You have to decide that you want to live and be alive. I can’t do that for you. God knows I’ve already tried.
I can help. Those who know me know that. I am all for you. I want you to succeed. But I can’t choose for you. I can’t make you choose life.
You have to decide for yourself. You have to want it. Want more. Or at least take steps in that direction even if you don’t believe it right now.
You don’t have to feel like doing it. You just have to start taking the steps. The feelings will catch up eventually. Maybe not how you want it to happen. But something good will be there for you.
Make it a great day. In spite of. There is plenty, but make today better than yesterday. Do something. Anything.
You have the power to bring more happiness into your life. But you have to choose.
Will you do that today? Or will you keep sitting down? Demanding life conform to that same story you’ve been telling yourself for how long?
No condemnation, but you get to choose. What will it be? What will we make of tomorrow? Will you do at least one thing different? At least try? Or will you give me another million reasons for why you refuse to move and try something new?
What if God is for you? Does that make any difference? Honestly? Isn’t there still always hope if that is true?
It really messed me up in a good way the other day when I heard that some people try to outsource self-love. Desperately. Holding everyone else accountable for loving them, but not holding themselves accountable for self-love. That hit deep.
The more I think about it, the more important I think it is to prioritize taking care of your business. I mean one of the greatest commandments is love your neighbor as you love yourself. The order of the words seems to kinda put the neighbor first. But really, loving yourself is the first action.
If I treat myself like crap, then it’s no wonder that I will not treat others well. If I don’t value myself, how can I really value another? If I put myself down and don’t have patience with myself, how long can I really be patient with another?
Think of it like a gas tank. Even if I give away everything I have to others in the name of love, eventually I’ll run out. That’s what happened to me. I didn’t even know it until I hit empty. I have been recovering ever since.
Cheerful giver. Giving from a place of abundance. Not putting myself in a place of poverty just to lift another up – like I used to do before. Does God give from a place of abundance or a place of lack?
I think in general the problem is learned helplessness. If you were never encouraged or were even actively discouraged from loving yourself, and you had to survive on the crumbs of affection that were given to you by others, or crumbs you had to earn through performance – then is it no wonder that it never even occurs to you that you have the ability to love yourself period – much less when others don’t.
How and where do you start when you’ve never done a thing before? I am learning to start wherever the pain rears up. You get that moment of looking outside of yourself. Upset about someone not being there for you in some way. Or unhappy with yourself. And you start there. Acknowledge the disappointment. But then ask yourself what YOU want to do about it. Keep crying and complaining about it for how long? You can do that. Or you can make changes. Little by little.
I’ve seen people sit and wait for decades. Sitting in rooms, distracting themselves with various forms of mind-numbing entertainment. Stewing in resentment. In my experience, these are some of the ugliest people. So desperate for control that they push everyone away. Ungrateful. And unwilling to do much of anything, especially if it will require long periods of discomfort, to change their situation.
Do you want to be well? Get up and walk.
Of course it won’t feel that easy. Any muscle that has been atrophied for so long will take a lot of work to get into any shape. But would you rather the alternative?
You can do it.
I asked God for a vision today. For new vision for the future since what I thought would happen crashed dramatically to the ground. No putting the spilled milk back where it came from. Gone. Finished. Unless God performs a miracle; which may not even be best.
I felt like God said to me that there is no grand vision. There is no master plan. There is no perfect path. That this is all about relationship and healing. That I am a co-creator of sorts. That Trinity will work with whatever I give God. So I get to choose.
Which brings up a whole huge litany of thoughts you don’t consider when you are simply looking at rules and figuring out boundaries. Let’s start with: why? Why will I choose what I choose? What am I aiming for? Temporarily pacifying myself? No condemnation, but what if there was more?
This is where it requires less work to sit back and ask for less freedom. To go back to Egypt. What we’ve always known. Just to ease the anxiety of not knowing. Just to have a sense of security. Even if they are bars in a prison cell.
What will you do? What if you can’t mess up so much because very little of what you think is this life matters once you are on the other side? Once this human experience is over? I’m reminded yet again that the only one who was corrected was the one who did nothing out of fear. The others planted seeds and were tangibly rewarded.
