Comfortable Silence

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I love people who can hold their own in a conversation. Who can fill in the gaps that I so often leave. Who can gently draw me out, even when I’m not actively trying to participate. Conversely, I love when those same people can just sit quietly with me and not insist on filling the silence. Knowing when something is worth breaking silence for and when it can just go unsaid. It’s a skill few people possess. Most feel extremely uncomfortable with silence.

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After writing the above portion of this post, I went and had thanksgiving “dinner” (it was lunch, but whatever) with some good friends of ours, then went and walked about 2 miles on a local dam, came home and did some housework while listening to music from an app that recently appeared on my Android after an update, it’s called “Milk Music”. Pretty neat little app. It lead to the discovery of a song called “One” by Ed Sheeran.

“And all my friends have gone to find
Another place to let their hearts collide
Just promise me, you’ll always be a friend
‘Cause you are the only one.”

The whole song is quite good, but those lyrics particularly spoke to the way I feel sometimes. Like I have to ask for assurance from the people I truly call friends. Assurance that they aren’t going to find a reason to leave me behind. I guess there is no way to truly guarantee it, but love is worth that risk.

On another note, this Sunday I have my interview to become a member at my church. So thrilled to have found a church family that I want to become apart of. That I enjoy actively being apart of. Such a blessing. God is good.

Happy Thanksgiving, from TQG 🙂

One More

Trust, just one more time.

Love, just one more time.

Let someone in, just one more time.

And after that, do it all once more.

Tomorrow is a new day, just go one more.

You’ve got one hundred steps to go, let’s make it ninety nine.

This song is on my workout playlist, but it’s been an anthem of mine for ages. It’s helped me get back up after the emotional beatings I’ve gone through, reminded me that I don’t have to climb the whole mountain, just take one step in the right direction. One step at a time.

I don’t like being as sensitive as I am sometimes, but I’m slowly realizing that my greatest weakness, the thing that makes me the most vulnerable, also makes me strong, and is my greatest asset. Anyone with a heart can sympathize with others, but to be able to empathize is a gift. Yeah, it makes me more emotional, a bit more quick to tears than I would like, makes me easy to hurt. But it’s also a gift to others. I can shine my light into peoples lives with more ease than most. That’s awesome. It makes me special. I feel the most at home with myself when I let myself feel, open myself up fully and let people in. But it’s just so hard to do. The walls I built myself became a cage, and it’s a daily battle to get out.

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When I do manage to get out though, it’s the most amazing feeling ever.

Sometimes it’s just letting myself be silly around people, laughing, being relaxed, that just feels like a little sliver of heaven. Like I could just take that moment, seal it up in a snow globe of memory and revisit it whenever I was feeling down. I wish memories worked that way.

But, they don’t. Which is probably for the best. It keeps me determined to seek new ones, which is a tremendously excellent adventure.

Little Life Lessons

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Have you ever held a hermit crab? If you’re like me, you may have been too grossed out by their spider-like qualities to particularly enjoy them, but I have held one, and there is something interesting to be learned from their behavior. (Just totally ignoring that they occasionally pinch the living daylights out of you.)

When you hold a hermit crab, they initially withdraw into their shells, protecting their soft bodies by using the hard exoskeleton on their legs to block the little door of their mobile homes. But, if you hold them gently, are quiet, and don’t make fast or sudden movements, they will slowly come out, poke their little heads out and become curious. After they’ve started to explore, you can then move more and be less careful of scaring them. They’ve learned to trust the ground (your hand) that they’re standing on and aren’t afraid to check you out and see what you’re made.

As much as hermit crabs kinda freak me out, I can relate to them a lot. When I meet people for the first time, I tend to withdraw, barely participating in the small talk they offer me, often feeling a bit claustrophobic if they try too hard too fast to get to know me. But occasionally I meet people who sense my hesitation and back off a little. Still engaging me in conversation, but doing so more calmly, less demandingly, and sometimes even literally giving me space by going and talking to other people before coming back to me. And I love it when I meet people who do that. It seriously makes me feel so respected and understood.

At work, I can fake extrovert like a pro. I increase my volume, I start lots of pointless small talk conversations, I use witty comebacks and ignore when people invade my space. But it wears me out so much. By the time the end of the week comes, when I do most of my social activities with other Christians and people I would like to be friends with, I’m just out of it. I don’t have enough energy left to be a fake-tro-vert. And really, if I have to fake being SUPER outgoing just to make friends, what kind of friends am I really making?

Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not trying to say “Look, I’m antisocial and rude and I don’t like talking but you should love me even though I refuse to talk to you.”
Heck. No. I’m very social, I love talking, I love people, I love being in social situations. I feel very badly when I have those days when it’s next to impossible for me to be truly myself with people, those days when people try to talk to me and I just don’t respond in a way that shows them how much I really do want to get to know them. It kills me. I lay awake in bed at night sometimes just angry with myself for being that way. I pray regularly that on days when I’m just emotionally drained, that He would sustain me and help me be that kind hearted person He’s made me to be.

I don’t want people to have to cater to my “social needs”. I want to be flexible and easy to communicate with. I want to be accessible. And sometimes, I’m not. And on those days, when God brings into my life those understanding people who can see through my hard, cold shell and say to themselves “I bet she’s a really cool person, she just needs some space and TLC.” Gah. I just love those people. I need friends like that. They rock. See, I want to be my best for everyone. But I’m way too human for that. I need people in my life who understand that I have days when they’re like “HEY, how are you!!!” and I’ll just say “Oh, good!” and don’t even ask how they are, not because I don’t care, I always care. But because I’m struggling, I’ve got ten thousand things going on in my head, my reply was an auto-response. Deep down I thought “I should ask how they’re doing too”, but I know that I’ve got too much going on to listen in a way that they deserve, so I don’t ask.

I don’t ask people how they’re doing to hear “Good, you?”. I ask only when I want to know how. they. are. doing. I don’t want an auto-response, I want a look into their life. So why would I ask you how you’re doing when I’m passing you in a hallway, with maybe 50 seconds of time to converse? What a waste of speech! I’d much rather smile and say “Good morning!”, a friendly greeting, but no obligation to express anything about what’s going on in your life when neither of us has time for that at the moment. Make sense?

Back to people who give me space… Sometimes, in that group, they may not see much result from the totally awesome respect they invest in me. But I remember them. Always. And next time, I will seek them out. Having shown me they are safe, that they aren’t going to try and pry me out into the open, I will seek them out in a crowd. They unwittingly become my anchor into the group. No matter how loud and demanding that group becomes, I know I can seek them out for a moment of peace. And if they spend one-on-one time with me, I will open up and talk and be social. I like to invest in conversations, and it’s really hard to do that in group settings. I don’t start conversations that I don’t intend to finish, but in groups, often times the topic will get lost as more people join in and make other remarks and it’s just… I can’t follow it. It’s annoying. Or someone will make a comment that make me curious as to why they feel that way, but before I can get a chance to inquire, the whole topic has evolved and moved on and it’s no longer applicable, so I just file it away for later. I think I freak people out a little, because sometimes I’ll send a text to someone, or come up to them and be like “So, this comment you made like two weeks ago during this group conversation, tell me more.” I’m not a stalker I promise… I just… I’m curious.. *toothy grin*

Anyway. That’s my piece on how I relate to hermit crabs. (I made hermit crabs way deeper than they actually are. 😀 ) Summary: I like real conversations, not small talk. I like one-on-one time best, but in groups I do enjoy listening and learning about people by observation. I’m not a hermit, I’m an tenderhearted person who genuinely wants to know you, but feels attacked when you try and force me out into the open. And lastly, to those of you who treat people like me with the kindness and genuine respect that makes us want to be ourselves, thank you. You make us feel like we can shine. It’s people like you who help us grow. You are the answer to our prayers.

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~TQG

Can I be honest?

This post may or may not be very long, include multiple, seemingly unrelated topics, and appear somewhat disjointed. You have been forewarned.

I heard a song the other day one Air1. It was incredible, it set a fire in my mind, a chain reaction that lead to the most electrifying, thrilling thoughts about Heaven. Allow me to share with you the gist of the thoughts it inspired within my lil’ head.

We often think of Heaven for what will be there when we arrive. The untouched, pure nature, the animals, the people we miss, and of course, more than any of that, finally being with our Creator. And that is AWESOME. But there’s a part of Heaven I never even considered in depth until hearing this song.

