Thinking out loud while "changing my thinking"

in Him


2 Comments

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


Leave a comment

“(I can’t get no) satisfaction”

satisfaction by rolling stones 2

The old rolling stone hit, “(I can’t get no) satisfaction,” seems to capture a very present reality in today’s society…(feel free to click this YouTube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoxRFOr_sQ0).

The lead singer starts off with the title line, and follows it with the repetition of how he has “tried”… over and over, to no avail. But as simple as these lyrics may seem… the summary of the efforts placed on reaching satisfaction, and the message, of how “ideas” are sold to us through marketing/branding… is absolutely brilliant.

From radio to TV to magazines to social media… there is practically nothing left that is NOT designed to feed our imagination with “must-have” desires. The conditioning is almost inescapable.

But reality is…You will never become fully satisfied and secure in any position in your life…until you stop comparing. Whether this position is within your job, relational, activities, material possessions or even in self-reflection …it is a losing battle.

Over the years, I have spent a great deal of time evaluating myself and people around me, against what I believe… and what I have come to realise, and agree with, was well expressed by Neil Anderson…we all have the same basic needs: identity, acceptance (love), security and significance…But the real challenge comes in how we choose to have those needs met.

For me, I have constantly looked to the world to fulfill my needs… and boy has it failed on every level possible.

From my wild partying, dare-devil days… to indulgences in sexual lusts for the sake of wanting to “feel” loved and important to someone…to pleasing people for approval…to wanting some role or status that will place me in the lime light of admiration.

Each and every one of my strivings, have failed miserably. They have left me broken, lonely, angry, confused, without hope… and crazy enough… coming back for more. <SHOCKER>

The idiom “kill two birds with one stone” is not unfounded. In one sweep, the attempts to fulfil my needs have given me instant gratification….but have also left me fearful of loss.

What the world does not tell you… is that the very platform you are striving to take hold of, waivers. Just as we are guaranteed to get older the longer we live… we can also rest assured that people’s opinions of us will change…jobs can be lost…trends modulate… you name it!

Yet, there is a tendency to “come back for more.”

I can not even go into how many times I have repeated destructive cycles and found myself asking “how did I end up here again?”  Completely illogical when you lay out the cause and effect.

The earnest search for fulfillment…the longing to be satisfied in life…can not be found in what the world offers.

Working out for the sake of being healthy is great…but should not be confused with weight loss obsessions that give you the illusion of being more acceptable to people…or even yourself.

Peoples compliments/encouraging words about our character are timely…but should never be the source of our identity and significance.

Attaining degrees, having the “six figure” income, a place you can call home, a spouse and children, (etc) are all gifts…but should never be what we place our security in.

THEY CAN ALL CHANGE IN ONE SWIFT BLOW

At the end of the day, God is the only constant. He is my source of hope. He is the only one that will meet my needs the way it should be. Please do not interpret this, as me saying I don’t need people… because that is not true. We all do. The harmonies God creates through the right relationships… “are vital to becoming a whole person” (Keep your love on by Danny Silk). What He has made available is where true satisfaction can be attained…and that’s the beauty of this journey.


Leave a comment

Another tortuous night

Once again, I am giving up on trying to sleep.

Having dozed off multiple times, only to be re-awakened by the nagging pain… and/or from the dripping of ice melting down the side of my face… I just can’t take it anymore.

It’s another dental work gone doubly wrong.

The result of the over ambitious young’un who decided to drill so close to my pulp when filling with amalgam…= development of an abscessed tooth.  Once again, a situation of neglect and failure to listen when I reported having abnormal sensations and pains on my lower right gum/jaw… being told “oh, these things take a while to heal”… rather than investigating the source.

Found out 13 days ago, that the tooth now needed a root canal. But to make all this worse… after being in tears on the plane ride to Denver… after nights…just like this one… of waking up at 2 or 3 am… or not being able to sleep till such odd hours despite popping several hundred milligrams of ibuprofen… It appears the root canal was not done properly. SMH.

