Choose Today, The Future Will Come Later

It’s easy for me to overwhelm myself with thoughts of the future. Maybe it’s because of my panic disorder, or maybe I’m just a little more human than I thought.

How do you decide which path to take? How do you know if the next step will hold or if the ground will crumble beneath your feet? Is there more to life than the pursuit of the future?

I’ve learned a lot over these past few months. I’ve learned through happiness, tears, pain… I’ve learned about the future and how it exists outside of my own world. When I try to determine what the future holds, I do nothing more than create a story in my head and act as though my fiction is reality. I don’t know what tomorrow or even the next ten seconds may hold.

The past is over and there’s nothing I can do about it.

The future is shrouded in mystery that simply cannon be understood.

The present, right now, is what I have.

I have this moment to live. I have this moment to choose. I have this moment to make the most of.

When I worry about the future, I forsake the magnificence of the moment. This is a moment I will only have once. This is a moment I can never redo. This moment is precious and should be lived to the fullest.

But what is the fullest? How do I live life to the fullest when I don’t know the standard of full?

I guess it comes down to your own ideas of a fulfilled life.

So what are your ideas? Money, fame, possessions… These are all typical things that I hear people speaking of. You have to work to have all the stuff, look the part, go to the right places. Personally, I find those things less important than most.

For the month of October, I have chosen not to do my usual work, but to give my mind and body a break from the stresses of making the next dollar. (I realize that most people can’t do this, but my specific situation does allow for it.) I have taken this month to reflect on what I’ve done, where I’ve been, who I’ve become, and what’s most important to me.

I feel as though certain doors have been in the process of swinging shut and have now come to the point of closing. There are now many doors to choose from, yet I’m not sure which one is the right one.

So as I wait in the hallway, pondering which handle to turn, I find myself asking, “what is most important?”

What is most important?

I think that we can spend our entire lives chasing after petty things, becoming bigger, stronger, faster, smarter, richer, and waste our breath complaining and arguing when things don’t go just right. But why?

There’s a world of people who are starving, dying of thirst, living in slavery, unable to sleep because of very real fears. There’s an entire world of hurting and we only have one lifetime to do anything about it.

As I’ve thought through this time of reflection, I’ve come to this conclusion: Riches are not what I live for. Possessions do not own me. I don’t need a mansion or a pocketful of cash at all times. What I need is to take each day and make the most of it. I need to smile at everyone with genuine kindness. I need to be ready to help those in need. I need to use my words to encourage and lift up.  I need to find joy in the smallest details. I need to love even the unloveable.

Why?

Why not? The world is so full of pain already. Adding more to it is foolish. Allowing that pain to consume me does nothing for me. But choosing to be kind gives me purpose. Serving others gives life meaning. Offering a smile might get a stranger through a very hard day.

My mind has been focused on making money for the future that I cannot see. But I think I’d rather do what I can to survive today, save for tomorrow, and spend my energy pouring into the lives of those around me.

A lifetime may seem long, but it can end in an instant. So don’t let the future steal your moment. Choose to be kind today. Choose to love today.

Choose to live today, and don’t worry about what the future holds.

Don’t sweat the details

My focus is on anxiety and all that Jesus has to say about it.  I’m sorry if I become redundant with my posts, but I can only write about what is on my heart and, as you now know, anxiety is a constant in my life.  It is never far from my thoughts.

In the book of Luke, chapter 12, Jesus says, “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you.  Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom.”

I find it true, not only in my life, but in the lives of those around me, that we often focus too much on the details of life.  Details meaning food or clothing or shelter or comfort.  None of these are bad things.  They’re all necessary, really.  But they can’t possibly be as worthy of our focus as we give them credit for.

Sometimes details just get in the way.  Have you ever looked at a Monet?  Surely you have.  His paintings are famous.  I wonder if he ever became so frustrated with a single paint stroke that he threw the entire painting away?  I wonder how often he allowed the details of his work to consume his mind?  What if Mr. Monet had discarded ever painting he made because his details weren’t absolutely perfect?

One of the aspects of his work that I admire the most is the beautifully chaotic strokes of his brush.  If you only look at the details, they’re a mess!  Nothing is just right.  Nothing is straight.  That shade there is disgusting on its own.  That shade there is just too bright.  Look at how bland this color is.  This can’t possibly be art!

Yet if you take a few steps back and open your eyes to the big picture, you find that the chaos of the details ended up as a perfectly imperfect masterpiece.

I once heard a man say, “God’s got the big stuff, so don’t sweat the small stuff.”

