Monday, May 1, 2017

The Struggle is Real...

I posted this on Facebook last night:

"Ugh. You guys, I'm struggling so bad. I usually don't post things like this, but I can't find the answers, and I need some help, and maybe you have them, or at least some insight. 😉

"Moving to North Dakota has been a complete role change for me, which is awesome. My heart is overflowing with gratitude for all the blessings we are given each and every day! As well as the wonderful friends we've made already! But despite all the good I am so lost. I've felt like it's time to let go of certain aspects of my life, and doing so is proving to be a tremendous blessing already! But I am struggling to find my purpose, my identity, my worth, and what brings me joy and meaning.

"I know what depression is, and this isn't it, I'm just having a serious identity crisis. It's getting to the point where I'm struggling to enjoy church (feeling like I have no role or purpose there is hard) and instead of coming home feeling uplifted and renewed i feel conflicted and deflated (no issues with the church itself or anyone there, it's just me and a part of this struggle. And i don't think that even if i had a role to play, that that would fix this). It's affecting my faith (not my faith in that I'm losing faith, but I'm struggling with having my faith apply to me and putting it into action for myself, if that makes sense).

"I have been focusing on serving and giving to others and do find joy in doing so, and I feel like I've been good at not thinking about myself and i haven't been in a self gratifying or a selfish "what about me" mood. I've also let go of a lot of the control instincts that i have had in the past, aka unrealistic expectations, and feel at peace with accepting life and people as they are. So all in all, life is awesome! So then what is my deal??? Why do i feel like i don't belong in my own life?

"Have you ever felt this way? Or dealt with similar struggles? What did you do to get through them or overcome them? I pray and study and listen. But when i hear others speak in confidence about who they are and that they know their purpose it feels like they are speaking a different language. It has no connection to me.

"I feel like I've always been secure and confident in myself, even when i did have low self esteem, i still had a strong sense of who i was, what i wanted, and where i was going. I feel like this is the first time in my life that i have no idea who i am or what I'm doing or where I'm going. It's the worst... i know God has a plan for me, but He sure hasn't let me in on it yet. 😉 and with these feelings of inadequacies and self doubt, it's hard to feel like i can successfully be on His errand to do whatever my purpose is. It's hard to go throughout the day and try to accomplish anything feeling like this. It's hard to be happy beyond the moments of happiness (like life is good when I'm interacting and active, but then when I'm not I'm just there. And there's nothing.) Ramble ramble. "



I'm so grateful to so many friends and wonderful people who responded with words of love, encouragement and insight. You truly lifted my spirits!

This morning I received an email, my husband concluded that God sent it to me, "He knows how to reach you." he said, by emailing me. lol. But let me explain.

A few years ago I suddenly started getting these "thoughtful mind" quote emails. I received them every day, and they were amazing!! Always uplifting, and just what I needed to hear that day. Quotes by Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Mark Twain, Thoreau, etc, and a bunch of people I didn't know who they were. I don't know how I got on the list, but I liked them so I didn't mind. Then one day they stopped coming. Again, weird. Over the last 2 years or so, I've randomly received 2 or 3 quotes in my inbox, except they've always been when I've been at a really down point, or a point where I've struggled and felt like I can't find the answers. So I call them my #miracleinboxquotes, as I've tagged them on Instagram. :)

This morning I received this quote,

 Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.

― Paul Tillich

Again, right on topic for what I needed! and oh so random.

I have no idea who this Paul guy is, and I was curious for the context of his quote, so I googled it. I found two links that I've been reading which have been incredibly insightful.

http://soulofpsychotherapy.com/defining-faith-paul-tillich-faith-doubt/

This one discuses how without doubt - or room for the unknown, we would not need faith, because all things would be certain. The mysterious provides opportunity for faith because it provides separation from the known, and gives us place to not carry faith ourselves, but rather be carried by it. I appreciate the separation they use from religion, but rather speak about it in a spiritual sense - whether it's referring to specific beliefs in a superior being or simply the workings of the universe. They quote Tillich again in saying,

“An act of faith is an act of a finite being who is grasped by and turned to the infinite.”
Paul Tillich from Dynamics of Faith

It's a really article and I welcome you to read it as it's very insightful.

Going along with this same concept that doubt is not a negative thing (as often it is perceived as especially in the Mormon culture.) While we were living in Idaho, Sheri Dew came and spoke to us (I LOVE her! She is so amazing! and such a powerhouse of knowledge and insight. I want to be just like her. but in my own way. ;)) Anyway, she discussed that doubts and questions are not bad if we are willing to look at the right sources for answers. And that is key. We must look at truth to find truth. We will never find truth in places where truth cannot be found.

At the end of this article it does sum up that Tillich does not believe in certain infinite truths - in which this relationship of faith and doubt would not exist. I do believe that there are certain truths out there that we can and do know are certain, and yet our lack of complete understanding of these truths can still hold true to his perspective. Such as, I am certain that Jesus Christ lives and is our Savior and Redeemer, yet I do not understand how that is possible or how that completely influences my life. So while I have a sure knowledge of the fact, there are is still room for faith and that separation that Tillich discusses. It provides an interesting and refreshing approach to faith and doubt. (It goes without saying that there are aspects of doubt that can be damaging and limiting, so we must be careful when approaching this subject. Perhaps it's when doubt limits our faith is when we need to stay away, but when our doubts provide opportunity for faith - is when it is beneficial and powerful, as Tillich explains).

