plan

day 26: the flu, pt. 3: contingency plans

Thursday, 3/31/2016 

I never plan for getting sick. I mean, I don’t think anyone really does. “In two weeks, I’ll get the flu…” Uh no- that’d be weird. 

But before my brain surgery- I always had a plan for getting sick. Because I didn’t ever just get “normal people sick.” If I got a common cold, or the flu, oh holy Lord… - double the pain, uncomfortability, and frustration felt normally, and we’re in the outskirts of the ballpark of what my friends and family have lovingly dubbed “beckybrain." No lie. Your brain being strangely positioned will do that to you - both the pain and the horrible nickname. 

So I had a plan: icepacks. If I could strategically headband (yeah, those stretchy workout ones) 2-3 children’s lunchbox icepacks to the base of my head/neck, I could manage for a few hours until I could go home, lay down, put more icepacks on my head, and wait a few hours (aka 6-36 dependent on that days severity) for things to return to normal. 

Because of this, it never occurred to me that there was such a thing as “normal people sick” and that it sucked too. Until this week. And I was not prepared. No plan in place. Totally planned for the crisis, but never planned for the normal. 

This shouldn’t shock me. I’ve never had a contingency plan for my life. Why would I have any type of plan for being sick? I feel like normal people have back up plans. Not me. Which is funny because I think I’m currently living in one - the backup, contingency, never-really-thought-this-through plan. My original unplanned plan, was to be successful in the entertainment industry. That was it. There wasn’t much planning to the plan. So I guess, somewhat inevitably, here I am, living in a contingency plan that I made up along the way. Geez - how many times can I say “plan” in one paragraph?

So, now what? 

Well, I’m still young. 25 is still young, right? Even though, when I was little, 25 seemed ancient and I was convinced that by 25, I’d be a millionaire, a popstar, a business owner, in movies, a wife, a mom, a gymnast, a teacher, have won every award imaginable, somehow have managed to compete in the Olympics, and have met my ever elusive goal of being a teenager? Yeah. 25 is still young.

Yeah.

Obviously those dreams have shifted and changed. I mean, be a teenager? Been there, done that. #winning. So beyond that, what is there…? Just kidding. But they have changed. (Thank God.) 

Some days I don’t even totally know what they are anymore. And I find that everyone around me asks me (and wants me) to define them.

“What do you want to do? What’s your dream? What’s your end goal? What’s your plan? How are you going to make it happen?” 

Well, put it this way. I never in my wildest dreams thought that doing this would fall into the dream category. Writing. Speaking. Sharing my faith. Wanting to be in ministry. “In ministry” - not a huge fan of the term, but I should get over myself - bigger fish to fry, B, bigger fish to fry.  

Having this little outlet to write about all the unreal stuff that God has done in my life, share my insights (hopefully theologically sound ones,) and encourage those who read it… that’s spurred on a whole new dream - a big one. One that still somehow fits in with the old dreams - the changed ones - not the list above. Though some still make the cut. Believe it or not, being a popstar is not high on the list of priorities these days.

And you know what? There’s still no concrete plan. I’ve got ideas and goals. But I still have no idea how it will all fit. Like none. Some days I don’t even know what the next right move is. But I do know that if I make the next right choice, take the next right step, and listen carefully to the next right nagging of the Holy Spirit, I’ll be ok. I’ll be more than ok. 

When I was a baby, my nana gave me “my verse."

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. - Ps 37:4. 

I always found it so encouraging - but I would also get so frustrated. 12 year old Becky’s prayers went something like: Ok Lord, I love you. I delight in you. Why am I not a popstar? 

But now it’s the verses around it that get me. 

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong. For like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. -  Ps 37:1-7a

My nana was the wisest lady I’ve ever met. She passed away before I began the blog - but she was around for the attack and the aftermath. She was around for a lot. When she gave me that verse as a baby, she couldn't have known that it was the first place I would turn when I decided to go on this journey, but that my eyes would fall just barely above those familiar words…

“He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

She couldn’t have known how desperately I would need those words when I didn’t feel righteous. When I felt I was to blame. But Jesus knew. He knew that when I was so angry, I didn’t want to open my bible, I’d need to turn to a place that was easily found. And He knew that when my eyes landed on those words in the verses preceding "my verse," I’d be set free from blame and self condemnation.  

