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So, I thought I had it all worked out. <insert laughter here>
BUT, life continually shows me that I have little control over many things–such as my health–still. I had the “joy” of meeting the rudest neurologist (physician), I’ve ever met in my life, and I survived him, thankfully, and in the midst of all this that has me stuck and in limbo, I’ve had my version of ministry (Americanized ministry) turned UpSiDe DoWn. And it’s actually a really good thing.
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Listen now and see why, because this involves YOU, too. #FMS
I grabbed my Bible, Journal, Coffee, Computer, Pens, and Concordance for my Bible study this morning. I sat down before the dog or cat could interrupt me, opened in prayer, and asked for understanding about suffering and healing.
So, I decided to dive into a Bible study on healing. Again. Again, because apparently, it’s taking me longer to get it.
Why doesn’t God heal everyone? If you’ve ever been told it’s because you didn’t have enough faith–I am sorry. That is not true, and I’ve been told that, too. I didn’t have enough faith, I wasn’t “Spirit-filled” because I didn’t speak in tongues, therefore I couldn’t be healed . . . yada, yada, yada. Those thoughts we need to put out of our heads. They are untrue.
I’ve studied the topic of healing before in proper context. But something this time made me uncomfortable. It seems I’m learning that some people, Christians in particular, act as if they’re superstitious about suffering, especially when one speaks of it. Why? Because we weren’t or aren’t healed? When one is suffering, if they aren’t allowed to bring it up, voice it, allow tears to flow, and have others gather around and pray for them, what are they to do but to sit quietly and act as if life is . . . fine? But, it’s not fine. It could be falling apart, and a person unraveling in your very presence, yet it’s too uncomfortable to talk about as we “might” give too much glory to the darkness instead of the Light that saves and heals us. This is where I usually prefer to bang my head against the wall and cry out to God, because I just don’t get it. The very people I need the most are the ones that I can talk to the least.
I found myself in deep thought writing the following on my Facebook page:
If, during a season or lifetime of suffering, a person never really spoke about how deep, dark, and desperate their suffering was and made them, those around them to hear about the horrors of it wouldn’t be able to comprehend or understand how great the glory of God truly is in their lives, that they survive, march on, and continue to run the race–regardless of how low or slow– toward the finish line to receive Christ Jesus who holds their eternal life.
It is OK to speak of your dark and desperate moments, because when doing so, you let the crack of light–that glimmer–shine for all to see. When hope and peace shine through even the smallest crack in darkness, it brings blinding light. It doesn’t take much. So, speak, talk, and don’t let others put out the little light you have, because they think you give the darkness too much credit.
Where light shines in, there is no such thing.
I wanted to read again, something I’d found on GotQuestions.org, so I read and reflected upon it. It is a dangerous thing to take Scripture out of context or not understand it when claiming the promises of God. For example, the freedom from illness for the Israelites in the Mosaic Covenant can be misapplied as a promise of today. Read more about it here in the article, Why Doesn’t God Heal Everyone.
I’ve come to realize, again, that though well-meaning, Christians can be superstitious about healing, why I’m not healed, and not want to talk about the darkness that surrounds me, as it will give too much credit to the darkness which will just keep me unhealed and where I’m at.
That’s my response and how it makes me feel.
If all I have is a glimmer of light in the darkest hours of my life, through all the suffering I endure as I continue to go undiagnosed while physicians search for or give up on finding answers–it’s been both ways for me–, that glimmer of light is more powerful than all the light most of the well-feeling world sees in a day, but it’s worth could not be understood if the depth of the darkness, illness, and feeling crappy was not understood. And unless we’re willing to talk about it, that understanding will never take place which could shed a glimmer of light on another, who also sits in such sickness, despair, hopelessness–whatever it is–to bring glory to God also.
The truth is, no matter how dark life, circumstances, or health is, that small glimmer can get you from where you’re at to glory, and THAT completion, despite the desperation, is the win. That’s God at work in our life, and the glory goes to Him. Had there not been that tiny glimmer in such despair, we who suffer would never find our way.
And sometimes we need to talk about it, and we need to talk about it without fear of making Christians superstitious, because the light casts out darkness. Period.
Talking about your suffering is not giving glory to the darkness. It is giving glory to the Light, that through your deepest darkest life moments, you survive and still head toward glory.
Praise God, and thank You, Jesus.
It’s tough. I know.
