One of my favorite singers of all time. Love the song quite a bit too!
One of my favorite singers of all time. Love the song quite a bit too!
Just posted something on here about emotional and relational growth. How much it can hurt and the fact that it occasionally sucks.
Hate it when my words get tested when they are still fresh in my mind!
Without being specific and naming names (because I’m not going to get petty like that!) it has become clear to me that some people just do not know how to be happy or let others be happy. They carry this emotional ugliness with them like toxic sludge and they make sure to smear it all over the paths of those they encounter. They don’t know how to be happy when good things happen to others because they are too busy resenting the person rather than celebrating with and for them!
When you come to the sludge others have left in your way, you have a choice to make. You can wallow in the sludge, flinging some of it back at the person who left it there, and lowering yourself to his/her level in the process. You can attempt to defend yourself against the unkind words that spew from their mouths out of habit. If you choose this option, you will eventually become a person who leaves the sludge of emotional ugliness in the path of others.
Or you can look around for those moments of brightness that have been placed in your path by those who have a much healthier, less self-centered approach to life! You can choose to listen to the voices of those cheering you on to bigger and better things. You can rise to the challenges before you and face them head on, choosing to work your tail end off to make something amazing happen.
In case you haven’t guessed, I’m dealing with some “sludge-flingers” right now. So far I’ve been able to handle the situation with relative ease. Now they are choosing to fling sludge meant for me at one of my children. It’s just not cool to put my kids in the middle of their ugliness and luckily the child in question has a decent head on her shoulders so I am not worried about her.
It would be so easy to start flinging ugly right back at them. It might almost feel cathartic. I mean, Mama Bear would LOVE to defend her cub!
Nope. Not going there.
I am in the midst of trying to realize a 20 year dream and I am absolutely surrounded by people who are cheering me on, working alongside me to help it happen, or who simply love on me regardless of what else is going on. These people bring so much laughter, love, and joy to my life that I feel positively overwhelmed by it at times. Truthfully, the joy-bringers outnumber the sludge-flingers pretty significantly (sorry for the rhyme – it was truly unintended!).
So today I choose to step around the piles of emotional “ick” left in my way. My focus is on all of the loving, positive, encouraging people in my life. The sludge bearers are wasting their time. I’m choosing happy!
I remember having to explain to my kids what growing pains were. One of them looked at me and said, “You mean growing hurts?! Well, that sucks.”
Yep, kiddo it does.
Because all kinds of growth hurts. Emotional growth, relational growth, spiritual growth – none of it happens without the ache of stretching into something new.
I wish it could be painless. I wish that letting go of past hurts – after learning important lessons – didn’t have to hurt. I wish learning to open up to others and trust them with the deepest parts of us didn’t come with risk. I wish that facing our past, admitting that it happened, and moving on was easy.
But it hurts. And it does, indeed, “suck”.
There is, however, an upside.
I mean, remember how much fun it was when you realized you were taller than a parent or a sibling? Or how weird it is to look back at pictures of yourself when you were super little?
There is an upside. You will be stronger once admit to and deal with the pain. You will be more compassionate when you admit that you have been hurt but refuse to wallow in it. You will be able to interact positively with certain people once you release feelings of bitterness and anger, knowing that they will never change (or admit they need too!)
If you can deal with the growing pains and whatever issue they are related to, you will be a person who is more mature, more confident, more fun to be around, and more capable of healthy relationships.
Physical growth hurts because our bodies are stretching to new heights. Emotional growth hurts for much the same reason. It does indeed “suck” but the payoff is worth it!
Today was set to be a busy day. Hubby and I had plans to meet a couple we’d never met for breakfast – the husband in said couple was the Associate Pastor many, MANY years ago at the church where hubby is now pastor – and then we were off to a meeting for the American Baptist Churches region.
As we entered the hotel where we were to meet our breakfast companions, I saw a woman in the breakfast area and thought, ‘That shirt looks familiar’. Then I realized the shirt was familiar because I had seen my daughter wearing one. The shirt looked like this –
In a matter of seconds, it dawned on me who the woman was – her name is Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned pastor, Saeed Abedini. Saeed’s crime? Being an Iranian American who is also a Christian! He was born and raised in Iran, his wife Naghmeh born in America. Saeed has dual citizenship and has visited his home country many times. Before he moved to America, he had started around 100 house churches in Iran. A change of leadership in the country resulted in a crackdown on house churches and Saeed left the country. He returned for a visit in 2012 and has not come home yet. He has been declared a threat to Iran’s national security and has been sentenced to 8 years in prision.
His wife has spent the last year speaking to any group that will let her share her story and raising their two children alone. I only had a chance to speak to her briefly (she was in town because a 5K was being held to raise funds for and awareness about her husband’s situation) but she exudes a quiet strength and calm that seems impossible in light of her situation! It was a momentary encounter, but I can’t get her or her story out of my head!
I am a pastor’s wife and I cannot imagine knowing that he has been imprisoned and tortured for sharing the gospel.
I am a mother and cannot imagine having to help my children cope with this type of situation.
I am a woman who LOVES her husband and cannot imagine the pain of being separated from him under such violent, dangerous circumstances.
Want to learn more about the story? Hear and read Naghmeh’s own words here. Honestly, just type the name “Saeed” into any search engine and you will find several sources.
The man was in Iran to work on building an orphanage. The Iranian government decided that he was a threat to national security. Now a woman and her two small children wait to see what will happen. And after meeting her this morning I cannot get her out of my head!!
Educate yourself. Pray. Write a letter to your government representative demanding that this American Citizen be brought home. Hold a fundraiser. Whatever you are capable of doing, do something! Let’s reach out and make sure that Naghmeh knows she is not alone!
