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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7 Tips for Unemployed, Plan-less College Graduates

Even though I graduated just 4 months ago, I feel obligated to write a preachy, blog post about life after college because I just finished reading a buzzfeed article about confessions from other unemployed college graduates and some of the thoughts these people expressed were concerning. So here’s my list of 7 things I want to say to the rest of the unemployed, plan-less class of 2015!

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1) Graduating without a job is actually pretty sweet.

I graduated in December without a job offer or a plan so when January rolled around I felt like a bum. I was anxious to find work. To my surprise, it was in the times when I wasn’t searching for work or writing cover letters that I found something unexpected: myself. I discovered my passion and developed it while I learned more about the industry I hope to enter. So while my resume is blank from January – May 2015, my soul is satisfied and my knowledge, improved. If you’re like me and you’re ending school with no job offers or internships, take the time to work for/on yourself, becoming better at what you love, developing your passions and trying something new. This is one of the last times in your life when you’ll have a “summer vacation” to do this so take advantage, but use the time wisely! (NOTE: I must also thank my parents for the encouragement and support they’ve given me to make this possible!)

2) Don’t compare yourself to your peers.

We live in an age where people like to share the details of their lives on the Internet. I can’t scroll along my Newsfeed or Timeline without seeing a mass of posts about job/internship offers and grad school acceptances. While I didn’t apply to graduate school, all three paths remind me that everyone has left/is leaving college with a plan–everyone except for me. I play the comparison game too often and thanks to that buzzfeed article, I now know I’m not the only one. It has taken time and prayer for me to remember that everyone will start, end and go through different places in life. Meaning there’s no reason to feel inadequate just because other people have plans lined up now and you don’t. Your time will come, just be patient. And on the note of time…

3) Just because you aren’t graduating with a job/internship/grad school acceptance doesn’t mean you’ll never have one.

I know I’m stating the obvious, but bear with me; when panic rises even it can be forgotten. You may not have one of these things today, but the future is this sort of mystical, unknown realm that stems from your actions in the present. If you sit around moping about your lack of plans, then you can bet that your tomorrow will be even more dismal than today, but if you follow my first tip, then you can shape your future into something you couldn’t have made it into if you were working.

4) Don’t beat yourself up over what you did and didn’t do over the past four years.

Every decision, good or bad has brought you to this very point in time. It has shaped you into someone that has great potential. It’s useless to sit around saying “If only I did this or that while in school.” That time of your life is over so do yourself the favor of looking forward and only using those mistakes as lessons for tomorrow.

5) Don’t ever let fear stop you from chasing your dreams.

I think some people spend a lot of time second guessing their decisions because they’re afraid of failure and rejection. I’ve spent the past four months working on scripts for these elite workshops and as the deadlines near, fear and doubt are creeping inside of me. Fear is a normal human emotion, but one that should be expunged. If you allow it to stop you from doing something you love or from doing something you might be bad at then you’re selling yourself short. Shoot for impossible; hold nothing back and believe that great things can happen.

6) If/When you do shoot for your dreams and they fail, or if/when you apply for a job/internship/grad school and you’re rejected let the tears fall as they give birth to the next step you are to take.

I hate rejections and I am very sensitive so whenever one comes I turn into a blubbering baby. I hate myself for it, but I’ve learned to accept it. There’s… “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance” Ecclesiastes 3:4. In other words, it’s okay to cry and to be sad, but it’s not okay to let that sadness overcome you. Sit with it for a while, soak it up even, but accept it. Accept that that rejection you just faced is pointing you towards the path that God has intended for you and move on.

7) Life after college won’t be perfect, but it doesn’t have to be.

Many of you will likely do the same thing I did upon graduating: you’ll return to your parent’s home with a mass of student loan debt that you’ll be paying off for the next 30 years. Doesn’t sound glamorous, yet I fully believe that you aren’t able to appreciate the full depth of something great unless you have had to wait for it. So while you may have to wait for that loan balance to fall to $0; to afford to live on your own; for that job/internship offer; for that grad school acceptance, take heart. The longer you wait for something good to happen the sweeter it is.


So my fellow unemployed college graduates do not fret because of your current situation. Your time to work will come soon enough and when it does come, let’s be honest, it’ll be tiring, stressful, sometimes even demeaning work that comes with a remarkably low salary. Yet, this is what we, unemployed college graduates yearn for. Why shouldn’t we? The idea of a new stage in life is exciting– I for one can’t wait until I get into the working world. Not because it’ll be easy or fun (though, I am seeking work in an enjoyable industry…), but because it’s a part of life and it’s a chance to make a difference in the lives of others– be it coworkers, customers or dare I say the world?