Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Shelby Jones: In Rare Form. (2016: A Year In Review). 12.13.2016

"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life." -J.K. Rowling

2016.
New Friends.
Moving.
Independence.
Loneliness.
Travel.
Hangovers.
Failed Relationships.
Bad Dates.
Restoration.
Laughter.
Tears.
Music.
Weddings.
Sleep.
No Sleep.
Confusion.
Realization.
Reading.
Decisions.
Faking It.
Success.
Failure.
Hope.


So, if you want to skip the rest of the blog, that about sums it up. (But I promise, it's not the fun part!)

For those of you who've decided to stick around--welcome to another round of Shelby's blogging adventures. Always bound to make you chuckle and think to yourself "at least my life isn't as chaotic as hers". ;) Kidding. Maybe. It's relative. Whatever.

Alllllright. Where should I start?  How about January 1st, 2016? Yeah?

I woke up to 2016 with a raging hangover. I had no dreams and hopes or certainties about the upcoming year. Honestly, there wasn't much depth to any of my thoughts at that point.  I was living fast.  I was living day to day with no clue what the good Lord had in store for me. (And it was a LOT!!!!)

Thankfully, in one short year--I've come a long way! And done a lot of cool things! And met a lot of cool people! And traveled to a lot of places!

I'm kinda flying by the seat of my pants on this one people--I don't have an overwhelming theme for this blog except that I'm not that scared lost lonely sad "January 1st, 2016 Shelby" anymore and I've had a lot of cool/scary/sad/happy/humbling awesome experiences this year that have helped me become a less lost/embracing the uncertainty and chaos "January 1st, 2017 Shelby". ;)

Let's talk highlights, people. Enjoy.

On January 24th, 2016--I settled into my apartment. Living alone sucked. Do not recommend. But hey, it was cute:




On March 20, 2016--I was smack dab in the middle of Paris, France.  The company I worked for sent me there for a "Group Integration Seminar".

On March 20, 2016 I saw the Eiffel Tower.  I was eating my meals at a pretty castle outside the city every day.

On March 21st, 2016.....I'll save this detail until after Paris details.

On March 24th, 2016 I went to the Palace of Versailles.

And then on March 25, 2016--I was riding around the city, by myself, on top of a double decker bus, stopping at all of the places I had only seen in movies.  Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, The Louvre...ME. I WAS DOING THAT.

Here are some of the pictures I took:






Amazing.

SO. ALSO.

March 21st, 2016. The cool thing that happened while I was in Paris--I got an interview request for a job at Summit Polymers in Portage, MI.  Game changer. Going back home was so close, I could taste it. Screw Paris (not really, not at all), BUT this was a real opportunity to finally be back home.  There was a hope stirring within me.


Shelly or Shelby... whatever.  I'm going HOME.

April 1st, 2016--April Fool's Day! Oh yeah, and my divorce was finalized.

On April 7th, 2016, I received my job offer from Summit Polymers.

On April 7th, 2016, I put in my two week notice at Plastic Omnium and cried/laughed my whole drive home.

April 21, 2016 was my last day at Plastic Omnium.  My program managers had a going away party for me.  They're dorks.



On April 27th, 2016--I did what any unemployed person would do--and I took my best friend to Vegas for a week.





On May 1st, 2016 I moved into my Dad and step-mom's basement and I started work at Summit Polymers as a Manufacturing Technical Leader on May 2nd, 2016. I was finally home. <3

On May 2nd, 2016--I met my best friend in the whole world.  This girl has changed my world. We've been inseparable since that day.





On May 20, 2016--I turned 25! I had my 4th annual 21st birthday party surrounded by all of my favorite people. Let the quarter life crisis commence!




On June 25th, 2016, my best friend got married. That was awesome.




And so began, the free and fast summer of Shelby Jones. Filled with sunsets, bonfires, friends, baseball games, miller lites, and FAMILY.  I was adjusting well.



July 24th, 2016, Linny Lou and I saw Jon Bellion in concert in Detroit.  That was radical.

On August 1st, 2016, I moved in with two of the goofiest, most hilarious, kindest, most loving and beautiful women I have EVER met in my life.  I feel like I should write a blog on all of the shit that has gone on in this castle of crazies since I've moved in...we have fun.





August 11, 2016--my grandma Miki passed away.  She was amazing.  Gave me one of the greatest gifts on earth-my Daddy D.  On August 12th, 2016, DD and I had a few beers together and celebrated her life.



