Being An Empath

I had my heart bruised last night. Not broken. Just really badly bruised. So, riding a roller coaster today. It coasts along at a semi-conversating state, then dips a little into the emotionless dead air zone, before diving headlong into the tears-that-just-won’t-stop drop that leaves you feeling like your heart wasn’t able to handle the speed and just got left back on the tracts somewhere.

As with a several fellow Empaths I’ve met, when we hurt, it changes the way we receive the emotions of others. Some temporarily lose their ability to feel others emotions because their own are too strong. Other’s still feel them, but can’t discern them well or find their origins. Usually I am of the former variety. But today, I experienced something new. I felt more. My own pain left me wide open to feel others pain, or happiness, or cruelty, or kindness… I felt like I was feeding off of them.

Also, I became extremely aware how different it must be to not be an Empath. Almost no one noticed that I was struggling. And I’m not a great actress. Not that I needed or wanted to be noticed or acknowledged, but it amazed me the lack of … awareness, that people have for the emotional states of others.

I’m an INFJ, we’re naturally Empathic, and generally fall into the “HSP” (highly sensitive person”) category as well. Meaning our nervous systems are often wired in such a way that we react more strongly to things and feel things more intensely than is “normal”. We tend to have low pain tolerance, to dislike temperature, sound, light, or people extremes, (too hot, too loud, too bright, too crowded, etc). For example, I hate florescent lighting. It just grates on my every nerve. I work in a building with almost entirely florescent lighting, so I often sit in the dark without lights when I can. Drives my coworkers crazy. Sudden noises make me jump even when I see them coming. Also, emotions are strong. There’s no such thing as half-way for me. I either like you, or I don’t (required to love all people because Jesus does, but I don’t have to LIKE you), I trust you, or I don’t (though I will discern at times what degrees of trust should be allotted and trust people with certain things but not  others).  The words “I love you” are weighty to me. Very strong. Very important. Difficult for me to use with many. But once I’ve said them, it’s set in stone. Yes, I’m required to love everyone. But love is a verb. When you find someone who you also love with your emotions as well as your actions, it is so much more intense and binding and… wonderful. And painful. And terrifying. And incredible.

I know, this is random and disjointed and makes no sense. Welcome to my world, as it is for now. Pray for me. I have a deep ache in my heart and I’m confused and I need comfort and understanding.

My First Love

As I look back through my almost 23 years of life, I see all the people I’ve loved and lost, from dear friends who walked out of my life, to my mother who went to be with Jesus long before those of us here on earth were ready to let her go, I see something amazing.

With every loss, He brought something amazing out of it. Through each loss, He pushed me closer and close to Himself, and closer to finding a body of believers I can depend on, who will come alongside me in times of trouble. I am so extremely blessed.

Recently I was looking through some old letters written to me by people who called themselves my friends, but in reality proved to be just chapters in my life story, meant to fade away when the pages turned and the plot twisted. These letters used to make me cry every time I read them, and now, for the first time, I was able to let them go. I put them in a box and set it by the curb to be collected with the trash. I no longer need to revisit those memories.

God has brought me to a place of comfort in His love that I have never had before. He has brought me back to Himself. He is my first love. And though I still struggle with self-doubt at times, He never fails to provide me with perfect reminders of His love for me.

Today I fasted from solid foods (my hypoglycemia requires that I at least have protein shakes so I don’t literally pass out 😛 )  and spent more time devoted to prayer than I have in a while. I’m praying for a situation in my life that is very dear to my heart and very important to me. But no matter how this situation plays out, I have come to realize something. I cannot lose my first love. He will always keep me near to Him, He will always be true to His word. He has chosen me as His pure bride. He is all that I need.

Does that mean I cannot be hurt by circumstances? No. Honestly, though I feel I know what His will is for this situation, but if it ends up hurting me, I will survive. I will move on from it. Yes, it will be painful, but He will see me through. I am earnestly seeking His will now and asking that I do not have to go through that pain.

