For the past week or so in NE Pennsylvania, it has been beautiful! Cool, crisp mornings and warm sunny days slowly give way to chilly night skies. I couldn't be more thrilled! I love this "autumn-esque" weather!
So, I must ask you all- do you ever "fall off the wagon" so to speak, in one area of your life or another? I grew up in a home that never attended church. My parents both grew up going to church, but neither liked it. Neither felt it necessary to take us growing up- so I grew up a very secular kid...and turned into a secular adult. However I must say, that God's pull on me was pretty strong. I remember wanting to go to church when I was 8 or so. I'd ask my mom and she said I could walk into our village and go by myself if I liked (it was only a short walk- less maybe 1/10 of a mile) but she didn't want to go.
Yet, I still was interested...when I was in high school, my friends went to a Bible study for teens and I decided to start attending. I liked the pastor. I didn't really like what all the Bible had to say. I was not a rebellious kid. I did exactly what I was supposed to do when I was supposed to do it...and a lot of what we talked about was judgment and what I felt was ridiculously stringent guidelines. I wanted to be closer to God, but I felt like I was being pushed away at the same time.
Finally, after graduating high school, I went to a Christian College. I really liked the nice people there- after all, though I grew up in a secular home, we were still nice people. I was never a girl who wanted to go out and date a bunch of guys or go get loaded. This Christian college had the right type of people...but their Biblical knowledge compared to mine was (as you might imagine) massive. I made a lot of friends that year...and constantly felt misunderstood. How could I fit in with these people in the way that I wanted, but still be true to myself?
I could only afford to attend that school for a year, after which I went to a state college in PA. I hated it. The mindset was completely different. It was the worst few years I've ever had. I was constantly depressed and felt more and more alone. I knew God at that point in time, but didn't think that He would help me. After all, I didn't know as much as anyone else, and even though He could do something, I knew He wouldn't. There was no point in getting my hopes up.
One good thing did come out of going to that state college. I met my loving husband.
At any rate, I digress. I shared this story with you because I wonder if anyone else struggles with the same things I do.
I grew up one person and then around 5 years ago, realized I should be trying to be another person entirely. Most of the time I do pretty well, but now and again I flounder...and start cursing again.
*sigh* After a week or of swearing more than 10 times in a day, I believe I have my head on straight and can start acting the way I should again.
Sometimes it feels like the old me and the new me are in a constant battle. The old, comfy, silly Mandy has a hard time coping with the new, more serious, more exacting Mandy. New Mandy gets kind of bitter that she wasn't good enough to begin with. lol
God keeps telling me, "Just keep trying! Do your best and I'll love you no matter what!" So that's pretty comforting at any rate...
This poem was given to me a few years ago by a friend. It never fails to make me feel better. Maybe it will help you feel a little better today, too. :)
Desiderata By Max Ehrmann
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.