Desires vs. Needs

I remember as a child my mother would always fix my plate for supper. It wasn’t because I couldn’t fix it myself, but it was because I couldn’t reach the dishes on the counter. She would always say, “Say When!” to tell her that we had enough. Of course, a child’s eyes are almost always bigger than their stomach, and we always got too much. My mother would aways say as I was getting ready to put my plate away, “Why didn’t you tell me when to stop. You knew you weren’t going to eat all that.” I got to thinking about this every single time mother asked, and I came up with this answer. I wouldn’t say when because they’re something about the possibility of more. We always want more. More tequila on Tuesday nights, more love, more anything. More has always been seen as better. More gives us hope for something better. More gives us faith to believe in something.

But what is the meaning of life if we are never content? What is the point of living if all we want to do is find more? I’ve been doing a lot of thinking here lately, and I’ve realized, I’m not content. I haven’t been content with myself and who I am for a long time. I keep finding myself looking for more. I want to be more than what I am now. I want to have more than what I have now. And in some areas in my life, I believe that is okay. But in others, well not so much. I’ve been studying into my Bible more and more here lately as I’ve found myself looking for some direction to help find my way. I came across Proverbs 14:30 which says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots to the bones.” This verse has resonated with me for a couple of days now, and I believe that I can not be content in my life with who I am if I continue to envy other people. Yes, I have a dream of being a wife, mother, amazing officer, teacher, Ph.D. holder, but I cannot get there if I continue to be jealous of others and what they have.

I cannot be another person. I cannot live through another person. I mean, I guess I could try, but it would not be nearly as satisfying. The Lord gives us enough. It is hard for me to see right now, I will not lie about that, but I have to understand that right now I am enough. I have enough. I cannot find “the one my soul loves,” if I cannot learn to be content with myself and what God has provided for me right here, right now.

So I guess there is something to be said about the glass being half full. There is something about knowing when to say when. We have to know that our wants and desires may not be the things we NEED right now. Sometimes, what’s being poured is something that you need a taste of right now, maybe it is something that you need to enjoy a bottomless bottle of, or maybe, just maybe that bottle isn’t meant to be opened yet. All I know is that once we stop desiring more, we may learn to enjoy what’s in our glass now. And who knows, maybe the wine in the bottle is the best thing you’ve ever tasted.

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Coming from a Broken Home

I was told when I was younger I came from a broken home. That what they used to call it when you had divorced parents, even though their divorce was the least broken thing they ever did for themselves and for their children. When I heard this as a seven-year-old, I wondered if a broken home was where broken people lived. I know it was a silly thought, after all, I was seven. But as I’ve grown, I can’t help but wonder.

What constitutes a home? I grew up with the misconception that a home and a house were the exact same thing, and by all definition, they both represent where a person lives. But a house, well that can be made out of anything. You can make it out of brick, logs, even mud if you want. You can make it as strong or weak as you want. Now a home, a home is much more fragile. A home is not some structure that keeps you safe at night. It’s so much bigger than that. A home is made by the people you feel it with. Of course, people can be broken, but any college student knows that what’s broken can be mended, I mean just look at my GPA. What’s hurt can be healed. It is not impossible, it just takes time.

Time…there’s that word again. I hear this word over and over, that my time to meet my soulmate is coming, that God’s timing is much better than my own, and I won’t deny that. I can’t deny that. I’ve seen God’s timing work wonders. I believe my mother knows exactly what I’m talking about as she met my J-Daddy in a Lowes while looking at lawn mowers. But time. Time heals almost any wound. Time helps mend the broken and heal the hurting. Time causes “broken homes” to become so much more than broken.

I’ve learned to resent that term, “broken home.” Adults used to apologize to me when I was younger when they realized I had divorced parents. But what about that is broken? Why is divorce seen as a dirty little word that no person should even think about? Why is divorce seen as the worst thing to ever happen in a child’s early life? I can honestly say that divorce is not some dirty word. Divorce is seen as a good decision and the start of the healing process in my family’s situation. I say this because my home was “broken” before the divorce process even started. Divorce helped my family heal.

So if a home is made by the people you feel it with, I can say my home is definitely not broken. My home is filled with 4 wonderful parents, 4 great siblings, a sister-in-law, and 2 beautiful little nieces. So I ask again, how is my home broken?

