An Honest Poem

I was born on a chilly October night, 26 years ago.
I’m 5’6, with brown eyes, and black hair and my weight is none of your business.
I’m not a dog person, and I’m allergic to cats.
I’m kind of like a baby jumping spider, cute but creepy.
I’m a good writer, listener, and I can carry somewhat of a tune.
But the thing I’m most talented at is avoiding my problems.
I’m an absolute pro at it.
If there’s a problem, I run in the complete opposite direction.
I run to my books and hide from the world.

In books, things happen for a reason.
The plot is set, the character’s path predestined.
Real life isn’t like that.
I could have never predicted the path that my life has taken.
I barely recognize myself these days.
I’ve abandoned everything that used to define me.
So if I’m no longer the student,
the youth leader,
or the devoted churchgoer.
Then who am I?
That is the million dollar question.
Sometimes I feel like I’m 10 different people from one day to the next.
Which one is the real me?
Or are they all me?

I’m prone to melancholy.
Have been for as long as I can remember.
I’ve daydreamed about wandering into a field during a thunderstorm and being dissipated by a lightning bolt.
Like the end of the movie “Powder”.
My therapist calls this a suicidal fantasy.
I call it what happens when I’m alone too long in my thoughts.

I feel broken.
But I’m a Christian and we’re not supposed to say that.
Isn’t that why God sent his son?
So that I can be whole?
Well me and God aren’t really speaking as much as we used to.
I try not to dwell too long on the state of my faith.
If I do, a pain so deep radiates through me that I can barely breath.
I’ll just sum it up in one word, unraveled.

I attempting to date.
Me, the perpetually single girl.
I was always waiting to be better, more prepared, more successful, more perfect.
I always wondered if anyone could ever truly understand and love me, with all of my chaos.
So far it’s been a huge bust.
I was catfished, but isn’t that a millennial rite of passage?

My name is Tawni.
I love indie rock, Mexican food, and spending time with friends.
Even though I don’t know if I really have anything in common with any of them.
My hobbies include:
fighting my inner demons,
pretending that I’m fine,
and overthinking everything.
Nice to meet you.


A week ago I stumbled across Rudy Francisco’s spoken word piece “My Honest Poem” on Facebook and it moved me. You can watch it here and read it here. I thought to myself, I should do one too! It was definitely harder than I thought it was going to be but at the same time oddly cleansing.

 

Photo by Anders Jildén on Unsplash

Advertisements

An Unexpected Gap Year

I’ve made peace with the fact that my education will be on hold for a year, and I have something now that I haven’t had in awhile, a lot of free time.

In spring of this year I experienced one of the worst bouts of depression and anxiety in my life. I was struggling to balance a full-time school schedule, increasing responsibilities at work, responsibilities at church, and just life in general. As summer began I decided to end my work with the church and with no school I felt like I could finally breathe. I caught up on all my tv shows, read a lot of books, and rested when I wasn’t at work. But there were still things to be done, as much as I didn’t want there to be.

There were 3 exams I needed to take in order to be fully admitted into the Teacher education program at my university. I wanted to study for them, I did. I bought the practice tests and the study guides, I scheduled time in my week when I would sit down and study. But when those times came I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. The thing was I dreaded returning to school. I was not ready to jump back into the hectic life of a working student. So I put off my exams as long as possible. My choice had consequences. I would have to wait all the way until next fall, a full year, before I could be fully admitted. At first I was upset, what a mistake I’d made! I was afraid that this dream I had of being a teacher would never come true.

I’ve made peace with the fact that my education will be on hold for a year, and I have something now that I haven’t had in awhile, a lot of free time. It feels like I’m an artist sitting in front of a blank canvas, I can do anything with this time. I can focus on things I haven’t had time to before. So what will those things be? Maybe I will focus on my writing, finish that short story, or join a writing group. Maybe I’ll buy that camera I’ve been wanting forever. Maybe I’ll resume learning to play the Ukulele. There’s literally a ton of creative endeavors on my to-do list and I finally have the time to do them. It’s exciting and overwhelming as I try to figure out what to do first.

All choices have consequences but not all consequences are bad. Sometimes they open doors you never had before.

New Year, Better Me: Pursuing Peace in 2017

It seems that some people have been put on this earth just to try my patience. But it can be done, I’m not saying I’ll never be offended. I’m only saying that I can control how I respond to the offense.

