Do you ever feel like something is missing in your relationship?
It seems an element that is often elusive is romance.
Like romance, chivalry could be deemed as needed in this world and
yet it's sometimes fought... even by women.
Some say they don't need romance.
Some protest grand gestures.
Some protest just plain old nice.
And some smirk with derision over any niceties from men in general…
Maybe even when
they very much
want to believe in them.
I know. And in fact… I continue to make a conscious effort to overcome this. I used to cringe when a man would hold a door open for me. I would like to say I no longer struggle with this… but I still do on some days. If a man was passing through a door and casually held it open for me to grab as I followed behind, I would be fine. But the grand gesture of opening a door for me and waiting… waiting… for me… I hated. I still have issue with it… but I now know it's my issue, not theirs. It's the picture of a woman who still has a deep rooted issue with receiving assistance from a man in the name of what some would call chivalry. It's a picture of being hurt one too many times, of not wanting to accept help from a masculine source because of the strong fear I might be indebted in some small way, shape or form. It's the picture of hesitating to be vulnerable, not wanting to be "seen" by a man but to just disappear into the background like a faded summer flower. It's a distancing, a go away, don't touch me, please don't get too close… and don't try anything... because I'm at the ready with my knee to admonish your groin. It's self-protection in a way that really serves nothing… zero purpose, but to keep me closed off and men away… it's something those closet to me notice when seeing a man open a door for me and I noticeably want to flee and I hurry on… as if my lingering too long he might just see through the self protective armor I wear over my heart. It's a picture of wounds, of the prideful outcry of "I don't need a man!" and wanting, very much wanting to believe that maybe, just maybe some people are being nice just to be nice.... because I do admittedly see proof and it's very much appreciated... it's simply wanting to believe that people do nice things for others because you're a person, you're human, you're one of God's children… not necessarily because they want something off you and or because you're the female sex.
But knowing you have an issue is better than not… because once we know… once we face what others closet to us have noticed and have voiced loving, non-critical concern about… we know we can no longer hide from it… we can't push it away… we can't bite our lip, turn away and deny it… because when we do… despite knowing inside, we realize we need to face it… we are also reminded that those who know us best can see when we are putting up walls… they can see through our tough front. If we do this with strangers how on earth will we ever let anyone in close enough to actually form a relationship with?
I believe that sometimes baby steps are needed… baby steps we get there. If you struggle with this like me then you know that you didn't get there overnight… it was a slow process over time, the damage… and it will take time to make changes… to make that effort toward balance, toward healthy… toward whole… I believe it's possible… and I believe it's worth it.
For someone who relishes romance, who wants to give it and receive it… to live it… and yet ironically isn't always very approachable to gladly receive the chivalry or just nicety of an opened door… it's a picture of marked contrast… and yet I have hope… I have hope and a determined conscious gentle effort for change… because it's only when we face our pride, our insecurities, our aversion to vulnerability… are we then able to let someone whisper sweet words in our ear… to lie beside someone and enjoy a starry night sky without every muscle in our body tense and ready for a fight or flight… it's only after we've let those walls down with someone we know and trust… who we've come to know is a safe place for us, a masculine tower of gentle strength… that we can lie our tired head on his chest and sigh with contentment and relax… knowing we are more than perfectly fine in his presence.
We don't have to suffer.
We can say no to it.
And we can say yes to whole, to healthy…
to a man opening a door for us…
it's nice to do.
It's then we will look back and see the progress and realize life is too short for a cycle that keeps us spinning endlessly and going nowhere. It's then in overcoming we can smile in victory… thank God for loving us and give the man we love beside us a passionate kiss.
The blessing of that… of sharing a life of special moments… uninhibited vulnerability, romance and purposeful love… with someone special... is a victory.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014
4 Romantic Tips:
1. It doesn't have to be expensive. Sometimes small and simple gestures are the most meaningful.
2. Tailor the gift or gesture to the specific person you're giving it to. Check out their Pinterest boards for ideas of what they like. Not every person loves red roses.