I won’t lie to you and say my home has always been peachy, but I’ve learned that no matter how dark a home gets, the sun is going to rise again. My home may not be conventional, heck, it’s probably 100 shades of weird, but the sun’s shining bright, and I know I am enjoying this sunlight.

Moments that Last a Lifetime

I had a conversation with my (step) daddy one time that has stuck with me and has been at the forefront of my mind for these past few weeks. I was a freshman in high school at the time, and we were discussing my life dreams, school plans, and random facts that he and I always shared. Many times my J-Daddy and I did not see eye to eye, but we had many heart to heart conversations that I will always cherish and hold on to.

J-Daddy and I began discussing my grades and how important it was to keep them up in order to have an opportunity to go to whatever school I wanted. I told him that Southern Miss was the school that I wanted to go to in order to pursue a degree in music education. Of course his response was simple, “Baby, I will not wear that nasty gold color for anyone else but you if you decide to go there, but I’m sure by the time you start applying to colleges, Ole Miss will be where you’ll want to go.” Of course, I laughed, knowing good and well it would take more convincing than he would want to do to get me to do anything he wanted. We talked more about school, and after a few minutes, I switched subjects from school to relationships.

At 14 years old, I was the definition of “boy crazy,” and J-Daddy knew that very well. I began discussing how I wanted my wedding to be, the kind of dress I wanted to wear, the ugly bridesmaids’ dresses I wanted to wear, who my bridesmaids and Maid of Honor would be, and who would walk me down the aisle on my big day. He listened as I told him every single detail of how I wanted my big day to be, and when I was done he said,

“Jayme, life will throw you curveballs. The friends you have now may not be the friends you have in the future, and that’s totally okay. But I hope that when the time comes and a man asks me for your hand in marriage, that he’s prepared to understand that in my eyes, he’ll never be enough for me. He’ll be a good man because you have a good head on your shoulders and you have good judgement. You will always be one of my babies, even though you are not biologically mine, you are mine.” I did not quite understand what he meant, and he knew that I had questions.

“You won’t understand now, but as you grow, you will. There will be times when your heart will be broken by some young man, and there will be times when you break a young man’s heart because you know he is not your one. It is a part of life, and one day, you’ll understand. Live your dreams, reach your goals, and the rest will fall into place after time. Just know that your mother and I will always be here for you, and that no matter what dumb crap you do, we will always love you,” he added. I just nodded my head and told him that I understood.

Today, he is no longer here to give me the great advice he always did back then. My dreams have changed as I now desire to be a law enforcement officer, and I did not attend Southern Miss, but I did attend Ole Miss (as my J-Daddy said I would). I only have a few of the same friends I had when I was a freshman in high school, and I appreciate them more than I ever imagined I would. My wedding day will never be the way that I pictured it to be when I was a freshman in high school, and that’s okay. My J-Daddy will not be there to walk me down the aisle in my beautiful white ballgown, but he will be there in spirit if it happens. I know that no matter how many mistakes I make, I have my amazing mother, sister, brother, and David behind me holding me up to make sure I don’t get lost in it all.

I have learned that life’s curveballs can make or break you at times. The curveballs teach you to enjoy every single aspect of life, to love God more, and to start loving more people better. I have come to understand what my J-Daddy meant within our conversation on that late October evening in 2009. That conversation has taught me more within this life than I could have ever imagined.

Dear All Single People

It’s no secret that I have been single for a while now, and it is no secret that I am a slight loner. I was in a relationship with the one I thought I’d marry for a year and a half, and I did enjoy the companionship I had with that person. I won’t lie to you, some days, I do miss it, while other days, I know it ended for the best. I will admit that I miss having someone to go on random road trips with and be silly with. But as I’ve said, I’ve been single for a while now, and I would like to share some of the amazing things I have learned with all of the single college girls and guys out there watching every other person fall in love/ get engaged/ have families/ whatever else it may be.

1.You Are Fine.

