Saturday, August 20, 2011

You are not your pain...

Hi There. This is about to be the most personal thing I've ever shared in public since I started writing this blog, so I'll admit I'm a little scared.  But I feel like I'm not alone here, and maybe I can help somebody else. 

Two years and 4 months ago I suffered a miscarriage.  The tragedy for me though wasn't just the loss of the child, but I lost a great deal of trust with it.  My perception of how things happen and how people should respond to each other was shattered.  But I didn't have time to grieve, I was too busy picking up all these broken pieces and blaming myself for it happening in the first place.  For the most part I would say I cleaned up pretty well, but every once in awhile I'll step on a piece of leftover glass. 

These leftover pieces we find, sometimes years after you thought you dealt with the event; they are called insecurities.  They remind us of the damage that was done and that it could happen again and we need to make sure it doesn't.  But if you are a person of faith, you know that taking the situation in your own hands never works out to anyone's benefit, particularly your own.

All of us have insecurities...some more major than others.  But have you ever stopped to really examine where those insecurities stem from?   That's what it means to cope: to take a second to really learn and understand from that thing that happened so you can function despite it and still have a positive impact on the world around you.

When you were hurt as a child, your Mother/Father probably didn't just smack a band aid on top of it...dirt and all.  No, they cleaned it out.  Even if you winced in pain at the cleansing process, it had to be done in order to make sure the infection didn't spread or linger longer than necessary.

So how do you cleanse when the wound is on the inside? Well, from the inside of course.  You have to make your voice...the voice that is truly who you are, speak back to the scared little person that takes residence in your brain at times.  So this is the script I came up with....

"I hear you, and I know where you're coming from and I understand why you feel this way.  But I'm really not (ugly, dumb, unlovable, unworthy, mean, pathetic), despite what other people and/or experiences have taught you.  I am a child of God and He loves me, He made me and since He made me, none of those qualities are me. Those bad things happened so that I could be a better person.  The type of person that understands and can help other people through their pain, not so that I could dwell in that pain.  I know some of those things still hurt and they make the world seem like a scary place, but there are beautiful things in it to, and I don't want to miss out on them.   I know God said He has good plans for me; everything He plans for me is good, even if it hurts at the moment.  So I'm going to trust Him ok? It's time to leave that behind me."

I wrote that for me, I encourage you to write your own script in your true voice. But before you can discover your true voice, I encourage you to spend time with God first so you know who you really are.  Then you will know when you're talking, or when fear/pain/despair/anger, all things that are not part of your original design are talking.  Don't embrace those things as who you are, and don't allow anyone else to tell you that's who you are either.  You are whoever you chose to be.

Having a full life doesn't mean you are insecure free, it means you can look those insecurities in the face and decide to live life to the fullest any way.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Say what's on your mind?

"Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve the silence? " - Sai Baba

Wow! I think that quote just revolutionized my whole life!

As only a child (and many people who have not known me my whole life may not believe this) I am an introvert by nature.  It is actually natural for me to stay in my cozy shell where I know I am safe and sound and everything around me is familiar and operates just as it should; you're not in my world unless I invite you in.  See introversion is less about how talkative you are, but more so how you interact and perceive the world around you.  An extrovert sees the world as a playground, whereas an introvert proceeds with caution, ultra sensitive to predators and harmful situations.

It was not until I started to reach adulthood that I decided I was going to walk boldly in the world...."throw caution to the wind!"  I decided I would be asserting myself and giving my opinion as I decided it was needed.  No more fading into the background for me!  I was trying to make myself over into what I perceived as a healthier, better, extroverted adult.  "Hello world, let me tell you everything I think and feel because I'm fearless! And who doesn't love honesty, right?" Wrong!  Sometimes the power of emotions can suck all the oxygen out of a room; it's best to use their powers in moderation.

As I settle into my thirties, and fully settling into my adulthood, I'm realizing that there is room in the middle.  I don't have to exist in one extreme or the other.  There is a huge benefit in being aware of your own space and boundaries and operating in caution while at the same time embracing and welcoming the world around you.  The key is knowing when which side supports the goals and objectives at hand.  There's nothing wrong with being either one and ideally I think it's best to know how to be both at the same time.

Sometimes silence has it's place.  Sometimes my opinion isn't worth hearing.  Sometimes you need to stop and take some time to think about and digest the world in your own shell and re-enter it when you feel like it.    And sometimes you need to take a stand, speak to strangers, dance in public, and feel comfortable by yourself in a crowded room. 

And as customary I can't think on life and identity without looking to God for validation so I leave you with this:

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29

Thursday, May 5, 2011

If you loved me...well, you wouldn't change a thing

Running alone gives you a lot of time to think.  You can experience the full spectrum of human emotion if you give yourself space to actually FEEL.  One of the emotions we probably spend the most time trying to figure out, justify, analyze, is love.  And most often the thoughts are concentrated on how we are getting love, how we can get more love and why what we already have is not enough.

It's really no different than the way we think about money.  To paraphrase my Bishop, Jesus spent more time talking about money than he did about anything else because he knew that people would listen when you're talking about that thing they hold so dear and just can't get enough of.  And one thing that Jesus made clear is that in order to get one has to give freely, cheerfully and selflessly. 

