“A sub needs to feel wanted. A Dom wants to feel needed.”

 

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I came across this image on Tumblr the other day, and it struck a chord with me. I imagine it is in many ways an oversimplification if one takes it as the grand summary of submission and domination, but I find it intriguing nonetheless.

There were many instances in both my past relationships where simply feeling wanted by my former Dom or my significant other was the most wonderful, glorious thing in the world. And feeling unwanted or just not significantly wanted was one of the negative thoughts (and often, I am quite certain, an incorrect perception) that I battled when the busyness of life and such prevented us from pursuing certain intimacies or even spending much time together. I have realised now, and I certainly wish I’d realised it sooner, how much it does mean to dominants (and from what I’ve read and experienced, even more so with Daddy-Doms) to feel needed, to be relied upon, to be sought out for comfort and guidance. (I don’t have experience nor have I done significant research into other dynamics, so I’m refraining from speculation – there are many lovely readers who could comment with much more meaning on this than I.)

But at the same time, it means a great deal to me as a submissive to feel needed as well. Not sexually per se, but to know that I am not only a significant part of my Dom’s life but that the role I play is a meaningful and helpful one. That what I do and how I serve makes a difference. And I would imagine a dominant-type would want to feel wanted too.

So I’m curious about people’s thoughts and experiences regarding this. Does this connect with your own experience? Does this reflect what you, as a dominant-type or submissive-type or switch, seek within your preferred role? Not necessarily to prove or disprove the initial quotation, I’m just highly intrigued now and want to see if there is a particular emphasis for some people?

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A Mini-Blog Tonight

Dear Diary,

I’ve realised something that I am still processing and strongly suspect I’ve only scratched the surface and have a great deal more to learn. But here goes.

I’ve lived by the Unless it’s mad, passionate, extraordinary Love, it is a waste of time. There are too many mediocre things in Life; Love shouldn’t be one of them quote for a long time, before I’d even found the quotation itself, really. I’ve steadfastly maintained that unless love, romantic love, is all it’s cracked up to be then I am quite content retaining my independence, my space, my time, my energy, my freedom.

And now I can see that there are substitutes that masquerade remarkably well, but eventually fizzle. Drama sounds passionate, but is self-focused and tends to take, whereas passion will thrive when given and shared. Unusual circumstances are not necessarily the kind of ‘madness’ indicated above; sometimes life is just crazy, and love probably shouldn’t make a person feel like they’re losing their mind in the scary sense. Extreme situations may demand we attempt some seemingly extraordinary things…but it does not automatically make the relationship itself extraordinary or even the love within it true.

On a related note, I am continually frustrated with my inability to realise these things during the situation in which it would be most helpful to have known all this…

Some Re-Evaluation

Dear Diary,

The fog of my cold/flu has lifted and I’m gradually catching up on everything, so I thought I’d do a little journal check-in.

First, I’ve decided to start with ‘dear diary’ from now on. I realised I have veered into writing for this unseen online audience, and given my track record with trying to meet expectations that I think exist (whether or not they actually do or don’t is not always a factor), I think it’s best that I focus more on writing for myself. While still utilizing the accountability factor and occasional conversation.

Second, I’ve done some re-evaluating of the things I thought I needed to work on. That list of ‘resolutions’ I posted still stands, but my perception has shifted somewhat. There are things that I believe God has genuinely been nudging me to deal with and work on and grow in – which is fantastic, and a sheer privilege, and I find that so wonderfully encouraging that I just…it makes me feel safe. Like everything is going to be okay because God really is looking out for me and helping me learn and grow, even when I don’t have a clue (which is often). Specifically, these are things like returning to my first Love, God, and learning to seek Him more than ever, drawing nearer to Him, learning to hear from Him and discern His voice (not always His literal, audible ‘voice’, as a little reminder to my sometimes too-literal mind), obeying Him and continuing to pray for Him to change my heart where it needs to be changed (which He has done in a few areas, and it’s incredible), learning more about prayer, serving where He wants me to in my church, building up some good relationships so I can feed into the lives God has placed around me and so that I am not walking alone either. I could write for days about all the little things God has been pulling together in my life, through various circumstances and people and conversations and resources and how it’s all so ridiculously perfect. But it’s also 2:30 AM, so I’m aiming for a summary for now.

