Honest, ramblings

words about my ever-changing faith

Six years ago I was returning home from training camp for the world race.

World race training camp 2012

It’s funny because at that point my world had been turned upside down multiple times and at training camp it was turned upside down again.

I didn’t know a lot about God then even though I’d been a Christian for 14 years at that point and went to a Christian university.

But it seems that the more “Christian” things I’ve been apart of the more changes I’ve seen happen in myself in regards to my faith and identity.

I don’t think anything I’ve been a part of is bad: It hasn’t in any way, shape or form caused me to want to not believe God or run from the faith I have.

If anything what it’s done is cause me to settle even more into finding who I am outside of the church and christianity. It’s been more about finding who God says I am by the life experiences and interactions I have in daily life.

It’s more about finding out who I am not, through the life experiences and interactions I have in daily life.

When I came home from the world race I was a wreck. Well, I became a wreck about a couple months later. Then, I went to Spain and it was better.

And then I came to Bellingham and the wrecking ball came again.

It’s not even that I have doubted more, because I’ve definitely had times that I’ve doubted more than the last three years.

I think, that my faith and my life, since doing all these “Christian things” has been more about the realization that God, faith, all of those things are so much bigger than people give them credit for.

I don’t make decisions based on my faith, or the fact that I’m a Christian, or my conscious or whatever else you may call it.

I make decisions based on who I am.

And who I am changes. Not because I’m reinventing myself but because I am learning more about myself each day.

Yep folks, each day.

So it makes sense that my faith would turn and grow and change.

I want to take the shame out of reframing your mind. Letting your faith be shaken, walking away for a moment to figure something out.

I know not everyone agrees with me on that.

But, walking away from something doesn’t mean you are running away.

Sometimes, walking away is the only way to guarantee that you are going to stay.

Today, in church, I realized that I have some pillars in my life that hold up the makeshift house of my faith that aren’t necessarily super sturdy.

In non-Christian verbiage, I realized today, that there are pieces of myself, pieces of my identity that I think are major parts of myself that actually aren’t.

I realized today that my identity isn’t based on my faith. And the more I learn about myself, the more I realize that my faith doesn’t make me who I am.

I think my faith allows me to look at things through a different lens just as any set of beliefs would.

My faith does add to who I am, but it’s not the only thing.

And it’s ok if it changes and evolves.

You aren’t less of a human if your mind changes, if you find out more information, if something doesn’t settle with you.

You aren’t less of a human if you allow yourself to grow.

My faith has grown, been stretched, fallen away, come back again and evolved over the past 10 years immensely.

I think in this time in our world it’s more important than ever to listen to what’s happening around you. Listening to your faith, or spirit or whatever and know that we can’t change anything if we don’t allowing ourselves to change.

And know that it’s ok to change.

As humans we grow and change and collect more data every day.

But, even in that and with that I will always be me.

And you, my friend, will always be you.

Honest, hope is a verb, ramblings, Uncategorized, washington whimsy

But we are here, together.

I’ve been staring at my blank screen for about an hour.

I’ve written three or four different beginnings and deleted them because I had no clue where they were going.

I’ve pulled out my journal and jotted phrases, I’ve pulled from conversations this week that have shaken me and provided me no answers but just the assurance that I’m still going and I’m still here. I’ve pulled from moments of wanting to punch people from their ability to challenge me to my feet.

I don’t think people read my blog for answers.

I think maybe they read it because I flood their newsfeed with links, others read it because they are kind humans, and other read it because hopefully to see if what I am saying is what they are saying too.

I’ve been taking a lot about (or a lot around) God these days.

God and I are currently in a season of life where our relationship doesn’t work the same as it used too. So, we (me) are trying to figure out what it looks like now. In reality I am choosing to believe it’s because it’s deeper than it ever has been.

When I write I try my best to relate to people where they are. I try to use broad terms and illustrations to remind as best I can that we are all human.

I try to make sure that people who read this, be it people who see me on a daily basis or people that have seen me in months or people that have never met me, know that on a basic level, I am always ok.

The ok may be shaken sometimes but it’s always there.

The season/process/chunk of life I’m in right now is definitely a “shaky ok” kind of season. Mainly in terms of my faith, and my relationship with God and my inability to receive beautiful soul-filling words that are currently being said to me.

All the things in my life that used to work aren’t working anymore.

And so, I write for you from the middle.

I write from the middle so that you know that the middle is ok.

That these stories and processes and lives we are a part of creating are good and beautiful even when they feel ugly and hopeless.

I share my stories and my beliefs or lack thereof to show you that we aren’t that different whether you believe in my God or another God or nothing at all.

I don’t know what the answer is for me right now. I chose not to go to church this morning hoping to find some semblance of a response and was met with silence.

But, I know that silence wasn’t actually silence. It was incredibly loud in actuality.

