Constant Companion, Loneliness

What if loneliness is that kid in school 

Tried to be friends with everyone

No one wanted to be seen with Loneliness

It was shameful to admit if we ever hung out with her

Yet so many times when no one was around, 

A lull in the distractions we normally busy ourselves with

Loneliness would come knocking on our doors

Hey, let’s spend some time together.”

We slam the door shut.

Yes we have time, but not for someone like Loneliness.

We busy ourselves again and call up our friend Distraction on the phone.

We turn up the music and ignore the incessant knocking of Loneliness, 

Still standing outside waiting to be let in.

Strange how one so often rejected is so persistent in her pursuit of us.

What if we opened the door?

What if we invited Loneliness in to sit and talk.

What could we learn from her if we were humble enough to listen?

I often thought that if I gave Loneliness an inch, she would swallow me whole.

What if I do become her friend and stop letting Fear and Distraction keep me too “busy”?

What if Loneliness has some precious secrets to share with me?

The thing is, she is very shy and not prone to sharing these treasures when others are around. 

She demands our full, undivided attention. 

Perhaps she holds the keys to unlocking doors in my house that I don’t have the key for. 

I’m sorry sweet Loneliness. 

I have tried my best to drown out your cries and endless thumping outside. 

I’ll open for you.

I spoke with Truth and learned your true nature… you are not so vicious as to consume me.

We can be friends and my heart will go low to authentically meet with you; to know you without Fear’s meddling input. 

Fear was never my friend, though I know he was just trying to protect me from the surprise visits of my unwelcome cousin, Pain. 

My dear sister Truth reminded me that my cousin Pain also has important lessons to teach me and a strength to offer me but only through holding his hand without drawing back.

I can’t fake it with Pain. He knows when I’m just pretending to be ok. Pain exposes me at my core, unpeeled and raw for the world to see. 

Fear might serve to protect me but he also prevents me from basking in the beautiful existence of my allies, Love and Trust. 

I think I need to break things off with Fear. 

I’ve spent enough time going deep with Love to know it is worth it to be vulnerable and let my guard down. 

While such vulnerability is viewed as a weakness by many, Truth is teaching me that it is a highly underutilized and scarcely recognized superpower we all have access to and can choose to wield. 

Vulnerability is that friend who I only see a handful of times a year but when we meet I spill everything out that is burdening my heart. 

I know this is not frequent enough to build a solid friendship. 

I know I need to connect with Vulnerability more often so that we can become more comfortable with each other and I can grow in my superpower of authenticity. 

I have had some memorable run-ins with my cousin Pain 

While I often wish we were not related, I have learned that Pain is not a psychopathic murderer (as Fear has gossiped is the case) out to kill me. Pain has a lot of scars on his face and looks scarier than he actually is. Sometimes he twists my arm behind my back or puts me in a headlock so I can’t breathe… like the obnoxious older brother I never had. 

Pain has some things to teach me as well, and a strength to offer me that my friend Joy simply cannot. 

Often Pain is giving me a hard time because I have neglected my Heart and ignored her deepest desires and needs and I need a reminder to stop, slow down, and listen to Heart again. She is not the best at fighting for her voice to be heard, so she teams up with Pain to get my attention and wrestle me into a place where I’m ready to listen. 

I’d much rather spend more time with Joy and Peace… but sometimes the only ones who come to my door and are free to hang out are Pain and Loneliness. They seem to be well acquainted with each other.

Even if Joy is not always available, I’d like to introduce my friend Peace to my constant companion, Loneliness. I think they might balance each other out well. 

It’s been a while since I’ve seen Peace, but like other old friends we’ve known our whole lives, I know if I call him up that he will be happy to come over and connect with me, even if Loneliness is still here, currently sleeping on my couch. I think I might always need to make space in my home for Loneliness because she whispers to me of the deepest longing in all of us that reminds us of our Creator and true home which is not found anywhere on Earth. 

Loneliness reminds me that I’m just a pilgrim spirit, in a borrowed vessel of flesh and blood and the unquenchable aching I feel is to be united with my Creator face to face, Heart to Heart, only truly at home in Abba’s heart. His heart is an endless mansion with enough rooms for each beloved soul, yet it holds the warmth and coziness of a quaint cottage tucked away in the mountains. 

