Fear of…

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I killed a spider this morning.

It was big, hairy and unwelcome.

I didn’t scream. No yelling for help.

Instead I questioned, “Really?” How dare he come into my home in the dead of winter.

Then I quickly disposed of him.

Remarkable? Not to you maybe. But if you knew me years ago you’d know this was close to a miraculous reaction. You see, I used to be arachnophobic. I would freeze in terror at the sight of any spider. Cry, even. Beg my dad to KILL IT!!!

Now? Meh. I conquered the fear. I still don’t like them, but I am no longer a slave to the fear. One night alone in the house with a massive wolf spider stalking me. It was either him or me. And it was my day for victory. Ha! One night and BAM! The terror is gone.

I ask myself why I was able to defeat my fear of spiders, but still retain so many other fears. Fears of being unworthy. Of achieving nothing. Of nothing ever changing. Of… well. You get it.

Because shame. Shame.

As Brene Brown says: Guilt says, I did something bad. Shame says, I AM BAD. And unfortunately, shame isn’t conquered by sole of a heavy shoe. It’s predatory. It lingers. Stalking our deepest lack. The being “not enough” or “too much” – it’s a stealth hunter.

I’m beginning to realize the hold shame has had on me for most of my life. And quite frankly? I’m done. I’m too tired for this crap. So I’m going to start exploring the theme of shame in my blog. I recognize I have a lot to learn – and more than learn. I need to create some habits which counter the fear. Make no mistake. The “enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” I’m tired of being his prey.

I invite you to follow along in the next few weeks as I explore issues these issues of shame and the havoc they have played in my life. More than that, I would love if you would engage in the conversation. Let me know what your experience of shame is.

Prayers, love and hugs to all of you. This one’s a biggie.

 

 

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To Be Enough

Have you ever been in love? I once imagined myself to be. Looking back, I wonder if I ever loved this person or was only infatuated by him. Regardless, at the time, it felt like love. Yet, this love came with conditions. Only if I was “cool” enough. “Pretty” enough. “Thin” enough. I could never meet his standards. I “loved” him so much I started questioning, “What do I need to do to be enough?”

One day while chatting with a good friend, I mentioned my feelings for this man and the way he implied I was less than. And wow – I wasn’t prepared for her reaction.

First, she was quiet.

Her face started to get red.

Then – the explosion.

“Are you out of your mind?! Enough? Enough? It’s not about being enough! It’s his job to make you feel you are MORE than enough!” There may have been an expletive or two in this conversation, but needless to say her thoughts on the issue were clear: love is not about being enough or meeting someone else’s standard of beauty. It’s about attraction to the whole person. Accepting the beauty with the flaws. The idea that I would change myself to meet the measure of a man was ridiculous to her.

And she was right. This “relationship” if you could call it that, fizzled out soon after.

“What do I need to do to be enough?”

I’d be lying if I said I don’t still ask myself that question now and then. It’s not just a question for the single woman or man. It’s a question for the married man who feels beat down by not ever meeting the expectations of his wife. Or the woman who is passed over for promotion again and again. The child picked last for a team. We all have moments of feeling not enough. We have gone so far from the garden. The beauty of our original perfection in God has warped and faded. Sin has taken the best and made it less. Much less.

He isn’t asking us to be enough. He knows we are incapable. The history of the nation of Israel is clear evidence – we are unable to get ourselves back to Eden. God was always well aware of this. He gave us His Son. He redeemed us from the life of less than and brought us into the more than – adopted us as children. Not to be slaves or servants, but actual heirs. We only bridge being enough by the blood of Jesus Christ.

The truth is: we aren’t enough. Not on our own, anyway. When we invite Christ inside we are receiving more than His acceptance of us. We are acknowledging we all come broken. We learn that mankind may reject us or find us lacking, but by grace, amazing grace we have become enough.

 

 

A Holy Dare

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I’ve been issued a dare. And I’m not one to back down from a challenge. This personality flaw has gotten me into a lot of trouble throughout the years. Let’s see…. there was a mission trip to Thailand, entering a beauty pageant, kayaking a river in spring run off (almost died) – well, you get what I mean. In the past few years life has beaten me down a bit. Stolen some of my joy, perhaps? I miss the fun, my childlike spirit.  I intend to embrace it going forward. And it all starts here – on my blog.

This most recent dare has to do with my writing. Specifically, the authenticity of it. I write in and through my pain – “work it out” through words. Yet, I am far more than just my pain. In fact, I’m only about 5% pain and 95% more. I’m a bit kooky in my daily life. I like numbers and order, but I love stories and art and laughing and joy and so much more than focussing on the icky stuff. It’s there, but maybe, just maybe I’m giving it more value than it deserves?

Yep. Uh huh.

It’s time to let you all in on my deepest heart’s desire’s. A specific thing I believe God put me here for. In this place, in this time, with these gifts.

I believe God wants me to inspire others to live out their own unique purpose.

