Ok people!

Wow, it’s been a busy month! With wedding planning, schoolwork, and travel, we’ve been busy beavers here at our house. I knew that planning a wedding was going to be a large task, but, wow, it really takes a lot of work!

Thankfully, Lindsey and I are always working on keeping up a good balance of work and play and quiet time together, and lately we’ve been doing an exceptional job of ordering time the way we need and want it. (I have to brag on us a little because I really am so proud of us!) I’ve been learning an invaluable lesson about myself as we work on this particular angle of our lives: I am a quality over quantity kind of person.

Quality trumps quantity.

Have you ever experienced that moment when you realize you’re with a bunch of people doing mediocre things that you don’t really want to do? Or that moment when you realize you’re exhausted because your calendar is so full, and, yet, somehow you’ve spent none of that time doing the things you most enjoy in life? Or how about that moment where you find yourself watching someone or something and you know deep down that that’s the kind of person you want to be and the kinds of things you want to be doing, but when you look at the reality of your life, it looks nothing like that?

In my mind this is where quantity comes into the picture. We do and we do and we do and we say “yes” to activities and friendships that really, deep down, do nothing for our souls, for our lives, except keep us busy and make us look like the world’s most desirable person. Maybe it turns into….”If I look desirable, then I am desirable; If I am constantly being invited to gatherings, constantly asked to do this or that, or constantly texted/called/e-mailed/facebooked, then I am worth something.” And, for some people, that is enough. But for me…

I started to have an issue with that kind of living sometime this past fall. I’m not sure what changed in me. I had spent almost 10 months fooling myself into thinking that because Lindsey and I had such a full social calendar that I should be happy and thankful that we were so loved, but I wasn’t happy, and I didn’t feel loved. I just felt exhausted and resentful, and I missed Lindsey, a lot. I missed our “just us” time. We’d spent years doing fun and amazing things together, but in our hope to find friends in a new city, in a new stage of our lives, we began sacrificing the way we truly enjoyed doing life, and we spent most of our down time with other people. Every weekend was packed with activity. Every weeknight was often packed with activity too. I was reaching the end of a season. I could tell it was happening, but I didn’t know what to do about it and I didn’t even really know what it meant for me.

[Now, don’t get me wrong, friendships are great things to have…IF you make the right friends, friends who like you for you, friends who stick around even when you say “no” to things, friends who aren’t using you only for what they need, friends who don’t need you constantly there, friends with their own rich lives, friends who are healthy, friends who can have a good time without a lot of noise or activity or alcohol…those kinds of friends! :)]

Lindsey and I had some long discussions about it. We decided to reshape the way we do life. To prioritize each other. To say “no” often. To spend time doing things that build us up. To be more selective about our friendships.

And then quality started to enter the picture. I started being able to think clearer, to get an authentic picture in my mind of the person that I want to be. And, instead of it being wishful thinking, I started to make choices that put me squarely in a position to actually be that person. A dreamer. A writer. A poet. A deep thinker. An introvert. An outdoorsy, hippy type who loves bare feet, picnics in the sun, and quiet moments just staring into the sky, a princess of the most high King of Kings, a lover, a sister, a best friend. I wasn’t running around anymore, running myself ragged, being someone I wasn’t in order to please people who didn’t really even value the things I value. I was deepening; my heart was widening; and I was starting to feel deep-down, giddy joy about our life again, about my days, about myself!

What a difference quality makes, is making, in my life! Since coming to this realization about myself, I have seen major changes inside of me, between Lindsey and I, and in my closest relationships. I feel more than ever like I am truly learning how to be myself, to embrace it and enjoy it. This is a gift that I am so thankful for, and I’m reveling in the freedom of it!

This lesson I’ve been learning has even begun to affect the way I think about this blog. I love story and the power of story. I love working on writing a better story with my life day after day. But, I’ve begun to realize that I’m not doing that by “learning to live an adventure one day at a time” (my former tagline). No, I’m creating a better story with my life by choosing quality over quantity! That “quality” moment might involve reading a good book in the park with my head resting in Lindsey’s lap, sitting on the couch just talking and laughing with her, biking to the library, kayaking in our kayak on some peaceful lake, or sitting in the quiet by myself writing poetry. Whatever it is, adventurous or quiet or relaxing or exciting or new or old or strange or familiar, I want it to be a deliberate act of choosing quality over quantity, authenticity over acceptance, the rich over the mediocre.

So, just as I’ve adjusted my focus in some important ways, I’m going to adjust the focus of this blog as well. I’m incredibly excited about using this format to explore this incredibly life-changing and important concept! I can’t wait to see what’s in store as I focus on quality in my life (and life in general) and record the triumphs, slip-ups, drawbacks, rewards, and gifts that come with choosing quality over quantity.

Really, my heart just soars thinking about the possibilities! :D

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perfection, obsession, and letting it all fall apart

This weekend was full to the brim! Friday night I went to Dave and Buster’s for the first time to celebrate the birthdays of two of our dear friends. I’ve heard about Dave and Buster’s as kind of the adult Chucky Cheese….a place where you can go and play games and eat and have fun. The food was pretty good (I had a salad of course, since the restrictions on what I can or can not eat are pretty strict right now), and it was fun to be with my friends. My introverted self couldn’t really get in to the game part of Dave and Buster’s though. I don’t feed off of other people’s energy….in fact it usually drains me…so imagine a huge space filled with tons of people, loud games, and flashing lights. Yeah, my brain was on overload. I get so quiet in situations like that, and I tend to get pretty down on myself because I feel like I should be different somehow. We’ll come back to that thought.