 

 

 “For the one who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good—whether apparent or not]. Must keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from speaking guile (treachery, deceit) He must turn away from wickedness and do what is right.

He must search for peace [with God, with self, with others] and pursue it eagerly [actively—not merely desiring it].”

1 Peter 3:10-11  AMP

 

I am on the pursuit for peace. Peace with God, peace with myself, but mostly peace with others.
Since I’ve been at my current job I have struggled with some difficult personalities, that’s nothing new in itself but when coworkers offended me I would hold on to that offense. I’d let it fester, replaying what they said in my mind over and over. Eventually it would turn into resentment, negative thoughts towards that person, and ultimately unforgiveness. I’d eventually move on but it would take some time, a lot of prayer, and a lot of scripture.

But what if I didn’t have to do all that?  What if I could save myself the time and stress and not let it bother me at all?

Easier said than done I know. It seems that some people have been put on this earth just to try my patience. But it can be done, I’m not saying I’ll never be offended. I’m only saying that I can control how I respond to the offense. I can choose to not to let it take up valuable real estate in my mind. So instead of reacting negatively and harboring resentment and unforgiveness, which is sin, instead I can rise above the anger not letting it disturb my peace.

“Good sense and discretion make a man slow to anger,
And it is his honor and glory to overlook a transgression or an offense [without seeking revenge and harboring resentment]. “

Proverbs 19:11 AMP

I love that verse. It’s my honor and glory to overlook an offense. Nothing is gained from harboring resentment, but by letting it go God can be glorified. How you ask? Well we live in a world that LOVES confrontation. Just watch any reality TV show or scroll through your Facebook feed. There is plenty of videos of fights and vague venting. The world feeds on strife and discord. So when an employee comes for me, they are expecting clapback but I’m not going to give it to them. Instead of reacting with attitude I can peaceably communicate my concerns, rejecting worldly behavior and embracing Godly behavior.
If the conversation does not go as planned, or I don’t think a consensus was reached. I must not take that anger home with me because it will lead to sin.

“In your anger do not sin.” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

Ephesians 4:26-27

On a less spiritual note, letting someone disturb my peace gives that person power over me and that is just unacceptable. I won’t let trivial work stuff control my mood or my day anymore.

One thing I have done to help with my pursuit of peace is write down Proverbs 19:11 on a sticky note and tape it to my desk. Whenever I start to feel irritated or frustrated I read it. I’ve also added asking for peace to my daily prayers.

I’m interested if others have struggled with offense and peace. What helps you get through it?

Lies, Sabotage, And The Way Back To Redemption

When we believe a lie so long it becomes apart of who you are, and you unconsciously spend your life reaping the consequences of this lie.

photo-1456

 

You’ll always be alone.

That was the lie I believed for most of my life. It drove me to many decisions, mostly bad ones. It drove me to the wrong people, to wrong things, and more pain.
I learned recently that the reason we believe these lies about ourselves is because we interpret wrongly painful events in our lives.
So what was my event?
I couldn’t think of one isolated event, my childhood was the event. I had a hard time with making friends because I was very shy, so in order to avoid the anxiety of talking to new people, I just didn’t. I also had a hard time finding kids who I had things in common with which only furthered the gap between me and others. Throw some bullying from the mean girls in there and there you have it, the event.
I interpreted my social rejection into thinking that I was boring, strange, weird, etc. and came to the conclusion I’d always be alone.

When we believe a lie so long it becomes apart of who you are, and you unconsciously spend your life reaping the consequences of this lie.

To escape the pain of my event I dallied in a few unhealthy things.

  • sexual sin
  • isolating myself from others
  • denial
  • busyness
  • distrust of others

When I gave my life to God I thought I was done with these things, but they lingered. Some I eventually was able to completely be done with by God’s grace and mercy, but some new stuff popped up. I became addicted to affirmation from others, mostly men. Male attention was something I had very little experience with. But I guess as I grew into myself it became a fairly regular thing. It was a rush.
All the things that separated me from others in the past were now appreciated. I didn’t know how to handle it, and I came to crave it.
So whenever I suffered a disappointment, or a rejection I’d seek it out before God.

What if that’s not true?