That thing (or things) God created you for. Before the dawn of creation, He imagined you. He prepared for you. He rooted inside of you “something” – that thing that gets you out of bed in the morning. The purpose which gives you energy to get through your mundane, drab week. The hard truth is, for most of us, we can’t give up our day jobs and pursue our deepest passions. I mean, we can, but in so doing, we may not eat. Or have a home. You get my drift. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t actively pursue our desires right where we are.

For example. By trade, I’m a bookkeeper. A darn good one, too. I have no desire to be a CPA. Auditing and taxation are not my passions. My gift is taking messes and fixing them. Making them run smoothly and cleanly so that the year-end tax process goes well. I suppose you could say I’m not ambitious because I don’t desire the designation? The higher degrees?

Well. You’d be wrong. I am absolutely committed to being the best mid-level accountant I can be.

But.

Aside from that I have desires.

A desire, as I’ve said above, to motivate and facilitate others in their own calling. A desire to write. A call to learn more about the bible and theology. A desire to create art. To love others better. For me, the list goes on. I suppose you could call me a renaissance girl.

And if I wrap all these desires up and give it one clear definition?

Obedience.

My unique purpose (and yours as well) is to obey. What’s that “thing” that calls out to you? The restlessness in your soul? Maybe it’s the desire you’ve been avoiding because it’s too hard or the process will take too long. The nagging you can’t let go of? Could it be that this is what God put you here for? Perhaps He is simply waiting for you to be obedient?  To take the chance that your burning desires are EXACTLY what you were created for?

Something to ponder… xoxo

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Something new…

So. I got a wee bit (actually a lot) called out by a friend of mine tonight.

Apparently my blog posts can be a bit of a downer. And that’s not reflective of who I am.

I’ll admit I write more when I’m sad or troubled. And when I’m “up” I’m less inclined to gush.

That changes today. Because I am a pretty dang positive person. Joyful. Crazy funny. Or maybe just crazy…

What is the purpose of my blog? Obedience? Yes. That’s how it all started. But beyond that… what is my passion?

To see people living out the life God intends them to live!

Before creation. He knew who we’d be. My desire is to see people doing what they should be doing. Being completely authentic to their God-given gifts.

(Strangely enough, I’ve been praying for a “purpose” to my writings for a few months now. And here it arrives. Tied up in a nice package. Thanks N.G. Blunt, honest but showing me my “oops” once again. Ouch!)

Onward we go!!!

Deserve

Deserving.

You hear it everywhere:

“I deserved better.”

Or

“She doesn’t deserve him”

Or

“He doesn’t deserve that (job, house, car, whatever.)”

Or

“I didn’t deserve to be treated like that!”

If you grew up with background similar to mine, chances are you have a unease with the word “deserve.” For Christians the word deserve can reflect over-reaching expectations or even entitlement. We are told because of our sin, we “deserve” death and only the grace of Jesus Christ gives us good in our lives. It’s not about deserving, it’s about mercy.

However, I’ll admit I’ve gone through many struggles during my walk with Christ. Not so much about entitlement, per se. Rather a deep disappointment with the way things have gone.

“Don’t I deserve it as much as her/him?”

“Haven’t I been obedient?” “Haven’t I done good works?”  “Haven’t I deserved more than this?”

Ugh. Comparison.

And even in compassion I’ll look at someone in strife and think, “He/She doesn’t deserve this pain.”

It’s not about deserving is it? We deserve the grave, yes. But more than this, we need to come to an agreement – we live inside a fallen world and despite our prayers, desires and actions – sometimes the blessings/answers/healing remain far away or never come.

And it really sucks.

I was thinking beyond deserving earlier today. I have a few items in my prayers which might come across as expectations. The difference is, I believe through prayer and reading the Word, God has instructed me to pray in this way. It’s not my expectation, rather His plan.

For instance, God may be leading you to pray for prosperity so that you may bless others. He may want you to let something “good” go – even if it seems illogical – so He may take you farther, bless you further.

How can we change our language to reflect a better way? Sometimes God is calling us to a good thing – in His grace. Not because we deserve it or have earned it. We know well enough that’s not possible. He is inviting us to be in His likeness – in power and justice and blessing.  We can choose to accept His invitation in humility. We can opt for waiting and not pushing our agendas and wants. We do deserve the grave, but God deserves the infinite best. He is always looking beyond our petty comparisons and desiring our obedience.

I deserve the grave, but I will choose obedience.

Thy will be done, Oh God. Thy will be done.

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Adrift

I am adrift.

I used to believe shame and guilt were interchangeable.  When you do wrong and you justly need absolution, forgiveness. This is guilt.

But shame is invasive. Even when the shadows of guilt have been removed, shame remains. Reminding you that you deserve bad things. Attacking a stable mind, eroding self esteem, tearing at the flesh of a softer heart.

Be gentle with the sensitive hearts. They don’t work on a swift schedule. They walk through shame at their own pace. But they will get there in the end. They know what needs to be done, but it must be in their way.

I am adrift in shame. Lately.

Not one incident to blame. An onslaught of expectations I can’t meet. And reminders of my falseness. And so difficult to remember that grace is there. It is, but seems far out of reach.

Adrift. I weigh my anchor down.