So many people believe that something is wrong with them because their relationship failed and they aren’t dating in college. First, the relationship not working out is not all your fault, and do not think it is. You are worthy of love, and many people just grow apart. It happens. Relationships end for all sorts of reasons, and it is okay if it doesn’t work out. It is okay if the one you felt was your future turned out to be your dead end. God had a plan for that relationship in your life, and trust me when I say all relationships teach you something about yourself. Relationships teach you to love another person for their imperfections, to make up with another person after a fight because you care more about them than being right, and it teaches you how to place another person’s wants and needs above your own. If you aren’t dating in college, that is no one’s business but your own. Date if you want, focus on school if you want. Just because you don’t date doesn’t mean you are messed up. It just means that you have your priorities in order, and you know your self worth.

2. Respect Yourself.

The worse thing you can do to yourself is not love yourself. Your body is yours to do what you want with it. Do not sell yourself short just to keep your guy around. If you have to give away pieces of yourself for someone to love you, then they will never love you. Remember that.

3. Do Not Settle

Waiting around for a guy that will love you for who you are and not what you look like in a little black dress may suck, but I can tell you when Mr. Right does pop into your life, you’ll be glad you didn’t settle. You will thank yourself for not wasting time on someone lower than the expectations you have set for yourself. Someone lower than your standards will not fill that void in your heart. They may be fun, but they are not forever, and in fact, they will cause you to lose yourself. You, are a smart individual, find someone who will push you to accomplish your goals and live your dreams with you. Trust me when I say you will be glad you did.

4. You Do Not Need Someone

You are independent, bold, and beautiful in every way. Do not believe you need someone else to live your life. You don’t need anyone but yourself. Remember that.

5. Your Time Will Come

God has an amazing plan for you. Whether it is marry an amazing person or live out his mission for your life, you will figure it out, and God is 100% behind you on whatever you do. God has your life planned out according to His plan. Until the time comes and you know what you are to do with your life, be patient. Enjoy life. And live your life.

6. Be Yourself

Make sure that you do not change who you are to impress another person. There is someone out there who will love you for who you are. Life is way too short to try to be someone that you just were not made to be. Personalities were made to  make us all different, so own who you are. And remember the words of the amazing Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

7. Enjoy This Time

Admit it, being single is not the worst thing that has ever happened to you. In fact, being single gives you time to heal from a previous relationship, focus on your goals, and find what you want in life. You have the time to improve yourself for you. You have the time to hang out with your core friends. You have time to find yourself and love yourself. Remember, no one else can love you if you do not love yourself.

8. You Are Loved

I know that you may have some days where you are in a room full of people and you feel totally alone, but know that so many people love you. You have a family that loves you, friends that love you and want the absolute best for you. You are loved by God. God wouldn’t have put you here, where you are right now, if He did not love you. And I know it is hard to see now, but know His love is real. Embrace it.

9. Let Them In

Let down your walls a little bit. Know that not all people are out to get you. There are so many people who would kill to get to know you. You are a strong, independent, confident, individual, and know you can read people better than you think. You can learn a person’s intentions in minutes. If a person is pursuing you in all the right ways, letting them in may not be so bad. Who knows what a simple hello could lead.

10. Stop Looking (For the Ladies)

Okay, ladies, I may sound like an old lady, but you are a woman. It is not your job to pursue a man. Sit back, and enjoy doing you for a while. Many people say that love will find you when you least expect it, and that is totally true. The right guy will have to find the courage to introduce himself to you in God’s time, which is the right time. The moment you put things into God’s hand is the moment that things start to go right for you. Let go, and let God handle it.

10. Start Pursuing (For the Guys)

Okay, guys, women love being pursued. If you find a woman super attractive, think she has a smile that can light up a room, and has an amazing personality, pursue her! Don’t think that she will pursue you. Most women won’t. Pray about it and go get her! Who knows what a simple introduction may do for you. And who knows, your overwhelming confidence may just be the one thing that makes you stand out among all of the other guys. Place all of it in God’s hands, and He will lead you in the right direction.

Be patient, be still. Be accepting of the plan God has for you. God will never fail you. Until God reveals His plan to you, know you can handle the world without a significant other.

It Is a Sin Problem

Today, the United States woke up forever changed. Yesterday, there was another mass shooting in Oregon, and I won’t go into the details of it, but I will tell you I’m praying for all involved and this nation as a whole.