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
~John 14:13-14

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”
~Matthew 18:19

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
~Matthew 21:22

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
~Mark 11:24

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
~John 15:7

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
~John 15:16

“In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
~John 16:23-24

” But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways”
~James 1:5-8

“and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”
~ 1 John 3:22

I have sought counsel of older, wiser believers, and I have petitioned my King to give me peace about this if I am acting within His will. And I have complete peace. It is all in His capable hands, the same hands that knit the universe together. He holds my heart. I am safe, I am loved, I am chosen.

Boldly, I approach the throne of my Lover and make my request.

Thank you, Jesus, for being approachable, for caring about my heart, and for answering my prayers in ways I never would have imagined. You have outdone yourself time and time again, and I know this will be no exception. Only you are deserving of my praise. You are big enough to handle my hopes and dreams, loving enough to handle my heart with tenderness. I am forever in awe.

~TQG

The Best Is Yet To Come

A lot has happened since my last post…

Chiefly, the friend I went on the “Great Salsa Adventure” with is courting me now. We’ve discussed so many things and spent a lot of time talking over our pet peeves and expectations and opinions on things, it’s been amazing. And now, though he is waiting until June 2017 for God to give him assurance that we are supposed to be married, we are planning on attending pre-marital counseling to see if they can help us figure out if we’ve missed any important topics of discussion.

We take a lot of long walks and mini adventures together, spend many an evening cooking wonderful meals together and watching quirky anime shows and movies I’ve never heard of. We laugh until we can hardly breathe, tease each other, and over-all just have a fantastic time together.

All these years, praying for a Godly man, I never thought God would go so above and beyond my expectations. I feel so honored, respected and loved. And I can’t wait to see what He has in store for us as we continue our adventure together.

For those of you waiting for your knight in shining armor, stop looking. Just let him come. He won’t be what you hope for. He will be far, far greater.

Also, my Dad got remarried, moved in with his new wife, and I am living alone. Trying to find a new place to live so when the house sells, I’m not forced to move in with my stepmom’s house with her two kids. Introvert me does not want live-in siblings. 😛

Anyway, yes. Lots of changes. ^_^

~TQG

Twenty Years From Now

I hope, twenty years from now, you’ll stand in line at the store, lost in your own thoughts, and feel a tap on your shoulder.

I hope the face of a friend from years and years ago will greet with you with a smile and a warm hug, and ask you how your life has been.

I hope they’ll laugh at your stories, and tell you how great you look, and mention my name.

I hope, with all my heart, that you will not say

“Oh, her? I haven’t seen her in ages.”

“I almost forgot about her!”

“Ah, she.. that didn’t work out.”

I hope, instead, that they see a gleam in your eye,

A joy in your heart, as you say,

“She’s waiting for me at home.”

The Great Salsa Adventure

No, not salsa dancing, though I suppose that would be a fun adventure as well. Allow me to elaborate on my salsa adventure this last weekend.

So, a friend of mine came over for dinner one night, and he left a jar of salsa in my refrigerator by mistake. Shortly after he left, he texts me:

“My salsa got left behind. O.O”

“I just noticed that. That’s okay. I’ll hold it hostage. The fee to get it back will be some kind of fun mini adventure. Until then, I’ll keep it safe.”

Little did I know what I had begun.

His suggestion was to go 2 1/2 hours away to visit his good friends, he is the godfather of their children, and spend the weekend with them. I live in South Carolina, we were heading to North Carolina. If you’ve been watching the news last weekend, you may have seen that we had a rather blustery winter weekend. Blizzards and icy roads and whatnot. Many told us we were insane to drive north in such weather, but did we listen? NO. We were determined! My dad insisted I bring  heavy winter jacket and a blanket, just in case something happened and we were stranded on the side of the road.

“We’ll be fine Dad,” I say. “we’re not going to be stranded on the side of the road.”

Parents have a way of being somewhat prophetic.

