Sometimes I realize how much I’ve grown as a person based on what I don’t want or need anymore. Maybe this is something Everyone experiences as they grow up and I’m just stoping to notice it in myself. Or maybe its just that I’m finally comfortable enough in who I am to admit that I no longer find peace in pain. I know there were times in my life when I craved pain, in any form I could find. There were nights with sharp things pressed into my skin, blood running down my legs. There were days upon days spent starving, shaking, aching cold from hunger because I refused to just shut the hell up and eat something. There were months of crying myself to sleep because of some nameless sadness. Anyone who knows me at all knows my favorite band is Blue October. They have been my favorite band for over 10 years now. I still listen to them most everyday. The first song I heard by them was called Hate Me. When I hear this song now, I can’t say why it called to me so strongly when I was a teenager. The song is about alcohol abuse and a relationship ending. At 13 i had never had a drink in my life. I had never shared so much as a kiss with a boy, let alone an actual breakup. Nothing about this song should have pulled me in the way it did. Over the last few weeks i’ve been trying to put my finger on whatever it was that made me love that song above all others, for years. Blue October has other songs That had much more to do with my life at that time. Songs about very real depression and loneliness, things that absolutely did touch my life at 13. Those songs aren’t the ones that I clung to for years though. It was Hate Me that I held so close for so long. This morning the answer finally hit me as i was looking for a new book to read. There is a website where you can input titles of books you enjoy and it will generate a list of suggested books based on your previous reads. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve visited this website. Because of this, the suggested books took me by surprise. There were lists entirely devoted to books about anorexia. There were lists of books all about girls who sliced their skin open over and over again. Books about sick, sad, broken girls. Reading through these book titles made something finally click into place in my head. I was drawn to the damage. I was swimming in the drama. I made myself a tight, close, cozy world of pain. I loved any story I could find that made me feel more normal. I wanted to read about people who were more broken than I was. I wanted to scream out lyrics about damage. All I wanted was more pain. Looking through those books today the difference between who I was and who I am became overwhelmingly clear. Those books full of the struggles of girls who haven’t figured it out have no pull on my mind anymore. When I hear Hate Me today, all I feel is sympathy for the little girl who needed that song so badly. I’m grateful beyond words that I’m not her anymore. I’m so blessed that pain is no longer a security blanket for me. I love that the laughter of my stepson and stepdaughter is the magnet that draws me in now. I love that quiet moments with my boyfriend are what creates my peace. I love that spending time in worship and prayer is where I feel at home now. Pain is attractive when you’re broken. It’s a safe place to go when you’re afraid to be who you really are. But pain is empty. Living in a world of pain only calls more pain. Living in a world of peace is just the same. Peace calls to more peace. Contentment pulls more contentment into your life. I’ve never felt more blessed than I do tonight that I am better.
I laid down in bed this morning with a sense of dread. My boyfriend and I are working an incredibly hectic schedule that has us running nonstop from friday afternoon to sunday night. I don’t mean nonstop like we won’t have time to watch the latest episode of some show, or see the latest score of some sports game. I mean we usually don’t have time to so much as sleep between Friday afternoon and Sunday evening. This week has been one of our busier weeks, so it’s been a long time since we’ve had one of those sweet, relaxing days where there’s no where to go and nothing that needs taken care of. This morning I planned to lay down and read some of the mindless science fiction novel I’m currently wrapped up in until I fell asleep. I knew I’d be exhausted even after I woke up. because of course, I only had a few hours until I had to get up for work. I actually laid down expecting the rest of my day to pretty much suck, with maybe a couple of good moments, if I was really lucky. As I was opening my book app to start reading I had an overwhelmingly strong feeling that i should have been doing my bible study instead of reading more stories that I’m just using to waste time I don’t have to be wasting in the first place. In one of my finer moments I listened to that feeling and opened my bible study book instead. The chapter was on being refreshed. The scriptures were all about how God is there to offer strength to those who feel weak. How God is there to offer refreshment to those who are exhausted. I read this chapter and I put on a worship station on my phone. After a few minutes I was praying like I haven’t in way to long. It became one of those times I just spill my heart open to God completely. As I started to give thanks for the things in my life that are undoubtedly blessings, something in my heart opened up. Without planning to I started thanking God for the things in my life that don’t feel like blessings right now. I thanked God for those people who can drive me the craziest. I thanked God for the times I am exhausted. I thanked God for all of the things I have absolutely no control over. I thanked God that I don’t need to have that control. I thanked God that I don’t have to understand how he will use all of those things to put me exactly where I need to be, I simply asked for the faith to believe that he will. When everything in my head and heart had been spoken out loud to God and I was just laying in bed humming one of my favorite worship songs I noticed that I felt more awake than I had in days. It wasn’t physical rest and surrender I needed to find today. It was most certainly spiritual rest I was in need of. I have done versions of this exact same thing since I was a teenager. I let other, louder, more demanding things come before my need to pause and just be with God. I say a quick prayer before dinner and call that good for me and God time that day. I get all proud of myself because I managed to listen to 1 worship song in my music mix any given day. I forget that truly coming to God with my heart open isn’t another obligation I have to meet before I get to relax. Rather these moments are the most real peace there is in this life. These moments of true connection with God are a reward, not an inconvenience in my oh so busy and important schedule. In this clarity today I see that I’m remarkably blessed and I am so grateful. This is my promise today. I will put God above all else. I will put my trust in God above all else. I will put my faith in God above all else. And I will thank God for every single blessing, and every single thing I don’t yet know how to see as a blessing.