Sunday, August 11, 2013

My Heart's Song

Lately I've been in a funk.  I've been dealing with a hurting heart, feeling broken, discouraged, and all while taking the word "failure" as a descriptive word for my life.  To be slightly open - I've been in a little bit of a depression...A depression that makes it extremely easy for me to isolate myself from friends and to be very critical of myself.

Last week I went to youth camp with teens from church.  I didn't go up for the full week as a counselor like I usually do (partially due to the "funk" I'm in, but also because of pure exhaustion from traveling and the fact that school started just a few days after camp ends), but I did go up for a couple of the days to hang out with the group.

During one of the services that I was able to attend, the band leading worship led us in the song called, "Forever Reign".  The whole song is wonderful.  While I posted the video at the beginning of my blog, here are the lyrics - written by Hillsong:

You are good, You are good
When there's nothing good in me
You are love, You are love 
On display for all to see
You are light, You are light 
When the darkness closes in
You are hope, You are hope
You have covered all my sin

You are peace, You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true, You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy, You are joy 
You're the reason that I sing
You are life, You are life, 
In You death has lost its sting

Oh, I’m running to Your arms, 
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

You are more, You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord, You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here, You are here
In Your presence I'm made whole
You are God, You are God
Of all else I'm letting go

Oh, I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

My heart will sing 
no other Name
Jesus, Jesus

Oh, I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

If you notice, I bolded one section of the lyrics.

While I pray, talk, and call out to God - I know that if I am honest to myself, my heart has been singing other names - not just the name of Jesus.  My heart has been broken.  Slowly, as I have been struggling, more and more I have allowed my heart to sing names that belong to Satan...Names such as failure, discouragement, fear, pain, sadness, hurt, and depression...and that's not even my full list.  These words (names) have been seasoning in my mind.  The longer I let them season, the more I have struggled.

Listening to the song, it hit me like a ton of bricks as to how much I have let Satan affect my heart, well being, and thought process.  I've let him affect how I think of myself instead of thinking of myself in terms of who God created me to be.

Instead of allowing my heart to sing names attached to Satan, I need to replace those names with names of Jesus.  Words of God.  Names such as, Healer, Protector,  and Comforter.  I need to allow my heart to sing lyrics of love, peace, joy, happiness, forgiveness, and acceptance...Lyrics of God's love in my life.  Lyrics that are true and beautiful - not false lies and ugly.

Granted, this is easier said than done.  I had this personal revelation a week ago and I am still struggling.

To those of you who are local, and to those of you who I interact with on a regular basis - I'm sorry if I seem distant or as though I am isolating myself.  A few friends have pointed out my recent tendencies of isolation, silence, and being distant...and I can't deny these patterns.  I've turned down social invitations, have been horrible at returning text messages and phone calls, and some of my few "public appearances" are brief and basic before I quickly leave.  I promise this is nothing personal or against any of you.  My mind is just a bit overwhelmed as I work through a lot of things, processing what it can - and I thank you for your love, kindness, and your patience.

I may not jump out of this bit of depression tomorrow.  I may not get of this funk next week.  What I do know is, I need to tune my heart to another tune with a new set of lyrics.

What song are you letting your heart sing?

The Travelin' Chick,

PS: Please note that this is not a blog asking for sympathy.  Just a blog of honesty and a request for prayer, if I ever come to your mind in the coming days.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

It Happened in a Pretzel Shop

It happened in a pretzel shop.

Once my plane landed back in Fresno, I hit the ground running.  Within about 12 hours of landing, I was already out having lunch with friends and having family dinners.  Within 36 hours, less than two days after arriving home from Germany, I went out shopping with my mom, sister, and aunt.

While we were out shopping, we went out to an outlet mall with all kinds of shops.  Famous Footwear, Claire's, Lane Bryant, Bath and Body Works, etc...There were many people around the stores that day, and I was able to understand every word being spoken around me by every person.  I was back in my English-speaking American culture after being away for two months!

Apparently, though, two months is all it takes to have the 'joy' of experiencing reverse culture shock.

My sister, mom, and I stuck together as my aunt went to another store that only she wanted to shop in.  We went into a couple of stores before heading into a pretzel shop that smelled deliciously tempting.

Once in the shop, I read the flavor options to my mom and sister.  Well, okay, I read the three or four that sounded good to me out of the 10 or so listed.

Asking my mom and sister which one they wanted to share, they both told me, "I don't know which one I decide."  I insisted that they all sounded good to me so I wanted them to chose, and they also insisted that I make the decision.

That's when it happened.

In the middle of a pretzel shop my brain shut down.  I literally could not make a decision.  As tears threatened to spill out of my eyes, I became overwhelmed and firmly told my mom, "I can't make this decision. I need you to make it this time."

I couldn't get out of that pretzel shop quick enough.  My sister, mom, and I found a picnic table outside of the shop so we could sit down to enjoy our freshly baked treats...but my mind was still in overload as I gazed off into space.

My mom was asking me what was wrong, and I honestly don't recall what I told her in response.  Trying to avoid questions, I probably something like, "I'm fine - just tired and jet lagged."  I guess my sister couldn't quite hear what was being said, as she asked, "What??"

I'm usually pretty mellow.  Rarely do I snap - but for some reason, I did that day.  Before I could stop myself I couldn't help but snap out, "I don't want to talk about it!!"...As I stood up and walked away...and kept walking.  The tears that threatened to spill out of my eyes 10 minutes earlier had finally acted upon their threat.

At the table they were asking me questions about what was wrong.  When they called my phone after my "moment", they asked more questions.  I kept telling them I was fine.  After all, how would I be able to answer their questions about what had just taken place, when I didn't know the answers for myself?  All I knew was my mom and sister weren't the cause for my reaction...It wasn't their fault, and I felt awful for responding in the way that I did.

Even four days laters, I still don't know what came over me.  I've heard about this happening to missionaries after they spent 2-4 years overseas in other countries.  But, I've never heard of this happening to someone being gone for just two months.  Even after spending six months in London, England, I never had a moment like this.  Sure, I had other types of moments when I returned home from London - like realizing how many new songs were on the radio in just half a year or how many new slang terms were imbedded into the American vocabulary.  But nothing so...dramatically overwhelming.  (Granted, I do realize England is a different culture than Germany and my surroundings and experiences were completely different.)

For those of you wondering, "You were only in Germany two months?  I thought you were going to be there for six months?"  I realize I have confused a lot of people.  My plans changed and I chose to return home four months early.  That choice was not an easy one.  A part of me wonders if my moment in the pretzel shop was a result from my mind being completely overwhelmed from making many big and difficult decisions in the recent days and weeks, that it hit a point of being unable to make a small, simple, decision.

Who knows why I reacted the way I did, but here's to hoping that will be the only moment of its kind!

The Travelin' Chick,