Friday, 26 August 2016

So That's How It's Supposed to Be! by Susan L.

  There's a whole whack of growing up to do. No, that's rather unfair. Not knowing how to do something isn't being childish although my behaviour has been childlike. Temper tantrums and all that. I've learned a lot in the last twelve hours and am thankful to have a friend who helped me realize some things.
  I haven't a clue when it comes to how "normal" people relate to each other. I haven't a clue how to debate an idea. When it comes to face to face dialog, I haven't a clue how to be assertive. It's something rarely experienced in many of the relationships that have been part of my life, this being allowed to speak my mind freely. Until recently that is.
  I am a master at listening because speaking up resulted in being punished.
  Expressing how I felt ended up with those feelings being trampled and demeaned. I wasn't "allowed" to have emotions. The rare time I did try and share matters of the heart meant having to listen to another's rampage against my "stupidity" or being told to "grow up".
  I learned how to disconnect. I learned how to numb. I learned how to shut my brain off. Simply to survive.
  The silent treatment was even worse. Each time a piece of me would become more invisible.
  So I stopped speaking to keep the peace except for mundane matters where decisions or emotions weren't part of the picture.
  I was silent a long, long time.
  Old lessons and old habits are hard to unlearn especially when they are so ingrained.
  It got so bad, that I couldn't trust my own ability to make a decision about what to make for dinner. Inevitably, it was wrong or unsatisfactory. I wonder if that's what happens in Stockholm Syndrome, when the kidnappers brainwash their victims. Not that I was kidnapped but I was held hostage to the whims and ways of an extremely angry and controlling man.
  He wasn't always that way. His taking control was done a bit at a time over the years. It was so subtle that it simply became the fabric of our marriage. He said "jump". I jumped to avoid his wrath.
  It was not a relationship.
  Sigh. I choose to forgive those who suffocated my voice, who smothered me with their own agenda or ideas. At least, I'll try. I'm feeling angry about it right now. And sad. That's not childish at all.
  Another sigh. I'm getting really tired of the past jumping up to bite me in the ass. But, hey, this is all part of brain re-wiring. That's the good thing. I can learn to do things differently. And I have the best Teacher I could ever ask for and, I hope, friends to help me practice new skills.
  Thank You, Lord for today's scripture. Help me see things through Your eyes. In Jesus' name I pray.
  "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement."

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Coming Together by Susan L

  It feels as though this leg of my journey is drawing to a close. God has been graciously showing me what lay in the big, black box since I asked about it back in July. The cube test, as it's called, was thought up by a well known psychoanalyst. The box is supposed to represent ego. There's been many Triple T's about ego. Culturally, having an ego is equivalent to being arrogant or conceited. It's not. That's a whole separate issue. Ego is identity and a sense of self-worth. So, yes, arrogance and conceit can be part of this if the Source of that worth is put aside.
  I've finally come to realize I don't have to fit into anyone else's "box" about what my life should look like. I don't have to live according to another's thoughts about what is best for me. There's no need to submit to the pressure of conforming to those ideas. I don't have to supress who I am to please another human being. I don't have to "fit in" any more.
  I am free. I thank the Lord for having placed people in my life who have helped me reach this place of understanding.
  The foundation of my identity, my worth, is in Christ and Christ alone. He'll make sure to help me live up to His high standards. Is there room for growth? Always! Is there room for improvement? Always! But, He is such a gentle Teacher, all I want is to please Him. All I want is to be more like Him.
  Does that mean sometimes having to take a stand? Yup. Is this wrong? Nope.
  Does it mean I have to justify my actions and choices to anyone? Nope. Although actions and choices need to be made prayerfully, by submitting to the Lord's guidance. There's room for improvement there.
  Does this mean I might hurt someone? Yes. Never willfully or with intent to harm. Does it mean I am sorry? A most definite yes! Hold on a second...being sorry is the wrong way to put it. Perhaps being sad is a better way to put it. Help me discern, Lord, when I need to be sorry for something.
  Being sad about a situation doesn't mean I have to supress who I am to make someone happy. Making people happy sucks the life out of me. It's a black hole because it's impossible to make someone happy if they aren't ready to embrace the idea that happiness is a mind set, an expression of gratitude. (There's a poem in there somewhere!)
  Does this mean I wouldn't do something that could bring joy to another? No way! That's a fundamental part of who I am. Where joy is planted, happiness will soon follow.
   Lord, stop me from slipping back into the old ways in Jesus' name I pray.
  "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord." Eph 5:8-10

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A Little Bit of Gratitude by Susan L.

The pair of hummingbirds feasting on the Morning Glory blossoms.
The teenage mourning doves who seek safety and food in the garden.
Getting a load to the dump.
Mowing the lawn.
Being at peace.
Knowing when a decision is right.
Accepting who I am.
Knowing I don't have to change for anyone but Jesus who knows me far better than any living soul.
Letting go of expectations.
Living with expectancy.
Feeling the long, dry grass tickle my fingers as I walked past.
The fragrances of summer fading.
The first ripe tomato eaten while still warm from the afternoon sun.
Anticipating the next one.
Getting excited about the trip down east.
Spending time with my children and grandchildren.
Getting answers to prayers I didn't even know were being prayed.
Being provided for without even asking.
Being blessed.
Being well physically and mentally.
Being free.
"O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindess is better than life." Ps 63:1-3