Monday, July 7, 2014

#100HappyDays & More

This morning I deactivated my Facebook again and deleted my twitter app. It's just too hard. It's not worth it. Does anyone even really care? I was ready to stop blogging. Just fall off the grid again. Maybe after all this time I still wasn't ready. Maybe I pushed myself too fast.

Yet something happened throughout the day today.

I kept digging in. Kept searching for God. Kept looking for affirmation that things will be okay.

And you know what?

I didn't really get an answer.


I believe it's because I already know. I already know that He holds my life in His hands. That He has chosen me to be His beloved. I truly believe His promises. Call me crazy, because sometimes I feel that way, but I just believe.

It's as simple as that.

In fact, it's harder for me to not believe than it is to believe.

Perhaps that's been part of my struggle. The fine line between belief and unbelief. Because I can't deny the changes I have felt. They may not be apparent to the outside world but I know that it's happening.

Let me give an example or two.

If you knew me in real life [not that these interwebs aren't real...but ya know], you might know that I have a terrible social anxiety. Even going to places with people I know often causes me to get worked up, sick to my stomach and end up in tears. So speaking to people I don't know rarely happens.

Saturday night I went out with a friend to Newport, RI. It's was a gorgeous perfect night for it. A woman ended up coming over and we ended up chatting for a little while. This doesn't seem like a big deal, but it's HUGE. I tend to be the girl who listens in a group of unknown people, not the one who speaks up. Yet, I didn't even think about it, it just happened.

Last night, I needed to go to the beach. Something I just had been needing to do.

The beach was extremely windy, which made it sort of brutal. But I didn't mind too much. I put down my towel, sat down and just took it all in. The greatness. The goodness. I reminded myself of the Psalms which I've been spending some time in.
"How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand - When I awake, I am still with you." -Psalm 139:17-18
God always has us in His thoughts. We may not always be thinking of Him, but He is always thinking of us. Even when I'm doing nothing. Even when I'm sleeping, I can awake and know I'm still on God's mind. Not that He thought of me again, no, he never stopped, "I am still with you." 

I had a gentlemen come up to me and offer me his chair so I didn't have to sit on the ground getting pelted by sand. I politely declined and wondered if there was more meaning to this. I wasn't sure. I thought maybe because I have felt so alone that it was God's way of saying He sees me even when I am alone. Even if the people I expect to respond and help, don't, He can send strangers to remind me that I am seen.

On my way out I waved and thanked him again, at which point he began talking to me. So I went over and we chatted about surfing and yoga and the beach and work and Hawaii. Really, a bit of everything. What was so odd is my openness to talk to this complete stranger, a man furthermore.

These open conversations may be simple and silly to some. Even ordinary. But for me I recognize this as a huge success in where I've come from. I think this is part of Him giving me a new heart and working to make me into the person He intends me to be. I do enjoy being social and most times once I have arrived at my destination and given it about a half hour, I find that it's not as scary as I anticipated.

I still have a long way to go, but I know He's working on me. I've said yes to meeting up with new friends lately. Friends who are Christians. It's something special. To know I can open up and share my heart and these ladies will pray for me and check in on me when we haven't chatted in a while, it's just nice. But I know getting over that uneasiness was part of the reason I was able to speak to total strangers this weekend.

So you're probably wondering why, if I have realized this, would I be willing to turn it all off socially again? (If you knew me before this blog, I had about 4 months before I could even look at the internet).

I have some really ugly things happening in my family. Things I don't feel quite ready to share with most people yet. But it's caused me to become really sad.

I've had such faith and belief that God would come through for me and instead it feels like He's taking more and more people away. This is my third time this year that I feel someone I love was taken away in some cruel way that changes our dynamics. It's absolutely heartbreaking. Since I'm still working on being okay with the very first take away, it's hard to now be dealing with another one.

I reached out to the one person who I believe knows me better than anyone else. The person I have trusted with my heart, my fears, my hopes, everything. In return I received a note that we can be blessed and not necessarily be happy.

It kind of stung. A lot. I was angry. Sad. Hurt. Rejected.

I have tried so hard to be happy. I have tried to focus on the positive and to make sure that I left Sarcastic Sheri in the past. She was really starting to become super negative. (I do let her make an occasional appearance once in a while though, she was really witty).

My new goal was Sheri Sincerity. This was my "word" of 2014. Sincerity. To appreciate life and others and to show it. Because at the core of my being, I really am these things. The years of hurt had caused this awful scar tissue to form around my heart that apparently wasn't letting the good out anymore. I'm sure it was also keeping the good from coming in.

So for someone to suggest that I was not realizing I was blessed really bothered me. I KNOW I am blessed. I am so grateful for the things I do have. God took away major parts of my family and gave me an additional family. I don't deserve that. I didn't do anything to earn it. But that's not how God's blessings work. We can't work to receive our blessings. He blesses us because He loves us and that's it. This is not a works based faith.

My natural instinct was to run and hide and wait until I was ready to face the world again. Wouldn't Satan love that? If I just stopped blogging, tweeting, instagraming my faith and my desire for truth.

You can't see God's glory if I deactivate all my accounts and spend the next 3 months in hiding. I'm sure eventually you would see it. But why delay til then what is happening now? I know I can be an emotional rollercoaster. I didn't say following this blog was going to be peaches and lemonade. I promised to be honest and open.

Something that has really been on my mind is the #100HappyDays project. 

Tonight, I decided, maybe I'm not showing outright the things I am thankful for. I mean, I feel like I am, but maybe not enough. Because God is a blessing machine. I have heard incredible stories of how this project has helped people gain a new perspective on happiness, so what does it hurt?

I have to be real, I am incredibly afraid that I might not have something to post. It's part of the reason it's been on my mind and not on my Instagram. I am nervous that I'll miss a day. But I will never know until I challenge myself. Maybe you will join with me?

As a completely unrelated sidenote, the developer for this project, his parents live in Latvia. Since my mother's family is from Latvia and my great grandmother only spoke Latvian, I am extra encouraged and excited to add to this happiness phenomenon. That might sell a whole .005% of you! Shout out to my friends in Latvia! 

I will be posting to Instagram - so please follow me there! I hope to share some of the special moments here on my blog as well. If you are participating on Instagram or Twitter share your username below in the comments and I'll follow you back! Let's encourage each other!

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." - Psalm 51:10


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