4/13/16 Morning Musing: Considering Consideration Considerably

A few months ago, I was in my car with the kids and was struggling trying to explain to them why we would not be getting together with this group of friends (small group) anymore. It is hard to answer questions when you don’t really grasp the answers yourself: “Are they moving away?” Ummm…no. “Are they just not going to do small group anymore?” Ummm…well…they are…they just want to do it with someone else. “Oh! So you mean someone else is joining our group?” No…they just don’t want to do it with us anymore. Broken. I felt so damn broken as I told my kids that this group of people…this intimate group of friends (so I thought)…would no longer be…that we had been more committed to the group than they had been to us. This was painful enough when it was just me trying to understand and process it…but when I heard the muffled cries of my kiddos trying to make sense of it…well, it was gut-wrenching.  

I went through the whole range of emotions when mourning this loss from hurt to sad to angry to resentful. I was hurt because rejections always hurts. I was sad because something that I deeply valued was ending. I was angry because I didn’t feel that we were considered in the decision-making and…well…because anger is just plain easier than hurt…it feels more powerful and less like a victim (and I am NOT a victim. That is actually the very first sentence I said to my counselor in my very first session ever. Interesting that I seem to insist on that…but I digress.) I was resentful because the time that I spent on different pages with people who had planned all along to leave, could have been spent going deeper with people who were equally invested.  

This kind of thing happens…I know that. People are free to make decisions for themselves and their families. I am not saying that should be different. I guess what I am saying is that a little consideration and communication would go a long way. There had been months of planning and discussion and even training that had gone into this transition and we had been largely in the dark about it…which left a bad taste in my mouth…probably because the freedom that these individuals valued (the opportunity to make decisions for themselves) was not afforded to us…we were just told after-the-fact…after decisions had been made…not only for themselves but for us as well.  

And then there was the struggle of my own frustration. I didn’t feel like I was allowed…or should feel the way I felt because I wanted them to enjoy their freedom to make decisions…but does that have to be at the expense of my opportunity to make choices as well? I felt like a jerk for feeling hurt and frustrated and now, months later, I guess the conclusion I am drawing is that it’s not the decision I have a problem with…it’s the near-sighted way in which people approached the whole thing. We don’t make decisions in a vacuum…they always affect others…and if we love those people well, it will involve respecting them enough to afford them the same privileges that we would desire for ourselves.

So, how are you doing with this? Have you been injured by someone’s choices? Did you feel like you were allowed to be upset by those decisions or did it sting and you felt like you were expected to just bottle that stuff up? How did you respond? If given the chance, what changes would you make to your response? Has it changed how you handle situations where you are the one making the choices? Do you handle those decisions fully focused on the choice and how it directly affects you or do you consider the domino effect as the repercussions of your choices move outward? I guess, I am asking if you think outside of yourself when you make choices? It may be inconvenient, but I think that God has modeled that fully for us through Jesus.

My prayer today is that the ones who are casualties of others’ decisions would be given peace and healing in knowing who they are in Christ. That the pain would not be wasted and that we would consider that pain when we are the ones making decisions. I am praying that we would all think outside of ourselves and have compassion and care when dealing with our people. I am praying that, every day, we would love better and more fully.  

Much love friends, 

4/8/16 Morning Musing: Leaning In To What Is Real

In the aftermath of the poisoning, I used to go to the gym every single day without fail. A full two hours I would spend there. Even when I had pneumonia (again) and pleurisy (which I would not wish on my worst enemy.) Now, before you go believing that I was some highly-motivated health nut that was working out right through the pain, let me set things straight…I wasn’t actually working out…I went for the two hours of guaranteed child care. I went there to take a shower in water that wasn’t over-flowing with the chemicals that had poisoned us and stolen my health. I went there to sit in the sauna for an hour at a time, read a book, and pretend that I was a normal, healthy person. I went there to escape. And it was glorious! I needed to believe that some part of my life could be normal…stable again…and that couldn’t happen unless my kids were able to be safe while I played pretend.

But the thing is…I wasn’t designed to be normal…normal isn’t really part of my story. (Now, those of you who really know me are nodding and saying “As if you could ever even resemble normal, Bekah!” And I hear you…but there is more.) I’ve mused many times in the past about painful events…about trauma that has left it’s scar on who I am…and I think that the point I am making today is that I was sabotaging my own healing when I sought out “normal.” I was stunting my own growth…because “normal” is not something to be aspired to…at most, it’s a resting place while catching your breath (if that.) While I was aspiring to be normal, I achieved it in some ways: I was bitter, angry, vengeful, unkind…and in the end…I was still unhealthy…hurting. (Look around and tell me that those characteristics don’t describe a good many “normal” people!) No. No amount of pretending healed the brain damage, liver damage, pancreatic damage, crapped-out immune system, and haywire sudden onset of allergies to every thing I came in contact with. (And that is just the physical stuff.) No amount of masking offset the fact that I had a name and a face for the person who had stolen my health, invaded my home, harmed my family, damaged my house, broken my mind and memory, and directly caused all of my painful isolation. No amount of simulating normalcy would level back out the spiritual upheaval that was occurring. It only numbed it so that it could be prolonged another day.

It wasn’t until I realized that God never designed me to be normal that I was able to let go of normal as a goal. That invisible draw to fit in and be like everyone else…it isn’t where renewal and joy live. It isn’t really even appealing when I think about it: Normal does not look like forgiveness regardless of whether you receive an apology (or justice.) Normal does not look like love in response to evil intentions. Normal does not look like releasing anger and choosing contentment despite life not looking remotely like you had hoped. Normal does not look like deep gratefulness for the small things…the good days…or even just having another day at all. And normal certainly doesn’t look at all like the God of all pouring himself out on behalf of the ungrateful and undeserving. No…so normal is not a goal anymore…because when I desperately seek to be normal, I reflect God less…I become an image-bearer who is not accurately bearing his image…and what is a mirror that does not reflect a true image? Worthless at best and harmful at worst.

So, how are you doing with this? Is normal something that you aspire to? Is that really what you want? If you are “abnormal” in some way, is it possible, that God desires to use that to bless people in some way? Is it possible that you could offer up the pain of your difference to him as an act of worship? How might your difference give you a unique perspective on the character of God? How could that be a blessing to others?

My prayer today is that we would stop seeing normal as something to achieve and aspire to. I am praying that we would all allow ourselves to stop, right where we are, and learn what we can about God from the angle…the perspective…that we have right now…because we might not have this same perspective later and God doesn’t waste pain. Rest in it and lean in.

Much love friends,