relationships

Jessica Ferreira painting

Severing Strings

I am bubbling with joy right now because today will be the first time I feature a guest writer/past-blogger/artist. My best friend, Jessica Ferreira, is an incredible human being with a heart that outweighs gold. We met in 6th grade, when she was heavily into her Spice Girl phase and I was only about some Hanson. She moved back to Venezuela for 7th grade, and I thought I’d never see her again. One day after school in 8th grade, I saw her standing by a wall and had to go and talk to her! The rest is history. Our friendship has cultivated and grown since then, with hilarious highs and barren lows. We get through. She is a fighter, in every sense of the word, and is a walking bottle of creativity. Today she will be sharing with us a work of art that comes from the deepest depths of her soul. Vulnerability has not always been her strong suit, but her journey to transparency is in full swing and one can only be bettered by everything she has to give.

Megan and I have been good friends for a very long time. And by a very long time I mean long enough for us to know that when a Saturday has clear blue skies and is slightly breezy, we both text each other saying, “It’s a BK Kinda Day.”

Yes, Burger King. Don’t judge.

When she asked me to guest blog for her, I was very honored, but skeptical at what I would talk about since “writer” is not the first thing I describe myself as. But alas, it is something I like to do.

When she asked me to write something for her, I got the notion from God to talk about a painting I did a little less than a year ago. The notion was more like a nudge to finally present this piece to others, even though it brings up a lot of roughness in my life.

I don’t have a name for this painting. Yet.

I don’t even know where to begin explaining it really.

However, I can tell you I painted it because I had to release what was going on inside of me. And for me, painting is the only way I know how to do that.

The months before this painting was made had brought about a relationship I had no idea would change my life. I had invested all of me into a person whom I had, at first, genuinely befriended and loved in Christ. As the time passed, however, my needs, along with theirs, became tangled in long strings of attachment; emotionally, physically, mentally, even spiritually. Those strings became thicker and harder to sever, becoming chords that bungeed as we so desperately tried to run the opposite direction. Because of those needs, we saw in each other a glimpse of mutual and unconditional love; a love that stemmed from Godly pursuit, but became twisted enough to make us believe it was all we had.

Satan is very good at doing that.

When things began to unravel (thank God) because of conviction, my life felt like the perpetual walls were caving in. In retrospect, they were actually scales falling off of my eyes.

I saw the strings that we all naturally possess. Strings that, at their proper use, are to be united for healthy relationships, with guidance from the Holy Spirit. But my strings (my needs) became connected through my selfish gain, causing not only hurt and doubt for me, but also rapture and pain in a once beautiful, unfortunately short-lived, friendship.

I wanted love and to be loved, and so I gave my needs away, letting the strings wrap around someone who was never intended to hold on so tightly.

When I started the painting, I had a very difficult time. I had to revive the pain so that it could reach the surface enough to be purged out. After a while, and after staring at it for longer than I care to admit, the lines began to flow, the colors began to emerge, and the feeling of release was finally peeking it’s way through.

The white lines around the figures are our natural, God given needs to reach out and be loved and love fervently. The colorful chords are the ones that had been attached, intense in color and strength but damaging in all ways. However, by the immeasurable Grace of God and the Cross, he severed them.

You may be dealing with issues similar to mine. Problems that are aroused by the need we all have to feel wanted and needed, but going about them the wrong way. We may have the idea that if we love someone enough, and they love us in return, they are capable of fixing us, whatever we may need fixing in our lives.

Listen friends, we are but humans, incapable of rescuing each other from the depths of turmoil. We fail at that because we are fallen. We must continually seek Jesus in order to even border the line of servant-hood and love He walked along so passionately. And Jesus did it because he knew what the Father wanted: dependance on Him. Not dependance on his disciples who loved him, not the crowds who sought him out; not even the idea of just, for one moment, taking in what this world had to offer.

He attached himself to the only source that had the power to revive him in the darkest of times, even if those times were lonely.

It doesn’t matter who or what you love, but a matter of the heart. It is not whether you are in need of something or feel you are attracted to someone, in the right binds of marriage or if are a loving father, mother, sister, son or  daughter. It is where you put them in your heart that you must be aware of.

So my encouragement is this: Be honest with yourselves. It leads to truth. Be honest with where you put people in your life. When you do that, and you realize that there may be a person that has become a chasm between you and God, just hand that to Him, for He alone can handle it. Not you. Not the other person.

I also encourage you to find ways to release these sometimes unspoken emotions. From the talents we have, the times we use to exercise, to even being vulnerable with someone; it can all lead you to a path of awareness.

God knows the ins and outs of your deepest longing. Depend on it. You are worth it.

A Big Fake

It’s really disturbing when you discover that most of the nice things that you do for others are fueled by the fake part of you that wants to make up for what the real part of you just said or did.

It hit me like a bad fish sandwich one night last week. I was talking to someone, and their facial expression led me to assume that perhaps I offended them somehow. I proceeded to go over in my head what I said that could have been questionable, and then immediately thought about offering my help to this person.  And that’s when it hit me.

I don’t serve to serve. I serve to keep people from thinking anything less than great of me. I serve to keep people from talking bad about me. I serve to keep people from being disappointed.

It happened again the night after that. There was some miscommunication which led to frustration between a friend of mine and myself, and on my way home I contemplated what I could do or say to make them like me and believe that I’m a sweet person. Because obviously they are gonna go home and bash talk the hell out of me for hours.

What’s that fun old saying? “You know what they say when you assume…..”

Shows how much faith and trust I have in my friends.

As grossed out as I am with myself right now, it’s almost kind of a relief. I think about the people I like the most. Typically, they can be real jerks, but there is something so genuine and honest about their butthole-ness. They’re not hiding the ugly parts of their personality. And to clarify, those people are not the same as the people who are jerks on purpose in an effort to push everyone away or to appear too cool for school. I can see right through that crap.

It’s exhausting when you live a life toiling day and night in hopes that everyone will be happy with you.

Would the world really come to an end if someone didn’t like me that much?

Will the ground crumble from beneath my soles if a friend went home and vented about how stupid I was?

Will the white horses with tattooed Jesus come swooshing down from the heavens if I failed to please everyone?

Well all of those things have probably happened a thousand times in my life, and yet… Revelation has not come to pass. Kurt Cameron is still making bad movies. Everything is still intact. Who I am is still fully there, even though I seem too blind to see it.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  -John 1:9-13

I am God’s child. Period. That is all that matters. No one should be able to steal that confidence away from me, even in the worst of my offenses. Or shall I say, I should never allow anyone or anything to undermine my identification.

It almost makes me want to disappoint someone on purpose just to see what it feels like to not feel the NEED to please them selfishly. But I won’t do that.