I heard Steve Harvey talk about how you should purchase a first-class ticket on an airplane. He said you’ll realize how much better it is in first class. Then it will be really difficult to ever go back to coach again. And your brain will then start thinking creatively in order earn the money to pay for first class next time.
I also heard another gentleman talk about how he doesn’t want to be the bigger person anymore. In the sense that if he is ALWAYS being the bigger person then it might mean that he is hanging around too many small-minded people.
I can relate.
There is helping people who are actually doing something with their lives. And then there is trying to drag people to healing who have no desire yet to change. They are comfortable in their misery. They have owned it, sat down, and setup shop in their shit. Decorated it and everything.
Those people might parrot back to you what they think you want to hear. Maybe to try to get you to keep giving them something. But if you try to hold them accountable, be prepared for their fangs and claws to come for you.
I did a good thing yesterday. I said no. To hanging out with a group of people that include at least one person that I genuinely care about but who has ignored me for years. With no explanation. Even when I reached out to them this year. Yet again.
No, not going to put myself through that unnecessary hell. When my time could be better spent loving myself. Or investing in people that will show their appreciation for my efforts. I’m not talking worship; just basic respect.
I remind myself that if these people were offered a million dollars, they’d get it together to show up and claim it. Or if it was their favorite person, they’d make the effort. They wouldn’t put on the clueless act then. They’d suddenly be able to get it together then. So yeah, no excuses.
My problem is that I was listening to people’s words versus their actions. The words of some reach out to me maybe once a year. Acting like nothing. Like there is no big pink elephant in the middle of the room. But their actions say they checked out long, long ago.
And that is really okay. Sad, but okay. I’d rather accept it and move on. Than do what I unsuccessfully attempted for decades: hold onto the potential I see in them and encourage them to go where they don’t want or are not ready to go. Instead of parting in peace and investing my energy elsewhere.
I heard something a few days ago that messed with me in a good way. I heard that sometimes we pursue people in a way where we are basically looking to hire someone to love us. As in, we attempt to outsource self-love. Instead of taking the time to care for ourselves, we try to find people who will care for us.
That isn’t to say we shouldn’t surround ourselves with people who love and respect us.
But I think many of us were not given permission to be ourselves for so long that we forgot how to do that. We were treated as a part in other people’s lives for so long that we lost ourselves. Or never even had a chance to become someone.
Even churches, employers, governments. Some, maybe even many, want to strip you. They value control and conformity over trust, respect, and freedom. I’m sure there is a time and place for certain standards. But how many times does it go too far?
And then the poison keeps getting passed on. One to the other. Just to feel like you’re not alone. Just to try to quiet the sickening dissonance eating away from the inside. You think you’ll break if you didn’t have your distractions to pacify you.
I say it quickly, but these are not little things. Maybe this is a big part in the everything.
And I’m learning that people probably need to be met where they are. Not where we want them to be.
Even with myself included. Where am I?
The person who berates and dismisses me for what they see as me not trying to lose weight. Sure, it might look that way from the outside. But you have no idea what I’ve been through. You have no idea what all this weight means to me. What it protects me from. How it serves me.
Until it won’t. Until it doesn’t. Until something else serves me better. Education. Equipped. Processed. Etc. Etc. Etc.
So I have to be patient with others. Even if I don’t participate in what they do that is hurtful. I am able to forgive when I think of it that way.
But I don’t have to save anyone anymore. That was the problem before. Instead of knowing I could relax and take care of me, I thought the only option was taking care of them so they’d hopefully take care of me.
Good fences make good neighbors. Now I can tell you no and take care of myself. And let you have a problem with that or not. Because finally I understand and trust you belong to God, not me.
Before, I had an impotent god whose hands were tied. He depended on me to get the jobs done. And it was on me if I dropped the ball.
Now, I believe in greater Love. That is not wringing hands and hoping we get it right. No.
This real Love meets me right where I’m at and invites me. To rest. To eat and be full. To enter healing. With no judgement and no condemnation. Not ever giving up.