And I say that for this reason: what may feel like silence isn’t. What may feel like the universe or god or whomever isn’t responding isn’t that. There is something there. I swear.

I don’t think people read my blog for answers because I sure as hell don’t have them.

So, whatever you are going through, whatever seems insurmountable, whatever doesn’t seem right or true or hopeful.

Know that you are the thing that is hope.

You are the thing that can get over the mountain.

And maybe, all you need to know, is that we are here, together.

Honest, ramblings

The season in which I don’t write

When I write I untangle things. I figure out thoughts and processes. I give myself space to delve into whatever is going on in my head and sometimes, not all the time mind you, but sometimes I do actually in fact figure it out.

I haven’t written for a month. Not on my blog, not in my journal, not anywhere.

I haven’t paused long enough to attempt to figure out all the things.

But, today, with the huge task of moving houses behind me, I’m attempting to pause.

I feel like I’ve been waiting for a long while. Waiting for a change in the wind, a change in my day to day, something, anything.

I’ve been waiting to feel something fresh.

I guess I should add that when I write to untangle something it also feels as if I am writing to talk to God.

Whatever it may be about, whatever I may be dissecting, I am writing so that you, the reader, can be brought into it, see if it hits something in you so that we, together, might figure something out.

But, I am also writing as if God was sitting next to me.

I shared during a worship night last week at my church.

It felt very out of place for me. I told people I was nervous but in reality I just felt sort of like a fraud. And as people came up to talk to me about what it meant to them it very much was impossible to take those words in.

I think part of the reason I haven’t been able to write this month/year is because it feels like God and I aren’t on speaking terms. We’re currently like those friends you have on Facebook that your “see friendship” function just holds a time capsule of “happy birthday!” back and forth with no tagged pictures or hilarious Mean Girl memes on October 3rd.

And when I go to write I am reminded of that.

Each time I’ve gone to write my brain fills with my failures and with to-do lists I haven’t accomplished and newsletters that have yet to be written and curriculum I haven’t planned and “do I have any clean underwear?”.

There is no space in my brain for words.

I’ve been in this place before. Wherein I am incapable of teaching myself. Hear for myself. Cheer for myself.

But, can I tell you something?

It’s ok.

Why?

Friendships, relationships, sense of self, identity, grow with us.

If I’ve learned anything about myself in the last five years is that I’m going to keep meeting myself. I’m going to keep meeting God however that may look. I’m going to circle back around to things not because I’m a failure but because they are the flip-sides of my strengths. Anxiety in certain situations will pop up- not because I’m weak, but because I have the capability to battle them.

So, long story short, I think I haven’t been writing because I have been scared to say I have nothing to say. That’s what this season feels like. And it feels weird that I essentially just wrote 500 words on why I am not writing, but I think I did this so that you would choose to do whatever thing you aren’t capable of right now.

There is something in you that you put out into the world that means something. Be it running a play group, preaching, writing, singing, leading

– any of it.

There is more to me then what seems like pure inability.

There is more to you as well.

Even if right now, in this moment, it doesn’t feel that way.

I swear, we got this.

Honest, ramblings

Practicing my practice

It’s an interesting place to be in when you sit still for the first time in awhile.

Not on my bed, or in front of Netflix or paperwork or a project. But just sitting, still, with nothing in front of you but space.

I have a new tradition in my life that may sound sad, but really, it’s not.

The new tradition is this: every Friday I have to change into my bathing suit to go swimming with my tiny humans. It’s normal at about 9:30 and I take my coffee into my storage closet and close the door.

But, I don’t turn on the light. I stand, in pitch blackness for at least two minutes. Breathing in and out and drinking my coffee. I did this for the first time on accident. I shut the door without turning the light on and was quickly enveloped in darkness and an intense sigh escaped my body.

The absence of light brought me completely relief.

That sentence sounds like a conundrum really. But in my overly sensory laden environment I’m in every day, being in a pitch black room is heaven.

I’ve been sitting here, at redlight, for over an hour. I’ve started numerous different blogs, I’ve started text conversations, I’ve only had one mimosas and I’ve stared a blank screen.

But now, I came back to this one, these first words I wrote.

Here’s what it is: I’m struggling with depression right now. Depression, coupled with anxiety, with some winter blues to mix it all up.

I don’t like to talk about depression and anxiety because people have opinions.

(Including myself)

There are so many schools of thought on depression and anxiety. So many books and methodologies and experts.

Now, as a human who lived with two people who were in grad programs for clinical psychology (shoutout to A3), I know that there is hope and help and all the things dealing with depression.

But, that doesn’t make me any less prone to talk about it.

There a few types of seasons that come up in my life that cause me to want to shut my mouth.

Because I’ve been through it before, because people have helped me before, because shouldn’t I be able to solve my own problems.

We live in a society that tells us to figure out our own issues.

