Ms. Independent before, that I never looked at her from that view point. During my times of need, both my sister and mother have shared scriptures to get me through and been extremely encouraging and inspiring. I feel closer to my family more now than ever before. For all of my blessings, I say, "Thank You."

To those who are going through a storm, keep your head up. I already know that I have the victory, no matter how things may seem now. What may look like a setback, God can use as my comeback. Be blessed and remain encouraged!! Count your blessings, cherish your family and friends, and trust God. Let Go and Let God….

Friday, February 25, 2011

Not being easily offended

A friend of mine mentioned to me the other day that she was reflecting on life and realizes how much she allows people to get to her and that she may tell people too much, not realizing that they don't have her best interest at heart. She felt as if she was too sensitive to the actions of others and as I started typing a response, I started to think about my struggle with sensitivity.

I realize that I take offense easily and am way too sensitive. That really needs to stop because the offenders aren’t going to bed thinking about me. So, I’m trying to either say something without making too big of a deal about it so it won’t consume me and then knowing to keep certain people at a distance (without explicitly stating that).  I know it’s my struggle and I’m working on it. I also feel like people think “you have it all together” so they don’t necessarily build you up, encourage you, or be there for you when needed………but you do it for others because you know no one has it all together..

I encouraged my friend to write in a journal. I haven’t done so in two years, the time since I started working two jobs. When I looked at my journal in 2009, I was amazed at how blessed I felt and how inspiring it was to re-read everything I wrote. It just reminded me of how good God is. So, I started writing again. Initially, I only wanted to talk about my blessings but now I’m starting to make note of what’s bothering me and why I think it’s bothering me. As I write, I tend to look at things from a perspective outside of myself and I am able to release my frustrations with the power of the pen.
If someone has offended me, I even look at things from their perspective and what may be going through their mind or not going through their mind.

I'll share an example with you.

A week before my birthday, my friend "Cecily" invited my boyfriend and I over to her house for dinner for my birthday (Sunday, February 13, 2011). The dinner would take place the day before my birthday, which is on Valentine's Day.  She said she "was sooooooooooo excited". "I better like chocolate" (I assume for a cake..I don’t know)…blah, blah, blah…..she really built this thing up…so now I’m getting excited because I know we would have fun and hey, that was really sweet. Don't you think? The Thursday before this dinner takes place, she tells me that she has to cancel and she’s so sorry but her fiancée just realized that they had reservations to PF Changs that day at 7 p.m…..She’s so sorry. She posts this on my FB wall....

Doesn’t that just seem wrong? I was hurt..Reservations at PF CHANGS??????????? It’s not like you’re seeing the President….I was really hurt but then I looked at things from 2 different angles..

1.       She built it up and I was excited, especially after feeling like that was so sweet of her (My birthday is often overlooked as it falls on a day that everyone is celebrating)…so I was disappointed.
2.       I highly doubt he made reservations before she invited me over to dinner.

Let’s look at it from her point of view….

1.       Her fiancée says let’s celebrate Valentine’s Day on Sunday since everywhere will be packed on Monday.
2.       She probably says but we’re having company. He probably says it’s no big deal. I’m sure she will understand. It’s Valentine’s Day and I really want to take you out.

Now why would I be hurt? Because point blank, if I was in that situation, I would tell my boyfriend, fiancee, husband, etc. to cancel those reservations and let’s celebrate on the Saturday, early Sunday, or Tuesday evening. Guess what?????  "Cecily" isn’t me so she isn’t going to think like me. Plus people don’t truly realize the magnitude of their actions….So, I’ve let it go. She had the nerve to write on my wall that she misses me a week and a half later.  "When are we going to hang again???," she asks. I responded by saying ,”I don’t want to get all excited to be disappointed and I missed her as well”. I wanted to get my point across without sounding accusatory. Of course, she never responded. Now, a normal person would, in my opinion, apologize and state that they probably didn’t realize that it was a big deal and state their reasons but they are sorry if they made me feel that way. Another thing, a normal person would have done if they were to flake out on you is to re-schedule with you at the time that they are blowing you off. She didn’t even respond to me saying that I didn't want to be disappointed again………… all I can do is pray for her because this is what I see. She’s setting herself up for something in the future that she created. She and her fiancée have been on and off because he’s controlling and abusive. Once they had gotten back together, she said that he got so much better and then…she got pregnant….she had a baby. She said it brought them closer….. I haven’t asked if there’s “still a problem” because I don’t want to be intrusive, but want to be there if needed….Now you don't have to be a genius to know what's coming…………if you drop everything for this man, you will find yourself in a situation where you push away all of your soon all you have is him and your family….To make things worse, I didn’t even pick up on this but the last  time I saw them, I asked her if she missed working and she said “sometimes, I do, but he wouldn’t like it if I worked”. He then said, “I make enough for the both of us. She doesn’t have to work. Plus, if she works, I would never get to see her so there would be a problem.” Because she laughed, I didn’t even think about it for too long. I just said, I wish someone would give me the option of not having to work..silly me…Now, that I think about it… see, where this is going…………..she is going to end up isolating herself….and being backed into a corner………..she’s setting herself up, not realizing it. Controlling and abusive behavior doesn't change overnight. So, yes, all is well now because you are at home taking care of "house" but what happens when you no longer feel fulfilled, you have no sense of purpose, you realize that you push everyone away that cares for you at the drop of a dime for this man?? By that time, it will be way late.

So, I pray that I’m not right as it pertains to that situation but honestly, a lot of things, we have to let go………… People reap what they sew…..and there are consequences to their actions.

So, will I not be her friend? No…but I’m always at a job so if she doesn’t pass by or reach out to me, we may just end up distancing as a result of not maintaining contact.

Bottom line is that people don’t think like you think so treasure the ones who you know mean you well. None of us are perfect but you can tell when people totally disregard you, your feelings, or don’t care. We all make mistakes but I think by now, we (or I would like to think those of us who are mature) have the discernment to know when someone unintentionally has made us feel a certain way or they truly don’t care. Either way, let go and let God. People may not treat you right at times, but HE does..and then sometimes we focus on these silly events or people and don’t magnify the unexpected blessings from people we had no idea cared about us as much as they do!!!!!!

Let it go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!