We can’t plan for life. We can dream of how we’d like it to go - but we don’t know the twists and turns - both good and bad. We don’t have a play by play of those we will encounter who are evil. I mean, I never planned to be on a journey ignited by sexual assault. But here I am. And now I’ve got a cause. And one day, the justice of the cause will shine like the noon day sun.

In the in between - I’ve got to continue to trust. To do good. To dwell. To enjoy safety. To delight in him. To commit. To be still. And to wait patiently. I’ve got to be ok with being 25 and being where I’m at. I’ll have to be ok with the fact that I never competed in the Olympics. (The hilarious thing about that is that I have no idea what it was that I thought I would compete in.)

And duh, 25 is young. There’s a lot of time left to do it all - whatever “all” is. What’s nuts is that three years ago, I didn’t have a lot of time left. I was living “on borrowed time” as my doctor said, and I didn’t even know it. So I’d say things are looking pretty freakin great. 

I’m actually not living in the contingency plan- I’m living in the plan. The one God had picked for my life from the very beginning. I’ve obviously taken a few detours - where’s the fun in a straight line - but it’s the path. The life path. I’m in the plan and I’m on the path - and it just doesn’t get much better than that. 

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jer 29:1 

Day 3: tidal change

Tuesday, 3/8/2016

Today I had what I believe will be a key breakthrough in this 52 day journey that deals directly with the negativity issue discussed in day 2. Funny how the universe (or for me, God) works. And the fact that it happened on day 3 only fills me with utter excitement because 3 is my favorite number in the world.

Disclaimer: when it comes to this blog, the deepest desire of my heart is that people who share my faith, and people who do not, will read it and identify with it. This post will discuss two things that people who do not share my faith may find weird and freaky, but also may not! If you’re willing to approach it with an open mind (that does not ask you to believe what I believe, simply to read about it) I think you’ll more than likely identify in some way. So, if you can get through like three Bible verses and a little explanation…press on. And hey, why not get weird early on? At least that way, you know what you’re getting yourself into. 

Ok - so:

I think regardless of faith or religious beliefs, most people believe that there is good at work in the world and there is bad at work in the world. Some refer to it as good energy and bad energy. Forces for good and forces for evil, good spirits and evil spirits. How else could we explain things like war or famine or abuse or addiction? In the Christian faith, we believe that Satan, a fallen angel, is the author of evil and of lies and thus arrives a term that is often accompanied by assumptions of craziness or weirdness: spiritual warfare.

In the bible it says,

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, (we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies,) but against the (evil) rulers, against the authorities (of the unseen world,) against the (mighty) powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil (evil spirits) in the heavenly realms (places.) - Ephesians 6:12 - New International Version (New Living Translation)

Humans are spiritual beings, so it makes sense that there would be good spirits and bad spirits, regardless of where we believe the spirits come from. 

Alright,

Christians believe that God did not accidentally drop any person onto earth; that every single human being was deliberately placed on this earth for a purpose <- what’s up Bieber album?

The Bible says that God knew all about us before he formed us in our mother’s womb, that He set us apart for a holy purpose (Jeremiah 1:5,) and that every hair on our head is numbered (Matthew 10:30, Luke 12:7.)

“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ or got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.”  - Ephesians 1:11-12 (The Message) 

Christians often call this God’s plan for our lives. Others might refer to it as destiny. 

So, if God has a purpose for my life, and I ultimately believe that God is good (which despite the anger expressed in recent posts, somewhere deep down I still do,) then I also believe that the purpose for my life is for good and not evil. For joy and not pain. For provision and not lack. And if I believe that satan (or the enemy) is the author of evil, then his goal would understandably be to derail that plan for my life. 

Or in non-faith terms - why would evil forces or negative energy be excited for good to prevail? 

You’re probably like, ok Becky thanks for the religion lesson, but could you get to the point? 

Ok the point is this: I believe that satan’s greatest weapon against the human race is to attack the mind. Or, in other terms, for the bad energy at work in the world to create a mine field of negativity. 

I’ve been pretty transparent about my negative thoughts on this blog so far, but there’s a deeper level to that negativity that is almost embarrassing to admit. Negativity is a kind way to refer to how I’ve been dealing with myself. The more accurate description would be self-hatred. 

