Car Problems, Fruit, & Best Friends with Boyfriends

I know I tend to be a teensy weensy bit over-dramatic. But trust me when I say it’s more likely I’m being under-dramatic when I tell you I have the worst car luck. Like the worst. It’s so bad I’ve grown accustomed to it. I’m so resigned to it my best friend told me today she’d be vicariously frustrated for me because I shrugged it off. C’est la vie, ya know? But still, going through 6 cars in 12 years with a minimum of at least 2 major and unavoidable car problems a year is a lot. And it is frustrating. So, why am I writing about it? Because in the past 2 years, car problems have taught me a lot about life. And I think I might know what the key to truly living is.
Two years ago, I wrote about riding to Boerne with my best friend when she missed her turn and didn’t realize it. Instead of questioning her driving, I trusted she knew where she was going. And that super convicted me. How could I so often question an all-knowing God and not question a human I knew was wrong? Sometimes it’s easier to trust what and who we can see and feel than it is to trust Someone we can’t see or feel. It’s easier to trust wrong directions when you know where you’re going than to trust the right directions leading you to the unknown. It’s especially easier when you already have such a hard time trusting in the first place.
Earlier this year, I was chatting with our connections pastor between church services. And he gave me profoundly simple advice. Trust the fruit. As I said, trust is hard for me. Even when life hurts, I can trust God will never hurt me. He may refine me, which certainly hurts, but He will never hurt me because He loves me. I know this. I even trust it (most of the time). How can I trust people won’t hurt me though? Flawed people are hurt people and hurt people hurt people. That’s when the pastor told me to trust the fruit. Will my favorite people hurt me in life? Absolutely. If not already, then everyone will hurt me at some point. So, how can I know if I can trust them after the hurt? It’s simple, but not easy. Trust the fruit. What is their regular behavior like? Is it normal for this person to hurt me? Or has this person consistently loved me? That’s my answer. That’s how I know I can trust them.
A couple of months ago, my car died. Again. I was on my way home from a church meeting and ice cream social. Then, Nymphadora the Explorer made a furious noise that made me pull over to the shoulder of a highway. I wanted to cry. I was in the middle of moving and starting a new job. I was already so overwhelmed. And, I so did not need car problems on top of everything else. To be fair, I had known for a while she (my car) would be dying sooner than later. But I couldn’t understand why God wouldn’t make her live a little while longer. Why let everything happen at one time? Trust.
I sent SOS text messages to my best friends and grandparents to have them praying for the situation. Then, I called my car insurance for a tow. The wait would be an hour and a half. For real? It was hot and I was in blue jeans. Why would God let my car die on the highway and make me wait so long for a tow truck? Trust.
I called my best friend to see if she was still at church. I was hoping she could ask someone if they could tow me home. If nothing else, I figured she was still with her boyfriend whom I knew had a truck and would help if possible. Perfect timing. They were about to leave when I called and were trying to decide how they would spend the evening. Apparently, they’d be helping me. (Though, to be honest, she & I didn’t actually do anything. He did all the work & in flip-flops. Very impressive.)
Here’s the thing though. I didn’t want their help. I didn’t want anyone’s help, but I really didn’t want their help. I have bad car luck. I also have bad luck with friends who get boyfriends and I so did not want to deal with that with my best friend. So, I had sort of avoided them at the ice cream social after our church meeting. Partly because I was talking with other people, but I also because I didn’t want to feel like a third wheel. God had other plans. I had to ask for help–something I hate doing–from the couple I did not want to bother. And then the boyfriend made a joke about making a date of the night when we had to go to the hardware store for a tow rope. Great. Exactly what I wanted. To be a third-wheel on a date. He was joking, but I wasn’t. Car problems and spending time with an adorable couple when I’m alone? No thanks. But, beggars can’t be choosers. Anyway, long story short, we ended the night at Whataburger and it was one of the most fun and relaxing nights I’d had in a while. They were cute and flirty with each other, but I didn’t feel like a third wheel. I felt like I was hanging with my friends who just happened to be dating now. My guy friend was still my guy friend. And my best friend was still my best friend. Nothing had changed.
So, why did God let my car die when I was already dealing with so much? Trust. He was reminding me to trust the fruit. His fruit of always providing. My best friend’s fruit of never letting me down in almost a decade of friendship. (She’s not perfect or anything, but I can trust her fruit.) And the fruit of my guy friend who was still my guy friend. (I’ve only had a handful of guy friends in my life and none of those friendships ended well. So far, this guy friend is working out so well I even want him to matter more to my best friend than I ever could. How’s that for fruit? (And, for the record, I like being single, but sometimes it sucks. And that’s a post for another time.))
For the past couple of weeks, I was driving a fancy (for me) car while my new car was being fixed. (I repeat, the WORST car luck.) It was a 2018 Honda Civic and I hated it. It had those fancy cameras that help you see your blind spots. Very convenient, but also very distracting. And anxiety-inducing. When you see everything that could wrong, it’s helpful, sure. It’s also terrifying. I should know. I identify as an enneagram 6. And, that’s sort of my point. As helpful as it can be to anticipate or see everything that could go wrong, it’s also exhausting, distracting, and in my opinion dangerous. Toward the end of the car loan, I found myself relying more on the camera than my eyes and that could’ve caused problems. So, what has that taught me? I have to trust myself and my instinct. I can’t rely on seeing what could be a problem all the time. Sometimes, and I think more often than not, I have to trust what I can see for myself and go from there.
So, how does all this tie together? What’s the common denominator? And what is the key to truly living? I think it’s trust. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God and love people as you love yourself. 1 Corinthians 13 says, “Love trusts.” (It says love is and does a lot of other things too, but that’s for another time.) If love trusts and love is the greatest commandment, then I think that’s the key to an abundant life. I have to trust God to take me where I’m supposed to be in life. I have to trust my people to love me and not (intentionally) hurt me when their fruit says they’re not like the people who have hurt me in the past. And I have to trust myself to make the right choices (with God’s help). When I can trust God, trust my people, and trust myself, life is a lot easier to deal with. Even when… no especially when I don’t know what God’s plan is. Even when… no especially when I’m afraid I’ll be hurt again (despite fruit that says otherwise). And even when…. no especially when I’ve never had to make this decision before. Because a love that trusts is a love that lasts and a love that lasts is what makes life worth living.

