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Hayley Murray
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I don’t label myself as a whiner or someone who is never happy with what is going on around me but a few nights ago I heard everything I had been avoiding. While I had always liked to think of myself as someone who is mostly positive about where things will end up and my current situation, I’ve been lying to myself. Not just a little white lie, but a lie I grabbed on to when I was younger and I’ve continued to nurture since.

“I had it figured out all along. Fake it ’til you make it. At least that’s what I told myself. Hide the tears and fake a smile, Hayley.”

It seemed simple enough to keep it all tucked away. The tears were hidden behind late night runs and tucked away when I was tucked in. In the silence, no one saw a wet face or heard the soft sobs that were trying their best to communicate the lack of hope always present.

The fake smile was a part of a daily routine. Every day I put it on like a mask and every night I washed it off then took a look in the mirror. I was the only person I wasn’t fooling; the only one who knew the feelings behind the mask.

At least that’s what I told myself.

What I realized today was that there were always people I wasn’t fooling and more importantly, I was fooling myself more than anyone else. It wasn’t a matter of me lying to myself about everything going on. The thick air was real and always suffocating. I was, however, lying to myself about how strong I was. I thought I was strong. Yet here I am today telling myself to finally admit the truth. I was never strong. I was simply caught in my own web of lies, pretending each day.

Fake it ’til you make it, they said.

Guess I never fully listened to what they told me to do. I faked it. Until I couldn’t fake it anymore. Until I reached my breaking point and the poison that had filled my lungs reached into my blood stream and killed a part of me. Yes, I faked it, but I’m still not sure I’ve made it. Maybe we are supposed to grab the hands of those in the same place, on the same path and walk together. Find the roses in the weeds, the sun in the rain, the life in the death, and help each other when the thistles of a rose prick our hands. No one said life would be easy, no one said there was a time limit on pain.”

I wrote that a few years ago when I was the only person I thought about in the world and quite frankly I’m embarrassed to share it. Yes, things were hard for a long time, but I made it all about myself and all of me wishes I could go back in time and shake myself for that. Even when I was still in grade school and I did everything I could to help my mom out at home by cleaning, cooking, driving my siblings where they needed to be, and many other things; the older I got, the more it was for my own personal gain and gratification instead of to serve the people around me. The other problem was that I did it for my own glory, not for the glory of God.

I’ll be the first to admit that at that point in my life, when I wrote that, I was not a positive person. I saw negativity every where I looked and I let myself be consumed by it. Until a few nights ago, I looked at myself as someone who had become more positive because I finally let God take the reigns. Now I’m sitting here laughing at myself for fooling myself into thinking that.

I’ve faked it alright. I’ve faked positivity in my own eyes and deceived no one but myself.  Every single day I wake up and have something I feel the need to complain about whether it’s to God or one of my friends; I find something I’m not satisfied with in my life and it could be as small as something being out of place in my apartment or someone cutting me off on the road or something as ‘big’ as my life’s circumstances and how I can’t stand them. If I could record my thoughts each day and play them  for you all to hear it would sound something like, ME ME ME ME ME ME ME with a whole lot of annoying mixed in.

Every Moment I Complain
Something I never thought about until a few nights ago is that by complaining about my circumstances, I’m complaining about the creator of my circumstances. Just like if I were to sit down and rip apart a book, I would actually be ripping apart the author of the book; the book had no say in it’s journey. So here I am, every single day, waking up and complaining about the circumstances God has laid in my path. The moment I realized that sounded something like ‘ouch’ followed by an apology. How many times a day does God have to listen to all of us complaining about what He has given us after all He has done for us?

Like a Child Who Never Listens 
A few times a week I volunteer with kids who come from homes that lack structure. Some of them are surrounded by drugs, alcohol, difficult situations, parents in jail and a lack of resources. Each day they come to our program after school and each day a select few choose to run around and not listen to what you’re asking them to do. Most days I become so frustrated with them and wonder how it can be so hard to listen to us when we ask them to sit down or be quiet. In my mind, those are two simple requests so when they decided every single day to not listen, my patience wears thin.

