Monthly Archives: March 2013

Feel the Burn

Sometimes I feel like a burn victim.

Let’s be honest. Words hurt and actions can scar. We try not to let them get to us, but we flinch and squirm as if they are physically hurling balls of fire in our direction. And when fire scorches us, we feel the burn.

Sometimes I feel like I’m walking a path where the people around me hold torches. With each harsh comment, whether intentional or unintentional, it’s as if their fire is being directed at my skin. And the more I walk forward, the more times I get burned.

“You’re not good enough.”

“I’m busy, I don’t have time for you.”

“I hate it when you do this…”

“I don’t like you.”

We try to stand up, be strong, not let these things get to us, but at the end of our day it seems we look more like a burn victim then a resilient soldier.

Recently I was talking to my friend about first and second degree burns. I’m not sure why this particular topic came up, but I mentioned how big of a baby I am when I burn myself on a stove, I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to have my matchesentire body engulfed in burns. My friend said that some victims are in so much pain that they often don’t feel anything at all, it’s like their body knows to protect them from it.

It got me thinking about how we do this when we get burned by the people around us. In an effort to keep ourselves from getting hurt, we train ourselves to become numb. At least I do. But lately, I’ve been noticing the more numb I get, the worse I feel about myself.

Like I said, sometimes I feel like a burn victim.

In the past 12 months there have been a series of fires. People saying things that hurt deeply, friends that have taken advantage or for granted, confidants who’ve betrayed and close relationships who seemingly cease to exist. And as I stock each memory in my head, I feel my heart turns numb, stubbornly refusing to let anyone else in. After all, if you can’t love, you can’t hurt.

When I was little I was quite fascinated by snakes. The fact that they can shed off their creepy little shell of a body and come out with new skin, leaving the old behind to waste away is pretty incredible. Our bodies have a similar “cool factor” in its ability to heal from burns. Depending on the degree of the burn, our skin knows how to repair itself, scabbing until the skin heals before falling off.

There really is no guarantee in our lives that we won’t get hurt by the people around us – especially the ones that we love the most. And just like when we get physically burned, sometimes these emotional burns will scar more than others.

I think we can learn a lot from the line “feel the burn.” We can spend our entire lives building up brick walls, cementing ourselves away from society, vowing to protect ourselves from pain, but it won’t change anything. What you’ll find is a closed in space. Honestly, you’ll probably get claustrophobic. And when the fire catches up to you, even bricks and stones can’t stop it.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s something really exhilarating on not holding your pain, in dealing with it, letting it hurt for a little bit and then letting it go. It may seem like a more painful route, but what we’re doing is allowing God to be in control of our situations, our heartaches and our disappointments. We may not be able to handle these flames, but God can.

Sometimes the most painful thing in these ‘fire’ moments is having to acknowledge that things are out of our control. We can’t control the way people think of us, how they treat us, how they love or don’t love us – it’s out of our hands.

I’m not saying we should be superman. I’m not saying if you take certain steps, you can avoid getting hurt altogether. The Bible tell us that this world will bring us troubles. We will walk through fires but God’s promise can give us hope. Yes, we may walk through fires, but we will never have to walk it alone.

The more I think about being a burn victim, the more I see how often it’s me that’s been putting myself in this cast. I’ve let the critics hurt me. I’ve cared more of what others think of me than what God thinks of me. I let myself feel abandoned when people don’t make time for me. And the more I let myself wallow in it, the more vulnerable I am to being hurt again and again and again.

So, I’m trying something new, I’m going to start embracing the fires. The hurts. The disappointments. I’m accepting these as my moments to learn from them and hopefully one day I can pass these lessons on to others along the way. And when the flames come in, I won’t continue to fuel it with my bitterness. Instead, I’ll lean on my loving Father who is walking in the fire with me.

And of course, I’ll check myself for matches.

One Tweet Won’t Change Your Life

There’s a plaque hanging in my house that reads in gold letters, “’One Shoe Can Change Your Life’ – Cinderella.”

img1I like the plaque because the story of Cinderella is one of my favorite fairy tales. I like that whole “someday your prince will come” idea, it gives me hope that I’m not going to die alone surrounded by cats and spiders. (I would never own a cat, but I feel like cats and spiders belong in the same category of singleness, don’t you?). I know there are a lot of girls like me who hopelessly embrace the romance of the story and for good reason, because like I’ve said before, we all deserve an amazing story.

