What am I *really* Craving?

Some days I get stuck in a pattern of checking my phone, Facebook, or *insert form of media here* mindlessly. It doesn’t make me feel good/better; it isn’t even really enjoyable. I’d like to think that watching a show or movie is restful and mindless, but when I’m honest with myself, I’m not so convinced. More often than I like, what I choose is easier and more convenient than what I suspect would really help.

I’d like to be better about discerning I’m actually craving when I crave social media or Netflix. What will actually satisfy me? To know what will satisfy, I need to know the problem first. Am I craving rest? Community or connection? How can I actually meet those needs?

Some activities that are nourishing to me are composing/arranging/learning new songs, exercise, prayer, spending time with nature, having deep conversations, encouraging others, and sitting by a fire. Also, believe it or not, I begin to wither up if I don’t meet my staring-at-a-wall-in-deep-thought quota . I do get behind on that one. I forget how crucial it is to my thriving, because who actually plans that into their schedule?!

Media can be great, but it takes its toll on me when I consume it in excess. Actively pursuing what will nourish me takes more work, but I’m making an effort to move in that direction. Let’s take some deep breaths and then create good habits, people. ūüôā

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Space at the Table

Space at the Table: An evangelical father and his gay son tell their story and show us how to live a radical new kind of love and acceptance.

Space at the Table¬†is an upcoming book¬†which¬†voices a crucial¬†message for everyone–gay or straight, Christian or non-religious. I expect it to be encouraging and challenging to all of us.

Co-author Dr. Brad Harper has been a tremendous support to me in my struggle with mental health, suffering, and in my process of beginning to come out. He is a compassionate, down-to-earth man who is all about relationships.

I urge you to consider backing their Kickstarter campaign and spread the word.

Courage to Love

‚ÄúIt takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who love generously know. We all know people who are so much afraid of pain that they shut themselves up like clams in a shell and, giving out nothing, receive nothing and therefore shrink until life is a mere living death.‚Ä̬†

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Does “happy” = “good”?

This post is about why I think they’re different¬†(I’ve written about something related¬†here too):

Talking with a couple of close friends last summer helped me articulate a question that has been a theme in my life for the last year: is doing well the same thing as being happy?

Honestly, I’m in a tough season. I’ve had mental illness flare ups that I thought were gone. I’ve Come Out to close friends (what a consistent adrenaline rush that is!). I’ve¬†started¬†establishing healthy rhythms and spaces¬†to be¬†in close community. As I have started to accept my vocation in celibacy, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to thrive as someone who is single in a culture where most intimate friendships are connected with marriage or romantic relationships. I still feel the need to be a part families where I can just do life with other people honestly. Because this way of life is pretty uncommon, I have been feeling the weight of cultural neglect of practical¬†space and provision for people like me.

Day to day tasks have required a level of¬†determination (I’m living with chronic depression, depersonalization/derealization, anxiety) that feels impossible with my seeming absence of vitality.

Oh Lord, how I desperately need Your mercy. If I am able to get through this next hour it will be because of strength You provide.

You know what? Somehow I’m still able to work; somehow I have resisted to the temptation to hermit myself from the rest of the world. Time¬†after time I have felt the Lord somehow give me the strength to get through each day, each minute. The few times when I just couldn’t go on, He held me through whatever happened. I’ve made it to this point so far, and I count that as the grace of God.

So haven’t been¬†happy,¬†per se, but I do see some good that is¬†growing¬†out of difficulty.¬†Seeing the Father do everyday miracles, growing in endurance, taking steps toward health–these are all good even if I’m fighting to just get up each morning.¬†Sometimes whole-hearted devotion and life-worship looks like choosing to brush your teeth in the morning when you just. feel. like. you. can’t. go. on. It’s saying “God, I don’t feel like I can do this. But out of my love for You, I’m willing to try.”

While I may not be as blissfully carefree right now as I might prefer, I am well because I’m growing¬†in tremendous ways, moving toward something greater. And I¬†am¬†thankful. This season has been¬†difficult and¬†painful, but it has been good.¬†Life is¬†more than a pursuit of¬†happiness and pleasure.¬†In the thick of life, I cling all the more to the Hope of¬†the Gospel, because¬†following Jesus¬†is worth it.