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.

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.

 

Ambulances

Ever since November 22, 2014 I have had an emotional reaction to seeing ambulances running lights and siren to or from an incident. I’ve always made it a point to pray for police officers when I see them running code or stopping a car, having family members and friends in law enforcement makes you more sensitive to the dangers of their job. And I’ve always made a point to pray for the people I see involved in car accidents along the road, but it hasn’t been until now how important ambulances, EMS, and EMT’s are. My mom wasn’t currently in critical condition when she took her last ride in an ambulance, but that ride marked the last time she traveled anywhere, the last time she sat in a brand new recliner her parents had purchased for her, which had only arrived hours before.

There is something sobering about putting yourself in another persons/family’s shoes. What does that ambulance ride mean for them? I remember looking through the blinds in the computer room of my house, watching them roll my mom, who laughed and joked with them the whole way, out to the ambulance and load her in. I remember a sense of just, complete denial. “This isn’t necessary. She’s being over dramatic. She could have walked out to a car on her own. She’s fine. She’ll be back in no time, she’s getting better.” But as much as my brain tried to convince me that everything was fine, my heart was heavy. I spent the rest of that day alone in the house, listening to the clocks tick, wondering what it would be like to live in a house without her and trying to convince myself that wasn’t going to happen.

And that’s what comes to me every time I see an ambulance. So I take a few moments and pray for them, for the EMT’s, the family. Because I know what it’s like to feel like you’re floating in an ocean of unknown.

I say all this as a reminder, to you, my loyal readers. It’s very easy to get to the point in your life where you just motor along, totally absorbed in your life and your mission and your purpose. Taking time to set all the “you” aside and put yourself in another’s position, pray for them not with pity, but with empathy, is something indescribably valuable. Not only is prayer powerful, and you are no doubt having an impact on their life as they fight the battle of this world, but opening yourself up to another’s struggle helps you better appreciate your own blessings. At least, it has for me.

Second, lesser thought for you along similar lines… I’ve been going on long walks lately, about 2.5 miles. Last time I did this, about half way through, I realized that I was walking along staring at the ground. For good reason, the route I take is quite rocky and uneven in places, and I don’t like twisted ankles. But, when I realized this and looked up, took in the scene around me and looked ahead instead of right where I was, I instantly felt better. Like, emotionally and physically felt a lot better. As it turns out, looking down slightly constricts your air ways, so you feel very slightly light headed if you’re doing something strenuous and looking down the whole time (oops). Seeing the light of the sun and the wind in the trees always makes me a happier person in general. I’m way too tired at the moment to make some great life lesson out of this about not getting caught up in the struggles of the day. Instead, just, look around at how beautiful everything is when you walk and… y’know.. Breathe.. normally… It helps, I promise!

I think I’ll head towards the bed now. heh…

~TQG

Flowers

“A wallflower in a world of social butterflies.”

The tagline for my blog has been the same since the day I started this blog, but I don’t believe I’ve ever truly explained it’s origin or it’s personal meaning to me. So I’ve decided that today is the day!

Dictionary.com defines “wallflower” as “a person who, because of shyness, unpopularity, or lack of a partner, remains at the side at a party or dance.” Though I do tend to be less myself in a group setting and thus mingle on the sidelines a lot, that isn’t my definition of wallflower.

A flower is simple, yet stunningly beautiful. Clothed in more splendor than Solomon!

Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. ~Luke 12:27

A flower does not seek attention, nor crave it. Flowers are sought out because of their beauty and pleasant aroma, as a way of showing love, affection and good intentions to others. Sympathy, because they bring color and life, a peace offering, because they’re tender and gentle. Butterflies seek out flowers to sustain life, they come and visit the flower for a short time to refuel, and then travel on to the next flower, resting for a moment on the petals sometimes as they drink.

Maybe I’m reaching a bit, but aren’t we as Believers supposed to be like flowers in a world of lost butterflies? Letting them drink deep of Christ’s love through us if they so choose, and being available to them when they need us, but not fluttering about in their faces, trying to get them to come look at US and how pretty WE are and how amazing WE are. Allowing the aroma of Christ to draw them to us in a way that show’s His glory, not ours.

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” ~2 Corinthians 2:15

I see very few, if any, examples of Jesus trying to gain more followers. I see a lot of examples of Jesus being a pleasant aroma of love and forgiveness, letting people come to Him when they’ve finally decided their way wasn’t working so well. Jesus is attractive, in the sense that His character is welcoming, loving, but also strong, and a little bit wild.

Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

“He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”

~C.S. Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia

I see so much raw, wild beauty in being a follower of Christ. His aroma is on us, running through our veins. If we just take the time to tap into it and let it flow freely, people will notice. Like a single wildflower in a dried up prairie, the little lost butterflies will seek us out when they need something that can sustain them on their journey. And even when they fly away from us, the nourishment Christ provided through us will stay with them as a constant reminder.

How amazing is that? That is why I strive to be a wallflower in a world of social butterflies. Maybe one day I’ll be a wildflower, but then again, maybe there are butterflies who wouldn’t be able to find me if I were in the middle of the crowd. Ya never know. Either way, God is awesome, and His wild beauty is beyond words.