The strangely shaped void in my Soul was intentionally carved out by Creator who, as it logically stands to follow, is the only one who holds the exact shape to fit back in and complete me.

Is this not what we all seek at our lonely depths? Completeness. Healing. 

I think so.

I don’t think Peace is scared of hanging with Loneliness, though I know he will have nothing to do with Fear. 

If I’ve been stupid enough to let Fear past the threshold for a visit, Peace will keep his distance. They cannot coexist. It simply isn’t in their nature. 

Loneliness on the other hand, becomes a hideous creature when influenced by Fear’s presence. If I let those two in the same room together they always team up against me and I never win those fights. I’m a bloody mess after. 

Fear claimsto have my best interests at heart (as many so called “friends” do), but Fear doesn’t want me to be friends with Faith and Love and will often invite his brother Shame over to beat me down “for my own protection” so I am too ashamed of my bruises to accept Faith and Love’s invitations to leave the house and go for a walk with them. I don’t want to be seen in public because Shame has left his marks on me. 

Sometimes my own family members will even bring Fear over to my house because they know that Fear shares their opinion on a certain subject and they think I should take their advice. 

This frustrates the hell out of me.   

One friend who I used to be so close with that I really miss is my friend Hope. She and I used to be inseparable. We told each other everything. I think when she saw me letting Fear into my house more, she started staying away. I haven’t heard from her in a long time. I think maybe she is off travelling. I do want her to return soon. I want to tell her I’m sorry for believing the lies that Fear told me. 

I think I need to invite my truest friends over to stay for a while and help my Heart walk hand in hand with Pain. It would be great if Hope, Joy, Peace, Faith and Love would come over for an extended slumber party…. Maybe they’d even move in with me!? That way when Fear tries to come over again and beat me up along with his idiot brother Shame, they won’t get past the front door because one of, or all of my true friends will be the ones answering the door for me. Fear and Shame won’t have a chance against all of them teaming up and defending my Heart. Then my Heart can properly heal without Fear’s interruptions and venomous fangs trying to re-inject the poison I’ve just detoxed from. 

Yes, I do believe it’s time to kick Fear and Shame to the curb and only invite those friends over who truly have my best interests at heart. Those friends who have found their place in our Master’s home, who know Abba, who will tenderly care for my Spirit while challenging me to grow and be better than I was yesterday. 

It’s time.   

Listening and Doing

Listening and Doing

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:19-27
The book of James had really been burning in my mind and heart for the last year or more. Part of healing my spirit and re-aligning myself with God’s purpose for my life is to practice listening and doing. Listening to Truth, and acting on it, letting Truth and Love replace all fears and lies I have believed about myself, others, and this world! I need fresh perspective. Hope. Determination. I want to purify any religion in my life so that I am looking after those less fortunate and not letting the world pollute and corrupt me. We are called to be the light of the world, lamps in the darkness, to bring hope to the hopeless.
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8

Changing Tides

This past year has been one of difficulty and newfound joys.

Difficulties have by and large been university related, along with the ways that university affects all other areas of my life. The lethargy of sitting so much as a student, the busy pace of city life, living in a cramped basement apartment with very little natural light, and not having the close knit strong christian community that I had in Muskoka, where people there did life together really well…. all of those things had a compounded impact on my overall health and personality this past year.

Joys have included biking all over the city, runs and walks on woodbine beach, making and also refinishing discarded furniture into something beautiful and practical. I refinished a table left on the curb that served well as our kitchen table. Nyima helped me make my own custom bed frame out of old barn boards, as well as several gorgeous shelves. I met Nyima while slacklining at a park, and we became fast friends and… yes, eventually more. We went on many adventures together and I discovered a man who it is so natural and easy to do life with. Someone I can work alongside, play with and who has the strength to make it through the tougher situations with me. I am blessed to have him in my life and excited to see where God leads us and our relationship.

This past fall, while in my third year at Ryerson, I developed a gluten and dairy intolerance. It was during my most difficult and stressful semester at school, and I believe the combination of excess stress, not eating as clean and healthy as I normally did, and not getting enough exercise or space to care for my spiritual and emotional needs…. it all contributed to my gut health being compromised. Having never had any food allergies in my life, this was a tough one to come to terms with and navigate, as I have had to drastically change my diet eating habits. I know many people reading this can probably relate. We often take our health for granted until it is suddenly no longer 100%!

