I Am Seven

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Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. – Psalms 90:12

I am a mathematician. I manipulate and analyze numbers for a living. This love for numbers spills over into my personal life quite often. I guess I am a bit obsessed with what they represent and what they mean.

Right now, I am consumed with the number seven.

Interesting facts or things associated with the number seven that pop in my head at the moment are:

  • seven days in a week
  • seven days of creation
  • seven days to make or break a habit
  • seven years in cohabitation = common law marriage
  • seven minutes added back to your life by quitting smoking (not sure if this is valid or not, but go ahead and give it a shot :))
  • seven deadly sins
  • Seven Wonders of the World
  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Book)

This little nugget of information spiked my interest of seven and hit a little too close to home.  The article, Number 7 Numerology, stated that the number seven is the seeker, the thinker, the searcher of truth. The seven doesn’t take anything at face value – it is always trying to understand the underlying, hidden truths. The seven knows that nothing is exactly as it seems and that reality is often hidden behind illusions.

Hmm…sounds about right 🙂

The article, Biblical Numbers 1-10, broke the meaning down a bit further.

In the Bible, numbers have spiritual significance. Of all the biblical numbers, seven is the most familiar because it appears about 600 times. Seven denotes spiritual perfection. It means divine fullness, completeness and totality. It comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to be full,” “to be satisfied,” and “to have enough.

Many times seven is important as a symbol rather than as an actual number. Whenever you read seven, it does not always literally mean seven things or seven occurrences. It is symbolic of the whole or the completion or the ideal situation or the perfect picture of things. Seven constitutes a complete cycle.

Everything changed April 2, 2013. This man who shall not be named showed up in my life and dumped all his baggage at my feet which I quickly took on as my own. I got a double promotion at work. I went from being an assessment editor reviewing test items to managing 17 direct reports and co-leading the item development for a nationwide test. My 18-year-old stinky, shoe smelling, male cousin moved in with me. He completely destroyed my cute, perfectly designed IKEA spare bed room. My once precious and spotless room looks like it threw up laundry all over the carpet…*sigh*

My safe and easy life was uprooted 210 days ago. Yes, I am counting every freaking day. Every hour, every minute that passes through this cycle of hell I call life is another moment gained, another step towards this never-ending finish line.

Today, October 29, 2013 marks month seven and a lot has transpired up to this point. I have spent…

  • seven months fervently praying over people and situations
  • seven months stressing
  • seven months consumed with problems
  • seven months in heartbreak
  • seven months dealing with unanswered questions
  • seven months dealing with disappointments
  • seven months fighting to believe
  • seven months hoping
  • seven months waiting for completion, miracles, and breakthroughs

My spirit senses something new is on the horizon, it recognizes significant change is on the way. My joy has resurfaced, my hope has surged to a new level. Something big is brewing and is about to lock into place. I know this because seven tells me so.

I have no idea what is in store for me, but I’d like to believe some long-awaited dreams are about to be birthed and prayers are about to be answered. I have walked through the hardship, felt the heaviness of my broken heart, and prayed desperately for change.

So tonight, I celebrate all that I have gone through and all that I have gained. Who knows, tomorrow I may be back at one, starting a process all over again, having yet another mountain to climb, another thing to over analyze, and another truth to seek out.  But as for tonight, I am no longer consumed with I don’t have. I am simply consumed with what I do.  I am full, I am satisfied, and I have more than enough.

For tonight, I am seven 🙂

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What We Allow

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No matter how qualified or deserving we are, we will never reach a better life until we can imagine it for ourselves and allow ourselves to have it. – Richard Bach

Last night my family and I were having some heavy dialogue concerning Sunday’s message from Church – Hannah and her desperate need to have a baby. No matter how hard she tried, Hannah just could not conceive. She tried to have a baby for many, many years. Even though the Bible says she was favored by God, she and her dreams were ignored.

I relate to Hannah. I know the struggles she faced feeling that her wants and her dreams were being over looked.  I can imagine her asking, Why is this not happening? What is wrong with me? I sense that she strongly doubted herself and her ability as a woman.

It’s been one of my life’s dream to publish a book. I have had a strong desire to tell my story even though it caused me a great deal of pain. I have had the same manuscript in the works for nearly four years. I have made several attempts to publish, but each time it failed. At times I wanted to give up, to discard it like trash, but each time, I was reminded of just how important the story was and is.

So, here I go again. I’ve pulled out the manuscript, brushed away the dirt. I am ready to write again. This time will be different, I tell myself. I will wrap up the edits, polish it up, and it will be published. No matter how many attempts to put pen to paper, I can’t scribble out one word. Doubt creeps in.

Who am I to write a book? Who really wants to hear my story? Are my words captivating? Will someone actually want to read it? It’s hard for me to imagine all my experiences poured into thousands of words will be captivating and viable to make it to fine print.

The conversation my family and I had about Hannah led into deep and personal questions about myself and my doubts.  My cousin’s husband asked, Why do you doubt yourself, Nichole? Who planted these doubts in the first place? Who told you that you can’t achieve this? Who told you that you can’t achieve that?

The deeper he dug and the more he pressed in, the more it hurt, hurt like hell, actually. The questions he was firing were like a scalpel cutting into my old wounds. Stop, it hurts, I cry. I don’t know why I don’t believe.

Yes you do, he said. You just can’t say it.  So, he answered for me.

Maybe it’s because you’ve never had anyone prove to you that you are worthy. You have to let go of the past, Nichole. You have to let go of the power “they” have over your mind.