What is it going to take to get the right care? How many times must I be crippled with this suffering?

I have taken Percocet and at least 2000 mg of ibuprofen…I have gone through 3 wrappings of ice to help sooth… and when I finally felt the sweetness of sleep hit me… the stabbing became unbearable…sigh.

The response of the endodontist when I had him paged today…

Endo: “Does it hurt when you bite down?”

Me: “Yes

Endo: “Don’t you normally take a while to heal?”

Me: “No, this is different.. the pain is getting worse daily”

Endo: “So you feel pain when you bite down?”

Me: “Yes… it’s really painful.. it typically starts off feeling sore and uncomfortable, achy… then becomes a throbbing pain… progressively spreads through my lower jaw… then my inner ear.. then the temple of my head etc..”

Endo: “Hm. Maybe some tissue got left in there… so do you have more pills or you want me to call in some more for you?”

Me: “I’m sure I have some but I just…”

Endo: “Is your face swollen?”

Me: “Umm.. I don’t know.. doesn’t seem…”

Endo: “Well, do you want me to call in more or you got enough to wait till monday?”

Me: “I have enough..”

Endo: “Okay well I’ll get you in at 7:30 am monday and we will fix the problem… be there on time.. I’m coming in early for you..(etc)

Me: “I’ll be on time..”

(etc)

As I get off the phone… all I can think is…seriously? Because my face hasn’t blown up.. and I have enough prescribed pain pills.. I must continue to suffer till it’s convenient? And coming in early for me?… My original appointment was 8 am anyway… so how much earlier is 30 minutes? SMH.

There was a time, when people in medical fields actual cared about their patients well-being. Am I missing something?


Leave a comment

Quick fix

 

In the past, I used to spend a lot of my time dwelling in pits of loneliness…deep, painful, dark and cold pits of loneliness. Basically intolerable. Points where I would utterly question my entire existence on this planet we call earth… and would have relief in the idea of being gone…dead…

I would imagine if then, my life would suddenly matter to those around me…like I was having an outer body experience picturing the scenery as certain friends, colleagues, associates, etc would be in shock at my suddenly being plucked from their lives…from this world. I thought of those who might even shed tears when they learned of my passing… and I literally felt more loved in those made up scenes in my head than I did in the state I was in.

I imagined the regret of people who did not take the time to care for my soul.. the people who took me for granted… the one’s who could not see me and truly know the depths of my pain.

Sounds pretty dark… but this description only expresses the surface of what was my reality.

I chose various methods of escape, whether it was sexual, food, people, entertainment, alcohol, etc… all the standard things that are used to give me a purpose in that moment…a promise to elevate me out of that darkness.

Despite knowing time and time again that the quick fixes would leave me dissatisfied at the end… unfulfilled… and plunge me deeper into nothingness…I found myself addicted to the idea .. addicted to that moment of having a purpose and acting on it.

Today, I can say, a lot of those addictions are gone… some by choice, some not so much… while others are a work in progress… but has my battle with loneliness ended? or have I found more acceptable “quick fixes”? Or am I coping with loneliness in more wholesome ways?

One thing I can definitely say, is though I am alone…and have been alone for a long time now (even in the midst of relationships)… today I realized that I am not actually lonely. I miss having close, intimate relations in the form of truly sharing myself with someone… my thoughts, feelings, weaknesses and strengths, etc… i miss learning through the reflection of my character those relations offer… but i am not in pain.. there is actually a peace about where I am now… though I am alone..

and though a big part of me wants people who I care about or miss or love or whatever…to reach out… to speak to me… to tell me every once in a while that they are there for me etc.. I’m actually okay with where I am right now…

To answer the questions I posed earlier… I do not think my battle with loneliness has ended…i think its dormant… I think I am in the “cease-fire” of it all… Do I have more “acceptable” quick fixes? Maybe.. possibly, blogging is one of them for me…its a way to share what I think and feel without fighting for someones undivided attention and wondering if I am boring them to death or sounding too self-absorbed or whatever else… And yes, I am coping in more wholesome ways… when isolation does not seem like what I need in the moment… I extend myself beyond my boundaries and connect healthily to others.. or I just spend it with Him.

