Category Archives: Single Life

Loneliness–Or as I like to call it, Black Hole of Doom

Talking with my fellow LGBT Christians, a real honest question that effects every person regardless of orientation, race, economical status or religion came up. How do you deal with loneliness. My first thought was my previous post about singleness you can read here.

Then my second thought was “I punch it in the face”. My tongue and cheek response received a few likes and comments on our Facebook page, but I sat back and chewed on it for a bit. How DO I deal with loneliness?

In my experience, I deal with it in one of two ways: horrible indulgence or optimistic resilience. There is no in-between. When I’m feeling lonely, alone, unwanted, invisible, awkward, prickly, forgotten…ect…I either disappear into Netflix and Youtube binges whilst devouring whatever salty carbohydrates fried cheese covered creation I can manage or I get out of my own way and have fun.

Loneliness is less about being alone and more about being discontent with whom you’re with/without. Think about it. I imagine at some point in your life , think a new situation/high school/or meeting someone’s life long friends–you have likely felt lonely in a crowd. You weren’t alone…but you felt alone. Surrounded by others and their happiness and memories, you felt like an outsider and were lonesome.

Then there’s those times when you are alone and feel lonely. We dislike being alone with ourselves. Self talk and silent lies are the most oppressive when there is no one fun and exciting around to distract us from all the ways we’ve disappointed ourselves. We begin to ask questions that have no answers outside of timing. Why are all my friends getting married? (If this were true, you would have no engagements popping up in your newsfeed next year…it’s likely an exaggeration.)

Which leads to: why am I single? Why haven’t I received that promotion? How come I wasn’t invited? Why don’t I have any texts….so on and so on.

STOP.

Get up.

DO SOMETHING.

The best cure for the loneliness of self loathing is to go out and enjoy something other than the prison of your thoughts. Go to a park and take the best Instagram photo of clouds ever offered to mankind.

Take yourself on a date to a new vegan fusion cafe you’ve been dying to try and snapchat the world how jealous they should be of you.

Sign up for a new class, cooking, dancing, painting, gardening…you won’t meet new people on your couch.

Lastly, write that friend that you miss. Not a text. Not a Facebook message, send them a long email or a long letter telling them about everything and nothing that you miss about them. Talk about the toast you made and how unfortunately seedy the bread was. DO something.

You can thank me later.

Christmas Cheer

This is a year of firsts. The first Christmas I celebrate without plenty of children around. The first Christmas I am too far from home to surprise my family with either gifts or my presence. The first Christmas completely on my own.

I feel great! Like many single adults living far from home, I often find this time of year very lonely. God has blessed me with a change of perspective…maybe it’s just because 30 is the next birthday on the calendar, but I’d like to think it’s Jesus shaping my heart…in any case this year I am surrounded by love. Generous people are everywhere if we are willing to swallow our pride and admit we are alone. Letting others into my life gave me plenty of invitations for Christmas Day. I went from feeling like a burden or forgotten to having the privilege of choosing which events to attend!

I’m so excited to spend this time remembering Jesus with people who share His love and they do so in practical ways. Lonely people don’t really want a gift, though we appreciate them. What we really want is time. People who care to spend time with us during a season of togetherness. Who has God placed in your life that could use a little togetherness this year?

The Final Thought–A Walk through Ephesians 4

Ephesians 4:25-32New International Version (NIV)

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29298A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29298B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> 26 “In your anger do not sin”<span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NIV-29299a" data-link="[a]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[a]:<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29299C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29300D" data-link="(D)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29301E" data-link="(E)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> doing something useful with their own hands,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29301F" data-link="(F)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> that they may have something to share with those in need.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29301G" data-link="(G)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29302H" data-link="(H)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> but only what is helpful for building others up<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29302I" data-link="(I)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29303J" data-link="(J)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> with whom you were sealed<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29303K" data-link="(K)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> for the day of redemption.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29303L" data-link="(L)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>31 Get rid of<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29304M" data-link="(M)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29304N" data-link="(N)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29305O" data-link="(O)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Well loves, here it is. This is where the rubber meets the road. Paul has been leading us up to the ‘how to’ of living out our new identities. He gives us practical examples of how maturing believers should act and contrasts it with  the behaviour that’s associated with the old self–the one that died with Christ Romans 6:4 Ephesians 2:4-5 . 


