Tag Archive | Raw and Real

Raw and Real #12 – Freedom

Today, I enjoy much freedom;

Freedom from anxiety, freedom from shame, freedom from guilt, freedom from bullies.

I enjoy that freedom because I made a quality choice to do the really hard inner work.

Importantly I must add – allowing God/Jesus/Holy Spirit to guide me along what has often been a pretty bumpy path.

I am fully confident, that you can follow much the same path to healing.

What is needed is a longing to be better, and a tenacity to stick with it.

Here is a really important point that must be made!

I profess freedom.

I own it.

But I must understand, and remember over and over again that this does not mean that EVERYTHING is perfect.

Actually, far from it.

Life on this planet is predictably unpredictable.

Everyone has trials.

Everyone has issues; physical, mental, and spiritual.

The deal is; how do we handle it?

I am free because I choose to, as the “littles” say “Let it go”.

I give it to God, and leave it there.

Let me be very clear, sometimes I leave it there once a day.

Other times it is every hour.

Scripture tells us in Romans 12, that we are a “Living sacrifice”.

Well, famous author and teacher Chuck Swindoll states that the problem with a “Living sacrifice”, is that they keep getting up and getting off of the alter.

I have to offer myself to God every moment, of every day.

There is FREEDOM in knowing that I have done the work, and that God reminds me all the time, that “He’s got this.”

Being certain of that, removes the weight from my shoulders.

I can walk knowing that whatever is going on, He is by my side, and that He won’t leave.

I have a handful of what I call LIFE VERSES, one for most areas of my life.

Here is one of my favorites;

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. Isaiah 54:17 (ESV)

Note, that it does not say that weapons will not be formed, it says they will not prosper.

Keeping this thought in mind, helps to keep the weight off of my shoulders.

It keeps my eyes looking ahead to just how God will show me what to do next.

Carrying that weight?

It is my choice.

Dropping it away from me is also my choice.

I need to recognize that some days are going to be more difficult than others, but the bad ones do pass.

What frame of mind will I keep until that happens?

And be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13: 5B (ESV) 

If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. Proverbs 3:24-26 (ESV)

There may be one more installment for this Raw and Real series, or there may be a summary.

I’m not sure yet.

But either way, won’t you join me?

Until next time …

Raw and Real #10 – Travel

So just what exactly does travel have to do with raw and real anyway you might ask.

At first blush, nothing.

I know for me it has something very important to do with my process.

I’ll see if I can explain, and you can see if this fits for you as well.

When I was small, the big event of the week was to go and visit my grandparents’ house, which was out of town.

In adult terms, only fifteen miles or so, but to a child, it was SO far.

Regardless of the distance, traveling down that gravel road approaching their home, was the best feeling of all.

There were cousins to play with, horses to pet, barns to hide in and apple trees to climb.

Do you see what was missing?

You saw correctly if you saw that → There were no bullies.

For that time, I was free from the daily torment of those bully boys and the mean girls. 

With my cousins living across just across the road, it was as close to perfect as could be.

Until it wasn’t.

A misunderstanding between my father, my grandfather, and myself, got me the biggest beating of my life,

and an excommunication from my grandparents’ property.

Later on in years, around the age of receiving a driver’s license, travel was important for about the same reasons.

The bullies, the mean girls, and some others who won’t be mentioned, were left behind while I escaped from them for a little while.

When newly married, and having small children, my husband and I lived in the middle of an average sized mid-western town.

We purchased a camper, and a membership to a campground some forty miles away.

Away we would travel; there was peace and quiet for us all.

During those times, I always believed – in my dreams – that I/we could travel away and all, things would be left behind.

The biggest issue, was always having to return, back to the scene of the crime you might say.

The peace and quiet was physical, but I began to realize that peace was an “Inside job”.

My then, unbeknownst to me, introverted self, began taking a look inside, with the help of a pastor/mentor friend of mine.

He showed me how to read the Word of God, the Holy Bible, and glean out of it the →help I needed for myself.

My hope is that perhaps this little series might give you some ideas, and bring the same help to you.

We are all different, some of what worked for me may help, or you may need to look at some other ideas.

