Thinking out loud while "changing my thinking"

in Him


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Are you “powerful” or “powerless”?

I have to say, I am pretty excited for what is happening in my heart.

For the past few months, I have been challenged in my thinking and actions in ways that go beyond subtle awareness of faults.

Areas in my heart that need “work”…healing…and softening, have been highlighted relentlessly, yet delicately.

The real question is where to begin in the sharing process (bear with me as I am running on 2 hours of sleep again).

Like a great number of people, I was the product of a broken home.

I grew up in a family that was filled with laughter and celebration. The sweet smell of fresh-baked yeast breads clothing the house in warmth. Sounds of music fluttering through the air. Gatherings where games were played, movies watched and stories shared.

On the outside looking in, we were the perfect family.

Even under the scrutiny of an insider, we seemed like the perfect family. But something was just a little…off?

Expression of who I was seemed to contradict the culture I was growing up in…or maybe it just threatened authority figures sense of control.

If I was in a serious or sad, introspective mood… I was commanded to look happy.

If I wanted to spend some time alone in the bedroom, I was approached – asked what I was doing – and told to come join everyone else.

If I expressed myself truthfully but politely through letter, I was given “the keys to my life”… aka told that the security I had in having someone care for me, was being removed… and I, in return, would have freedom to do anything of my choosing without interference. A pretty detrimental thought to a child.

Considering verbal communication was already a challenge for me due to fear of rejection, the statement of giving me “the keys to my life”, along with other responses to my attempts at communicating, pushed me further into a lifestyle of people pleasing.

However, the hardest, yet most hidden issue within this, was the sense of not belonging.

There was an aching inside that was not pacified by the warmth of my family. And I had no idea how to process it.

Fast forwarding to about 17/18 years old, I discovered a lot was hidden behind lies for my protection.

Parents were grandparents… oldest brother was biological father…my dreams of witnessing physical abuse and experiencing intense fear must have been real…and the woman in those dreams, was my mother.

So naturally, the next question was…who and where was she?

Though grateful for the family I grew up in, for all the good things….ex. saw a beautiful marriage, had a loving father and strong mother (bio grandparents), etc…A part of me struggled to suppress the restless desire to know who I came from genetically… even though I did not understand why I was curious.

I also had a longing for intimacy…a true desire to connect.

Fast forwarding to the present day… I am now pretty disconnected from my family.

Between broken ties from my biological parents (who are divorced) at a young age…rejection of who I was over the years … coupled with moving every 3 years…AND then moving away from my family. I have become a detaching/distancing expert.

A queen at avoiding pain…fleeing while masking it with confidence…(unknowingly).

Initially, I saw my detachment as a coping mechanism that became a part of me…which meant I really had no control over it.

But as the issue began to surface in my close relationships… especially one in particular…I became more attentive to it.

Then another friend addressed me head on, telling me how he felt slighted when I kept my distance while his daughter visited etc…he proceeded to discourage my detachment from those I love…advising me to allow myself to feel the pain of missing people.. to put myself in the presence of them, even at the risk of rejection.

I WAS BAFFLED.

All I could say in response is “Why on earth would I do that?”

But the conversation was speaking to my heart despite the resistance I put up.

Every single day, from that point on…I can tell the dead, dark places of my heart are surfacing and being replaced…the dry places are being watered…while the calloused parts are being chiseled off…slowly, steadily, and gently.

Every day, my interactions with people are revealing my active commitment to moving toward them, or away from them. Aka, my actions are revealing my subconscious or conscious goal to connect or disconnect with people… as described in Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk (so far a great read).

All this coupled with what God has revealed to me through scriptures and reflection…. I am like wow, I have lived so much of my life as the “powerless” when I am fully equipped to live as the “powerful”. 

Here are some key points of the “powerful”:

  • They do not control other people; their job is to control themselves
  • They can choose to love because He chose to love them
  • They respond instead of reacting to fear and pain.
    • “Powerful people are not slave to their instincts…they can respond with love in the face of pain and fear”
  • In responding, they engage by training their mind to think, use their will to choose, and their body to obey

All this being said, I am on a journey and the question posed to me today, is the same I would like to share with you….

