Thursday, December 10, 2015

Moving Forward, Honoring the Past

I don't like talking on the phone. At all. I mean, I do it if I have to; I can schedule appointments and I manage to answer if it's my mom or dad- mostly... But in general, I despair over phone calls and wish people would learn how to text instead. That's what phones are FOR, in my opinion.

So it is a small miracle that I have friends like myself, who hate phones, and yet, we can talk to each other just fine. I got a text message from a new{ish} friend I called yesterday to ask for advice. It seemed easier to call than try to text the whole debacle, so I called. Today, she sent me a text message telling me that even though she hates talking on the phone, she felt completely comfortable talking to me, like she had known me for years.

This made me think, because it is the same way for my bestie, Cara. She also hates phones, but we have had phone calls that were hours long.

She also reminded me today that one time we went shopping in the mall so I could buy this lovely candle that Cara had in her home and I adored... and how this girl that worked there sort of followed me around, telling me her life story. I was able to ask her about her beliefs and she opened up about all kinds of things, and I don't even know her! {Cara ran away and hid, avoiding eye contact. She can never be my wing man because she would never rescue me.} Hahaha.

I hope this doesn't come out conceited at all, because that is truly not how I mean it- but I wonder if this is a gift from God, meant to be used for His glory. The truth is, I am rather awkward socially, and while I try to be kind and show I care, I sometimes come across as pushy, or difficult, or "intense." Which of course makes me the opposite of easy to talk to.

I have been praying for about a year that God would help me to develop gentleness of heart. I hope what I am seeing is the first fruits. I can occasionally be a bit curmudgeonly. But kindness goes a long way and gentleness is a rare gem in a world that is abrasive, harsh and loud. I used to think I needed to be the loudest voice to be heard, but I am learning that lowering my voice and keeping it steady has a gentling, calming effect, sometimes on an entire group, that I was heretofore unaware of.

I am so far from what I wish I was. I feel deeply sorry for times I have been angry, difficult, frustrated and frustrating to others. I attended a small bible study group over the past year or so and went through so many challenges to my health that it made me really struggle spiritually, and I think sometimes, I really frustrated the group. I dominated the discussion time and kept turning everything back to me. I see this in hindsight. At the time I was just hurt and angry. I didn't understand what God was doing, letting me be so sick that I was struggling to do basic self care.

I wish those people could know how terribly sorry I am for all that. For all the times I spoke without thinking. I feel bad about it, but I feel the best way I can honor them {and God} is to change the way I approach conversation. So it is encouraging to me that there are people who are finding me a safe place to come to to share their hearts and lives. That is a blessing.

It also never occurred to me that while I wasn't in a bad place, meeting with and worshiping with these precious folks, I may have been in the wrong place for me. I am now on a new journey, still seeking God, but in different ways. I wish every one of those people the very best. I learned so much from all of them, even when it wasn't pretty.

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