A Struggle with Sleep

Last year, there was one night in particular in which I found myself struggling to sleep.

Now that I think about it, I may’ve blogged about it – how I was in this state between awake and asleep. How I wasn’t able to really get to sleep without listening to some gospel music, and praying that the Lord would just put me to sleep already since I had work the next morning.

Well, with the new year here, I’ve experienced two more nights like this, and it’s honestly quite troubling. The last time I can remember ever struggling with sleep was the fall semester of my sophomore year in college, and it was just as frustrating then as it is now.

I’m trying to avoid complaining because I have friends who’ve struggled with sleepless nights longer than I have, and I don’t want to be insensitive to the frustration they’ve endured. But it doesn’t make my experiences any less exhausting (no pun intended), and I’ll be honest, a part of me is a little afraid to go to sleep nowadays, afraid I actually won’t fall asleep as easily as I used to.

This morning, I thought about how, despite my lack of sleep and constant restlessness, I was thankfully not as tired as I thought I would be. And God definitely showed up as I read Psalm 3 as part of my morning devotions. A part of a verse in this psalm is actually lightly engraved on the inside of one of the rings I always wear. It was a ring given to me during the fall semester of my sophomore year college by my Pa (my stepdad), who told me about some specific verses in Psalm 3 to go to after I expressed to him my trouble in sleeping. And the comfort was still there as I read the same verse this morning…

“I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” – Psalm 3:5 (ESV)

Even though this psalm is talking about David running from his own son Absalom, and how the Lord continued to protect him even in sleep, I can still pertain to David. During my sophomore year, I was dealing with some major academic, social, and mental stress, and, since I have been a well-known worrier, all of those things were affecting my sleep patterns. Reading this verse reminded me that the Lord knew those situations, and was working in every aspect of those situations, even as I slept, and that I had nothing to worry about because He would sustain me. He would give me peace enough to lull me to sleep, and the grace, mercy, and strength to wake me up again in the morning.

And now, as I struggle again with sleeping once again, I am grateful for that lesson I learned during my sophomore year, and for the sweet reminder in Psalm 3.

Not only was I reminded in Psalm 3, but I was given a few verses in Proverbs 3 this morning as well. I had to actually stop and re-read the verses several times, because I was blown away at how the Lord would speak to me in the same time frame through His Word to just reassure me…

“My son, do not lose sight of these – keep sound wisdom and discretion and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” – Proverbs 3:21-24 (ESV)

A set of instructions that follows with a promise if the instructions are obeyed: to not lose sight of wisdom and discretion, and the Lord will grant me peace – in the journey AND in sleep. Hallelujah! It was only a little part of a verse, but reading it brought peace to my mind, heart, and soul.

I wrote all this to give a reminder to anyone who’s struggling with something – maybe it’s also sleepless nights – that the Lord truly does care about it, and about you. About the things that seem so minute compared to other things going on in the world right now. That He will perfect the things that concern you and me. That He will speak little promises to His children at the exact time He knows we need comfort and reassurance.

The reminders and promises in God’s Word don’t necessarily guarantee automatic resolutions to our struggles, problems, and worries. But they do open us up to the peace of God; the assurance He gives that we are not alone through those things.

Am I still a little nervous to go to sleep? Of course I am. But I go to sleep reminding myself of those verses, those promises. Reminding myself that, even if I can’t get to sleep in the time I want to, the Lord is still good, He’s still working on me, and I can still spiritually and mentally rest in His peace even if I’m not physically resting the way I want to.

Thank you, Jesus.

#MishyWrites

Gold

I always thought that when people would talk about the Lord confirming something to them, it was sort of a magical experience. I didn’t imagine extremely drastic things, but I did think that confirmations were pretty special events.

In 2017, the Lord did use special events to confirm things for me, but more often than not, He would speak in whispers, or in ways that would seem simple and normal to some, but were significant to me personally.

My beliefs about God showing people specific things, or specific themes in their life were about the same as Him confirming things for people; I always thought that only special, specific people would be revealed certain things, but God truly did speak something that may seem small to you, but was pretty big to me.

In the last days of 2017, the color gold started showing up more and more in my day-to-day. I already had notebooks with gold-lettering or gold designs on them, but the color gold showed up in another notebook I got that will now hold poems I plan on writing every day this year. When my grandpa told me that I could look at some jewelry that a passed relative had left behind, and take whatever I liked, I found a gold butterfly pin with a stone in the middle of it. And when I went to Plato’s Closet with my sister, I found a pair of metallic gold, slip-on Vans in my exact size for a really good price (yes, I bought them).

