Let's Talk About: Faith

And by faith, I mean mine specifically. And believe me, it gets pretty darn cheeserific towards the end...

*The Fine Print*: I'm sorry if what I say as this blog continues offends anyone (actually... I'm not that sorry... It's my blog, I say what I want!! :P), but this is not only what I believe, it's what I'm going through right now. I don't care what you believe. I'm not here to beat you over the head with a bible and shove Jesus down your throat. This blog is extremely relevant to my life :) Plus, blogging is soothing. It's almost like a journal entry. A little bit of self therapizing, if you will. :)

But first.... STATISTICS!

According to wikipedia (THE most CREDIBLE website on the planet), approximately 78.4% of Americans identify themselves as Christians (I believe this number includes Catholicism)...

I call myself a Christian... But what does that mean?

Merriam-Webster (even more credible than wikipedia... Incredible, I know...) says a Christian is "one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ." Well. If we go by that definition, I guess I can actually believe that 3/4 of the nation are Christians.

But professing belief in something and actually following are completely different, right?

Alright. Enough statistics, definitions and random questions... I'd like to get on to the part where I talk about why I'm writing about faith. :)

This new job has tested me in ways I've never been tested. Mentally and emotionally (and sometimes physically), I'm drained.

I've always been relatively self-sufficient. I prefer to do things myself because history has proven I'm the only one I can count on. For a long time I got along doing it all myself.

And then I went to medic school. Actually, my whole EMS career has been divinely orchestrated. Doors were opened that would never have opened on their own. And that was when I realized that if I kept trying to go it alone, I would never make it.

So I started praying. I started talking to God. I started thanking Him for the good things, asking for help with the tough things. There were many, many other things going on during medic school that made it a trying time. I had a TON of anxiety. A ton. I'm pretty sure that's what drove my ex away. (Let's be honest, as awesome as I am now, I was a WRECK during school).

But as soon as I finished school, I stopped talking to God. I stopped praying, stopped doing my devotions. Stopped listening for Him. I mean, every now and then I'd have a crisis and I'd run to Him, but that's not much of a relationship.

The past month or so, I've been asking Him for help. There have been a few days where I literally did not stop praying (those days my prayers went like "Please, please, please let me survive this."). I pray in an effort to get rid of the anxiety.

It's paralyzing, by the way. Anxiety, that is. People feel it differently and there are different levels of anxiety. There were several times driving to work that I was pretty sure I was going to throw up. And sometimes I feel my chest get really tight and it feels like I can't breathe. (that being said, I've never called 911 for this feeling... unlike many of my patients...). I did call my mom though. :) She can usually talk me off my "ledge of panic".

Anyways, I digress.

 The point of this blog is that I have tried again and again to do it all myself and I am failing. Not only am I failing, but I am miserable in the process. As difficult as it is to "let go and let God" (nice little Christian cliche for you), the peace I feel when I do makes it worth it.

Having said that, I must mention the beauty of grace. I cannot count how many times I've messed up. I make poor decisions (consciously!), do dumb things, say the wrong thing, ignore the right thing, do the wrong thing.

Yet I am not loved any less. I am not any less valuable because of my mistakes. THAT is amazing. This is why a relationship with God is much more important to me than religion. Religion is rules. Religion is run by righteous hypocrites. Relationship is based in loved. Relationship allows for mistakes because in relationship there is forgiveness.

(Friends, I highly recommend you read The Shack if you haven't already. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's one of my favorite books and it provides some new perspective.)

Sin is sin. But God's love is bigger than my sin.

So as I head into my work week tomorrow, I will remember that I am not alone. Because I know I am not strong enough to do this on my own. It isn't my strength that will get me through this. Sometimes, He has to carry me, just like the Footprints poem.

I now must go study some more, then go to bed (that has become my life... work, sleep, gym, study, sleep, work...).

On your graduation day:

France!!! You're graduated!!!! I'm so sorry I couldn't make it to your party or graduation. Riverside has sucked me into the vortex Sunday-Tuesday :(

However, your favorite paramedic has some words for you. :)

Life is hard. But it is beautiful. And fun. Keep your head up, pray constantly and laugh as much as possible.

You are embarking out in your own adventure now. Ask questions, learn from every experience. This is YOUR life. You are now an adult and the choices you make will come with consequences.

Stick to your guns but be willing to listen and hear someone out.

Always do the right thing, but never be afraid to apologize. It takes a strong person to admit that they are wrong.