On September 10, 2016, my best friend(s) got married. Kristin and Nate Thompson.  They know how to throw a party.



On October 13th, 2016--I was in the heart of Guanajuato, Mexico. I was in Silao for work and was able to go into Guanajuato to be a tourist.  Beautiful city.







On November 4th, 2016 I booked a flight to Tacloban City, Philippines.

On November 25th, 2016 at 6am I landed in Tacloban and on November 26th, 2016--AGAIN--my best friend got married.  (I also lost my shoes that day--but that's a minor detail.)






SO--that brings us to the present. I've done some cool things this year.  In the midst of all these blessings--I've been becoming.

Just becoming.

I don't have it all together. I'm sitting here eating the last bit of moosetracks out of the carton. God, will I ever? Not likely. But, I've come a long way since the sorry sad hungover "January 1st, 2016 Shelby".

I'm so thankful for the experiences and the people that have walked in (and out) of my life this year.


Here's to 2017 being the best year of my life. Thank you to all who have played an integral role in getting "January 1st, 2016 Shelby" off of her sorry ass and back on her feet. I owe it all to you all and to Jesus.

December 13th, 2016.....




hahaha. I love you guys.

Shelby


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Tiny Jesuses. Dumbasses. and thoughts on guarding your hearts and minds. 09.6/7.2016

4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5Let your reasonablenessd be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I feel like we desperately want someone to understand who we are and our experiences and we feel that in order for some type of earthly love to exist between people (in any type of relationship) we must too quickly divulge the workings of our hearts and minds and not use discernment when judging who will protect us and our hearts while doing so.

The investment in someone else's heart and emotions is territory that I am not an expert in and I never will be.  I used to be quick to diving into all my thoughts and emotions and inner workings in order for people to better understand my character or "feel for me" or "save me". I did not understand the meaning of guarding our hearts and minds.  I just thought it was a bossy Bible verse that told us we gotta be female warriors who don't take shit from anyone and never let anyone see me weak or emotional. (I was wrong.)  There is nothing wrong with opening up to someone about your emotional struggles and battles that you might be facing.  I have a lot of respect for someone who can humble themselves and say that they are working through some heartache.  But there needs to be an understanding of the way God made people before we decide to reveal the intangible parts of our make up.  Which means we need to be the people God called us to be when offering an ear to a friend but we also need to discern whether or not the people that we decide to share with are equipped to handle our hearts.

We are all different.

One thing is for certain, not one person has gone through or experienced the same things you have. Even if the situations are identical--each person has their own set of emotions and feelings and even though the world has done their very best to categorize those into words like mad, sad, angry, confused, happy, excited, etc., those definitions and words will never articulate exactly how we feel in the depths of our souls.

I will never be able to fully understand what another person has been through, but when a person decides that they trust me enough to let me see their heart and hear their experiences, I take a lot of pride in that.  Because I believe God has equipped me (because of my experiences with NOT guarding my heart) and I'm hoping I can offer you some sound advice to help us all become more Christ-like.

I've seen people jump into emotional relationships in hopes that that person is going to "save" them or offer the right words (me).  I am glad that I have relationships in my life where they feel confident that, even though I will not save them or offer up the perfect words or be able to pull them out of the darkness I know that I will always offer up this: I don't understand your situation but I am here as your friend to ensure that you're not alone and that I love you.

I can't give people perfect direction or expect the best advice and understanding from other people, because neither I or the people in my life are at all qualified to do so. The first reason is that I am not you and haven't been through or felt what you have felt and vice versa.  The second reason is that we are not God and our advice will be far from perfect and it may not make you feel ANY better at all.

When you talk to PEOPLE about issues, they might appear to be insensitive to what you have experienced--but really it is just that they cannot relate to or understand the things that you have seen. Wrap your mind around that truth because I'm going to drive that point home a MILLION times.  I've had some of the closest people in my life say to me "you're too emotional" "you're too dramatic"...it's been spoken over me for my ENTIRE life. And I know I'm not the only one who has heard these things before.  But God never says that about us.  He loves us all equally and we are never too much--even though we are a bunch of idiots.