Maybe you read all that, and think I’m just making a bigger deal out of all those things than I should. And if I am, then that will be revealed to me. But I can’t explain the feeling I got when each of those objects in the same color presented themselves to me. I’m not trying to be superstitious, and I’m not stretching for a subject to write about. There was just a particular feeling felt when I saw each one of those things. Maybe it was a bit of confirmation, I don’t know.

I can’t tell you what the Lord is saying to me through the color gold; I don’t know what it means, although I could make so many speculations and guesses based off the goals I’ve been reflecting, meditating and, most importantly, praying on…

Golden Notebooks

Since one of my goals is to write one poem a day, I’ve decided to write them in a notebook instead of keeping them on my phone. And the notebook pictured above has a subject line and date line on every page, which helps me keep all my poems organized.

If the Lord is going to bless me with more words to say, I say, “YES, LORD, I’M READY!” I look back on poems I wrote last year and think, “There’s no way that came from my own mind. There had to be some divine inspiration.” And I wonder if that’s how some of the writers of the books of the Bible felt too.

Golden Butterfly Pin

As some of you might know, I associate myself with the butterfly – the emoji, the insect, the concept, everything. Hence why my latest project is going through the three growth phases of the butterfly.

When I saw that golden butterfly pin, I immediately thought of The Butterfly Project, about what the butterfly symbolizes for myself, and what I hoped to portray through the project. I thought about my goal to speak my poems in public. And I felt a glimmer of hope despite having to face some huge fears of mine in going forward with these projects.

Golden Shoes

When I think of shoes, I think of walking, and when I think of walking, I think of directions and paths. I haven’t been sure for a very long time of where the Lord was leading me, and I’m still not 100% sure despite many things being revealed to me. But I know that I can trust Him enough with my story to follow Him wherever He calls me to be. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, but I know it will be worth it.

Again, these are just speculations and feelings of what I feel these golden objects represent for me. I’m honestly really excited to see what the Lord is going to reveal to me through this color, through those things.

I got so excited, I even got my nails done with a sparkly, gold accent. I mean, look how cute that is…

#MishyWrites 

A Writing Type of 2018

“I feel as though I am always writing my first draft. As though my life is a series of edits that I never have time to complete.” – page 184, Pillow Thoughts, Courtney Peppernell

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

I hope you brought in the beginning of 2018 with people you love and care about, and ones who love and care about you. I’m really excited for this year, and what the Lord has planned for me and all of you!

This will be the last post in the “Type of 2018” series, and I wanted to end it with this subject because, let’s be honest, I feel like in 2017, I did pretty terrible at writing, at least on my blog. To the Brim was constantly abandoned for weeks, sometimes it seemed like months at a time, yet I was still writing outside of it in journals and on my phone. I tried to comfort myself, knowing that some of the best writers and bloggers I know don’t blog every day, but only blogged about important topics and events in their lives, and still had a decent following, and decent writing.

And Peppernell truly has captured how I feel as a writer sometimes: I feel like I start writing all sorts of poems and blog posts and stories, and then I never finish them. And then I feel lost as a writer, and then I feel terrible as a writer for feeling lost.

But honestly, it’s okay, and I plan on embracing my status as a writer as so in 2018. One of my goals this year is to write a poem every day (I know, it seems crazy, right? Like how can I write a poem every day if I can’t seem to get it together to blog every day?). But, as I’ve said in the past when I began the whole “just start writing” mindset, I think that in order for one to become a better writer, you’ve got to keep writing every day. Tons of writers and teachers of writing have said it, and I believe they say it because it works.

So, along with writing one poem a day (at least), I plan on blogging every day for an entire year, and seeing where this takes me. I say this with all sorts of pride because I am proud of myself: I crushed the blogging game at the end of 2017. Like, I almost posted every day in the month of December, and that is amazing. And I think I’ve found a good system to keep me blogging like that for the rest of the year. I just need to have the discipline to keep it up.

I will admit, I am a little nervous about this goal I’ve declared. As I was reading a blog post by a favored writer of mine, I thought to myself, See, you don’t have to write every day. It’s okay; ease up on your goal so you’re not majorly disappointed when you don’t achieve it. 

But I also don’t want to doubt myself and my abilities; like I feel like me and my mindset are the only things stopping me from making this blogging and writing a poem every day thing happen. And if that’s the case, I don’t want those things to stop me.

