Tag Archives: emotions

Wrestling with Life

8 Sep

I’ve been having a hard time with my job lately. I haven’t posted in a while because my job has hijacked my emotions and cast a dark, gloomy cloud over everything.

Or so it feels.

I got to talk to my good friend Holly last night (which was great!) and she said that she’s been learning that life is just one big paradox. That is exactly how I feel. So often I have conflicting, polar-opposite emotions and I feel slightly like a crazy lady who just needs to go out and find a shopping cart and cat already. I’m sure Travis’ mind reels at times when I spew emotional babble, going around in circles, talking about voices in my head and how I wish I could just shut my brain off.

I have to admit that I feel pretty alone in my struggle. It seems like I’m the only Christian I know who struggles with their job this much. Heck, who struggles with life this much. I keep analyzing, judging, questioning, wondering. I had finally gotten to a point after reading Just Do Something where I felt like I could just live and not hyper-analyze every little decision, like why I go grocery shopping at Safeway instead of King Soopers.

But then the bottom of my life fell out.

And now I’m back to feeling unsettled and disturbed every day. I wonder what’s the point of taking a shower and wearing nice clothes. I wonder how people have the motivation to eat healthy and care about their appearance. I wonder why God has made me this way – why can’t I just accept things at face value and move on like everyone else? I am angry that life is so freakin’ hard. I wonder why I can’t live in the joy and peace that Jesus talks about. I can’t even bring myself to believe in God’s promises right now. They seem so irrelevant and trite. If God is my strength to get through the day, then why do I still wake up wishing I had a different life?

The easy solution is to think that I just need a different job. And that may be so. But I’ve felt like this at pretty much every job I’ve had. And I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted of trying to survive a life I don’t enjoy. I’m sick of working hard to find joy in things that really are void of joy. Doesn’t anyone else feel this way? How do people go through the daily grind of life and never want anything more? I want to know their secret because I am SICK of wrestling with my life.

I know that Christ is the answer – He always is. But my heart is floundering in the midst of my unbelief and I can’t make it back to shore.

I obviously have had this struggle before – I feel like every one of my blog posts is a repeat of the one before it. And back on November 9, 2005, I wrote this:

“My child, you don’t need to try. I see your life frequently overwhelm you and my heart breaks when I see your sin grieving your spirit so. But if it’s even possible, I love you infinitely more at these times when you are helplessly broken and down on yourself. Take heart, beloved, for all things are possible with Me and you are not without hope. I am your hope. I am your strength. I fight for you when you cannot fight for yourself. I uphold your soul when you let go of it. I gaze tenderly upon your defeated body, which is endearing to Me, and desire more than anything to control your life, to cleanse your heart, to satisfy your deepest longings, to take away your anguish, and give you nothing but quietness of soul. You don’t want to try so don’t. Let me do it. Please don’t run away, I beg you; rest in Me and you will find peace for your soul. My little sheep, cling to me and I promise that I will forever delight in calling you mine.”

I want to believe that this is God’s love for me. I want to believe that I can rest in Him, find peace and that He is the strength that enables me to get through each day. I want to believe.

Lord, help my unbelief.

The Joy of Marriage

24 Jul

Well, it has taken 14 months but I feel like Travis and I have finally gotten into a marriage groove. We understand each other more (but not completely!), have learned what to do and when (and what NOT to do) for the other person, and have adopted our individual chores–Travis, financial and big-picture stuff (like researching vehicles and mortgages); me, cleaning and menial daily stuff (like making lunches in the morning and going grocery shopping).

But more than all that, I feel like I finally appreciate him. When we were dating, our relationship was too exciting for me to appreciate Travis. I didn’t need to appreciate him. I was so head over heels for him that anything he did was good enough (except waiting so long to propose!) But then we got married and after the newness, excitement, and “I’m a wife; now what?” wore off, his idiosyncrasies and little quirks drove me up the wall and seemed so rampant in daily life that I couldn’t focus on anything else. “Who is this man I married?” I thought. Bitterness and annoyance took root in my heart. There were times I couldn’t stand being by Travis. He would try to hug or kiss me and I would push him away saying that “I was in the middle of something” and that the way my personality is makes me hate stopping something right in the middle. Each time I pushed him away, I knew something wasn’t right with me.

One night about every other month, something would happen–either sexual disappointment, an argument, or my stubborn emotions not being what I thought they should be for my husband–and I would break down into deep, heaving sobs for 10-15 minutes. It was always good to have my loving, tender husband there at those moments of need. Those times grew my appreciation of him.

But to my dismay and helplessness, those times of sorrow over our marriage and my emotions toward Travis didn’t change anything. I continued on, liking a emotionless zombie, desiring for my heart to change but feeling like my hands were tied over what to do about it. I read marriage books and articles. I read Bible passages about marriage and Christ’s love for the church. It’d work for a while. But there were so many things about our marriage that I was unsettled about. Where was the romance? Where was the feeling that I was finally with my soul mate, the man chosen for me by God? I did feel like Travis was my best friend, but a little bit too much like a friend. I wanted a passionate marriage filled with sexual chemistry and intellectual foreplay. Instead, our marriage was butt-slapping and wrestling.

I kept thinking about the people I knew who said that marriage was wonderful. They said that they loved their spouses more that day than they did on their wedding day. I couldn’t help wonder about my own affections. I knew I still loved Travis–I was committed to him for life–but why didn’t I FEEL love for him? Why was I so cold-hearted? Why couldn’t I change?

I would love to say that I was faithful in prayer but I wasn’t. I’d pray about it for a few weeks after one of my sobbing episodes and then life and marriage would go back to normal–not bad but not great. But then one day, something changed. I can’t put my finger on it and I can’t even remember what exact day or month it was. But something in my heart changed. I wanted to cry, it felt so wonderful.

I loved Travis–and felt it.

I knew that God had flipped the switch in my heart and I am still so thankful to Him for it. It is a reminder that in my flesh, I don’t naturally love anyone but myself. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit in me do I love my husband–and my Lord.

Since that day a few months ago, things have only gotten better. I don’t get as angry with Travis during fights, I don’t let his little quirks get to me (I just laugh at them now because they’re his quirks), and I have made a concerted effort to kiss and hug Travis slowly and passionately, like my lover, not my buddy. I have also seen the impact of my relationship with the Lord on my relationship with my husband. I can’t expect Travis to fulfill my every need. Jesus alone can satisfy. I have seen the ways I’ve failed and sinned against Travis and felt like I could finally DO something about it. And you know what? It has fanned the flames of our marriage.

The past few weeks of our marriage have felt like a honeymoon. I love seeing him after work, I love kissing and hugging him, and I love sharing my life with him. This is what marriage is supposed to be like. Now I can say with those other married couples that I love Travis more today than I did on our wedding day. Praise be to our faithful Father in heaven!

Speaking of which, our photographer just sent us all our wedding pictures burned onto a CD (he kept the rights for a year but we did get a wedding album in October 2007). Here are a few of my faves:

A sweet kiss

A sweet kiss

Sophisticated

Sophisticated

My favorite picture--so relaxed

My favorite picture--so relaxed

Our first dance as husband and wife to "Love of a Lifetime"

Our first dance as husband and wife to "Love of a Lifetime"

The head table with the bridesmaid bouquet

The head table with the bridesmaid bouquet

Me and my dad during the Father-Daughter dance

Me and my dad during the Father-Daughter dance

Tearing up the dance floor

Tearing up the dance floor

The happy couple

The happy couple