I have also realised that some of what I thought I needed to change about myself, about what I want, what I need, particularly when it comes to relationships and stability, etc….a lot of that was imposed on me by someone else and not necessarily accurate. And I believed it, I chose to believe it and obey that person in those areas as best I could, because I really thought he was hearing from God and that he was right. And there were a lot of things about me that he was definitely right about, and helped me with, and I have learned so much and grown, for which I am always grateful. But not everything that was a difficulty between us was because I needed to change, but because we really were not compatible. Not everything was because my needs were an issue, but because the needs he was prepared to meet did not line up with those I actually had. I believe he really wanted to meet my needs. I believe he really wanted to be there for me. But after a particularly enlightening conversation with my pastor’s wife who, it turns out in a profound twist of…well, not fate…Providence?, has been through something remarkably similar, I have realised that he was not there for me. I don’t mean that in the sense that he was deliberately absent and selfish and made excuses and would take but never give back. I mean, rather, that he was never there for me because God had him there for other reasons. For someone else. And maybe, I don’t actually know for sure, but maybe God has someone else for me.

Which I am pretty sure is why I felt such relief and hope and excitement after being out from under all those expectations and preferences I’d placed myself under, and tried to conform to because I thought it was morally right…when really it was just that person’s preference and extremely deep hope. Which seems kind of silly now, although at the time I genuinely believed it was a word from God, it was His will, and wow am I grateful to not be in that anymore. But that’s maybe an indication that I really need to spend time getting to know God more and being thoroughly grounded in Him. And getting to know myself and being thoroughly grounded as me. Either that, or said person really did a number in de-stabilizing me, and even then I think it’s best to take lots of time to make sure I have my feet under me.

Of course, now I get so excited that part of me wants to draft a new ad and get looking, but then when I have these little revelations I think better of it. I feel good, I feel better than I’ve felt in years, to be honest. God is drawing me out of struggles and frustrations and dry places that I’ve dealt with for a really long time. But I see too that perhaps there’s some things from that last relationship that still need to be unraveled. At the very least, I want to make sure the detangling process has been properly completed before I start any serious consideration of another relationship. I have learned a great deal of what to be aware of, what not to compromise, that it is okay to let someone deal with their own problems, and what things really should not be acceptable even if you do love someone deeply. But good grief I am naive and have a lot to learn.

Third, God keeps coming through. It’s a little bit overwhelming when I sit back and look at it all, actually. I’ve been rather frustrated with and disappointed in myself regarding my lack of discernment, how I keep getting fooled into thinking this is God and it turns out to be a mistake, or that is what God wants me to do and I pretty much just plow face-first into the ground, and it just feels like a lot of guesswork. And yet. I can look back and see times where I definitely did hear from God, it just wasn’t always when I wanted to hear from Him. And I see how He is drawing together all these threads right now, particularly in how He is teaching me to pray and now this latest study is about discernment, and just the people He’s brought into my life right now. God has it all handled.

So that’s it, really. Usual stressors, work is sometimes silly and frustrating, school looms over me, I never seem to have quite enough time for everything, extroversion is exhausting, and I would really love to be in Disney World right now (sans crowds, because again, extroversion is exhausting). But God is good, and step by step it’s all getting sorted out.

Christmas Reminders

Personal update at the top. If you’d like to skip it, then scroll down to the bold font :o)

I haven’t written in a while. Partly because I’ve been busy with other things, but mainly…I haven’t felt the need to write. I feel good. I am generally taking better care of myself, primarily through prayer, eating better, etc. My emotional health is better overall, and as much as I wish it were otherwise I do know that’s at least partly because my last relationship ended. My emotional health is also much better because I am applying what I’ve learned about needing time to myself and setting good boundaries, and most of all because I am focusing more on my relationship with God, returning to my first Love. I have a ways to go there, I think, but it’s good. My life feels good.

