The Real Problem

It’s not you, it’s me. No. I’m not just using a line. I’m being serious because I am the problem. Unless you’re reading this post after you’ve made a dumb mistake, in which case– you are the problem.

Last week I got into the Christmas spirit and did some cookie baking. I used the Sara Lee mix and followed the cutout recipe. I melted the better, measured the flour and poured in the cookie mix and I mixed and mixed. Twenty minutes of mixing, my dough wouldn’t stick. Thirty minutes went by. No matter how much I mixed and kneaded and dropped on the counter, my dough would not hold. I rolled the dough out and watched it separate before my eyes when it should have maintained its form and spread out. I stubbornly pressed the cookie cutter into it anyway and watched the dough fall apart instead of adhering to the shape of the cutter.

You know you’re doing something wrong when you’re baking cookies  and you’re so frustrated that you’re on the brink of tears and you actually start to contemplate tossing the cookie dough in the trash. No problem is too small for my Jesus. There I stood at my counter, kneading and praying. Praying to Jesus for the wisdom to form the perfect dough. God’s got this. And yet there I stood, twenty minutes after having prayed with no change. I think I started to get a little angry at God for not helping me out. Baking cookies is very simple so why couldn’t He just give me a hand?

I paused my mixing long enough to turn to the other counter in my kitchen when I saw it: the egg. The egg that was supposed to be in my bowl of cookie dough was still sitting on the counter. Oops. I felt like an idiot.

“There’s a spiritual lesson in here somewhere….” I thought to myself.

 

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It’s not You it’s me. It’s not you it’s me.

God isn’t the problem. Your friend isn’t the problem. Your teacher isn’t the problem. Your boss isn’t the problem. Your boyfriend isn’t the problem. Your parent isn’t the problem. You get where I’m going with this.

You are the problem.

How many times have you gotten mad at someone close to you because their actions have upset you? Because they’ve been ‘inconsiderate’, ‘rude’, ‘disrespectful’, ‘insensitive’, etc.? How many times have you rationalized your anger? Have you told yourself that things would be different if they just changed or if the scenario were different?

Let me be less vague and be a little vulnerable– I haven’t done that in a while.

I spent a lot of 2016 getting angry at a friend of mine. I had strong feelings for this friend and was hypersensitive to any and all of their actions. If they didn’t answer my texts, I thought they were ignoring me because they thought I was annoying. If they talked to someone else more than they talked to me, I was jealous. If they were curt and didn’t acknowledge the times when I would go out of my way to do something for them, I was hurt. If they flirted with me and paid attention to me, I was hopeful. Until they ignored my texts again or flirted with someone else or didn’t notice how much I cared for them. It was a vicious cycle.

I told myself a thousand times, “if they just (fill in the blank with any action), things would be different.”

“If they treated me like this”

“If we spoke about this”

“If we got to know each other more”

Blah blah blah, essentially, things would be different. So I thought. So I hoped. So I was wrong.

Things wouldn’t be different because the situation and the other person didn’t need to change. I did. My perspective, my actions, my attitude all needed to change in order for me to break the cycle.

When I was trying to form those ingredients into cookie dough, I used all of my strength and efforts and even called on God for help. Nothing I did made a difference because I didn’t remember that I had left the egg on the counter. I didn’t see it. When I turned around to the other counter, my perspective was widened. I could see things ( the egg) that I didn’t see before. Things with my friend and I weren’t that different. When I spend time with him or talk to him– what I text him; what I don’t text him; what I wear around him; what I say to him. With every detail, I secretly hope ingredients are being mixed together to change how he views me and to form dough, which in this case is a more solid bond between the two of us.

I keep missing the egg. The biggest detail. Without it, no matter how hard I try, that dough will not form. Love. I can work as hard as I want, but love will always be the missing ingredient that makes it impossible for the dough to form, which is why I’m the problem. I think I can will something to happen with my own actions instead of believing in The Holy One’s plans. It doesn’t matter what my friend says or does or what I say or do; as long as love isn’t in the mix, that dough will not form.

Now what about your situation? What’s the missing ingredient in your relationships?  Is it one that can be easily added? Or is God calling you to throw out your batch of dough?

