Stymied

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I have a love for words and phrases. I’ll read something and then have to write about it. I read the word, stymied, in a book recently and thought it was pretty neato! I probably liked this one because it reminded me of Stymie from the Little Rascals. I love his quote,

You only meet your once in a lifetime friends… once in a lifetime.

The boys all had a falling out because of a girl, and the fear of losing their buddy. It reminds me of the friends I used to have and the friends I have now. The good friends, the bad friends, and the best friends and begs me to ask why we are or are not friends anymore.

Stymie means to hinder another from reaching a set or planned goal. That’s not what friends do, is it? Stop each other from reaching our goals? No, it’s not what we should do as friends, but sometimes it’s exactly what we do, intentionally and unintentionally.

Sometimes we don’t like when our friends are successful, especially if we aren’t benefiting or reveling in our own success. We don’t think it’s fair that our highs and lows aren’t coinciding with theirs and we sometimes lose great friendships over it.

Maybe we are failing at all the things while our friend seems to be bounding up ladders at work, school, life, or in social circles. So we try to bring them down to our level out of fear. We don’t cheer them. We don’t encourage them. We belittle them and minimize their efforts. We start to pick them apart and they begin to lose their pieces. We make them think they’re off track, that they’re missing their marks, and that they are less than they really are. And then they act less, then they start losing their grip and slipping down. We’ve intentionally stymied our friend. We broke a thriving person out of our own selfishness and lack of trust in God’s unique path for our life.

Unintentionally stymieing however is something I’m most often guilty of. I hate to admit this because now you’ll all know! And I’ll be held accountable. But I have the absolute best friends and I really want to keep them! We tell each other our hopes, dreams, goals, and struggles and hurts. We share it and bare it all. But when it comes time for me to give advice, I hold back. I know where my friend sits and I know where they want to be, but out of fear, I sugarcoat the truth of what they need to do to get there. I know that the truth might be really hard, that it might hurt, that it might mean they have to change something and I’m afraid to say it out loud even though I know it could make their mountains move.

Today I feel the weight of this word, stymie and know that it all comes down to another word, fear. We are afraid of our failures, afraid of a little grit on the way to our goals, and afraid of words that need to be said.

“These are conversations that need to happen; this is discomfort that must be felt…we have to acknowledge that our lack of tolerance for vulnerable, tough conversations is driving our self-sorting and disconnection,”                                                                                    -Brene Brown, Braving the Wilderness.

We fear a life where plans may not make sense, but that fear can lead to losing ourselves and losing our once in a lifetime friends.

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4:9-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.com/111/ecc.4.9-10.niv

Being Real & People Who Don’t Understand

A friend posted this quote from The Velveteen Rabbit on her Instagram a long while back and I have tried to put into words how it’s made me feel and I just haven’t been successful. Little does my friend know, but it made me stop, take a breath, and have a good cry. The Velveteen Rabbit was a stuffed rabbit that was turned into a real rabbit through feeling love from his child owner.  The child becomes sick and all his toys from his room must be burned, including the rabbit.  But love saved the rabbit from being burned with the other toys and gave him the freedom to join the real rabbits in the forest. This made me think of my God loving me enough to save me from death, and offering me a new life if I only show his love to others. If I only am real with others.

Being real, like really real, is not an easy undertaking for anyone. That’s why we all don’t try it. It’s so much easier to sweeten up reality and delete words and retype them a hundred times until they say the perfect thing everyone wants to hear. We all want to just hang with the cool kids like we’ve belonged there the whole time.

But I’m just not a cool kid no matter how hard I try. I have never felt the sureness of truly fitting in with the crowd. Ever.  It always feels forced and awkward.  Some people just don’t seem to get me and that just has to be fine, but it hasn’t always been.  It actually will eat at me and make me cry and angry and question my whole heart and mind and face and clothes and how I mother and how I speak and how I write and how I live. But maybe they are never meant to understand me.  Maybe I just have to keep on loving them anyway.

Loving people that don’t love like you is real hard. Loving people that don’t show love is hard. Loving people that don’t love themselves is hard. Loving people that don’t love Jesus is hard. Loving people that only love themselves is hard. Loving people is exhausting. Your eyes get tired of looking for the good, and your arms get tired of reaching out and wrapping around people that may never do the same for you.  But love is real.  Love is the most real thing you can do for another person. Love is what we are here to do, what we are called to do because of what love did for us, and love is the only thing that will save us from ourselves.

Love is Jesus upon a cross, held there by the sins of people that struggled to love. People that look a lot like you and me.  We struggle to love and feel loved because we are real human. We want things to go our way, make sense, and just go about our day. So when we meet people that love for real we think there must be something wrong with them, they must have some other motive, there is no way their feelings can be real.  Who would love like this, expecting nothing in return?  Who would give up their time and hearts and selves like this, only to be scarred and burned? Love can feel a lot like hurt and look a lot like work.  But I think I’d rather be real and love the best that I can than be who I’m not and never hold Jesus’ nail-scarred hand.

John 13:34

1 John 4: 7-8, 19-21

Matthew 5:43-48

Boots on the Ground

“Fellas, we gotta have boots on the ground.” My father in law likes this phrase, and he uses it to encourage his employees to seek out new customers in new areas. It’s always stuck with me, so I decided to apply it to myself. Get my own boots on the ground.

In the military boots on the ground means ground troops who are on active service in a military operation. It makes me think of my Marine brother stepping off of military planes in each deployment, and troops driving through cities looking into faces that sometimes seethe with hate. The troops aren’t always physically fighting, but they are actively there and ready to go. They are focused on the job. They are aware of their surroundings, but not distracted by them, and they are prepared to take on whatever comes at them. They have boots on the ground.

When I woke up this morning I took a minute to think about the hard things I feel called to do in the coming year, and the fear started to creep in. Go back to school, write books, speak, sing, let go of old things, take hold of new things, be more of myself, and continue to grow in faith.  It’s going to be a fight to stay motivated, stay focused, stay inspired, be vulnerable, and stay in God’s word. It’s going to be a battle of pushing through the ugly struggles, dodging life’s bullets, and turning my face from distractions that might look like the way out of the war zone. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be hard because it’s going to be so good, and so worth it, and so hoped and prayed and wished and worked for. I shouldn’t be afraid of this, yet here I am letting the lies fear conjures in a person echo in my ear.

I brushed off the thoughts and I got out of bed with both feet on the floor to began my day like any other day.

But today was different, the worried thoughts kept coming, but the fear didn’t stay.  Reminders of hope and courage and faith popped up all day long. Reminders of God’s love for me in a friend’s message of encouragement, reminders of what he’s already done for me all over the faces of my children, reminders of the the remarkable places he’s taken me, reminders of what he’s brought me out of, and reminders of the way he’s leading me with every step right now.  He reminded me that I don’t have to actively fight these battles in my life.  I just have to let God actively be there and be ready to go when he calls me.

I gotta have boots on the ground.