Not that everything is perfect by any means. I have some work frustrations that have been discouraging, but I am learning to trust God that He has it under control. There never seems to be enough time for everything I want to do. It is the perpetual frustration. I also am horribly behind on my thesis and it stresses me out to no end, and I keep avoiding working on it because it intimidates me. One of my former profs keeps telling me, gently and subtlety (he knows…I know he knows…he’s being polite and pretending he doesn’t, but I know he knows), that it is a monster that I need to kill before it kills me. And he’s right. I’m currently battling the flu (yay), which is also kind of a mini-crash course in self-love. I’ve been getting less than a good amount of sleep the last while, and now I have to sleep a lot. And it’s kind of frustrating because I had projects planned this weekend (although now I’m catching up on reading and prayer and stuff I can do from my cozy bed, so it`s more just a rearrangement that I need to get over). And lastly, I really miss being in a D/s relationship. In my last relationship, we never really got around to it. Scratched the surface, and then always ended up dialing it back for various reasons. I keep feeling like I am very over that relationship and I want so very, very much to list an ad and start looking…

But. I said it would be a while for a reason. Because while I feel good, and have felt good consistently for the last few weeks, free, hopeful, at peace, more myself, emotionally balanced, encouraged, strong, all things that apparently one is supposed to feel when they are ready to re-enter the seeking phase, I have some things I still need to do. Like think about the ex less. Not that I think about him often, nor that I think about him negatively, or even hoping we’d get back together. I don’t want to be in that relationship again. But I think about him, and I pray for him, and then I go about my day. I just think maybe it’d be good to get to a point where I don’t think about him every day. Maybe. My brain tends to think about certain things every day for years and years, so I’m not quite sure about that. I have stopped checking to see if he’s been active online at all. I worry about him, I want him to be okay, and sometimes I just want to make sure that he’s alive. But I’ve been convicted about that, and realise that he is not my responsibility anymore and I need to quit acting like he is. He’s in God’s hands, and my focus ought not be on my ex but on God.

Speaking of, thank God I made that list of things I wanted to work on, because reminding myself of that is the only thing that keeps my submissive trigger-happy fingers from finding their way to the ad section of certain websites. I need to return to my first Love. I think when I feel quite strongly, to the very core of my being, that I have done that well and consistently, then and only then will it be a good idea to look for a new relationship. Because these things need to be ordered properly in my life, or things go awry. I just struggle with patience and discipline. Which is, of course, why I keep having to deal with them :o)

But enough updating. I came across this lovely snippet in the book I’m reading that points out something regarding Christmas (and other holidays/religious festivals) which I absolutely love. I know a lot of people get rather fed up with Christmas (and other holidays) because it’s so commercialised and because the goodness, the generosity, the kindness, the love that so many express at that time of year seems fake. Like they’re trying to get on Santa’s good side. Or that they only remember to live like that at this particular time of year, and the rest of the time they’re generally self-centered, arrogant, narrow-minded, etc.

I’ve written a little on this before, I won’t rehash that. But I tend to view Christmas as a reminder of what we ought to be all year. Not to condemn us for falling short, not to be an opportunity for extra credit to balance out the rest of the year, and not to fake who we are; but as a refresher, a time to reorient ourselves to the things that truly matter, to being the people we ought to be, and (for those who believe) to God and His great love and mercy. This is precisely what so many of the festivals and feasts were meant to do in the Old Testament, which according to Scripture God Himself commanded His people celebrate. Because He knows we forget. We get distracted. We get busy. As grown-ups, we have 1000000000 things vying for our time and attention and energy and thought and money and effort and you know what? Sometimes I forget to be a nice person and I need someone to remind me of some very basic things like thinking before I speak. So we have these lovely little reminders throughout the year. 