But I do believe the more I connect with Him, the more I make choices to be in good relationships, and resist all temptation of my mind to think on lies… the more I will experience transformation from the inside out… the more I will experience freedom and truly be content.

No relationship, no status, no popularity, no illusion of love, no knowledge about, no substance/material… will ever fill those pits. I’ve tried it all. My hope rests in Him.

http://www.footprints-inthe-sand.com/index.php?page=Poem/Poem.php

 


Leave a comment

Where to begin

 

I have spent the past couple of days reading a lot of blog entries, talking to people whether in person or via text, thinking… and I find myself drawn to so many seemingly different topics that all boil down to the same thing… our desperate need. In an effort to discuss the topics… I am now trying to find a way to calm the raging waves of my thoughts which are going in every direction possible… so I can communicate clearly and more categorically…so please bear with me as I spew randomness!

The words that come to my mind are emptiness versus loneliness (which are not the same but can overlap), fear, no one can ignore the notorious topics – relationships, love… healing from the past versus moving forward, “finding yourself”, choices, belief… the list goes on.. I am not sure which to dive into first because they are all weighty topics which need some level of sensitivity.

Suggestions are welcome, considering I can have as many drafts going… and will typically only publish when I feel the thought has been completed.

 


Leave a comment

The smell of blood

 

I just got out of a 4 hours 20 minute torture session at my dentist’s office. Even though I will say that another prayer was answered in that they did not have to do a root canal on another tooth (THANK GOD), despite the decay being close to the nerves, they were able to drill slowly… painfully slowly… and removed all the soft decay matter to prepare it for filling. Add a wisdom truth extraction to this and it becomes pure hell!

I went through every possible sound and smell…

The sound of them drilling into my teeth coupled with the smell of burning bone…

The sound of them scrapping

The sound and feeling of them “elevating” my tooth out of its base in the tissues and nerves of my gum (jaws)… mind you… elevating is the term used but the action is literally them taking various shapes and sizes of tools that look like flat head screw drivers… jamming it into your gum tissue… twisting and turning while applying a significant amount of pressure…(and you hear the chiseling and grinding of your teeth as it comes in contact with the metal)… but the smell of blood was what got to me the most.Image

But let me back up… ONCE AGAIN… I heard the infamous, man, yours is going to be difficult.

Those words… telling me that I have a unique bone structure… blame it on genetics… it’s good quality bones cause it will not easily fall out… but when trying to extract the tooth… that’s definitely NOT what you want to hear.

Mine was more unique because there were highly curved… smh… what more could I ask for…first it was a premolar with “an illusive canal” turned to diverging into 3 canals… now this.

So midway through all the grinding and chiseling, high pressure… and increasing overwhelming smell of blood… the top part of my tooth gets crushed… my eyes swung wide open and I heard him try to reassure me that he knew that was going to happen, saying he never wants to freak his patients out so he does not tell them. (I would rather know what to expect).

Then he proceeds to tweeze, chisel, grind, drill, scrape… you name it.. every instrument and tool he could ask for.. to aid in removing the bottom pieces of highly curved tooth out of my gums… sigh.. not the most pleasant experience.

Even with all the horrible sounds and pressure… and aching of my jaws from being held open for so long… to the point I got a headache… the worst part was the smell of blood… first like rusted metal… and then to just death… smelled old and gross. Every time I would rinse trying to clear it out.. they would come back to work on something and the clot would get re-opened. phew…

I am so glad the major part is over. though I still have other wisdom teeth to extract… I am so grateful to hear the top ones are easier. Now I am just waiting for good ol’ perky (aka percocet) to kick in.