We’ll be there. The real us. Not the sin hampered, war torn version of us that is present currently, but the part of us that is true and perfect. Everything truly good about us, the things that were knit into our being by God, those little glimmers of what we are truly meant to be when fully realized in Jesus will finally be set completely free of temptation, sin, and the weight of the burdens of this world.

Yes, Jesus has already freed us from sin, but how many of us have had those many, many times when we tried to rely on our own strength to fight temptation and failed miserably? *raises hand*  We are free from sin, but sin still has and influence on our lives, whether through our own actions or indirectly through the actions of others. Take a few moments to just sit and imagine being totally yourself, minus every sinful thought you’ve ever had, minus every memory of every failure, every unkind thought that ever crossed your mind. The freedom of no longer having to guard your heart, your eyes, your ears, and your mind from the evils of this world. Total freedom. Totality of redemption. The fullness of perfection. The weightlessness of your soul, no longer oppressed by a hostile world, or poisoned by the unavoidable inundation of crude humor, language and images.

I don’t know about you, but that is extremely exciting to me.

With that in mind, please enjoy the song. 🙂

If, at this point you’ve wondered about the title and warning at the beginning of this post, “Be honest about what?”, here it is.

I haven’t actually sat down and spent time in my Bible in …. I’m not even sure. A while.

I haven’t spent true, quality time praying and talking/listening to God in almost as long. Not counting the three or four times I’ve cried myself to sleep while talking to God recently, or the times I’ve spent maybe 20 minutes in prayer in my car before work.

Related to the above, I’ve cried myself to sleep a lot lately. Actually, I’ve just plan cried a lot.

I have been struggling so hard to be positive, to put effort into my friendships, to even reply to text messages.

Now, I consider myself to be somewhat of a smart cookie. (Is that a phrase? Or is it tough cookie? Because cookies should be soft, tough cookies are gross…) I know that if I solved the first problem (spending time in God’s Word), the other ones would pretty much take care of themselves. I know this. Truly. How can I experience the peace of God when I don’t spend time seeking His face? Answer, I can’t. I must seek His presence if I want to be lifted from this depressive state I’m currently in. But will you, whomever you may be, please pray for me? Even if it’s just a quick little prayer while you’re reading this post, it would be appreciated.

I miss my mom. I miss home cooked food. I miss having time to make my own home cooked food. I miss having someone to talk about “girl stuff” with. That’s what I’m crying over. I miss the life I used to have. Before the loss. I feel crushed under the weight of that loss sometimes.

We finally had her stone engraved and placed. It’s beautiful, but, they only put one “T” in Matthew. Not that big of a deal, you say? No one will notice? That’s true. But I cried about it for almost 30 minutes when I noticed it.

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I wanted it to be perfect. Does she care if there’s a T missing from Matthew? Nooo. But still, it bothered me that much. Less so now, but still… It’s there.

I feel like a total train wreck on the inside lately, and I miss being a child. Being able to just break down and cry whenever and wherever you are when you feel overwhelmed, and it be socially acceptable. Adults aren’t allowed to break down. Adults have to be… “adult” about it. Take it in stride. Keep on keeping on. But I feel like I just need a week to break down, fall apart completely, and start from scratch, much like I did when I was off work for two weeks after my mom died.

But I can’t do that. I have to keep going. Keep smiling. It may be a dark night, but there is a dawn approaching. I can’t see it yet, but through the promises of Christ, I know it’s coming. I have hope.

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.

~Isaiah 42:3 (Matthew 12:20 as well.)

I may be a bruised weed, but He will mend me and set me straight and tall again.

One Good Conversation

All it takes is one good conversation.

Today at work, I found myself in a rarely seen or found place. My comfort zone! Alone in a room with an adult, married, Christian man whilst we both enjoyed our lunch hour. This coworker and I had not previously had an actual conversation, but I have overheard him talk about his wife quite lovingly, and we’re friends on Facebook, which was, combined, enough to make me feel quite comfortable.

Not sure how we got there, but eventually we got to talking about what we had studied in scripture, and he shared what he had been learning about how we are to handle grief and death, which lead to me talking about my mom.

I worked exceptionally hard to keep from crying, and managed, but just barely, as I talked about her and how she passed. But what really struck me what his reaction. He too was working hard not to cry, and I could see the tears welling in his eyes as he just sat and listened. Not many people take time to sit and listen these days. And when they do, it stands out to me. But even more than listen, he was feeling my words as I spoke them. That is a rare and often burdensome gift to bare. I know, because I share it, and it’s one of the reasons I literally can’t get very close with more than a few people at once. I just can’t handle it. I feel what they feel, and I can only feel so much before I burst.