“Christian holy days (holidays) like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter ought to be times of renewal. On these days and during the related seasons, place your focus on both celebration and renewal of relationship. These are days to remember all the love God has lavished on us by sending His Son. Rather than going through time-honored traditions as mere ritual, these can be times for remembering God’s love and responding to that love.” – Blackaby & King, Fresh Encounter

Now, I know not everyone reading this is Christian, but I think there is a general premise here that can be embraced regardless: purposeful celebration. Not that everything needs to become a chore, or character building like Calvin’s dad was always so freaking obsessed with, but rather that the things we spend our time and attention and energy and thought and money and effort on be purposeful. That we take some time to reflect at Christmas and Easter (and Thanksgiving, I guess, I was kind of…intrigued that they included that as a Christian holy day, perhaps I’m missing some history there), that we make time to evaluate and include the things in our lives that we actually want in our lives. That we perhaps, when necessary, flip the bird to the commercialised suggestions advertisers ply us with and shape our own holidays. If that means colouring eggs with family to reconnect and share some love, fantastic. If that means changing up the usual Christmas meal celebration and having a minimalist feast so the extra funds can be put toward meeting a need, lovely. If instead of buying presents we all donate to a charity that means something personal to everyone on our list, excellent. If doing every single classic, cliched, done it a million times holiday tradition brings you closer to God or your family or just makes your heart full and happy and genuinely impacts your life in a good way then gosh darn it you better do it

The point of Thanksgiving is to remind us to be thankful for what we have. So we should do what accomplishes that. And the point of Christmas is to remind us that even in the darkest times of the year (unless you live in Australia, in which case please stay cool) we still have hope and love is very, very real, and wonder still exists and can be experienced by us all, that life is wonderful, then let’s do the things that feed into that. And the point of Easter is the incredible hope of new life, of renewal, of joy after a long winter (or freaking hot summer for those who are still in Australia), so let’s dig into this however we can. I just think that some mindfulness could make the holidays a little more fulfilling for those who are frustrated with certain trends and habits. And I’d love to hear some thoughts on this. 

Gratitude

The last week or so has been a little bit…not crazy, just lots to get done. Full. Very, very full. I look forward to the establishment of a routine.

But I am extremely grateful for the peace I’ve felt almost the entire time since the breakup. I don’t have a lot of experience with such relationships ending, it’s really only the second full relationship (had one other that was extremely short-lived) that I’ve had, and the circumstances are quite different…but I am quite aware this is not exactly the norm in terms of emotional fallout (understanding, too, that it’s different for everyone). To a certain extent, I’ve wondered if I was just numb or in denial or avoiding allowing myself to grieve fully, that I was avoiding emotion altogether. But since then I have felt other things. I had a mini heart attack when I thought I had a message from him, because no one else emails that account anymore – it wasn’t him, but I did realise how much fear I have of another confrontation, even the possibility that we attempt another relationship (I will get to that in a moment). I have felt worry for him, but realised that I do much better when I keep my distance consistently and don’t even try to look for evidence that he’s at least alive (which is tricky for me to do because I want to know that he’s well and safe, so learning to let go in that sense is definitely against my instincts). And then when I was on my way back to my apartment, from holidays, I suddenly remembered he’d sent me a package I would finally get a chance to open, and I felt waaaayyy more anxiety than I have in a long time. Because I didn’t want to go through grieving all over again. I didn’t want to have to figure out what to do with whatever he sent me. I didn’t want to have a sense of loss and feel guilty for not being able to figure out how to fix something that is, the more I think about it, quite out of my control.

And then I got home, I opened it, it was a nice gift but it’s also something that I know I can just put away until I figure out what I ought to do with it. And there was no message and it all turned out to be a lot easier than I had anticipated. Just like that, anxiety was gone, peace was back. Prayer helped, of course, but it was still hard to face at first.

I have come to a place where I miss the person but considering how much peace I feel now, how much clearer my thinking is, how it’s easier to breathe and function in general, how I cry less, I worry less, I feel less anxiety, I in all honesty am not missing the relationship itself. I miss the prospect of what I hoped, at times quite desperately, the relationship would be; but the fact is, it never became that. And I think more than anything I grieve the loss of what I hoped for, what I think we both hoped for, and I miss being able to talk to him and share our common interests. But, without wanting to label something about which I still don’t trust myself to be entirely objective, I can see that this relationship was draining me, that it was at least related to, if not causing, a great deal of struggle and strife for me. I don’t want to speculate about what he was going through, I don’t think I can speak to that. I am, and unapologetically at this point, grateful the relationship has ended.