The other link I found was to this book, http://afterall.net/books/faith-and-doubt/

I seriously love this synopsis,

"What if the most important word is the one in the middle? We often think of doubt as the opposite of faith, but could it actually strengthen our relationship with God? According to John Ortberg, best-selling author and pastor, the very nature of faith requires the presence of uncertainty. In this refreshingly candid look at a life of faith, he traces the line between belief and unbelief: less a dividing line between hostile camps than a razor’s edge that runs through every soul. His findings point us toward the relief of being totally honest. Questions can expand our understanding, uncertainty can lead to trust, and honest faith can produce outrageous hope. Written from Ortberg’s own struggle with faith and doubt, this book will challenge, comfort, and inspire you with the truth that God wants all of us — including our doubts." (bold added)

 Isn't that awesome?!

I think, at least for me, I come across a hard point in life, or a stumbling block, and I through my hands in the air and think "that's it! I'm done for. I can't possibly get past this or live until I figure this out." Isn't that silly?! It sounds so absurd. But that's how I feel. This is such a different place for me right now and it's really thrown me off in many ways. Though it's not bad. I'm not in danger, I'm not making dumb decisions sabotaging my life. So why is it so difficult?!

One friend mentioned, "sounds like you have reached a new opportunity to find more purpose and more talents than you have!" and I think that really hits it on the head.

When we feel like we don't know who we are, isn't that really just the perfect opportunity to explore and figure it out?! Now instead of feeling so discouraged, I am starting to feel hopeful and excited! I'm also feeling a bit lazy and tired... so I'm not necessarily motivated to do all the work, but how about we just call it play instead of work. I'm so tired of working. ;)

I do feel like I'm at a crossroads of possibilities and I have the world at my fingertips to explore. Perhaps it's my own expectations of security that is throwing me off, instead of embracing the idea that I have absolutely no idea who I am right now! (mental reminder to self: new is not always bad).




So, it's pretty random that I'm sharing all of this on my blog. One thing I've talked to my hubby about recently is how when I started blogging and found the online blogging world of modern quilting, I noticed that as bloggers became more successful their "voice" changed. The way they wrote on their blogs became a little more stifling, and their individuality or personality started to fade away. I don't know that that explains is perfectly, but as they turned more to business minded, the personal connection seemed less. That was something I didn't ever want to lose. But of course I totally lost it. And I think when I did lose it, that's when I started losing the passion for my own business.

"Walking away" from my business, from the expectations and demands, has been absolutely the best thing for me! I don't doubt that I'll keep at it in some way or another, but for now it's been totally freeing and refreshing to take a step back. One thing I've decided that if I do come back, I don't want to take back that mindset of running a business. It's a balance that I don't know what will look like, but I want to feel free to post things like this, and share what I want when I want. I've mentioned this desire before, but I just felt like I couldn't even though I wanted to. Like it didn't *fit* with running a business so it would be a bad idea to do it. Whatever... it's my blog, my space, I'm not here to impress anyone. ;P I'm just here to live life and love it! and to share that with anyone who wants to love it with me. <3 br="">




4 comments:

  1. Diane, Your post is perfect. In God's eyes, you are perfect. He's just giving you time to figure it out, and doesn't mind doubt, as long as you take the path to figure out why. I also love your comment about bloggers losing their personal voice when they become successful. I used to read a lot of blogs, and now I've narrowed down to the ones that still have their voice, and in looking at who I read, most of them are the extremely successful people in the quilting business. They either never lost their voice, or they got them back, because they post about their families, their successes and failures, ups and downs, and they even take blog breaks when they need to. One does a roundup post every once in a while about things they've found on other blogs that they liked and want us to check out. What? Steer people to other blogs, lose sales on her own blog? Yes, maybe, but I'll bet that people go check out the people she's got on her list, maybe buy something, but her actions show what a kind a caring person she is, and I would rather order her patterns, etc, than anyone else's because of that. Enough of that for now. Talk to you soon!

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  2. I love your comment, "i am just here to live life and love it!" Such an easy concept but we make it so hard to do. I too am trying to figure out my purpose and after reading your blog, i think that life is based on highs and lows! It is forever changing and adjusting to new things. Instead of trying to figure out what is next i am going to start to live life and love it. Simple.

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  3. Diane, I have been following your blog for awhile, but not an extended period of time. I did read your post after you moved about walking away and enjoying life and how much you love the new life where you have a place to start anew.

    This may be way off base, but even so, I'm going to mention it as it may have you look at things in a different way. When we're searching, we never know what will flip the switch to something we hadn't considered. You wanted to step back and not live life just to meet the demands of all the scheduled you had committed to in your sewing and I think we can all understand that. But, have you given any thought to just the sewing? Is it possible you haven't yet realized how much you loved doing that; without the demands as they were before. Just fun sewing. Is there a need in your church which your sewing could help? Some members who want to meet, sew, and chat, and then possibly work on projects to donate to nursing homes, or things like that? Possibly they already have something like that you might check out, or if they don't maybe just reach out to some of the women in church to see if any of them sew and have a weekly or monthly group to just relax, sew, and talk about anything bothering them.

    It's hard when you don't know why you feel 'off' and can't figure out why.

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  4. I can tell you this, you are a wonderful writer. This is a beautiful piece, so insightful. Thank you. Keep living life and being open and remember that God speaks to us often in very unsuspecting ways and when we least expect it, and on his time schedule, not ours.

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