The Goal is Connection, Not Distance

“The goal is connection, not distance” Well doesn’t that sound nice…oh wait.

I’m going to be talking about relationships and I don’t even know why.

Two days ago, my professor Dr. Bourdeaux was finishing up her lecture on the Jesus way of talking in our love and relationships communication class. She ended the lecture by having us all stand in a circle, holding hands, and read off a list of statements about love together in a prayer.

I’m thinking to myself like this is kind of a cute exercise. I’m holding one girls hand, the other girl prefers not to hold hands which is fine. I love praying so I don’t mind doing this somewhat cheesy exercise (it’s a class on love and relationships at a Christian University, you have to expect it to be a little bit gushy). So I’m reading off the list of statements with my classmates and one statement felt like a weight of bricks fell on top of me, the statement said:

“The goal is connection, not distance.”

Why is that such a big deal for me? Why have I not been able to stop thinking about it when I have forgotten all the other statements on the list. When I can’t stop thinking about something, I feel like that is my sign to write about it. I knew that God was perhaps challenging that statement to me because it is something I struggle with. That is, focusing on the connection with people, rather than creating distance.

At work and at school we always talk about how community and relationships are so important and sometimes I truthfully find it annoying. Hearing statements like “we are meant to be relational beings, we aren’t meant to do life alone, we are supposed to share our burdens together, yadda yadda…” initially it sounds great! Like yes! I want to have a ton of friends and talk about our deepest struggles and laugh together in joy and be involved with other people all the time. But then the other part of me goes, well it’s actually scary sharing your life with someone else because at any moment they can betray your trust, and does anyone really stay in your life forever anyway?

This is not to say I am anti social. I’m not. In fact, I love hanging out with people and meeting new people. The problem is not that I don’t like people or making friends. Because I really truly do. The problem is maintaining that connection when things get tough, rather than creating that distance. I distance myself for different reasons. Sometimes I get scared that this relationship is becoming too close and the feeling of being vulnerable scares me sometimes. Sometimes its because of the hurt I’m feeling that I just don’t want to face. Sometimes its for other reasons that are hard to explain. But as we talked about in class, the goal is not distance! It’s connection. Being connected with another human being is so valuable, precious, and is worth more than any silver or gold. We ARE meant to be relational beings. Sometimes it is hard because we are human and none of us are perfect. We hurt those we love, we make mistakes, we have bad days and seasons, we can be selfish, and we go through a lot of emotions. All of these things can sometimes cause harm in our relationships. But when things get tough, you shouldn’t distance yourself. Now, some distance is necessary in certain situations, don’t get me wrong. But distancing yourself away from healthy loving relationships when you need them the most is not healthy. You need to fight for that connection and work to make it stronger. It takes work but it is worth it. That I am learning.

Now I have to share another important lesson I learned about relationships. I met this wonderful man at Starbucks named Vincent a few weeks ago. I have secretly adopted him as my new grandpa.

I was working on hw at starbucks before church, and Vincent and I were sharing a table. He is a professional chess instructor and he was waiting for his student to come in. We somehow got to talking and he was asking me about my work. I told him that I was writing for a church and he asked me, “Oh, you are a Christian?” And I said, “yes sir!”

He too was a Christian and we started talking about faith. Another girl sat at our table and joined in the conversation. She too was a believer. It was a really cool experience to talk about my faith with two people I just met at a coffee shop. Vincent then gave us a specific talk about romantic relationships. I whipped out my phone and began taking notes.

Some things Vincent touched on:

-You girls are worth more than rubies, you are beautiful because you were made in the image of God.

-Some guys go to church to find a Christian girl because she can be easy to manipulate. She wants to serve her husband, they know that, and they can take advantage. Beware of wolves.

-Not all men who go to church are worth your time.

-Watch out for wandering eyes.

-Pray for the man you will want to marry.

-Women have a special intuition. If you feel something isn’t right, pray to God to reveal what is wrong.

Now when I see Vincent, he always reminds me to be careful about what men I am hanging around. He truly is like the grandpa I never had. Everything Vincent told me is what I already know. But the difference is, that it is easy to forget it in the moment. But it really is important to value yourself and know your worth. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you or make you feel less than. And please, stay away from wandering eyes. We all know what that’s like and its not going to change because you get into a relationship.