And I don’t mean this to be harsh or vengeful or hurtful or certainly to be judgement on him, because again my objectivity is hilarious when it comes to my relationships, but I don’t want to be in that relationship again. Subjectively, I don’t think the relationship was quite right for either of us, despite our vast hopes. I don’t want to go through those same issues again, I don’t want to fight those same battles and feel like it’s futile, I don’t want to be that worn through and bruised and hanging by thread. I loved him fully and sincerely, and I do believe he was worth fighting for. But then the rug got jerked out from under me one time too many and it just…was not a relationship that was good for me, and so probably for him too. I understand people go through rough times, and God willing they go through it with someone, and they come out stronger than ever. This was the vast majority of the relationship. I feel less alone being single now, less hopeless, less confused, less discouraged than I did for the majority of the time I was in that relationship. And by no means am I blaming the relationship for everything, because I know I had and still have a lot of things in my life and about me that need to be worked on, and I am so incredibly grateful for what I learned through that relationship and how I have changed, and I don’t want to stop learning and growing and dealing with those things properly. I know, too, that some of that negativity was my own doing, me not forgiving fully the first time, me having expectations that could not be met, me not genuinely listening at times, me just…fighting the wrong battles. But I am still grateful that this particular relationship is done; not that I don’t want to interact with the person ever again, I do, and I still sincerely hope there’s a way that can happen again. But the relationship is done and I believe quite strongly that’s a very good thing.

I’ve been enjoying being single. Having a little more control (due to a number of things) over my time and commitments. I got to set up a FetLife profile again and get involved in that community once more, and I missed those group discussions and the writings and the kinks list (lists make me happy). It was fun to rebuild my profile (still have teddy bear pics to add). I’ve even started dabbling in writing erotica and had way more fun with that than I expected. I am working on other projects I’ve been looking forward to for a long, long time. I am getting more involved in my church and meeting new people, which has been fantastic. I am finishing up a Bible study I didn’t think I would get too much out of, and it’s turned out to be exactly what I need, and I have two other Bible studies that are exactly what I’ve been wanting to study and work on. God is so good. My apartment is still semi-chaotic, but I’ve had a lovely time getting organised for the rest of the year and planning and just…getting excited about what I get to do next. Over the possibility of someday getting to meet and get to know and submit to an incredible Dom. Getting to pursue a relationship where we are both prepared and ready for it, and able to pursue it at a pace that’s right for both people involved. I’m excited to just see what happens next, and I don’t even feel anxiety about that, which in itself is miraculous.

Gratitude. That’s all I can reasonably focus on at the moment, because I can’t sort out the rest, part of me doesn’t want to, I don’t know what will happen, I am just so deeply grateful that things are better. And I think that if they are better for me, then odds are things are better for him too. Which makes me smile.

 

Attention

Sometimes I feel almost desperate for attention. When I’m not getting the attention/affection I crave from the person with whom I’m in a relationship at the time, I tend to look for substitutes. And I don’t mean I try to hook up with other people (although for a time in my first formal D/s relationship, casual play was part of our dynamic and I did seek out others for D/s sessions – not so much emotional connection, but that’s a whole other discussion), but I would hope for comments on my blogs (which I don’t normally ‘hope’ for necessarily), or that someone had messaged me on Facebook, I’d spend way more time on social media, I’d sometimes pop into group chat, just…something. Anything.

I read an article recently that noted one of the hardest things to deal with after a breakup is the loss of affection, because affection itself can be addicting. This resonated with me because I can see how much I craved affection, how much it meant to me just to get even the briefest message in my last relationship, and how when I was getting less than I craved I would then seek out substitutes. I am not saying that either of the people I was in relationships with before failed or neglected me by providing less affection at times than I craved, nor am I suggesting at all that I was successful in finding adequate substitutes. That’s the thing with substitutes; they simply aren’t the same.