I think it’s likely that we all know someone with an addiction or problem that isn’t being addressed by their choosing or flat-out denial. It goes ignored. Those closest to them may simply look away from it. Some even enable the behaviors, because they’re too afraid to do anything to “rock the boat.”
“Let sleeping dogs lie,” is their theory.
An alcoholic? Oh, but they’re so functional! There’s always an excuse or something else to blame it on, so the cycle continues. The health issues just get worse.
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The hard part is knowing someone is hurting themselves with their behaviors, but there is nothing we can do to change it no matter how much we want to. They must want to, and change is easier spoken than it is done.
What do we do? Here are my thoughts as a life coach and someone who has experienced this first-hand with a loved one. I hope it helps you as you seek professional resources.
You can’t fix. You can’t enable. But, you CAN take care of yourself in this process of heartbreak and concern.
Preach This . . . Live This
“Clean Sin –a man deep in wickedness will invent pretty names for sin.”
(Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-92, British, Baptist preacher *
Proverbs 16:2 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
2 All a man’s ways seem right to him,
but the Lord evaluates the motives
*Quote from Charles Spurgeon taken from What The Bible Is All About, Bible Handbook, by Dr. Henrietta C. Mears
Why . . .
Why do some people feel the need to argue or challenge people over everything in an attempt to manipulate, control, or one-up everyone else. (They’ve been everywhere, they’ve done everything, they know it all . . . they know what you should do, become, think, act, and even like. Why?
It’s simple: It makes them feel important and feeds their tiny, little ego, to have such answers stored up for all the world to need–one commandeered conversation at a time. It happens, because they have such low self-esteem and too-little respect for others, especially for those who may have more authority, maturity, knowledge, or life experience. And to those who are younger and more inexperienced than this type of individual, they make themselves an idol or a god with all the answers they can pull out of the universe at their own discretion.
What it does: It creates an atmosphere that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to have an in-depth and meaningful conversation with others. Not only that, but it truly sucks the life out of the gathering, because the only one gaining anything is one-upping, ego-tripping, people-challenger, at the expense of others. How fun is that? It’s not. Add liquor to the aforementioned person, and it’s a conversation if recorded that could be looped as it’s the same thing over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.
The solution: There are several options (here are a few), and they’ll depend upon you specific situation.
1. Move to another person or group to join or start a different conversation. Each time this toxic person enters that conversation and attempts to hijack it, continue to move. When there are no other conversations to enter into or places to go, it might be time to call it a night. “My, would you LOOK at the time! Gotta run!” Sadly for the guests hosting the gathering, people leave, because there is nothing faster at clearing a room than a self-centered and obnoxious person.
2. Call them out on their b/s (bologna sandwich) and ask them to kindly refrain from one-upmanship and to respect the opinions of the others present. If they cannot, try #1 or simply revert to leaving. You have the right to be respected and do not have to be someone’s door mat. It’s likely that one time you see them, they’re super friendly, but don’t buy it for long . . . they’ll cycle again and get on their high horse only to knock you into a mud pit, because their ego is running on empty. There are meds for mental illnesses such as this. It does NOT have to come at your expense. In addition and depending upon the circumstances/dynamics of relationships, it may be time to stop inviting this individual until they get their behavior under control. Why should your other guests and relationships suffer? They’re not the one with the issues.
3. If it is a person with an alcohol problem or other addiction, or they abuse and manipulate physically and mentally, they may be in denial or simply unwilling to admit they know they have a problem. Until they decide to get help for themselves, and people stop ignoring the fact that they have a problem, you may need to set some hard boundaries to protect yourself and your children: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Again, you are not a door mat. You do not have to give your life to such abuse or allow life to be sucked out of you in such hurtful and destructive ways whether it comes from a stranger or someone close to you.
4. You can speak with the individual, but it’s likely to be quickly turned into your problem where it is said that YOU are the one who needs to change your attitude to accommodate their antics. At this point in time, pray, immediately set boundaries, and limit your contact with this type of individual. You do not need to be friends, and you don’t need to worry about playing their games. Don’t stoop to their level of name-calling and hurt no matter how they threaten to hurt you. Don’t get sucked into it, because they are master manipulators, and once they suck you in, they’ve got you right where they want you, and once again, they are in control with you responding to the very games they play. Take the high road, act maturely, preserve your integrity, pray for the person, but live your properly aligned priorities and take your relationship without them seriously. You’re not called to be their doormat or an enabler of such things.
