reality

False Encouragement

I think we all have well-meaning people in our lives. You know the ones that are quick to redirect our honest, heartfelt, deep moments of transparency, into something that makes them feel more comfortable.

The ones that think they know us well enough to correct us.

But reality is— they just don’t get us at all.

They don’t realize the wall they are putting up, or the signals they send.

Maybe this is why God is often the only One I feel comfort in, or safe confiding in.

God has never left me feeling like something is wrong with me.

He never leaves me feeling like I’m stupid, or over-sensitive, or misunderstanding His Word or calling on my life.

He never tells me to push myself farther than I know is too much for me.

He tells me to lean on Him, that He is my strength.

Not that I have to do things in my own strength or because it’s what people are expecting me to do or be like.

God has never made me feel like I don’t know what I’m talking about.

God never makes me feel like I’m a burden.

I am often confronted with things I see others have that I just don’t have.

Relationships I’ve just never had access to, for whatever reason.

I’ve spent my life working to be for others what I’ve wished I had.

Someone who hasn’t been in my shoes can’t understand my perspective.

That doesn’t mean my perspective is wrong.

That doesn’t make me a target for mocking and sarcastic opinions.

That makes me normal.

I have been broken.

God has chosen to repair some things, but He has also— for His reasons— chosen to not repair other things.

Relationships.

Giving my life to Christ has not fixed anything about me to perfection.

I have been conditioned to feel ashamed, to feel “less than” everyone else.

But Not by God.

God has been working deeply in me to re-condition me. To fix ungodly beliefs about me being deserving of nothing more than being under the feet of others. Ungodly beliefs that I deserve to be the scapegoat carrying the shame of others.

That is not what God has created me to be.

I have grown children, and I’m still struggling with a belief system imposed on me as a child— the belief that things would be better if I just weren’t born. Belief that I’m supposed to take the blame for things others have done.

Belief that my reputation, my feelings— my life— don’t matter like everyone else’s does.

Undeserving of the life God chose to give to me.

Those are lies of the enemy of God that people who claim to be Christians have imposed upon me.

It’s not often, anymore, that I reflect upon these things.

As I do now, I recognize God’s Hand upon my life.

God moved me away. He has provided for me and nurtured me.

As The Potter, He has been deep at work reshaping the ungodly beliefs others have bestowed upon me. People I have striven to impress, to gain the attention and affection of.

Even today, decades later, the striving is in vain.

It’s exhausting being the only one that cares about nurturing relationships I’ve wanted to desperately hang on to.

I am exhausted.

So— I am letting them go.

I’m not expecting the same effort I put in. In fact— I’ve already experienced the evidence that I can fade off into the distance, and just be gossip, but no relationship.

Experience has taught me I’m not someone others will put that effort into.

Emotionally it has always been a taxing thing for me. It has caused anxiety, stress— worry…

Physically I am just as weak as I am emotionally, now.

My reaction wants to be to just not care.

But that’s not how God made me.

God made me to not only care— He made me to empathize with others who have similar experiences.

There are those I’ve tried to share things with that will tell me to calm down, that I’m too sensitive, that what I’m feeling or understanding isn’t real.

Those people are wrong.

And I’m done hitting the walls they put up out of intolerance for what is just me.

God placed them in my life. I don’t believe they are fulfilling God’s calling for them in my life, and I do think God cares.

Often my spirit feels weighted down with a sense of grieving. That is just fact.

It’s not depression.

It’s not self-esteem issues.

It’s grief.

Grief over the ones who helped instill those ungodly beliefs God is working to fix my understanding of.

Grief as He calls attention to them, as He focuses on making sure I recognize each one of them, and He shows me what His Truth about each one is.

People are fallible.

I just want to be malleable under His Hand as He works out all of those mars and lumps.

NF – All I Have Lyrics excerpts “All I ever wanted was somebody to hear me
And all I ever wanted was somebody to feel me
And everybody wanna tell me that I’m out of my head…”
“And you better get ready cause you might find
I’m from a different place and my kind
It’s a little bit different than yours is…”
“I don’t live for the world
I live for the King, I live for the King, focus
Wrote this with emotion
You do what you wanted but you can’t contain me…”

Don’t tell me that this isn’t real, don’t tell me it’s not how I feel…”

“All I ever wanted was somebody to get this…”
I stand behind these words. I’m a Christian but I’m not perfect
Don’t tell me to calm down. I’m calm now,…”
“Yeah it might take a minute to get it but once you get it everything will be crystal clear
I don’t think they see my vision here. I don’t think they see my vision here!
Don’t tell me that this isn’t real
Don’t tell me this ain’t how I feel
This is all I have. All I have.”