I can see how I am addicted to affection. I know that human beings naturally need affection, in a healthy way; I think, though, that sometimes I let it influence my decision-making in bad ways. Sometimes very bad ways, and more recently than I’d like. The casual play (which is quite a long time ago now) is a good example; it was a substitute that brought far more heartache and pain than it did satisfaction, particularly after I experienced how wonderful an intimate D/s relationship could be. But most recently, I have been catching myself checking for messages, hoping against hope (other times dreading), feeling desperate and miserable. The more I miss him, the more my heart hurts, the more I am concerned that I am going to reach a point where the ‘withdrawal’ is going to be such that I make bad decisions and seek out affection either in the wrong place or far too soon. Sometimes my heart lies to me, and tells me it’s good to go, and really…it just really wants affection and will tell my brain anything to get it.

No wonder we’re told all through Scripture to ‘guard’ our hearts.

This is partly why I want to return to my first love, God. There is a need in me that I know is filled when I am near Him, that no one and nothing else can genuinely fill. And I need to be dedicated to this. I know too that I have tried at various points in my past relationships to substitute that affection and even the D/s elements for what I need to be getting from God. So this definitely needs to be fixed.

I’m also trying to be attentive to when and how I seek support from others right now. I know I need support, closing myself off from everyone isn’t good, and the more my mind is distracted in a good way (and conversation does that) the less I can obsess and enter into negative cycles. I have some incredible friends I’ve been able to talk to; but I’m trying to make sure I don’t talk just about how I feel and what I’m going through, and use them to dwell (never fun for anyone involved), but that I move beyond myself and actually engage with people and the world around me. I want it to be a real conversation where I honour the person’s time and attention, because those are precious things and I should never, ever be taking advantage of someone’s good heart. I don’t want to become the kind of person who only talks to her friends when she’s miserable. So I’m trying to…clam up about my issues :o) I can vent them in detail here, where if people don’t want to read it, then can easily click out with zero interpersonal consequences.

I’m trying to be aware of how I feel and what I’m thinking. I’m reminding myself that pain does not last forever; Wardell always says ‘This too shall pass’, and he’s right. I let myself embrace the pain, but not stew in it and spiral (because then my self-control wanes and I’m back to checking messages every ten minutes just in case…). I refocus myself when I think I’m going too far, but I also give myself time to process when I need it (writing last night, for instance). And I distract myself with work, with feeding into my family here, with rebuilding friendships, and with The Vampire Diaries because it’s a really good show and I enjoy Damon’s sarcasm.

Yesterday was rough, but I know part of that was because I began the day indulging my heartache rather than refocusing myself. I let myself indulge in one of those spirally mindsets, and once I stopped, it helped. Then it was a learning curve, figuring how to refocus myself. And I was pretty much gearing myself up for several weeks of being in that haze of heartache…

Today, however, I’ve felt pretty good, and no one is more surprised than I am. Last night was rough; I think I finally let my heart break and mourn what I’ve lost, and the writing and crying was cathartic. Today I have been able to think clearly, I feel at peace…my emotions seem to have leveled out, which surprises me to no end, because it’s been a very, very long time since I had a full day where my emotions were this…calm. I fully expected to feel perpetual, physical heartache, to have those times where it even felt hard to breathe, to be barely able to focus on anything except rehearsing what happened, and desperately trying to figure out how to fix it, for a long, long time because I know how much more intense this relationship has been…but I can breathe, I can think about it and not want to cry, my mind isn’t obsessively going over everything. It’s really weird.

I feel like I’ve accepted that our future plans are gone, and I’ve let him go, and as such this relationship is loved and treasured in my memory. I still miss him, and there are certain things that definitely tug at my heart, although they make me smile more at the memory than they do make me want to curl up in bed and cry. I still hope and pray for a miracle; maybe we will get a second chance at another relationship. But it really would have to be another relationship, a new start, because I know that I don’t want to repeat this rollercoaster. I’ve had one full day of peace and I’m realising just how…intense things were and the toll that can take. And that maybe, just maybe, that relationship needed to be laid to rest.