What is the goal in your close relationships? Whether it is marriage, friendship, parent to child, sibling to sibling, co-worker or even a stranger….

Are you trying to create a safe connection or a safe distance?

Will you choose today, to be “powerful” or “powerless”?

LOVE


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Letters to the broken

As I stood in the kitchen washing dishes, the news of his father becoming a drug user began to circle my mind. Even though I knew there was no direct way to verify this allegation…there was also no reason to deny it. He used to deal…he just got out of jail  for dealing, about 8 months ago… and is currently dating a woman who is known to actively use.

The thought of his son, now only 2 years old, losing the chance to have a dad involved in his life… the thought of what he will be exposed to as he gets older, and learns what his father is into… the thought of the cliché “history repeats itself,” seemingly so real, in a world where patterns propagate over and over again. The cycles are so heart breaking and painful to watch. Endless shadows of families that could have been, turned to single mother households… endless tales of young girls seeking affirmation from male counterparts leading to unplanned pregnancies.

Take a trip to your nearest low-income neighbourhood and watch. The evidence is overwhelming. But let’s not pretend it only exists in underprivileged communities. Even the wealthy suffer the same epidemic. Our society is laced with brokenness.

If I could write a letter to each man, woman and child.. it would go something like this…

Dear Brother

Before you walk out that door…Know that this attempt to show you’re in control… to show that you are “wearing the pants” …is a blatant display of your weakness. This woman, that you whispered promises of love and gave hope of a future… will be left with yet another wound, which will turn into a scar. Her heart will be broken… her insecurities enhanced. Her sense of worth will diminish as she recalls every conversation and quarrel you every shared… questioning whether any of it was genuine.. or if she just ‘played the fool’. Know that the fierce, rigid attitude with which she guards her pride, will crumble the moment you walk out. Realize that the child or children, who allowed you to creep into their heart(s), gaining acres of trust, respect and love… will lose their sense of safety and security… their world will become increasingly unstable… they will become intimate with abandonment, and flirtatious with the art of escape.  Before you make the choice to leave… ask yourself, how will this impact them? and is your immediate satisfaction worth it?

Dear Sister

We have been down this road before…I understand those words caressed your deepest areas of need… but must it end in the bedroom? Why not stop this time.. and allow him to learn you in every other way but the physical. Rather than have him be your measure of worth.. why don’t you begin to see your own worth? Look in the mirror and see how radiantly beautiful you are… embrace the tenderness of your heart; you were designed to nurture and comfort.  Don’t be ashamed of your emotions… though you are not to be led by them… having them does not make you less sane…less valuable. Before you submit your body… has he made you his wife? Has he honoured and protected you from the selfish desires of his flesh, and yours? Has he taken the time to know you in all your complex simplicities? Does he lead you down the right path? Will he make the choice of loving you, a daily mission?

If you’re a mother, look in your child’s eyes and ask if this he will be father and “daddy” to this precious, impressionable soul? Realize that the power to influence your child (or children)… is being released into his care.. for better or worse.

Dear Child,

I am sorry for every time your sense of security was trampled on…for every moment your parents chose to put their needs and wants above yours. I am sorry they did not create that environment of love, support and wholesome family hood that you needed. I’m sorry they made you feel like you had to earn your significance; fighting for their attention and approval. I am sorry you were guilted into responsibility or were considered too stupid to ever be a mature adult. Recognize that despite their seemingly infinite imperfections… they too are lacking. Choose to forgive them. Choose to love them. Choose to disrupt the pattern of brokenness by responding… by making the right choice. Your story does not have to follow their pattern. Your story can travel along a different path.

If I could write letters to each man, woman and child… I would say,

“Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light”

There is still hope.


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Returning Home

For the first time in years, I had a conversation with my mother.. my mom who raised me… that truly just brought me to a deeply needed place of love. Currently holding back tears.. as I hear the trickling of drops outside my bedroom window…there is an overwhelming sense of stillness that yields a satisfying peace in me.