Back to this coworker of mine. Our lunch hour ended, and we both gathered up our emotions and laughed a bit, and went our separate ways to the opposite sides of the building where we work. But the whole thing shed light on a struggle I’ve had just recently as I try to integrate myself into this new church group I’m in.

I’m not actually as bad at communicating as I keep making myself out to be. See, at this last group event I went to, I was the only girl on the speed boat (be jealous. Of the speed boat, not of me being out numbered by attractive guys, because that’s actually just overwhelming and exhausting) and though conversation is not readily required when going 35-60 mph over water dragging people on skis, wake boards or tubes, there are still plenty of moments when it’s really a good idea to say….something…. anything…. like, seriously. And I DID. Several times!! And I did, indeed, speak loud enough to be heard and somewhat acknowledged for having said something. But a conversation is a two way street. I can say as much as I want, but if no one picks up the topic and runs with it, it’s just gunna lay there on the ground and die a slow, awkward death. And my introverted self only has energy for a few well place conversation starters before it’s really up to them to come up with a new one. Don’t get me wrong, in a group setting, I can kill a conversation without even trying! It’s like a super power! I’m speaking of one-on-one conversations here, where I prefer to live.

Now, I did talk to people, and have good conversations. With a girl who later joined the boat, and her husband. I’m noticing that married men seem to be much more capable of conversation… Single guys however… at least, the ones in this group… man.

It only takes one good conversation, just one time when I feel like they are actually interested in talking and listening, and I’ll talk to them pretty easily from that point on. Not totally absent of awkward, but at least halfway capable of forming cohesive sentences. If someone would just take that 10, 15, maybe 20 minutes to get past that initial awkward, I promise, I have something to offer. It may be walled away, but behind the gate is a garden. And the greatest treasure is planted at the very center of that garden– my heart. I don’t mean this just from a romantic standpoint, my heart is who I am, and you don’t really get to see it until you take the time to try. Not saying it’s easy to get to, but it’s totally worth the trouble, and the path through the garden is actually quite nice.

I talked about this to my Dad recently, and he said to me, “The right guy will see that, and he will take the time to get to know you whether you’re awkward or not, he’ll see what’s hidden behind it and want to seek it out.” Man, I sure hope that’s true. Cause right now, it sure doesn’t feel that way.

~TQG

Please also enjoy this: “Introverts and the inner flame“, a very good little article that relates to mine quite well.

Lioness Arising

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I’m in the process of reading a book titled “Lioness Arising” by Lisa Bevere. Very similar in feel to one of my favorite non-fiction books, “Captivating”, by John & Stasi Eldredge, it takes a deeper look at what makes a woman special, what her role in creation is, and what true femininity looks like through the eyes of God.

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Scripture is so rich with beautiful imagery, and just as C.S. Lewis portrays Jesus as a Great Lion (Aslan), so scripture calls Him “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah”.

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It also calls Him the Bridegroom, and we, the Bride of Christ. Lisa’s book takes the example given to us in creation of the dynamic of lions and shows us how to be the Lioness to the Lion of Judah. It’s so far been a wonderful read, I’ll be posting a full review of it to Goodreads once I’m finished with it. So far it has given me a fresh look at myself, reminded me that my power in Christ is far greater than I’m allowing it to be.

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As a child, my imagination was completely limitless. When arriving home from work, the very first thing my Dad would do was try to guess what animal I was that moment.

“Are you a horse? A puppy?”

“No Daddy today I’m a LION! RAWR!” 

It was a game I played constantly, changing animals several times a day. My grandmother (father’s side) fondly remembers my pretending to be a golden retriever named Goldy. (I said I had a good imagination, not that I was original.) She played along, and when she saw me climb on the couch, she snatched up a newspaper and declared that dogs are not allowed on the furniture!! She chased me up the stairs with the news paper, I ran (ON ALL FOURS, mind you) and dove under some potted plants to “hide”, laughing hysterically. Imagination has always been a huge part of my mental life. Even to this day I create elaborate stories in my head about people I see, conversations I’ve never had, or places I want to travel. Thus my love of fiction novels.