I had to delete a Facebook acquaintance today. With all that is on my plate right now, I don’t have time for people who are going to try and verbally beat me down when I am trying to take some healthy steps. This person and I were really just acquaintances so it’s likely I won’t feel much loss. Let me explain –
I have spent pretty much every day of my life tired. I don’t just mean since I became a mom. I remember being a kid and my mom saying I should go outside and play but all I wanted to do was crash! I thought everybody got all-over-achy when they were tired; that it was normal to have some level of a full-body ache at the end of every day. Turns out I was wrong.
Then I got pregnant for the first time and had the obligatory blood work done. At the next doctor’s appointment, my Doctor looked at the bloodwork results and said, “You are anemic.” (Pause.) “Really anemic.” (Pause again.) “So anemic that I think you might have always been a anemic.” So we add iron supplements to the prenatal vitamins. After my daughter was born, my doctor came to my room on rounds and made a note on my chart that my blood needed to be tested at my first post-baby check-up. He wanted to see if his hunch was right. It was. I was severely anemic even without pregnancy hormones screwing with everything.
Enter the iron supplements. And learning to eat iron rich foods – I have always liked nuts (thought I can’t stand almonds!) and have learned to LOVE raw spinach; working on learning to like beets and I’m almost there!
When I mentioned my Doctor’s findings to my mom, her response surprised me – “You had anemia when you were born. The doctor told us that most children outgrow so we just assumed you would too and never bothered to have it checked again.” So there it was. An answer for some of the chronic “tiredness” I had battled all of my life.
I didn’t do real well being diligent about the iron at first. But I’ve gotten better in recent years. Much, much better. Only to find that I’m always still kind of pooped!
At a recent “well-woman” check-up, the Nurse Practitioner scheduled me for a fasting blood draw. When all the tests had been run, the office called me to let me know the results. With my families history of diabetes, my age (turning 45 this month!) and the extra weight that I carry (and should lose) I was expecting my blood sugar or cholesterol numbers to come back in the “bad” zone. Nope. They were fine. Surprised the heck out of me!
The next statement didn’t surprise me – “The tests showed that you are ‘significantly’ anemic” – okay, that hasn’t changed – “and your thyroid function is low.” She paused.
I said, “Excuse me, could you say that again?”
“Your thyroid function is low. It’s just past the bottom edge of normal but it’s in the low range. Technically, it’s called ‘hypothroidism’.” At this point she went on to ask me if I ever suffered from any or all of four specific “issues” related to the condition. I don’t specifically remember the four but I said “yes, almost always” to two of them and “from time to time” to a third!
She continued – “Okay. Then the recommendation of this office is that we get you started on a prescription to deal with the condition. We’ll call you when it has been called in to the pharmacy.”
And that was it. I have hypothyroidism on top of anemia.
How does this relate to booting someone off of my Facebook island? I’ll tell you.
I posted about the diagnosis on Facebook. Just a quick status update with a sort of “Huh, who knew?” approach. Within minutes, I had a private message from this person. The individual started by admitting that they didn’t know the whole story but they were concerned that I “went looking for medical excuses for laziness and bad habits. If you want to lose weight, work out more, don’t make excuses.”
I was stunned. I went back to the update I had posted and I had actually said nothing about weight loss or weight management. I simply stated that I was going to need a prescription for my under-active thyroid. This person kept stating that they were only sharing “out of concern for a friend” but the message was one long scolding! I was told that there was no substitute for good old fashioned hard work whether the focus was losing weight, taking care of a home, or holding down a job. I was told that blaming genetics for exhaustion or weight gain was “cowardly”. As a final shot, this person told me that they would pray for me, that I would avoid the dark path to drug addiction that I had started on by saying yes to the prescription for my “condition” – and yes, this person ALWAYS put the word condition in quotation marks like hypothyroidism is not a legitimate diagnosis.
Do I need to make some changes in the realm of personal choices?! Absolutely! And I’ve been doing my homework to figure out just how to begin taking baby steps in a healthier direction. But my physical health isn’t my only concern. That person I unfriended? Yeah, she wasn’t good for my emotional health or my focus so she’s gone!
But I have learned my lesson – just because I hear part of a story, I should not open my mouth until I know all of it and even then . . . might be best to say nothing!
This thought shouldn’t be revolutionary to me. But it did stop me short earlier today. It shouldn’t have. Unfortunately, the fact that it DID stop me short is proof that head knowledge isn’t necessarily enough to make a heart change.
In the Gospels, we are told that a teacher of the law came to Jesus and asked him which law was the most important. Jesus answered –
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)
Love the Lord your God. Not be a perfect wife or mother, not keep a perfect home, not be a model employee. Love the Lord your God with EVERYTHING you are.
I waste so much time trying to “fix” or “improve” my life by focusing all my attention on those problem areas/strained relationships/personal weaknesses and get frustrated when I can’t get the positive changes to “stick”.
But my focus is wrong. It’s not that God doesn’t want to affect those areas. He most certainly does. But he wants my priorities to be right. If I can learn to love him with all that I have – my mind, my heart, my soul, my strength – then he will walk through all those broken places and start teaching me, stretching me, empowering me, and motivating me to make the changes as a result of making Him the absolute number one priority in my life.
For so long, I have tried to “be good enough” and all I end up doing is failing those I want to be good enough for and frustrating myself when I do so. This is the key. Loving God the way it is described in the verse above will give him the place in my heart that he needs to effect positive changes in every other area of my life. Think about – focusing on obeying that one law will talk care of ALL the others. (Now to make sure I don’t forget that!)