Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Heart. On. Sleeve.

In the spirit of all things hearts and mushy couples and red roses and love songs and everything else Valentine's Day, homegirl is going to wear her heart on her sleeve for a bit.

I'd be lying if I said that 2013 was shaping up to be the "Best Year of My Life." In fact, if given the opportunity, I would punch 2013 right in the face. Dead smack between the eyes. And it would hurt. A lot. (And it would officially be the first time that I had ever punched anything.)

Some would say, "You're about to turn 30. You're feeling old. It's totally normal to have a rough time with it." I would look back at those people and say, "This has nothing to do with an upcoming birthday." Others would say, "You're just mad that you're alone on Valentine's Day. Eat some chocolate and get over it." To that camp, I would disagree.

No, I'm just flat out going through a rough patch. A frustrated, annoyed, easily angered, insecure rough patch. (Heart on sleeve, remember? I'm not holding back). Not only have I been no fun to be around, I've been no fun for me to be around myself. Which is obviously problematic.But, this craptastic attitude is weaseling it's way into every part of my life.

Now, there are a few things that are absolutely true, regardless of how wonderful or terrible my attitude is:

1. I love my job.

True, my job is crazy. I work at least 50 hours a week, have no clue what my day is going to look like ever, and am constantly pulled in 47 directions. But, I absolutely love it. Almost eight years ago, when I was weighing the options of moving back to Louisville to work at my home church, moving to Lexington to take a job at another church, and staying on at CCU as the Assistant Manager in the Bookstore, I knew that Cincinnati wasn't done with me yet. And here I am, almost eight years later, in a position I never dreamed possible (partly because it didn't exist before), and I love it. I get to be a part of a University that makes a dramatic difference in the lives of students, preparing them to go out into the real world and make a difference in the name of Christ.

I also love my other job. The one where I get paid not only to work out, but to help people make a difference in their lives. Jazzercise isn't just an exercise program. It's the best kind of therapy that I can dream of. And, I get the pleasure of hanging out with some of the coolest people on the planet, while acting like a complete lunatic with a Brittany Spears mic.

2. I love my family.

Even though they aren't nearby, they are still my favorite people on the planet. My parents are total rockstars. They work harder than anyone I've ever met, and yet they somehow find the time to take care of everyone they meet. My brothers aren't totally awful (sisters can't just up and say anything too nice about brothers), and somehow my older brother tricked one heck of a lady into marrying him. And, thanks to them, I have the two cutest nieces on the planet. (Don't even try to convince me any other kids are cuter).

I'm also blessed to say that I have an incredible Cincinnati family. I have friends who are way more than friends who like me when I'm at my best and stick with me even when I'm at my worst (aka--right now). I like these people.

3. I love my church.

If it was still 1997, I would describe Echo Church as "da bomb." Heck, its 2013, I'm 29-years-old and I'm still going to describe it that way. Because I am far from hip and I'm totally okay with it.

Echo is no fuss. It's not about the show, it's not about the lights, it's not about the rockstar band, it's not about the cool, hip preacher that tries to make all of the perfect jokes as if they "just happened" (come on Steve, we know you write all of that material ahead of time). It's not about any of that. It's about God and it's about the Word and it's about community. And I love all three of those things.

4. I love my life.

Is everything perfect about my life? Absolutely. Not even close. Is everything terrible about my life? NO. Even when I've busted out the whambulance, I've got it pretty darn good.

So, if I have all of these things that I love, what's the issue, right? I'd say there are a few things that feed into this (and I'm going to get all crazy and switch it up from the numbered list to letters. GASP.):

A. I have high expectations for people.

I'm one of those crazy people that actually expects for others to do the jobs they were hired to do, and care about people other than themselves, and have legible handwriting. (So that last one is a little ridiculous, but it actually does qualify people for bonus points in my book.) Admittedly, sometimes I put unrealistic expectations on people. But other times, I feel like I've been backed into a corner where if I have any expectations on people, I'm expecting too much. Unfortunately, lately I've been leaning towards not expecting anything. Because when I expect things out of people, they let me down. And that sucks. A lot. I need to learn a happy medium between expecting nothing and expecting everything.

B. I have even higher expectations for myself.

If I'm expecting a 2 out of someone else, I'm expecting a 27 out of myself. I was raised to do my best. At everything. And I love that about the way I was raised. But, if I am one thing, I'm a perfectionist. About everything. But especially any and everything that is my responsibility. And you know what? Sometimes (or virtually all of the time) being perfect is not quite possible. I set myself up to fail. And I quickly chalk things up as failures instead of not quite perfect. I put a lot of work into a project, and then I get a negative email from one person--FAIL. I plan to get up early and my alarm doesn't go off--FAIL. I teach a killer class and then a student tells me after class how great another instructor's class was--FAIL. This little lady needs to remind herself that one little flaw doesn't equal a total failure. Note to self: Lighten up Beth.

C. I can't do all of this by myself.

I was always the girl in school (and am still that girl in every other aspect of my life) who would rather just do things myself rather than have to work in a group. When working in a group, I have to depend on other people and my outcome is dependent on more than just myself. At least when I do something on my own, I know that I have no one else to blame but me if it doesn't turn out right. But in life, I've got to let other people in to help me, no matter how hard it is.

I have to be willing to be upfront and honest about what I'm feeling, things I struggle with, and on and on. I stumbled upon this blog a couple of weeks ago and I love the author's blatant honesty about things that she struggles with in everyday life. Things that "if people knew I did this, they would think I was off my rocker." Trust me. If I were to sit down and write out my list, you all would run away screaming. But I have to be willing to let my "crazy" hang out every once in a while because that's what real people do.

I am becoming more and more aware of the fact that I can't do all of this without the Lord. I am a handful, and I'm well aware of that. But, outside of my family, the Lord is the one person I can always count on to love me no matter how ridiculous I'm being. I love reading this blog I found from a mutual friend we have from college (can you tell I'm loving the blogging world these days) because she's honest. She tells it like it is. But, it's all in the spirit of honesty and trying to make life a little better. And her post linked above was the kick in the pants that I needed at just the right time. I am fully aware that the more of good old JC that I put in my life, the more in line with him my life would be. But, admittedly, that is easier said than done. I wish I was one of those people who woke up in the morning and my first instinct was to pray, but instead I check Facebook on my phone because it gives me an excuse to stay in bed for a few more minutes. I wish that when I got frustrated my first thought was to turn on a worship song to calm me down, but instead I tend to have quite a little vent session in my head about what just happened. But, I'm making a conscious effort to switch that up. I decide where I choose to spend my time and how I choose to react to a situation. I am the only one I can control. And I need to have that breakthrough moment where I look myself in the mirror and say, "Beth. Get over yourself. And get a little more Jesus in your life. He's a big deal. You are not."

Does this mean that now that I've word vomited all of this, that I'll wake up in the morning and it will be all sunshine and rainbows and chirping birds and Pantene hair and super model looks? Not quite. Am I going to chalk the day up as a failure when that happens? No.

In the spirit of Lent, I'm going to spend the next 40 days making a conscious effort to point out the good in my days rather than the bad. In a sense, you could say I'm giving up being the "b-word" for Lent. So, in my "Lighten Up" notebook, I will be listing five things each day that were good. It could be something as simple as "I brought my lunch to work and I actually ate it" to something a little trickier like "I didn't blow up in frustration after that coworker treated me like dirt. Again." Hopefully in 40 days life will be looking a little brighter, and I'll be hating 2013 a little less.

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day.

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