The importance of being real (even if unintentionally).

I remember a time when I was gradually easing my way back into being involved at church. Like many, I found myself out of the consistent flow, due to outside circumstances – work schedule got out of hand, and one missed Sunday turned into a whole month, and so on, and so forth. I am sure I am not the only person who has been there… 

Anyway, I was invited to attend a young adults Friday evening meeting. Due to my lack of church attendance, I already felt pretty out of place. But I figured, thankfully I would have some pretty close girlfriends there, so I wouldn’t actually be all alone.

That evening there was a nice crowd – the whole front “meeting space” area was packed with a chair circle setting. I cannot remember the exact discussion in its entirety, but I know it got pretty heated between a young man and I on the action or lack of, the church should take on reaching out, etc.

At this time, I was a closeted Misty Menthol Light 120’s smoker (in the stage of trying to quit). But to all of the smokers, past and present out there, whether you smoke openly, or in secret, if the “right” situation sets you off, you will find a place to go light one up. This was the case for me that night, back in the early 2010’s.

I left the church property, and walked across the street to an unlit bus stop – It was about 8 pm during the tail-end of winter, so it was pretty dark out. I lit, and hit two of those dramatically long cigarettes off in less than 5 minutes. The whole time debating within myself whether I should wait at the stop for 30 minutes for the next bus and just be done with the evening, or shake off the frustration of that one heated moment, and head back in (all in all, it had been a pretty productive and unified evening).

I decided to return.

When I got back into the room, and returned to my chair in the large circle, I noticed two of my girlfriends low-key shift their chairs away from me – I forgot about the odor smoking leaves on clothes, especially right after a smoke!

There was one young lady to my left, who I was not particularly close with. We knew of each other, and were definitely cordial and friendly toward one another, but not that close friend status. This young lady, who I’ll call “Joss”, surprisingly did not shift her chair. She did not give me a dirty look of judgment either.
She just sniffed the air, looked at me and said “[my nickname], you smoke cigarettes?”. I nodded my head in sheer embarrassment. But all I got from her in return was a smile, and a “Well, we’ll just have to believe the Lord for your deliverance from that”. I gave her one of the most genuine smiles ever, and I sat upright in my seat for the rest of the evening, girlfriends shifted away from me and all.

I share this story to say, you cannot get help or true acceptance, if you are determined to hide your struggles from everyone. Like me, you may have those close friends that will shift away from you when it’s discovered or shared what you’re dealing with. But I pray that you will have a “Joss”, who will look at you with a smile, and believe with you, for your deliverance and breakthrough.

Stay encouraged :)

Keep moving forward.

At a certain point in our lives (I do not limit this to a specific age because you have 30 year olds who may get it, and then a 58 year old who may still be totally clueless…) we get to know ourselves. What works for us, what doesn’t. What we can tolerate, and what we are willing to tolerate.

When this point comes, you will find yourself passing on, or walking away from things and people that to the natural eye, seem like a great find, but deep inside you know just will not work for you.

Like myself for instance, I am finding more and more lately that many of my past relationships were established and accepted off of my own fear of being alone. As well as a fear of actually getting completely real with someone. Not ever showing them the real me, but more of what I thought would keep them interested and around.

I am sure we have all been there before – accepting “less” vs. just being alone. Investing so much of ourselves into an individual or relationship with the hopes of somehting great coming out of it, inspite of that person informing us time and again that they are toxic or not looking for the same thing(s) out of a relationship – this can be shown by way of words, attitudes, AND actions. Yet we still worked at the relatonshps because we thought maybe they would change, or we could sacrifice our desires, and change a little for “love”.

But back to that certain point – after a while that selling ourselves short experience no longer suits us. We want more, we realize we deserve more, and want to give more to an authentic relationship. It’s great to realize this when you are alone, and have no active prospects.

But if you are in a similar boat to me, this great realizaton may have hit you smack dab on the head right at the early stage of putting yourself through the “settling for less” wringer once again.

If this is the case for you, I encourage you to have a real (and quick) heart to heart with yourself. Do you want to gamble and waste time on a person or relationship that will just leave you broken, confused, and having to go through the recuperating phase? Or do you want to take a stand, leave the relationship/friendship, and hold out for what you really want?

Please note, I am not encouraging those who seek out a “baller”, or someone to take care of them the rest of their life, without them ever contributing anything.

What I mean by “what you really want” is, someone who will express their appreciation. Someone who is open to talking about a future with you. Someone who KNOWS that their is an interest in you, even if it is just a small seed at the time, and not fully bloomed. Someone who doesn’t leave you waiting by the phone. Someone who doesn’t have to talk to you non-stop throughout the day, but at least will send a word that they are thinking about you.
These are things you are worth. These are things worth waiting for in a relationship. The lack of these things, at least in my opinion, are cause to walk away (early in the “game”), or to not even begin in the first place.

It will not be easy to leave what seems like a great propsect (again, if they only seem great because the only other alternative is being alone), but I hope you will realize you are worth more, and like me walk away, and keep moving forward…

You’re worth it 🙂

Stay encouraged…