I came out to work at the lumber mill in Fort St James, BC. Apollo Forest Products. This is actually the village I was born in, and it hasn’t changed much since my childhood. It is the one place from my childhood that I have to go back to, and it has been a neat experience, returning to my literal roots where my mother and sister have also moved back to. I lived with and was able to be a support to my elderly grandparents with limited mobility and who really needed the extra help of a young strong person around their house and property. They were gracious enough to share their car with me so I could get to work and back. When I wasn’t cooking, cleaning or doing gardening and yard work, I had the joy of hiking up the mountain alone, building a shelter, swimming and getting some fishing in. Lots of my free time was spent alone, or around my grandparents. Not easy by any means, but a nice change of pace from living in Toronto. I realized that I desperately needed to be out in the wilderness and to breathe fresh mountain air. That is until the forest fires started raining down ash and blanketing our village in smoke!

My family, along with most of the Fort St James residents, evacuated over the last few days. It meant losing my last two weeks of work in the mill, which is a significant financial hit I was not expecting, but I know that God will provide for me regardless. I booked a new flight so that I can head back to Toronto earlier, which will be a blessing because I will have a whole week to pack up my apartment, instead of just 1 day, as was the previous plan! Here I sit in smokey Prince George, a registered evacuee, safely away from the harm of an unconfined and uncontrollable wildfire, and changing my plans as circumstances beyond my control unfold.

From September onwards my plan is uncertain. I am taking a break from university to focus on getting my health back in every dimension of my being. While I found 15% of what I learned at university valuable, a lot of it was a waste of my mind, time, money and energy. It also was not worth the toll it took on my emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health. I decided that I need to get back to doing the things that bring me life, so that I am living fully alive and as the woman God made me to be. Only then can I pour into others the gifts and love God has poured out onto me. This break and focus on recovering my health involves minimizing stress as much as possible. Part of this means moving out of Toronto for a season and back to Muskoka, Ontario.

IRELAND, here I come! Part of becoming “me” again involves feeding the adventurous travel loving side that has always wanted to visit Ireland and discover the heritage of my Doyle clan, of which I am 1/4 Irish. It would be amazing if I could meet some of my distantly related Doyle relatives! In October I go for 13 days. I have my flight booked and a car rental reserved and I am so excited for this solo road trip in a foreign land. I’ve waited for 10 years to do this trip, always hoping to find someone to go with me, and I finally decided that I am done waiting. I enjoy my own company enough to go alone, make new friends along the way, and sit in the company of strangers with beautiful accents.

My return will involve me finding work that hopefully involves using my giftings and doing something that is life giving. I will also need to figure out my living situation in Muskoka. There are a lot of uncertainties, but I feel total peace because my trust is in the one who has always guided my steps, protected me, provided for me, and led me to meet some of the most beautiful people and life long friends. My trust is in the most trustworthy person in existence, and I feel so safe knowing that my life is in God’s hands, and His hands alone.

Dreams Take Flight

A Self-Portrait poem, By Emma Doyle

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Stationary in this room, gazing through the silver frame of electronic screen

The surreal brush strokes depicting the old wooden window ledge framing a blue sky,

Adventurous ocean.

A curtain billows out, interrupting straight certain lines.

Gusts of wind scoop into the room and out again, daring her to exit with them

Into distant horizon; she must conclude this chapter first.

A book sits open, as the watcher gazes longingly at freedom taunting.

In this room, surrounded by dusty books.

Where she longs to be, still far off.

The seagulls fly. Not her, not yet.

But,

Scrawling on the pages, her words fly, limitless.

Words, declarations; anything can happen with ink and paper.

Zooming in on the open journal, what utterances have been disclosed?

. . .

“I float defiantly though some say I should be tethered.

Spirit-free am I, relishing every journey plundered, summit explored.

Feet light, refusing to hold the weight of boxing assumptions;

I float, am free.

Clouds, none the same, echo my singularity.

Swerving shapes swiftly changing, imaginings unfettered.

Head oft caught up in their chorus of wispy dreams.

Dreamer they reckon I am, their words ring true.

A world of concrete ideals and warped changing standards

welcomes cacophony in callous ways; some say it’s good.

I shudder at the carnage; the fruit of selfish humanism.

I’ll tread this trail differently.

Who I was is not now who I am.

These swells of lived feelings, personas, words;

they’ve changed me, grown and gashed my skin.

