Sunday I sat across the table from a friend while at lunch and I told her that August had sucked. It had. The end of July is when things really began to spiral and then just spilled over into all of August. It wasn’t fun. I don’t know that I’ve ever had quite a month like August was. She asked me what sparked it, what started the downwardness? I couldn’t tell her, because I’m honestly not sure.
July/August marks three months of counseling. Maybe it’s that I’m getting to those places where I desperately need to be, but don’t want to be. Those places where my emotions have been buried for so long, that I’ve never let anyone see them. They are starting to come out now. And that is scary.
See, I’m a peacemaker. A 9 on the enneagram and avoider of conflict. Something else that means? For me, I don’t do vulnerability. I can look at every single relationship I have — family, friends, guys — and see that there’s only a certain level that I go to. Eventually, we get to a wall and I don’t want to go over it. I’ve never had a thing for heights and apparently never a thing for depth when it comes to relationships.
I don’t let people see me cry, I stuff and bury emotions until they fester, and then I explode into anger.
Does’t seem like a peacemaker at all. Because there hasn’t been any peace.
I always love the beginning of a new month. Every thirty or so days, we get a fresh start, a new page turned on the calendar. While each day brings new hours and new chances, whatever happens in their twenty-four hours can carry from day to day. Yet, a new month seems to bring a completely new start.
This past weekend, I went on a quick trip with my parents. We were hoping to see a fun concert, but instead it got rained out. While laying in the hotel room that night, I realized that much of that night felt like a picture of the first half of this year for me. At first, I was excited for something fun. I was looking forward with anticipation and hope that it would be good. There wasn’t anything near to ruin plans. Quickly a dark shadow formed behind us and things changed fast. I was sitting there looking at everything I wanted, but was told I had to leave. It wasn’t going to happen.
Last week, I shared how I often need the reminder that God's words are true and wonderful. I know they are truth, but sometimes it's hard to live in that daily. Life throws a lot at us, it gets hard to focus on truth and light. I launched a poll asking whether you guys were in need of this reminder, that God's words are true and wonderful, or if you were obeying and praying His word. Overwhelmingly, most of us said we needed the reminder that God's words are true and wonderful. This space, Polished Arrow, is a place for simply choosing. A place where you can simply choose Jesus above all that life throws at you. A spot where you can come for encouragement and gentle reminders that God is here for you, no matter what decision you are in the middle of making or whatever stage and season of life you find yourself in. The other thing to know? That I'm right there with you. Because the words found here are stories, mainly my story, of how God has shown Himself faithful to me over and over and over again. Simply because? I choose Him. Is it hard? Most definitely. Yet for the grace and mercy He shows continually, it's worth it.
And this week? He showed me that through coffee. Which is just fitting, because well, I love that stuff.
Written on one of the pages of my note-taking Bible, in Psalms, are these words: God’s Word is true and wonderful.
Last week was one of the worst weeks mentally and emotionally that I’ve ever had. I’ve mentioned here and there, but most recently on the blog, that I’m in counseling. The decision to go to counseling was one that I had been throwing around for about a year. In May of this year, I finally made the brave decision to go for the first time.
There is a lot that comes with counseling. I thought holding everything inside was hard, and it is, but once I started voicing everything out loud and had someone responding with truth and light, I actually had to begin to process the things I was feeling. And when it comes to processing things, I’m one of the slowest people. Last week, I woke up one morning with a lot of things swirling in my head. There were some things that finally clicked from my latest counseling session, but I had to go to work. There was no time for me to process anything that was happening in my head. One thing escalated on top of another and I found myself deep in a tunnel of darkness.
I talked about that dark tunnel recently. About how it easily pulls me in and there it seems my steps should be cautious, yet they are the opposite. In the dark is where I almost find myself running carefree. But, I know that eventually I will run into something. I know that I cannot thrive there. The darkness is only hiding what is in the shadows, masking it.
And I know that the Light promises so much more, because there are no shadows where the Lord is.
Yet, the light was so hard for me to find that day. And the next. Even the one after that. It wasn’t until the weekend that I slowly began to feel the darkness leaving and light surrounding me more.
In the past, I would have retreated farther into that dark tunnel. I would have pushed all my feelings and emotions farther down, just hoping they would disappear. I would have stayed silent to myself, my friends, and God. I would have continued to believe that they didn’t care and that they were too busy to listen to my worries. I would have continued to build walls that only further isolate me.
Not this time...
Last week, my counselor handed me some fruit from a tree in her backyard. And I've been thinking about it all week long. I'm sure she plucked them from the tree and handed them to me only because I asked what they were out of curiosity. But, my mind has constantly gone back to those little green fruits that look like limes on the outside, but are like oranges on the inside. Whatever they may be, they are fruit. And when she placed them in my hand and told me to let her know what I thought about them, my mind was flooded with thoughts of how the Lord is growing fruit in my own life.
I am an introvert. To my core, for sure. I HAVE to reenergize by being alone after trips, night outs, basically anything high energy. But, once I reenergize I have to then put myself out among people.
Even if I'm just sitting at a coffee shop alone reading. Or walking around Target. It is so easy for me to stay in my “reenergizing” bubble. If I'm not careful, what I say is me recharging quickly becomes isolation.
