Thursday, February 18, 2016

Life Sucks - and that's okay?

My dad sent to me what I thought was a completely random New York Times article titled "Death, the Prosperity Gospel, and Me"

What the heck dad? Are you trying to subtly tell me you are dying? I ignored the article for a little while but today I finally sat down and read it.

Let me explain to you that my dad has the sixth sense to send personal emails, articles, etc. at about the time I need them. Heck, I don't even realize how much I need them until I read whatever he has sent me.

I read the article which is about a woman learning she has cancer. She has been studying the American church and the Prosperity Gospel - the idea that if you believe in good things you shall receive good things. She calls out the #blessed (which I have always found incredibly silly because you are self promoting yourself then trying to end it on a humble note) because there is an underlying assumption that we deserve to be blessed.

When I read it I thought "Oh, this is just dad helping me see how culture can influence and be influenced by Christianity." Me being open minded and progressive I found this intriguing and moved on to thinking about the coding I need to complete for a lab that is due Monday.

Not five minutes later I am still thinking on this subject. How on Instagram we strive to take the perfect shot. I will give up on a posting a selfie if I can't think of a good shot. No one is ever going to take a really ugly picture and post "This is how I feel. Today just sucks. #grumpy" No! Even "no make up" shots have beautiful natural light that makes one's skin positively glowing. We strive to put forth a happy, joy filled life to the world.

So back to me. This season in life sucks. I am living with my parents (shout out - they have been supportive and loved on me so much I can't believe how much they have proven my expectations to be wrong), am basically broke, and have no idea of what I want to do next.

This is the first season where I have really been adrift. No goal on the horizon and nothing to be passionate about. Can I tell you how I love to be passionate about something? I love that feeling and right now I can't seem to muster up any really joyful emotions.

How easy it is for me to start trying to cheer myself up. "It's okay Elise, you have so much to be thankful for! God knows what the plan is!" I have had many wonderful people encourage me in this season and I am grateful for it.

But maybe I just need to be present and realize that this stress-filled, anxiety driven season just sucks. If I don't acknowledge it I am going to continue to sweep it under the rug and pretend that I see the purpose in this hard season of life.

I am noticing this a lot with yoga. After I got sick two weekends ago I have done yoga maybe 3 times. I push it aside because I don't want to do it and then get angry when I go to bed. Great Elise, another failure - can't even get your "Year of Trying" off to a promising start. So what's the point?

My natural inclination right after saying all that is to offer a positive spin on life. But in reading this article I am reminded of something Dr. Henry Cloud calls the good-bad split. It is the realization that there is both good and bad and as adults we have to learn to hold those two beliefs in tension. Our inclination is to see a situation, event, or person even as all good or all bad. And in maturing one must be able to understand that life isn't all good or all bad.

I think up to this point I have tried to see this season as all good and force myself to see it in that lens only. My dad in his simple way was showing me "Elise, it's okay that this season has bad in it too. God is not all giving or all punishing,"

So, I decided I needed to write a post about the bad. Both in the month of trying and in this season I find myself. Because if I keep up this "look how everything is turning out great" theme in my posts I am not being honest with myself.

Today I did yoga, today I also do not want to code but I'm going to. There is good and bad today and that is okay.

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