I liken a morphing cloud to my own

Journey finds us different

At each fork

Mistake me not for capricious wind;

My roaming possesses purpose.

Yes I fly in this fable of existence,

For at these altitudes I procure ethereal panoramas.

Summits of alpine, cloud, and apex call to this vagabond.

Crisp mountain air, echoing fragrance of honeysuckle

And Indian paintbrush

Tickle my senses

But I am here. Now. Bricks of commitment placed strategically, my own doing.

Iron threads of debt, scholarly aims, and intellectual escalation

Gird me fast; restructuring the ethos I occupy.

I must stay with this struggle the allotted time.

Taste of exhaust fumes, smell of hot asphalt assault my face

Wary of vehicles, metal moving everywhere surrounds my exposed frame

Foot on pedal, coin on bus, strangers watching always. I purchase some eggs.

Tell you a secret, shall I; listen honestly.

Awake roaming have I been, but even more…

Whilst this body slumbered, my spirit journeyed far

Soaring oar mountains and sea, saw I colours more real,

More green, more wondrously vivid and alive, than any spectrum named.

Locations outside space, time, and matter

This spirit without confines

Travels far and free,

Senses beyond the five.”

Yawning depths swim inside this soul;

Her cavernous magnitudes scarcely known.

Nothing to prove, she builds ecosystems inconspicuously.

“Professor intrudes my reverie with retrogressive sentiments strongly held.

In academia, free thought is often only applauded if congruent

With politically correct subjective ideals being strategically crammed

down unsuspecting throats.

In childhood I dreamed;

In maturity I still dream, though not as before.

Realism impregnated idealism.

Steps taken to fuse these rivals.

Arduous learning navigates rules

by which to live and also strain against.

Come wander among wispy woodlands.

Breathe deep of pine, moss and entrancing clarity

Come, fill your soul with wonder,

Drink deeply.   Drink.

This. This uncultivated place of fresh gritty scents,

Damp wood, recycled trees birthing new creations, cycle.

Unpredictable yet faithful, this circle of sentient life forms.

Unfasten the harness and loose me into this place;

I shan’t return.

Rude wakeup, this pavement, vile buildings.

I cycle to school, I cycle to stores, I cycle everywhere.

Legs pushing, muscles flexing, leaking sweat on sun-stained skin;

This concession, how I feel alive in stifling concrete jungle.

High-rises closing in, I scream for open horizons, clarified air.

The sedentary student life is fancied not.

Sitting, sitting, lecture, sitting, homework, sitting.

Starting to grow out of clothes, inches grab hold.

The countdown of credits, daydreaming of travels.

Two more years have I to bear, bear it I shall.

Live music, Indian food, taste of foreign spices, pho, varied activities;

All distractions from the inhumane sardine conditions I inhabit.

I dwell in present day, making best each season.

Thankfulness holds back discontent, I find comrades.

I bide my time until, walking out, the glass slipper finds me.”

Fiercely loyal, passionate defender of good, justice burns within.

She fights for the paralyzed, and gives others weapons — training of their use.

Comprehensive wholeness is the creed, the antidote to broken porcelain everywhere.

The day hearkens, and swiftly shall arrive, when dreams will take on flesh and hardwood.

The place of healing and retreat will be established, like a waterfall springing, pouring, surging forth onto barren, cracked, gasping land. She, the pioneer to birth this sanctuary.

Peering out over endless sea and fathomless skies, a ship drifts, sails up, propelled onward.

On the sill of an open window sits an open diary pregnant with possibilities, tactics, dreams, and determination that shall one day give wing, as the pages themselves lift free from binding

Like feathers of birds, they’ll soar into cerulean skies, words falling off pages

Like seeds into dark waters below, sprouting, roots thrusting deep to murky bottoms, leaves

stretching high into firmament, islands forming, spreading out,

beacons of hope in a sea of drifters.

The training is now, for days that may find her brought before kings.

Discipline, degrees, writers hand, exhausted eyes that ache from studies, plowing each credit:

All rungs on the ladder towards what calls incessantly in her spirit. You must. Go on.

The cloak of anonymity will melt off, revealing the true nature — call of destiny;

No more hiding. Her resolve unswerving, faithful to the high calling.

So high not even she comprehends the vastness or ramifications of its realization.

Glimpses of magnificent and dangerous futures are her provocative clues.