(No. I’m not even sorry for all the parenthesis. *insert Joey cake gif* #SorryNotSorry)

Irrational Fear

Irrational Fear – Unreasonable Fear

Panic – Sudden Unreasonable terror

Technically speaking, I’m not afraid of heights. As a child, I was known to climb as high as I possibly could in any tree the adults around me would let me climb. Sometimes, my brother, sister, and I would climb to the top of our roof or treehouse and try to jump off without getting caught. So, no, I’m not afraid of heights. I am, however, afraid of falling or more specifically failing. I can’t go on rollercoasters because I’m afraid I’ll fall to my death. And sometimes, I can’t even climb stairs without a sudden panic overwhelming me for fear that I’ll manage to fall and hurt/kill myself. It’s irrational. I know. But as with my arachnophobia the logic of knowing it COULD happen is often far more convincing than the logic of knowing the odds of the bad thing not happening are in my favor.

I stood at the top of this 3-story rickety staircase for what felt like 5 minutes trying to slow my breathing and calm down enough to go back down the steps I had just climbed up. I wish I could say this doesn’t happen often, but it does. This happens all the time, not always with staircases, but often with life in general. I’m irrationally afraid of falling and failing. I regularly experience moments of rapid heartbeats & shallow breathing because of an irrational anxiety I can’t seem to shake.

Are you like this? Do you have irrational fears? It’s okay. You’ll get through it. Take a deep breath and remember 2 Timothy 1:7. “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”‬ ‭(NIV)‬‬

Jonas Brothers – Happiness Begins (Music Review)