About an hour (ish) into our trip, we passed by a wreck on the highway. The roads were bad off, but as long as you kept fairly slow and didn’t do anything sudden, it was fine. Apparently the car in front of us didn’t know this rule. For whatever reason, they stopped quite suddenly in front of us, and even though we were pretty far off their back end, the ice made it impossible to stop in time. We ran right into them.

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This is Turbo. He didn’t make it. Rest in pieces. Thank you for protecting us with your airbags.

We then found ourselves…. stranded…. on the side of the road. I put on my winter jacket and knew that I would never hear the end of this from my father. Ever. But, regardless, he was wise to insist on my bringing it. The other vehicle was far less damaged, and drove away without an issue. No injuries for either cars passengers.

My friend and I laughed. A lot. I’m not sure if the adrenaline just needed a place to go, but we were happy to be alive and unharmed and just sort of giggled and cracked jokes to one another as the cop wrote his report and called a wrecker to come get us. He asked us where we wanted to be dropped off, and if we had called someone to come from home to get us. We told him we wanted to continue on our journey to NC, and to drop us at a 24 hour store. He looked at us like we were slightly insane. (We have decided we probably are.) After unloading poor little squished Turbo, and finishing talking to his insurance company, we were told they would not provide us with a rental. We found ourselves stranded at semi-run down 24 hour gas station. At night.

Determined to journey on, we called every taxi service we could find on the internet (yay, smart phones!) but all of them were closed due to weather, or didn’t serve the area we were in. Finally, we found a taxi service listed as “A Taxi”, which specifically stated it was a night taxi, and said in it’s description “We’ll get ya there!”. It seemed promising. So we called.

The guy who answered informed us that yes, he did have a taxi service. Before his taxi exploded. He was now out of business, but yellow pages had not removed his number from the site despite asking many times. He apologized and said it would probably be better if we found someone else.

However, my travel buddy is not one to give up easily. He told our out of service taxi friend our story. Finally the guy (His name was David!) told us if we couldn’t find anyone else, he would come get us in his personal car. We tried a few other numbers with no luck, and before we could call him back, he texts us to tell us he’ll do it. For about $150, to drive us all the way to our destination. By this time, it was about 9:30, we left my house at 5:45ish for our “two hour” trip. He told us he would be there to get us at 10:40.

So we sat on the floor and chatted and waited. The gas station attendants told us we should just consider getting a motel room for the night and continuing tomorrow, but we were dead set. And at about 10:50, our guy arrived. The drive was long, fairly treacherous, and very, very slow. We finished the remaining hour and a half worth of driving at 1am. The snow was falling sideways, and we were literally the only ones on the road, except for one SUV pulling people on a sled down the middle of the road. (At 12:45 in the morning!) Upon arriving at our destination, David told us he decided to drop the price to $135. So we paid him and thanked him profusely for his time and effort.

We made it. Bruised, exhausted, but exhilarated, we made a 2 and a half hour trip in 8ish hours. It was great.

The next day, we secured a rental car for our trip home, and spent the day relaxing, playing board and video games and enjoying one another’s company, telling stories and having a very good time.

Our trip home was much less eventful, thankfully. I think we had enough unexpected thrill for one trip. We made it back in the correct amount of time, safe and sound, filled with new stories and memories. The best of adventures.

Also, my friend has found a new car already, and it’s super cool.

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We may be insane, but our insanity lead us on such a grand adventure! I didn’t realize how much I liked adventures, such as this, until now. I’ve never had friends who were up for road trips, or friends that I wanted to be stuck in a car with for hours, actually. I love my friends, but I only have a few who are the type that don’t wear me out, and they’re gainfully employed or in school or married and can’t just go have adventures whenever. This trip brought to life a little place in my heart and mind that had been in a deep slumber. The part of me that loves venturing into the unknown just to see whats there, to learn by experience, try new things, and stay the path even when it looks bleak.

January 2016 is coming to a close faster than I could have imagined, and I didn’t intend to start this year with a bang in such a literal sense, but it was totally worth it.