A transcendent voice echoes on the wind; her own,

Projected into the future and echoing back to now; take heart soul.

A time will come when all will be answered, no rock unturned.

Please yourself to bask a moment in this certainty. In some things,

We can trust.

Choices Exist

Choices Exist (written in my creative writing class during an exercise)

by Emma Doyle

 

choices exist; regret, twenty-twenty

joy and consequences exist;

certainty exists; doubt, doubt’s children;

love exists; truth, faithfulness,

depth, trust, peace and knowing

exist, and the path, the path

I Am

I Am (an original poem from 7 years ago)

 

Ponderings, wonderings

Your thoughts are never far from me

As Your waves progress on my digressing shores

Concaving my borders, pounding at the corners

Rearranging my understanding

Dismantalling my boundaries

Calmly You take my hand, and say

Be still, and know

I Am

 

I am the One who shielded you in the womb

when your father was angry,

your mother in emotional agony

I am the One who walked with you to school

with your nose in a book, thinkin’ no one understood

I had your back when kids taunted and teased

their narrow upbringing incurring judgemental thinking, diseased

like a virus it spreads from mouth to mouth

each one in turn, tearing you down, tearing you down

I am the One who held your broken soul

as your body trembled with tears, a grief untold…

anticipating, dreading the storm still to unfold

I was there as family bonds were being torn

when life was ripping at the seams

your heart shattered china on the floor

I was holding you together

woven safe inside of Me,

deeper still I weave

I am the One who perceives you intimately

designed you intentionally, takes delight in you multi-dimensionally

I am the One who can take the warped and fractured memories,

turning them into mosaic masterpieces, your pain now the centrepieces of beauty

in this saga of life, unpredictable and so shakable

I am the One who knows all your unasked questions yet still hopes you’ll ask

I am Truth and Revelation if you were only willing to be wrong and teachable in class

I am the Great Teacher, so gentle and wise, I won’t punish you for not knowing,

but I will gently emphasize the highlighted bits you need to believe,

in order to be free from deception, distorted thinking,

tinted lenses

faith the key, you keep refusin’ all the while banging on the door in confusion

I am the One itching to take off your glasses and give you a taste of clarity and heavenly places

 

Break the Silence

Absolutely stunning. This song speaks to the oppression, dystopia, and anomie of our culture and the world we live in. There are so many twisted, broken, evil injustices present at every level of society. From commercialism and materialism that markets the cheap items we buy on the backs of slave labour, to the trafficked human beings being sold for nothing more than their flesh, to the multinational corporations taking over entire countries and bankrupting them into poverty and dependency on the world superpowers, wiping out their natural resources and making them dependent on imported junk……. this song speaks to the deafening silence of these issues that so few people are willing to speak up against. Listen to the song. Hear the mournful words and tone. Then as it builds, his voice becomes this fierce prophetic cry, angry about the silence that should not be. Hear the paradox of this song as he is singing about silence but with the full power, force, and passion of his voice and heart. 

My exhortation of hope: Speak up. Break the silence. God gave you a voice; use it. In whatever sphere of influence you are in, don’t be afraid to use your voice to speak truth, advocate for justice, and do whatever is in your power to do to break the silence.

 

I recently spoke with a friend about this new trend of “branding yourself” in todays multimedia world. He said that each of us has a unique voice and as we find that voice, the world needs to hear what we have to say. There is a way to use social media strategically without becoming obsessed or wasting time on it needlessly. When you have something inside you that needs to get out, that wants to speak to the masses, the only way to do that in todays world is to use platforms that are culturally relevant. So here I am, on this journey of learning to embrace media platforms (rather than despise them), and discover how I can use them to break the silence with the unique song and voice I’ve been given.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”  —-Martin Luther King.

 

I Wait

I am currently taking a creative writing class as a fun elective. I realized that I have not written any new poetry or blogs in quite some time! It kind of stopped after I started university two years ago. Taking this creative writing class, it just struck me today how a huge part of me has been dormant and not allowed to thrive or grow since I stopped writing….and that is sad. Today I was opening up some old poetry I’ve written over the years and thought I’d start sharing a few pieces on my blog to throw in some variety and help me post more frequently. Enjoy!