Remember that you can’t change anyone else but you can pray for them and work on yourself so that you grow stronger in character, wisdom, and love. So don’t focus on trying to change everyone around you, start with yourself!

So this is me talking about relationships, but only because I have gained so much knowledge this semester from my classes, and the people God has put in my life. If I were to give you relationship advice on my own experience, well I might have some what not to do’s and very limited experience to share which is not very helpful. But these people that have shared with me their experience, expertise, and knowledge have helped me learn so much and have shaped the way that I think. I love sharing with other people what I learn.

Only one week left of classes this semester, then a week of finals, and then SUMMER BREAK! It’s crazy. I have enjoyed going to college so much and I can’t believe I’m a senior with only one semester left. The two years are flying bye. I can’t wait to see what’s next in this season of life. It’s bittersweet. But I know that when I graduate, I won’t stop learning ever. My goal when I finish college is to learn piano, finally.

Never stop learning folks! And build those connections!

Love,

Angie

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The In Between

Question Authority. Question Everything.

It has been a fat minute since I have written on here! I just came back from a coffee and movie date with a friend of mine and I guess I’m feeling inspired to write. I have been meaning to write but I can only do it when I feel a burst of energy. So it’s a Saturday night but technically Sunday morning because it’s past midnight. I’m cuddled up on my comfy couch with a blanket and the sound of rain drizzling outside.

Yesterday I was craving donuts so bad. I was telling everyone I wanted donuts. Today I woke up and we had donuts. God does answers prayers people!

But anyway, life is in the in between stage. It feels like a transition but I don’t know what for and that is really scary. I realized that I am someone who loves control and even though I have a tight grip on everything around me, controlling every decision I have to make, I don’t feel like I have control. I don’t know what lies ahead for me and it is a really weird feeling. I have been asking God to lead me where I need to go but I feel so…directionless. I miss a lot of things that I was doing before this year started and relationships I had. Although I know that not all of those things are good for me and that some of them I let go by my own decisions, I still miss them. I believe you should always question everything. Don’t just assume or go with something because everyone else is doing it. The only problem is that questioning doesn’t always leave you with answers. The In between stage…where you don’t know exactly where you’re going is confusing.

I’m not entirely sure if I’m making any sense. Bare with me. I’ll update when I get some answers (if I do).

In my love and relationships class we had to do a love service project. My partner and I decided we would go to the local mall and give out handwritten cards and candy. I had this whole crazy idea of handing out these cards and holding a sign and having conversations with people about their love languages. But let me tell you..the mall is definitely not the right place to do that. Maybe on like a busy Seattle street with a film crew with you so that you look justified by your actions. But not at a mall where people are just trying to mind their own business and chill and shop.

So we downplayed my crazy over zealous idea and decided on just handing out handwritten notes with candy and moving on with our day. It was still a lot scarier than I thought. I got so nervous before passing them out, I started nervous laughing. My partner suggested we tried to go for elderly people because they are usually kind and sweet and we wanted to brighten their day. So we went up to this man who was sitting alone (this always breaks my heart) and we handed him the note and lolli pop and said, :Hello sir! We just wanted to offer you some encouragement today.”

His response with a  blank face, “No thank you.” Didn’t even blink.

can you say REJECTED.

Yeah so in that moment I wanted to just run away but I knew that we needed to complete this challenge. Loving people is not always easy. It’s not always fun or easygoing. Loving people is a choice. The worst part is that you may get rejected and not be shown love back, but that can’t keep you from showing love. I had written an encouraging note and Bible verse in almost all the cards that I had made. I wasn’t sure if the people receiving my note were Christian or how they would take it, but my hope was that someone would feel encouraged that day and reminded of God’s love. And if they weren’t believers, that they would at least have the seed planted.

Some other people rejected our notes too but we still went at it. A funny rejection was when we saw another man sitting alone eating mcdonalds and reading a book. I was like, we have to go to him! So I went up to him and offered the note and he told me that he didn’t hear. Well obviously he did because of his reaction, but if anything, in case he was reading my lips, I said: oh well you don’t have to hear, you just have to see! You know what he told me? I cant see. HE LITERALLY WAS READING A BOOK WITH WORDS. But we respectfully walked away.