 

 

Ruth & Boaz

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I’ve been told no less than 3 times this week that I am beautiful. At least 4 times that I have gorgeous hair, and twice that I have a sweet spirit. God knows when I need the reminder.

I’m watching everyone I know, coworkers, friends, family and people I don’t even know getting engaged and married and having kids left and right. People that are younger or not much older than myself. It’s awesome, seeing everyone so happy, pursuing futures with their new spouses. But it’s also kinda hard. I have to keep reminding myself that I would rather be single than with the wrong person, or lower my standards just to get affection.

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What I’m looking for is totally worth the wait. I know my creator is thrilled to reveal His plan. He’s got my love story all written out, each step I take traces the lines of His pen. I grow closer each day to the moment when clarity hits. He delights in romance, the joy of learning to love someone completely and fully.

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My man is being prepared for me just as I am for him. A man after God’s own heart. Who loves God more than he loves me, and puts God first in all he does.

I studied the book of Ruth again recently, and I have to say, I just adore the love story of Ruth and Boaz. It’s so imperfect.

Tragedy, hard manual labor, long sweaty days in the sun.

A medaling older woman who gives questionable advice requiring Ruth, a woman, to essentially make the first move. (A big deal back then!) She literally tells her, wash yourself, wear your best perfume and clothes, but do not let him see you until he has finished eating and drinking. I don’t know if they were drinking water or wine, but regardless. She’s getting her daughter in law ready to wow an unsuspecting man after a long hard day of work. Sneaky old lady.

But then, Boaz, a kind hearted, honorable man, sees her hard work and blesses her for it. And takes her forwardness with such grace.

“May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter; this last instance of your loyalty is better than the first; you have not gone after younger men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not be afraid. I will do for you all that you ask, for all the assembly of my people know that you are a worthy woman. But now, though it is true that I am a near kinsman, there is another kinsman more closely related than I. Remain this night, and in the morning, if he will act as next-of-kin for you, good; let him do it. If he is not willing to act as next-of-kin for you, then, as the Lord lives, I will. Lie down until the morning.”

So she lay at his feet until morning…

I strongly encourage you to go read this book to get the full picture. There is no question that he liked and was attracted to her, but yet he sought out the course of action that was honorable and in her best interest, all while reassuring her that regardless, she would be taken care of. Even in the way that he asked her to remain for the night rather than go alone back to her home with Naomi.

I also love how when Ruth recounts the story to Naomi the next day, Naomi says “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest, but will settle the matter today.”

I get the feeling Ruth was jittery and nervous about what would happen and where she would end up. I can relate with that.

I also like the honest, but very strategic way Boaz poses the idea to this other next of kin. He is totally honest, but it’s clear he is definitely hoping to be the one to redeem Ruth. It’s precious. I can’t help but see in my mind a mature, wise man, talking to this other next-of-kin, his heart pounding, praying under his breath that God bless him with this strong, hard working, worthy woman.

The whole thing is just dripping with raw humanity, and it’s beautiful. It makes my heart smile. God has such a great sense of humor.

I’m not perfect, and I never will be, but I’m hoping and praying I will be a worthy bride to my own Boaz someday.

 

Éowyn & Faramir

“What do you fear, lady?” he asked.

“A cage,” she said. “To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond all recall or desire “

~Aragorn & Éowyn, “Return of the King” by J.R.R. Tolkien

This quote, and Éowyn the shieldmaiden’s whole story, resonates with me at a very deep level. Especially if you read the portions at the ends of the books that give you more details about the backgrounds of the characters, and details about her and Faramir’s love story. She falls for Aragorn, but he very kindly and respectfully tells her that his heart belongs to another. And it hurts. But then, along comes man she doesn’t expect, and he opens her eyes.

Then Faramir came and sought her, and once more they stood on the walls together; and he said to her: ‘Eowyn, why do you tarry here, and do not go to the rejoicing in Cormallen beyond Cair Andros, where your brother awaits you?’

And she said: ‘Do you not know?’