It’s a true fight, because my tendency to isolate myself leads to all this other junk.
Isolation becomes ignoring community, then feeling alone, depressed, and anxious. I have to recognize there is a difference between reenergizing and isolating and ignoring my community. They can look similar, but are also very different.
One brings light in, the other darkness.
The darkness pulls me in so easily. It's as though I'm standing in front of a tunnel, but with a small opening. It seems the only thing that could fit inside would be me. But, when I step in, it's a vast space, not small at all. Normally, I step gingerly wherever I go. Yet, in the blackness, where my steps should be cautious, they aren't at all. I can almost feel the urge to run carefree in this tunnel of darkness.
How can darkness be my friend when I'm called to be a child of the light?
Parts of me fight with each other: a part wishing it would go away, the other never wanting it to. Though I find myself running in the darkness, I know that I cannot thrive in it. Darkness may be surrounding me, but it doesn't get rid of what is hiding in the shadows. It's only masking it.
And while this dark tunnel seems never-ending, I know eventually I will run into something. Do I dare to keep going to find out what happens when I do? To see what I will find beyond the shadows?
Looking back, .I have to squint to see the pinhole of light that comes from where I entered. A small bit of light that completely ruins the darkness.
I know that the Light promises so much more than darkness. Good and perfect blessings are found in the Light, salvation is found in the Light. Life is found in the Light.
The Light dispels the darkness and it takes its lies with it. Like the lie that I don't have love? Gone.
Love is found in the Light. It may not be anything like what I expected or thought it would be, because it is so much more than I know. Maybe more than I'm capable of knowing...but I know that I want to try and know it anyways.
While isolation leads me to a tunnel of darkness, Light brings me energy and so much more.
And this introvert wants to spend her life chasing the Light.
"During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:
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Lately, I have been so surprised as to how each book I've read has been the book I needed to read. There isn't usually a reason for the next book that I pick up, but I do try and have three current reads at a time, especially if I have a goal to read a certain amount each year. For instance, this year I want to read 24 books and I have my books separated into genres/themes and I try to have one from each grouping going at a time. Besides this, I normally just pick one randomly when it's time to begin a new one. But so far this year, when I've finished a book, I have realized that it was the book I needed for that moment. I wish I could recap all of them so far this year, maybe one day I will, but today I'll talk about "The Secret Garden" and how it met me right where I am in learning how to simply choose truths over lies.
There is a neighborhood that I pass on the way to my favorite ice cream place. It's probably one of the cutest spots and I think I would like to live there one day. It's probably not true, but I feel like the houses have been passed down through families, like you have to inherit a house on that street. Old, amazing trees fill Mobile and on this street, almost every house has lights strung among their branches. A soft glow of lights, filling the street, down as far as you can see. A few weeks ago, while on the way to the ice cream place (can you tell where we hang?), I passed the street again, but this time it was blocked off. The curbs were free from cars and under the canopy of lights, tables filled the street. There were people everywhere! Block party, birthday party, wedding, whatever it was, it's what I dream about. Community.
I've been listening to Emily P. Freeman's podcast, "The Next Right Thing," since it started. I get excited for Tuesday mornings, because I know my drive to work is going to be filled with a few moments of simple, yet profound truth. And most days it also fills my drive home, because let's be real, I need to listen to things a few times before I actually understand what you are telling me. I also love Emily because she loves lists. Each season, she records different things that she has learned and then shares them with us. I'm joining in for the first time with my list of what I learned this Spring.
This past weekend we celebrated Mother's Day. I'm thankful for my mother and the relationship that we have. But, I know for many, it can be a tough day. I have many friends who are mothers and have invited me into their families. They have each shown me something different in what motherhood is and what it means to love. As Annie F. Downs and Psalm 68:6 reminds us, “God sets the lonely in families.” My friends have exhibited that immensely by letting me be a part of their families. And it’s something I hold dear and hope to never take for granted.
And I have many other friends who hope to one day be mothers, whether single and longing or married and longing. With them, I pray the peace and hope of our Savior fills the space that feels empty. The journey is long, a marathon they say. And they say it takes a village to raise kids, I say it also takes a village to just live life. I hope we are all surrounded by friends and families who pull us in close.
And what is one thing that draws us all closer together? Food! It makes us gather around a table, breaks down barriers, is different in every culture, and we all need it! So, this weekend, we celebrated Mother's Day by going on a food tour in downtown Mobile. This tour was so much fun and has something for everyone! There were families, young couples, old couples, and even kids on our tour. My mom loved the food aspect and getting to visit the restaurants. My dad loved the history side, getting to know more about Mobile. I loved it all, let's be real. We visited many restaurants that I hadn't been to yet, I got to spend the afternoon in my city that I love (with my parents - double win), and I got to taste amazing food along the way. A definite win and a great experience. We visited seven spots in the downtown area, each with a different menu and style, on our three hour tour. About 15 to 20 minutes were spent at each location and we were definitely full as it came to an end. Good thing we were walking in between! Chris, our tour guide, also told us that we ate three of the "100 dishes to eat in Alabama before you die"! So while I would love to cross the other 97 off, I'm excited to go back and visit these spots again. Keep reading to see where we went and what we had!
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