Your emotions are not unwarranted ever. The emotions and feelings you have (no matter what they are) are absolutely warranted, even though there are many people who cannot understand them. I will never tell someone that the way they are feeling is wrong. Because feelings and emotions are never EVER wrong. I could never get upset with you or anyone for feeling a certain way. Because feelings are something you can't help. YOU need to understand that someone saying "I can't handle your emotions" has NOTHING to do with YOU or your emotions and it has everything to do with the fact that people cannot relate to or understand your struggles because they aren't Jesus and they aren't you. Am I driving this home, yet?

I am fortunate to have a lot of people in my life that care for me and love me and would do most anything for me--but I cannot have the expectation that they are going to do or say the right thing all the time--because they are PEOPLE and people are FLAWED. Get it? Get it?  Once again, people are not qualified to give that level of emotional support that goes as deep to save someone fully from their hurts and heartache. People are only able to care for you in the BEST way they know how to--which is sometimes questionable. Lol.  It's hard for people to hear of heartache.  I used to offer up advice like "get over it" or "I can't believe you let him do that" or "just forget about it".  This kind of advice is more common than not.  And I'm here to tell you that it's bullshit. And it's exactly why God said guard your freaking heart.  Because when you open up yourself to someone who isn't prepared to receive all you are with grace and compassion it could end up hardening our hearts and making us resent ourselves or resent other people.  And God didn't want that. He's a God of Love.

I hope that this makes sense.  I'm writing this blog to myself and to all of you. You know... as previously published, I got divorced when I was 24. I was hurt badly by someone that was supposed to be protecting me and taking care of me and LOVING me. And guess what? The thing about being 24 and going through that...is that not a single one of my friends or family could fully relate to or understand my situation. And I was MAD all the time that they tried to give me advice that didn't make sense or offered up "I understand".  And all I could think was NO YOU DON'T, GTFO. lol.

In some cases I was to made to feel extremely guilty for feeling and acting the way I did throughout my divorce and the time after the divorce. But, in time I learned (with the help of qualified professionals and Jesus), it was wrong of me to expect them to understand and have the right words for me because they don't really have a clue and all they were doing was trying to help me and love me.Some people would shut down when I would start to talk about specific details or things I had experienced and I would get mad and feel rejected because I felt like they didn't care or didn't want to understand or that they couldn't make me feel better.

I used to say I struggled with dating people my age because I felt like they were insensitive to my situation. Well, duh. What I realized is that age has NOTHING to do with it, really. Of course people are going to appear insensitive to me if I'm revealing the depths of my heart to a person who has no clue how to even react to something that is far beyond what they have experienced. Why the heck would I expect anyone to understand my experiences and emotions without them actually having gone through them? And when I realized this, my heart softened toward the people that I felt were being jerks or insensitive because praise God that they don't understand. They've been protected.

I'm SO GLAD that they don't understand the things I've been through because that would mean that they too would have endured the hurt that I have endured to some degree. And I would not wish that on a person that I loved and cared for--or a person at all.

Try not to be hurt when people don't act the way they should because it really isn't their obligation or even in their make up to fully understand or to be able to fully help you through what you're going through. They only know how to be concerned for you and love you. Even if I walked people through all of my experiences or even if I told them my story from cover to cover or played them a movie of my life--they will still never really be able to learn who I am at that intimate of a level because---(AGAIN) they are not me.

Our hearts are God's first and then our own and it takes a lot of time and effort to realize that we cannot rely on other people to dictate whether what's going on inside is valid.  It is ALWAYS valid because they are ours and they are unique. They aren't tangible or explainable, even. They just exist. It's what sets us apart. Never should you feel rejected because another human can't offer you up the support in a way that makes you feel validated or understood. It takes years of difficult schooling and Doctoral degrees to even come CLOSE to doing something like that and it takes even more years of experience in that field to be GOOD at that. Two of my best friends are going to school for clinical psychology and counseling. And the amount of respect I have for both of them and their career choice is far beyond what I can articulate. I work in a field in that if I do my job well, I have tangible, objective and concrete results. The workings of the mind are not tangible and it's as complex and unknown as the ocean. And they are going to be Doctors and counselors in that field. That's some stuff.

What I've realized is, I'm not ready to reveal my heart and emotions and feelings until I'm sure of the trust in the relationship--and I feel that this is what God was asking of us. Trust takes time and experience. I think that I want to be keep going on that pursuit of owning my feelings and emotions and bringing them to God first and not projecting them on to someone else with the expectation that they will be able to relate and understand and solve the puzzle of me (impossible). I still have to remind myself of this daily. Even with my closest friends and family. They aren't insensitive. They aren't bad at advice and I no longer sit around angry with them or pushing them away because "they just don't get it".  Well, duh Shelby...they really just DON'T get it. And that's ok!!