But this notion of being a mighty lioness, lead by the Almighty Lion of Judah into a mission of eternal importance is not just a fairytale, a childhood game of pretend, or a silly day dream. It’s real. 

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In my own strength, I’m far from fearless. But the more I learn to trust in the leadership of my Heavenly Father, the greater my courage becomes. It’s a thrilling feeling.

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Anyway, I hope you enjoy these pictures I found while searching the web for some quotes to go along with this otherwise short post. I cannot yet recommend the book, as I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I couldn’t stop myself from sharing the those thoughts I’ve had so far. 🙂 Hope you enjoyed it.

~TQG

Aslan

Awkward Silence

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Disclaimer: this is from Pinterest. I didn’t make it, I know nothing about the dude who said it, and I don’t have a tumblr nor to I visit the site. I just like this quote.

Today I had a moment of “awkward silence” with someone, and after I got home I saw this quote. It made me feel better about myself and my social foibles. Why do we feel awkward about a moment of silence? Must every moment of time spent with someone be filled with speech? And really, if someone avoids you because you’re sometimes “awkward”, are they really the kind of person you want to be around? After all, a friend that you have to be interesting around just to keep their attention, isn’t a real friend. We’re all boring, guys. I mean, really. We’re all very interesting too, if you take the time to appreciate each person’s own unique qualities and interests. We’re all awkward in our own way, we’re all awesome in our own way.

Anyway, I’m sort of preaching to myself here. Don’t think that all my “don’t be ashamed of your social problems” talk is me speaking from a point of confidence. It’s a huge weakness in my life, but I’m working really really hard to heal it, with God’s help. Getting there slowly but surely. Sometimes I just need to type up a little pep talk to myself. Maybe one of you needed one too. 🙂

The Gift of Personality Types

I learned something today about “highly sensitive” people. Not highly sensitive as in “Watch your step around her, you might look at her the wrong way and she’ll assume you hate her!”, but more like “Man, I don’t know how she does it, but she always seems to know when I’m upset about something, even if I try and hide it…”

HSPs often pick up on subtle non-verbal cues better than the average person, their nervous system is actually wired differently, which makes them highly sensitive to subtleties, loud noises, and can cause them to become abnormally overwhelmed in crowds. Yes, it can make us more likely to read into things incorrectly, more jumpy for no apparent reason, but no personality quirk is flawless!

I’ve been reading a lot about the differences between the extroverted and introverted personality types, and I noticed a rather annoying trend. I seems to be that most of the articles written on the subject are basically trying to communicate one thought universally: “Be gentle with introverts, they’re fragile” and “Just learn to accept extroverts loudness and lack of sensitivity”. And that’s just not true! Introversion is a gift, not a curse, not a disability, not hindrance. Extroversion is a gift as well. Not a “con”, not a trait to be kept under control to avoid “damaging” the poor little introverts.

If the world consisted purely of the socialite extrovert, where would the mystery be? Who would you go to when you just needed to sit and talk about your problems to someone and have them listen without telling you about all the times that “same thing” happened to them?

If the world consisted purely of introverts, the world would be too quiet. Amusement parks would be far less crowded, and we, as a nation of introverts, would be all locked away securely in our comfort zones with no way of knowing the adventure waiting for us out there.

Extroverts can be great listeners. Introverts can be bold and adventurous. We work together, as differing personality types, to bring out the hidden qualities within each other. As an introvert myself, I love spending time with my extroverted friends. They gently push me out of my comfort zone, their enthusiasm for trying new things is infectious, they draw me into a brand new world of experiences. I would have to ask them what/if I do for them exactly, but from what I see, I think I help them learn to slow down their pace. They have to work harder to learn about me and it slows them down and helps develop their patience. They learn how to take pleasure in discovering things about their introverted friends, rather than just receiving offered information, as is often the way extroverts get to know one another.

We’re not opposites, trying to get along. We’re two sides of the perfect coin, learning how to be better versions of ourselves.

Extroverts, don’t apologize for who you are. You give us the gift of adventure! Without you we might never climb the mountains of the unknown. Thank you for giving us that extra little push to greatness.

Introverts, don’t feel disabled by your struggle to let people in, those who really want to know you will enjoy every minute of the adventure of getting to know your heart. They’ll fall in love with your mysterious charm.

Let’s work together to bring out the best in each other.