Other people took the gesture very graciously. Some people said it made their day and they gave me hugs. I even got a picture with one gal. We gave these notes out to a variety of people. We went into stores and when someone would ask me if they could help me, I’d say no but I’d love to help you have a better day! They would get so excited and their smile would brighten. We gave it to girls my age, young middle school boys, elderly women, older men, workers, shoppers, people dating. We just had a variety of people we talked to and it was awesome seeing their reactions.

Although not all people wanted to accept our little gift, that is to be expected and it is okay. What I noticed in life is that people often love their close family and friends really easily. But they have a hard time extending that love beyond those people or accepting it from other people. But that is what a Christian is about. Christ came while we were still sinners and loved us and saved us. As Christians, we have to choose to love the community around us, even if they have nothing to offer us. That is how we share the gospel, by spreading love. It’s not always easy but it’s important. The rejections we got from people for our project did not outweigh the positive responses we got. It is worth it.

I have midterms next week so if you want to say a little prayer for me, then please have at it! Much appreciated.

Oh and as I’m learning about the five love languages in my love and relationships comm class, I learned that my love languages are different than what I originally thought. I retook the test and found that my top love language is acts of service and quality time. I always thought my number one was words of affirmation. But I realized that my love language for romantic relationships and all other ones are different. For a romantic relationship, I definitely want words of affirmation and acts of service. But for all other relationships its acts of service and quality time. It’s hard living in a world where everyone says: words mean nothing, only actions matter. But for me, if your actions aren’t backed up by words, I have a harder time accepting them. I need to be affirmed that I mean something to someone. But that’s just me.

I’m also moving into a new room in my house. The guys in my family repainted it today. I cant wait to actually move in and decorate it! It will allow me to be more creative again.

Thank you for reading. My thoughts are a bit mixed in this one. That’s life I guess.

Eat some donuts! They are yummy!

Blessings,

Angie

 

 

Sarcasm Makes Life Easier (This is Sarcasm)

I get myself into some very interesting situations sometimes from my sarcasm. Not many people fully understand my sarcasm and how it has a strong connection to my humor. I personally don’t understand boys very much so my main approach to talking to them is by speaking very sarcastically. Often times this can come off as rude or “salty” and people cannot tell when I’m being serious or just joking. But other times people tell me I am really funny and there is not better compliment coming from a guy than “You are really funny.” Well of course he could give you better compliments saying that you are beautiful or have a beautiful soul, and much more..but hey I’ll take funny any day. As long as it’s not funny looking because my friends love to post ugly pictures of me in our group chat but ok I am getting way off topic here! Basically, if you understand my sarcasm and humor, well God bless your soul.

But sarcasm has gotten me into some very interesting situations. Good or bad, definitely makes me look back on life and laugh (sometimes the laughing happens right away, sometimes it happens years after once the initial embarrassment and shock has worn off.

As you can see, although I love to talk about serious things, I also love to joke around. So please take everything in this post with a grain of salt and a light hearted attitude. I like to share my more funny and awkward experiences to show that life doesn’t always have to be so serious 🙂 In fact if you know me in real life I am always laughing and messing around. So this post will hopefully show more of my personality.

Story #1

So one time my friend (who is a boy) was taking me home. He was talking about how I remind him of one of his ex girlfriends because of how we connect through our spiritual conversations. We often laugh because of how similar we both are (but apparently not in all ways!). Often times this boy vents to me about one of our mutual friends who he has a major crush on. After hearing him talk about her for the past two hours and then receiving compliments on how him and I connect on such an intellectual level, I sarcastically/jokingly said, “Why don’t you just forget about (our friend) and date me instead.” This was met with silence and then an awkward serious conversation after. I probably said the wrong thing. He explained that although he thought I was attractive, and we get along great that he prayed about it before and that it wouldn’t be right to mix in the friend group and that he still really liked my friend.

That’s all fine and dandy and I was just like alrighty…thanks for the ride. Good bye!

Was this conversation over? No. Because then a few days later he asked to meet up and we had to discuss again why I said what I said and what it means. I should have thought before I joked out loud. We’re cool now and really good friends. But that was a weird situation.

Story #2

Now last week I went to get bubble tea with one of my friends while taking a break from studying. A new bubble tea place had opened up in the mall. At the check out, the cashier was speaking to the manager and asked him why he had hired him. The manager was laughing and said, “It’s because we see potential in you and because of your great smile.” Well I too started laughing and the manager looked at me and continuing his sentence said, “Just like hers.”