I know I’m writing a lot this morning (multiple Facebook posts), but it’s because I was busy yesterday, and I didn’t take a moment to do it. Because of several conversations lately, I realized there are still times in my life when I consider doing things for other people, over doing what’s right or best for me, because I know it would be pleasing to them. Doing this, though pleasing to others, creates a hardship or as I should call it, a hurtship, and that’s not a good thing to allow to creep in my life. Hurtships suck life and love out of us, and we need to recognize them when they start inching their way toward us.
For example, in the three days alone, I’ve had at least five people stop me–and I mean
physically stop me– to tell me how much they LOVED my hair and wish they could pull it off. My response: “It’s fun! And easy. Getcherself a pair of clippers at Target and go for it!”
I usually get a horrified facial expression in return, but that’s part of the fun. In fact, I remember when I first thought about buzzing all my hair off.
I was scared. But, I was also excited, because pulling it off would be the ultimate “Take that!” for all the times a man in my life didn’t like my hair despite my spending hours and hours and hours and hours and hours, did I say enough hours? trying to make it look model perfect.
But, what should I have expected? I married in the world, and it was definitely of the world on both parts. I didn’t know what a Christ-centered marriage was at all. And now I do. So, I pray that someday I get another chance at that “I do” and it be for His glory and ministry. Hope abounds! And it abounds with super short hair that would be perfect for spending more time doing Kingdom work than primping my impossible head of hair. Just thinking ahead here . . . you know, in case God sees this, and thinks, “Now, why didn’t I think of this?” (HAHA! That’s me being funny. VERY funny. 😉 )
In those moments, when people exclaim their love for my shaved head or ULTRA SHORT shaved hair, I am reminded of why I cut my hair in the first place. My excitement for my boldness takes me back to the hurt and reason I cut off. I cut it because I couldn’t please my ex-spouse with it No. Matter. What. I. Did. A hat wasn’t even sufficient.
I remember in those victorious feeling moments, when I get compliments on my now short, short hair, that I DID THIS. It was my choice. It was my way of finding something that worked for me and it made me feel bold, beautiful, confident, and like a woman who could rock the impossible.
I got to a point where I was tired of fighting the emotional scars those memories left in my head. Your physical self will heal MUCH faster than your emotional self, so give yourself plenty of time. That’s just a friendly word of advice, because I’ve been there. Give yourself plenty of time to heal.
Being in a relationship is NOT a requirement, it doesn’t bring you happiness and fulfillment and fix everything if it’s just to ward off loneliness and is not the right person (try it that way and you’ll see soon enough–like me), and sometimes the healthiest thing you can do is give yourself the time you need to heal while waiting for God to bring you to the right, godly man. He’ll pursue you, because He’ll see the treasure. And if not, let it be. Move on.
Give yourself time. Create space. Use it as an opportunity to see yourself as God sees you. Get closer to your Savior, and savor what He teaches you about who you are and what your worth is. You’ll stop making the same mistakes (with some practice), and learn why you made them (wisdom), so you can become a stronger and healthier person: mentally, physically, spiritually with a life built on God’s foundation. All that said, you’ll learn not to repeat the same mistakes.
For me, it meant shedding a lie. Your hair is not your foundation, and if it is, you’re standing on your head, and you’re doing it backward. And when you’re with someone who claims to love you and your hair is their foundation? You need to run or find the right foundation if possible.
Anyhow. Back to my point. I was looking at older photos of my long hair. I missed my wild,
corky, spiral curls. I missed them a lot. I missed being able to twist it up and play with it as I’d do on those occasional Pinterest hairdo nights. But, then I also remembered a longing to get rid of that mess that never quite measured up. No one really knows how long it took to style that mess, because that’s what it was.
My hair is super fine, thin, and it was a constant battle to make it look good, especially when you live in a place like Kansas. The longer the day, the higher the wind speed, the greater the heat and humidity, and I began to resemble a Chia Pet. Not only that, but I remembered how it never satisfied someone who was to love me despite the superficial. And that hurt enough to remind me of why I bought my clippers and got bold enough to shave it one day. My hair was a beauty liability, and it was stealing my focus. Well, Mr. Clippers helped me get my focus back. I found my buzz buddy. And he’s sharp. 😉
I remembered how I saw a photo of a woman with a shaved head and thought about how beautiful she looked—without a huge head of hair. She wasn’t bald, but she sure had shaved it short. I watched Youtube videos of women shaving their heads. I really looked hard at these women who’d found a freedom that I needed, because I felt that going without what hindered me so much would help me heal. And it did. (Note: Not every woman needs freedom from her hair, so you don’t all have to run out and shave your heads. Some women need freedom from other things.)
