Friday, March 31, 2017

Digging Deeper....Internal Perspective - Psalm 139

As strange as it may seem, at my advanced stage on this ride called life, I still find myself, more than ever, learning about others and myself.  Sometimes the "myself stuff" takes me by surprise.  Something that has been eating at me for a while  finally came together and made sense to me this week. I am still having a hard time wrapping my mind around it and how to process it in relationship to moving forward in life. Isn't it interesting how God will show you His truth when you are willing to believe it and wrap yourself in it?  God wants us in the right perspective to see....
I learned  (well, something I have known but not acted on for sometime,) that I have always taken emotional ownership of everything, much to my detriment. By doing this I didn't allow myself to fully develop and shine.  As long as I can remember I am someone who internalizes life.  What that basically means is that I integrate the  attitudes, values, standards and the opinions of others of me into my own  identity or sense of self.
On the surface I am sure we all do that to a certain degree, but I let it become a defining factor of who I see myself as.  If someone else saw me as bad, I was bad.  If someone else saw me as beautiful or good, I was beautiful or good.  I was always looking for that validation and I internalized it to the degree that it limited me to  only being able to see myself through the lenses of other's jaded glasses.  This weakness allowed me to stay in a marriage for many years that subtly defined my less than worthiness.  I took the behaviors and choices of my husband and let them tell me who I was. No matter what I did, by that standard (which had nothing to do with me,) I was left defined as less than worthy of being loved honestly, purely and faithfully.  No matter how much I twisted, turned, and molded myself,  I would never be able to undo the internalization I had developed by the repeated reminders and reinforcements of not being enough....because I took it to the deepest part of my heart.  I continued to love and give more and more of me away trying to out run this horrible self pain.  
Although, I am no where near perfect (trust me on that!) I have always believed it was me that was the problem.  But as time has passed, through events unrelated to me, God has shown me that it didn't matter what kind of wife I was;  how talented, how smart, how pretty, how "Mini-Martha Stewart," how skinny, how sexy, how available.... it would never have mattered because my then husband had the inability or no desire to control his choices.  But, it wasn't me.  Yes, I have heard that a million-gazillion times but I had internalized that ugly, negative, shameful, stupid, useless mantra so deeply, human words couldn't undo the damage.  When my ex-husband, of 26 years of marriage, became engaged and remarried within weeks after the divorce, I internalized it. To me it was confirmation that I was deficient, not enough....but I now see that wasn't true.  He wasn't enough. Every time he turned to someone else, he proved that, but I was so short sighted, I could only see what was wrong with me.
I also internalize my role as Mother.  My greatest desire in life has always been to be a great wife and mother so when anything external signals otherwise, whether it be someone else making a comment on my parenting style, my house keeping, or my child saying the often pin point painful things that children say...I soak it right into my core.  It would/could/can devastate me.  Realistically I know I am not perfect, but in the face of these interactions I find myself walking around seeing myself through (insert comment/action/attitude) and it pushes me to twist, turn and often literally break my heart to be what others want to see.  If  one of my children takes my personal inventory (which generally is not during a  positive moment ) I immediately feel an overwhelming sense of failure. shame and guilt, whether their words are true or not. It feels like I can't be a good mother, I feel like I want to disappear because I am more bad than good.  I (no one else) makes me feel like I am more damage to my children than anything else.

I  have felt an abnormal need to make others happy, meet their needs, take care of everything and make it all look beautiful and dream-like for them.  Don't' misunderstand, I don't regret, for one moment, being a totally devoted wife and mother I loved those two jobs and know they will always be where my calling was....but I could have done better by expecting better.    I never could see the value in who and what I brought to the table...until this week.  I am working on the steps to relearn these ingrained behaviors that I have let myself develop and let the enemy run amok with in my heart.  I know it won't be an overnight change, but I am taking a step.
This week someone posed a  hard question to me....What is your worth...your inherent God defined worth?  I had expressed how I had been praying earnestly for many days to see myself through God's eyes and all I had heard was silence....days and days of total silence.  I was again internalizing and heart was breaking because all I could come up with in my simple mind was God doesn't see me. My heart screamed "This explains the last 3 years of your life."  It even explained why I am doing life alone. It explained why I can't seem to be Mother of the Year. Although seemingly unrelated, it explained why I haven't been able to get a handle on my finances and excel the way some in my life have spewed at me that I should have.  It explained everything....God doesn't see me.  He truly has abandoned me, He no longer looks upon me as His...I even questioned whether He ever did.
Then the loaded the cannon was exploded and blew my internal voice away when this person said, "God is silent because he doesn't need to reprove Himself to you.".....silence......from me.  What?
God's word has already defined who I am in clear, concise words....why was I making other people idols before Him? Why were those other words and deeds directing me more than God? I  was discounting God. 
No more, "Am I good?" No more, "What do other's think of me?" No more, "If I could just be good enough."  I am special because I was created by God.  I am truly special because Jesus saw something in me worth dying for.  My truth has already been defined....Here is how God sees me:
Psalm 139
1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (NIV)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Giving the past away.

This past weekend I gave a big chunk of my past away.  My daughter and son-in-love came and took all my dining room furniture and silver, some crystal and china.  They have just bought their first house and so I decided it was time to part with my dining room.  This has been planned for weeks but I was a little surprised at the emotions it stirred around.

I watched them load the trailer with pieces of furniture that I loved and cherished but really no longer fit in my life and it was just kind of strange.  It was cutting of ties to memories to the past, which is healthy, but I was taken aback by those emotions.  My daughter carefully packed the crystal and china that she wanted and I watched some of my memories and dreams go in the box with each piece.  It wasn't really sad, but I can't quite put my finger on what it was.  I do know, though that it was one more step in making my home mine and that feels good.

On the flip side, though, I now have a wonderful office space where all my work can be consolidated and organized!  No more work in the sunroom, no more boxes in my bedroom!  I am excited about that!  Tomorrow I will start moving things into the empty room and trying to find a place for all the crystal that was left!  I can't wait to show you some before and after pictures!