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Wife Bootcamp

It’s all about perspective.

Due to the massive amount of stress I’ve been under, I have roughly one emotional meltdown every 48-74 hours. Today it was shortly after arriving home from work to find what honestly looked like the destruction of a small tornado. My mom had had a very rough day physically, so any mess made by her during the six hours I had been gone was strewn all over the kitchen. Dishes I hadn’t had time to do before work and dishes from her lunch and snacks throughout the day were literally overflowing the sink and covering most of the counter. As I prepared dinner a pizza fell apart and scattered crumbs over the stove, floor and counter, and I looked around and just lost it. I’ve been having really bad back/shoulder pain lately and spend most of my six hour work day doing out-of-dates on dog food. So lots of lifting heavy things and squating down and wearing out my already sore back.

Dishes and crumbs aren’t worth crying over, you say? No. They aren’t. But it wasn’t the dishes or the thought of having to do them that sent me over the edge. It’s the reason why. It’s the constant reminder than my mom is very ill. The nagging worry that she may not be at my wedding or get to see her grandchildren. I can handle the work, it’s the reminder of why it’s needed that breaks me.

That being said, I’ve decided to pretend this is wife bootcamp! By the time I’m actually married, I’ll have this dishes, laundry, house cleaning and dinner making thing down pat! ^_^ And when I transform my perspective on the work, it really can become fun (about 70% of the time, at least).

The Wallflower Blooms

I apologize for having neglected my blog for quite some time. Life has gotten in the way, and probably will continue to do so. But, to those of my followers who are reading this: THANK YOU for sticking with me! For bothering to read this even when you haven’t heard of me for ages! You rock.

Recently something awesome has happened. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve finally started spending time in scripture literally every day with the help of a good friend of mine. And it’s helped me in so many ways. God has impressed upon me the need to start attending church regularly, get into the body of Christ, get connected, start serving, get off my island of isolation. So I began looking for a new church. I finally decided to try out one that is literally three/five minutes away from my house. A smallish church that’s been there for as long as I can remember, one that I attended VBS at when I was a little camper.

I’ve been there four or five times now, and attended the “college” (aged) bible study twice. It had been quite some time since I’d been in a group of new people, and even longer since I’d been in a group setting at all… I was prepared to have my usual insecurities resurface, prepared to be the ultra quiet, introverted, anti-social girl that I have been for so many years. The awkward wallflower, always present but never involved. I didn’t go into it thinking that I’d try extra hard this time to be outgoing, or that I’d force myself to talk to people, I honestly didn’t think about what I would try to do or not do, I just took a deep breath and dove in. And God showed up, guys.

In the past, walking into a room full of new people was like a mouse walking through a room of tigers. I was petrified, internally shaking, heart pounding, basically overreacting in every sense of the word. And if that room of new people was primarily guys, watch out. Multiply that nervousness times a thousand.

This time, after leaving the church service, I did what I’ve never done, and sought out help at the welcome center. The guy at the welcome center was… well… A guy. A mid-twenties guy. And I didn’t even hesitate to ask him if he would help me find the room for the college age bible study. He walked me to the room filled with more twenty something guys and I walked in, introduced myself, and casually made small talk. I got involved in the discussion during bible study, offered my opinion, laughed, joked, and WAS A REAL LIVE HUMAN BEING THE WHOLE FREAKING TIME. This last week I even poked fun at one of the guys because he doesn’t like coffee. WHO AM I?

Answer: A precious child of God who has finally, after all this time, accepted her worth in Christ and let go of her fears of rejection. Amen. I’m so excited to get to know myself as this confident, outgoing, far more charismatic girl I’ve somehow become. I didn’t know I had it in me, but God did, and once I let Him in, he took of the chains of insecurity and set my heart free. Praise Jesus.

Food Network Christianity

Today a Facebook friend who I oddly enough have never met in person and rarely talk to had a really cool post that I want to share with you. (I asked his permission first! :D)

His name is Liam, I creepily stalk follow he and his girlfriend on twitter & Instagram because I think they are a cute, Godly couple. You can find them here: His, Hers. (Also both their names start with “L” which is also cute!)