I'm not called to be bitter toward them for that just like they aren't called to be my Savior. I'm called to love them and be thankful that they are showing concern for me in the best way they know how to and that might be imperfect and flawed. But the good news is--I DO have a Savior and he's everything but imperfect and flawed. And in reaching into the spiritual side of my life, I've been able to soften and heal the wounds of my heart and be genuinely happy again--because he is in charge of the restoration in my life..not me...not another person.  And although one day I would like to reveal those things to someone (a husband, ideally), I don't want to do that until I'm sure that they have this same understanding. Because I won't place my heart into the hands of anyone lightly. My future husband needs to be prepared for how my experiences will shape our relationship and the ways that he needs to love me. So basically, the only person prepared and qualified to marry me right now is Jesus, but Justin Timberlake would likely be acceptable, too. ;)

We are all so unique in our experiences and make-ups. And the only being that exists in this world that understands all of those emotions, feelings, soul-level and intangible workings within us... is God. I'm not God, you're not God, your therapist isn't God, your parents, your family, your closest friends--they aren't either. And the only one responsible for entering into that intimate relationship with God is you. Which requires letting go of the expectation that people will understand and fix us and then grabbing hold of the understanding that God knows we are imperfect and stupid and he LOVED us and forgave us regardless. Which is why we need to love and forgive others for being dumbasses. I think that we are all going to be continually disappointed and end up jaded, unless we allow for humility to take root in our hearts. People are going to mess up and they are going to listen to our thoughts and emotions and feelings and deepest secrets and then they are likely going to shit on us one day in one way or another.

Full circle, if we trust only the Lord with our hearts and the most intimate parts of us, we will NEVER be disappointed. And it will also allow us to be so in tune with his desires for our lives, so that the right person (Justin Timberlake) will come into our lives that will be worthy of knowing all of those beautiful and broken parts of us--and will also understand that we are precious and God will have equipped them to handle those parts of us with ease (most of the time--reiterate, we are all stupid sometimes).

Unlike his children, Jesus doesn't mess up and he's not a dumbass. And he doesn't say "your emotions are too much". People say that. Because we really DO feel like some people's emotions are too much because we don't have the ability to understand everyone's shit. And if we did, we would all be tiny Jesuses down here on earth. And that just seems weird and unlikely.

And all that to say, I will not always have the right words for you when you're hurting, and you likely won't know how to save me from the pain of another idiot that I've gone on a date with. Meaning that I can't see into your future and you can't see into mine and say "it's all going to be ok" and I can't give you a how-to book or step-by-step process on getting over a hard time. But, that doesn't mean you suck and I don't care for you. I shouldn't expect myself to be able to know all things to cure hurt and I shouldn't expect other people to know the answers for me either.  Because it's God's responsibility to handle our hearts and our hurts. And if we all, as flawed humans, took on that responsibility, we would likely end up feeling helpless and inadequate because we just CAN'T be the ones to do it. But, what we can do is pray for each other and love each other. Me? I'll pray for you and say I love you and then I'll probably just tell you you're cool and then make you laugh because I'm awkward.

I suck at conclusions.

K bye.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

How to: NOT live life well as a 24 Year Old Female 04.18.2016

Once again, my insomniac brain decided to bring it with another blog. 

It's not my best idea yet but whatevs:

Lately: I'm either messing up a crap ton. Or I'm being primed to author a book on how NOT to live life well as a 24 year old female.

So, I thought... hey all you 24 year old ladies out there, here's some things you should NOT EVER (NEVER) do this year. And maybe if you do not do them life will go a little more smoothly for you this year. :) I will not say whether or not these actually happened to me. :)


DO THESE 24 THINGS if you want to NOT live life well as a 24 year old Female:

1. Put your coffee mug upside down under your Keurig while it makes your morning coffee at least once a month!

2. Don't keep a spare set of keys handy on Christmas Day when you're packing up your vehicle to catch a flight to Miami and lock your keys in your trunk.

3. While in Miami, get a Margarita the size of your face with your girlfriend and then accept the server's suggestion to take a to-go cup after you've asked for your check.

