Let’s talk about prayer!

Today I know what it feels like to be absolutely bathed in prayer. I’m not kidding. The thought literally brought tears to my eyes as I drove to a job interview.

Let’s start at the beginning. (side note: The Indigo Girls is playing on the Musac at Bruegger’s Bagels right now. Best.Day.Ever. Oh Nostalgia!)

Over 2 months ago I applied for a communications associate position for the city of Shoreview. It was a posting my mom found on the Star Tribune website. It felt like a long shot. But Hey! What do I have to lose… right? After reading the job description my heart skipped a beat. It was THE  job for me. Seriously! I had to print out an application, hand write all my information and snail mail it in. I was motivated. The whole idea of this position just felt like it clicked.

Well, 2 months passed… no call. Whelp! Chalk it up to wasted ink. Continue being depressed and worthless! UNTIL!…. bum bum BUM! My phone rang! (do you feel the suspense?) Last week I got called for an interview. I was so excited I skipped down the hallway at work.

It wasn’t long until my excitement turned to fear, anxiety, dread, and self-hatred. I had quite the panic attack yesterday before yoga class about how inadequate I felt and how I think God is playing mean games with me. I learned a valuable lesson yesterday. If you completely lose your mind before you go to hot yoga class you will NOT be able to hold any poses, you WILL cry for the entire class, and your yoga instructor WILL ask you if you’re ok after class. It’s a little embarrassing, but also incredibly healing.

In the midst of a sobbing filled yoga class God and I had a good talk. Well, He listened, I cried. To be honest, this whole unemployment thing feels like a sick joke, hand delivered from God to test my faithfulness. If it actually was, I have failed the test. I am officially broken, bruised, damaged, destroyed. I find no shame is saying God and I aren’t on the best terms sometimes, but it’s because of my arrogance.

As I stand crying in the tree pose with my arms out stretched to the sky while standing on one foot it occurred to me to ask my friends to pray for me. (I love that this had to be a great revelation. How dumb am I?) I have been incredibly blessed with a really neat community of friends who are on my team no matter what I do. They are my supporters, encouragers, co-dreamers, laughing partners, and prayer warriors. I usually forget that last one.

So today as my anxiety was at full capacity I sent out a text/Facebook status just asking for a little prayer around 2:30. I know that I will always remember driving down Highway 10 to Shoreview today, not because of terrible traffic or a meteor falling or anything crazy. I will remember it because of the texts that flowed in with ferocity.

“You’re amazing Laura! I’m praying for you!”, “…Just be your awesome self and you will be just fine. God’s got it!”, “Praying!!!”. I am humbled. Utterly humbled. I am humbled that these people in my life would take a moment out of their day to care about mine. I am humbled that my friends think I’m awesome. (Yes, I’m aware how dumb that sounds.) I am humbled that God blessed me with such amazing people who love me. I am humbled.

I am also incredibly thankful. I have no idea how the interview went. I think it went awesome, but I’ve thought that before… and my empty wallet says I was wrong. What I do know is that God answers prayers. He alone, calmed my nerves. He alone, sent my friends to my aid. He alone, hasn’t forgotten me even though I might be angry.

I’ve always wondered what it feels like to be bathed in prayer, and now I can say I finally know. There is a peace that passes all understanding and today I felt it through every fiber of my being.

Thank you friends. Thank you for your prayer, encouragement and ability to teach me a valuable lesson even though you are so far away. You are loved.

… Rejection

Screw it all. lol. ok, I got that out of my system.

Dear Rejection, 

You officially SUCK! I never asked you to be my friend. I never asked you to be a part of my life. You are an unwanted, un-invited guest to a party that is too awesome for you. You show up when I’m finally out of a funk just to see if you can push me back in that hole. Well, rejection… You are not going to win. IN FACT! I reject YOU! bah! take that.

I hate you. Sincerely,

Laura

Rejection. It’s a necessary part of life, right? We all go through it, whether it’s rejection of our first love, or rejection from a job we thought should be ours, or even a friend who cuts themselves out of your life. I guess the real question is… Rejection, is it a requirement  of a good story?