As the tears began to pour down my face and my thoughts began to crush me, I was reminded, once again, of my past and those who severely impacted my life. I was reminded of those whose actions let me down. I was reminded of those who through their words squashed my desires and trampled my potential to accomplish great things. I was reminded of those who led me to believe that I am not worthy of any real happiness or success.

As the tears began to dry up, and my mind began to clear. I realized that he is right. I have to let go. I have to reprogram my mind with the truth. I am worthy of such great things. I deserve to have a book published, to fall in love, get married, and have a family.  I just have to believe.

I don’t know if you struggle with self-doubt and worth like me, but if you do, I challenge you to ask yourself some of the deep questions I had to answer. Why do you doubt yourself? Why do you hold back on the better life you can live?

As you sift through the painful parts of your past, the words and actions of the ones that stifled your growth, your chance for a better life, you might discover this. Your chance for that better life has been right under your nose, at an arm’s reach, all this time. All you had to do to obtain it, was to allow yourself to take hold of it, instead of letting someone else’s limited thinking limit you.

Hannah eventually gave birth to a son named Samuel. He went on to do great things for the Lord. As my story plays out, I imagine that I will publish a book, get married, and have a family. I too will do great things for the Lord and so will you. I believe in you just like I finally believe in myself 🙂

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Following Love

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The course of true love never did run smooth.– William Shakespeare

The past several days I have been a complete emotional mess. My heart has been dragged through a gamut of emotions – confusion, anger, heartbreak, and peace. It’s been a volatile couple of days.

As I sit in the struggle, considering what to do next. I am plagued with these questions. Do I say this? Do I say that? Do I walk away? Do I stay and fight? Do I completely abandon love altogether?

My friend sent this to me and it changed my way of thinking. In reading it, I found that you may think you can direct the course of love, but if love finds you worthy, it will direct your course.  Also, if you are looking for more than love’s peace and love’s pleasure, then love may not be right for you.

I encourage you to read it and let it speak to you as it did to me.

Kahlil Gibran on Love

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

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The Commitment

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Love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. To love somebody isn’t just a strong feeling. It is a decision, a judgement, and a promise. – Unknown

commitment 1Merriam-Webster took it a step further by saying…

commitment 2

Commitment, whether we are dedicated to a cause, an activity, or loyal to another, is still a bond that is hard to maintain. Commitment takes a lot of work. It takes discipline, dedication, and motivation. It takes perseverance and a strong desire to see it through completion. It takes sweat, it takes tears, and often it takes the courage to stand alone.

Today, my Pastor challenged me with this charge:

The discipline of commitment is much greater than the up and down ride of motivation. Motivation will get you started, but commitment will bring completion. Whatever needs to be done in your life, don’t wait on motivation…commit to it and watch the change. There are a lot more people who start than finish. The difference in the starting and the finishing line is COMMITMENT!!! Let this be the moment when the need is greater than the feeling. Finish the book…complete the song…end the campaign…go back to school…put on the running shoes and whatever else is lying undone in your life.

His words hit home in so many areas of my life. Immediately, I knew I needed to pick up the manuscript that has been serving as a coaster on my coffee table. I also knew I needed to dig out the tennis shoes and wrap up this exercise hiatus I have currently taken for the last six weeks. Most importantly, I also realized I need to hit “send” on the draft email holding painful, powerful, and challenging words to a person that needs to hear them more than ever.

I have made a commitment to this person and many times I have tried to break that commitment. It’s been very hard. It has been emotionally and financially draining.  No matter how many times I have tried to run away, I’ve always turned back. I remembered the commitment and why I made it.

I have committed to see this person fight his internal demons and close the ugly chapter to his past once and for all. I have committed to endure the heartache, the disappointment, the empty promises, and the lies because I know the man he was created to be, not the man the world altered – the man who you see.

As my finger sits heavy on the mouse, hesitating to release the saturated email, I am reminded of my Pastor’s words. This need to help my friend see the truth, is greater than the fear that I am feeling. It is greater than the risk of losing him. It is greater than the heartbreak I may encounter.

Whatever is lost by my next course of action, pales in comparison to what I have gained. I have found personal love, messy love, whole love, and broken love. I have loved through the darkness of another human being. I am no longer striving towards love. I am love.

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Second Guessing Love

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Your task is not to seek love, but to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. – Rumi

This journey to love and especially the place on the map I am currently at, has me second guessing this choice for my one word resolution. I want the easy stuff, not this gut wrenching, heart breaking, trust testing, kind of love that stretches and pulls and shatters my way of thinking.

As my trust is being tested yet, again, I strap on my running shoes and break for the door. This is too much, I cry. As the tears stream down my face, I think to myself. What a fool. There you go believing in him again. You keep fighting for him, but at what cost? 

My mind. My sanity. My heart.

It never fails. Along comes this message to make me question my next step.

love knows no limitsThe truth is, I have not yet reached this level of love. I have limits to what I can endure. I have trust issues. I am starting to lose hope. I am starting to cave into my circumstances. I am starting to lose the firm grip I once had.

Where I stand right now, I am heavily contemplating abandoning my quest for love altogether. It’s too hard, it’s too costly, and to be honest, I’m not sure it is worth it. So, the questions begin. Do I have what it takes to stay the course, to persevere, to outlast it all, and to be left firmly planted in love?

With my feet pointed away from love, I stop and turn back around. Maybe I do have what it takes. I have to stop second guessing love and simply believe in it.

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