Friday, May 15, 2015

When It's Not What You Wanted

A bit gloomy.

I will hardly use the word want anymore in my vocabulary because first of all, most of the things I have wanted out of life and in life, have simply not come. Plus, being a christian, it's a bit, I find, of a self focused word, when my aim is to be God-centered and others-centered. So I've trained myself in "I shall not want", and it's been good for my soul. Because let's face it, life has thrown many, many curve balls my way, and it's been far from a life I envisioned or planned. And honestly, I worked through a lot of those and have gone through suffering, for years even. It's not that I thought life was "done" with me, or that God wasn't going to grow my character more, I guess I'm just surprised that this move to CA from MN hit me so hard, I thought I had matured enough to handle it better. I wouldn't say I'm in a suffering time as much as I was in the past, but whatever it is, I'm going through it. Although all suffering can be good. It catapults us to the next level of healing, growing, and maturing. Maybe now's the time for me to use and put into practice what I gained in my, what I call 8 years in the wilderness. We'll see.

I'll start by saying, I did not want to move to California. When you hear from others the hard stuff they have to do, and even the hard stuff I've had to do that I never thought I could or would, you think, "No way in H-- am I doing that!" You think to yourself, "there is not a chance I would ever do that." But then the T in the road appears, and you have to choose. Because believe it or not, we always have a choice, always. And that is just what happened. My husband said he wanted to work for a tech-start up in San Francisco, he applied to probably 80 jobs and got 3 offers and accepted 1 and here we are. When he first mentioned it a year ago, I thought it was a fun, passing thought for him. I thought I'd let him have a little fun looking for jobs out west and just leave it be. He'd "get over it". But then he was laid off from his job in MN last Fall, and it became more real and serious. By the summer of 2014, he was adamant about moving and I had to make a choice. Because I did have a choice. Never in a million years did I think I'd be faced with that choice. I've said before how close my family and I are, and the pain of leaving my parents was unbearable, unthinkable actually.

Bay Bridge to Oakland, from Fisherman's Wharf

So for months and months, all I heard about was San Francisco. San Francisco this, San Francisco that. Can you see where I'm going here? Do you hear some bitterness in my sentences?  You'd be right. Because not only did I never think and never did I want to leave my family, friends, community and Minnesota, a life I had there for almost 40 years, but I also didn't want to.....wait for it......

live in Oakland.

Ima be extremely honest here. I am mad that I live in Oakland. Wow Gina, get over it. I am trying to get over it, that's the point with this blog post! I mean Oakland!? Give me a break. I moved and left everything behind, aside from my husband and dog (my daughter is here, but moving back to MN in August), to be in Oakland??? I thought we were moving to San Francisco?? That's all I heard about for months and months. And my husband still gets SF every single day. He works in the city. So he has no problem not living there. But do you see how unfair this is people??! Sure, we are only 7 miles to SF, just across the Bay, but I wanted and still want my daily life to be there. That's a once in a lifetime thing. I'm highly frustrated, and am still mad or whatever it would be called, maybe I'm not happy. But who cares about being happy. I have joy joy joy. What do I need to be happy for? I'm ticked off we don't live in San Francisco because that's where I want to live. I never wanted to be in Oakland. So now what? (I guess you could say I needed to get that off my chest).

But our lives are actually what we have, not what we can't let go of wanting or wishing for.

You think I'm pretty spoiled and selfish don't ya? Ungrateful too huh? Ya, well, me too.

The thing is is there is a lot going on in my life that makes me very unhappy. I won't list them all. There is a list of things going wrong too. There is a lot of confusion, frustration and tears. A LOT.