Unfortunately, I believe it is. I have a good friend named Steve who recently experienced a long period of unemployment. In his many months he collected an impressive stack of rejection letters. He kept each and every one of them with the hopes that they would inspire him. I’m afraid they did exactly the opposite. Just imagine looking at a stack of letters on your desk, each and every one of them saying you weren’t quite good enough… can you imagine that being inspiring? Yeh… me neither. But his collection proved something to me. He proved that each story needs a healthy dose of rejection, it’s how we deal with the rejection that truly defines how it’s written.

I’ve amassed my share of rejection letters. I have an entire e-mail folder of “inspiration” to look over if I ever want to see what I wasn’t quite good enough to obtain. I even have a few letters stuck in old journals from loves that I’d lost because of one reason or another.

One of my favorite rejection letters comes from the first boy I ever officially dated. Matt was a nice fellow, I suppose. Well, he was nice until I dumped him. A few weeks after I shattered his heart I came home from work to find a wrapped package in my mailbox. Sidenote: did you know it’s a federal offense to tamper with the mail system… such as putting mail that isn’t mail in some else’s mail box. Yeh, Matt committed a crime to deliver this beautifully wrapped take-home container from the restaurant where he worked.

After I got past how alarming it is to find a strange package in your mailbox, I unwrapped it only to find a  collection of items  from when we dated. On top of all of them was a hand written letter from Matt. To summarize: Laura, you WERE great, now you’re a terrible person and I hate you. Signed: your friend, Matt… nope, wait, that was crossed out. Then it said: Your used to be friend, Matt. Nope, wait ,that was crossed out too. It eventually ended with just his name.

I say all this not to embarrass Matt, but to explain how rejection is part of our story. I knew within a week of dating him that he wasn’t the man I would marry. Rejection by one of us was inevitable. It’s how we chose to handle the rejection that really mattered.

You can get angry, you can be hurtful, you can say things you will regret, decide to stop trying, yell, scream, cry, decide that you are not good enough OR you can do ALL OF THOSE THINGS and then realize that rejection is room for change.

I’ve been rejected a lot lately. Honestly, I’ve been calling these last 7 months The Rejection Months. The title isn’t really far from the truth. I’ve gone on more failed interviews than I can count. I’ve had horrible dates with men who are far from The One. I’ve lost opportunities that should have been mine. The phrase “good enough” is what all my nightmares revolve around. Will I ever be good enough? Will I ever be the one?

Yes. Yes, I will be. When I received another rejection letter today did I react in anger, tears, and self-hatred? Yes. Yes, I did.

Rejection and I are not friends, we never will be and chances are, I will usually react to rejection impulsively BUT I refuse to let rejection of any form define my self-worth. I’m too exhausted for that.

I haven’t been the right one yet. The right job candidate, the right girl to marry, the right person to save the world, but that doesn’t mean I never will be. That doesn’t mean you never will be. It just means it isn’t our time yet.

As I look rejection in the eyes tonight I keep repeating to myself… Laura, you are good enough. In fact, on a scale of 9-10 of how awesome you are, you are TOTALLY a 10… maybe an 11.

I Have a Choice…

Today I have a choice. I can be upset and stomp my feet, act like I’m 7 years old and say horrible things about what I’m angry about OR I can be an adult, be gracious, forgiving, open, honest, and willing to know that God has a plan and I just need to chill.

Today was a pretty good Tuesday. In fact, a REALLY decent one. I enjoyed laughing with my co-workers, had a fantastic interview for a job I would love to do, and shopped at H&M. All in all… pretty great… Until my dear sweet iPhone delivered an e-mail I knew was coming… but didn’t want to read.

My time working at the church I grew up at is coming to an end. Please note, this is not a blindside. It was actually supposed to happen about 2 months ago. I am not shocked. I am ready, but that doesn’t make it so that I am not sad.

When I decided it was time to live a better story, I quit a great job, left some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and completely changed my life. There is no regret associated with this choice, just a little bit of loneliness.

I’ve been asking God to give me people that support me. Easy request right? Well, yeh, it was. He provided a whole squad of people that have known me most of my life that remembered to encourage me when it seemed like no one else was. In hindsight, it’s been pretty amazing.