Is it not the same when you are dealing with the greatest treasure we can offer, that thing we can't get enough of ,but doesn't cost a thing?  So it leads one to believe that you get more love when you concentrate less on getting it, and more on giving it.  And to get to that point is really an evolution of the mind. 

I believe as you truly grow into a loving, caring individual, your thoughts revolve more into what YOU can do better.  You spend more time reflecting on your own reaction to situations instead of what the other person should have done differently.  And you still think good loving thoughts about those closest to you whether they met your expectations or not.  An immature heart says "if you love me you would...." a mature heart says, "it doesn't matter what you do or don't do, I can't help but think fond thoughts of you."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Let Go...

Think of your unhappiest moments.  Think about your discomfort, your anxiety and even anger.  When I think on those moments I realize that they have one thing in common; the person or thing that was making me unhappy was someone/something I had no control over.  I wanted to will a different outcome than what I got and it made me miserable.  I felt that somehow wanting meant I should get.  Of course here is where my Mother's voice comes in saying "You can't have everything that you want,"  but even at 31 the message is still sinking in.

Now think on your happiest moments.  Think about the elation, the joy, the surprise you felt.  When I think on those moments I realize they have one thing in common; the person or thing causing me happiness was completely outside my control.  When I think on those moments I realize that I had very little to do with it.  I didn't demand it, I didn't sulk about it, I wasn't calculating my every move to make sure I got it, I just was being and just by being I walked into it.  It's really a phenom actually.  Exert control: unhappy.  Relinquish control: happy.

Ironically happiness never comes to miserable people.  People who are hard to satisfy, set too high expectations, that even they would have difficulty meeting; these are the people that happiness always eludes, because happiness is drawn to its own likeness.  I know for me when I was just minding my own business, giving others the space they need to be who they are, being kind just because, I was in essence being happy and making an environment where happiness felt welcomed.  It doesn't mean I was settling, it doesn't mean I don't have standards, it just means I'm content with me, and therefore able to be content with everything and everyone around me without placing demand.  When I feel myself creeping over to the darkside, I just remind myself that I like who I am, with or without that person or thing and I start to feel better.

"...for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need." Philippians 4: 11-12

Saturday, October 9, 2010

In Love

I am missing
My hand in the palm of another
I am missing
Fingers running through my hair
I am missing
Wanting and longing stares
I am missing
Sweet nothings traced on my back
I am missing
Warm air at the nape of my neck
I am missing
Anticipation and day dreams
And long talks about nothing and everything
I am missing
Falling hopelessly, desperately,
With no rhyme or reason
In Love

Friday, July 2, 2010

Where is My Burning Bush

Where is my burning bush
Where is my writing on the wall
Where is my knight in shining armor
I've been foresaken of them all.

Where is my road less traveled
Where does my treasure lay
Where is my talent buried
I cannot find it anywhere

There is no booming voice from Heaven
There is no book being written
There is no staff
To part the way

I have but one refuge
I have but one gift to give
My faith is all that I have
The only truth I know
The truth that is you

Holy spirit guide me now
For all the answers lie with you
Only one thing that matters
Is that I matter to you

Sunday, May 2, 2010

But who are you?

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye', when all the time there is a plank in your own eye. You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Matthew 7:3-5 NIV

Today on my way into church, I noticed a coffee cup rolling around on the interstate. Ever since the 4th grade I've dispised the act of littering. If I throw a bubble gum wrapper on the ground I feel guilt ridden the rest of the day. So, when I ride past this coffee cup, I curse the culprit under my breath. I even say to myself, "they probably were on their way to church, breaking the law like that."

Then something amazing happened. I looked down at my speedometer and realized I had been driving at least 20 miles over the speed limit since I got in the car. I started to laugh at myself because here I was breaking a law and condemning someone else for breaking another. The Holy Spirit came and corrected my thoughts.

See, we humans esteem one law more important than another. This man/woman I was criticizing probably drove the speed limit and followed every other traffic law, yet did not truly appreciate the damage littering does to our planet over time. They may be unaware how this careless act done repeatedly could effect their childrens inheritance. But regardless, we both were wrong and therefore unsuitable to judge each other.

But it's not easy or natural for us to come to this diplomatic conclusion on our own. It's very second nature actually to become so focused in figuring out what's wrong with what everyone else is doing, or what type of people other people are. But when you find yourself doing this, quickly ask yourself the question, "but what am I doing?" and "who am I?"

I laughed at myself all the way to church. I'm sure God laughed with me. I cast out my judgment and turned the mirror on myself. I am a "speed demon" by all accounts and break the law regularly. I'm often distracted by the radio or a hair that's out of place. I'm an impatient driver and I'm irritated by anyone who gets in my way. Heaven help all those that surround me. My prayer is that God work on these flaws and help me mature spiritually and as a law-abiding citizen. Now, will I change over night? Probably not, but I have seen the light and know I need correction. I know who I am, good and the bad.

Now, who are you?