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Raw and Real #8 – Too Much Process

Last time we talked about excavation.

Excavation and processing whatever we happen to find in our past.

I shared with you how in my excavation, I found much heart ache, most of it inflicted by others, but a goodly part of it, inflicted by my very own thoughts and behaviors.

I believe that the way I was wired, the fact that I didn’t mind being alone, probably saved me from even bigger problems.

I fully believe that God was there for me, hating what was happening, but allowing it for a reason, and protecting my heart of hearts.

That reason was to be of help to someone else at a later time.

It may even be you.

I was not without pain, in fact the internal pain was immense, but I always had a sense of “something”, God? being nearby, even though I was not yet aware of His name.

As an adult, I so appreciate that protection, and the fact that I have been able to “be renewed in the spirit of my mind” (Ephesians 4:23), it is a different kind of peace.

Peace without the weight of the past.

 As my mind was being renewed, I learned to be at deep peace while I was alone.

 In John 14:27 it says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

So now, here we get to the “Over processing” part.

I began not just enjoying my alone time, but now I had the ability to indulge myself in it.

I enjoyed it so much that I began to demand it in every part of my life.

I chose always to stay home.

I chose not to be around others, unless I absolutely had to, because you know, people are messy.

I had reached a point in the process where I was;

Just. So. Content.

This was fine for a time.

A good long time actually.

But there is a →down side to quiet.←(Read more here)

 I then began to feel a heaviness, the very thing I had worked so hard to get rid of!

So I ended up praying and asking God how to fix it.

He reminded me of something that Brene’ Brown said “We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”

What I learned here was the fact that just because I worked on my emotions, and had them under control, does not mean I never have to do it again.

It is very important to feel the bad as well as the good.

So did I have to do some more “inside work” to do?

Another thing I remembered hearing was that; even good things can become destructive when carried to the extreme.

These ideas being brought back to my memory, made me realize that in all of my quiet “processing”, I was making myself deaf to all of the other voices that I could be learning from.

I was hearing “God’s voice”, but many times God’s voice sounds just like mine.

So I had to be really sure I knew what He’s was thinking!

If I am getting input from like minded individuals, or even from those I disagree with, I can have the ability to think and compare.

Critical thinking gets dulled when you’re always alone.

Big changes were on the horizon.

It was slow and steady, but I began to allow some people around me back into my life.

Did I mention it was SLOW?

Very slow, and very thoughtful.

I began allowing people back into my circle.

They did not even necessarily agree with my world view, but they did have open minds, and listening ears, and I might add, positive attitudes, with a willingness to learn.

We have taught each other so much.

I said all that, to say this;

Process well.

Process as long as you need to, but be aware when it is time to venture back out again.

You can always come back to your →cave to rest.← (read more here )

The Garden Tomb

Join me next time for Raw and Real #9 -Write. 

Until then….

Raw and Real #7 – Process

So. If you read the title, and came here for an easy answer, I apologize straight away.

There are so many ways to process the events of our lives.

These events may be physical, mental, and/or spiritual.

Many times these events and their repercussions stay hidden deep inside.

Repercussions of continuous abuse.

If we do choose to address them, admittedly, we choose to work on the parts that seem “easiest”.

This generally means a little here and a little there.

Eventually, the hard stuff is what’s left.

What is the hard stuff?

It’s the stuff that makes up the “Soundtrack of our lives”.

It’s the stuff that has buried itself deep in our consciousness.

Being a “Soundtrack”, means that it can readily get played over and over.

What we believe about ourselves is often the thing that has been repeated to us over time.

Repetition is an amazing teacher.

So what of this “Soundtrack”?

Is it positive, or is it negative?

Do we even realize the harm it is doing?

For me at least, I came to the point where I was faced with doing a “deep dive”.

An  →“Excavation” if you will, to get to the heart of the issue.

My belief in the Holy Bible gave me a jumping off point.

In Ephesians 4:22-23 (ESV) to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds.

And in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

In the simplest of terms, what these verses are telling us that it is possible to change the way we think.

My “Soundtrack” was full of what every person I had ever come in contact with said, or thought about me, both positive and negative.

Unfortunately, the negatives are much stickier than the positives.

I’m told that it takes seven positives to overcome a negative.

So how does one go about renewing those thoughts, or “taking them captive”?

Scripture has an answer for that as well.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Wow!

That’s a tall order.

To tell the truth, I had read all of these verses before, but it seems like only when I was truly ready to put them in place, did they come alive to me!

Believe me friend, it took all the intentionality I could muster to change those thoughts!

Here is some of what I thought followed by what God was thinking about me.

“You’re no good” – God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

“Use your head for something besides a hat rack.” – Blessed is the one who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (I’ll need my head for that!)

“You’re so dumb.” God says I have the mind of Christ.