I responded in my sarcastic/joking way, “Thanks! Can I work here too then?”

Well this led to me filling out and application form and having an interview on the spot in front of the long line of customers. It ended with minimum wage being the starting pay so no thank you! But this was a time that sarcasm actually worked in my favor and landed me a job opportunity.

I will not stop my sarcastic ways because well it makes life entertaining and because it comes naturally to me. But I will have to make sure that I actually think before I speak sometimes and make sure it doesn’t come off rude or put me in some weird preventable situations.

This is how I laugh about my life. :))))

Stay laughing,

Angie

 

Stuck In the Same Old, Same Old

“Hey, how’s it going?”

“Oh you know…just the same old, same old stuff.”

Anyone else find themselves in this type of conversation lately? I know I have. Or maybe I have just imagined it. Who knows. But sometimes you get stuck in the same old routine and it seems like nothing exciting is happening.

This last week has been a drag because I was studying for finals all week and could not hang out as much with my friends as I am used to. But today I finished my finals! Woohoo! Summer is about to approach. I don’t know what will occupy my time this summer but the options are endless.

break

This is a picture of me taking a break from studying after Starbucks closed early. Why am I looking out in the distance? I had a great conversation with the barista who I used to have a class with and he wants to apply to my school that I go to right now. And I didn’t leave my phone number. Why. So many RAGRATS. But anyway back to the main point…

Yesterday I spent most of the first half of the day studying after Church because I was scared of my upcoming finals. After studying for what felt like eternity, I decided to go youth and young adult service in the evening and just worship and see my friends to freshen up my mind. After Church service we went to a local beach and some of my friends and I walked along the water with pizza slices in our hands and discussed our summer plans. Thankfully Evelyn was smart and put together a Summer bucket list of things we need to accomplish during summer.

That includes:

  • Camping
  • Fugitive
  • Game Night
  • More Hiking
  • Canada trip
  • Night Swimming
  • Road Trips
  • No boring days

And a lot more things! Summer 2016 is about to be the best summer ever! (Haha we actually say this every year but this year will be different. Mark my words (; )

But in life of course we should always try to embrace the moment and live each day to the fullest that we can. But sometimes thinking about future plans and goals can be really exciting and make you want to go out there and accomplish them. So I thought I would write down some of my long term goals/dreams and see what will come about the future.

Life Plans:

  • Get a Masters degree (preferably counseling)
  • Rent a house and live there for a while with best friends/roommates
  • Get married to the love of my life
  • Travel to Ukraine (the home land) as well as Paris, Iceland, and Bora Bora
  • Publish a book (this would be amazing ahhh)
  • Adopt a child (already looking at possible adoption agencies)
  • Build this blog up

Whenever I feel bored with my life, I try to think of these things and keep myself moving.

Cheers to the end of Finals!

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Hope you have a great rest of the week.

Stay beautiful.

-Angie<3

 

 

 

 

 

Let Us Adventure!

If you love to adventure than let us be friends!

Adventure is such a broad word. To me an adventure can mean anything from going on a hike, to going on a road trip, to getting ice cream at 2:00 in the morning and watching movies. Anything that will lift my spirits and make me feel alive, ya know? Anything can be fun when you label it as an adventure!

2016 has been off to a good start so far with many adventures! One of the first “adventures” of the year was going to Leavenworth on New Years and walking around in the beautiful snowy town. Then came the trip to Portland where Mel and I crashed at Evelyn and Angie’s hotel for the night on the floor. The highlight of that trip was going to a pancake house at 2:00 in the morning, because let me tell you that place was hoppin and poppin! The whole restaurant was talking to one another, strange men were eating fries off my plate. Evelyn couldn’t stop laughing hysterically. It was great.

Now that I don’t work weekends, I can finally go on more hikes! I was never really a hiking person growing up but all of a sudden I’m super into it. There’s nothing like having deep talks up the long way, getting some exercise in, and breathing in fresh air. Nothing tops the beautiful view. It feels great. So far it’s been Rattlesnake Ridge, Poo Poo Point, Lake 22, and Old Robe Trail. I feel like I’m forgetting some but either way, been loving that.

Anything can be an adventure when you’re with the right people. I’ve got the right people. I am grateful.

If you like adventures, trying new things, lets do it!