 

I Wait

 Observing the leaves turn

and the birds fly south

children in knit scarves

I wait

 

Another engagement

Another wedding

Another new baby

I wait

 

The carpets fade

Styles morph & recycle

Seeds die & plants grow

I wait

 

People move on

I write a few new songs

Paint a fresh canvas

the acrylics dry

I wait

 

My body makes slight changes

I exercise a bit more

Understanding grows

I know so little

I wait

 

Waiting for a dream or two

waiting for a family, sure

but mostly,

I wait on You

 

You said if I wait on You

I’ll see my strength renewed

I’ll be caught up on your wings and soar

There’s much to see

from your eternal view

I wait

 

I trust Your words

resting quietly in the reassurance

that You cannot lie and are only faithful

I wait

In contentment, quiet, and patient trust

Drowning in the love of Your eyes

fixed on mine

I wait

 

by Emma Doyle

Sept 2, 2014

The Beautiful Echo — “Finding Myself”

I wrote this in response to someone asking me my take on how a person “finds oneself.”

In my personal experience and from observing the lives of close family and friends around me there is an echo that every human being is chasing their whole lives…ever seeking to find the source of that echo. They hear the echo all over the place, bouncing off rocks, people, experiences, hinted at in songs, poetry, folk legends, ancient transcripts, in the mountains, valleys and jungles. They chase the haunting sounds and whispers of truth, each time arriving at a new location thinking that THIS rock must be the one where it came from… but it is just another shadow, another echo of the original source.  Some people come to conclude that the great truth they were missing all along was that the echo came from them and they are the original source of the beautiful mystery. (How terribly disappointing!)

My journey in finding my true identity has had everything to do with realizing that I am not the source of the beautiful echo. There is a greater source that is as mysterious as He is eternal, more complete and perfect and wholesome and full of Love than I could ever have dreamed. I could spend my whole life chasing the echos all the while denying that there is even any one true source, and insisting that every person alive is the source. Yet if I am completely honest with myself, I cannot deny that the beautiful echo I keep hearing has a distinct identity behind it, a very original and personal tone…. it simply cannot be anyone and everyone. It has to be a person. The source of this echo wants me to follow the clues in the songs to the Originator, the Author. 

My identity is only found in Him. As a human being, left to my own devices and ways, I am as fickle and changing as anyone. I am self-serving, self-focussed, independent, isolated, prideful, fearful, uncertain, and my moral code would change as circumstances and my feelings demanded. I only started to learn who I really was when I embarked on a journey of relationship with the Source of all the beautiful echos of eternity that are whispering around us constantly…which we sometimes tune into if we are listening and seeking. Who I am is found in the Source of all life and His Spirit is in me… the fruit of that is a new identity which consists of selflessness, a humble heart, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, long-suffering, and self control. 

Here is the beauty of it. If I am ever struggling with who I am I always have these consistent, solid, unchanging truths to return to. I no longer have to be like a roller coaster going up and down or a boat without an anchor tossed throughout the sea by the wind and waves. A boat cannot be anchored to itself, or it will continue to be tossed about by the storms (of life) without mercy. Only when the boat concedes to the existence of something bigger than itself (the land at the bottom of the sea) and chooses to drop it’s anchor and secure itself to that land… only then will it be secure, unmoving and at peace. 

In conclusion, being true to myself actually starts with me asking the Source of that echo and all life “who do you say that I am?” … and then letting that truth sink deep into my spirit and soul. It means renouncing all the lies of who the world might say that I am (or have to be) or all the other voices throwing in their opinions and words that bring death and disillusion. It is not about finding all the answers within myself. I am so finite and limited in my knowledge and experiences. It is a continual process of throwing my hands up in surrender, laying down my pride, and admitting that I actually don’t have all the answers…. but I am in relationship with the One who does and my contentment with life directly correlates with how much I am trusting Him as I follow Him. 

I am not in control and I am totally at peace with that. We live in a world full of wonder and beautiful mysteries and truths to be discovered and my goal is to never lose the wonder and faith that children have before they become tainted by life and letdowns. There is a very sweet age of childhood before children learn what it is to be embarrassed or self-conscious. They are just themselves and they make no apologies for their authenticity. That is my goal and desire. To live authentically, trusting and full of hope, believing the best in people and walking out the destiny I have been given that is so much bigger than just one person, so much bigger than me. It’s not about me. That’s actually a huge relief. It takes the pressure off of feeling the need to perform or prove myself. It is all about the Source of that beautiful echo, and my purpose lies in letting my life, words, and actions point others to the Source of the beautiful echo that haunts and beckons every soul every to walk the earth. 