And I also know I’m only human, and I may miss a day or two. I truly don’t want to though, so I will try my best. I look forward to all the words I’ll be writing onto pages, saying in my voice memos, and typing on my keyboard, either my laptop or phone.

What about you? What’s one thing you really want to push yourself to do in 2018? If you think it’s impossible to accomplish, what is a solution to truly doing your best to making it happen?

Again, happy new year, everyone! I pray that this year brings you all sorts of adventures, learning, observing, writing, or whatever else you’re into!

#MishyWrites #Typeof2018

A Feeling-and-Confronting Type of 2018

“Your feelings are valid and real. Do not let anyone denounce them just because they do not feel the same way. These feelings do not make you weak, or clingy, or overly emotional. They make you strong, brave, and beautiful. You are not merely made of stardust; you are the comet streaking through the sky on the way to do good and bright things.” – page 162, Pillow Talk, Courtney Peppernell

A couple of days ago, I was watching Instagram stories, and there was one in particular from the GirlBoss account that caught my attention. It was about trying to be positive, and confronting the negativity.

Since I’m someone who always tries to encourage, and look on the bright side of things, I figured reading the article would be beneficial to me. And it truly was. Because there are times when I’m encouraging a friend, or even trying to encourage myself, and simply trying to press positive thoughts into someone’s situation or negative thoughts isn’t good enough. Maybe it helps for like, a minute, but it doesn’t combat the negativity, the sadness, the anger, the hurt.

And this article suggested, not just bottling up the negativity, or trying to pile positive thinking on top of the negative emotions, but confronting the negative thoughts – acknowledging that, yes, this is how I’m feeling, and it’s okay. Some girls I talk to in one of the  many group chats I’m in talked to me about how they listen to sad music when they’re sad because it somewhat helps, and I think that’s one good way to confront and acknowledge a negative emotion.

Of course, once we acknowledge the negative emotions, we need to confront them. We need to ask ourselves why we’re feeling this way, what can we do to solve an issue if there is one, and then make moves to move on from the negativity and into positivity.

I know that for me personally, one major thing that helps me squash negative thoughts is getting into the Word of God; reading His promises to His people tends to always bring me comfort. I honestly love reading the Psalms because David writes about all his emotions – praise, joy, happiness, sadness, anger, hurt, betrayal, etc. He acknowledges the emotions he feels, knowing that the Lord hears him, and knowing that He will always be with him through those emotions.

And so, I want to continue to feel and confront in 2018. To remember that my emotions, and the emotions of others are valid. To not just place a band-aid of positivity on top of negative emotions, and expect the feelings to dissipate immediately.

Evaluate yourself: are you good at acknowledging and confronting negative emotions, or do you need to work on it? What are some ways to help you move past your negative emotions after you’ve confronted them?

#MishyWrites #Typeof2018

A Soft Type of 2018 (Part 2)

“That’s the thing about people who are soft. Everyone else thinks they can walk all over them as though they won’t notice. But we do; we notice everything.” – page 202, Pillow Thoughts, Courtney Peppernell

So, onto part two of being a softie.

Like I said yesterday, I’m not naive; I may want to continue to be soft, but that definitely doesn’t mean that I’ll completely turn a blind eye, and pretend like I don’t notice when someone is walking all over me, or trying to take advantage of me in some way. I will not continue to be walked all over by the same person, or suffer through the same scenario.

Yes, there can still be forgiveness because forgiving someone is a huge step in allowing yourself to heal, and move forward. But being soft in that way doesn’t mean I should run back to the same person or situation that hurt me, and expect for things to turn around just because I have given them a second chance. Unfortunately, people are given numerous chances, but never change, and that is when you and I have to be soft towards ourselves, and let go. That doesn’t mean that we have to hate the person, but it doesn’t mean that we have to be that person’s friend, or constantly try to be in their presence either.

Forgiveness is good. Second chances can definitely be good; I mean, think about all the times you’ve been given a second chance. But if you have been walked all over several times by the same person or situation, take notice. Learn so that you won’t have to endure that same situation again.

And in 2018, along with embracing and growing into my softness, I also am going to be more aware and notice the moments of being walked all over. Know when to be soft to others, and give second chances, and when to be soft to myself, and let go.

#MishyWrites #Typeof2018

A Soft Type of 2018 (Part 1)

“We all are born with a softness, and it’s important to grow into it. Do not let the world turn your heart cold.” – page. 200, Pillow Talk, Courtney Peppernell

There were several times in 2017 during my self-reflection that I would think, I’m way too soft.