I love a good story. Funny ones. Emotionally heart wrenching ones. The ones that make you laugh so hard that you cry. The ones that restore a glimmer of hope in humanity. Stories about Pandas or macaroni and cheese. I love them all. The key is the person telling the story and when you’re in the midst of a good storyteller, listen up because it’s going to be a good one. I’ve mentioned before that when I meet couples, I love hearing their story. The good ones are always nice, well rehearsed and almost synchronized conversations where the couple rehashes their “how we mets” all the way to their “and the rest is history.”

For the most part, these stories make me happy. But sometimes, it makes me anxious and a little bit annoyed because I’m still in what seasoned couples refer to as “The Waiting Season.” I think waiting can give us a form of cabin fever. What’s worse is that no matter where we turn, couples are making us vomit with their hand-holding-giggling-hysteria. But one of the dangerous things about the vulnerability is that in a haste of our impatience, we try to take matters into our own hands.  And with the help of social media, we start writing our own fairy tale.

A little while ago, I began harboring a crush on one of my friends. For the purpose of this story, we will call him Sherlock Holmes. My crush on Sherlock was one of those stupid, schoolgirl crushes. Everyone who knew about it knew nothing would ever come from it, but I had to do some good ol’ self sabotage to figure that out myself.

On occasion, Sherlock would innocently message me online and we would talk about what it was like to have a killer mustache, his recent mystery case, his pet peeves about Watson and why he is so ridiculously awesome. There was a pivotal moment in our friendship when I started finding myself developing a crush on Sherlock, then after that, I couldn’t talk to him without blushing and making inappropriate Asian jokes. I could tell Sherlock didn’t return the sentiment, but I made the excuse it was because he didn’t really know me. And if he knew me, he would love me, I was sure of it. (Cue crazy girl music).

When Sherlock began following me on Twitter, I saw it as an opportunity to shine. Each tweet became a calculated 140 character attempt to prove my worth to him. Even Facebook photos were posted in hopes of catching his eye. Maybe if he sees I play tennis, he’ll like me. And so, naturally, I had a tennis photo shoot. Maybe if he sees I can wrestle a bear, he’ll like me. And so, naturally, I had a photo shoot wrestling a bear.

And after that, I posted a photo of me recovering in the hospital.

My attempts may sound a little over-the-top, but we are all guilty of this in one way or another. Nobody posts things onto their social media outlets in hopes no one will see it (that’s what diaries hidden in mattresses are for). We do it to be seen and heard and accepted and wanted. We look for validation through the amount of ‘likes’ we get and add up our self-worth based on the amount of followers we’ve accumulated. What’s worse is that we have somehow convinced ourselves that we must prove how awesome we are through the many outlets of social media. We over compensate. We’re extra charming and funny and brilliant, yet down to earth, but here’s the brutal reality – one Tweet won’t change your life.

It turns out, people don’t really fall in love through social media postings. Trust me, I asked around. I came to the realization that during my Twitter desperation, I had became an obnoxious robot version of myself. Honestly, I don’t want my story to be about having to prove myself. I realized that I don’t need to put my heart on display for Sherlock or any other guy out there. I deserve better than that, so do you.

If you’re a single girl, you’re probably looking for that magic life-changing shoe to unlock your cage of singleness, but that doesn’t mean we need to change who we are. Even Cinderella didn’t take her glass slipper and knock Prince Charming over the head with it until he saw she was right there in front of him. There are greater things in life to invest our time in like intimate quiet times and deep relationships, these things of substance far outweigh the Tweet that you just posted.

One of my sweet, wise, Godly male friends said, “The kind of girl who will win my heart isn’t the girl from the magazine. She will be the girl so in love with God and chasing after Him that I will have to run after God just to stand a chance with her.”

There’s the secret ladies. The kind of man worthy of sharing a story with you isn’t the one left behind picking up your lost glass slipper. He won’t be sitting behind a computer trying to “figure you out” through your Tweets or suddenly realizing how awesome you are because of the cute photo you posted on Facebook.

No.

The amazing guy – yes, the one people like Nicholas Sparks write epic stories about – is the one that owns a pair of good running shoes. He is the kind of guy running after the same great author of Love and not getting caught up with the distractions of social media. As he’s running, he’ll suddenly look to his left and see you running by, and like a line out of a great story, he’ll look down at your feet and say, “You should probably go ahead and kick off those glass slippers so we can run a little faster together.”

I think Cinderalla was onto something with her shoe theory, because that sounds like a pretty great story to me.