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Life's Little Lessons

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." – Emile Zola

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lies

Line in the Sand

I’m all for the gray areas of life because I believe that they exist. I also like to color outside the lines. I’m all for accommodations, adjustments, alterations and such but I’m not for compromising my heart and settling for less than I know I deserve. Less than what I know that I can give.

And I have.

Over.

And over.

And over again.

Because, what if I don’t and someone gets pissed and then doesn’t want anything to do with me at all? The loss of their approval, even their disapproval of the me they thought they knew, the me I thought they wanted me to give…would be heart breaking.

These are real thoughts.

But guess what?

I want something to do with me.

I want something to do with me a whole bunch. I actually DO believe I am worthy of simple things like:

Faithfulness.

Having someone’s whole heart.

And the problem has been I haven’t seen myself accordingly. I’ve been misaligned, like looking at myself in a mirror that has been distorted and cracked. I’ve compromised but not in a way where I’ve sat down and negotiated my value. I just kind of took what I got.

Even if it was crap.

I asked for more. And I’ve been told I’m unreasonable.

Demanding.

Like communication and having the ability to work all the way through to the other side is some sort of abnormality reserved for super humans.

The further side was a luxury I could not afford.

And now here we are and I wonder how we got here, how I did. The writing on the wall is as clear as the line that I’m finally drawing and I know.

I will no longer negotiate my identity.

I will no longer settle for anything other than faithfulness. Wholehearted and true.

I won’t take the back seat in someone’s heart when I know I belong in the front row.

I. Just. Won’t.

 

 

Stop writing for everyone else. Start writing for yourself.

These are the words I heard echo through my Jeep as I pulled out of the parking lot.

Stop.

Start.

Always in motion.

So for whoever you are, wherever you sit on the other end of the screen reading these words of mine…that is exactly what I am going to do. Despite the opinions and fears of a select few, I am going to go after me. I am going to write FOR me. Because I am worthy and have value. I will not write for attention, as previously mentioned. I will not entertain that lie, but for healing, for if writing helps me heal, would it really matter how I processed?

I don’t think so.

But I always protect everyone else, everyone else but me.

Today was my third counseling session and I am so incredibly grateful for Wayne and Ruth. I sat smack dab in the middle of their overstuffed leather loveseat that is built for two and I’m grossly aware of the space that’s left around me. It doesn’t matter. I am there no matter how small I feel.

I will keep showing up honest and real.

Today was an exceptionally hard session so when I exited the parking lot, I turned left at the light. My thoughts instantly went to my friend. My beautiful friend…calm and sweet. My friend who thinks she is big, too large and on a scale of some to none…maybe she is. I don’t know. I think she is perfect as she is. All I know is that I want to drive my vehicle to her work so she can place her long arms, all comfy and soft, around me as I cry.

Because I want to cry. I want nothing more than to have a very good and long cry.

So I do. I pull in as she is pulling out and somehow she makes her way to my Jeep and opens my door and I fall into her arms. She doesn’t ask and I am thankful that I don’t have to tell and because I don’t even know what it is I would say if I did.

I hear Ruth’s words and I realize how true they were.

“I always throw myself under the bus.”

I am twenty-three and my father hits me just weeks before the wedding I don’t want him walking me down but I find myself on his left-hand side weeks later because that is what dutiful daughters do. They stay quiet. They soldier on and spend the next twenty plus years of their life secretly hating themselves for not standing up, for not speaking up.

I could go on. I thought about typing more, in fact I did. I started compiling my list like  some Power Point I could some day use in a presentation of what NOT to do, but since I am writing for me and not you, I’ll stop here. September 1997.

I am a young mother.

My young daughter is standing in the yard beside me and my mother and my father, full of his unpredictability and rage, reminded me once more just how small and truly insignificant I was.

 

 

 

 

 

Bruised not Broken

When I was little, every time I turned around, I had a broken arm. Bike accidents were my nemesis and to this day, my left elbow still sports two titanium pins that serve as a powerful reminder to wear shoes when pedaling a bike. I also broke my wrist once riding a three-wheeler just weeks before my wedding but for the most part, I’ve been injury free. But two and half weeks ago it snowed (it will be fun they said) and I took the dogs out in our yard for a run. Little did I know one of their leashes would wrap itself around my boot and I would be suddenly pulled to the ground.

That hurt.

And long story short, I left it go even though I could not lift my right arm above my head.

It’s bruised, not broken. It will heal.

Yes and No.

Several days later I ended going to Urgent Care just minutes before they closed at the promoting of some friends who saw my yellow and black bruising. X-Rays confirmed no injury so the doctor sent me home and told me to move it as much as I could so it wouldn’t become stiff. And then the next day, Radiology called.

“We are sorry. The X-Ray was misread. You have a fractured Humerus.”

So two orthopedic appointments later, my bruising is an ugly shade of gray and I can lift my right arm now slightly above my head with pain. I have more motion but everything hurts. In fact, I have a constant throb that sometimes Tylenol doesn’t take away. My doctor assures me from my X-Ray that this is normal and that my fracture is healing but it will just take time and I need to go a bit more easy. I’ve been told no more heavy lifting, no more trying to reach my arm above my head and no more extending my arm out like I would to open the door of a bus.

I am not in a sling or a cast so if you were to look at me, you would never know what was beneath my sweater. You would never see the ugly shade of gray beneath the skin on my right arm. I look normal. Things look good on the outside and so I want the inside to match and they don’t. This injury’s come at a time in my life when I want things fixed. I want life fixed. I want my ducks lined up neat, in a row and they are somewhat scattered.

