Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Finding an Outlet

Typically I don’t like to reveal letters from a friend, but this one struck me as something I should share with everyone. This friend will remain anonymous out of respect of her privacy. Her words speak pain and they cry for help. Her agony of what she goes through reflects on what she paints on her canvas. She’s a beautiful person with so much passion. Her work is absolutely amazing. There’s a reason why a beautiful person such as herself goes through so much turmoil.

Here’s her letter to me:

"Hello Deb,

I haven't heard anything from you in a long time what have you been doing? I have decided to contact your friend’s gallery. I finally put up a real website, please check it out. I have been down about woman. I try to hide it but it like I keep being reminded how in little ways of the major disappointments I have endured in my last relationship. So I am hiding and hoping life won't find me. Maybe the feelings are good for painting but not much else. Anyway enough about how I feel. I hope life finds you happy and in love if that is what you want. I can't imagine anyone wouldn't want to be happy. I can imagine not wanting to be in love.

Peace
Me"

Here’s my letter back to her:

"Hi,

How are you? I'm glad you contacted the gallery. I know it's a small gig up there, but you never know. Plus, it's great for networking purposes. I truly believe that if we didn't go through the process of heartbreaks and other relationship issues, we wouldn't be creative. With the break up I endured three years ago left me depressed and hopeless. I started writing. It was supposed to be a private journal, which then ended up being a book that got published. In my opinion, pain and suffering is what we go through in order for learning processes to take place. If we don't go through these horrific ordeals, we may act in ways we wouldn't if we were perfectly happy. We'd be clueless on how to handle them and how to cope. Sometimes, when we see two people who are extremely happy, you really have to ask yourself, "Is anyone truly happy?" There are highs and lows to life regardless if your work, personal relationship and family life are absolutely perfect. We can't get away from "life" itself. So, yes, we all want happiness, but we should embrace the sad times and the times where aggravation and frustration leaves us with no other choice other than to be creative about it. And thank GOD you have the gift to be creative. Imagine if you had no interests in art? What would be your outlet? Think about all the normal 'cookie cutter' gals out there with absolutely no outlet. We are fortunate. Think of it like that. I'm not sure what you're going through, but I can say I have learned an awful lot from my past experiences, and I STILL have so much more to learn. I hope you're doing well. I'm going to check out your website right now. Keep me posted on stuff and let me know how you're doing. Email me anytime.

Enjoy your day!
Deb"

There are people who handle turmoil and depression in different ways. The sad thing is, there are many people without a passion for something. They don’t have a “hobby”, if you will, to create an outlet for all of their frustrations. Some people aren’t artistic. Some don’t like to exercise. (Which is another great outlet.) Others tend to sink into their depression letting it take their entire life over. Sadness in life can produce beautiful results. Most artists and musicians use their depression, anger, frustrations and other negative emotions to produce masterpieces.

“Why did this happen? Why did he/she leave me?” I used to ask this when my heart was broken. I didn’t understand it. I dealt with it in irrational ways trying to self-medicate myself with anxiety pills and alcohol. Thank God it was temporary and I found writing as an outlet. I wrote in a journal and kept it to myself. I included many biblical passages that helped me. Praying and meditating was an absolute lifesaver for me. It helped me see things in a different perspective. Many people aren’t religious – and that’s okay. I’m just telling you what worked for me. I found solace coming to God with my problems.

Here’s what I found in the Promise Bible (NLT)

The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him sincerely. ~Psalm 145:18
The Lord invites us to make prayer our first response rather than our last resort. He always listens to those who are honest with him.

We can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for. ~1 John 5:14-15
While we may not know God’s specific will for every situation, we do know that his will is to empower our obedience, to overcome evil with good, and to equip us to be his witnesses. We can pray confidently for his power and guidance, knowing that we are asking for the very things he most longs to give.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. ~1 Peter 5:7
We experience freedom when we give a burden over to the Lord in prayer—even before the prayer is answered. The assurance of God’s love and concern refreshes us and renews our hope.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7
There’s no limit on prayer. Big requests, small requests, and all sizes in between are welcomed by God. If something bothers us, it should be brought to God.

In fact, it’s not a shock when I hear, “Well I prayed and prayed and then this happened!” The more you pray, the more the evil one will tempt you and the more you are challenged. It’s the bad vs. the good. They’re both fighting for you. I kept on. I kept praying and after a while, things seemed to be taking on a steady pace. I know for a fact that if I didn’t come to God in my most depressive state of mind, I wouldn’t be here today writing this. So I thank Him for helping me through some rough times.

And to my friend who wrote, “I try to hide it but it like I keep being reminded how in little ways of the major disappointments I have endured in my last relationship.”

People will always disappoint us. That’s a given. That’s just life. But God will never disappoint you if you come to Him sincerely. We rely and expect too much upon people. We sometimes tend to think God’s just some mystical fairytale that’s nice to think about from time to time, but He has proven to me so many times that He’s real. When I sit and pray to Him, it’s never one-sided. After a prayer, I simply open the bible and read out the very first thing I see. This is one of the many ways I communicate with Him.

Let me give you an example:

January 24th, 2007, I had prayed to God to take away my anxiety and help with my depression.

His response: So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in Him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13

On that same day, I prayed for help in my writing and to help those with my book who are in need of guidance. Someone who they can look at and say, “Wow, she went through what I went through!” I still struggle, but that’s the human nature of the battle.

His response: When I am with those who are oppressed, I share their oppression so that I might bring them to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone so that I might bring them to Christ. I do all this to spread the good news, and in doing so I enjoy its blessings. ~1 Corinthians 9:22-23

So basically, in my own interpretation of that passage, God was saying how I should find common ground with others and share my stories with them. With my book as well as my blog, I share my struggles of what I went through. I still struggle, but with God’s help and guidance, I feel uplifted and full of hope. When I become distant from God is when I start feeling the effects of the human emotions that plague all of us.

In conclusion, this is my outlet. Praying is a huge outlet for me. Writing is an outlet for me. Playing my guitar and writing Christian music is an outlet for me. This is “me” though.

What’s your outlet?