4. No need to plan ahead for getting back home when you go to your first NYE party single.

5. You should definitely feel ok about saying "sure" when some guy you're not REALLY that interested in asks for your number. No need to read the manual on your iPhone on how to use the block feature.

6. Going to the gym after happy hour is a fine idea. The stairmaster isn't that difficult to begin with or anything.

7. You should totally give blood again even if you pass out every other time. 8 billionth times a charm!

8. Don't eat your leftovers. You just made dinner for yourself and you're 24. It's not a huge deal and it wouldn't make sense to appreciate that for a few more days.

9. Just send text messages without pre-screening who the recipient is.

10. Throw your laundry in the washer and then get sleepy and go to bed and forget it for 3 more days. Good idea.

11. Don't put your keys/wallet/phone/charger/bags in the same place every day when you get home. That's way too complicated.

12. Definitely take an idiot's advice on going to a cheap dry cleaning place. You won't have to get them all done somewhere else...again.

13. Wait until the VERY LAST MINUTE to "find a power source" and don't worry about pressing "save" too often.  Live life on the edge.

14. Post one selfie every single day so that you will feel major validation when people like it.

15. Always finish the bottle of wine in one night if you've opened it.  Re-corking is complicated anyway.

16.  Drink a solid 4-5 cups of coffee every day. Skip meals. No harm there.

17. Go to bed every night after 1am. A good 4 hours is all you need to barely survive.

18. When you're nervous, the best thing you can do is NEVER STOP TALKING. It makes everyone super comfortable.

19. You can most likely trust a person even if they sketch you out a little. Don't fact check anything.

20. Set ALL your alarms for the wrong time of day. Don't double check AM/PM.

21. Your knees and legs and toes and butt and hips aren't that important. Run them hard into every sharp corner or surface. Big bruises look cool.

22. You should definitely make decisions without consulting anyone that you trust or value their advice and opinions because what do they know, anyway?

23. Don't ever take time to step away from life and process your emotions and feelings. Just keep doing whatever and making decisions a little blindly. It won't all catch up with you when you are sitting in an airplane alone with no one around you but this guy who might ask for your number after he watched you cry about not having your life together. I REPEAT: DON'T BE AFRAID TO SAY SURE.

24. Girl, don't learn a single lesson from all the mistakes you've made. And don't smile every day knowing that everything is gonna be juuuuust fine.


Monday, April 11, 2016

The D-Word and "Half-Assing" It. 04.11.2016

Ah. Blogging.

I've been joking lately that I needed to write a blog about the adventures of my life over the past year of being 24 years old, but for fear that MTV might come ask me to be the star of their next trashy reality TV show, I have spared the world. ;)


Also, when I came back to this blog and looked at the 5 blogs I had written over the past few years, I really just wanted to delete them all because holy moley, have things changed.  But that's life, right? If you want to go back and read my published blogs from before--have at it.  It's where I've been and now I'm here. Just writing about tidbits of my life. I try to be interesting.  I'm not famous yet, but the Blogger analytics don't lie-- and I know SOMEONE is reading my stuff. :)


No, but for real... life has been crazy lately. Right now, it's quarter to 3am.  I'm on my work laptop...and the intention when I opened it was to work...because I was lying in my bed and thinking about work and I couldn't sleep so I thought screw it--I'm just going to work.


But then my ADHD ping-pong ball brain saw that I had a text message from a friend and even though it was 1:47am and most normal people are sleeping at this time of night... I responded.


(***Because, if I wouldn't have responded then my ADHD ping-pong ball brain would have forgotten to respond until two weeks later when that person had texted me again asking me why I missed the lunch plans we made....I digress.)


Anywho, just a cool friend of mine---that I've known for I really don't even know how long...he's probably known me longer than I've really known him---and I had been in touch recently.



OH----AND, it's no surprise to anyone that I'm divorced.  INSERT gasping people saying "OMG, I'm SO sorry, I had no idea you were going through that...." Well, whatever, you probably did know because I'm from a small town and people talk--I know how that goes.


I'm jumping around so much.. anyway this friend that I was chatting with--he's, like, SUPER musically talented and has played music with my dad for quite some time and has also gone through a divorce or what I like to call the dreaded "D-word"...like, for real, that Divorce word sucks butt. For the rest of my life on any date I go on I'm gonna have to say the damned thing and I'm not thrilled about it! But, it's played such a role in who I am right now that not saying it wouldn't make sense, in my mind. It's been the single most pivotal thing in my life. I'm freaking 24 years old. And I'm divorced, like, what the whattttt?!


