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 hassent 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 andwonderfully 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 unformedsubstance; 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.
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.
It has two abilities; it can put you in a place where you are stuck in the dark, or it can shine on that darkness, and give you a means to get into the light.
We get to choose.
So here I’ll do some inner work right out in the open.
Feel free to stick with me while I ruminate.
In my previous post, I listed three separate areas that are always on my mind, but somehow, there seems to be some cognitive dissonance going on.
Helping people isn’t clear enough.
*What are the two cognitions that aren’t fitting together? My desire to help people vs. my desire to stay at home with my own thoughts is clearly at odds with each other.
*What actions would I need to take to eliminate that dissonance? I need to MAKE time for others and observe people better for places where they can use help.
*Do I need to change any specific behaviors? Or do I need to change a belief or a mindset? Be more discerning.
Sometimes helping people is not only physical, as in helping them clean out a closet, paint a room , or move across town.
Sometimes it is simply sitting quietly with them while they take time to grieve or to try to figure things out.
Discernment and timing are most important here.
The belief I need to change is that in many cases, I feel like folks can work it out themselves, why would they need my help?
When likely, they are too afraid to or shy to ask for it.
How many times do we say “I don’t want to bother you but….?”
They probably do too.
*How important is it for me to resolve the dissonance? Resolving this dissonance is imperative.
Just writing isn’t enough.
*What are the two cognitions that aren’t fitting together? It is said by many, that to be a writer, you must write.
Writers write. That’s what they do.
Every day; I need to write every day.
Also, great writers read, a lot.
I go in cycles, even though I know that writing often, makes writing easier, and reading many different sources, whether you agree with what has been written, or not, causes your brain to be more creative, and more critical in its thinking, allows thoughts to flow more freely.
*What actions would I need to take to eliminate that dissonance? I have journals and documents full of junk.
Inside those tomes of junk though, there are jewels.
Abundance of joy portrayed, even atrocities forgiven.
I need to take more time to excavate them, and share the most helpful parts.
*Do I need to change any specific behaviors? Or do I need to change a mindset or belief? I believe my mindset to be sound, but my behaviors can get out of sync.
I am very good when I have a schedule; I have a schedule.
When cognitive dissonance shows up, my schedules go out the window. Laziness or fogginess then prevails.
One thing I have found, is that just because you have a schedule, doesn’t mean it is forever.
Recognizing when it becomes obsolete is a big thing.
When this happens, I need not delay – but change it!
Changing it up is most helpful. How about doing that instead of binge watching something on TV?
*How important is it for me to resolve the dissonance? One of my mentors, Sharon, tells a story of her driving passed a graveyard once, and having to pull over to the side of the road because she was weeping so hard. (She is not a crier!)
She prayed and asked why she was having this response, and the answer she heard was that she was weeping for all thegifts and talents that were buried there in that grave yard that had never been realized.
Well I’m not much of a crier either, but if I had the the sense of going to my grave without sharing all that my experiences have taught me, well, that would make me cry too.
Enjoying taking photos isn’t enough.
*What are the two cognitions that aren’t fitting together? I enjoy taking photos of natural things.
I love clouds, skies, sunrises, sunsets, rivers, and mountains. All of these have found their way into the view finder; on my phone.
I have a regular camera. I don’t know how to use it.
I’ve always been a watcher, so to speak, but when I started taking photos on my phone, I began to realize that I was looking are so much more than just clouds.
They are an expression of God’s love for me, and these things show me just how much he wants me to enjoy all that He has created.
These things show His power and His majesty.
*What actions would I need to take to eliminate that dissonance? I’ve printed out all the camera instructions so that they are easy to see.
Just like reading, I need to take the time to study the manual, and then actually do the work.
*Do I need to change any specific behaviors? Or do I need to change a mindset or belief? The biggest behavior is what I listed before, Schedule, rework that schedule. I need to schedule time for writing, schedule time for reading, schedule time for learning.
Then stick with it! (Practice what I preach!)
*How important is it for me to resolve the dissonance? It will be the difference between being successful, or being stagnant.
The first part of 2019, I did really well in my journal.
For the second half of the year, my blog posts have been very regular, even if the topics were super varied. (Maybe that is better?)
Certain truths about God in the Bible are confusing and even troubling to some. In this lab, John Piper corrects one way of questioning God, and encourages another. Questions are welcome, even necessary part of the Christian life, but they must be offered to God with the right attitude.Click here for further study.
God does not count questions as disbelief.
God had answers.
Now, when it comes to prayer, there are a lot of folks who have the idea that God doesn’t want us to ask Him questions. But that’s not true! God delights in His children asking Him questions. In fact, God was asked questions… big and small… all the way through the Bible. Click here to read about some ways that Gods answers our questions.
Seek first to understand.
Above all, seek wisdom.
“I tend to ask God for help in understanding, rather than blindly asking for elimination of something because that might be the only way for me to learn. It’s called experience. From experience comes testimony. James 1:5 tells us that if you ask for wisdom, God will give it generously without finding fault: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James A. Washington. Read more about it here.
It is OK not to understand everything.
God meets us where we are.
” Sometimes people think they have to get their lives together BEFORE they come to Christ (like, “i need to get over my addiction, get a hold of my vices,” etc), whereas it is Christ who saves and cleanses you. If we could fix ourselves, then we wouldn’t need a Savior. But like was said before, we still need to have repentant hearts… He’s not going to shove himself down our throats” manillabar Quote taken from this question/answer forum.”