3. Put in some thought. Anyone can grab a box of chocolates.
4. Give without expectation. The point of romance is to let someone special know you were thinking of them. It's not to be done with the expectation of them doing something for you in return.
Many of us have been there…
Maybe we were there for just a bit… a fleeting period of time… but there nonetheless.
Maybe it was postpartum depression.
Maybe it drug on for years…
Maybe it was like being on a planet shrouded in fog or a black veil.
Maybe it was due to a loss or maybe it's reason of origin is try as you might undefinable.
Depression is curling up in bed sweaty, dirty, twisted in the sheets, eyelids closed. Wanting to sleep but not able to… it can be knowing we need to muster up every bit of near inhuman strength to get up, to set two feet on the floor and walk five feet or twenty to the bathroom… to the kitchen… to anywhere... but unable to.
Depression is something as simple as saying in your head "I need help" but managing to utter the words to someone is not possible because there appears to be a glitch between your thoughts and expressing them… and trying to overcome this hurdle is really at the end of the day seemingly not even worth the effort.
Well no matter who you are and no matter what you’ve done
There will come a time when you can’t make it on your own
And in your hour of desperation
Know you’re not the only one, praying
Lord above, I need a miracle
I need a miracle
Depression is putting on a false smile and emitting an unnaturally high pitched tone of "No, I'm fine, really" to concerned friends on the phone and as soon as you hang up a drop escapes from your tear duct… depression is not bothering with a tissue but wiping your wet face with your arm like a three year old.
Depression means shutting those who love you out… everything changes out there in the world while inside behind closed doors your world stays stagnant… time freezes in your home minus the spoiled milk and expired groceries in the fridge… voicemails go unanswered and phone calls are ignored… being social might be just what's needed and yet to an aching, weary body and mentally zapped mind it just feels like too much effort to exert.
In your hour of desperation
Know you’re not the only one,
praying Lord above, I need a miracle
Depression is missing events you should have been at… parties you should have attended… and believing that just because you actually stepped outside the front door to retrieve the mail it was an okay day… and if you absolutely had to venture out… meaning driving a vehicle it was an automatic victory when you retuned home not having driven off a bridge.
Depression is being an atheist… or a Christian… it can affect anyone... and yet feeling at the mercy of a nearly unexplainable deep black hole that wants to suck you up like a powerful vacuum or relentless twister. Like the lyrics you feel like a man in the box, censored by this unfathomable dark presence, as you can't even really begin to articulate, it's like you've been bound and gagged… and try as you may you simply cannot seem to escape.
He lost his job and all he had in the fall of ’09
Now he feared the worst, that he would lose his children and his wife
So he drove down deep into the woods and thought he’d end it all
And prayed, “Lord above, I need a miracle”
lyrics by Third Day; I Need A Miracle
Depression is finding a snag in your best sweater and not caring like you would have weeks before… it's wearing a jacket when not really necessary because it offers some sense of protection, comfort or shield from a world that's just to difficult to face right now.
Depression is knowing God's plans far exceed the circumstances of your day but just wanting those circumstances to stop, wondering if they ever will… or maybe it's wanting to believe His plan… but for whatever reason thinking maybe it doesn't apply to this time… or maybe it's being tired… just so incredibly tired of the circumstances piling up like an endless pile of debris that needs to be set aflame and extinguished out once and for all.
Depression is a bowl of cereal for breakfast at two o'clock in the afternoon and you weren't even out partying the night before… it's using every last bowl you own in the kitchen sink… ten dirty bowls wait to be rinsed and placed in the dishwasher… instead, you move on to using mugs… and from there every last glass in the house.
Depression is not cracking a smile at anything… the comedic efforts of the late night shows, the spoofs, the grumpy cat pics… nothing elicits a laugh… suddenly laughter and levity seem so frivolous and a waste of energy you cannot expend… especially where it doesn't exist.
Depression is your mind wandering… wandering to places it shouldn't go… places that are dark, in shadows and yet somehow infiltrate your mind even if momentarily… places that bring finality, final destinations and no re-do's, no fresh starts, no next chapters…
I was once there.
