Pilgrim's Journey > March 2009 Archives
March 3, 2009
Who do you protect? Who do you project?
Was thinking about this the other day...about the inside me and the outside me. How over the years I've gone through stages where the inner me was quite different from the outer me. The one inside who I protected, hid away from me, was so different from the outside me, the one I presented to the world, that the two probably wouldn't have even recognized each other had they met on the street! Especially during teenage years, when I wanted to be accepted by my peers, when I put on makeup and tried to wear the "right " clothes, and then again when I was starting my teaching career, and wore what I thought a "Real Teacher" would wear, read what I thought Real Teachers wore, and talked about what I thought Real Teachers talked about. And it even went beyond that: I kept the real, deep, secret parts of me hidden (things I did wrong, everything about me I considered was sub-standard, not good enough, was ugly) because I wanted to be a Real Person.
Throughout my life, through people I had met, and their actions against me, things people had said and done, had me convinced, that I was not good, that I was a nobody. I therefore concluded I was not a Real Person... on the inside. But on the outside, I did everything I could think of to BE a Real Person, even though I wasn't. I tried to wear makeup, I tried to say the right things, I tried to be there for everyone, I was intelligent and well-read. But inside, I hid my shyness and fears and rejected side. My self-esteem was rock-bottom sometimes. But that is not what I projected. On the outside, I was a popular teacher that all the students loved. Parents requested that their children be put in my class. In fact, my class was a blast, where hurting children were loved and healed. By the outside me. The inside me though, stayed hidden.
The one I protected, and the one I projected, were so far apart. And, I figured, never the two sides shall meet. And that was fine.by.me.
It started causing me too many problems. I realized that while it may not be hurting others, it was hurting .... ME. And even hurting God.
God created me. He created me for a reason. With a purpose. He created me inside and out.
God searches me and even knows my heart. He knows everything I am ever going to think or say. And God loves the truth, because he IS Truth. He didn't create me to be a false person. He created me to be ME. He created my personality. He didn't create me to put on an act or a show.
It was last year when I started realizing that, when I wanted to correct that disparity between the inside me and the outside me, that things actually started to come closer together. The one I protected and the one I projected started to become one.
First, I started by becoming more concerned about what God thinks of me than what people think of me. And by the way, God thinks I'm wonderful (Psalm 139:14), He thinks I'm precious, and I'm the apple of His eye. People are fickle--their opinions, sadly, can change in the blink of an eye, as I've witnessed too many times to count. But God is not a man that He should lie. God will never change. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. (Those are all in the Bible too, though I lack the Scripture references right now.) He will ALWAYS think I'm wonderful, no matter what. That's something pretty cool. Even if I screw up royally (which I sometimes do), its good to know that God loves me unconditionally and without reproach. He will ALWAYS lovingly accept me back into His huge, comforting arms.
Second, I started making my insides match my outsides. I got my thought life turned around. Books and tapes by Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore helped a LOT, like Battlefield of the Mind & Me and My Big Mouth by Joyce, and Get Yourself Out of That Pit by Beth totally turned my world around. I started reading Proverbs, which has little nuggets of wisdom on how to live a better life. I will only touch on this briefly & will make another post about it-- but I realized the Bible is filled with promises God makes, that basically say, "If you will do X, I will do Y for you". So I started doing X's, and God started doing Y's.... and WOW it works!! You can always count on God to come through for you. You will NEVER be disappointed if you count on God. He is not like people. Thank goodness, because at the beginning of 2008 I had had enough with people.
Third, (thirdly? I never taught anything past 2nd grade even when I subbed... my grammar can be really lousy, sorry)... Third/ly, I have made it one of my goals to make the inside me and the outside me not just know one another, but to be best friends ;) . How? I got rid of some things. Something didn't match up to the Real Me (the me God wants me to be, not that fake Real Person I thought I had to be to be accepted).... then I dropped it...or am in the process of dropping it. Some clothes got given away. Some websites I used to visit frequently...don't go there anymore, because they have lots of negative/ gossipy people... people I used to want SO badly to be "friends" with...now I realize, those people were NOT my friends. I pick and choose my friends more carefully now. Got rid of a bunch of books and magazines on subjects that I no longer need in my house. Gave some things away. Stuff like that. I pick and choose NEW things more carefully--I ask myself-- is this something that is going to edify my life? Will this build me or or tear me down? Is this life affirming? Anyway, I think you get the point.
By the way, everything I said that God thinks of ME, He thinks of YOU, too.
So who do you protect? Who do you project? How far apart are your inside and outside? How can you bring them closer together?