It is ok to cry. It is ok to ask for help. We cannot live life alone, we weren't created to be 100% self-sufficient. :) Lean on friends and family when you need to. This will allow you to be strong for them when they need you.

Surround yourself with people who bring you up and hold you accountable.

Hold out for the man who treats you like you deserve to be treated (cause I will CUT whoever breaks your heart.......).

In all the stress and craziness that college will be (umm, Finals Week, anyone?), don't forget to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, drink water and eat good things (but... also eat some junk food... it's part of the college experience...). Find something you love to do and make time for it.

You are smart, beautiful, kind and amazing. You have grown into a wonderful young woman. You are so loved and so worthy of the destiny God has for you. Walk with Him in it. When you think you can't go on or things get too tough to do on your own, remember He is walking with you and will carry you.

I love you!!!!

The Shitty Friend: Well aren't you just shittastic!

You know the friend I'm talking about, too. The Shitty Friend. Or as Urban Dictionary puts it (so eloquently):

"Someone who says they will hang out with their "friends" but always backs out. Responds to text messages with "idk" "hi" or "umm" instead of giving an actual response. Pretends to be sorry for ditching friends, but does it again anyways."
I'd like to also add the excuse of "busy" as something The Shitty Friend likes to utilize.

Now, I'm not always the best friend. Sometimes, I respond in short replies or don't respond until much later. Sometimes, I even say I've been busy. And I'm sorry I've been a shitty friend lately. I've been using the busy excuse a lot. Not that I haven't been truly busy, but it's pretty damn hypocritical of me to harp on others using the "busy" excuse. That said, I haven't quite earned the title of The Shitty Friend (well.... I hope I haven't... Maybe I should take a brief survey from my friends...). I try to respond as quickly as I can to texts (sometimes it's the next day, but still, I'm trying).

At what point do you draw the line and say "You're a shitty friend"?
Or do you start off by saying "You've been a shitty friend lately"?
Or do you just let it go. Let them drift away and hope that the feeling of missing them will go away soon.

Now, another question for you, how long do you give someone in the period of Shit Friendliness before they become The Shitty Friend? Like, do you track them down, sit face to face and talk about their Shit Friendliness and hope something changes before they earn the title? That's what my gut says to do. No games, just straight up truth talk.

But then the passive aggressive side of me comes out. And I'm like, You wanna play? Game. On.

Passive aggression takes a lot of energy though. Energy I'd rather spend on friends who actually WANT to spend time with me, hear about my day. Not just use me for their own problems then peace out when they're all better.

I feel better now :) Ahhh, a good rant feels wonderful. Now, back to studying.

My dad always said: attitude determines altitude.

Apparently, the last blog I wrote was May 13th!! I think it's time for an update.

EVOC training went well and I learned a lot. Since then, I've started my field training. Let me just say, I knew it would be tough to get back in the game (it had been a year since I'd run any calls or been in an ambulance), but I don't think I realized just how tough.

Running calls is like doing math. It takes practice to be good at it. And I definitely had not been practicing! The first 3 shifts my FTO had to remind me this wasn't my internship, I wasn't an intern and I needed to step up my game.

My shift on Monday was the shift from hell. Well, actually, the shift was fine. It was the first call that we ran that day that set my attitude for the rest of the day and it wasn't a good one! I froze up and my FTO had to step in and run the call. This is not a good thing. At this point, she shouldn't be stepping in at all. She reminded me after this call that at the end of these training sessions, she and I will be coworkers, on the same level, who are supposed to be like minded in our patient care decisions. And she's right!

We had another talk after our shift yesterday (which went SO much better), we both acknowledged that I have no experience and she has 9+ years of it. She understands that because of that, I won't handle every call like she would. But I need to be extra thorough in my assessments (dot all my i's, cross all my t's), until I get some experience and develop a "gut feeling". Because I'm too new to have a gut feeling, right now, it has to be textbook, every single time.

Now, I'm not saying that as paramedics we don't fully care for and assess every patient. I'm saying that most medics with experience can tell how serious something is. A newbie like me cannot.

So that's what I've been up to these past few weeks! AMR classroom and field training.

Now that I'm off for a few days, I'll be working my second job (still nannying!), studying and enjoying friendship. :)

I can honestly say I'm not really looking forward to going back to work, but that's only because it makes me uncomfortable. But the only way to grow and improve is to get uncomfortable!

The recipe for success in this situation is to have an open, willingness to learn, be humble and have a good attitude. However simple this may be, it is much easier said than done!!

So, here's to at least a year of being uncomfortable!