Thursday, September 19, 2013

Are You Stuck?

Something has been stuck in my head lately.

Something I think I'm supposed to share, so maybe it's in your head too? Or needs to be?

Are you good enough?

Do you ever wonder how someone could love you? How someone could ever think good thoughts about you? Or if you deserve any good things in life?

Are your thoughts more vague and you maybe think things like, "If that person knew the REAL ME/What I've done/What I've said/What I believe/How I really feel, etc etc...he or she wouldn't like me/find me worthy/accept me/want to be my friend/love me..."

When you get a compliment, do you shrug it off and go out of your way to point out the opposite about yourself?

Are you in a pattern of thinking and acting in a way that you self-promote to seek attention and point out all the ways you are awesome?

Do you accept less than what you deserve because someone else has told you your worth is less? Maybe not in words, but in actions?

Do you live with destructive actions and thought patterns that derive from somewhere, someone or some event that you may or may not be able to identify, but that leave you reacting in the same way every single time they're triggered?

Are you often in conflict with others or yourself?

I can answer yes to many if not most of these.

And I think the tendency is often to figure it out. Get to the bottom of it. Find the root cause.

But you know what...I don't believe that is always...or even EVER...necessary.

Just as we don't have to "understand" what makes us a certain way or react in certain fashions, we also don't have to throw up our hands and say "that's just the way I am."

Because that is only partly true.

Maybe that is the way you ARE...right now...this very second, but you do not have to stay there. No one is forcing you to stay in that place; to repeat those destructive thoughts and actions, to damage relationships, or continue digging yourself into a hole of self doubt.

Before you start thinking this is getting too self-help-y sounding, please understand that I am having this conversation with myself, "out loud" so that maybe someone else can benefit too.

I have had some substantially crappy things happen in my 36 years of life. Substantially crappy.

And for a long time, I allowed the pain and hurt of those events to dictate who I was and how I felt about myself and even how I treated others.

I got caught up in all of it: the drama, the hurt, the revenge, the rebellion, the "Eff it all" mentality. And it almost destroyed my spirit. It ruined many relationships, and burned many bridges. Some of those relationships I have been able to mend and others, sadly, I don't think ever will mend this side of Heaven.

I came to a point where I was sick and tired of being caught in a revolving door of emotion and angst. I was miserable, and I attributed that misery to all that had happened to me.

I put myself square in the victim seat and buckled in for the long haul.

It's easy to do when you have been victimized.

But the glorious truth is that being victimized does not have to equate to being a victim.


Stay with me.

To me, a victim is weak and wounded, and utterly vulnerable.

I don't want to associate any of those things with who I am or how I feel or DEFINITELY how others see me.

Granted, it was not an overnight thing, and I did nothing myself--God did it all--but I am now better about seeing my self worth through my past or others' eyes. I see it through God's eyes. Most of the time. :)

I am a work in progress.

So whatever it is for you...whatever is holding you down and trapping you in a thinking pattern or a behavior...repeat this to yourself, "I don't HAVE To stay here."

It's like going to get your hair done...

Brace yourself for an "amazing" analogy to follow...

When you are turned away from the mirror and the stylist is working on your hair, you have absolutely no idea what you look like. They could shave you bald, give you a mo-hawk or dye your hair would be none the wiser. It is not until you look in the mirror and see what has been done that you realize what you now look like.

I think what I'm talking about now is a lot like that...

It's not until you realize that your past does not control your present or your future that you start to view yourself differently.

Sometimes after I get a hair cut, I "forget" that my hair is now short. I anticipate the brush staying in my hair longer and I'm surprised when it slaps me in the shoulder.

Like that...even after we have realized we are different, we can sometimes get caught up in routine and "forget" who we really are.

I keep thinking about some of the people in the Bible who were less than stellar examples of person-hood, but God used them and used them mightily.

Rahab-was a prostitute. She was a single mother. She was, by all standards of her day and by many's standards today, a loser. A misfit in society, a whore, used, garbage, unworthy. You get the idea.

But who is mentioned in the lineage of Jesus? Rahab. (Matthew 1:5)

Not only was it unheard of to list a woman in lineage, but she was listed in the lineage of JESUS. :)

She was saved from the destruction of her town because she helped God's people. That's it. There was no dramatic falling to her knees and reciting all of her indiscretions (maybe that happened later, I don't know for sure), but the part the Bible concentrated on was that she was willing to do the right thing. She didn't talk herself into repetitive and destructive thoughts or actions because of her past or who others said she was. She didn't list all the ways she failed and how she couldn't possibly be worthy...

I've mentioned David before, but come on... how can you not mention this guy.

I mean, he was shepherd boy turned King and then he had an affair with a married woman, and THEN he killed her husband to cover up his affair...he was hardly a magnificent example of a perfect life. Yet he was called the man after God's own heart.

Samson? Huge guy. Super duper strong. And apparently he liked himself some girlies.

And not only was he a fan of the ladies, but he was apparently a slow learner as well since his girlfriend, Delilah, asked him the secret to his power so many stinking times. Why he caved the last time and TOLD HER even though every time she thought she had the right answer, she sicced the Philistines on him, is beyond me...yet Samson was still regarded enough by God to have his strength restored one last time to kill the Philistines.

My point in that you are NOT STUCK. You do NOT HAVE TO stay "where you are."

Whatever it is that is poisoning you...whatever happened to you in the past...whatever other people say about you...whatever load of crap you are telling yourself about means nothing. NOTHING.

Stop giving it the power it should not and does not have to have!

Look at yourself through the eyes of Jesus. He knew you before you were even created (Psalm 139:13), He knew every single thing you would do, good and bad, before you would do it, He has plans for you and has had those plans since you were born (Jeremiah 29:11), And He CHOSE to die for you...knowing that you are imperfect and would screw up--in big ways and in small.

It may not be easy and it may not be quick, but just realizing that you are not held captive is enough to change your perspective and give you encouragement to make a change. It starts with prayer and with allowing your value and image to come from One place. God.

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