The Jonas Brothers album is here! It’s 2019 and there is a new Jonas Brothers album out now! No, this isn’t a dream! This is the beginning of our revisited teenage happiness! It’s been quite a while since I wrote a music review, but of course I have to for the Jonas Brothers! First things first. I’ve gotta say, I am so happy that the album isn’t labeled explicit! I do not curse, but I pick up everything, so I can’t listen to cursing or I’ll start using the same words and I don’t want to. I was worried that they might sing explicit songs since both Nick and Joe’s separate projects had explicit music. But now I don’t have to worry! Okay, now onto the actual music.
Sucker – How fitting is it that this was their first single and the first track on the album? We’re all suckers for the Jonas Brothers. If we weren’t, then I wouldn’t be writing this at midnight as I listen to Happiness Begins for the first time. And you wouldn’t be reading this post. I’ve gotta be honest, I wasn’t a fan of Joe’s solo album and I’m not much of a fan of DNCE. So, I was nervous about the new Jonas Brothers music. How could they take Nick’s sound, Joe’s sound, and make it a Jonas Brothers’ sound? Well, they have! And I’m loving it so far! Sucker was stuck in my head after the first time I heard it and it’s pretty much been stuck in my head since! I can’t think of any qualms I have with this song!
Cool – This is such a bop! I love it! If you don’t feel more confident about yourself and life after listening to this song, then I’m sad for you. It’s such a chill and simple song, yet it’s uplifting and encouraging. I can’t remember most of the lyrics, but that’s okay. All I need is “Lately, I’ve been feeling so cool. Top to the bottom so cool! Every little thing that I do. I’m feeling so cool!” Like, come on! That gotta get you feeling cool and confident!
Only Human – To be honest, my sort of innocent mind can’t quite figure out if this song is actually about dancing or if it’s about sex. Based on the day and age and some of the lines, I’d say it’s about sex. Either way, it doesn’t matter. That’s why I like this song. I’m someone that thinks physical relationships should be private and personal. So, I love when a song is just subtle enough you have to listen to the lyrics to catch what they’re actually saying. Nonetheless, it’s definitely got dance vibes and I’m diggin’ it.
I Believe – This is a beautiful song. I’m a sucker (no pun intended) for a good love song about the one who changed you and this is it. Why wait when you know you’ve got the one? Why not get married in a Vegas casino with an Elvis impersonator marrying you? Why not have a bunch of weddings (for cultural reason in this case) to show your lover how much you love them? Why not? Whose place is it to say you’re moving too fast?
Used to Be – I’m also a sucker for a good post-breakup song! Haunting songs, “used to be” songs, “I want you to be happy” songs, “the one who got away” songs. Whatever. I love them all. Not breakup songs. Post-breakup songs. Songs like this one. It seems to me this is the type of song that says, “Yeah, I miss you. You could’ve been the one, but it’s over now. I’ve moved on. You should too.”
Every Single Time – Ah, the classic “you’re bad for me, but I love you” song! Oh, such a good line “you think it’s only physical. No, no, no.” I mean, it’s nothing profound or anything. I just love when people acknowledge there’s nothing physical about this physical relationship. It’s all about emotions and the actions we pursue because of them. That’s why you can’t shake them from your mind. Even though they’re awful to you, you keep going back.
Don’t Throw It Away – Sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back and reevaluate. Dating is about finding the right person and being the right person. Sometimes you need space to be the right person. So, she’s walked away. He’s putting her things away. He’s giving her time and space, whatever she needs. All he asks is that she doesn’t throw it away, that she thinks of him, and comes back to what they have together.
Love Her – “Because when you love her, no matter the fight you know she’s always right and that’s alright… I put my selfish ways in boxes… will never let it get close to bein’ toxic… gotta learn to let the small things go and know it’s always far from perfect… but the hardest parts are always worth it…” Wow! This is what love is about! Selfless love. This might be my new favorite song right now!
Happy When I’m Sad – The lyrics weren’t available for this song… Sounds like there’s a new breakup. His friends don’t know, so they still think he’s happy, but he’s broken. Whatever the song, I like that it’s all upbeat even though they’re singing about being sad. It fits the lyrics well.
Trust – I don’t trust myself when I’m around you. I don’t think I even know me. I’m like the old me when you’re around. That’s all I understood of the lyrics. I can’t judge this song because I can’t understand it. It might be my least favorite song on the album.
Strangers – Why does it feel like these songs are on fast forward? I can’t figure out if he’s talking to someone who is actually a stranger or someone who feels like a stranger. It sounds like it’s a reconnection or something but I don’t know. I can’t understand this song either.
Hesitate – So, in the past he’s been hesitant and cautious. He doesn’t want to be that way anymore. He promises he won’t be. He wants to understand and make things better. He wants to work things out and figure it out. He wants to carry her pain in his heart instead of hers. I like this for the same reason that I like love her. This is selfless love. This growing and changing and loving for her and not for himself.
Rollercoaster – It’s as typical as the title suggests, but it’s still a good and catchy song. Sounds like it’s THE reunion song. I’d assume it’s the boys talking to each other and about their journey. It’s been crazy and sickeningly dizzying at times, but they wouldn’t change a thing. They’d go back every time and they’re sort of going back now.
Comeback – Another beautiful song. If she’ll come to him no matter what then he’ll be there for her no matter. I’m liking the matter, selfless love-type songs on this album!
All in all, I love this album as much as I’ve loved any other Jonas Brothers album. As each one has, these songs have matured with the “boys” as they’ve grown into men. They’ve matured in a tasteful and appropriate way though. I wouldn’t have a problem with my younger siblings listening to this album. And that’s also an important consideration for me. I’m going to like an album, then I’m going to need it to be appropriate for all ears. This album, while mature, is also tasteful. I will definitely be going to Target as soon as possible so I can have a physical copy. And I’ll be adding these tracks to my regularly played list on Amazon Music.