What’s the point?

It’s important to note that the text does NOT say “do not be angry”, rather it says “in your anger do not sin”. I, myself, struggle with emotions–I like to avoid them at all costs, and being human; it’s rather difficult to say the least. They can be deceptive in their intensity, but at conversion, upon receiving the indwelling of the Holy Spirit–we are given a spirit of self control. I’ve been guilty of quenching that spirit in my life and most times it has lead to chaos.
When faced with intense emotions, in this case anger, we have a choice to feed it, flee from it, or face it. Feeding it only compounds the issues and is sinfully self centred. The most common emotions we feed are all relational: anger, ego, pity and passion/admiration. 

Anger: Someone ticks you off–it happens. If you’re like me at all, you play the situation over and over in your mind some days. Maybe you discuss it with friends and go over all the “oh I wish I would’ve said this” moments and “that person is such an idiot”. Slowly, you begin to harbour bitterness towards that person. You begin to distance yourself from them because you no longer trust that they won’t hurt you. In your words, thoughts and actions you sow the seeds of disunity within the relationship and within the body of Christ.


Ego: This is the sneakiest of emotions. I find it creeps up in my life when I begin to mock others for getting what I think they deserve as a result of their actions. I create in myself a mindset that I am somehow better than they are. Another sneaky way ego creeps in is through the puffing oneself up after an accomplishment. It’s okay to celebrate successes, but sometimes we remove the significance of the moment and put others at a distance by over sharing for the ego stroke that comes with a ‘good job’ and can eventually be trapped in a cycle of vain arrogance.

Pity: Ever do something wrong or foolish and kick yourself for years? Ya, me neither (sarcasm). In berating ourselves and diminishing our worth, what are we saying about Christ’s suffering on the Cross? Was His death as atonement for our sins not enough that we must continually beat ourselves emotionally over something that has already been paid for? How arrogant am I to underwrite the value that the God and Maker of the Universe has placed on my life!
Passion/Admiration: I’m going to camp here for a bit. As a single lady, I feel like I can lend some truth to this one. This is the hardest one and is very closely related to ego and pride. 
We like to feel good . Women, specifically, long to feel beautiful and desired. When someone pays us that kind of close attention (be it a romantic interest or not) we can choose to flee (which in some cases is right and good if you’re feeling temptations of a sexual nature). Sometimes we flee just to avoid dealing with the emotions that certain words and actions bring up in us. This avoidance leaves us trapped in emotional immaturity and quenches any real relationship. It keeps people at arm’s length preventing the type of deep connection that you crave in the first place.
Feeding this emotion can be very destructive. It’s intoxicating to be enjoyed–to feel like someone delights in knowing you. Much like anger being fed, feeding this emotion involves a fair bit of internal dialogue. In all the over thinking, over analyzing and over compensating–where is the Holy Spirit in your conversation with yourself? In case you ever find yourself wondering if anyone delights in you–I can say with absolute certainty the one that matters the most in this life certainly does! I challenge you to do a topical Bible study of your own looking up how the Father regards His children–of which you are one. Words like precious, delight, joy, rejoicing, love, esteem, protect, adopt, sing over….pop up all over the Old and New Testaments. God delights in you!
Facing it is the only way to put off the falsehood of the fleeing and the feeding. I’ve found the best way to do this is to acknowledge the emotion, sate the truth of the matter (and the lies), repent asking forgiveness for believing and dwelling in falsehood–and moving on.
MOVE ON. Don’t repeat the cycle by beating yourself up for learning moments. You’re human, you’re going to feel things and feel them deeply. And that is okay! It’s part of the beautiful way that God created you. The question is, what are you going to do about it? And whom are you going to turn to? Yourself, your friends, or the Source of Truth?

