Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Change of Mind

Yesterday, I was talking to a good friend of mine about how past feelings and emotions sometimes re-surface, no matter how badly we want them to go away. I agreed with him, since I knew some horrible emotions from my past often showed themselves when I least expected it. He said we could never fully supress them, once we go through something, it's with us for the rest of our lives.

I got to thinking later that day about how a lot of my old negative feelings hadn't come around lately. I began to feel slightly proud about it, until right now, when I woke up in the middle of the night, sweating, heart pounding, senseless fear over I knew not what. It was a panic attack. I was having my first one in a long time.

Although I was able to stop it rather quickly by distracting my mind, I couldn't help but laugh at myself over thinking I was getting better at this whole emotions thing. I'm just as vulnerable to them now as I was back then, and I'll always be. Maybe it's not a matter of completely overcoming, but of slowly replacing.

See, a lot of good things have happened to me in the past three months. I've had a lot of positive change, positive emotions, and healed relationships. I felt like I was getting better at just being happy for all the things God has blessed me with. Although there hadn't been too many outside changes, I still allowed my thoughts, my actions, and my words to be positive. It was an internal change. This is why I think most of the negative stuff from my past almost entirely went away, or if it did try to come back, I was much better at changing the outcome.

I didn't do anything specifically to get rid of the negative. I simply decided to fill my head with positive things. There's no room for sadness when you're happy. They can't co-exist inside your mind. When you feel the bad thing rising, immediately replace them with good. That's the only way you can guarantee a change.

God actually gives us a bit of help with this in His word. "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -think about such things." (Philippians 4:8) I'm guessing the creator of our minds knew it was best for the most defining part of our bodies to be filled with the positive. Our actions, our personalities, everything starts there, and if it's not something good, we're going to get undesirable results.

If it helps, maybe something you could do to get your mind back in the right mindset (because being positive is beneficial for more than just getting rid of negative feelings), you could make a list of things that make you happy. Maybe it's a person, a phrase, an accomplishment you had, or anything that fits the description of Philippians 4:8. Put it somewhere you can see it often, and read it while you smile.

Friday, January 11, 2013

We Can Get Better At This

My last relationship...well, long story short, it left me scared. I try my hardest not to bring that emotional garbage into my new relationship, but sometimes, it comes through despite my efforts. It's frustrating, but it helps if I get past my pride, and ask my boyfriend Kelby if there's things in my life that he dislikes in me. No one sees you quite as well as your significant other. Besides you, they spend the most time around you. They know your deepest, darkest secrets. They know YOU for who you are, and not who you try to be.

It hurts to have someone tell you what you're lacking, or what you do too much of. But it was a real wake up to me when I realized that yeah, I do have those not so nice traits. And more importantly, that I can fix them. The two Kelby mentioned to me have been a part of my personality since I was little. So they won't go away, even if I tried. But I don't have to accept them as a bad part of me. I can use those traits for good. I can rewrite the program.

I guess most of this desire to be different, to get better at this, is because I'm really determined to make this relationship work. I know trying too hard at something can sometimes have the opposite effect you desire, but instead of working on "us" this time around, I'm more focused on me. How can I better myself for him? That's why I ask him if there's things I need to change. That's why I try my hardest to make sure all my qualities, both good and bad, are working to make me into a better person and not just coming out as expressions of my personality.

The most important thing is to make sure you're not just relying on your own strength to make these changes. No one can make you into a better person quite like God can. Learning to give all my problems, all my cares, and all my goals over to Him in this process has been a learning experience for sure. Kelby isn't the only reason I want to change, but, for example, instead of pushing with all my might to make this work, I've been surrendering everything to God. Instead of praying, "Lord, give me strength to keep pushing," I'm praying "Lord, change me into the person you want me to be, and let my relationship work out the way You want it to." It takes more faith than I'm usually willing to give, but I truly believe I can get better at this. I think that this year will be less about me making my life better, and more about Him taking control over everything. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Steal My Heart

During my workout, I was listening to a song called "Stolen" by Brandon Heath, and as my mind tends to do, it wandered onto the deeper meaning of what the song means.

It's such a romantic term, to steal one's heart. To steal means to take that which is not yours, to have it in your possession, to take without permission. "How does one steal a heart?" I thought to myself. "Why don't we just say you became dedicated or decided to single out one person for your affections? No, we say stolen.

As I thought about it more, it started to become clear to me. When you fall in love with someone, it's not by any choice of yours. You don't line up a bunch of people and pick out the one that would be best suited to you. No, rather you get to know someone, their strengths and weaknesses, their flaws and their perfections, and then you begin to fall in love with them. Never has one picked out the perfect person based solely on rational thinking and consideration for what their present and future self requires. It's always a general acceptance of a completely random person. In other words, they steal your heart. They take that which is not theirs.

Then I began to think of this on a grander scale, that is, love between man and his Creator. God's heart wasn't "stolen" by us in the way I just described, but He still chose to love us despite how messed up we are. When you meet someone and fall in love with them, you might tell them about a lot of your flaws, and they might see some of them first hand. But God KNOWS every single screwed up thing about you, and He loves you anyways. That is the most amazing type of love I have ever heard of. Even when you've done something so horrible that you hate yourself, God still loves you. When you keep making the same mistake over and over, He still loves you. He doesn't love you because of what He might get out of you now or later.

Turn things the other way around, and things become a bit more complicated. The song's main focus was the love we as humans have for God. This is where the whole heart thief thing comes back, because falling in love with God can be the same process. God doesn't have any flaws we have to look past or learn to love over time, but being a Christian does come with a lifestyle, a label, a rejection from friends and family, and rejection from the things of this world. You can have peace, fulfillment  real true love, but you'll have to deal with living in a world that hasn't experienced the love you have. You have to let God steal your heart, to have full possession of it no matter what sort of crap you'll have to deal with later. Fall irrationally in love with Him and give Him your whole heart.

I believe God made the human emotion/act of love so we can understand what it is He feels for us, and what we should feel for Him. When I love my boyfriend, my siblings, my parents...all these different kinds of love give me a glimpse into the love He has for me. It's truly amazing to think I have a God like Him.