My heart and mind are appreciating the breather. So for right now, I am content. It isn’t everything I want, I haven’t stopped missing him, and I definitely haven’t lost my hope. If anything, my hope is stronger because I feel less like this was a mistake or a tragedy, and more like this might be the best thing, for both of us right now. But I am content. Incredibly surprised that I had a good day so soon, but also not questioning it too much. God is good, and however this happened and however long it lasts, I’m still very grateful for it.

My Racing Mind

 

So I have periods of peace and calm and assurance, and then I have these times when my mind gets going and I have to really focus to pull myself out of certain ruts. My instinct, I think, is to turn things over in my mind and try to find the solution, to figure out how to make it better. At least make it hurt less. And during the peaceful times, which I am very grateful for, that’s not an issue; those are the times I am praying, keeping my eyes on God, reading Scripture, or am deeply distracted by something else.

But my mind never shuts up so I have to keep a close watch on it. The upside is there is an in-between time where I have been thinking through some things in a good way. I have, for now at least, come up with the following things I want to be working on in the next long, long while – in part due to knowing from my past relationship I have a lot of things that need to be dealt with, and in part due to #8 in this article. These are the things I want to incorporate into myself as thoroughly as possible (or rid myself of as thoroughly as possible).

  1. Returning to my first Love, God. I have been reading this book about revival that is actually fantastically good teaching, and the author discusses how a lack of obedience to God is due to a lack of love for God. Revival starts with returning to that first Love, to loving God, and making Him a priority again. This is something I’ve felt convicted about for a while recently, and this was strong confirmation. And then I have also been reading some articles about what to do after a breakup, and one thing that stood out in this one is that same principle, returning to your first Love. This is my first priority.
  2. Learning to embrace my INFJ personality and live it out well. This includes caring for myself properly, doing research and reminding myself of it, going over the things that I was being taught and being diligent in following them. Regardless of how my last relationship ended, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that so much of what he taught me was true; I sometimes let my reluctance and pride and other bad attitudes stop me from pursuing it then, and I need to do better. I have the archives of most of my conversations with the person who was helping me so much before (not all of them, and I deeply regret not asking for them when I had the chance – I assumed I’d have time, and that was foolish of me), so I will go over them at some point; I just need a little more time to heal before I think that will be a good idea.
  3. Commit myself to regular Bible study/devotions, prayer, and fellowship and corporate worship. If I’m really honest with myself, I am far more sporadic with all of these things than I ought to be. And I have been for a long time. This goes hand in hand with #1, and God deserves much better from me. He deserves all of me and I know I will never be perfect, but at the very least I ought to be more obedient today than I was yesterday. I know I do better when I start my day with time in the Word; when I pray, when I pray before difficult situations, in difficult situations (this one I’m at least fairly consistent with, although definitely room for improvement), and after; when I go to the Bible to refocus my mind when I find myself spiraling into anxiety or grief or anger or general negativity and bad attitudes; and I know how important it is for me to engage with other believers (of multiple denominations too, I don’t like being in an echo chamber), being under the authority of a pastor, having people in my life I can go to when I need prayer, being accountable, worshipping God along with other believers, etc. When I neglect these things, I cut myself off from sustenance, life that I absolutely need. This must become part of my life, always; not just when times are difficult.
  4. Tithing. I cross-post these to another site, and I can honestly say I never expected to be writing about tithing there. Tithing is a doctrine I am not 100% convinced is applied accurately in many churches today, but. I know that giving is encouraged and commanded, and I feel convicted in this too. God has been really good to me and blessed my work, so I know that I can afford to give; I am without excuse, and it’s something I feel quite strongly I ought to be obeying God in. This too was mentioned in that revival book.
  5. No longer neglecting relationships, particularly friendships. In part, it’s been really good for me to take a step back and on occasion cut certain people out of my life; I am learning to recognise, thanks to that person, that there are some unhealthy relationships that have affected me negatively and I needed to deal with them properly. But, as I often do, I swung too far the other direction and neglected some relationships too. I’ve gotten a chance to build up my family relationships this trip home, in a good way. And I am learning to actually balance time around family and time apart – learning, not mastering. I also got more involved in my church this year, and my Bible study group in particular has been a lifesaver, literally. I miss them very much right now, and I can’t wait until we are back together. But I have not done a lot of one on one interaction with my friends here, which I miss and regret; I have the privilege of knowing some very good, wonderful people here and I want to give them the time and attention they deserve, because I really do value them. I want to put back into this community properly again, because getDare has led to two life changing events for me, plus all the friendships, and it’s help me learn and grow and I just…ought to love this community back more. Most of all, I keep veering toward this particular self-pity cycle of lamenting how I can’t talk to anyone about certain things, or I have a few friends who I can talk to about this part but not that part, and I keep catching my mind touching on it briefly these last two days. That’s enough. If I want to have friends in my life that I can trust enough to share the things I wish I could talk about (and stop putting myself into the aforementioned cycle) then I need to build those friendships. And the identification of excuses continues…
  6. Focusing on a verse/Bible passage when my mind starts to spiral; committing it to memory so I can keep my eyes on God when I need to, when those attacks on my mind come and I need to look to God, call on God, lift up my shield of faith. The passage I chose…not entirely accurate, I believe God chose this one for me because it was in a long list of them and it stood out wonderfully. The passage is Psalm 16:

    Keep me safe, my God,
        for in you I take refuge.

    I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
        apart from you I have no good thing.”
    I say of the holy people who are in the land,
        “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
    Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
        I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
        or take up their names on my lips.

    Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
        you make my lot secure.
    The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
        surely I have a delightful inheritance.
    I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
        even at night my heart instructs me.
    I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
        With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

    Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
        my body also will rest secure,
    because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
        nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
    You make known to me the path of life;
        you will fill me with joy in your presence,
        with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

    It has been exactly what I’ve needed, different verses at different times of the day, but always, always, always bringing me peace, replacing the negative or distressed thoughts just as I need it…God is good. So for right now, this is my passage, and when I know it by heart and feel it’s time for the next I’ll pick up another.

  7. Not allowing myself to indulge in self-pity, excuses, or negative thought patterns. If I’m upset about something, I either need to pray and fix it or pray and trust God if I can’t do anything about it. If I can do something and I ought to, then I need to do the mature and wise thing and just do it. This is an obedience issue too, and when I ignore it I risk searing my conscience, which is never good. And when I recognise, by the grace of God, those negative thought patterns, where I am anxious or desolate or whatever, I need to pray, read my Bible, go talk to someone, something other than lay there in despair.
  8. Keep up with journaling and being brutally honest with myself. I have learned that I can be my own worst enemy and deceive myself. Because it’s easier to believe I don’t have a choice, I’m a victim, I can do nothing but wait it out, than it is to actually work at what I know is not good about myself and my life. Root out excuses. Allow myself to be confused, but not to give up; have faith that God will help me figure this out eventually.
  9. Stop trying to rely on myself so much; rely on God above all, in faith, asking for grace and peace and all my needs; and rely on others when I need to, balancing this with tempered trust.
  10. Learn discernment. Study the daylights out of it. Practice it. Stop letting this be a weak spot in my life and making short-lived attempts to deal with it because the going gets tough.
  11. Take better care of myself overall. No more putting off work and school things so I’m stressed out later. No more eating poorly because I’d rather indulge or save a bit of time, no more avoiding yoga because I don’t like certain poses (I am such a child sometimes, and not in a good way). And no more allowing my living space to become a disaster and also causing myself stress.
  12. Learn to be me. Learn to not only see but get rid of the things that are not me, no matter how difficult or painful that might seem. Honour that person’s one, simple request he would ask of me; and honour God by being the person He created me to be. (Alternatively, I saw this described as ‘being the person Mr. Rogers knows you could be’ or ‘being the person your dog things you are’.

I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions, but this is how the timing worked out. And as long as these things are on my mind, I wanted to get them down so I don’t forget and so I can hold myself to them.