And let me just add, I lost massive amounts of respect for President Obama because he took this tragedy and used it to push his political agenda called gun control. Dear Mr. President, this is not the time to push your political agenda. This is the time to stand behind the victims, make this all about the victims! This is not the time to say that gun control laws would have saved American’s lives that day. We don’t know that, nor will we ever know. I can tell you what all Americans know: The United States woke up with a heavy heart today. The United States will be forever changed. Everyone within that community college and that community had a life altering event happen to them. They will be forever changed due to the acts of one person…and all President Obama cares about is pushing his political agenda.

But Mr. President, how can you say gun control laws will stop mass shootings within our nation? I can tell you that taking away guns from good people will not prevent the bad people from getting guns. If a bad person wants a gun, they’ll go get one. So, I hate to tell you, but guns are NOT the problem at this point. The problem is sin. Man’s fallen heart causes people to do things such as this, and the only way to stop this is to go to God and ask him for His healing.

Over the last decade, God has been taken out of schools. As soon as a tragedy happens, school systems want to hold candlelight vigils, and people say, “Where’s God?” Maybe, if He wouldn’t have been pushed out and rejected, these violent acts wouldn’t happen again and again.

And I say this all because I know my God is the Ultimate Healer, Merciful Redeemer, God of Grace. He heals all things broken. And maybe, if they were not as many broken people within this world, mass destruction would not happen. So, I say let God back in. Let Him heal this country the way we need to be healed. I know God exists. I know God heals all wounds. Day in and day out, I find peace within my life due to God’s healing power. I pray daily for God’s hand to come over this country and heal us. And I will continue to pray for this country as long as I live.

Citizens of Roseburg, Oregon, and students of Umpqua Community College, people within this nation are continuously praying for you, and we will continue to pray for you with the coming days ahead. God is with you, and healing is coming.

The Dirty Truth

Every single person on Earth has something to hide. No one can just expose their secrets to the world. That’s how people get hurt. That’s how people hurt other people. Each individual has to make a decision on how much they share and what they keep as their secret. This can be hard to do. I’ve learned first hand the embarrassment that comes with sharing too much information, and I’ve also been on the other end where not enough information was shared and I got hurt by it.

It’s human nature to keep things from others if we know it is going to hurt them, and it is human nature to keep things from others if we know it is going to hurt ourselves. Its just how we’re wired. We want pleasure over pain. We’re happy to not reveal all of our secrets because maybe we’re in love with that person. Maybe we open our hearts up to be broken. Maybe it allows us to, “have our cake and eat it too.” Or just maybe, we don’t want to own up to doing people dirty.

At the end of the day, fear is what makes us hold our secrets back. I mean after all is that a bad thing? Is it bad to hold back? Probably so. But it helps to be a little sneaky, a little protective, right? No, it doesn’t. Because even though you are trying to protect yourself from the negative effects your dirty little secret has on you, it doesn’t protect them. It only protects you. It’s okay to be selfish at times, but when it comes to breaking people and trust between people? You should be the one to own up to your mistakes. People say that it’s not safe to blurt out all of your secrets. People can’t just lay all the truth out there and expose themselves to God and everybody. What we seem to forget time and time again is that the truth has a way of setting itself free, exposing itself to the world no matter how dirty it is.

And no matter how the truth is revealed, no matter if you tell it or if it tells itself, you have to face it. We have to deal with the raw emotions. We have to deal with the disaster it brings. But once the truth has been set free, once the disaster has been fixed, it won’t matter how it all came about. It will only matter who set the truth free. It will only matter if you were brave enough to be honest no matter how dirty your secret was. And who knows, once the truth is revealed, you may just be lucky and get a happy ending.

Boundaries

Boundaries…the things we make ourselves to limit the people we have in our lives. And these boundaries are all fine and well, but if people want into your life, they will get in. Because, you see, boundaries don’t keep others out. They just fence you in. They just make your life boring. They make you that “anti-social weirdo” at the party. Or, better yet, they keep you from the party.

So at some point, you have to make a decision. Are you going to cross that line, go all the way. Or, are you going to stay fenced in, waiting on some great opportunity to pass inside your fence of comfort. Waiting on this, though, could be a whole lifetime, or it could not happen at all. Are you willing to take that chance of waiting and never doing? Are you going to waste time drawing the lines?

