#100thingsimthankfulfor mark3

21. A flexible job which allows me to recover from my migraine 

22. Friends with exciting plans you can be excited about too

23. Not having to put clean sheets on my bed late at night 

24. A balanced diet 

25. Snow 

26. Housemates that bring wood for the fire

27. Toothpaste 

28. Barista who know what they’re doing 

29. Being told of God’s glory 

30. Vulnerability 

How Do I Be Alone?

I was having coffee with a friend last night and I was saying that I’m still getting used to doing life a different way, and how I need to find things to fill the gaps in my schedule. And then it hit me, as it has done a few time over the years: I don’t know how to be ‘by myself’. From the age of roughly 15 I’ve always had a guy to some extent or another. Some of these guys I’ve had unlabelled relationships with, others have been guys that have passed through my life quickly but have played an important role. That’s almost half of my life spent ‘with’ someone I’m no longer really associated with. I actively search out male company; I literally don’t know how to be alone.

I don’t even like being by myself watching tv- I’d far rather someone was sat next to me, silent. Reading is even worse! I quickly become aware of the silence and move onto something requiring a little more social interaction. Seeing other people paired up also does not make things easier, especially when two of your female friends are dating two of the friends of the guy you want to be with. I’m being fully left behind whichever way I look at it. And being part of a church community…..! So many loved up mutual friends there. And whats with all these songs about love, and happiness, and being with someone?!

I have enough friends to know that everyone is different and some find it easier than others when it comes to being without a partner, but does this impact my life more than it should? Should more of my mental space be going into something else or is it just as I said before: I’m getting used to a new way of doing life? With a bit of time and practice I’ll be totally sorted…? With all that’s within me I want to say that being this way is me; it’s how I’m hardwired, but doesn’t there come a point when this destructive behaviour has to be put behind you and you move on with a more sensible way of living? A life that brings slightly fewer sad tears and wasted hours?

Type Two Christian

Do you ever wonder what people think when they meet you? When I leave a conversation, does everybody quietly give me a slow clap and gratefully nod their heads? Or do they all sigh with relief and laugh, relieved that the crazy lady has moved on? What do people see when they see me? They might notice my enthusiastic ramblings and my massive hair. But what I want others to see is my loving attention, my interested eyes, and my empathy for them.

I was thinking in work earlier about my post yesterday, and how my faith ties into my personality type. Does the way Christ calls me [us] to live impact the character traits I/we display? So I’m a Two….

Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing

These are indeed true of me. And for friendly, generous, and self- sacrificing is particular, traits Jesus possessed and therefore we- no matter our person type- are called to be.

They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed.

…so then is it about motive? As Christians we know that it is by faith and not by works that we are saved. Christ died for His people and so we naturally act from a place of gratitude and loving obedience and not because we want others to depend on us or think it is us they need, rather that [indirectly] Christ. But thinking about their/my need to be needed and appreciated: if I ‘had everything sorted’ my thoughts would go straight to the truth that my worth and value is found in Christ and not in the appreciation and neediness of others. For individuals who do hold this truth at the forefront of their mind, is this a trait they don’t identify in themselves or is it a non- existing trait which then contributes towards the individual being another personality type/ number? Confusing.

Another key motivation is…

…to get others to respond to them.

Now I’m all over this one! And man does it cause heartache when others aren’t keen on responding/ respond is a way I don’t understand or particularly enjoy. People are so complex! But how does God’s influence feed into my behaviour here? It’s also important to me that claims about me are ‘vindicated’. What does God say about the!? That I should turn the other cheek, walk away? Fight for what is right? ‘Right’ being the exposure of truth. But then this expose of truth is so that I’m not misunderstood, or disliked, or shunned. But that’s a selfish point of view.

Returning to the point of individuals responding to each other. As I did briefly yesterday lets compare my type (Two) with the individual who I until recently carried out a close relationship with (Type Five):

Twos and Fives come from different points of view on what is important in life and in a relationship.

Twos tend to become frustrated by the Five’s lack of immediate response to them—sometimes Fives are so taciturn and involved in their own mental world that there is no response at all—which hurts the Two’s feelings and feels like a rejection to them.