Periodically, I feel the need to write a long post of thoughts I had throughout the day. This is one of those, so brace yourself haha. Also, not all my thoughts are complete and it’s kind of a quickly-typed up mess, so please bear with me. I hope the point gets across.
I came across a verse today that I glance over reasonably often. It’s the kind of verse that people frame and hang on the walls of their home, or a verse that gets slapped onto the bumpers of cars, or one that you see put on mugs.
This basically means that it’s the kind of verse that I look over and ignore. It’s heard so often that it means nothing to me. But when I heard it today, I felt particularly drawn to it. It’s Psalm 34:8:
“Taste and see that the LORD is good”.
Here’s why it stuck out to me today. I think that too many Christians are similar to people who like to watch the Food Network channel. In other words, we watch people make/eat delicious food, but if you’re like me, you’ll never actually make it for yourself haha. You know that the food is probably awesome, but you never actually taste it. You just assume that it’s good.
This transposes to what I’m talking about, because I find myself talking about the goodness of God, knowing that he is good, and having faith that he is good in spite of the bad things I go through, but never truly tasting the goodness of God and feeling it’s benefits. When that’s all we do, we become like the person watching the Food Network. We know that the stuff they’re making must be good, but we never actually taste it. If anything, this verse makes one thing abundantly clear:
God wants us to taste his goodness.
Knowing that God is good is great, and I would never discourage having faith in the goodness of God. But unless you taste and see his goodness, then how can it actually help you? I’m sorry, but watching somebody eat food on TV never once satisfied my hunger haha. And I think that most people are hungry for the goodness of God in their lives.
This then begs the question: how can we taste and see the goodness of God? Well, I think that the answer to this question is actually found in the same chapter, in verses 18-19:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;”
If you’re looking to taste of God’s goodness by experiencing a pain and trouble-free life, then I’m sorry, but you’re looking in the wrong place. In this verse alone, David uses words like “brokenhearted”, “crushed in spirit”, and “many troubles” to describe the righteous person. Christianity doesn’t promise that you will never experience hardship, but here’s what it does promise: We can taste the goodness of God and find comfort in him *through* our hardships. God will be close to us when we are broken hearted. He will save us when we feel crushed. He will deliver us when we have many troubles.
Taste the goodness of God when you are brokenhearted by knowing and feeling that he is close to you. Build your relationship with him. Encounter Him in your prayers, because he is close to you.
Taste the goodness of God when you are crushed in spirit by knowing and believing that God crushed His own Son so you could experience healing: “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). This is more than just head knowledge — this is something that can radically change us. God offers you spiritual healing through the sacrifice that Jesus gave, and this is something he makes readily available. I don’t think there is any better way to taste the goodness of God than when we grab onto the truths of the cross.
Taste the goodness of God when you have many troubles by stepping out in faith and believing that God will deliver you from those things and sustain you. Christ did more than just die. He rose and he is living to act on our behalf by interceding for us. He has also given us His Spirit, which will strengthen us in times of conflict. Again, this can be so much more than head knowledge. These are truths we can experience.
I would encourage you to stop trying to see the goodness of God in *spite* of your bad circumstances. Ignoring the bad things and looking at the happy things won’t always fix the problem. This isn’t to say that we can’t taste the goodness of God in the happy things of life, because I think we most definitely can and should. But this passage takes us so much deeper than that. According to these verses, we can taste and see the goodness of God *through* our *bad* circumstances. Even the bad things of life are conduits through which the goodness of God can be conducted — that’s the God that we serve.
Taste of His goodness. Don’t be a Food Network watcher.

– @leeman729 (Twitter)

 

Wife Material

With the help of one of my very best friends, I’ve been staying in my Bible daily for a while now. Literally daily, which is something I haven’t been successful with consistently until recently. It’s helping me a lot. 

Basically what we’ve been doing is sending a text to one another with what we read that day and at least one thing we got from it. The great thing about that for me is, rather than just reading a certain bit of scripture, I have to really examine it and seek out at least one thing to learn from it. No matter how busy or tired I am, I have to find something, and that searching has lead to a lot of spiritual nourishment for me. It’s also neat to see how different bits of scripture come across to different people, it’s a learning experience.

Recently I was reading in 1 Timothy, and in chapter 5 (verses 4&8) I had a thought about my families current health situations. Right now I’ve had to serve my family a lot, and that’s been really good for me, I feel like I’ve grown a lot through it. It’s very encouraging to know that my actions toward my family in our time of need please Him. I’m no where near perfect, I don’t always have a good attitude, I fail a lot, but those times when I get it right, or at least try to get it right, He is pleased. That’s awesome.  Not to mention, it’s great wife practice! I’m looking forward to being a wife, and eventually a mother, every experience I have now will add to my pool of knowledge for that time. Pretty cool.

 

In unrelated news, I have stopped breeding gerbils now, and am slowly adopting out all except my favorite males. Once I’m down to just my keepers, I’ll be adopting a hedgehog!! (Roll your eyes and laugh, but animals have always been my thing, it’s just who I am. ^_^ ) I’ve already got a deposit down with a breeder to keep me on the waiting list, she tells me she should have a litter in about 3 weeks, and then it has to be weaned before I can come pick it up. It’ll be about an hour drive to go get it, so I’ll probably take the day off and enjoy my little mini road trip. I’m very excited. 😀 I’ve wanted a hedgie since I was about 14, so I figure at 21, I deserve to go for it.

SO looking forward to the Fall weather. We had a cold front come through about a week ago, it was in the low 60’s that morning and never got over 75f the rest of the day. Absolutely gorgeous. So excited to break out my cozy long sleeves, sweaters, hoodies and scarves. Best time of year ever. ^_^

That’s it for now, folks! Off to clean the microwave, vacuum the house, dust the tables and whatever odd house chores are waiting to be done. 😛 haha