And I hate to tell you, but in case you didn’t know, life IS and WILL ALWAYS BE messy. It’s just how we’re made. It’s been this way since the fall of man. And it isn’t changing. So draw lines, or live life crossing them?

And I must admit, there are some lines in this life that are too dangerous to cross. But people do it all the time. Sometimes it turns out to be a beautiful ending, and other times, well…it ends like placing your finger in a blender and hitting the high button. Let me just tell you, that is not pretty.

So, play it safe or be dangerous.Those fences you make for your own protection may be what keeps you away from the things you want most out of life. Here’s what I do know for certain: if you’re willing to take a chance, the view from the other side, well…it’s spectacular.

The Game of Mercy

As a kid, I remember playing on the playground with all of my friends. There was one game in particular that I remember. We called it the game of mercy. A friend and I would lock hands, count to 3, and then try to snap the other person’s fingers off. You hold on as long as you can, hopefully longer than the other guy. The game is over when one of the two screams ‘stop’ or cries mercy. Needless to say, this game was one of my least favorite.

But, the game stops when one cries out and the other one listens. I wish life was that easy now. But life isn’t a game, and I’m not a child anymore. I can cry mercy in this life all I want, but is anyone listening? Or am I just screaming into a void of air?

I like to think someone is listening. In fact, I know someone is listening. My God is listening. People say time and time again, “God gives His biggest wars to His strongest soldiers.” Now, I think about this statement all the time. Why would God give the biggest war to the strongest soldiers? Look at the story of David and Goliath. If this statement was true, how did David win this fight between Goliath? David turned to God for help. This is how David won the fight.

Maybe God gives us more than we can handle sometimes so we will turn to Him for help. Maybe life is complicated and hard so we turn to God for guidance and direction.

So, when I cry out mercy, it definitely is not being heard. God hears me, and I can scream all day long, but it doesn’t mean a thing if I don’t ask God for help.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, God may gives some of His biggest battles to the weakest soldier so you go to Him, you lean on Him, you trust in Him, and He can and WILL show you His mercy, love, and grace.

What Does Fighting Solve?

Fights have never been something that have bothered me. Like ever. I believe that fights make relationships stronger, at least for the most part, but what about that fight that throws things over the edge? The ones that change your relationship forever. The ones that make you reevaluate the person you have that relationship with. What do you do about those? We don’t exactly have a rewind button. We can’t go back and unsay what we said. Those words are the stones that can be the size of boulders that break down every building of trust you have with that person. Those words are what change your relationship with that person forever.

And trust me, I truly understand being hot tempered. My family and close friends can even tell you that. And my siblings know every dang button to push to send me into a rage of fury. In that fury, I say a lot of things I should not say. I say things that I know break the soul because I know it will hurt them. But why? What good does this do me? Will I ever get full satisfaction from this?

The answer is no. It does me no good to fight, and I do not gain any satisfaction from this. It, in fact, is pretty pointless. Fighting with family is pretty pointless. I know it is sometimes necessary, but most times it is unnecessary. Because at the end of the long day, or maybe several long days later, you make up because at the end of the day, family is truly all you have left. And yes, I do fully understand that sometimes all family is not there for you, but the ones that are happen to be the only ones to matter. It might be later on down the road in life, but you realize it eventually.

To be honest, it took me about 18 years to realize that the family that didn’t want to be there for me didn’t have to be. The ones that stuck around were all that mattered. My biological father is not my favorite person on the planet, and he does not play a big role in my life because he didn’t want to. So I finally realized that if he didn’t want to be there, why should I try to fight him to be? I shouldn’t. Life is too short to be begging people to be in it that didn’t want to be.

And eventually, I stopped losing sleep over it. I eventually used this method with all of my relationships. I’m still this way, I don’t want you in my life if you don’t want to be. And yes, this may be why I’m a loner or why I only have 5 friends, but at least I’m happy. I no longer deal with the drama that goes along with fighting. I no longer go with sleepless nights because I’m so worried about my friendships and relationships. And why do I have this attitude?