So I don’t have to try to be Jesus to anyone. I can just tell them what I have known and experienced. I can just extend the invitation to them. To see for themselves.
And then I can go on living my life. Filling my own cup. So that yes, in true real gratitude, I will even have to give. With no strings attached.
Their knower will recognize the difference. The shift.
So I don’t want to be sad anymore. I am no longer glorifying suffering and misery across the board without any qualifications. No longer deifying everyone who chooses to martyr themselves for any old thing. Exclaiming how wonderful they are to endure so much pain. For what? Is it even necessary? Or best?
No, no longer. What is the mission? What are we here for?
What if real Life looks a lot more fun? Why were we never encouraged to considered that? Could there have been people who benefited from us staying small? From us not realizing how much there is waiting for us to step into?
I took a drive to the cemetery in your honor. I went the back way. Like you probably would have done. Up Blanco Road to 46 and then crossing over. How many times you took me up Blanco Road. It was bittersweet doing it without you.
I hear you telling me not to cry for you. I know if you could talk to me right now, you’d tell me to focus on God. On telling people the best news. I’m trying.
I know you’d tell me to get my big girl pants on. I cry for us being without you for a time. But I know you wouldn’t want me to park there. Funny that I found that screenshot of a messages between us where the last thing you said in that particular conversation was, “Quit crying and drive.” I feel like that’s your message to me now.
So I took that last drive in your honor. To the cemetery. It was such a beautiful day. Perfect for a drive. Cool air and crystal clean blue skies after a cold rain. You would have loved it.
But on the way there, I was crying a lot. I always thought we would eventually be friends again here. I never expected it to end here like this. I so miss all the good times. I thought we had time. That things would get fixed on this side.
I cried out in frustration and asked God why He didn’t let me know when you passed. In my heart. (Funny thing is I would always check KSAT for your passing to be reported as a car accident – all these years.) “Because he isn’t dead, Sarah. Jonathan isn’t gone. He is very much alive; his spirit is very much alive. He’s just somewhere else. You’ll see him again eventually.”
I can still think of you being alive because you are. Just somewhere else. It feels like it will be a long time now. But I think when we see you again on the other side, it will then feel like a blink of an eye. When we catch up to where our spirits and hearts reside.
I couldn’t find your grave. I was really sad about that. Drove around and got out multiple times. Then parked and walked around what felt like the whole thing. Nothing. Was talking to J the whole time. She called as I arrived at the cemetery. She said she was in shock also.
Finally I was going to give up. It was getting dark. There were so many graves. I didn’t know how I was going to find your’s. I asked J to pray for God to help me find it. I went and sat in the car. We kept talking. There was almost no daylight left. Almost no hope. I was thinking multiple times that I should just put the car in gear and drive away.
But then your T called. Hadn’t heard his voice in longer than your’s. Was good but of course I never wanted it under these circumstances. For him as much as anyone. But thankfully he was able to quickly and clearly lead me to where they put your body. We talked more. Good conversation as always. He told me what happened. The amazing story about who stopped and was with you. That brought me and hopefully T and others so much comfort. I wish he didn’t have to miss you. I told him ya’ll were truly brothers.
I sent J and T the picture below. (Those two are the main ones I would have wanted to talk about you with – so thankful for that.) Kinda poetically beautiful that I found your spot just as the last bit of the sunset was fading. I’m reminded now that I learned in the last few years, from Steve McVey, that the Jewish people considered sundown the start of a new day. Versus sunrise. So yeah, as much as you going elsewhere looks like an end, maybe it is a new beginning for us that miss you.
I believe in my mind, Lord; but help my heart’s unbelief. My fears.
The only thing that kills me are the what ifs. I tried so hard, but there were a few things I didn’t work hard enough on for us. It kills me to think if I had done that work then maybe we’d have had more time together.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope things turned out like they needed to and were supposed to. But I have doubts. That I could have done more.
The only thing that helps me move forward is knowing you wouldn’t want me to park there either.
Funny that the next day I heard this song for the first time.
The only thing I don’t regret is that it truly is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.