That was question the pastor asked. What if that lie you believed isn’t true?
A simple question that completely rocked my world.
I won’t always be alone?
As my brain pondered the idea my heart rejected it strongly. It only knew the painful memories of the past and it wasn’t ready to be convinced of anything else.

So what I do? How can I undo all that this lie has done to me?
Well I can’t, the past is done I must look forward to what’s ahead. It’s time to tear down the lie with God’s truth.

Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

What concerns me concerns God. He doesn’t want to see me alone and depressed. He knows the deepest desires of my heart and he will give them to me because He loves me and I delight in Him. I renounce the lie and receive His truth.
Moving forward when I feel alone I will go to God, He is my comforter. He’s the ultimate comforter. The affirmation of others is nothing compared to the love and affirmation of my God.
It will be a process, bad habits die hard, but my faith and fervor for God have been renewed.

What is the lie that has kept you bound? I challenge you to invite God in and let Him reveal to you His truth.

 

*photo by Evan Dennis

I’m A Christian, Is That Okay?

So I thought to myself would the people on this website reject me when they see in my profile that I’m a Christian? Would they question my “spirituality” because they assume I have hardened, right-winged politics?

 

bible

 

I’m kind of a hippie/hipster. I love yoga, indie music, loving people, and anything that has to do with freedom. And so I frequent websites and web mags that cater to this audience. I tumbled across a dating/community website for the “hippie” community and it intrigued me. The about me page stated:

Imagine a place where you can feel confident knowing you’re amongst your tribe and the odds of finding love are much higher because you’re surrounded by people who share the same values and lifestyle as you—a place full of positivity, inspiration, authenticity and people who naturally “get” you.

Sounds great right? Positivity, inspiration, and
authenticity. Yes, yes, yes, all of that is right up my alley.  There was also an ad box that said:

“Spiritual not religious”

Okay still good so far, I wouldn’t call myself religious. Religion is more so following rules just because that’s what you’re told to do. Rather I am in a relationship with God and He’s called me to live a certain way and I do it out of love and reverence for Him.

But here’s the thing Christians today are perceived as conservative, harsh, offensive and tell people they’re “going to hell.” So I thought to myself would the people on this website reject me when they see in my profile that I’m a Christian? Would they question my “spirituality” because they assume I have hardened, right-winged politics?

I had nearly made up in my mind that attempting to join this community would be mistake when a wise friend gave me a new perspective. They might make assumptions about me but I could be a light to them and show them God’s love in a new way. Thank God for wise counsel!

I haven’t joined just yet but I’m taking it under serious consideration now that my  anxieties have gone away. I wonder though, how many of my brothers and sisters in Christ have ever have these same fears? Have you ever felt afraid to reveal your faith because of potential backlash?
How do you feel about the image of Christians in media? Let’s talk.

 

*photo by Shelly Hoffman

To My Future Husband

Dearest,

I hope you know I think of you often. Everytime I see a new couple getting engaged and married I wonder when it will be our turn. But as we both wait for God to bring us together, I do hope that you are spending your time glorifying Him. I pray that He is molding you now, while he is molding me. So that when we come together we shall be a marriage that is pleasing to Him. I wonder if you are praying for me the way I pray for you. Do you ever doubt that I exist? I admit sometimes usually late at night I do feel some doubt. It’s not that I have been waiting a long time or anything, it’s just that I am a peculiar girl with a peculiar set of interests. And I have never met anyone of the male species who have moved my heart and shared my interests. I believe that is because God is saving me for someone who I can share my passions with and truly understand them. At least what my heart wants so desperately to believe. I must warn you that at night when I’m left alone to my thoughts I question nearly everything I believe, I don’t know why. I’m always dying to have conversation with someone who will assure me that I’m overthinking things as usual. One day you will that person I talk to. Anyways I suppose I wrote this later because I’m affirming to myself that you are out there. And when we meet I hope you will be so tuned into God’s voice that you will have no doubt of who I am. Until the day comes be at peace when the loneliness comes that I am out there praying for you.

Yours,

Tawni

Creator

As I sit here gazing at your designs I contemplate your goodness.

You have taken the pebble that I was and turned it into a diamond.

Each day you polish me more and more so that I can reflect your light.

To think there was a time when I didn’t have you!

Who else can steady me in the gusting winds?

Or lead me out of a dense forest?

There is no one but you in all your glory.

The greatest artist of them all.