Most nights, after a day of monotonous lab work, I come home to relax… aka “VEG”…but right now, not even the habitual whispers to just lay down and watch something, could real me in.  Something in me just began to sit still.. to usher a thank you without even saying the words… to release burdens into His hands…

For the first time in a long time, I truly felt loved by her. For the first time, in the midst of our conversation, I knew she actually listened and heard me… she actually understood…and as if she was reading my heart and mind… she spoke words of encouragement

Without the history of our relationship.. and knowledge of our sputtered communication… it would be hard to really understand what just happened.

I will marinate in this right now….the convo that began within my soul (whenever it did)… has finally grasped my undivided attention.


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Adoption

I was persuaded to listen to a tape called “dealing with rejection” and though overall, I thought the speaker made great points, I can not help but disagree with him on one part in particular: it should be easier to explain the gospel to an adopted child, than anyone else. Which in my mind equates to him saying they would be able to understand and receive it (and I could be completely wrong and bias based on side influences).

Though his reasoning seems fair and logical; it is very one-dimensional.

He uses the classic idea of having strangers know what you look like (etc) yet still choose you to be their child; how they were not stuck with you like parents who have a child through natural birth.

But, what of those children who were not chosen because they were wanted? What of those children who were placed as a burden of care to someone else due to unforeseen circumstances? Or the children who were used to manipulate a situation? Should that still be considered a “good” choosing?

What of the children who literally are the bait on the hook, conditioned to get the right fish that would lead to comfortable living? What if it’s a combination of circumstances or completely different?

In my head, I believe my family loves me. But nothing can change the impressions and feelings I grew up with as a child. Even though I was never even told I was “adopted,” as a kid, I beg to say it made the feeling of detachment, not belonging, being a stranger/odd ball… a more enhanced reality. I never spoke of it to my parents… how could I? I would not even know what to say. At most, I probably wrote a water downed version of my feelings to my mom in one of a million letters I wrote to her in attempts to communicate.

Watching your brother get the nice stuff… yet somehow feeling like you must be the responsible one… the one who does not burden the family… watching him get away with so much because he was “being stupid” (immature etc)… while you were just a calculated whatever.

There was no denying to myself that I did not fit. I knew I did not fit somehow… and I could never understand why. Eventually I learned why. Bottom line, my parents did the best they could… they loved me the way they could… they cared for me… they provided for me… and I will always be grateful for that because like the speaker said… we are not entitled to be adopted. But if I were to use my “adoption” analogy to relate to God’s choosing, I would be left utterly handicapped and unsure of a lot more.

Hearing my b. mother tell me that I was taken to keep her within a marriage… true or not… was not in any way going to help my perspective of how things were or are.

So no, I choose to say God’s choosing is UNLIKE any other. Nothing will ever take away the reality that God saved my life. That God saw me and made me worth something more. That He accepted every part of my being, even in my state of lacking any substance, with nothing to offer, depraved, whatever you want to call it… till this day, embraces me as I am.

God’s choosing is not comparable to anything mankind can offer because sad to say, people are selfish. Sometimes I ask myself why He chose me, because I can’t understand it… it does not make any sense to me considering how good He is…but I can tell you a lot of possible reasons as to why others have chosen me.

So I disagree with that earlier statement made by the speaker… because what I have experienced,… just the gift of having my eyes opened to the reality of God… Him constantly pursuing me in the midst of every choice I have made… even in the years of not acknowledging Him… the desire for my well-being… with Him helping me to realize I don’t have to “earn” His love like other people… no expectations… no pressures… no facades… walking through some of the darkest moments of my life with me… when I felt like a complete failure… worthless… aimless…alone… and He still gave me hope… and restored me over and over. No… nothing compares to that.

Adoption into God’s family… being chosen… redeemed…may seem easier to explain to an adopted child… but not necessarily. Sometimes, it makes it a challenge because you don’t even know what truly being accepted looks like. And that is something He has been and continues to work on in me.