What if I Stay?

Stay.

The word God gave me as the guiding theme for my life this year. Now to some, that might not seem like a big deal. It may seem trivial and even a little uneventful to build one’s whole purpose for a year around the idea of staying. Let me set the scene for you, maybe you can relate to it from another angle.

I am a runner.

Not in the sense of putting on shoes, under armour, taking my iPod and jogging for 3 miles. I am a runner relationally. My habitually cultivated fear of abandonment causes me to high tail it in the opposite direction as soon as I start to get a deep emotional connection with someone. Vulnerability is the single most terrifying thing to a runner like me. As soon as you are vulnerable, you are able to be hurt deeply by the object of your vulnerability. When God gave me the word stay as my purpose for this year, it came with a few implications.

First, I need to build into staying. Work is no longer temporary. Whatever my job is, it is going to be this for a while. This means that I need to make an effort to be skilled at my job, to get to know the employees around me and to be open to correction and improvement. I cannot merely drop out if I decide ‘I don’t like this job’–God said stay and that’s what I am going to do. The old Cheryl bounced from job to job whenever she had a conflict she didn’t like at work or found a job she liked better that was advertising for a new position. This allowed me to keep surface level relationships with my co-workers but cemented the chronic distance and isolation I was keeping myself in.

Second, I need to stay presently. Staying is less about planning for the future and more about living in the now. I have a nasty habit of wanting to control everything. I want to do the right thing, know all the answers, plan for any and every contingency and feel anxious if I fail to do so. God is showing me that to stay means to take each day as it comes. Being present in the now is the only way to cultivate relationships what can allow me to be vulnerable enough to trust. If I am always looking to the future, I will miss what is going on right in front of me.

Lastly, I need to stay in the discomfort. Currently, I am working towards having a healthy body. This means that much of the time I am in pain. Good pain. Pain that develops muscles. I am noticing a remarkable difference in my energy levels, my stamina and my athletic ability. I still regard myself as the person I was 70lbs ago and surprise myself each time I play soccer without fainting, or walk 5 km without becoming exhausted, or hike up a hill and be able to talk while doing it! Vulnerability and learning to trust is the same. I need to stay in relationship and push through the pain of developing new muscles. Only through trusting God for the outcomes of sharing my heart with others will I have the deep relationship with Him that I crave. Funny thing, you cannot shut out people and remain close to God. The human heart only has one door. Either we let the Holy Spirit touch us through people, words and events or we don’t. There’s no ‘Me & You God’ without His children.

Here’s to staying and the revolution it’s already starting to make in my heart.

** I’d like to add, if you would like to join my support network and help me in this journey of radical obedience http://www.gofundme.com/cherylfolland follow this link to donate and share. Every little bit helps. **

FREE(dom) of the Press

In an effort to get my name out into the webisphere as an author, I’ve begun writing for http://www.corneru.com . Corner University is primarily focussed on business, entrepreneurship and life styles that foster success in those avenues.

What does an up and coming aspiring writer have to offer to the world of business?

There are three main things that I have an abundance of right now: 

  1. Time to write
  2. Time to research
  3. Time to promote
Basically, I have a lot of time. The resources are endless in an information age where hundreds of thousands of business people have written, catalogued and posted their stories. These stories highlight  keys to success, blunders, networks, habits, failures and triumphs. My job, with the abundance of time that I currently have, is to sift through the pile and find the most relevant issues. Once discovered, I put my own spin on them.
So far, the response has been great. I’ve been classically trained in the area of writing and literature. I’ve been educated in English and possess a college degree (and therefore have written my share of 20 page research papers about topics that I had no knowledge of before hand.) Lastly, I am a writer at heart. I love to communicate to others through prose. Whether it is a book I’ve written or am writing, online articles edited by others, my blog, Twitter, Facebook or just texting over worded messages to the people I love, I LOVE TO WRITE. 
The only downside so far, is that I write for free. Here’s to being discovered.