For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Real Honesty

Yesterday I wrote a blog about finding peace and joy in God. I wrote about how a rough day doesn't drive me to be more popular but leads me right to Him, where everything I really need is found in abundance.

Honestly, that was the point of the blog.

I almost didn't write it. After the confusion about my blog on grief, I had some concerns. I received some nice responses about the grief blog sending me hugs, condolences, prayers. People told me how sorry they are that we are so sad. I really, honestly, thought I wrote that blog in such a way as to say, "This is how we handled (past tense) the grief, and I'm sharing this because I know a lot of people who are grieving right now and hope to offer some encouragement and comfort that we know exists because we experience it."

Honestly, that was it.

Then I wrote about the day yesterday with the intent of saying even on bad days God is still the answer, and we look for easy answers, like the number of fans or likes or whatever affirms a writer, but the easiest answer is to go to God because He is always there, and nothing--NOTHING--is as precious and knowing God hears you and cares intimately about you.

Really, that is all I wanted to convey.

Today  I received a few, "I'm so sorry your life is so hard. I'm sorry you are so lonely. I'm sorry things are so bad." What? When did I ever say my life is hard or that I am lonely or that things are so bad? It was one day. ONE DAY! Are you really honestly telling me you don't have a rough day now and then?

I was praying about this earlier because I try really hard to be gracious and not hurt feelings. I would never intentionally hurt someone's feelings, but things that suggest we are stuck in grief or wallowing in misery or drowning in lonely is so much the antithesis of the truth and so totally against everything that undaunted reality stands for to me.

Undaunted Reality means you look at the circumstances, and you know God is bigger, and you stand in the bigness of God.
Undaunted Reality looks at the lies you have allowed to be your world and then you look at the truth God says is your world, and you choose the truth.
Undaunted Reality means you do not believe that you are less  but you believe God is more.

I do not wallow. I spend time in certain places because it takes time to work through certain things, but I face my giants head on with the intent of stepping over a dead body because I've got better things to do that look at a rotting corpse.

I do not dwell in loneliness. I don't have a huge social life, but I am not a big social life person, so if I am hiding in busy social activities, I'm doing just that...hiding.

I am not unhappy. Ask anyone who knows me. I have a loud laugh. We'll call it "boisterous", and you can hear it multiple times a day, and it is sincere.

I am not discouraged or in despair. On the contrary, I am very excited about the stuff I am writing that no one is reading yet. I'm excited about the work I am doing in my backyard. I'm excited about going to see my favorite band in concert this fall.

I have also become very picky in how I spend my time. For a long time I felt like I was drowning, and honestly, I was afraid of drowning. I have seen way too many women who lose husbands to death or divorce who go into a dark hole and camp there. I was not going to be that kind of woman, so I did a lot of stuff to keep me busy, make me get out of the house, make me talk to people, maybe even find stuff I enjoy again. Now, I've let a lot of that go because it was useful for the purpose of something to keep me moving, but it isn't long term. I do not spend my time on stuff I don't enjoy just so I have something to do. I'd rather be home with a book because I'm not drowning, and I'm not afraid of drowning. Besides, David Baldacci is good brain candy.

I know there are people who are in dark places. Grief is hard. Trying to find yourself in ways that feed your ego but not your soul only leads to a bigger mess. I know this, so I write about this because while I am far from perfect, we've come through grief. We are coming through grief beautifully. My kids were 10 and 13 when their dad died. As much as it may shock some folks, for them to still miss their dad is very normal, and honestly, every time there is a major life milestone, they will grieve him. It is the way we are emotionally wired, and it is beautiful and wonderful because that is how God made us.

I write about those things because when we went through it, no one knew how to walk through it with us. People who love us deeply inflicted some significant pain, not because they meant to. They would never intentionally hurt us, but they didn't know what to do or say. They didn't understand the process. No one talks about it.
No one talks about divorce and how hard it is to stay in church when your marriage is coming apart and your husband or wife walks out. No one talks about the rage or the confusion or the insane pain of watching your world crumble. No one dare say that they have days when they don't give a f---- if anyone prays for them or not because on that day the pain in them or in their kids is so high and so overwhelming it feels like God does not give an f--- and has walked out. No  one talks about the undaunted reality of pain, grief, loss, hope, rebuilding, finding courage to face your worst nightmare because none of those things are allowed in a church culture where you better by golly be "blessed", "highly favored", or "so very thankful" or you are looked at like you are failing as a church attender.

Well, you know what? I've lived those things. I've said all the four letter words. In fact, I've screamed them at God on more than one occasion, and I am not afraid of reality. I am not afraid of the truth. I am not afraid of the church taboo topics. And you want to know something really, really important? God is not afraid of them either.

And there are people lost in that world I just described who need someone to find them because they don't know how to find their way out, and by heavens, I will write as raw and real and ugly as necessary to find them and give them hope that there is something beyond the nightmare where they are.

If I may be so bold, if all you see is loneliness, grief, and a hard life when you read my writings, I'm guessing you are one of those people who are lost in this world. I pray you stay here. I ask you to pray for me that I would have words for God to use show you the road out. I'm not judging you. I've been there. I have prayed for you to be here, and I am praying that everything you need to walk from the void into life more abundantly is laid out in these posts. I am praying for you to find hope, life, and anticipation here. I am praying you find wonder again. I am praying you find...a reality of God you may have never known, and I am praying you find faith in Him that is...undaunted.

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