 

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Bringing back some Late Night Amber Rambles

“Speak Life” — this TobyMac song is amazing. I’ve heard it so many times before, but I never realized how profound it was until I was the one that needed “life” spoken to me after my latest impulse, crazy move. It was a move that I did to save myself from a pit of mental insanity that I was descending into. Dig deeper. That’s what I did. The only way I saw out of the pit was to dig deeper into it. To unearth every crazy thought  that I had been holding onto and hiding. I had to spew them all out to get my escape and my closure. In doing this, I embarrassed myself beyond belief. I felt crazy after I did it and what made matters worse was the fact that those closest to me that I discussed it with, affirmed my thoughts and said that I was acting crazy. I don’t blame them because my actions definitely were certifiable, but I didn’t need the obvious stated. I needed life and hope spoken to me and as I said I didn’t get either of those things. I’m not writing this to have my own pity party (I’ll do that as I toss and turn in bed for the next few hours). I came to my blog because writing clears my head and helps me get to the root of my problems, and while that’s not necessarily what’s happening now, it’s bringing me to a bigger point of the words we say to people everyday.

We have to speak life to those around us. I don’t always do that and I’m just now feeing how detrimental that is, especially when those around you are hurting. You never know what insecurities you’re pricking and what lies from the enemy you’re magnifying. So before you judge, condemn or use “tough love” to those around you, stop, think and really consider what they need in that moment.

I wish I had wiser words for my first blog post in months, but I don’t. Over the past six months, I have been on a roller coaster ride of mental and emotional highs and lows, but mostly lows. My spiritual life has declined; my insecurities have increased and my intense faith and belief have been swapped out for fears and doubts. My life has hit a low point and it scares me when I really stop and think about it. I feel like I’m drowning and like I have no control over what is going on around me.

*Cue the God-given epiphany any moment now……..

Still waiting……………………….. and still growing and learning. I believe God brings us through deserts to transform and change us so while I’ve recently had a hard time believing in HIs miracles, I do still believe in His goodness. If there’s a trial we’re facing, it’s there for us to shed our weak exterior, to make way for the person He wants us to be.

The Bush

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Last week I watched my mom while she yanked away at a weed that intertwined itself around a bush she had planted many years ago. It was incredible to watch. She planted this beautiful bush so long ago and as time went on she became incapable of taking care of it because she just didn’t have the time.

At a glance the bush looked fine. It appeared to be about 8-9 feet tall and about 3 feet wide. It had so many different petals and vines moving in and around it. That day when my mom decided to really take a look at it it became clear that the seemingly large and healthy bush was under attack by this giant weed.

“It’s like it’s trying to choke the life out of it.” my mom said as she yanked at the weed. As vine after vine was removed we could finally see that the bush was merely 6 feet tall and certainly not as wide as the weed made it seem. It took a fight to discover this. The vine had thorns; its defense mechanism as it tried to prick my mom away, but she didn’t give up. She continued to yank and pull until most of the weed was gone.

The whole time I was watching her I was thinking to myself “My goodness if this isn’t a metaphor for life I don’t know what it is.” The bush was like a person (before the weed it was the largest bush of its kind in our yard, and yet it was the only one that had been attacked by a weed), it was once healthy, and strong and large. That weed saw its potential and strength so it went after it. It grounded itself in the bush’s center and allowed its branches to dance around the bush as it overcame it. The bush seemed strong, but it was vulnerable and weak. Since no one stopped to care for it, to remove the weed and save it, it continued to lose its identity. At a glance it looked like it was still the same bush, but deep down inside it wasn’t. It was being killed daily and its death would’ve continued if my mom didn’t stop to save it.

How many times do we look at people only to infer that they’re perfectly fine because they appear to be fine on the outside? Since they appear fine we walk by them day after day without ever really looking at them. Some are okay, but some aren’t. Some are dying on the inside. They have secrets and pains– giant weeds that choke the life out of them everyday. We merely assume that what we see on the outside– the imprints of the weed– are a representation of the person. It’s sad. These people continue to lose life, their identity and any potential they have unless someone is willing to dig deeper to see what has been wrapped so deeply in their roots.

I know that when people see and even interact with me regularly they generally see an awkward, hyper, 12-year-old living in a 20-year-olds body that’s often on a spiritual high. Those that know me well enough know that I have many weeds rooted deep inside of me that absolutely affect my day-to-day thoughts, habits and interactions. It’s by the grace of God that that handful has been able to dig deeper to see these weeds and help root them up a little at a time.