One of the characteristics I greatly adore about myself is that I love. I can love. I know what is to love. I know what it is to feel loved. I know how to give love. I can show it in so many ways. Verbally tell it. Pen it in a poem. Whatever – I can do it. Because I feel. Hard. And, I enjoy showing what I feel, I enjoy the reaction, I enjoy the feeling.
I have recently learned how to seperate myself and my feelings from whatever it is that’s going on around me – in a positive way. I don’t know how, why, or when I’ve developed this unique skill that I know a lot of people do not have (and understandably so) but I am learning to appreciate it. It’s helpful to not only me but other people as well. I learning to see other people’s perspective outside of mine and coming to a place where I can accept, respect, and move past some things that I would not have due to my feelings.
Those two abilities/characteristics coincide on a daily basis for me. My natural tendency is to ignore and become callous. Indifferent. Unsympathetic. Uncaring. That ability was reserved for certain people I dealt with. Those certain people who I call my “sandpaper” people. I could literally be so mean and cold because of this. (Thankfully for me, like sandpaper does, these people rubbed and rubbed against me – causing lots of friction but in the end help to smooth my rough edges and make me better!!! … Thank YOU! lol)
But, I’ve learned to take three steps back in order to take a couple steps forward. By taking these steps back I broaden my view of what’s really going and I’m able to see past myself and put myself in a position to deal much more productively with whatever is happening.
For a while, dealing with my infertility issue, I was so angry with God. Sooooo angry. I’d stopped praying, didn’t want to go to church, was very shady about participating in activities I’d enjoyed before, and slacked off in so many areas. I had a”whatever” mentality about so much because I felt that if a God who creates (not can create but DOES! Actively & DAILY!!!) and “loves me” and was HERE with me, and was in existance – why in the world would He be putting me through this? It was unfair. I had faith. I prayed. I did this, I did that… Why was this happening to me. Why wasn’t this happening for me? WHY? What was wrong with ME? Why everyone else BUT me? I was selfish and self absorbed. Unable to see past myself.
I became callous toward God. It was easy for me because it’s my native defense mechanism. It’s what I do to protect & guard myself against those “certain people” who caused me problems. Just like I have characterisitcs I adore about myself – this is one I loathe. I had a very bad habit of becoming so cold. My thoughts would be, “It doesn’t matter.” and I wouldn’t deal with the issue. And, it would be ignored as would the person and their feeings. Period. It’s dead to me. This usually came from not wanting to deal with the situation because something isn’t happening the way I want it to happen, when I want it to happen. I still say “It doesn’t matter” but NOW I mean it. The “it” (whatever “it” is) REALLY doesn’t matter – whatever the issue is CAN and WILL be resolved and worked through. No big. The issue doesn’t mean the relationship has to end. Just chat it out, work it out, & move on.
Out of so many issues and the disdain from being callous, and a lot of Thomas… A LOT of Thomas talking, us reading the Bible, and in me being forced to face my issues, grow and mature – I came to realize how immature I was handling situations and how it all stemmed from selfishness. How selfish, self absorbed, and short sighted I was to actually believe that my point of view and perspective should and would supersede anothers? Even if my point of view/perspective is the most logical, efficient, “selfless”, right, or whatever else….. that other person’s feelings, situation, and views are just as important – even if they choose not to agree. You can respect people and their views even if/when you don’t agree. You can respect, love, and get along in the truest sense of the words.
Which leads me back to my point (I also have an issue with rambling. Sorry.) I had an issue with God. He was NOT the coolest person at that point. He was not in the Top Four of any list I would probably make. He’d be number five soley because of who He is. (Justification & my iciness at it’s finest!) In coming into what I learned about handling relationships with people when things aren’t going the way they we think they should go – I was able to apply that to my relationship with Christ (ha!). However, instead of these lessons in dealing with PEOPLE helping me deal with my relationship with God better – the opposite happened. Even though it was my issues with people & my personal circumstance that pushed me to God, it was Him who showed me my issues even more. Through His love & forgiveness towards me, I was able to deal with people better. He did for me what He is calling me to do for others. In getting over being frustrated and upset with God, and getting to a place where I can just trust His plan for me, I was much more able to love and forgive people. Now, in frustating times, instead of thinking “Why would you do that? (insead of doing what I would have done?)” in a judgemental way, I’m thinking more “Why did you do that?” to really learn WHY and figure out the best way for them, in their circumstances, to do and become better. REGARDLESS of how I feel. I think “WHO CARES what you did…. let’s figure out WHY so we can do better.” It eases pressure. It opens doors for honest communication and relationships. It allows you to love more deeply and purely. It allows you to love regardless of who someone is and what they do. It allows us to be a little bit more like who Jesus is to us, to other people.
