Recently I have taken the time to think about what matters to me the most. Every year around this time I tend to be hard on myself. I isolate. I pull out my New Years Resolution list. Everything on the list is never fully completed. It never fails that I feel disappointed in myself, and I anxiously try to think of a plan to retract myself. No more of this!
These last few weeks I begin to ask the Lord to help me focus on what is important. I have come to a place in prayer where I desire for him to reveal to me what “HE” feels is important for my life. Often what he feels, and what I feel are very different . There are things he desires for me, and there are things that I want (Isaiah 55:8). To be honest.. I often find myself torn between the two. When I was trained as a counselor, we were challenged and reminded daily to examine our intentions. Why do I feel this way? Why do I desire these things? What is driving my actions? What is my heart revealing? Why I am acting this way? We push our clients to think through these ideas. These person centered thoughts have become ingrained into the fiber of who I am. There is not one single day that I am not reflecting on these things. As a result, time and time again God humbles me and reveals my impure and selfish intentions. Amazingly this process has caused me to be more sensitive, and more understanding to others then I can ever imagine. But the downside is this.. I focus so much on myself and the intentions of others, that I forget to think about God and his intentions towards me. Do not be mistaken… The thoughts and plans you have for yourself will NEVER be better than the plans that God has towards you. The more I pursue life for myself, the further from Christ I will be. My desire is to fill up my thoughts of God, in the place I would normally place myself. My desire is to forfeit my will, and change my behavior. He demands and deserves to be the center of my thoughts. I cant help but to wish that I spent more time this year searching why God feels the way he does, instead of why I feel the way I do. What is his plan for me, instead of my own goals and desires. God your will, not my own.
Grad school taught me how to reflect…. How to reflect on my emotions, what I am feeling and why.Reflection has taught me the good and the ugly about myself. My driving desires, my preconceived notions, my ungodly motives, defense mechanisms, and my selfish passions. It has also taught me that I am extremely tolerant of others, very selfless, and think more like Christ then I’d often give myself credit for. This framework tends to keep you on your toes about sin and character flaws. While often reminding me of how much I have grown. How I am no longer a person that I am ashamed of.
Yeah I guess I am the overly rational one. You know, the girl who takes pen and paper and write down the pros and cons before life’s decisions. The girl who thinks of every possible outcome of a situation, just to try to prepare my heart for whatever God will allow to happen to me. I replay different scenarios. Think of others that have been in similar or common situations. I go through the archives of my brain of previous conversations, advice, and wise counsel from those who have made mistakes before me. Often times being selfish and not including God while all this ranting and thinking is going on. Who do I think I am not to include him? That’s foolish. Wow, this is really the essence of who I am, who I have become. This is engrained vs. ingrained in my makeup. I really have a love/ hate relationship for this part of who I am.I mean that’s why I started this blog in the first place.
Sometimes I just sit back and imagine how it would be just to let go…. To just float, I have been testing the waters a little lately. No pens, no paper, no post it notes locked in my phone, No “there’s no possible way because”. To maybe undo this psychological framework and “just be”.What would that be like? Probably a mess I tell myself. I like to think that this brings me structure but sometimes it is so much more about control. We like to have control over our lives, over who we love, over our future, and even how we die and who dies..lol. Its silly!! Because of so many reasons that I don’t feel like going into right now. My framework feels so right. It feels safe, easy, warm and comfortable like my favorite brown throw blanket. Or like my favorite running sneakers I examined today with the torn flapping sole. I love those sneakers they make me feel so light on my feet.
We all desire to have close relationships with others. We desire to be intimate with our husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, siblings, children,our parents and friends. God created us to be relational beings. My desire is not to only be close with others, but my desire is to be able to connect with others. The same way that God desires to connect with us. I must admit there are some individuals in my life that I desire to connect with on a more intimate level but their relational style can make it very difficult at times…lol. Thats the many things that you come along with understanding & working with people.
It is not enough for me to hear my clients, family, and friends but it is important to me that I connect with them. Accepting who people are and envisioning who they can be, or who they will become is a very important part of the connect process. It takes an effort to look beyond what a person may show you or give you. To look deeper into who they really are. It requires patience, humility and wisdom to understand that God is still doing work on the inside of this individual. He is still developing them. Get to a place where you enjoy the essence of who they are regardless if they are good or bad. And to commit to their well-being, such as Christ has committed to us. Christ delights in us. Delighting in people is denying yourself for the greater cause of revealing goodness in others. Our flesh naturally wants to judge others, to give advice, or to tell them to change or do something differently. But enjoying the essence of someone is allowing them to be naked in front of you and trying to discover where God is trying to take them.
So the test comes when you see the bad in the person are you willing to diligently search for the good in them?
Writing inspired by- Larry Crabb
Heartache- The sorrow that comes after a significant loss of a loved one or disappointment in a relationship.
What is my heartache relative to the death, war and destruction in your nations? Do I have the right to grieve love, when I have others around me that love me? Do I have the right to be heartbroken when others have suffered much more, and have pain that I could never imagine enduring?
I experienced heartache at a much older age then others. Im still trying to figure out if its better or worst that way. But that’s not important because it’s bad either way. So bad that I wouldn’t wish the feeling on the person that caused me the pain. I’ve always heard of such pain, seen the signs, symptoms and prognosis. I’ve even shed tears with loved ones throughout the process. But you never truly know heartache if you’ve never experienced heartache. Maybe that’s why God seen it fit that I get a spoonful of heartache. Not just a taste of someone else’s. It was a spoonful of sickness, a spoonful of sleepless nights, a spoonful of crying, restlessness, weakness, clutter brain and even sadness. Each spoonful had a different taste, but none of them were enjoyable or even tolerable. It was just the taste of nasty regrets and faded memories whose true essence would never be captured again. I would extend grace to my offender in hopes to ease my pain. But Lord you set my heartache experience up in a way that new mysteries would continue to unfolded daily. New facets, new tragedies, new undesired flavors on my spoon. It was bitter to the taste and painful to my spirit! So I had to make a decision to extent that same grace to my offender, that is extended to me daily because you died on the cross.
This experience makes me think of all the other suffering that I haven’t experience that God could decide that he wants me to experience firsthand. “GOD is there something I need to prove to you? What are you trying to teach me? Could you have taught me a different way? Just don’t let me have to ever experience heartache again”.Then I realized that you probably won’t let me experience heartache again, but there are so many other trials and tribulations much greater than heartache, that you might call me to experience. The reality is that God doesn’t only orchestra the good things in our lives, but he allows the bad things too.
My heart says“What can I say? What can I do, but offer this aching heart oh God completely to you” Hillsong United