I always wished I could be strong enough to block people’s phone numbers or on social media when they weren’t a part of my life anymore, or actually stand up to people and let them have it when they wronged me. Yet, what do I do? I keep those numbers just in case. And I take the wrongs that have been done to me, and chalk it up as a lesson learned, and humans can mess up sometimes. I forgive, but forget only enough for me to not be extremely bitter and angry at the person / situation; I remember only for the lessons of it.

But there are times I wish that I could be seen as, well, sort of savage. So many of my friends talk about how I’m “too nice” to do or say certain things to people, and I cringe sometimes, knowing that they’re right about me.

I am a softie, and I always have been. I always look at situations, and try to pull the positive out of them. Most times I want to bring out the best in people, and not think of them as cruel individuals who are just out to get others, and there for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive (I’ll talk more about this in my part 2 post tomorrow); I would just prefer to think that not all people are inconsiderate or rude.

And as my birthday was approaching, and now as the end of the year is approaching, I wondered if I should try to become a little more firm – more biting. I feel like there are times people walk all over me, and I just take it, and I get so tired of it.

But there have been several times I’ve expressed this to friends or family members, and they give me the same response Courtney Peppernell writes in the poem above: “Stay soft. Keep your sympathy and empathy. The world needs more of that.”

And even though my initial reaction was more like, “Yeah, but do we need more of that? Is it good for my well-being to be this soft?” the continuous confirmations of “growing into my softness” have made me realize how important it is to be soft. To have sympathy and empathy for other people because you never really know what other people are going through, and they could be acting / reacting the way they do for a specific reason that you don’t know about.

So, in 2018, I have decided to not get rid of my softness, but to embrace it, and grow into it more so. To be more aware of it, and grateful that I am a soft person, and there are other soft people out there. Because there have probably been plenty of times I’ve done something to someone, and their kindness, their softness handed me mercy instead of the judgment mallet.

And so I ask you: Do you think you’re too soft or too harsh? Do you need to embrace your softness, or become softer? What are some ways in which you can balance yourself in this area?

I’m excited about part two tomorrow, but I’ll end with this quote from an Instagram story from Claire Marshall that my dear friend and fellow queen Cydney Irby sent me:

“I used to dislike being sensitive. I thought it made me weak. But take away that single trait, and you take away the very essence of who I am. You take away my conscience, my ability to empathize, my intuition, my creativity, my deep appreciation of the little things, my vivid inner life, my keen awareness to others pain and my passion for it all.” – Claire Marshall

#MishyWrites #Typeof2018

Renewed Type of 2018

“You’ve become so damaged
That when someone
Wants to give you
What you deserve
You have no idea
How to respond.”

~ page 190, Pillow Thoughts, Courtney Peppernell

As soon as I read this poem, I shut my eyes. Seems like a dramatic thing to do, something only people in the movies do when something they’ve read or experienced hits them so hard. Seems sort of cliche. But honestly, I’ve had this thought before, and even expressed it out loud when things seemed to be going great because I couldn’t believe it.

Thankfully, God’s been working on me this past year, and I’ve been able to let go of thinking of myself as “damaged” or “not good enough” or “not worthy enough” most of the time. But I don’t want to keep having this mindset that, when something good occurs, or when someone wants to be kind to me and care about me, that it’s just a waste of time because it will end up being

What I don’t plan on doing is getting into a situation blindly, and having unrealistic expectations (positive or negative). I will assess a situation, but I won’t automatically deem it as worthless, or deem myself as worthless just because something good is going to happen.

So, what about you? Do you tend to have a more negative outlook on life? Do you think that things will eventually go wrong, even if they seem to go right for once? If so, let’s break that habit: with the new year coming up, combat a negative perspective with a positive one. Instead of thinking, “This is too good to be true,” think, “Wow, I’m so blessed that this is happening in my life right now.” Having the positive outlook doesn’t guarantee that the good thing will stay good all the time, but at least you’ll be able to enjoy it while you can.

And remember to not put your hope and faith in that good circumstance, person, or whatever it is; putting faith in it means that all of your emotions and mentality is dependent upon that thing to stay good so you can still feel good, and we don’t want that.

Remember: you’re not damaged, luvvies. You are good enough and worthy enough, and good things occurring to you is not a result of these things anyway. They are a result of the Lord being faithful and gracious enough to allow those good things / people in your life.

#MishyWrites #Typeof2018