If each of us, each individual life, from beginning to end, were but one stroke made on the canvas of eternity, would it make sense for us to dwell on our meager roles as though they would make or break the painting?  And if God is the artist who holds the brush, would He not be fully aware of exactly what shade of what color, how thick or how watery, and how straight or how crumpled we are?  Would He not see the grander painting in His mind that He brings forth with every stroke, every flick, of His brush?  God sees the big picture.  He’s planned it and He works it all out according to that plan.

He’s got the big stuff.  No worries there.

But if each of us are merely a spot of paint on the canvas, does that mean we are nothing? No.  It takes every speck, every spot, every flick, every stroke, to make the painting come to life.  God created you for a purpose.  You are the detail of His work.  He’s got the big stuff and He made you, the small stuff.  You are who you are and where you are because He put you there.  You are the detail that He chose to create.  So if He has the big stuff and He has the small stuff, what is there to worry about?

Don’t be afraid, little flock!  God has you.  Follow Him.  Trust Him.  His delight is to fill you with the riches of Himself!  The details of who He is!

So don’t sweat it.  Set your mind, your heart, your life on Christ.  Pursue Him with all your strength and all your love.  He feeds the sparrows.  He clothes the grass.  He loves you more than anything else!  If you are His, you will never know poverty.  Though your flesh may live and die in the slums, you will know the riches of Christ and dwell in His eternal glory!

Don’t get caught up in the stress and worry of the details.  Seek His kingdom and all of your needs will be provided for in God’s perfect timing.

Anxiety’s cure?

When I have a panic attack, I can’t help feeling stupid. Maybe I shouldn’t be angry with myself, but I can’t help it. I can logically explain to myself, in great detail, how ridiculous I am being for feeling the way I do in those unprovoked moments of severe anxiety. Unfortunately, my reasoning rarely has any effect and I continue to suffer with my mind.

After a bad bout of panic, I have a harder time articulating words, forming coherent thoughts, and holding conversation. My mind is tired and sometimes I think I can actually feel my brain cells dying. It’s a hard thing to live with, but it’s my burden to bear.

To put it in a more Biblical vernacular, it is my cross to carry. My thorn in the flesh.

The thing is, you wouldn’t know my struggle simply by looking at me, but after as far as I’ve fallen, the medication and treatments tried, and hours upon hours of prayer and research, I realized that I had come to the point of needing something perhaps a little less conventional. I researched for over a year and am now in the process of training a psychiatric service dog for myself.

As thankful as I am for Bentley, what he does for me, and what he will do when his training comes to fruition, I can’t help but feel that pang of sorrow at having to be accompanied by a dog in order to live a semi-normal life.

Where once my thorn was hidden under my flesh, you now only have to notice the 60 pound dog in the blue vest and know that I am indeed bearing a heavy cross.

It can actually become pretty depressing if I think about it too much.

That being said, my situation has made a certain scripture a little more meaningful to me.

The cure for anxiety. Hmm. Reading those passages, if I’m being honest, has always been so frustrating to me. I have random anxiety and panic attacks and it seems that if I only trust in God, it will just go away. But it doesn’t. I can tell you that I have faith in my Jesus and even in a panic attack, I trust Him to see me through it and take care of my future and me. So why do I keep having panic attacks? Why doesn’t my anxiety just magically disappear?

Like I said, this is my thorn in the flesh. I can only trust that God will show His strength in my weakness.

In Luke 12:27-28, Jesus says, “Consider how the wildflowers grow. They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like on of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will He do for you—you of little faith?”

Grass is such a simple thing. It can be an annoying thing to deal with at times, yet it’s so necessary. And God loves even His simple grass so much that He lavishly decorates it with flowers whose beauty cannot be surpassed by man’s greatest creations. The grass and the flowers grow together. The grass sometimes gets out of control and tries to consume the flowers, but the colorful petals cannot be hidden. The flowers beautify the grass, and the grass, perhaps unknowing to itself, complements the flowers.

I am simple like a field of grass. I have a hidden disability that is annoying and gets out of control at times. Yet God, in His great love, has chosen to clothe me in the beauty of His grace so that my simplicity might be turned into magnificence for the glorification of His name.

You might not have noticed me, the simple field of grass, before, but if you were to look at me today, you would see evidence of a God who cares for me in my anxiety. You would see a 60 pound flower in a blue vest at my side. His name is Bentley. He is a dual reminder of this reality: I am but a weed, yet a weed can be made beautiful by the flowers that adorn it.

Anxiety is here. It lives in my mind. It crawls under my skin. It may never go away, but the cure for it is sure. I am loved by my God and He has dressed me in flowers of grace, redemption, love, and a 60 pound dog in a blue vest. I need only trust Him.