March 11, 2009
I had another dream about Sharon last night. I had a tough evening yesterday because the rainy wet weather reminded me about a day of therapy I had with her that was especially meaningful and helpful. So I spent the evening crying about how much I missed her. Then last night I had a dream about her. Finally caught up with her (I am always trying to find her in my dreams but she is always evading me, ignoring me, or yelling mean things at me.) And we were hugging each other and saying how much we missed each other. I wish I knew if she ever cared about me in the 1st place. I have a hard time believing or trusting anyone now. I wish I knew if she ever thought about me or missed me. I want her back so bad. I wish I could tell her how things are going, how different I am now. I just miss her so much that sometimes its hard to breathe.
March 12, 2009
I miss Sharon so much.
I tried joining a new art group tonight. To have some fun.
Before I left i was already in a sad mood because my ex best friend is probably going to die from her anorexia, and i wish so much i had sharon to talk to about it. i miss talking to her so much.there's so much i need to say to her.
then at the group, there was this lady who smelled just like sharon. just like her. i don't know if it was her perfume or her shampoo or what. the instant i smelled her, i knew it was sharon's smell, even though i haven't smelled it in over a year. it made my stomach lurch. i was already near tears when i left for the group, by then i could barely hold the tears back. i wanted so badly for it to be sharon standing right there that i could almost see her, almost feel her hand, almost hear her voice, you know?
i tried sitting at the opposite end of the table from this lady during the group, but there was a demonstration of a little clay device and we ended up all scrunched together and i was next to her again. i kept going from trying to avoid breathing in, to drinking in the smell. it was ridiculous. i wanted so badly for it to be sharon that my heart hurt and i could barely breathe and i was just flooded with memories.
so i left. i had a stomachache anyway, so i told the person i wasn't feeling well. i barely made it out the door before i dissolved into tears. I don't even know what to say to God anymore. I just miss Sharon so much. I hate everything that happened, that everything ended so badly, that she did all that, that I screwed up, that all the things that were so good just went so bad so fast. I just hate it. Its like I have PTSD from Sharon or something. I miss her so much, but it hurts so badly.
i am not going back to that group
March 16, 2009
Just not able to handle anything right now
For some reason, the past week I my tolerance to handle things seems really low and I'm not sure why. I keep praying, but I feel desperate again. I am not eating well, which it just stupid. I want to lose weight. If I have to be alone, lonely, not have Sharon anymore or Caroline Ann, if I have to go through so much stress, at least I could be THINNER. I'm aware this is stupid talk.
I am not able to handle stress or worries like usual. My faith is not great. I am really lonely and sad. Maybe its the weather. Maybe its finding out that someone I care about is probably going to die any day now. Maybe its regrets over past decisions hanging over me. There is stress in my family that I just can't handle right now that I can't do anything about and I feel helpless. I'm just lonely and need someone to talk to but there isn't anyone. I want Sharon to talk to. My feelings about her are all over the place. Sometimes I miss her and sometimes I hate her, so I try not to think about her at all. I had to miss my Bible study last week because I had to work late, and that's something that means a lot to me.
I wish I could just hang out at Sunday School and Bible study all the time, around those women and those people who are always talking about God and studying. I like being in that environment, and its where I feel refreshed. Instead of being alone and lonely. I want to get away from ME.
I want to sense God's presence and just feel Him near me. I want to feel like someone truly cares enough to take time on me, instead of always feeling alone and forgotten about. Joel Osteen's podcast message this week was on God Remembers You. I needed to hear that because so often I feel like no one ever thinks about me or remembers me, sometimes even God. I often feel abandoned and forgotten about. But God always has me on His mind. I need to remember that. I just wish that people would think of me sometimes, and maybe even let me know.
March 17, 2009
If You Have Been Hurt by Someone
This was in my Daily Devotional Today, Sparkling Gems from the Greek, for March 17th, and I HAD to share it. It is something that I have been thinking about today.... and well, I'm in a place right now where I don't have any more words than that to say tonight because my heart is hurting. But read on Rick Renner's words:
Stick Your Neck Out—Commit Yourself to Someone!
2 Timothy 2:2
Can you think of an occasion when you were hurt by someone so badly that you were tempted to think, That's it! I'll never give my heart to anyone like that ever again! This hurts too much to go through this a second time. I've had all the abuse I can take, and I'll never put my neck back on the chopping block again!
I think everyone has been through heart-wrenching experiences of betrayal, disloyalty, deception, and unfaithfulness in his or her relationships with others. Sometimes people put on one face in front of you but show a totally different side when they are out of your presence. Maybe it was a close friend you thought would be faithful to you forever; but then that person walked out on you, stabbing you in the back as he exited! Or perhaps you had a trusted friend whom you confided in, but he violated your trust by repeating all the private things you had shared with him.
There's no doubt about it—it hurts when you find out that certain people in your life have been unfaithful, especially if they were people who you sincerely believed would be loyal to the end. These feelings of hurt must be exactly what Timothy felt as he was serving as senior pastor of the church of Ephesus. After investing his life into his group of leaders for three years—spending time with them, loving them, caring for them, teaching them, forgiving them, and literally pouring his whole heart and soul into them, as pastors are required to do— Timothy correctly expected a return on his investment. In other words, he expected those leaders to stay with him forever!