Considering one of us is a ‘feeler’ and the other a ‘thinker’, responding to each other was often tricky. But it worked. And when it doesn’t work and there is no response at all!? How do I as a follower of Christ ‘respond’ to this? Well I guess I’ve lived it. I let go of the control, trusting that God will direct this one to whatever the destination may be. I remember what I know to be true: he is loyal and despite finding the relationship complex he valued it and valued me, so I don’t get it into my head that he despises me. I could carry on but I think I’m done. My processing for the day has been done….for the time being.

 

Enneagram

My friend was telling me about this Myers Briggs type personality guide which gives you a Person Type between 1 and 9. Curiosity and having been fairly productive post- work led me to take the test. You can either answer the 36 ‘forced choice’ questions, or read through the descriptions for each personality type and choose for yourself which type you’re most like. I answered the questions and unsurprisingly to myself I was Type 2: ‘The Helper’; I already knew previously I was  an ESFJ- Caregiver.

But what was interesting more than that was the section at the bottom of the page giving guidance on your personality in combination with that of your partners. Again, curiosity, I  paired myself with you know, that guy you’ve heard so much about. Now, it might be slightly off but I think I got the type right- Type 5: The Investigator. Anyway, I agreed with so much of what it said, including:

Twos can see Fives as challenges—distant, mentally preoccupied, not giving many outward signals, and difficult to charm easily because they are so private.

When healthy, Twos bring warmth, physical comfort and ease (something Fives typically lack), a desire to improve the Five’s living conditions, style of dress and eating habits—and many other marks of thoughtfulness-as signs of affection and genuine interest.

Fives are secretly pleased that anyone cares and is being attentive to them.

Fives are usually very loyal: they find relationships complex and difficult, so they tend to value one that begins to work, and they tend to put energy into it.

Feeling rejected triggers deep anxieties in Twos relating to the fear that they are unwanted and unloved…but the more intrusive Twos become, the more Fives internally withdraw and detach emotionally from what feels like a threat to their autonomy and competence…Fives tend to walk away from the entire question, losing interest in having an intimate relationship often for years at a time; it is a prescription for disaster, or at least loneliness, for both.

 

  

A much better day

Here are some highlights for you:

  • My friend and I got paid £100 to talk about the foods we eat, if we care about where our food is sourced, and other such questions. Lunch was provided and we were out by 4pm!
  • I went for a run then did 30 minutes of yoga. Slightly previous to this I purchased Apple Music which sufficiently fuelled my exercise efforts
  • Following on from the previous point I was asking if I’d run the 6 mile leg of the upcoming marathon. LOL
  • The sun was out, though I didn’t get to experience much of it….
  • I’m about to have a roasting hot shower and its going to be the best

Mini Panic

There’s been a few times lately where I’ve been struck by miniature pieces of fear. I will have been traveling to a place we’d visited together, or I’ll be walking down the street and suddenly feel so alone, and I’ll panic because I [think I] don’t know how to be on my own.

Currently I’m sat at home and I’m alone. Five minutes ago I saw to my door the final two individuals who had attended my afternoon tea fundraiser. I’m by myself and I’m surrounded by cake and I’m panicking because normally at this point in proceedings I’d text him and know he’d be round soon and he’d eat loads of cake, and he would be with me.

I said I’d arrange to see a counsellor. I haven’t done it yet but I really think I should. I need help dealing with him not being here anymore.

Plain Tired

I’ve probably said all this before but I want to get it straight in my mind. If you think it, type it. Then hopefully you won’t keep thinking about it.

In the past I’ve chased after relationships thinking my sweat and determination would bring a result. I’ve thought by ‘manipulating’ the situation/pushing on I might get the result I’m looking for. This would be the main source of my life hurt. Not that the other person has treated me badly or ‘did me wrong’ but because I had expectations and got disappointed. I allowed the individual so far into my life that I expected the same from them. I was happy to do all the legwork because I’d rather make all the effort and be a part of someone’s life, than let things flow and face missing out on stuff.