The cure for anxiety is not a magical thing that dispels the torment with the wave of a wand. It is the simple truth that today I am anxious and today I am loved. My faith is in this, that Jesus came into the world and the world tried to destroy Him. But Jesus overcame the world and He loves me.

This is the cure for anxiety.

 

 

 

Another Real Post

There are moments when I want to be alone, but I shouldn’t be alone, and my faithful companion, Bentley, is with me to remind me to make wise choices. There are moments when I can be alone and it’s nice. Then there are moments when I need—I mean really need—to be alone and suddenly I have no escape from anything. In a terrible moment of fight or flight, my option to escape is denied (as it usually is, being that I can’t escape my own mind) and I’m left with an overwhelming excess of meaningless rage that needs to be thrashed at whatever or whoever poses anything even minutely close to a threat.

I hate that this happens and I end up only that much more frustrated and broken over the anger that can overcome me. Why am I like this? Why do I react so strongly to nothing at all? Why do I have these sudden moments of terror? How can I escape the torture of my mind? Why do I have to be so angry with myself for being angry?

I’m incredibly depressed over all of this. I find myself thinking more and more about why I even try to do things anymore. All the stress I face is destroying me and, no matter what anyone says about me being allowed to express myself and not having to hide what I’m going through, we all know that the second I let down my guard everyone around me reacts in some negative way. It’s okay. I’m not mad at anyone. It’s a shock when happy, little Kailey decides to give you a peak into just how dark and shattered her world really is.

But since people claim it’s okay to be real, I’ll take those empty words as truth and invite you to glimpse into the raw wounds of my heart as I take a moment to write out my own inner dialog:

What’s the point in even trying? Why not give up? I have dogs I’m committed to taking care of, but once they’ve lived their full, happy lives I can fade into nothing. Why build a business? I make enough in odd jobs to feed my dogs, so giving up on my goals wouldn’t mean I was being irresponsible. Why do I even dream? I know I’ll never amount to anything. I won’t be remembered when I’m gone. I’m not even remembered now. No one cares about me. Why should they? I’m not fun. I don’t have money. I’m afraid to leave my home and no one wants to come over. No one should like me. Everyone should hate me. I’m nothing. I’m dirt. I could disappear and people would forget me. I’m no one special at all. I’m really not. No one is really that special when you think about it. So why do I even try? I should be done. I hate myself.

I know eventually this cycle of depression will end and I’ll have that one or two days where I’m bouncing off the walls with excitement because, for just a moment, I’m free from myself and I can pretend to be who I used to be, but then those days will be over. I’ll go back to fighting my own head throughout the day.

It’s not a big deal. This is who I am. This is my life. I accept that.

Some days are just harder than others.

Torches

As far as my own inner conflicts go, I have yet to find a song more relatable than this.  Whether it be myself against the world, or what I know is right and true versus the darker thoughts that creep into my mind, this song has become the cry of my heart.  “I’m waiting for someone to see me. I’m waiting for these wounds to wipe clean. I’m just waiting.”

 
It’s a cold winter’s night in my soul. Torches light up the sky like foretold
They are coming for me young and old, cause they don’t know, they don’t know
All the choices I’ve made led me here, never knew man was something to fear
Now the witch hunters are drawing near, cause they don’t know, they don’t know

That I’m waiting, waiting for someone to see me
I’m waiting, waiting for these wounds to wipe clean

I have hidden my face far away, cause the flesh on my skin is on display
They say healing will come if I pray, but they don’t know, they don’t know

That I’m waiting, waiting for someone to see me
I’m waiting, I’m waiting for these wounds to wipe clean

I did not choose my disease, please see the flower in the weeds

Cause I’m waiting, waiting for someone to see me
I am waiting, I’m waiting for these wounds to wipe clean
I’m waiting
I’m just waiting 

 

I’m damaged. I know.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog.  I try very hard not to write while I’m going through hard times.  I’d much rather wait until I’ve found a silver lining that can be incorporated into my writing.  But, at the moment, I really just need to get some things out.  I’m finding it harder and harder to articulate what I’m going through, so for the time being, I need to use this blog as a means of expressing what I’m going through.

I feel like my life is being stolen from me. First with my allergies getting out of control, forcing me to give up things I loved, then my hair falling out and follicles scarring over so that my hair would never grow back, then my diet changed drastically making eating out with friends almost impossible, and finally with my panic disorder progressively getting worse over the last two or three years and developing into agoraphobia. I used to be social and outgoing and fun and happy… Now I sit at home all day and wonder how much longer it will be until I take my final breath and can finally say goodbye to all of this stupid junk in my life.