I wished I had that freedom of hair expectation, and a few moments later, I found myself at Target purchasing my first set of clippers. I took my purchase home, CLOSED MY EYES, and started buzzing. Five minutes later, I couldn’t believe my now opened eyes. There I was. Naked on my head with nothing to hide behind. And I loved it. I flippin’ loved it!
I loved it because I finally found me, and I finally felt beautiful. I discovered I could rock a shaved head. Yeah, buddy!
It wasn’t my hair or lack thereof that made me anything special. It was my heart. And if my heart had been cared for in a Christlikeness, maybe my hair would be different today. I don’t know. All I know is that in that moment, I found my freedom to look a certain way that I couldn’t measure up to. I learned that I didn’t need to measure up. I found something on my own that made me feel pretty, unique, and I had a style of my own that truly fit my personality.
Women hide behind things all the time: Hair- to hide our faces. Makeup- to hide our imperfections. Clothing- to hide our bodies. We’re constantly held to a standard most of times that is impossible to achieve without attaching some sort of cover up on it, editing it with a super heavy photo filter, and then calling it “real.” But it’s not really us. It’s a version of us that we think others expect us to look like, and they’ll love it.
I got sick of it and shaved my hair off and have never looked back (well, I’ve never looked back for long). In a relationship, it’s ME that needs to be loved and cared for. NOT my hair! Glamour is not what or who I am. It may be what I’m capable of producing over my original exterior, but what I really needed was to be loved and cherished for what was under the hood. If you don’t love, respect, and take care of that, the rest doesn’t matter. The underneath falls apart, and instead of increasing in value, your loved one decreases.
Yes, there’s a lesson here, and I’m slowly getting there. The standard of living, for me, a follower of Christ, IS NOT FOUND IN MY HAIR. It will never make me more worthy of being loved by my Savior. Where human love fails and tells us we must look a certain way, my Savior’s love embraces me without the worldly expectations for me. I could have no hair. No make up. No skin. And my soul is still cared for, protected, and valuable. It’s valuable because it is His, and He cherishes that love.
What I learned:
I can wear my hair ultra short and super funky. And Jesus loves me. What
more could a girl want than to be loved and adored in her spirit of freedom where the hurt, pain, and disappointment doesn’t matter to the One who rescues her and places value back into her? Not much. It’s everything I’ve ever needed. And it was truly that simple. Thank You, Jesus.
Another lesson: When we look at who it is we’re trying to please by living up to specific standards of the world, our hearts will be revealed. If they’re worldly standards, we need to look at who’s setting them, because they’re likely being set by idols. To correct this, we need to create Godly boundaries and look at godly examples found in God’s Word. We need to ask ourselves: What’s the God standard? And we need to stay in God’s Word to know what it is that makes a woman truly beautiful, valuable, by spending time with the one that will first steal your heart. And then every suitor after that will be measured accordingly to the way of life that God has given us. Men, this just makes it harder, but the pursuit of a Godly woman is a treasure to find. Valuables are worth such an effort.
You’ll know your value. And, here’s a little secret: It’s not just hair (or a body, or superficial features) that makes a human valuable. It’s their worth from their Creator God. Human beings are gifts. Men and women. Gifts to each other.
They are treasures to behold.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
I no longer fear what people think of my hair. In fact, there are many things I don’t care about what the world thinks about them: my hair, the fact that I am aging, my choice to be a Christ-follower and not participate in the things of this world that I shouldn’t. It’s the world I’m over, because it’s Christ-likeness that I’m after.
Proverbs 31:10 ESV
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
Why? I’m free from all that. The day that Christ went to the cross and shed His blood willingly for my sins, my freedom was purchased, paid for in full, and I no longer have to live up to anyone’s standards but His. I’d rather be a woman who fears the Lord than a woman who had perfect hair, a perfect body, or a perfect and easy life. Shaving off what the world expects . . . it’s an expression of my freedom from this world. And I thank Christ every time I look in the mirror. What ailed me so much is now gone and not in control.
I am free from what hurts. I am free from where I failed. I am free for where I couldn’t measure up. Bottom line, because of Christ, I am free.
Now, it’s time for a buzz. I’ve got some freedom to tend to. (I need a haircut.)