Alright, back to Tuesday. I read this e-mail, replied, sighed and thought I had let it go, accepted it, and put my trust in God. That was, until I started trying to transfer my files between 2 laptops. I couldn’t do it! Wait, what? I’m not an idiot, I’ve done this a dozen times before… what in the world?

That’s when the tears/anger/frustration/heartbreak happened. I’m convinced only crazy people cry over not being able to link two laptops via firewire cable. There had to be something more there. It hit me. I was mourning the loss of this odd, little God-given support system. I was getting ready to walk out into the cold world again. Phew, I’m glad I figured that out, because I was ready to find a padded room.

Ok, let’s play a game? Ready? Did I stay mad/crying/bitter or did I get over it?

Do you think you’ve figured me out?

Well, I did a little bit of both. I had a meltdown, complained about how all of my computer cables that work are in a d**m box in the garage, and how my whole life was falling apart, how broke I am, and how much I hate people… THEN I started counting my blessings.

Yes, I am hurt, deeply, that I was not the right choice for this position in a place that I hold so dear to my heart, but how amazing is it to consider the fact that a new person will be able to get embraced by this amazing community? REALLY! I am beyond excited for the person taking my job to meet these people, fall in love with them and allow them to nurture his soul. Pretty darn cool, in my opinion.

I do want to reiterate that I am rarely this positive in the moment of anger/frustration. I am an impulsive, heart-before-head thinker and I usually say terrible things before I get to the good part. I think where the choice comes in is when the smoke blowing out of your ears fades a little.

I always have a choice. I have a choice about where my life goes, how I react to things out of my control, and when I keep a smile on my face. I have a choice of what to say, what to do, and who to keep or cut out of my life. I have a choice of MY actions. I am not a victim. I am a dreamer with the control to be who I want to be.

Do I often react in ways that I shouldn’t? Ummm, YES! Don’t we all? I think the power of choice is found in how we react when the smoke clears and if we are able to force a smile on our face, grind through the tough stuff and know that few things are permanent. Life is a journey, story, adventure…if there were no conflict, no swear words, no moments of anger or sadness, I honestly believe MY story wouldn’t be very good.

Friends…

I should be submitting my resume for jobs. I should be doing my laundry. I should be figuring out a way to pay for my recent $2,000 car repair, but I am not. 

I am thinking about how blessed I am to have the friends that I have. 

There are 400 things I should be doing, but this one feels more important. 

I was looking through job rejection emails, you know, to gain some inspiration for submitting resumes tonight. :) Anyway, I got distracted from the depressing rejection letter email folder by one labeled Jonny Rockstar. (Sorry Jon, please don’t kill me) As I was reading through these letters, reminiscing about our past few years, I was overwhelmed with appreciation for the friend I have in Jon. True, most of our emails were about music, or stupid people or just to say hi, but there were several where we completely dumped our frustrations with where we were living, what God was doing, and how we felt stuck. Funny thing about these letters… I don’t remember them. 

I remember all the bad stuff from that time of my life. I remember crying myself to sleep, feeling absolutely alone, eating a lot of Coldstone Icecream, and wishing I was anywhere but where I was, but I don’t remember these letters of encouragement.

As I read one of my letters to Jon I gave myself a high-5. Man, I was encouraging and awesome and inspiring and optimistic when he was in the dumps. But as I read my e-mails where I’m venting, I’m seeing this huge dichotomy between who I encouraged others to be and who I was in the moment. 

And I quote, “Jon! You’re going to be awesome. Seriously. God has a plan, and although I wish it was moving you back to Minnesota, I know that He’s not gonna let you down.” As I think back to those first few months in Fargo when I was sharing these letters with Jon, I remember wishing that I could believe those words for my own life, and honestly it’s not the words ‘God has a plan’ that tripped me up… It was the ‘…going to be awesome’ part for myself. 

Your early 20’s are your formative years. They are when you really start to figure yourself out, what you are passionate about, and how you like to live. They are also the years where I made most of my huge mistakes. My biggest mistake in my early 20’s? Forgetting who I was. 