I never see my friends anymore. I never go anywhere. I can hardly make it to church. The mall is completely out of the question. A movie is okay as long as it’s not opening weekend and there isn’t a large crowd. I don’t talk to anyone because I’m afraid. I can’t explain why I’m afraid so I get angry. My anger turns into self-loathing and that loathing has turned into something scary.

I’ve been suicidal. I’ve hurt myself. I’ve come to the end and all I want to do is give up.

I don’t want to keep going.

I don’t want to keep fighting.

I don’t want anyone to give me advice or make impossible promises that this will get better or go away.

I hate myself already and that makes it so much more painful when people try to fix me.

So I’ve stopped sharing my hurt. If you can’t accept that I’m broken, then you just won’t know I’m broken.

If you do see my outside of my home, I’ll smile and laugh and joke, but inside I’ll be screaming. I’ll be on fire. I’ll shake with chills. There will by knives turning in my stomach. My muscles will seize up. My lungs will turn to iron and fill with water. My heart will pound against my chest as though it’s going to explode.

I’ll have every desire to run as far and as fast as I can, but I won’t.

I’ll dig my fingernails into my palms until my flesh is bruised. I’ll be a ray of sunshine for you, but storm clouds will swirl within me. I’ll want to hide. I’ll want to die. I’ll become angry with my own mind, questioning why I am the way I am.

I’ll hash it out with myself. I’ll logically explain to myself how irrational I’m being, but I won’t change. I’ll get worse. I’ll be overcome with fear. My eyes will sting with tears, my cheeks will heat up, my fingers will turn blue.

My body will rebel against me. My mind will torture me. I’ll draw away. I’ll cut communication. I’ll stay as far away from you as I possibly can.

It’s not that I hate you. I’m not mad. I’m terrified.

I’m terrified and I don’t know why.

I’ll cry out to God. I’ll beg Him to heal me. I’ll plead with Him to get me through the day. I’ll lay on the floor and weep to Him.

Maybe He’ll take it away.

He hasn’t yet.

I’m broken. I’m scared. I’m tired.

My fear is that if I actually open up to people, they’ll try to fix me or explain me or numb me.

All I want is know that I’m not alone. To know that, as damaged as I am, I can still be accepted and loved the same as if I were happy.

Where the path separates…

For as long as I can remember I’ve counted my worth based on the opinions and numbers of those around me. If I could make you laugh to the point you always wanted to be with me, maybe I wasn’t a piece of junk. As long as I could offer something, I would be okay. And the more people around me, the less useless I was. Though, as years have passed, I’ve found it harder and harder to keep a larger number of friends in my life. I accepted that pages would dwindle into lists and lists into the palm of my hand with maybe as many names as I had fingers, but I’ve now come to the point that the few I once considered close friends are no longer in my life. And I feel sure they are gone for good. And those still hanging on, I fear will grow steadily farther in distance.

But why? And what is there to look forward to that could pull my attention away from my focus on past losses?

The truth is, I’ve been struggling with this intense loneliness and hunger for friendship for the last week or so to the point of being pushed into mild depression. It seems I’ve reached the fork in the path where I now must venture into the shadowy forest of adulthood, making either responsible or stupid decisions.

I’ve chosen to start a two part business while working a part time job and keeping up with my responsibilities at home. My mind and heart have grown rapidly and as much as I still enjoy the silly moments in life, I see farther and feel deeper and can’t be satisfied with a meme war, purposefully misspelled words, shared gifs or youtube. Socializing through social media isn’t real socialization and I’ve yet to find anyone who is as comfortable with talking about personal struggles, poverty, the people hurting in the world and ways to make a difference as I am.

I’m at the crossroads of childhood and adulthood and I’m left alone to wonder where I’ll end up.

With no one to stand beside me, I sink farther into the depths of loneliness, yet I hear whispers on the wind that speak of a life to come where likeminded people exist and I can finally be used to make a difference. And so I press on. I do not want to leave anyone behind, yet I dare not delay in the pursuit of the purpose that was designed for me.

So yes, I feel alone, but I don’t blame anyone for that. I will continue to struggle until the day I finally let go and then my eyes will be opened to the presence that was with me all along. The God who never left me. Jesus, who was alone so that I wouldn’t have to be.

The path of my life has separated into the narrow and the simple. I choose the narrow. And though I’ll miss those behind me desperately, I will hold on to the hope that one day I’ll look up and see them walking with me again and the hope that new faces will be there too.

I’ll keep walking. No matter how hard it is.

Christmas in July??

Wow. July is just about over! Do you know what that means? It means this girl is already getting into the Christmas spirit!