NF – All I Have

introspection, reality, The Past

Translucent— Paralyzed (Do You See Me Down Here, Oh Lord?)

Merriam-Webster defines translucent as:

permitting the passage of light:

: transmitting and diffusing light so that objects beyond cannot be seen clearly

Clear, transparent

translucent water

: free from disguise or falseness”

I guess if I had a “theme” for my blog posts, this might be a defining term I’m aiming for.

I’ve been working my way through more NF songs, lately. Today, I have two on my heart.

The first one, I think it’s a deeply important one to address— “Paralyzed”. The second is the chorus from “Oh Lord”. (I think both can be a great mash-up.)

As the “Paralyzed” lyrics flow, they hit sensitive areas in my past that I buried or forgot about.

Oh, my God, thank You— he has described this lack of just everything— that I could never put a name to!!

I still have moments of this numb feeling, in certain social situations, I get struck with this— paralysis— NF has given it a name! I can define it! You have no idea how impactful and healing that is for me. If the “spotlight” focus of attention is on me— I still sometimes freeze up! When I leave social meetings, I sometimes have this weird ache— almost like that feeling when the numbness wears off at the dentist— in my chest. I feel vulnerable,

exposed.

I spent many of my youthful days going through the motions, disconnected from my emotions.

These lyrics transcend just words for me— they overwhelm my spirit with… I don’t really know what. Understanding, maybe? Relief?

I didn’t think anyone could ever understand. No one around me ever seemed to. But then— I was afraid to even ask, to talk about anything.

I just thought I was alone.

And then— I remember someone telling me they struggled with the same kind of eating issues that I did— and they gave it a name— Anorexia. I thought I had a friend I could identify with, that understood me. But— friendship with me wasn’t something she was interested in. In fact— she seemed annoyed that I had those problems too.

I was alone.

My whole life, all I ever wanted was to feel included, wanted, appreciated— valued.

Absorbing the lyrics from the NF song “Paralyzed”— they took me right back to those moments. Only, as I again felt them, I was also standing outside of it all, looking at it from a perspective of having been healed, or delivered, from the damage and circumstances that rendered me

detached.

I remember walking through my middle school hallways, realizing— I couldn’t feel anything.

I was emotionally numb.

I think that was when the self harm started for me.

I spent years hiding the scars on my arms and legs. They have faded, can’t be seen easily anymore, but I know exactly where they are.

When I wrote poems, I marveled over where the words even came from. I didn’t write thoughts I was meditating on, inspiration didn’t come from outer sources, dreams or conversations. I would wake up in the middle of the night, and I just had to write.

“Can You see us down here, Oh Lord?”

I wonder what I look like to God? I know all the encouraging words of Scripture— and I believe them.

I also know God sees what we can’t see or understand.

I think as the lyrics from “Paralyzed” grab my heart, make me catch my breath from overwhelming remembrance, understanding— and emotions I’m no longer detached from, flood all my senses— I see that God is outside of things, but He somehow still feels what we feel, He sees what we see— and so much more.

My world felt impossibly dark and devastating.

But God.

God’s Light has diffused the darkness my soul was held captive in. His Holy Light came into my life, and all that nasty darkness fled— Jesus set this captive free. He healed my heart and my life.

He restores my soul.

Daily.

As much as we often believe our childhood shapes and defines us— it’s not permanent. I believe that.

The damning, torturous grip that once had its hold on me, has been released.

God broke the fingers of that stronghold over my perception, that affected my decisions.

There are some who are in a similar place to where I was.

It can get better. Most often, circumstances aren’t permanent. There is nothing God cannot change, heal, repair, restore or improve.

You are not alone.

Nothing is too difficult for God.