I could write now about how I secluded myself, lied to people about my level of sadness, changed who I was to have someone love me… blah blah blah. Let’s skip that for now… that’s a whole other adventure. It’s not the process of forgetting who I was that I want to talk about, it’s about the friends who reminded me. 

Jon reminded me that I wasn’t alone. He was one of the people who pushed me to make new friends. He was one of the driving forces behind me going to a Fargo Starbux one night to meet a group of crazy hipsters who I can now call some of my best friends. He was just one friend who pushed me into others.

I have been blessed. There are people all over the try-state area (and beyoooooond) who are on my team. They are my friends, my cheerleaders, my coaches, my confidants, my friends. They are the people who saved me from myself. They are the ones who made me look in a mirror and see myself all over again. When I was lost and invisible to myself, they saw me. 

Friends are pretty great, right?

…now if one of my friends could just apply for all these jobs for me… 

400 posts written 40% of the way

 I’ve just spent the last 30 minutes reading all of the posts I have saved as a draft, 40% written and all ending in …  

The Ellipsis

This seems to be the story of my life currently; always waiting for the ending of the sentence, the end of the story, the next chapter to start. Dear Ellipsis, you are officially THE WORST. 

Thanks to Grammer.com I learned that, “The ellipsis can be used to indicate a pause in the flow of a sentence and is especially useful in quoted speech”. Awesome. The ellipsis is used for pausing. I am paused. Life is paused… in limbo… not sure how much time has passed or when it will matter again… in pause. 

There are 27 tabs open on my Internet browser right now, each holding a job posting that I need to apply for. Each application sent with a prayer that I won’t be lost in the sea of 200 applications for an administrative assistant position. With each click of ‘apply now’ reminding myself that God has a plan. Each tab will soon to be accompanied by a politely written rejection email.

The current unemployment rate in Minneapolis/St. Paul as of March 7, 2012 is 5.7% which honestly isn’t horrible. The unfortunate part about that number is that it is flawed. It does not account for those that are unable to claim unemployment because they have been unemployed for so long. AND it doesn’t account for people like me who are working minimum wage jobs with shiny college degrees and 7+ years of experience collecting dust on a shelf. 

You will never hear me say that I am unemployed. I feel like it sometimes because I am not doing what I am good at or want to do, but I am employed. I spend my mornings laughing and singing show tunes with some wonderful girls while we serve coffee to and flirt with amazing guests. I leave most mornings with a smile on my face because I had fun at work. I’ve also been allowed to continue in a communications position for a church that I love dearly. It’s heartbreaking at times knowing that I will not and have not been afforded the chance to continue on past part-time work, but again… God has a plan. I am not unemployed… I am paused.

I keep thinking about all the things I’ve paused, VHS tapes, DVDs, life dreams (whoa deep). ok, back to fun things. There is a quote from a movie (maybe 40 year old virgin) where one of the characters says ‘if you pause it just right you can see her (an actresses) bare chest’. Ok, I know that is a horrible example but haven’t you ever paused a movie to catch something you thought you missed? Better example: it is rumored and proven that if you pause several Disney movies at just the right moment you can catch words that the illustrators snuck in, i.e. in the Lion King when Simba falls down on a bed of leaves they fly up and spell sex for 2 frames (about 1/10 of a second). 

Ok, where the heck is Laura going with this? I’m getting there. I promise.

These past few months I have been paused, I have been at the end of a sentence accompanied by the dreaded ellipsis, BUT the beauty of being paused is that there is a guarantee that SOMETHING is next. Think about it. I’m paused as the leaves fly up in the sky with the guarantee that when play is pushed they will fall with grace. We are all guaranteed that play will be pushed again and that there is something next. Sometimes it just requires a moment of pausing. 

I think it’s ironic that I got a tattoo this summer that reads ‘Be Still’ as a daily reminder that God is in control and I should just shut up and let Him work. I just never knew my period of stillness would be so lengthy. I guess I shouldn’t worry so much, tomorrow will always come and the chance for my story to stop being paused is refreshed each time the sun rises. My leaves will fall… someday.