In all honesty, there is no easy way to dispel the thoughts that come after experiencing evil. It has a sticking pseudo-power that leeches onto the mind’s eye like dust to a wet blanket. Often the imagery left in its wake cannot just be unseen or simply stopped on command in a wandering mind. Only with dogmatic-like persistence, safe vulnerability, and soul reclamation is the experience of freedom from an unjust, evil story available; even then it would seem we are rarely ever truly free of its haunting taunts.
I am resilient but sometimes I struggle with depression and anxiety.
My brain isn’t always well; there I said it. I don’t know what came first, my trauma or my natural inclination Continue reading “Inner workings of a dark/bright mind”
Beware: there is a whole new host of dirty words hitting the American language this week.
Social media is exploding with an assault on everything majority; Trump and his evangelical followers are at the forefront of that battle right now. As a white, middle-class, evangelical American woman, I am certain I’m not allowed to breathe out loud Continue reading “Trump, Evangelical, and White: America’s Newest Dirty Words”
True to self, present to soul; possibly validating the ardent sensory of the empath along the way.
Warning: this could very well be a dissenting contemplation of mind, body, and soul.
Today was a day my mind refused to be disciplined. My soul has suffered a blow Continue reading “True to Self, Present to Soul”
There are things in this life that I want.
Some are circumstances that I want desperately. Others are desires that I want longingly. Still some are just wants that I crave stubbornly.
I have wanted to be noticed. I have wanted to be saved. I have wanted to be wanted.
I have wanted for more, wanted for less.
At times it seems that I might never be satisfied with what is.
I have wanted and asked. I have been denied. I have wanted hidden things and refused to acknowledge the want. I have been angry at yearnings unfulfilled.
There have been gifts of inexplicable contentment.
There have been times of having wanted only to be seen and I have come unhinged at my seeming invisibility.
There have been surprises that have come unbidden.
There has been great confusion when I ask for good things that never come to fruition. I have despised verses like James 4:2-3 “You do not have because you do not ask. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Having found myself in this position more often than I care to recount, I am in the midst of a life changing experience of wanting and asking. This want is a kingdom want, a heart want, a serving want. A type that I have not known before of such purity.
I have wanted to be a great many things over the course of my life, and as I have come into knowing myself more completely I have returned to the want of my childhood: vocational ministry. For those that know my story (Something I think I will be making known here within the coming year), this is a hard want for me to express; such is the shame that has tried to grip my mind.
I have been slowly and quietly making this want known, albeit without actually asking for it lest I be rejected. Recently, I heard a quiet whisper that came and asked me to ask aloud for the desires of my heart. I asked fully in His name and something changed, at once I have come to experience Psalm 37:4 to be true for me.
In this asking of a desire that matches the heart of my Father, I have found equally great contentment, surprising encouragement, and humble tenacity. I guess what the Bible says is true: Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
If you have visited this space before, you have borne witness to this tempestuous mind. So much of what has been contemplated aloud is reflective of a strange and pervasive dichotomy: a desperate need to hold contrasting ideas equally, one in each hand, so that what remains might be whole. On one side is the darkness and despondency of death; and in the other the fragile expectancy of life, of hope renewed. To deny either would create a false sense of contentment, it would tear apart the richness of redemption.
In this series, Shame Undone, I have offered an invitation to journey with me in this discovery of wholeness. I have asked that there is room to hold both life and death to be true, to allow them to coexist; I have expressed a need for allowing repentance and temptation to be separate. To be okay with being human, imperfect. What I have yet to address are factors of my own discomfort, which I believe belong here in this series on shame; a byproduct of my own wrestling with Will. And so, I dare ask the question, “Does God discipline?”
Perhaps this is little more than a feeble attempt to make right things in my life that don’t make sense, or maybe it is more…either way the truth is that I experience stress, circumstantial depression, anxiety, chaos…brokenness. Deep and varying emotions that I think God ultimately uses to bring to light the parts of me that need correction.
This is also true: not every hard thing, not every bout of isolation, desolation, or desperation is a discipline. Sometimes, life just sucks. People choose (And are thrown into) antagonistic behaviors in their own insecurity and pain that ultimately hurt others. The ripple effect from their choices unfairly displaces those around them.
How do we possibly know the difference between a holy discipline, and the pain of another’s sin? How long must we suffer in either?
I’ll start by saying something that is unpopular, I have a great need for the Holy Spirit to translate and mediate my brokenness. I can make excuses, look for an alleviation of guilt and pain, and place blame anywhere I want (Becoming that antagonist), but so long as I am choosing my own way, stress and chaos will reign.
Maybe that is a way to isolate one from the other: asking if it is stress or trauma that is felt. Learning and training in discernment is key, spend time with Jesus.
The tragic circumstances that come from external, uncontrollable actions of others are not discipline. You are not suffering at the hands of another because you are bad, or needing more Jesus. My God is not spiteful, although he can use these impossible situations to lead to a deeper connection with him (Genesis 50:20), it requires a turning to face Jesus, pain, discomfort, joy, and all.
There is no health and wealth gospel here, (Sorry prosperity followers!), my God makes no such promises on Earth. The promise of a better life, of healing from pain, of safety and of security? This is a higher calling, a kingdom perspective. ‘In this world you will have pain and suffering,’ and eventually you will find peace in heaven, in soul.
I have not arrived at wholeness, I bear deep scars. The discipline that I have experienced, the strain, anxiety, and worry that I have felt…it has created an anchoring of my soul; a humming in my mind that exists even in the midst of the days that I lay prostrate and crying in utter misery for relief. Of wanting death to come (I am human), I see my Jesus kneeling beside me.
If nothing else, who am I to assume that my pain and suffering is dependent on my actions? I can no sooner make the grass blue. I choose not to bear the weight of the world, it’s not my job. No, I suffer stress and chaos, anxiety and worry when I am leading with selfish-ness and that is something I can address.
Read more in my Shame Series: Shame Undone