Constant(ly Out of) Control

Duck #85
Have you ever been surprised by your emotions? By your own thoughts? Nine times out of ten, I am thankful for my emotions and my thoughts. Ehh…let’s go with 8…er…7 times out of ten. (Still more than half, but not too crazy. :)) I love the fact that I have feelings about almost everything. I told my boss the other day that pathos was my favorite part of rhetoric–it’s in just about everything. We can’t escape our feelings, y’all! I love the fact that my mind is like its own circus. It has performers (thoughts) that flip and twirl and make the crowd (me) clap and stare in awe. There are curtains that cover the bearded woman or the world’s smallest man (not sure what thoughts these are, but they’re weird). Anyway, my circus mind is a show that never quite seems to end and gets bigger and more confusing the longer I keep thinking to myself. But I know this. I know how I feel and I know how I think. I always have. But lately, I’ve been surprised, startled by my thoughts and emotions. It kind of feels like I should be familiar with what’s going on internally, but it’s been a while since I’ve danced under this Big Top.

This summer has gone nothing like I expected. I’d further explain, but the details aren’t too important. Just know that I’ve been pleasantly surprised and unpleasantly heartbroken very quickly and in a back and forth cycle that hasn’t fully seemed to slow down yet.What’s shocked me the most has not been whats happened this summer, but my internal (and sometimes external) response to it all. I’ve told some dear friends recently that I’m learning a lot about myself. This is good. I should be excited, but I’m not…at least not always. Why? Because I am way, way more obsessed with being in control than I thought.

When you meet me, it’s pretty easy to tell that I’m easy going. I have more of a Type B personality, my room is never as clean as I want it to be, and “organized” is not an adjective that would follow my name if you looked up “Jayna Duckenfield” in the dictionary. But here’s a short list of what would follow my name:

  • Likes to be too aware of self (this is often a defensive mechanism so no one can point out a flaw in actions or character that takes Jayna by surprise)

This summer I’ve learned, rather I’ve realized that I have a strange issue with being told that I’m wrong/getting called out for things unexpectedly. This spectrum is fairly broad. I take it too personally and often immediately try to “fight back” or defend myself so that I can fix the issue or come across as a better person. (And if I don’t say anything out loud, I just internally shame and should all over myself. #ImWorkingOnIt #ImBeingSanctified). It’s kind of like thinking that all of who I am is tied up in what I do and say. The frustrating part of this realization is that I thought I already realized this and “worked through it.” Being a slave to the Idol of People was my brand throughout all of undergrad. (My counselor recently told me that people pleasing and idolatry of the like is something that I’ll probably always struggle with, but learn how to be more repentant of and not as consumed by.*
*(The people pleasing English major in me is kicking myself for ending that sentence with preposition. #lol).

But you see, my desire to be seen as the best version of myself doesn’t just stop with people, it extends to my Heavenly Father as well. This is particularly frustrating, because I know that I don’t have to earn Christ’s love or act a certain way for Him to be pleased with me. Really, I know that on my terms. When I’m aware of my short comings and even my successes I am perfectly capable of accepting and understanding how Jesus and others feel about me. But when my actions, thoughts, and feelings take me by surprise it’s an entirely different ballgame. Like I said before, I like to be in control. It’s a subtle, internal type of control that you might not necessarily be able to notice just by observing me. (Well, now you might be able to because I’m telling you about it, but you get the idea).

I don’t like this re-realization because I don’t know what to do. I’m learning more and more that I really don’t know how to let Jesus lead me as much as I thought I did. But here’s the thing, that’s good news! It doesn’t sound like it, but it is. At the end of my rope of control, stands a patiently waiting Savior who “began a good work in [me] and will bring it to completion…” (Philippians 1:6). What the Lord has set in motion in my life, He will continue to keep in motion despite by best efforts and my worst mistakes. The Lord is not surprised by my actions, thoughts, or feelings. He has not been surprised by anything that’s happened this summer. Through all of my selfishness, doubt, and struggle with control, He has been forever faithful and consistently constant. The best part is that there hasn’t been anything I’ve done, nor anything I could do to change that. I get to be a control freak in the arms of Jesus and be met with grace and mercy. I get to have all the feels and all the thoughts and be covered in peace. I can rest in the good news that I’m not really in control and in fact shouldn’t be. And even though my crazy circus show of a mind will go on, so must the work of my beautiful Savior.

 

[Dear Jesus,
Thank You!]
❤ Amen

 

hello, sweet Home

Post Grad Duck #8

I started typing this blog post and made it to the second paragraph, but then realized I didn’t want to write about that subject anymore. So I deleted it and now here we are…

Last week, I was in Atlanta for the second time this summer. I was there because I had to attend the second training session for my new job as an RUF intern. It was a good week and a reunion of sorts. It was filled with really good moments, and I love when trips allow for those. It’s not the week as a whole that seems to be what’s most enjoyable, but rather the random moments that have been strung together to make up a week; they’re knitted together with lots of laughter and maybe even a few tears. But this post isn’t about my week or even several of its moments, per se. No, it’s about one night during the week. Thursday night. That was the night that some fellow interns and I went to go see The Oh Hellos in concert. The bar was crowded, the gang was a motley crew, and the music…the music was starkly captivating. I say this because I don’t know how else to do so.
If you’ve been to a few concerts, I’m sure you know what it’s like to witness a really good show. One where the band is in sync, the instruments are tight, the harmonies are perfectly blended, the audience is attentive, and everything in the atmosphere is so tangible that you can’t help but laugh. That’s how this concert was, for me at least. As soon as The Oh Hellos came out to greet their fans with some of their beloved songs, the stage lit up–both literally and figuratively.