Not everything in life is a life lesson but most things are. Right now I need a hands on lesson in the external to help me better understand the internal, or better yet, I need the natural to help me better understand the spiritual. Either or.

Both.

My doctor wants me to keep moving my shoulder because moving it will ultimately help heal it. BUT I am only to move it as my pain tolerance allows so in other words, I’m to push it but not too far. Then when I push too far I am to rest and then push far again.

External injuries, much like internal ones, take time to heal. Hurts to your heart are finicky. You cannot place your heart in a sling or a cast, it doesn’t work that way and most of us, not all of us, are walking around with a wound that no one knows about. Much like the bruising beneath my sweater, you can hide your pain beneath a smile or behind a happy post and no one will know differently.

No one really.

But He knows. He always knows and He is always one I can turn to when I need to rest because the pushing has hurt just a little too much.

Friends, if you are hurting…it is legit. Pain and injury are real. Pretending that they are not by wearing your game face so you can soldier on will ultimately do you know good. You just go underground. Your scabby hearts get all crusty and eventually gets all tough but not in the strong and healthy way so give yourself time to heal. Be honest with your bruise but don’t mistake your honesty for truth.

Just because you feel broken doesn’t mean that you ARE broken.

Living above your circumstances is hard. Your present situation, though very real and up in your face, can make you think and feel a lot of things. If you are not careful, if you are not diligent, what you see and hear will lie to you and entice you to believe a different reality than what you are to be living from. It will tell you you are more than just bruised, it will tell you you are broken! It will make you believe a different truth than His and any other belief system outside of Jesus will take work to maintain and we are called to rest.

IN HIM. 

You may have a very real and very present circumstance before you and as tempting as it is to believe the lie that is loud and forefront, don’t. Practice believing the very opposite, even if it sounds impossible. Even if it look improbable, believe. Have hope. Intentionally move in the opposite spirit.

Regardless of whether your circumstance changes, YOU will.

And if you change, the reality around you will be forced to contend WITH you.

I believe in the finished work of the cross, even if I don’t always walk from it. I believe I am whole, even if there are seasons, much like this one, where I feel like I’m in pieces and parts. I know this “injury” is affording me the opportunity to look a little closer, take it a little slower, be a little gentler. It tells me that this pain is real but it won’t last forever. With time and Truth, I will heal and heal properly, wholly…all the way through.

Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.

Psalm 25:5

So I’m taking my real-life circumstances, my up-in-my-face realities, and smothering them with Jesus, my Healer. I need Him more than ever to remind me WHO I am. I need Truth to speak to every broken place, every place that is real and alive with pain. I need to believe in another reality than the one I am living in…

Most of us, not all of us, need to.

It is time to separate our circumstances from our identity. Our identity is to reign and rule over our circumstances. Not the other way around.
 

 

 

go slow

It’s really easy to rush in an make an assumption about what someone says or does, what they are thinking and why, etc. and as assumptions go, they are never likely to be in your corner. You know? Think about it.

I got a text the other day from an unknown number. The person sending it identified themselves as the Director of a camp I am preparing to speak at the beginning of August. All they said in their text was: “When you have a moment, can you call me?” and they gave their name. That was all it took. My mind took over from there.

WHY are they wanting me to call them? WHAT did I do?” IT WAS A NEGATIVE FEELING and negative feelings lead to negative thoughts and as back stories go, there was one. “I’ve probably pushed the envelope too far and they now don’t want me to speak.” Real thought.

So I called and they answered. Polite. It was nothing at all to do with my topic or my speaking or my qualifications or if I was the RIGHT one for the part. They wanted to ask me about the SERVICE DOGS THAT I RAISE. NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH SPEAKING or TOPICS or ENVELOPE PUSHING. See…

I have allowed a few people’s verbal opinions of what and how I share/teach taint an amazing opportunity I have with this camp to the point that my lens has been a little skewed. I have been quick to assume I won’t be welcomed because with them, I have not FELT welcomed.  All of that sounds legit but really, it’s just a way for me to blame my own insecurities on someone else. Truth is: I have believed the lie that I am not good enough, or knowledgeable enough or ANYTHING enough to step up tho that size platform when in reality, I KNOW that is why God has given me the opportunity. I need to just show up me. Which I can do.

Because really, we tend to make it about THIS and Jesus tends to make it about THAT…

Our hearts are His focus and consumption.

So lesson of the day…don’t assume. Do your very best not to let your mind wander and form opinions that grip you with fear or worry and as far as the back story goes…remember WHO you are. Different is good. You are not to look or sound like anyone else nor are you to have the same thoughts. Part of WHO I AM as a perspective shifter is to bring a new thought to the table that gets people to have THEIR OWN CONVERSATION WITH JESUS. Seriously, we have all been W-A-Y over-fed by others. I have never been one to ingest and be done because all that does is create a lazy and fat Church and I am not fat nor lazy. Seriously, if you aren’t being challenged and if you aren’t just a little squeemish …why would you ever forge for your own food? If I would have just remembered WHY I was invited, I would not have allowed the back story breed fear into that text which made my mind go to the very worst.

Behind every assumption is a lie lurking in the corner. If you want to walk free; freedom from fear, stress and worry; freedom to be WHO you were created to be…go after the lie and expose it for what it is. Go slow and go for the root. Sometimes we just want the fix so we can be done, and when we do…we hurry and miss the back story. A back story that is missed or goes unseen will make its way around again on a different day, in a different situation. GUARANTEED. It is worth the time it takes to sort.

Happy Unpacking-

August

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