The above mentioned mentor has through the years, shown me multiple ways, to help with that “Inside job”.

You can read more from him →here if you like.

Meanwhile, travelling back to the point.

When you’re younger, you travel short distances, or you travel just “In your mind”.

As adults, who want to not only be free, but be useful in the lives of those they love, and in society in general.

We must learn to travel to that inside place.

Psalms 139 calls it “my inward parts”, “in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth”.

What I know to be true, is that if God took that much care in creating us, then He will surely take care to help us with those parts.

He longs for us to be free.

We need only ask.

Nowadays, when I travel, it is because I want to go somewhere.

I want to see something new.

I want to spend some good times with my family and friends.

I don’t travel because I’m trying to get away from bullies.

There is peace within.

Even if I see turmoil in the earth, the peace within me still abides.

How about you?

Where do you want to travel?

Why do you want to travel?

Consider.

Just consider, to find peace within, and peace without.

Join me next time for installment #11 – Relate.

Until next time …

Raw and Real #9 – Write

Looking back on the life I’ve lived has been a rich undertaking of good and bad, positives and negatives, highs and lows.

It has reminded me of joy and pain, happiness and sorrow, extreme faith right next to intense fear.

Being a hard core INFJ, I can’t always verbalize things right on the spot.

When I feel, or hear or read something, I must follow that with some quiet time for reflection.

Read more about being an →INFJ here.

There are a few ways that I can process my feelings and ideas.

First off is to sit quietly, daydreaming if you will.

This method can sometimes give my ideas time to come around on their own time.

So if you see me looking like I’m somewhere else, know that I could be processing something I read or heard.

Of course it’s also entirely possible that I am really somewhere else!

Another popular way for me to get things processed is to get with “my people”.

I have many friends, but a handful of “people”.

Talking deep, saying what needs to be said, asking questions; these are all things to do with “your people”.

Long ago my mom told me that most often, when I kept talking, I answered my own questions.

Now she – she was “My People”.

I paid attention after she said that and found it to be true.

The last way I’ll share with you here is writing.

Writing in a journal, or on a computer are my favorites.

Some say handwriting is their go to, but I find that either works for me.

Suffice it to say that with my admiration for lovely penmanship, and my lack of it, I often use my laptop instead.

It’s always a cinch that I’ll be able to read it at a later date.

That being said, I have over 40 journals.

40 journals of this and that.

40 journals that would qualify in the junk category.

But strewn throughout those 40 journals, some true treasure is hidden.

The treasures can be identified by the highlighting, the underlining, the circling, the arrows, the different colors of ink.

I actually began doing a Table of Contents for my handwritten journals, but alas, too late for some of my earlier ones.

(So if you decide to do a handwritten journal, my suggestion would be to do the Table of Contents thing at the beginning!)

On my laptop, I have an ongoing document that holds many of my thoughts.

This allows me to read them over, and move them all around until they make sense.

I used to forget more than I remembered.

Sometimes that processing of thoughts comes at the most inopportune time.

Mostly it is when you are doing something else; when you didn’t see it coming.

Enter napkin notes, post it notes, grocery list notes, written on the palm of your hand notes. (the original palm pilot?)

They all pulled together at the end of the day to write down somewhere permanent.

Nowadays, it isn’t uncommon to see me in the checkout line, tapping notes to myself in my phone for future reference.

Back before cell phones, I had a boss who would call her home phone, and leave herself messages she didn’t want to forget.

I always thought she was strange, but oh!

Now I see she was brilliant, and she got things done!

As mentioned →Here← and →Here← the process takes on different forms.

For me, writing is the most important way that all of those thoughts are managed.

During the life of this blog, thought life has been discussed over and over.

If you’re interested in more of my perspective on this, you can just put “Thought Life” in the search bar.

(Another reason I enjoy the laptop writing.)

Sometimes, during the process, the words get long winded, and that’s OK, because these words you write down are not for everyone.

I encourage you to give it a try.

This note taking, this writing it all down.

Once you have been able to connect the dots, you can decide on what, if anything, you want to share with the world.

(Like this blog)

Join me next time for Raw and Real #10 for – Travel.

Until then …

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 …