Reality check: God deals with us doing the same exact thing everyday! He asks simple things of us like honesty and we decided, when we feel like it, to not listen.

Friend Zoning God
A person I’ve had the pleasure of becoming friends with this year, Wes Moore, pointed out something amazing to our Bible Study group this past week. For those of us who are single (#foreveralone) and spend so much time wishing for that perfect person to come into our life, we’re in the wrong. We complain about being single and not having someone to share our life with and love us but we already have that. Every single day, we have love staring us in the face and we choose to ignore it by sticking God in the friend zone. How could we possibly be prepared to accept the love of a human being when we reject the love God pours out on us? If His love can’t satisfy us, no ones love ever will.

For those of you that know me, you know I’ve never been someone who constantly needs to be talking to or dating a guy. In high school I dated a guy for 3 months at the very beginning of my freshman year and spent the rest of my four years single. After high school I started to date more and at one point had a boyfriend for almost a year followed by two short relationships. One thing I noticed in that time was that the longer I dated each guy, the more I started to become like them. I wasn’t standing firm in who I was or what I believed. That alone screams that I wasn’t ready for a relationship. The more I thought about it this week, the more I realized that if I commit myself to my relationship with God, I’ll become more like Him just like I’ve done with past relationships.

At this point, I’ve been single for over a year, and I can honestly admit I’m not ready to date for a few different reasons. For starters, I’m a selfish person; until I can stop putting myself first, I’m not ready to have another life intertwined with my own. Another reason is that for awhile I was that person wondering when I would meet the perfect person. I focused so much on the fact that everyone else around me seemed to be dating, getting engaged, getting married, having kids, that I lost track of the fact that I’m not alone nor will I ever be. We should be content in being single because of the fact that we aren’t ever alone. God provides more love to and for us than could ever be provided by us, the imperfect. I also have SO much to work on when it comes to my relationship with God, a task that is never ending. When I meet the person I’m meant to spend my life with, if there is someone, I want to be strong in my faith. How can I hold someone else accountable for their faith and never cause them to stray or stumble if I still have areas of my life that I struggle with?

Even if we don’t hold on to God, He is holding on to us and that bond can’t be broken. With God, I’ll never be #foreveralone. Instead, I’m #foreverloved, #neveralone, #joyfullysingle and making an effort for virtue, steadfastness, self-control and godliness.

God’s Not One of Them 
I have the hardest time trusting God. Why? Because I don’t trust people. There is this thing called life and when I focus on the bad, mine has been filled with broken promises and the people I love the most hurting me. As a result, I don’t trust that God will provide, I don’t trust that He has plans that don’t involve hurting me and many other things. Some of you may think that makes no sense so let me explain further. I’ve spent a lot of time comparing God to all of the people who have hurt me. Not trusting people isn’t illogical but not trusting God is foolish. The reality is, I should trust God because when I look back at all the times He has provided for me and been faithful to me and people around me, He has NEVER failed me. Not once.

Faith and trust go hand in hand and if I trust God, I really don’t have to worry about trusting people, that will fall in place.

I’m thankful for the freedom and opportunity to sit down with a group of fellow believers and discuss God’s Word and the impact He has on all of our lives. As nervous as we may be at first to open up to our small groups, these community groups give us extra hands to help hold our baggage.

A few nights ago I was able to sit down with my Bible study group and after watching Surviving the Wilderness , a message by Ben Stuart who heads up Breakaway Ministries at Texas A&M University, we stumbled upon thoughts and ideas that seemed so simple yet we were just figuring them out. I let every thought simmer in my mind throughout the week and then went to Passion 2014 this past weekend where God added to every thought. I’m thankful for the opportunities God provides, the people who spend their life spreading His word, the freedom to worship Him, the people I can worship with, the all access pass He has given us to Him, and that I grew up in a place where I could learn about Him.

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