I’m slowly moving forward with what I’m currently in but what stops me seeing the wood from the trees (is that even the appropriate saying for right now?!) is that I manipulated absolutely nothing with this friend of mine. We sort of just fell into each other. Through a series of conversations with a friend over the weekend I found myself looking back on old messages from a small number of friends, containing details about him:

I mentioned having to be so careful about my feelings because of the train wreck that had been my previous two ‘relationships’; it was him who suggested driving 20 miles to collect me from my 8am flight arrival, then did it; without asking he brought me a food shop (and allowed me make the dinner) the night I had no food and didn’t fancy making awkward talk with my housemate.  We jointly suggested spending intentional one- on- one time together before mutually deciding a romantic relationship wasn’t likely to come.  When I would rant about lecturers and boring subjects he would send me pictures of who had won ‘star of the week’ in work. He would visit me in hospital and I would wait for him whilst he was in doctors appointments. I bought his birthday lunch and he bought my birthday dinner. I helped him move house and he changed my bedroom light bulb. We both wanted to do a korma tour of our city, both didn’t mind me paying for the cookies whilst doing my Sunday food shop; both didn’t mind me warming my toes under his legs, both loved walking ridiculously slowly of an evening. We ate dinner together, went to the cinema together, viewed houses together.

I didn’t manipulate or coordinate any of this. But I knew coming into this year that at some point I would start, because at some point one of us would realise that we were in too deep for just being best friends and therefore I would do one of the things I’m so good at: fighting to hold on to what I hold so dear. You fight to hold on and you fight to let go. I did what I thought- and I know- to be right and I let go. Instead of fighting to hold onto someone who doesn’t want me I’m fighting to be by myself so I can learn that no matter how hard I fight (haha) I can’t and shouldn’t always get my own way.

If I really love this guy then I love him properly. Selflessly, patiently, kindly.

“True love is the absence of self, anything less is just a degree of like”- Rachel Firmin

The Parting of The Sea

I’m sat here drinking red wine from the bottle. Having said that it’s been a relatively good day. The sun was out- which made me really happy, I got my laptop back so I didn’t have to hand- write my work notes, and my lunch and dinner were pretty dang yummy. I’m tired and would really love a hug, perhaps hence the drinking wine from the bottle…

This morning I was reading about the Israelites final departure from Egypt and that oh so famous bit about the parting of the Red Sea. Like God’s people then I understand how easy it is to forget God’s steady hand and His faithfulness. I forget how He’s brought me safely through the obstacles behind me when I’m staring down the big, seemingly insurmountable one sitting right in front of me. I don’t at all claim that not to be true but my issue (and it’s not a huge one because God is always right and He’s far wiser than me) is that the seemingly insurmountable obstacle sitting right in front of me shares many likenesses with the one behind me.

After that little life event I thought I was home free. Like the Israelite people who had been through a series of events in which they witnessed God’s power and protection finally, delivery from Egypt was their’s. But then, just as they thought they were home free, Pharaoh’s army was chasing them. Just as I thought I’d got my thinking straight, reliance on God sorted, guy radar fully switched on (so I wouldn’t fall in love with yet another one) LOOK WHERE I FIND MYSELF! It’s kind of like being left to die in the wilderness when I could have stayed in Egypt. Or maybe not.

Standing on the edge it would be so easy to both focus on the fear in front of me, but also to remember the path behind me and how the path is repeating. Let me not fail to acknowledge however that God’s actions bring Him glory. He protects His people whilst displaying His power. Our view of God’s goodness should be broadened. When I want to doubt how or even if God will bring me through I must remember that I am still here. He hasn’t let me down yet.

 

Another Today 

It’s not often that I dread going to work but I really don’t want to go tomorrow. I want to sleep for as long as my body allows, then hide under the covers until this feeling goes away. Without it hurting I want to know tomorrow what I know right now: that I don’t need this and I shouldn’t have to to-and-fro between being made to feel that I’m only just enough, and being worth nothing.

He needs to let me go. Enough of the sad face and the ‘I still want to be friends but I think we should see less of each other’. I made the decision to stop seeing you: don’t you dare convince me that I can handle being just your friend then dictate how often we’ll communicate! You don’t treat me like that. You don’t treat anyone like that. Let me go so I don’t have to feel bad for not killing myself over you.

You have sacrificed me on the altar of your fears and insecurities. All I wanted to do was love and support you, but I guess I should be thankful that in certain terms you’ve made this easy for me. You have become the person I never fathomed you could be, so I’m ‘walking away’ and praying you are grown up enough to see its the fairest thing for us both.

You are sick and so am I. Let there not be blame or misunderstanding or excuses. Let us go our separate ways.