Fake it til you make it.

There is a time and a place for faking it til you make it.

Because, yes, we just have to get through the day. I have tiny humans who need me to show up for them each day. Routines and a schedule and transitions that have to happen every day.

But, what are you going to do when you stop?

I binged watched a show on Friday. I haven’t done that for awhile. I watched the entirety of the first season of the reboot of Queer Eye. (No but really watch it)

And I cried.

It was the loveliest reminder of what it looks like to care for ourselves. To do things that bring us life. To take time to fill ourselves up. To take time to live.

I am a human, who has for the past 10-12 years, struggled with depression and anxiety.

I’m not defined by it.

It’s not who I am.

It’s just something that rears it’s head in some seasons more than others.

The things that pop up here and there don’t define us. They don’t hold us.

We are still us.

Honest, ramblings

a letter to those who have no hope for the holidays

Dear friend, 

I want you to know I get you.I don’t understand or know your circumstances. I don’t know the deep places of your heartache.

But on a soul level; I get you. 

There are a lot of times in life that dealing with a gamut of heartache sucks.

Anxiety, grief, loss, singleness, depression, estrangement.

All of those are magnified during the holiday season.

Even just finding a template for a Christmas card was a glaring reminder of my relationship status. Every template featured a happy couple, a new home, a new baby, a diamond ring.

But, this isn’t a blog about that.

It’s just an example to you.

I get heartache.

On so many levels.

And I know that yours is oh so different. 

Your story, your heartache doesn’t match mine.

And mine doesn’t match yours.

But I guarantee that there are at least two people around the table with you who could say the same thing.

Who get you.

What I am trying to say is that you are not alone.

And I know that’s hard to read without rolling your eyes.

(It’s hard for me to write).

Because when you are physically alone it’s hard to remember. When you feel alone it’s hard to remember that. 

But it’s true. The beautiful thing about humanity is that even if it’s just the person in front of us at the grocery store, or the barista who makes are coffee- we are not alone. We all have stories and frown lines and spots on our pillow from tears.

We just have to fight the battle to remember that.

I have to fight the battle to remember that.

So, here’s the deal: I want to challenge you.

I want to challenge you to find a new way to infuse joy into your holidays. Make a new tradition, revamp an old one.

I want to challenge you to laugh. 

And be ok with laughing.

And lastly, I want to challenge you to be ok with crying. To not feel shame in telling a story around a fire.

To not feel shame in taking moments to yourself or sitting in the dark with just the Christmas tree on.

Because when there is a heartache so great that it comes to you in times of joy, I believe, for the most part, you can find joy on the other end of that heartache.

Don’t put yourself in a box of heartache this holiday season. 

You aren’t defined by that heartache. You aren’t ruled by it. It’s just one of the colors in your picture of life.

It’s not all that you are.

Even if it feels like it.

And if you ever feel alone, just remember me, in rainy, blustery Bellingham. I’m with you.

I’m for you.

This holiday season will be new. It may still have heartache but if you need some I am holding some hope for you (and cinnamon sugar almond bars).

With love,

Meghan 

Honest, ramblings

the leaves always CHANGE

Today, I was standing in church during worship and I had this moment where I felt like myself.I don’t know how to describe it really.
In that moment it didn’t matter who was around me or what I was doing, I just knew who I was-all the way to my toes.

I’ve been playing around with being called Meghan these days. It’s not a big deal, I’m not going to make people call me Meghan or Meg, they can call me whatever they want.

There was a few years there that being called Meghan brought me a feeling I didn’t like. It brought me a feeling of years of insecurity and sadness and depression.

My debit card obviously says Meghan so places that I frequent; a coffee shop, a bar, people call me Meghan.

So when people ask if I am Meg or Meghan I say yes. Both/and. 

And it got me thinking:

Do we give people the space to discover who they are because it seems like they should know?
It’s funny to me that as we grow we are called to make so many decisions without knowing even a percent of the information out there. And that’s fine, discernment, intuition, and going with your gut are incredibly important.

But what if when you turned 18 someone handed you a piece of paper and you had to write out all of the food you liked. 

And whatever you left off that list you could never eat again.

But then sometimes in your mid-twenties your taste buds change and you are suddenly eating food you never thought.

But wait, you aren’t because at 18 you decided what foods you’d eat for the rest of your life.

We have to do that a lot. From colleges in new cities that become homes to college majors, to first jobs that we find ourselves in ten years later. 

We don’t give people space to discover MORE of who they are.

People are fearful of changing their minds, even once.

Yes, there are people that abuse it. They change and bounce all over the place leaving others in the wake of their change and “discovery”. The people who’s resumes look like a not-so-greatest hit album. The single-in a relationship-single- consistently in your Facebook timeline.

But, because of those, the ones who have things happening in their lives and stories that cause them to be in constant motion, the majority of us sit in fear of grabbing onto something new about ourselves.