“You’re so bad, God will never forgive you!” He is faithful and just to forgive me of my sins.

“What tribe you from? Blackfoot?” – How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him who brings good news.

Blackfoot, bigfoot, gunboats, monkey toes – He drew me out of the pit, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

(There is a foot verse for any foot joke there is!)

Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” – “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

The only way that we can overcome, is to change the way we speak about ourselves.

We need to believe what God says, and to repeat it to ourselves again and again.

Remember that repetition is a great teacher.

After some time, I began to believe God said too; and my symptoms began to fade.

I keep adding the true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy statements to my tally of positives.

I believe God’s thoughts more and more, and am exceedingly more capable of living a most grateful and joyful life.

Thanks for joining me here today.

If you’d like to read→another post on “Excavation”, you can do it here.

My hope is that you too will be able to change the “Soundtrack of your life” into to one that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy.

  • Psalms 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
  • James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
  • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • Isaiah 52.7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news
  • Psalm 40:2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

All verses from the English Standard Version

Join me back here on next time for #8 – Too Much Process

Until next time …

Raw and Real #6 – Identity

Have you ever wondered who you are?

I mean really wondered.

Like, who could I possibly be?

I know I have considered the question over and over my entire lifetime.

I know that I had many aspirations; a teacher, a writer, a ballerina, a jockey, a barrel racer, a truck driver, a mom.

The list goes on, but I don’t recall ever being encouraged to be anything but a →“Good girl”.

When people are asked, “Who are you?” they will frequently answer with what they do.

Like the list above, it can vary from day to day.

But there came a time in my life when I found out that the answer to the question was very different.

I had been looking at it from through the wrong lenses.

The Holy Bible says in Galatians 4:6 (ESV) Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Abba = Daddy)

And Psalm 100:3 (ESV) says; Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.

Then, there is my life verse, a life verse of many;

 Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV) 13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

*We are His

*We are His sons

*We are created by Him

*We are fearfully and wonderfully made

*We are known by Him

This all sounds very different than the traditional answer we come up with.

Beginning to think of who we are in this manner takes some doing.

When I first began to change my answer, over and over, I had to remind myself that I was “a Kings kid”.

This thinking did not come readily, due to my personal history.

I had to learn that it wasn’t something I did, it was something I was.

It didn’t have anything to do with my job title, or even the events that occurred in my life.

It wasn’t connected to the guilt or the shame that tried to remain prevalent in my mind.

What it was, and still is, and forever will be,

is my relationship to God my Father.

Deuteronomy 31:8B He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

A quote from a friend of mine reminds me that “We are human beings, not human doings.”

Her quote, makes me want to BE with God.

Just Be.

It’s not what we do, or what has been done to us.

It’s about what we think of God.

This makes all the difference.

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.

A. W. Tozer

I hope you’ll join me next time when we talk about; Process.

Until then …

Raw and Real #5 – Little Girl

Little Girl – 6 months – 6 weeks

I often refer to this part of my life as an “Excavation”.

I had no idea that the endeavor I was beginning would take as long as it did; or dig as deep.

I had worked on my “issues” for a long time.

I’d remembered, and forgiven, and moved on.

I was unaware that there was a lot of residual ickyness left over.

(In the form of grief, and fear, sadness, and more)

Then, while chatting with a friend, who had taken some courses in psychology and such, recommended one of her study books to me;

The Ultimate Journey – Phase 1 (book and workbook) I did not need to buy them because I could borrow hers. 

 My intent was to borrow the book, read it, and have it back to her in a couple of weeks.

The excavation that I thought would be with a teaspoon, and take a month, ended up being undertaken with a massive “digger-thing”,

(My husband tells me it’s a back hoe)

and would stretch out over almost a six month period.

The work involved answering many, many questions on different things from each “era” of life;

Pre-born, pre-school, grade school, middle school, high school, early adult.

I cannot possibly tell you every step.

What I can tell you that once I began, I literally could not stop.

It was a long, arduous, painful journey; but in the end, it brought LIFE.

The two parts, I think, that brought me farthest out of darkness into the light were these;

*The first thing was to go through a prepared list of beliefs that you hold about yourself.

If you agreed with any of them, you would check them off.

This was followed by a prepared list of ways that those beliefs might cause you to behave,

again checking them off along the way if they applied to you.

Can I tell you that they were questions that I NEVER would have dreamed up on my own, and I think that’s why they were so helpful.

I saw things in my life that I didn’t realize were even there.

I recognized behaviors, I never knew I had, but once recognized, they all made sense.

It took a significant amount of time to work through

Each. One.

Significant quiet time, with many tears.

Often with the ugly cry thrown in for good measure.

*The second thing was perhaps the most difficult for me.

It felt strange to do it, but after I did, there was so much release in my spirit that I felt like a different person.