But he answered: ‘Two reasons there may be, but which is true, I do not know.’

And she said: ‘I do not wish to play at riddles. Speak plainer!’

‘Then if you will have it so, lady,’ he said: ‘You do not go, because only your brother called for you, and to look on the Lord Aragorn, Elendil’s heir, in his triumph would now bring you no joy. Or because I do not go, and you desire still to be near me. And maybe for both these reasons, and you yourself cannot choose between them. Eowyn, do you not love me, or will you not?’

‘I wished to be loved by another,’ she answered. ‘But I desire no man’s pity.’

‘That I know,’ he said. ‘You desired to have the love of the Lord Aragorn. Because he was high and puissant, and you wished to have renown and glory and to be lifted far above the mean things that crawl on the earth. And as a great captain may to a young soldier he seemed to you admirable. For so he is, a lord among men, the greatest that now is. But when he gave you only understanding and pity, then you desired to have nothing, unless a brave death in battle. Look at me, Eowyn!’

And Eowyn looked at Faramir long and steadily; and Faramir said: ‘Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart, Eowyn! But I do not offer you my pity. For you are a lady high and valiant and have yourself won renown that shall not be forgotten; and you are a lady beautiful, I deem, beyond even the words of the Elven-tongue to tell. And I love you. Once I pitied your sorrow. But now, were you sorrowless, without fear or any lack, were you the blissful Queen of Gondor, still I would love you. Eowyn, do you not love me?’

Then the heart of Eowyn changed, or else at last she understood it. And suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone on her.

‘I stand in Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun,’ she said; ‘and behold! the Shadow has departed! I will be a shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren.’ And again she looked at Faramir. ‘No longer do I desire to be a queen,’ she said.

Then Faramir laughed merrily. ‘That is well,’ he said; ‘for I am not a king. Yet I will wed with the White Lady of Rohan, if it be her will. And if she will, then let us cross the River and in happier days let us dwell in fair Ithilien and there make a garden. All things will grow with joy there, if the White Lady comes.’

‘Then must I leave my own people, man of Gondor?’ she said. ‘And would you have you proud folk say to you: “There goes a lord who tamed a wild shieldmaiden of the North! Was there no woman of the race of Numenor to choose?” ‘

‘I would,’ said Faramir. And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many. And many indeed saw them and the light that shone about them as they came down from the walls and went hand in hand to the Houses of Healing.

And to the Warden of the Houses Faramir said: ‘Here is the Lady Eowyn of Rohan, and now she is healed.’

Their love story touches my heart. I love the honesty.

Anchors of the Heart

I’ve written about this before, but it’s after midnight, I’ve got a full cup of chamomile tea, and it’s on my mind again. So, here we go!

I just adore those times, so few as they are, when you know someone long enough, or deeply enough, to begin to see who they are in their appearance.

As an empath, part of my INFJ personality, I make quick judgements about people within minutes of meeting them. Not severe judgements, just things like “Trustworthy”, “Untrustworthy”, “Insecure”, “Hiding something”, pretty vague estimates, but enough to help me navigate my world and choose who I want to be influenced by, or who I want to be an influence to. I can feel, more times than not, the emotions of those around me. Certain people may have hearts of gold, but have such tumultuous emotions that I just can’t handle spending extended time around them. Others, thought extremely rare, exude a calmness that tames my own cloud of emotions. These are people I can spend hours with and never grow weary.

My favorite thing is when I meet someone, and my first impression is positive, but vague. Nothing really solid for me to build a foundation on to decided exactly how I feel about them yet, but it’s looking at the very least, not negative.

Fast forward. Now, I look at them and I don’t see their features, I see kindness in their eyes, a joy-filled smile, gentle finger tips, wise lips. Their features become anchors for their personality traits. It’s such a profound transformation. That is when you can really love a person for who they are, when you cease to see a body and instead see them. Who they are becomes their appearance when you look at them through the eyes of your heart. Gosh, it’s a beautiful sight.