On to Saturday! We had the amazing privilege of going to see U2 in concert on Saturday night. I entered the night feeling a little nervous because I was afraid I would have the same reaction to a lot of people and even more noise. I didn’t want to get quiet and feel the urge to withdraw. I wanted to experience the band and the music and have fun with my girl and my friends. I actually did better on Saturday night, the show was incredibly amazing and I loved being able to sit there and watch it.

I had a moment where everyone in our group had left for some reason or another and I was sitting by myself just watching the thousands of people in Invesco Stadium. At first I just lost myself in thinking about people and their differences and how much God loves everyone. Then the wave started. I’ve never seen that many people do the wave. The wave actually went around the whole Bronco’s football stadium like 7 times before it started to die out. That was pretty fun to watch. I found myself feeling amused watching the silly excitement of people, but I had no desire to join in. I had a moment where I wondered if this should be a problem…that I like to watch and analyze and take in and think about things so much more than I like to participate a lot of times. Again, I started to question my personality and wonder if my kind of personality gets people like me (or myself) anywhere. Of course then there is always the question of where am I trying to get myself and what’s so important about it?

On to Sunday. Went to church and thoroughly enjoyed it. After all the stuff I’ve been thinking about, just letting go and worshiping God with everything that I am was wonderful. It’s great to be able to take all my thoughts, all of the things I don’t understand, and all of my perceptions of myself and such and just lay them at the feet of the Lord. It was a precious time for my heart.

Sunday afternoon Lindsey and I got some Indian food and then saw the 4th Pirates movie. It was so good! On the way home we walked downtown a little to get to where we parked. While I was walking I was getting lost in my thoughts again. I was feeling weighed down by all the striving that goes on in my mind. Striving that looks a lot like a hamster wheel.

Over and over I think about where I should work, if I should work, when I should write, what I should write, what I should do, how I should do everything I do, on and on and on. I’ve always had this issue. This problem of obsessing about every little detail in my life because I think I need to be something or be doing something that is “other” than who I am or what I’m doing. Even though my life really is in the best place it’s ever been, I still deal with the same old crap I’ve always dealt with…..second guessing my dreams, putting lots of pressure on myself to be something that I can’t even define.

It really was like my eyes were opened, and I could see my life from a different perspective as I walking Sunday afternoon. I suddenly realized that all the things that have the most impact on me and my life are things that I’ve had very little control over, haven’t seen coming, or haven’t asked for (or even wanted!). I didn’t ask to go through a lot as a child, I didn’t have any choice in the family or time period I was born into, I didn’t ask to be or try to be gay, I didn’t plan on meeting Lindsey, I didn’t plan out my personality with it’s quirks and introverted analytical tendencies…..yet, these things effect my life in the largest ways possible!

I realized that the things that I “strive” over on my hamster wheel aren’t the things that “create” my life or who I am….I realized that trying to get every choice right and every day perfect and every situation ideal did nothing for my life at all. The question that came to my mind was one that asked if the things I try so desperately to control actually do anything for my life, actually change the course of my life, or actually create the life I love….and the answer was a resounding “no!”.

The things that have shaped me and continue to shape me into the person that I am are actually things that I have very little control over. I haven’t “made” my life happen. Life just keeps happening whether I want it to or not. In fact, life would keep happening whether I existed or not. Ok, so I know this isn’t rocket science, but this idea was like discovering gold in my mind. Do you know how much anxiety is created in us when we try to control things we can’t control? Or when we try to reach something that isn’t actually there? Like perfection?

The truth is that God is the author and perfecter of my life. Not me. Living my life doesn’t require a lot of obsessing, striving, worrying, etc. My life already exists…I can’t create it. What I can do is lean into the life I have been given. What I can do is “show up” (as my good friend, alison, says) for the life that God has created. I can’t do anything more than live today as the person I am, as the person He’s created me to be and is shaping me into. I can show up as that person and own who I am and enjoy who I am and love others.

I still can’t quite wrap my mind around this new idea. I’ve been so used to pressuring myself to be something I can’t even define, and I do it so automatically. I start a conversation with my sister…and instead of just being present and being myself, I start to obsess in my mind about saying all the right things and communicating love perfectly. It happens so fast and all of the sudden that in most situations I’m like, wow, I’m doing it again. I start writing in this blog and all of the sudden I’m not being myself anymore and I go into “must communicate what I’m thinking perfectly” mode.

But that’s not what life is about, and it’s certainly not the way I want to live my life anymore. So I would say that I’m on a different track, but that would just be feeding my old way of thinking. What I will say is that I’m listening and keeping my eyes open for God’s working of this change in me….keeping myself open to being aware of when I’m in perfectionist mode….and letting myself be a little raw…

I’m looking for signs of life in me instead of striving in my mind about how to create it.

I’m looking for a job as just a job and not a huge statement about me.

I’m leaning into my introverted, quiet, thoughtful personality instead of wishing I could play games with the best of them at Dave and Busters.

I’m enjoying my tendency to watch instead of worrying that I should be doing the wave with the rest of the people at Invesco Field.

I’m letting my writing be a little confusing and a lot of processing instead of trying to be the best communicator out there.

I’m embracing the things that I love instead of worrying about how to keep them special.

And I’m allowing myself to be imperfect so that maybe I can take my eyes off of myself and take in the view that God is constantly creating all around me.

I’m falling apart a little bit, so that maybe I can live from a place of wholeness that only God can create.