If I did not believe this scripture;

Ephesians 4:23 (ESV) And to be renewed in the spirit of your minds;

I would have gone no further.

Because I do not believe God tells us to do things that though Him are not possible.

Here is what was next;

The study guided me to go back.

Go back to the little girl that I used to be, beginning BEFORE birth.

I know, I know.

But if I had not done it myself, I might not have believed it either.

Stay with me here.

I just re-read my work, the sadness was overwhelming.

(I kept the questions and answers in a journal because I would have to return the books eventually)

I was instructed to write a letter from her, to me; then answer her back.

Each “era” had the same exercise.

Through these letters, I was able to “take her hand”, and walk with her out of the darkness of all the misunderstandings that kept her trapped for all those years.

Scripture tells me in John 8:36 (ESV) If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed, and in John 8:32 (ESV) you will know the truth, and the truth will set you that free.”

In my mind and in my heart, I told her the truth, and she is free.

Truly, the hurts that used to take six years to get over,

changed from that to six months, then to six days.

Now today, if I hold a hurt more than six hours it’s too long.

Depending on the hurt, I’ve been known to get over it in less than six minutes.

It is not always easy, but it is always intentional.

There is no way that I could cover this topic in full, but I wanted you to realize the possibilities of being truly free of the things holding you in your past.

For me it was two things that keep me moving forward,

my belief in God’s word,

and the tenacity and intentionality that is kept in this introverted heart of mine.

I hope you’ll join me here next time, while we look at

Identity. Until then …

Friday Favorites – The Invitation

Re-blogged from October 15, 2012

Even though the room has changed a lot since 2012,

the invitation is still the same.

This very post reminds me of my need to seek Him daily.

*

I’ve been given an invitation.

It’s a special invitation.

It’s an invitation that fills my heart with joy.

It is an invitation to a secret place.

No.

 It is an invitation to a sacred place.

This invitation is from a dear friend.

She has invited me to join her in her secret place.

She has invited me to her sacred place.

The place where she meets with ……………..

God.

Alone.

The place where she encounters God.

What an honor and a blessing.

Her invitation is a reminder to me.

A reminder that my Dear Savior longs for me to come to that secret place with Him.

Reminds me that He is waiting in that sacred place.

Reminds me that He wants to have an encounter with me,

as much as I need an encounter with Him.

You Dear Reader,

If you don’t not have such a place,

A secret, sacred place of encounter with God,

I strongly urge you to get one.

Find one.

Make one.

Make a place where you can rest with your Savior.

A place where you can abide with Him.

A place where you can go daily.

Be it early before your day begins,

or late and at the end of your day.

It may even be when your children are napping.

No matter.

Just do it.

When you encounter Father God there,

even your problems will seem to have an air of grace in them.

Remember the line in “Field of Dreams”?

“If you build it, they will come.”

Well if you make this place for Him,

He will come.

My own secret place is not fancy.

This chair belonged to my Mother.

It is older than I.

It sits next to the window in my office.

It only has three legs with an empty can from some dark chocolate

rolled wafer sticks serving as its fourth .

When I place myself in that seat,

even for a few moments.

He comes.

We encounter each other,

and joy fills my heart.

If you make  it,

He will come.

I promise.

—————

Fearfully and wonderfully made

*

Raw and Real #4 – Introvert

Many people, most in fact, have a misconception of what that is, as did I.

 I think that the definition of the word introvert has changed over the years, due to more study on the personality traits, types, and temperaments of people.

Introvert, Dear posted a really nice article → Introvert, Dear – This is for all the quiet ones.  if you care to read in depth on this misconception.

Here is the quick definition from that article;

“The definition of an introvert is someone who prefers calm, minimally stimulating environments. Introverts tend to feel drained after socializing and regain their energy by spending time alone. This is largely because introverts’ brains respond to dopamine differently than extroverts’ brains. In other words, if you’re an introvert, you were likely born that way.”

In this post, I spoke about spending a lot of time alone.

That was never really a problem until I started school, and was “required” to work and play well with others.

As I grew through the elementary school years, and on into the upper grades, this became a real problem.

My lack of social skills, and inappropriate responses to others, either drove them away, or caused them to bully me.

Unfortunately, the second thing, bullying, was the one most of them chose.

Here is a post from 9.5.2011 that describes my life at that time. →Sticks and Stones.

With this “Cycle” that followed through to my adulthood, I was the one deemed “Trouble”.

I was the one who would have to learn to deal with it, or watch it repeated in my children.

I spent many years as a new mom, attending church.

Church where I perceived all the “Perfect” little moms, and their “Perfect” little families, all seated in “Perfect” little rows.

While I sat “Perfectly” alone in the pew with my children. (I had no idea that those peoples little lives were just as “Perfect” as mine was!)