“Intro:]
When did I become so numb?
When did I lose myself?
All the words that leave my tongue
Feel like they came from someone else

I’m paralyzed (Do You see me down here, oh Lord?) (Yeah, I’m just so paralyzed)
Where are my feelings? (Don’t You see me down here, oh Lord?) (Yeah, I’m just so paralyzed)
I no longer feel things (I have no feelings)
I know I should (Can You see me down here, oh Lord?) (Oh. How come I’m not moving? Why aren’t I moving? Ay yeah)
I’m paralyzed
Where is the real me? (Can’t You see me down here, oh Lord??) (Where is the real me?)
I’m lost and it kills me – inside (I’m paralyzed)

[Verse 1:]
When did I become so cold?
When did I become ashamed? (Ooh)
Where’s the person that I know?
They must have left
They must have left
With all my faith

[Verse 2:]
I’m paralyzed (Do You see me down here, oh Lord?)
I’m scared to live but I’m scared to die
And if life is pain then I buried mine a long time ago
But it’s still alive
And it’s taking over me – where am I? (Don’t You see me down here, oh Lord?)
I wanna feel something, I’m numb inside
But I feel nothing, I wonder why
And on the race of life time passes by
Look
I sit back and I watch it, hands in my pockets
Waves come crashing over me but I just watch ’em (Can You see me down here, oh Lord?)
I just watch ’em
I’m under water but I feel like I’m on top of it
I’m at the bottom and I don’t know what the problem is
I’m in a box (Can’t You see me down here, oh Lord?)
But I’m the one who locked me in
Suffocating and I’m running out of oxygen

[Outro]
Do You see us down here? Oh Lord
Can You see us down here? Oh Lord
Oh Lord, oh Lord
Can You see us? Can’t You see us?down here? Oh Lord
Oh Lord, oh Lord
Can You see us? Can’t You see us?”

reality

Compassion

“That’s their problem, not mine.”

How many times have we both said, and heard, this phrase?

How many times do we see this in Scripture? Food for thought!

It is far too easy to dismiss the struggles and frustrations of others because it’s inconvenient, or a lot more effort than we want.

Why am I thinking about this now? Because my husband and I are caught right in the middle of red-taped bureaucratic change.

The process is not at all considerate of ways, means, or the amount of time wasted.

Typical government garbage.

The only way compassion can be infused is if the people making the decisions had to actually deal with the process they are inflicting on others.

I’m not going to get into the logistics of it all, this ranty post is not about the details.

It’s more about this process that seems to expect us to all run like programmed computer software.

Forget the physical exertion needed. Shutdown the emotional and mental reactions— no one cares, so just suck it up and press on! So what if it costs you way more money than it should?

What if someone did care?

What if, when decisions that affect the lives of others were made with the consideration, cushioning, for the reality that people are not like computer software programs, at all?

For the last 2+ decades, my family has lived in situations where someone is always changing something that directly affects us, and we just have to roll with their punches.

So, I can’t help but wonder— what if the politicians and bigwigs making all these spur-of-the-moment changes, had to actually live through the process and the consequences of those decisions?

Well— things would sure be more people-friendly then, wouldn’t they?

I find the lack of compassion in so many systems, disturbing.

Thank God we have Jesus and The Holy Spirit to help us through all the cold-shouldered processes that seem to be increasing at an alarming speed, with every vote, every signature from those who think they rule, rather than govern with compassion and understanding.

The government is upon His shoulders, and the weight never crushes Him.

So even with all these added, burdensome care’s inflicted on us— my soul can still sing— Thank You, Jesus. Especially when my emotions want to lash out, my body wants to collapse in exhaustion, and my heart wants to mirror cold-shouldered, cold-hearted responses to the inflictors.

Today, will be worked out.

Complications tomorrow will be worked out.

Jesus will always be my Rock in times of struggle.

Always, in all ways.

reality

The End Of The World

Chaos. This is the idea being pushed all around us. Urgency. Fear. We are surrounded by this, wherever we look. The news. Family and friends. The medical community.

We can’t escape the chaos.

Or— can we?

There’s a newer song with a verse that says, “The atmosphere is all around. The Spirit of The Lord is here. The atmosphere is changing now. For the Spirit of The Lord is here” Here as in Heaven

While everything around us wants to immerse us in chaos— God remains outside of it all.

How can we get outside of it, as well?

When we pray, when we commune with Almighty God, we turn our backs to it all. Much like Jesus who was so outside of the chaos, He slept on the boat. Fear did not touch Him or cause Him to react. But those He loved panicked, and woke Him to change the atmosphere. He was outside of that fear, but He changed it— told that storm— “Peace. Be still.”

And the atmosphere obeyed.

When I read and remember Scripture— Jesus will be returning once again, to rule and reign for 1000 years. Will every person be dead? Will only His haters survive?

No.

So, that means all the chaos caused by fear pushed by media, by political viewpoints, by climate change purveyors— none of that will affect the second coming of Christ.

So why get caught up in it all?

Why let the media convince us to be afraid, worried, to hate people who aren’t persuaded by their narratives?