But next to that list of all that is "wrong" and all that makes me unhappy, is a longer list of all that is right and all that makes me grateful. You see, I've talked about it before, happiness is temporal. It's based on circumstances. And let's face it, a good portion of the time, they bite. Reality bites
We all know life is hard. Really hard. In many different ways for every single person. So the first thing I can do is focus on the list that surpasses all that is wrong and icky. The grateful list of all the gifts and blessings. It might sound cliche' but it literally helps. It works, I promise. Our minds can't serve a good and a bad thing at the same time. If we focus on the good thing, and the gift, and keep doing that, the negativity and countless things that are wrong, will fall by the wayside. But that's just it, we have to do it. We have to work in our minds. It always starts in the mind. Tracking and policing our thoughts, and steering them toward what is good, and what we do have. Things that make us rich. SO rich! The other way of thinking makes us so very poor. When we don't look or count on our circumstances to give us total fulfillment, we will find peace. And out of peace comes joy.

"I have learned in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content." 
Philippians 4:11
Being content as "satisfied to the point where you are not disturbed or disquieted. It doesn't say satisfied to the point where you don't want change, but satisfied for now. Being patient through the changes, and confusion. The possibility of trusting God, that He didn't necessarily cause this, but He can do something with it, if we allow. Accepting that things take time to bloom. Flowers don't grow overnight. 
We can stop being agitated and disturbed; we don't have to allow ourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled. Jesus left us a legacy of peace, and He wants us to use it.

Be present to the gift of now. Ann Voskamp 

And every milestone moment always forks and you get to choose which road you’ll go — bitter or blessed. Ann Voskamp 
Don’t grieve that it’s gone, wonder that it was. (Wow, I dare us.) Ann Voskamp

Along with our thinking about our thoughts, and how that can really save us in tough times; just managing our thoughts and directing them to what you have, not what you don't have, can be key. I would even go so far as to say it can be a survival tactic. At least it is for me.

I've also got to get to accepting. This might not be where I want to be, geez Gina, who are you kidding you're in the BAY AREA, you basically ARE in San Fransico! Give it some time woman! And maybe we can move to the actual city of SF in a year or two. But for now, you still live in one of the most sought after, beautiful places in the country! Ok, am I talking in first person or second here?!

I can learn to accept and "get over myself", when it comes to living in Oakland. I think one of the reasons I don't want to be here is it feels more permanent. And I don't want this move to be permanent. SF is less permanent. The bottom line is none of this is what I wanted or asked for but I'm here now, and I can work with it. I just have to get to accepting. I have to radically accept that this isn't what I wanted, and I do have to "start over" but that in time I trust God will reveal how He wants to use me here. I have to trust that my character will grow, that my marriage will become even stronger, that I will gain new experiences, (I already have), that if I surrender to what I don't want, I may just find a few things I do want. I may just see things in a new way if I allow myself to let go of what I want and wish was. Because the reality is that I do live in Oakland, right now. The reality is that I am away from family and friends.  The reality is that I don't have my rhythm here. The reality is what is, what I wish for or want, isn't. So I gotta live in what is. Because it's honestly all I have. And it's all you have too.

See, it's not so bad. Sitting in North Beah in SF having coffee.

Where you are at in your life and what you are going through right now might not be your first choice or your second choice for that matter. It might not be what you wanted.But you are going through it. It's what is. It's reality. Demonstrate your power of choice where you can, train your thoughts to good and gratefulness, and you'll find more and more that the thinking on what you want or wanted will soon vanish. With perseverance, which we all have a need for, and some patience and a lot of prayer, we can learn to embrace what is instead of what isn't. We can start seeing the good around us and stop wallowing. I know it's what I need to do. It isn't easy. I need to choose to see things in a new light. I need to choose to see that this is a huge adventure that is actually a gift! I've got to start enjoying and accepting that I live here. I am committed to trying, and looking at my situation with new eyes. Afterall, that's usually all we need.


Laci said...

I love you!!! Thank you for reminding me to choose my perspective wisely. Philippians 4 8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best, not worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. 😭😭😭

BARBIE said...

Umm, I REALLY to read this today. I'm struggling and just plain mad at life right now. Thank you for being so brutally honest in this post, and pointing me back to Jesus. Your perspective is needed. My list of what is good in my life far outweighs those things I am lacking, but I am choosing to look at the wrong list. From your Bay Area neighbor.

Lovelyladyjb said...

Beautifully written Gina. So important to train our minds to believe and focus on the good over the bad, Jesus is really helping me with this right now.