I will be the first to say that my conversation views have molded and changed immensely in the last 3 years. That things I believed and thought were “right” in college are very different now. That I’ve realized my viewpoints were based in fear and not love.

As silly as this is, my style is immensely different. I’ve walked into a few stores recently and realized that not only do I not want to wear clothes from stores I’ve purchased clothes in for years, but also I simply don’t understand them.

When I claimed Meg four years ago on the world race, it was like I was drawing a firm permanent line in the timeline of my life.

I know it means something right now. That I’ve been introducing myself as Meghan. That I’ve been allowing that piece of me to sink into this part of the story.

That I’ve been trying to give myself space to realize my story, my life is ever evolving.

So, when I started on this train of thought this morning in church, which coincided with the first message on story, I realized that not only was I not giving myself consistent space and grace to evolve and move and change, I wasn’t giving the people in my life that space either.

It would be like me telling the leaves on the trees that they have to grow back exactly as they did before. That even though a part of them was dying and changing, that they had chosen that path so they had to keep going on it.

If I ever haven’t given you space in your story to find something new, I sincerely, sincerely apologize. You don’t need that from someone else since I’m pretty positive you already give enough of that doubt and lack of grace to yourself.

I’m trying to decide what this in me. Who I am separate from my life as a teacher of tiny humans.

But, I feel something I’m supposed to grab onto is right in front of me. And it’s scary because the world has already told me that this is who I am.

I am Meg and I am Meghan.

Let’s choose this week, to be who we are, and give ourselves the ability to keep being and changing.

Let’s not miss something new, because we’ve decided we have no place for newness.

Honest, ramblings

I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes

All I wanted to do today was sit in my favorite bar and write about how I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes. I wanted to write about not liking them and fall and the darkness that it brings.

I wanted to write about the changing of seasons.

But, all I can think about right now is the bridge I have in my written words.

I’ve learned a lot in my life from mentors and fatherly figures. I have nuggets and advice and wisdom that cycle through my brain.

I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I am incredibly fortunate to have people who choose to make space in their lives to speak into mine.

One of those I reference often is Andrew.

Before I met Andrew I was slightly terrified of him. For multiple reasons, but one main being I didn’t used to/still don’t sometimes, feel comfortable around men in authority.

The first time I met him, a story I’ve told many times in writing, was in a pub in Mijas, watching a World Cup game. I was alive with nerves to start my first day of class and the last thing I wanted to do was meet this man.

But my friend Tiffany made me.

And the first words Andrew ever uttered to me were “Welcome home”.

I say this because I had chosen to trust Andrew because Tiffany did. I borrowed some trust from her just to get to Spain.

Andrew has since then given me a lot of wisdom and even more so he’s given me love.

He taught me a lesson in trust that has stuck with me for a long while. Trust is a bridge. Some hold more weight. Some hold less. But they still hold something.
I had to build a lot of trust in Spain. I had to learn how to trust men in authority. I had to learn how to trust my voice and myself. I chose to trust people that I didn’t think I would and those humans have made my life more full than I could have imagined.

But, the thing about bridges is that they need maintenance.

I was having a conversation with my friend Krys in a loud, karaoke-filled, restaurant about my ability to trust people.

And I have come to realize that I’ve let my bridges get pretty threadbare.

Vulnerability and trust take more practice and maintenance than I have been giving them

I’m not saying I don’t trust people.

What I am saying is that I struggling lately to extend my ability to trust.

I am great at borrowing trust. I am capable of trusting humans because someone I trust, trusts them. Hell, the sole reason I am in Bellingham is because people I trust, trust the people here.

I think the problem is I’ve been living on borrowed trust.

I’ve been building bridges on top of other people’s already built bridges because that, my friends, is the easiest way to not get hurt. I am pretty discerning about who NOT to trust. I know when not to share.

But, that moment where I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I need to share a little more, be a little more, give a little more, I know that I am not walking on the bridge that is built.

When you are in a season of building something, be it muscle, or skills for one thing or another, you can’t just keep doing the same thing. You can’t do the same exercise for weeks on end and expect a different result.

You have to find ways to stretch yourself.

You have to push your comfort zone and create new ones along the way.

And believe me, I know it’s hard.

I’ve been in more anxiety filled conversations than I’d like to admit these days, I’ve been in situations where I push past the curl up in a ball feeling to be present.

I WANT to trust.

I want to build bridges and practice vulnerability.

I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes. That’s surprising to some. It’s surprising that I, Meg, one of the most basic white girls some people know, doesn’t like the most basic beverage of all.

And it’s surprising to some that I walk in anxiety, and a lack of vulnerability.

But, I’m working on it. Again, still, probably always.

I am not working on liking pumpkin spice lattes though.

It’s not going to happen.