So I've recently discovered I am one of the most boring friends to have. I'm like that friend that went from super cool to super lame when she decided to go to med school and all of a sudden had no time to do anything fun anymore. Except way less awesome because I don't even have the "well, at least she's going to be a doctor at the end of all of this. that will be worth it."
Going through the whole elimination diet thing to find out what my body is actually intolerant to, I'm discovering a most-possible intolerance to gluten and gluten, for those of you who don't know, is probably in like 85-90% of what you normally eat. Yadayadayada. Everyone and their dog these days is GF so that's no real shock. Apparently, a lot more people are and just don't know it yet. I really feel no need to go on about this except that I just want to say one thing: I'm sorry to my friends to be that person who has an eating restriction. I've always been the "I'll eat anything" person so now I feel annoying when we go out to eat and I have to be picky - I don't want to be!
Two of my new years resolutions (for 6 months) were: no more espresso drinks and no buying clothes. That means if we go for coffee, I'm being boring and buying a boring drip. This also means if we go shopping, you're shopping and I'm watching (slash maybe being tempted and therefore, frustrated, but mostly by choice). So there is three things that make me boring. For spiritual and emotional reasons, I've given up drinking. That means if we go out "for a beer" now, I am getting... a coke? Way to make you feel awkward about that beer you just ordered.
So yeah, for all those reasons, since the past few months, my life has had some restrictions put on it. I still consider myself a free-bird at heart and I know I am a good time, but the things I do with my time and how I am with my friends might look very different today than they did 3 months ago. It's not like one day I woke up and decided to drop all of these things from my life just to practice discipline or punish myself for spending too much money or something. These restrictions on my life were in part a choice and in part, a submission to the obvious direction my life was taking - something outside of myself was taking it there. It was gradual... & became easy when I didn't want those things anymore anyway. I just feel callings in areas of my life that need fine tuning, and I'm not trying to be radical, but sometimes, friends, we need to be radical in order to progress. We've seasons of baby steps & little acts of faith; & we have seasons of enormous leaps that leave us vulnerable & overjoyed at the same time. I've been talking to God a lot more lately. I've been trying to see what he wants to tell me.
It has been crystal clear to me that I am in a season in my life where there are things - big things - in my life that I need to be freed from; there are things that captivate my affection and hold it hostage so much that I can't enjoy a freedom of finding true joy in God. Part of that is my identity in the way I dress, the friends I have, how much people take to me or like me, how many texts I might get (my battery has been lasting so much longer these days!), the way my hair looks. Anything and everything from the earrings I put on in the morning to the way I laugh after a joke I didn't get but know I should have. It's okay to take care of yourself, but it's not okay to look to people's praise to define who and how-great you are. There are things I've done, and still do, that are evidence of my attachment to the approval of others. It's slowly but surely, only by God's perfect grace, being changed.
Giving up things that cost money is my way of being more aware of how I can give sacrificially to others, and not just satisfy an appetite I have in a moment of weakness, or fill a void of love with trying to look "Vancouver-hip" with cute style. At the end of the day, the lesson I'm trying to learn is that it's not about me.
Putting an end to something that has become such a regular part of my life, drinking, is causing me to take a deeper and more critical look at myself -- who I am and what my identity is. What are the jokes I love? Who are the people who make me the most happy? How am I a good friend? How do I relate to people? These are questions that don't get answered under the influence because the lines are blurred and all of a sudden, we're everyone's friend, and have a deluded sense of confidence in ourselves, and trust in others. That alters my reality even in sobriety because I'm not sure what's real and what's not anymore. I lose sight and clarity of thought and emotion. It's not that I don't love being drunk, it's that I love being drunk for the wrong reasons and too much. Because it temporarily fills in a gap that has been eroding from years of putting my trust in all the wrong things, when that gap can only be made whole when I let him make me completely new -- that means being made in His image (Colossians 3:10) & being "transformed" (2 Corinthians 3:18). It sounds huge. It is.
I know decisions like these aren't for everyone and my goal isn't to prove that it's right -- just that it's right for me. The longer I go without it, the less I want it and I see that as God's awesome way of boosting my confidence that it is the right decision for me.
And even though this is probably the one decision that will affect my social life the most, and maybe make me seem lame now, I'm not apologizing for it like I apologize for not being able to split a pizza with you.
This is an incredibly scary blog to write because the last thing I want is a bunch of eyes on me just waiting for me to fail at this new... ness. But that's not what this is about. If it were about me and my actions and disobedience then I might as well crawl under a rock and stay there for eternity.
And I'm not over-thinking. Maybe anyone who thinks that should just think more... maybe more about pushing themselves and less about the people around them. I'm thinking a good amount. I've spent too much time under-thinking.
I'm not perfect.
I'm striving [without ceasing] because my heart has been captivated by something incredible & perfect.
It's now or never.
I was wrong; I'm not changing, I am being changed.
I'm learning about suffering.
I'm learning how to lean on not my efforts, but my knowledge that I've been forgiven as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12); & that I'm given all the power, love, wisdom and self-discipline I need (2 Timothy 1:7)
Go figure beer is my drink of choice anyways and is not GF. Ohhh... so ironic.
PS. this isn't the whole story. ask me if you're still curious :)