It is OK to ask questions.
Only seek Him with a sincere heart.
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding,for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. Proverbs 3:13-14 (ESV)
Tis the season coming up quickly for proms, and graduations and for moving into adulthood.
It’s a time of being with friends and family in a whole new way.
The parameters have opened up, and many are just not certain what is next. It’s a rite of passage I suppose.
The anxiety. The uncertainty. The clueless-ness.
I’ve been to several events in the past couple of months. Band concerts, chorus concerts, and the like.
The difference is that for two of my grand children, these events carried the distinct designation of “Last”.
The culmination of 13 years of schooling. 13 years of always knowing (mostly) what comes next.
A New Designation
Along with the “Last” designation, comes a new one as well. “First”.
The “First” time of being really responsible, entirely, (mostly) for what comes next.
But that topic is for another time.
Here I wanted to share what I’ve observed during these “Last” times.
I’ll share it here with just a snippet of what I wrote in my journal.
Being so much of an introvert is OK, except for at those over the top social events. You know, the ones that are supposed to elicit great shows of emotions.
When you are an introvert, not so many people flock to your good bye. Not so many are devastated by your departure.
Your family celebrates you, and at the same time, they mourn your advancement into a new place of life, away from them … but you? You kind of fade into it. Quietly dismissing yourself, and making your way back to the safety zone that you have created for yourself.
It is a sad thing perhaps, but maybe hard to remember, at that moment, that it is a world you have created for yourself. A safe place.
Why Was it Visible?
I noticed this occurrence taking place in quiet corners in more than one school district. In more than one cafeteria, and at more than one event.
Those who were more extroverted, and were able to wear their emotions on their sleeves for all to see.
Those who were more introverted, put on a brave front, appearing to be OK, yet their smiles, never really reached their eyes.
Then, sadly, oh so sadly, I saw (felt) those who simply gave up trying to put on the act, not having the energy to fake it even one more time.
The extroverts, wondering why they are so emotional.
The introverts wondering if they could attempt to fit in just one more time.
The others, biding their time until they could escape to their own comfortable nests.
I saw this. I knew this. I felt this. Again.
It took me until I was full grown adult to realize that I was just wired that way. Quieter.
The noisy, raucous kid me, was all an act. A protection racket for the part of me that I saw as flawed
My quiet side has kept me sane, but at times it has also kept me alone.
What to Do?
The sadness I felt back then, can still be accessed by me, but it does not have to be. It no longer rules my life.
And still, when confronted by this, when I see this in my vision, when I feel this in my soul, when I see the struggle going on in front of me, I do not know what to do.
Telling them that everything will be OK, will not make it so. Only life itself, lived on one day at a time, can do that.
But the quiet part of me still seeks another answer. One that can help the loneliness subside, or at least to feel tolerable. Sooner rather than later.
Until then, if you see yourself in this narrative, please know;
This week has been a breakthrough week in my mind.
Making a quality decision to not ignore quiet time, and to put that time to better use.
By putting it to better use in this instance means to to use that time to create my own thoughts, consider my own beliefs, understand what things I think and why.
I can always find time to read someone elses words. I’m not saying that that is wrong, certainly not, because it does help to create questions for further thinking in my mind. I’m only saying that I need to find out what I, myself think about things.
One of my favorite/best ways to get my thinking to get moving, is to read scripture. It creates many questions, and answers many as well.
The place I landed in my thinking was about space. Quiet space. Loud space. Crampy space. Spacious space.
I then looked up my favorite verses about space, and realized yet again, why I love living where I live.
I grew up in a larger city forty miles north of here. Houses. Streets. Voices. Traffic.
White houses out my window in rows. Utility poles breaking every small stretch of sky.
Someone elses noise always, always, always filling my head.
Some people, and their different personalities, thrive on just such environments. I however did not. I always wanted to be out. Some place green. Some place that I didn’t feel smothered.
My Grampas’ house was like that, but as a child, not very accessible.
Psalm 31:8b (ESV) You have set my feet in a broad place.
Then we moved here. My children called it Podunk. It isn’t really. Podunk, to me, would be much further than the few miles we travel from here to get to town.
Psalm 18:19 (ESV) He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
It is close enough to be close, and far enough to be far. Away from the hum of the city.
I knew I always wanted to be where I didn’t see only rows of white houses, and poles scratching at the sky. I just did not know how much. Nowadays, a trip to town quickly makes me want to return home.
It was very difficult to find quiet space back then, and it often involved a camping trip, or a car ride to a empty country road. Not impossible, but often difficult.
I am positive that living here, has saved my sanity. I have now spent almost exactly half of my life here; and I’m grateful. I am grateful for the overstuffed chair, that sits by the window, and looks out over a really broad space.
2 Corinthians 9:15(ESV) Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
Maybe to you this does not sound like a gift; Your personality prefers the hum of activity.
Psalms 139:13 -14a For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
(He knows how He made you – He will show you another way)
Maybe you are here just wondering when your gift will arrive; You’ve been waiting and praying.
Matthew 6:8…. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Questions to consider;
Does my quiet time require total silence, or maybe some music or other ambient noise?
Do I require quiet EVERY day? Every week? More than once a day?
Does my quiet time involve time together, alone, with someone else?
Does it contain devotions? Book reading? Bible reading? Audio reading? A quiet video? Or just staring out the window – at my street, or at my space?
Does my quiet time release me from the stress and pressure of the daily grind?
Please feel free to leave a response in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!