Honestly, it has to be because I learned very early on that people are in your life for a certain amount of time. People outgrow people. People die. People decide that your life is no longer important to them. So with all of this in mind, I don’t fret the amount of time I have with people in my life. God has a plan for my life and every life on Earth. God uses people in my life to teach me things. He uses them to show me that no matter how much adversity I will face, and yes, I will face it, I can deal with it calmly and rationally. I can come out stronger. I can come out with a slightly positive change in my life. I can manage to put a smile on my face after all the pain subsides. I can make it through the pain because God is with me, and pain is temporary. God has a plan for my life and the relationships in them. This understanding causes the attitude I have toward relationships. So at the end of the day, maybe God dismisses you from my life because I’ve helped you all I can or maybe because I’m dragging you down. I can say I honestly don’t know, but I have faith in my God to lead me the right way and take out everyone that doesn’t need to be in this crazy, beautiful life of mine.

Somewhere in my Car

We all remember our first car. Mine was a black 2007 Ford Escape fully loaded. I thought I was something great because I had a nice ride with a sunroof and six disc CD player. I had a lot of memories in that little SUV including the day I almost killed myself and two other people, but that’s beside the point. We all don’t remember the car strictly because it was our first one, but because of the memories that were made in it. Those memories are what we hang on to the rest of our lives because eventually the car dies (or you slam it into a tree after having it six days). The people you made the memories with eventually leave you because either you outgrow them or your lives go in two different directions. Whatever the reason may be, at the end of it all, the memories are all that are left.

Since I didn’t have that Escape for too long, maybe I should say that my 2002 Toyota Camry was my first real car. It had a sunroof and a tape player. I was ‘styling and profiling,’ which I was lucky to be doing anything because I did just total a car and didn’t deserve a new one. But anyway, this car had too many memories for me. From joy rides with my girlfriends to the first kiss with my first serious boyfriend, they all were made in that car. I drove to Jackson in that car. And that was one hectic trip with my mother. Ha, but I guess the memories of friendships and relationships are what that car truly summarized to me.

I reminisce over all of my relationships. I look at why things didn’t work out between the people in my life at that time. I wonder if it was always me. I wonder if I’m just too crazy for folks to handle, or maybe I was just too mature for some of them. Were our lives just going different directions and it was just easier to part ways quicker rather than later? I guess you could say I over-think everything on Earth. But do we all truly know why every relationship ends?

The answer to this for me is no. I have no idea why some of my friendships ended. I have no idea why some of my romantic relationships ended. But if your not the one to end the relationship, does the other person state why they can’t do it anymore? In most cases, the answer is no. As humans, when we have these events happen, we want to be so direct there is no confusion at all. And even though it hurts like hell, we’re extremely thankful at that time for the directness. But as the sting begins to subside, we wonder what we did to that other person to make them feel we were no longer worth it. Why didn’t they fight for the relationship like you did? Where you ever that close? Were you so blind you didn’t see this coming for months? Most of the time, we take all of these questions and put the blame on the other partner when really we need to take some credit for our mistakes in the relationship too. This is where my downfall lies. I’ve always been one to eventually admit I’m wrong, but if someone ends any type of relationship with me, I automatically assume it’s their fault and not mine. I never think about how from time to time I’m hard to deal with. I don’t deserve the good treatment from others sometimes. But eventually I wake up and realize its my fault as much as theirs.

So why do relationships end between people? Well, I guess a number of factors play a role in it. But I guess a major issue is the lines of communication have been broken. All relationships function on two key factors: communication and trust. If you have one and not the other, then the relationship fails. If you have none, then the relationship is a failure before you get any form of emotion involved. So I guess these are two major factors that can cause relationships to end. And yes, I totally understand that each and every relationship is different, but each must have these two factors. But at the end of the day, everyone in our life comes and goes. It’s a part of life’s grand circle, and we have to embrace it.

So, I guess what I’m saying through my whole rambling of relationships is, enjoy the ones that you have in your life today. They can walk out or can be taken from you in the blink of an eye. Make memories that you will want to share with your kids and grandchildren. Have adventures in your car (cautiously), but most importantly, know that people are placed in this life for a reason. We don’t know why, and God doesn’t exactly give us the answer. But with a little faith, we may just find the relationships we’re meant to have for the rest of our lives. And know, that some of these wonderful relationships might just start with a ride home in a 2002 Toyota Camry.