I know, I know. “It’s too early to be thinking about Christmas, Kailey!” Is that what you’re saying? Thinking? It’s fine. I can understand the sudden surge of panic when you realize the biggest gift-giving day of the year is a matter of months away and you can’t remember what a dollar bill actually looks like. But honestly, the Christmas season is my favorite time of the year. It’s so jolly and happy and I have a much harder time getting down when my mind is so focused on making others smile.

I haven’t really gotten the chance to spend time with some of my better friends in too long of a time now and it’s gotten me pretty low. I love making people laugh and smile and, just for a moment, forget their own struggles. But, like I said, I feel like it’s been months since I’ve really gotten to just hang out with someone.

There’s talking in between teach, the occasional movie night, texting and facebook messaging, but that just doesn’t cut it for a face-to-face kind of girl.

Loneliness is a major battle in my life. I feel isolated and left out of the loop at the moment. Like I can see the people I love just over there, but I can’t get to them. I can’t reach them.

You all know by now how important my church is to me, but even now I struggle to just walk through the doors. I hate feeling like I’m going through the motions for the sake of a mask. Acting like I’m totally fine when I’m shattered on the inside.

I’m a spectator. On the outside looking in.

Yeah, I’ve really been struggling with some bad depression for about three weeks now, but then I think of the Christmas season and how much I’ll be able to give away and that puts a smile on my face again.

I love doing special, thought out things for people to make them know they’re noticed and loved. I guess I just really want a Christmas in July to happen right about now. Or August. That might work better.

I want that moment of seeing someone’s face light up when you hand them a box with a bow or a little bag stuffed with brightly colored paper.

I am well acquainted with the feeling of being alone. I figure, if I can’t feel included, at least I can make someone else feel included.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I’m already counting down the days.

Happy Summer!!

Praise for God’s Mighty Acts (Psalm 66)

Shout joyfully to God, all the earth!
Sing about the glory of His name;
make His praise glorious.
Say to God, “How awe-inspiring are Your works!
Your enemies will cringe before You
because of Your great strength.
All the earth will worship You
and sing praise to You.
They will sing praise to Your name.” Selah

Come and see the wonders of God;
His acts for humanity are awe-inspiring.
He turned the sea into dry land,
and they crossed the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in Him.
He rules forever by His might;
He keeps His eye on the nations.
The rebellious should not exalt themselves. Selah
Praise our God, you peoples;
let the sound of His praise be heard.
He keeps us alive
and does not allow our feet to slip.

For You, God, tested us;
You refined us as silver is refined.
You lured us into a trap;
You placed burdens on our backs.
You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but You brought us out to abundance.

I will enter Your house with burnt offerings;
I will pay You my vows
that my lips promised
and my mouth spoke during my distress.
I will offer You fattened sheep as burnt offerings,
with the fragrant smoke of rams;
I will sacrifice oxen with goats. Selah

Come and listen, all who fear God,
and I will tell what He has done for me.
 I cried out to Him with my mouth,
and praise was on my tongue.
If I had been aware of malice in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
However, God has listened;
He has paid attention to the sound of my prayer.
May God be praised!
He has not turned away my prayer
or turned His faithful love from me

A Silly Thing

Some might think it odd to meet a 20 year old girl and find out she has a collection of toys in her room.  One might think it stranger to learn that she does indeed play with those toys, though not in the way you might think.  But if you, assuming you might be this person who does not understand the 20 year old girl, take a moment to open your mind and understand the fun that comes from the activity, you might think twice before laughing or mocking.  Again, this is only assuming you might be one of the people who regularly choose mockery over a simple nod and smile.

Now what am I actually talking about here?

Jazz

Photo comics.

Made with toys.

I’ve always loved playing with toys, whether with a little kid or simply building a tower of blocks for my own amusement.  But about a year ago I was introduced to photo comics and a whole world of possibility was thrown into my lap.

Life is Precious

Tiny robots in a great big world.

IMG_0238

Scenes from the lives of my pets.

It’s more than just photography.  It’s having the ability to do and create what I’ve always wanted!  I can’t draw well and I’m not the greatest writer, but layout a few pictures and create a few speech bubbles and you’ve got a small story that’s still visually entertaining.

Whole

Why do I share this with you?  Because I think more people need to learn to have fun again.  Enjoy the simple things and use your imagination.

You don’t have to be great.  You just have to try, smile and laugh.

What are some things that make you happy?  What are some silly things you want to do but might be a little embarrassed about?

Remember how fun everything was as a kid?

Let’s go back to that time and learn to live again.

Sentinel the Flower Child