I didn’t really want to talk about this tonight, but I’m going to get it over with. It’s been a nagging thing in the back of my mind and I guess that means I should talk about it. It seems like such a silly thing but it’s something I really want to fix about myself. My name is Julianne and I am…

LATE to everything. I don’t want to be late. I hate being late. I don’t know why I am late. I can’t figure out why I wait until the last minute. I rarely make time for things like traffic and never give myself any time to stop for coffee. I don’t even know what that would be like! Leisure? What even is that? I don’t have free time. Well, I do, but most times, I feel that I am hijacking myself from something else I should be doing.

I am so discouraged by my chronic lateness. I gotta do something about it!

At church today, the pastor spoke about “Fighting Through Discouragement.” He talked about optimism and pessimism. He asked the congregation, “which category do you fall into?” It’s funny, I had to think about it for a minute. Hmm, am I a half-full or half-empty type of person?

I think it depends upon the situation.

If it has to do with someone else goin’ for that dream job, I will be like yes! you can do it. You can do anything you set your heart and mind to. As for myself, I am more pessimistic, like ooh, I don’t know about that and when I feel optimistic about my choices, I don’t want to say it out loud to protect myself.

It’s not that I don’t believe in myself, it’s more of what if other people believe in me and then it doesn’t pan out. I feel so much more pressure to make that thing, whatever that thing is, work. And if it fails, then that means I am a failure. There’s that striving thing again. It’s been rearing it’s ugly head a lot lately.

It’s kind of like this whole writing thing. I feel most alive when I write, but if I talk about trying to turn it into something, I almost immediately regret saying so because if nothin’ comes of it, then wow, what happened with that? Why couldn’t you figure that one out?

I think that’s part of the reason I’m struggling with turning 40. There’s a part of me that is excited, but it’s getting buried underneath all these other negative emotions. I’m losing that “discouragement battle” and I really want to be strong enough to celebrate my birthday without being an emotional mess.

As silly as it may sound, I struggle with my birthday almost every year. It started as a teen. I can remember my sixteenth birthday was spent in my room, crying. I don’t remember why I was sad, just that I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I didn’t want to celebrate. I didn’t want cake. I didn’t want anything, except to not feel that way.

I guess I felt like I didn’t deserve to be celebrated.

It all sounds so trivial, so selfish, so unnecessary < and it is. But it’s real. If I didn’t make this 31-day series on being vulnerable, I probably wouldn’t be talking about discouragement. Instead, I’d be going over my bucket list. I’ll get to that later!

Here’s two ways discouragement damages our lives, in case you weren’t in church.

  1. Discouragement sidetracks us from really living. (i.e. mood, mental state)
  2. Discouragement makes us more vulnerable to temptation. (i.e. negative, critical in relationships).

Three questions to ask ourselves: When am I discouraged? Why am I? What would God say? <um, look in the bible. The next thing ya know and we’re talkin’ about FEAR. Hmm.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong & courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

He gave us proactive measures < his words, not mine, for dealing with our discouragement. Schedule leisure. Practice encouragement. Pray for the source of discouragement. Change from the internal to the eternal. < Yes! I want that, to move from the internal to the eternal but in order to get there, I need to be able to talk this stuff out. I’ve experienced freedom in a lot of things, but since I committed to talking about my current struggle, there ya go. Of course there’s so much more, but this is enough for tonight. As for the whole late thing, I’m gonna get a handle on that. Soon. Real soon. Gotta submit this post ‘cuz it’s late. *sigh

This song came on while I was writing so thought I’d include it because it just fits. I love what the lead singer has to say about not having to earn acceptance from God by anything that you do. It’s more about what he did for us. What a great reminder. Love this band.

Strong Enough to Save
by Tenth Avenue North
You fought but you were just too weak
So you lost all the things you tried to keep
Now you’re on your knees
You’re on your knees
But wait, everything can change
In a moment’s time
You don’t have to be afraid
‘Cause fear is just a lie
Open up your eyes
And He’ll break open skies
To save those who cry out his name
The One the wind and waves obey
Is strong enough to save you
Look, an hour’s not too late
Lift up your head
Let the rain fall on your face
You’re not far from grace
You’re not too far from grace
I know the weight of this world
Can take you down like gravity
I know the current of yourself
Can take you out, out to sea
 But hold on, hold on

write-31-daysThis is Day 9 of a 31-day series on writing naked. You can find the series in its entirety HERE.

This does not involve the removal of actual clothing. So please! keep them on!

Day 10