So, this dude--he's cool with music. And it's always kind of been a side hobby of mine to jam out with a friend on a guitar.  I don't claim to be Whitney Houston....but I mean--I can carry a tune and harmonize pretty easily.  My mom and my dad (also divorced--ick that word) raised my sister and I on music.  I've got an appreciation for every genre and I FEEEELLLL lyrics and rhymes and melodies deep down in my soul, man. I love my parents for it.  My dad plays three instruments fluently and can sing.  And my mom can harmonize pretty dang well and ALWAYS blasted music on our old Bose speakers in the living room when we cleaned the house. James Taylor, Mariah Carey, Hanson or N'sync (if she let my sister and I DJ)....you name it--we blasted it.


My sister and I were in choir in school and both went to state honors choir.  We like music and so does this friend of mine which brings me full circle to the rest of this story--sorry, I'm tired and this is going to be a little unorganized and all over the place.  BUT, I promise if you stick with me until the end--I hope you see some really GOOD STINKING STUFF.  I promise you, I'm feeling SO PUMPED right now.


So, I just asked my friend if I could reference his name and quote him in this post--of course he's cool-- so he said yes...some of you probably already know who I'm talking about by now.... Dan Jackson! Cool dude, yeah? He's a worship leader at C1 in Three Rivers.  Plays mad guitar and can belt out anything you throw at him--his voice sort of reminds me of Mac Powell (Third Day-Lead Singer).


He's been playing open mic nights too and just through small facebook interactions, we thought it might be cool to team up and do some together since we had sang together before when I was in high school/early college.


So, then he asked me if I would want to be a guest on his worship team at C1.  And that's when I started to panic a little. Like, hands sweating, might avoid conversations with him in the future because I didn't want it to be awkward when I said "Hell no".


He texted me and asked me if I had a good email to use to get me registered in the program that the church uses to schedule people on the worship team and insert panicked Shelb, again.


Actually, I straight up said, "Don't schedule me for anything". haha Wow, Shelb... Not offering anything up for discussion.


So, at 1:47am, I texted him (while eating a whole pack of beef jerky in bed and scrolling through twitter)... I just explained how once I move back to Kalamazoo I was going to be living with my dad for a few months until I found a place I loved and that my dad was hoping that I could attend church with them as a family and that if I liked it that I might try out for the worship team there.  I said I was intimidated because their church is huge and their worship team is OUT OF THIS WORLD GOOD (and of course, my dad is on their team because, you know, he's also OUT OF THIS WORLD GOOD).


He texted me back which is weird because it's almost 2am.  And he said that he thought I would do really well no matter how good they were! And I apologized if I had woken him up because it didn't really cross my mind that normal people should be sleeping. BUT, I was awake... and my heart was pumpin fast and I just word vomited on him (sorry, Dan).  I would try to explain the way the conversation went down...but I really think it would be best if you just read it, as is--no paragraph form and my scatter brain comments. The rest of the conversation was as follows:


ME:


And honestly, I also need to get my heart right with the Lord! I have not been in an environment where I have felt comfortable weeding through all my emotions because I was scared of how and what I would feel. So. I've not been accessing my spiritual/Christian side very much (if at all) because it hurts. And also feeling extremely bitter because a lot of "Christian" people have bullied me in terms of being divorced and not portraying on my social media that I'm sad about it and that I'm advertising that being divorced and single is awesome. C'mon. I'm not gonna put on my Facebook how sad and lonely I am every day. No one wants to see that and also there aren't many who know the entire situation but maybe they think they do. I'm not really concerned with what others think but it has left a bitter taste in my mouth about really getting involved heavily in a church again because for some stupid reason it has always been the one place where I haven't felt comfortable being vulnerable--and really it should be the one place where we FEEL comfortable being vulnerable. That's a rant. My thought process right now is that I'm not prepared to feel things until I feel I'm in a safe place to--and also that I really just don't want to feel things because it's easier.


DAN:


I totally get it!!

I can 100% relate!!


ME:


Ok cool. 

Divorce sucks man.


DAN:


The problem is - the church takes "God hates divorce" as license to beat up on people. As if that phrase means divorce is the unforgivable sin. It's so backwards!! God hates divorce because of what it puts His precious child through! God is an amazingly loving father first!! That doesn't change no matter what side of the choice to divorce decision, for however Biblical reason or not, that there was for it.