Contrary to what you might think, although I did feel lonely at times, and although there were difficult days, being wired as an introvert, it was not difficult for me to keep going.

This led me to my own private search for the truth about myself.

What I learned here over the course of several years, was that it all began with God;

The One who created me.

The One who loved me.

The One who was watching over me, even when I could not see Him.

That time was used to learn just what the Word of God said; about me, about God, about my past; and about my future!

God provided me with a little gem, a little jewel.

This treasure was a little book, that started me on a new path of thinking.

A beauty of a book called →Thin Places – a memoir by Mary E. DeMuth

She helped me to see and discover the ways that God was with me for my entire life.

He was aware of my “Trauma and drama”, and He wanted to use it for good.

He even wanted to use my “Trouble” to help others through the fogginess of their past.

Her words, mixed with His, flowed over me like warm honey, and soothed my soul.

This book was the first in a line of books that I “Discovered”, that changed the way I viewed myself. (A list follows)

These books caused me to understand how I am wired, and why it was vitally important that I stop longing to be like someone else.

Once I found out HOW I was wired, then I could determine what was really normal for me, and then I could begin to appreciate who I really was.

If you click on any of the links below, you will be taken to a post on my blog, posted especially for that book.

This list is long, and seems impending.

Understand that I began this excavation of my life a long time ago.

Everyone has their own speed, but if you are serious about figuring yourself out, and making the most of your life story – it’s a really good place to begin.

Next time I’ll be talking about the Little girl. 6 weeks – 6 months.

I hope you’ll be able to join me.

Until then …

Raw and Real #3 – Lament

As a noun, lament is described as a passionate expression of grief or sorrow.

As a verb, it is to express regret, or disappointment over something considered unsatisfactory, unreasonable, or unfair.

Looking back on my life, I see many choices that a child would have no control over. 

Where I lived, who my neighbors were, where I went to school, where my parents worked, and how much time we had together.

These things are true for absolutely everyone.

They are neither fair, nor unfair; they just are.

Then there are the unfair things.

Actions and deeds thrust on me that should never have been.

Things done by others that set my life on a course that I had no choice in.

These things caused my responses to everything else in my life to be off kilter.

Let’s face it, when you are that young, you still learning how to act properly.

This is the time of life that you are learning about yourself, your world, and how things work.

Your learning style is being developed.

Add in the actions of unprincipled people, and it confuses things even more.

The title of this post is “Lament”.

As a teenager growing into an adult, I knew that my life wasn’t right.

But it was much, much later, after the passing of my mother, that I even COULD lament or mourn.

It was during this time, that I learned that grieving was not only for loved ones or pets who had died, but for DREAMS that had died.

In my case, MY CHILDHOOD had died.

Well, it was really wrenched away from me, but in reality, it was a death.

It was a death of what my life could have been, should have been, and might have been.

It carried with it the exact same effects that plaque those who might suffer from PTSD.

It had caused my behaviors to be well out of the norm for that time.

I am quite certain that if today’s meds had been available, I would have been medicated to oblivion.

Instead, I was placed in the naughty, troubled category.

And except for the abusive episodes, (remember this was a cycle my entire growing up life) was pretty much left alone, or worse, harassed by my school mates.

Those words of theirs cut deep, and although healed now, caused exceedingly great trauma to my heart.

I did however finally, as an adult, learn that grieving is needed and that →lament can be healthy says Psychology Today.

“Lamentation, then, is about release, about letting the painful emotions flow: fear, doubt, bewilderment, anger, shame and guilt, perhaps, as well as sadness. It can be silent, but the release of energy is often accompanied by noises – the sounds of crying, shouting, sobbing, keening, sighing, whimpering – and the fall of tears, even the streaming of mucus. We have come to think of such powerful expressions of grief as ugly, and therefore seek to avoid them; to avoid even seeing them, much less grieving like this ourselves; but this is in ignorance of the resulting serenity of final acceptance when we eventually assimilate our losses and are ready again to engage with life anew and move forward. Without lamentation, without the emotional healing process advancing towards resolution, this cannot happen; in which case, misery can only persist.”

“Lamentation, then, is essential to psychological health, and is often the main pathway to personal growth, to greater equanimity, compassion and wisdom. Although painful, it is altogether natural, and a good thing.”

I share all of this with you to say this –

If you have had cycles of abuse, fear, distrust, or just plain naughty social behavior due to that abuse –

Take some down time to do the inside work.

Determine that which was stolen from you, and grieve its loss.

Mourn it for real.

Lament the unfairness of it all!

Then move on.

The symptoms of your grief may show on the outside through your behaviors.

But the work on your grief is an inside job.

In my next post, I’ll cover finding out who you really are, so that you can proceed through your healing process.

Until then …