God has feelings, too. And, I KNOW He wasn’t pleased with placing 5 on my list due to His diety and not my love for Him. I’m sure He wasn’t pleased with me not talking to Him. Communicating with Him. Or not serving Him the way I should have been. But, that did not stop Him from forgiving & accepting me, loving me, and helping me to grow.
He says “Who cares what you did… let me help to make you better”….. Let me help you through your struggle. Let me stand next to you while you go through this storm – I’ll hold your umbrella. Well Jesus IS the umbrella but you get my point. REGARDLESS of what we d0. If God does that for us DAILY, who are we not to do it for each other?
When we know we will be forgiven, accepted, and loved – we are able to feel the freedom to be more open and honest with each other…. we’re able to build stronger, longer lasting, and deeper relationships without the fear of judgement, broken relationships, or selfish motives.
I’m not ignoring what I’m going through. It’s scary but I’m facing it head on. Asking the questions I need to ask, bracing myself for the truth, and knowing I can and will handle what comes. God did NOT give me the spirit of fear so I’m not afraid of what’s going to happen because I am trusting (which is different from KNOWING) that He has a plan for my life and will keep me through it all.
That callousness that has a tendency to harden my heart is lessening. The desire to be hard and cold in a selfish effort not to feel is almost non-existent . There is no benefit or growth in that. The habit to become callous is being replaced with an even stronger desire to be strong enough to handle whatever it is I’m feeling. FEELINGS change and they can be managed. The damage that comes from reacting on feelings CAN be undone but it takes effort, selflessness, and a deep rooted desire & commitment to rebuild. I’d rather not have to go through that process.
What caused all of this is love. Loving another person more than yourself will take you to a place where their happiness is more important than your own. Realizing & accepting what your actions do to another can cause you to make some changes. Especially when you’re causing them pain. You sacrifice for them. You give them room to move, grow, make mistakes, etc. Especially when they give you that same room, if not more. You give them an opportunity to do what they want (be it good or bad) without you lording over them to do what you want. Without beating them over the head. Complaining. Or, Fussing. It’s so much more peaceful this way.
A lesson I’m quite sure Thomas is so appreciative of. I can laugh now about how all of these lessons have been (slowly) filtering out and becoming real to me. I was able to apply some of them in a few isolated areas in my life, other lessons in more quietly kept places… But, when it all comes together it’s amazing. LOL. I know Thomas is appreciative. I am appreciative. Everyone I deal with – all of those sandpaper people (check the definitions tab), even those non-sandpaper people – will benefit from this multi-tiered lesson. From me growing to see outside of myself.
I’m growing. I’m maturing. I’m becoming. And, I appreciate all you who have been around and dealt with me on such levels and have chosen (for whatever reason) to stick around. Hopefully, as I grow and we grow, you’ll find it worthwhile and beneficial.
To be able to see myself as apart of a much larger picture, as a small piece in a much larger puzzle allows me to accept and depend on God much more easily. Everything is not about me. The world does NOT revolve around me. God using me in whatever way He choses isn’t about me. Now that I’m able to understand that better – it’s easier to just be and enjoy the NOW. His plan is not about me. I can let go of some (haha! I meant, ALL!!) of my control issues and everything will NOT fall apart because I’m holding not ONE thing together.
This song was my “I’m not dealing with this” theme song for sooo many years….. It spoke directly to how I would feel and how I wanted to handle the situation. Take a listen here… You can hear that this is counterproductive to thriving relationships. We’ve GOT to get past ourselves. We can take so much more when we realize that what is at stake is so much greater than our pride, our feelings, and our own selfish desires.
… here’s to reading an incredibly long blog entry that began while wishing teary eyed on a star.
…. to being open and stretching far outside our comfort zones.
… to love. Sweet, undying, ever accepting love.
… to the journey.