ME:


Boom.



DAN:


I go to church with a lot of people that have all kinds of different things in their past and present that many in other churches would frown on and look down on them for. Reality is - we are all human. Even the frowning people! Especially the frowning people. Which is worse? Struggling with certain areas in life and knowing that you are falling short - or - trying to act as if you are perfect and pushing that need for appearing perfect on everything else?? I'm pretty convinced - by reading about the life of Jesus - that He prefered repentant prostitutes over the most law abiding church goers. He called those church goers a brood of vipers, and line a grave full of rotting bones


You can be as open and honest about as much of whatever you have in your past or present that you think might disqualify you from being ok to be on stage at a church, all you will hear from me regarding that side if things - how much God still loves His precious daughter, how much He wants to hold you and let you know that His heart is broken for you, and how much He would absolutely love to hear you open up your heart to let the love you have for Him come back out in worship - and - how, if you are willing to do so with a mic in your hand, we at C1 would be incredibly appreciative of your willingness to do so. :)




ME:

Trying to act like you're perfect is what led me into such a dark place. It's so exhausting. There is so much freedom in being vulnerable with people. And I feel like the best relationships flourish with vulnerability. Just like we can't fake our hearts with Christ and our relationship with him if we want that relationship to flourish and be pure. I'm not living my life without sin. I'm messing up so bad right now. But. Why can't I be honest with my Christian friends in saying that??? And then in doing so, still know that they're going to love me hard and not abandon me because I'm "too far gone". I'm obviously not "too far gone".... otherwise I do not think I would not be having this conversation. The bottom line is, I want to get my relationship with Christ right. Some people have said to me "you need to go back to your old Christian-like ways". But honestly, I don't want to "go back to" where I was. If I'm going to follow Christ than I want to know that I can be vulnerable and say Hey. I'm not perfect. But that's WHY Christ existed/exists. Rant. 



DAN:


It seems you are in a very good place to me! A place where your heart is longing for a real, living relationship with God, rather than a life of struggling to live up to a crazy list of rules!! And - that's what God wants too!



ME:


I'm really glad I had this conversation. I honestly haven't talked about Christ/Church/my walk with anyone really. As I explained earlier. Because I don't like to be asked the hard questions like "What are you doing in the way of your spiritual walk?" ...because if I'm honest the answer is...absolutely nothing. I'm not in the word. I'm not taking time out of my day to spend time with the Lord. I'm not doing it. I don't know why.  There are parts of me that desire that intimacy but I've been partaking in much more "worldly" activities to fill that void right now. But, if I do live out the Christ-like life, I just want to go all in with abandon. And each time I've made that commitment I've felt that perfection was expected and would never be honest with my church community or Christian friends about my struggles with sin in my life--I wanted them all to think I had it together--that I was the spitting image of a perfect Christian and my life was just great. (Obviously I can't fool anyone now when there is no wedding ring on my finger and I live by myself...) If I come back to church...if I start new with Jesus--maybe this isn't the right choice of words but I don't want to half-ass it!!! Hahaha 



DAN:


We all sin. ALL! Everyone!! What is sin? It's not this list if things that us humans have created supposedly based on scripture. It's simply put, anything short of absolute perfection. We all are there!! We all sin! None of us have obtained perfection! Not me - certainly not me- not my pastor, not Sarah (who has to be the most amazing example of what it is like to have a super intimate relationship with God) - we all mess up!! That is precisely why Christ came, and why He sent the Holy Spirit. Christ paid for the price of our mess ups, and sent the Holy Spirit to help guide us into messing up less - why? Our mess ups cause a distance between us and God - like when Adam and Eve sinned, they hid immediately. God still wanted to hang out with them!! He didn't push them away. He knew what had happened. He still showed up to walk with them in the cool of the evening. He still wanted to be close to them. Same with us. WE (and others that frown on us) step away out of guilt. Jesus provided the payment - created the open door - to walk with God in spite of our mess ups - and Holy Spirit came to guide us to that door. All so God can hang out with us! 


(PS - I can't think of a more "right choice of words" than "half ass" - just sayin)



SO. ANYWAY. That's it.  I don't really want to add much more to this.  Because, right now I don't really have much more to add. One day at a time, my friends. 


xo, Shelby Sue