Anything for the picture right? (;

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Joy in Every Day Life

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“May the God of hope fill you with all the joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” Romans 15:13

Where does your joy ultimately come from? I think we often times get the meaning of joy and happiness confused. Happiness comes when something is fulfilled or brings us gratification and pleasure. Like all emotions, happiness is fleeting and temporary. It’s based on how we’re feeling in that moment and based around our circumstances and thoughts. But never ending joy comes from God. Nothing in our life is constant or forever reliable except for the truth of God. I find joy that no matter what I’ve done or what I will do in the future I am still enough, I’m still loved, and I am still saved. There is nothing that will change that.

When I was in Middle School I started going to a girl’s cadre group. We would meet once a week at Starbucks or someone’s house and we had an older leader provide insight on some spiritual life advice- I guess you could call it. A few weeks ago I was organizing my things and came across an old journal. It was an old journal that I used in those cadre groups to take notes. Even though that group quickly fell apart, there was one lesson that stuck in my heart forever. And I looked back on those notes about joy and happiness. It took me a long time to really understand what it meant to be constantly joyful even when I was feeling inadequate or depressed inside.

Let me just say that whoever is close to me knows that 2015 was NOT my year. I mean a few good things came out of it, I did get baptized not only by water but also by the Holy Spirit. My best friend got married and I got to be a part of the wedding (super cute wedding btw), and I also graduated High School. But in all honestly that whole year pretty much was empty. Or the way I felt inside, well there was not much joy to be found. And I don’t feel like getting into that necessarily right now. But I am happy to say that I feel a billion times better and more positive this 2016 new year.

Joy vs Happiness

So coming out of a slump of a year. Not knowing who I really was. Letting myself be confined to a small box and not really living. Trying to live up to other people’s standards rather than my own or shall I say God’s. I wasn’t getting anywhere. God really put it on my heart to start thinking about where does my joy come from?

I promise you that if you put your joy solely in other people, your heart will get heartbroken. If you rely on your happiness to come from your circumstances, a dark storm will come at some point and you will be left shattered. If you follow what the world says to do in order to be happy, well it will feel good for a little while. That’s why we chase pleasure and instant gratification. But eventually those things will leave you feeling empty.

So I decided to constantly choose joy in every day life. Every day I choose to focus on becoming a better human being, to see the happiness in little things, and constantly remind myself how blessed I am. Even when I have a bad day, even when everything that could go wrong does, even when I’m incredibly hurt, even when I’m insecure, even when I’m torn apart, even when I don’t have money for coffee (jokes..but for real though!), at the end of the day I am still joyful. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter. Just as every storm in the past has gone away, so will this one eventually! And even though this life is hard and the world is cold, God still loves me so much. He still thinks I am worthy to be saved. And he is complete love and truth.

Happiness is an emotion that feels pretty darn good! I’m happy that we are not necessarily happy all the time. If that even makes sense…you see happiness is like a little extra spark or boost. When I drink a yummy cup of coffee, I’m happy. When a boy is nice to me, I’m really happy. When I am laughing my tummy off, I am utterly happy! When something wonderful and surprising happens, well then I’m extra happy! Those little boosts are awesome and what make life worth while and interesting. But happiness comes and goes just as the rest of all the emotions that a human being experiences.

I can’t pretend that I am constantly smiling or upbeat all day long. I am a human as I said before. And I have emotions! In fact I took a personality test in my Interpersonal Communications class which classifies me as an ENFJ personality type. F is for feelings! And that’s me, I feel it all and I think about it all day long. Are you sad? I’m sad? Are you happy? I’m happy. Basically. Some days I am too tired to wake up. Sometimes I feel deeply hurt by a betrayal of another person. Life is hard and it doesn’t get any easier just by being a Christian. But I have come to accept that life is hard but also beautiful because of Christ. So those days, weeks, maybe even years that I feel inadequate inside, I let myself feel my emotions and realize that I have a right to them. But I do not let myself be controlled by emotions that are as fleeting as the wind. And I don’t let myself be utterly consumed by them to the point they control my life in a negative way. I cry it out, I sing it out, I talk it out, I drink a good cup of coffee, and most importantly I pray it out!! And I know that I am okay, and I am joyful.

This life is short. But God’s love is eternal, his grace is overflowing, and living in Paradise with him trumps over anything in this life. I choose joy in this. I hope you do too.

Blessings,

Angie ❤