The return Timothy anticipated from his leaders was commitment and faithfulness. For those same men to deny him their loyalty after all he had poured into them was a flagrant violation of relationship, yet that is precisely what they did. The majority of those leaders walked out of the church and deserted Timothy.
It is a historical fact that because of Nero's persecutions against the Church, masses of believers left the Ephesian church and returned to their old pagan temples. The fires of persecution had revealed the genuine level of these people's commitment to Jesus. When they realized they might die for their faith, they reevaluated their commitment and deserted the Lord, the Church, and their pastor in order to save their lives.
Many of those who left the church of Ephesus were the leaders Timothy had trained and poured his life into. Timothy thought he could count on these leaders to serve at his side in both good and hard times. But now hard times had come, and the ones he had assumed he could trust walked out and abandoned him.
As a result, Timothy had a severe deficit of leaders whom he could rely on and was facing the task of selecting new leaders. So Paul tells him, "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men...."
These are pretty heavy instructions for Paul to give his young disciple! Timothy had already been "burned" once after giving his life to a group of people. He knew what it felt like to have people he trusted stab him in the back. Nevertheless, Paul now tells Timothy to choose a new group and start all over again!
At that moment, Timothy's emotional pain must have been enormous. I'm sure Paul's words were hard for him to hear. Just as you and I have felt in the past, he probably thought, Forget it! I've already been through this pain once, and I don't like the idea of going through it again. I'll just pastor this church by myself.
But it's not possible to do any monumental job alone. Therefore, if a person has been hurt, he eventually has to get over it, choose new leaders and friends, and start over again. That is why Paul told him, "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men...."
The word "commit" comes from the Greek compound word paratithimi, a compound of the words para and tithimi. The word para is a Greek word that means alongside. It refers to something that is near or close by. But in Second Timothy 2:2, it presents a picture of close relationships.
The second part of the word is the Greek word tithimi, meaning to place, to lay something down, or to position something. When the words para and tithimi are compounded together, creating the word paratithimi, it means to come close in order to make some type of deposit, like a person who goes to the bank to place a deposit into the repository for safekeeping. Significantly, this is now the word Paul uses when he tells Timothy to "commit" himself to a new group of leaders.
Timothy clearly understood Paul's instruction. He was to pick a new group of leaders, come closely alongside of them, and deposit his life into them. The Greek word para made it plain that this was not something that could be done from a distance. Timothy would be required to push aside his hurt and pain and to make himself vulnerable to a new group of leaders; in other words, he had to give his heart a second time.
Because of Timothy's past experience with leaders who had defected, this order from Paul may have been one of the scariest thoughts the younger minister had ever had. Timothy may have thought, Wait a minute! I already poured my life into one group of people. But when I needed them—when I needed to draw on that deposit—they were gone! My last deposit in people didn't work out too well. They hurt me. I don't know if I'm willing to make that kind of investment in people again!
Timothy may have asked himself, Isn't this taking things one step too far? Does God really expect me to stick out my neck all over again after I've been hurt? But that is exactly what Paul was telling him to do—and it's what you must do as well! Stick out your neck and your heart, and try again!
The use of the word paratithimi meant that Paul wanted Timothy to understand this message:
"... You need to choose some new people who have proven themselves faithful. Pull up alongside those people; get as close to them as you can so you can deposit everything you are and everything you know into them."
Timothy's future depended on how well he was able to connect and work with other people. The same is true with your future. Rather than allow the pain from past experiences to paralyze you today, you must do what Paul commanded Timothy to do: Put the past away; decide to quit focusing on how others have failed you; and begin to search for a new group of people or friends so you can start over again. If you don't do this, the devil will have the victory over you—paralyzing and immobilizing you, effectively preventing you and your gifts from ever being fully realized. Don't give the devil the pleasure of that victory!
It's time for you to grab hold of the power of God and to emerge out of your place of hiding! It may be true that a person or a group of people hurt you in the past, but there are friends out there who are just waiting for you. They are the ones who will be faithful and steadfast all the way to the end. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and direct you to them. Once you connect with them, you'll be so thankful that you didn't hide from relationships for the rest of your life and that you took the bold step to start all over again!
March 24, 2009
I'm just trying to hang on right now. I'm stressed out and wanting to disappear. I've been sleeping a lot more, but it isn't enough. I want to get away from me. I"m worried sick about things that are going on with my family, and really disappointed that some things that I want to happen are not happening. I'm really lonely also. Need someone to talk to. Just very discouraged and down right now-- I know that all of this will pass in time, but time seems to be moving so very slow lately, like for the past year. Some day, all of this hard stuff will be behind me.... if I can just survive it somehow. Survive through the long days and long nights alone. I want so much more than this. I just can't think of any other things to do other than what I'm already doing.