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Their energy was contagious. Their movements were entertaining. Their voices were enchanting. I remember several times during the concert when I stopped singing along. I halted my swaying to the music, and chose to look around the crowded room. It wasn’t long before I realized how widely I was smiling. Shortly after did I realize that my vocal chords were releasing a cacophonous and joyous sound that got lost in the echo of the other fans’ euphoria. I was lost in the moment…

But then I had a thought. A pesky little thing. While I usually welcome most thoughts (because of how frequent they come) I wasn’t too fond of this one. It was: “I don’t want this to be over.” And just like that, I snapped back to reality. I realized that the moment of the concert was going to end and that the nirvana was going to wear off. Once this happens, there are 2 things to do: 1) Dismiss the thought with a slight scoff  2) Let the weight of your realization sink in, allotting room for more thoughts to ensue. Naturally, I chose the latter. It was then that I became keenly aware of everything around me. I became aware of the moment. It’s the same awareness that comes when you’re dreaming and then all of sudden realize that you’re dreaming. You’re paralyzed because you want to continue this dream cycle (unless you’re having a nightmare, of course), but know that as soon as you try to move you’re going to wake up.

So I resolved to look forward. Ahead of me was the band. Ahead of me were musicians wrapped up in the same moment as I, but unaware of its ending. Why? Because they were participating in the moment, they weren’t observing it as I was. They were involved, utilizing all they were to create something beautiful. And it really was beautiful.

Then, I had another thought. I thought about Heaven. I thought about how beautiful it will be to one day participate in such glory and perfection. I thought about how Heaven will probably feel a lot like the moment I observed at the concert, but it won’t ever be interrupted. I thought about how amazing it will be to be surrounded be numerous people singing and clapping and laughing and praising Jesus together. I thought about how it’s okay to hold onto the hope for such moments. I thought about going Home.

Here’s to hoping.
Here’s to participating.
Here’s to Home.

[Jesus, thank You for sweet moments.]
❤ Amen

Midnight Nutella

Duck #31
It’s roughly 12am, I’m alone in my room, I’m eating Nutella out of the container (by the spoonful), and I need to process some things. My body is aching for me to go to sleep, but my mind has other plans. If you know me, or have read any of my other posts, you know that I think a lot. It’s a beautifully messy thing. 
I’m currently working a job that leaves little time for personal thought. In essence, I am going, going, going from about 7:45am to 11pm. There are breaks in between, but during those breaks I am usually doing something that is more or less mind numbing because the rest of my day is so thought intensive. I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but I’ve found that my mind lately is combatting its usual ability to ignore personal thought and is trying to breech the surface of my brain with an onslaught of endless questions, scenarios, and situations of the like. 

WHY?!

Nothing is really going “wrong” in my life right now.
I don’t really have anything that I can truly complain about. 
Overall, things are going well. 
But my brain won’t calm down. My thoughts will start at point A and make a circular shape toward point B, but they never actually reach point B. This continues for a while and along the way my thoughts will pick up other thoughts, so this semi-circle gets bigger and longer each time. However, the circle is never completed…

**side note: Nutella & Sam Smith radio at 12am is a beautiful thing. Y’all should check that out some time.**

I’m content. Sort of. It’s weird. I’ve felt like the entirety of my past year of college has been one ‘big problem” after the next. It was easy to pick out life lessons and process certain things because my “issues” were so obvious. Right now, they’re more subtle–well, at least that’s what I’ve come to realize. To the naked eye, it looks like I’ve got all my ducks in a row 😉 (unless you’re one of the few that can see straight past my facade). 

But who am I trying to fool? Why am I trying to fool anyone?

I recently read The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, at the recommendation of a good friend. **PSA: If you haven’t read this book, READ IT!** I don’t want to give anything away because the book is one that not only needs to be read, but experienced while it is read. However, there is one particular scene between two characters that got me thinking. 
Essentially, Character 1 knows something that Character 2 doesn’t. Character 1 knows that Character 2 needs to get to this particular point. The way to get there is through self exposure. Character 2 needs to be vulnerable, she needs to “put herself out there,” but she is afraid.

She says, “But they’ll see me.”
Character 2 responds by saying, “What does it matter if they do?”

What does it matter if people see me? What does it matter if people recognize that I’m not perfect? What does it matter if not everyone knows my name? What does it matter if people observe that I make mistakes? What does it matter if people see my flaws, my scars, my fears, my doubts? What does it matter? 

I’m not concerned with what people think of me. I’m afraid of what people thinking of me. I’m concerned with the weather, I’m not afraid of it. Opinions have too often crippled me with darts of shame and lies; neither the rain, nor the sun has ever done that. 

And how foolish it is of me to run around the cross instead of running to the foot of the cross. Even this post, as marvelous as it is that the Lord has blessed me with the ability to verbally process, is mud in comparison to the refreshing water that is a conversation with Jesus. Why am I even typing? What is the end goal?

GAH! asdlfuaghsdlfkashjdf…..

[Jesus, I’m not even entirely sure what to pray. But I need You more and more everyday. Help me.]
<3Amen