Maybe right now you are.
Depression doesn't have to be your final destination.
There are people who care.
People who will help.
Even if you don't know how to help yourself.
There are those who will guide you to the next place…
A better place…
one that doesn't end in...
"She was really struggling."
"He didn't get better."
"She seemed okay the last time I saw her."
"I had no idea he was depressed."
"Gone way too soon."
"Why didn't I see the signs?"
"Did anyone realize?"
"Why didn't someone help her?"
"I am heartbroken."
DEPRESSION AFFECTS US ALL
You may be thinking:
Things will never get better.
There's no hope.
God doesn't care.
Today I'm writing to let you know that the cross tells you otherwise… Jesus died for you… His love shined beautifully for you before you were ever born… knit together in your mother's womb He already had a plan for you and your life. When were struggling or suffering… when He seems so far away… when you question if He is listening… trust that He is there… He is working diligently to accomplish far more in our lives and us than you could ever imagine. What's to come is another day, the real possibility of better… and in that is encouragement and even better... hope!
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014
As I sat in church listening to the sermon it was one that touched a common issue for many people. It was about the importance of not putting on a facade for others… not behaving like you're fine when you're really not. When we act as though we are fine when were not… we ultimately suffer, not having someone to lean on… when in reality we truly need someone's understanding, someone empathetic to listen to our plight… whether were in a season or two (or three) of turbulent times, when we tell our fellow Christian friends were "fine" when the truth is were anything but… God sees this facade we put up… these walls of protecting ourselves from potential judgment or embarrassment. The truth is, church is one of the main places we can reach out to fellow believers and share any current grief, loss and pain.
If we don't feel that our church is a safe place to turn to… we might question if it's the right church… and yet in that it might be time to look closely at whether we've exhausted all our efforts at truly trying to get to know others and connect. If despite concerted attempts at connecting with others have failed then it may be time to find others outside the church we can find commonality with… if we've experienced an unexpected death of a loved one… if we've battled cancer and triumphed… maybe we've suffered domestic violence and have fled, beginning a new life… if we've experienced a new change in our life that requires adapting to a new diet or lifestyle for our own good… whether it's being diagnosed with celiac or diabetes, we can seek out others who are journeying through similar trials and changes in life… we can seek a support group to bridge the gap in our place of loneliness to support.
When we subscribe to worry and not lean on other's, maybe not even lean on God… we find ourselves on an island of solitary weariness. But we don't have to take up residence on that island alone… we can wave to others… invite them over… choosing to not merely smile and say "everything's fine" but instead take that deep breath and say "I'm actually really struggling with x…"
In our trials and worries
we can remember...
take heart in the fact
we are not forsaken…
God has not forgotten us.
God never once promised us an easy life… He never said life wouldn't have troubles… but He did promise to walk with us as we forge through them… our circumstances may not change… at least not for awhile… maybe not ever… but God will be by your side the whole way… wanting you to lean on Him.
I have found it's the hardest to trust God when I'm in the deepest waters…
I instinctively want to flail about… to thrash… to maybe even throw my hands up, get away, escape and run.
We often just want the problem fixed, a solution found and the suffering to stop. Times like those are when it's hardest to trust Him it seems… and stay in place. It's in these times it may take someone telling us in so many words…
"What's going on?"
"I see that you're
struggling and I'm here… "
Instead of running, succumbing to worry and sinking… all of us, including myself need that rock… that strong person, that solid place to grasp onto… we may erroneously believe sharing our momentary fight or flight equates to weakness or embarrassment… but I can assure you it doesn't.
It means you're human…
your transparency no matter if shared with a handful, dozens, thousands of people or with one behind closed doors… it shines brightly.
And even if we don't share…
even if we don't open up with others…
we can choose to lay our worries at God's feet each day…
we can choose to hand them over to Him.
Lord, please forgive me for not trusting you with my problems big and small. Forgive me when worry become a wedge in my faith. Please give me the strength to put all my worries in your hands. Help me learn to trust you more and believe you are always here for me through the good and difficult. Amen.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014