 


1 Comment

Genius

 

I’ve always thought to myself… and shared with a couple of my close friends… that I believe God is a genius. What better way for our character to be revealed than through our daily interactions with people. Whether by what we dosay or the most concealed of them all, what we think… there is absolutely no hiding the reality of your heart condition. Though some may be “oblivious” due to lack of reflection or maybe are content in who they are irregardless of the outcome (aka fruit) evident in their lives or _____ whatever else. Some are so consumed with comparing their idea of what they are to those around them, which in reality is a nonsensical approach given that people are fickle.

In most scientific fields… I can not speak for any other field…you are taught that a standard should be used… a control… some measure that stays constant or is easy to interpret because it is known… “well-studied”… etc…something that can be compared with measurements of interest to yield “conclusive” observations. So even though I fall into the categories I mentioned above…being oblivious at times… consumed with my ideas at times… etc… my only basis of true comparison is God.

But what makes this all the more exciting, is that at any point, I can see a reflection of my character through the relationships I have with people. To say the least, there is one in particular that has brought me flat-out to the conclusion that this, sometimes seemingly giving person… is actually very selfish in comparison to the ultimate giver. This friendship has challenged me in SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many ways…what seem to be endless demands and expectations of me as a person…some of which are legitimately not mine to fill…others which come to the core of my default state.

Before I share that in detail, I have to talk about the general levels.

Level One:

I think it is safe to say that when you are in fleeting relationships, the ones that you visit on occassion…see in passing… even some that go deeper than surface conversations…you are on your “best behaviour”. Though some may consider this fake… its not necessarily.. it may truly be your response and attitude of servitude when you see another person in need of something so basic… whether your bringing them a cup of something to drink, undivided attention which only takes up a few minutes of your time, etc…

Level Two:

At this point, maybe the requests made of you, demand a little more… they become slightly inconvenient…maybe it’s a ride to somewhere at some odd time…maybe its a little money for whatever reason… maybe it’s the expectation that you will demonstrate some level of care by investing a little more time (showing up to events, etc)…

Level Three:

The real deal. The ones that you can not escape. Your either found in situations where they are tied to you through blood…(let’s save the debate of whether blood is thicker than water for another day)…engulfing you  in a mountain of expectations… you make majority of your choices (especially when you are younger)… to gain their approval… to feel secure in your sense of belonging… accepted…loved…

Aside from the implied family ties (parents, siblings, etc)… they can also be found in other relationships which cross all barriers…whether in marriage… close companionships… even with room mates… these are the people you are tied to by CHOICE…. your own conscious decision to commit.

I have a handful of level 3 relationships, and all of them seem to expose my most selfish… self-centered/self-absorbed (almost feels like these are interchangeable)… and self-sufficient…of qualities.

Even in watching their generosity toward me, and knowing I fall short… I still find myself prone to think on what I do or do not want to do… how I am just being me… I should not have to… and I can  (fill in the blanks)  myself…. I … I … I …I…

The I comes up a lot. Does this make me unworthy of those relationships? Does this make me a failure? Does this make me a bad person?

I think not!… I was one of those people that he spoke of… “they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.”

There is no need for me to wallow in guilt and/or anguish over where I am now and what seems like an overwhelming gap in character… because there is no gap between Him and I… though my actions scream  of so many wrong qualities… who I am is still the same because of who He is (1 John 4:8)… He chose me to become like Him (Rom 8:29).. He adopted me (John 1:12, Eph 1:5)…He took me in… and He is at work (Phil 1:6)…

The beauty of this is… it’s not an excuse to stay the same… or to ignore the evidence presented before me.. but its all the more motivation to become more dependent in the midst of knowing where I fall short. Knowing where I lack… should push me into the reality of the “I am”… it just makes sense…

The more I am there, the more I can receive… and the more I can give… aka… I become less demanding… less full of my high expectations and standards… less full of myself… less “all-important”…a real journey… not always fun…. but definitely interesting.