 

I found myself when I found Him.

Contentment & Boundaries

“There is an inexhaustibility to contentment when one lives within the precepts of God’s intended purpose for life. That is what I like to call perpetual novelty or boundless wonder.” – Ravi Zacharias

 

Whoa. If that doesn’t completely challenge the status quo of our culture today, I don’t know what does. It also challenges me personally to intentionally live within God’s purpose for my life.

We live in a culture where living without any concrete set of morals is the norm, and changing one’s values to adapt to new circumstances and desires is perfectly acceptable. A Christian who stands by their values and doesn’t bend to cultural peer pressure is labeled a “religious zealot” or a “conservative prude.” What if it’s just integrity?

When I was around 18 and a guy found out I had never dated or kissed anyone, he called me a prude; He didn’t mean it as a compliment. When I went and looked up the definition of it I wasn’t offended. There are worse things a girl could be called.

I want contentment with whatever season I find myself in. To live with the wonder and faith of a child, trusting that my Father will take care of me. It all starts with living in His precepts. We cannot do that if we are not reading and meditating on these precepts, carving them into our hearts.

K Chesterton quips that before you remove any fence, always first ask why it was put there in the first place. So many people just want to rip down all the fences, rules, traditions, and what they consider outdated, irrelevant, conservative laws. They fail to ask the vital question of why such parameters were there in the first place. Zacharias says, “…every boundary set by God points to something worth protecting, and if you are to protect the wonder of existence, God’s instruction book is the place to turn. Anyone who thinks he or she can place boundaries arbitrarily will either destroy the enchantment of life or else wear him – or herself into exhaustion.

In the context of purity and setting healthy boundaries in relationships, how I allow men to talk to me, and in how I carry myself, it all comes down to one question I have to ask myself. Am I worth protecting? Is my purity, integrity, and God-given value worth fighting for and defending? It’s also important to ask oneself, “Am I protecting and respecting the other person’s value?”

I once heard someone speaking on boundaries in relationships and they said something I’ll never forget. (At the time I was struggling with how to set healthy boundaries with my dad without shutting him out completely.) Boundaries are not a wall to keep people out. They are actually a doorway and invitation to relationship. They tell people how they can be a part of my life and what the parameters are. This rocked me. It started a whole paradigm shift that I didn’t even know I needed! Just like a family who refuses to discipline their child (or does so inconsistently) will lead to both the parents and child being exhausted and frustrated, living without boundaries is exhausting. Clear expectations allow no room for confusion and actually create a safety net for relationships to thrive within. It is more loving to have and maintain clear boundaries in life than to let people walk all over you.

I have had multiple situations where I’ve made a new friend or met a guy who, despite me verbalizing very clearly what my boundaries were, somehow decided I didn’t really mean what I said. They kept testing and pushing past my boundaries in ways that took me by surprise but also left me frozen with how to respond. It was, quite simply, blatant disrespect. Some people use the excuse that they are someone who likes to push/test the boundaries with everyone and talk as if it’s a good thing. I wonder if that could also be translated into people who believe their wants and desires override everyone else’s?

There is a way to be someone who tests the limits without stealing dignity or respect from other people. Successful entrepreneurs are a great example. They innovate, think outside of the box, defy the status quo, and are often downright blunt; but they are also respectful of others and have a way of making others feel great about themselves by inspiring them to be their best. They don’t prey on the vulnerabilities of others, but rather they push people to be their best by empowering them. Rather than stealing value, they add value.

When I think of testing boundaries, it is usually in a context where they have not yet been clearly laid out. The testing is for the purpose of establishing what the ground rules are so there is something to follow. When you’ve already laid out the ground rules of what makes you feel safe and what is not ok, and then someone crosses the line anyways, it is an act of disrespect and selfishness. I also have to be brutally honest and ask myself, for all the times I was in a relationship and I let my boyfriend cross the line without speaking up, what did that say about me? It’s not enough to say that he didn’t value me enough to fight his desires and hold back. I also have to admit that I didn’t value myself enough to fight my own desires and the fear of pushing him away if I did say something. They might have been small concessions on the grand scale of intimacy, but the standard I must live up to is the one God gave me, not the worlds.