Why?

We can turn our backs to it all.

We can trust Jesus. We can lean on Jesus.

We can rest in Him.

If God is not moved by it all, why should we be?

We can throw our hands up in surrender to Him, release it all, and confess to Him we have allowed our emotions, words and actions to be manipulated by the pushed chaotic ideas of the day, and release it all to Him.

Because He holds our entire world inside of His hands.

He does not cause the chaos.

He does not get involved in the chaos.

He remains outside of the chaos.

I’m trying to kneel there at His feet, and stay outside of it with Him.

It’s so peaceful and clear outside of the storm.

Or, should we also panic and beg Him to calm this storm?

I personally believe there is a reason— this is the season— for this storm.

I’d rather wait it out while spending the time with Him in His Presence— under the shelter of His wing. I can breath here. I can rest. I can rejoice in Him.

Outside of the chaos, with Jesus— that’s the very best place to be.

introspection, reality

Forgive Them? Why??

This is a recurring theme in my life, it seems. And not just little things— really big, hard issues. When things start to finally relax, suddenly it becomes necessary to exercise my forgiveness muscles again. I have lifted some of the heaviest issues with these muscles. I don’t see a need to flex them for vanity purposes— these are the necessary muscles for living a life that keeps me close to Jesus. They are the strength that is unseen, coming from an unseen force— Jesus, Who is my Mediator, my Intercessor— my reason for living. He keeps me continually moving forward.

I’ve been dealt some difficult cards throughout my life so far, most seem to fall under the category of betrayal. I don’t know if I can even categorize them all. The one thing they have in common, besides intense pain, is an attack on trust.

When the burden of offense against me is so heavy— a crushing weight, God reminds me that forgiveness lifts that burden off of me and puts it at the foot of the cross.

We can’t take anything with us when it’s our time to move on from earth— that includes the offenses and hurts from others. When we surrender them to Jesus, Who bore the crushing weight of every offense, past, present and future— we walk in the truest form of Grace and Mercy.

When we come face to face with the knowledge that Jesus said, while being crushed by all of the sins of this world— “Father, forgive them because they don’t understand”, we then have the tiniest of glimpses into what Jesus endured on that cross, in our place. He willingly surrendered to every betrayal we’ll ever experience.

That is why we forgive. Again. And again. And again…

“Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven…” Matt 18:21-22

reality

Expectation Meet-Up

I’ve failed. Again. No big surprise. I’ve gotten pretty good at recognizing the game by now. I show up, with all of my imperfections– which are easily recognized at first glance– and I fail the test. You know– the test– where I do, or behave, or look like the labeled box I “should” just fit right in to. Where I “fall in line” with how everyone just is or just does– just sayin’…

The expectation test.

Although, I must admit, the anger I seem to detect lately is a new twist. I mean, surely I deserve whatever reaction the opinion of unmet expectations metes out, right? Surely I have no right to react or respond, or– heaven forbid– show any sort of weakness emotionally or physically.

I see the looks behind your eyes, I am aware of the reactions, and all it does is push me farther away.

Humanity has been such a disappointment to me most of my life– other than my own family. See there? You didn’t meet my expectations, either. I’ve expected grace, kindness, but have most often been meet with coldness, disappointment or indifference.

Thank God for Jesus.

Jesus didn’t meet most people’s expectations, either. In Him I find my own identity. In Him I find acceptance, and peace– comfort in all of my times of need. Where I am weak, He is strong. Where I am found lacking, He provides everything I need. When life just makes me more tired, when my body fights itself leaving me exhausted and frustrated– He carries me, He ministers to my spirit– giving me rest.

God made us to need other people. For myself– that remains to be a double-edged sword.

This is what has been on my heart this week.

Maybe God will choose to heal me this year. Maybe He will enable me to better fight back against that invisible enemy that attacks my body. Maybe He will just continue to draw me nearer to Him. I have learned to be content with where I am, no matter how He answers my prayers and needs– have you?

If I’m not angry about my personal fight, what gives anyone the right to be angry with me about how I manage my personal fight?

After nearly 51 years of life, I’m tired.

Be kind. Pray. Don’t put expectations onto me–I will never be able to meet them. You have not walked my path, experienced the things I have, or fought the fight I deal with daily. Maybe you’ve heard things about me, taken out of context. If so, you are adding opinion to heresay.

How is that Godly?

I expect to receive the grace of Christ from my fellow Believers.

Are my expectations too high for you?