I was on the phone with my therapist (yeah, I’m back to that, but this time I’m actually being honest and it’s crazy how much that changes things…except it’s not crazy and makes total sense) and was narrating a recent experience when she stopped me and said, “Wait- what did you just say?” I quickly repeated myself so that I could get on with my story when she stopped me again, “Becky - do you hear how negatively you are speaking about yourself?” The honest answer was - no, I didn’t. I have become so used to the way I address myself, that it no longer strikes me as abnormal. She asked me to expound upon my general self-talk patterns of late: 

  • “You’re fat” 
  • “Your skin - ew, why would anyone want to look at you?” 
  • “You’re a whale.” 
  • “You’ve got so much baggage, no one will ever want to take all that on."
  • “See, there you go f*****g up again. You are SO past the line of God’s actual forgiveness. Prepare for withholding of blessings, big time.” 
  • “You’re SO negative- look at all these terrible things you think - geez, it’s no wonder you’re depressed. You’re depressing."
  • “You’re on your own - good luck.” 
  • “You don’t deserve good things.” 
  • “When will you ever learn? Are you this stupid?"
  • “You’re a liar and a fraud.” 
  • “Can you imagine if people knew that this is how you truly are? My god, you’d have ZERO friends. You can’t tell anyone."
  • “Whey even try for the life you long for? Never. Gonna. Happen.” 

— and then I’d get mad at myself for thinking all of these horribly negative things: cycle repeat — 

My therapist asked me what I feel like is keeping me from the life I want - because believe it or not, this ain’t it! 

The best way I can describe it is this: I can see the life I want. I can picture it vividly. I can almost touch it. It’s just waiting on the other side of this impermeable, multi-layered plexiglass wall.  I’ve tried bulldozing it down, walking around it, punching it, body slamming it - and nothin'. It will not budge. She asked me, “if words were written on this wall, what would they be?” 

     hopelessness 

     give up now 

“You know what? That is not your voice and that is not the voice of the Lord,” she said. "That is the voice of the enemy. What would God say in response to all those statements?”  (Go with me here, y’all - I know to some of you, this is SO WEIRD.) 

  • “I’m a child of the most high God.”  
  • “I’m a daughter of the King” 
  • “I am set apart for such a time as this” 
  • “I am beautiful and there is no blemish in me” 
  • “I am cleansed, washed clean, and restored” 
  • “I am found” 
  • “I am a lover and not a hater"
  • “I am free” 
  • “I am gifted with a beautiful mind, equipped with love and positivity.” 
  • “I am created with a purpose.” 
  • “I am promised more in this life than I can even think, ask, or imagine.” 
  • “I am a servant of the king.” 
  • “There is a plan, set apart before the beginning of time, for my life.” 
  • “Every hair on my head is numbered and known to God.” 
  • “I am known for all that I am, and I am loved.” 
  • “I am never alone.” 
  • “Jesus is my truth and His voice is gentle."

Without any concentrated decision, the statements immediately switched from what I like to call, you:accusatory statements, to I:ownership statements. Because my spirit recognized the truth on its own. And I felt my heart lighten.  (for those of you who are Christians, I think it’s worth noting that satan is no dummy. It’s no coincidence that the pride surrounding his beauty and intelligence, and his desire to BE God is what caused him to fall from heaven in the first place.) 

It’s amazing how the truth can turn your whole life around. I have been believing versions of those you:accusatory statements since the spring of 2013 without even realizing it. 

Not anymore. 

Tides are changing sweet friends! 

I am committing to amending #11 on my prep day list from “no needless negativity” to “NO negativity - especially in my mind.” Anytime a negative you:accusatory statement arrives in my mind, I will answer it back with an I:ownership statement. 

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.”
- Mahatma Ghandi

I hope that this post was enjoyable and made sense to anyone who read it. While my faith is the most foundational thing in my life, I think that faith so often needlessly divides people - “oh, she believes in something so big that I don’t believe in, that there’s no way we can relate.” I just don’t buy into that. We’re all sharing the same human experience - we’re just sharing it in different ways. 

It’s strange to be going to bed not dreading tomorrow. I can’t remember the last time that happened. 

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