9/7/17 Morning Musing: How I Practically Found My True Identity

Since my last musing, I have had people reach out to me and ask some questions. The most common one was: “Ok, I get that I need to find out who I am…learn about my individual identity…but what does that actually look like practically? It’s easy to do it in theory…but how does one go about actually discovering their God-given identity?” So, I’m no expert (when has that ever stopped me from talking?) but I will happily share how this process went for me so maybe it will be easier for you.

I have been on a journey of learning who I really am for over 6 years now and I would say that the most meaningful thing I did was put aside an entire day last year for just spending time with God asking him who HE says I am instead of telling him who I say I am. No distractions. No plans. No screens. An entire day of just listening. And I’ll be honest with you…it was hard and frustrating for at least 2/3 of that day. I don’t know about you, but being completely still and quiet so that I can hear is really hard for me. I have trouble doing this for 15 minutes let alone an entire day. I had to be comfortable enough to not be distracted by my discomfort. I had to be uncomfortable enough to keep from falling asleep. There were a lot of little things I had to eliminate through the course of my day to keep distractions at bay.

I recognize myself to be both an interpersonal learner and a kinesthetic learner meaning I learn best with my hands on something or my body moving and through dialog with other people…but I was trying to have a dialog with someone who doesn’t audibly answer me back and if I’m too active, it becomes a workout as opposed to a conversation. So, what I came up with was that I would art journal with God. I didn’t know what I was creating along the way…I just knew that I would create something with him…and that my hands would be busy so that my mind could be thinking. (For those with ADD/ADHD, like myself, this is a very helpful tool that is not always true for the general population.) So, I just started gathering stuff…anything really…that I could use in the project and I started laying it out on the paper and a characteristic of mine…not necessarily my identity…but a strong characteristic none the less…began to emerge. I had managed to pull two different fabrics together that both apply to me on a daily basis: denim and lace. I love jeans! They are strong and durable and go with everything…when I want to be tough, I wear jeans. I am not a fancy gal and I don’t do formalities (it makes me feel inauthentic)…I like comfort and depth and jeans seem approachable to me. On the flip side, lace is delicate and light and gentle and beautiful…it’s not as durable as denim…it has vulnerability to it and, at times, I like that too. I loved the contrast of the two fabrics when I saw them together and it made me think of how I hate being pigeon-holed. I am a multi-faceted person and I hate being forced into a mold…and when I recognize it happening, I respond rather violently to it…I feel the need to not just break the mold but shatter it…tell me I can’t do something and I will absolutely spend every ounce of energy I have proving you wrong. (I had a male teacher tell me once that girls were not as good at math and science as boys were. When I had completed both my BS in biomedical science and MS in integrative physiology, I went back and told him how wrong he was…a full 10 years later I was still trying to ravage a mold that I didn’t want to be pressed in to!) All that to say that I had my background for my individuality…among all of my likes and dislikes, I had found a thread connecting many of them…freedom! I needed the freedom to be and do what I wanted…not what others wanted for/of me.

And that is where the progress came to a screeching halt (or so it seemed) for several hours. I slowly started arranging and attaching the fabric background to my art journal pages and talking (sometimes out loud) with God. For most of the day, I would throw out some of the characteristics that I saw in myself (fierce, independent, deep, intelligent, etc) and got angrier and angrier at him as each one would not sit quite right. “No…that isn’t your identity” I would hear in my head over and over…and it pissed me off…I even resorted to arguing with him because I was these things. “But that isn’t WHO you are” I would hear. Aaarrrgghhhh! 

By early evening, I finally heard the first word: Created. “Are you serious God? Really? Everyone is created! That freaking rock on the ground is created. That is so boring! Even cockroaches are created! Ugh! This sucks!” As I wrestled with this word, an adverb was added: purposefully. Ok, so purposefully created…what do I do with that? I started thinking about how I like to create things (I was literally doing it right then!) and realized that I was purposefully created so that I could create with a purpose. Hmmm…ok, so that’s better than the cockroach thing. That is something to ponder for a while. What else have you got for me God? Loved. Ugh again! Everyone is loved by God, aren’t they? But…I have really experienced God’s love in some of my most broken places…deep inside where I have protected my damage from others and even from myself. And then I realized, maybe for the first time, that I love my people with a huge love…it’s not like other people I know…there is definitely something distinctive about it. Ok, more to ponder. Then, came the third and final word that day: Forgiven. That one immediately put me in tears as I relived how I have injured others during my life and I grieved deeply having hurt them. I started to think of some of the injuries I had received from others as well and realized that I am a forgiver. I am forgiven and it allows me to be a forgiver.

That was it that day. I spent about 15 hours and literally got 3 words from God: Created, Loved, and Forgiven. Those were not the words I had wanted…I wanted something with badass as a description…but apparently that isn’t WHO I am (It’s just what I am! Haha!!! Couldn’t resist.) I saw a pattern emerge: God gives from who he is…so who I really am will reflect him. This helped me see a couple of more words later as I reflected on my favorite name of God: El Roi (God who sees me.) I love that name because I often struggle with feeling invisible…and out of that struggle, I have come to a place where I see people…really see them where they are…and can love them and value them right there. That is where I got two more words: Known and Wanted. 

Since then, I have become more comfortable with my true identity. I have been able to see how I had previously come to different conclusions about my identity…I discovered that a lot of my characteristics were really a response to situations that I have experienced as opposed to characteristics given to me by God. (For example, I was tough because I had been injured in the past and never wanted to feel like a victim again…so I became a 2nd degree black belt. I wanted intelligent as my identity because I felt dumb for most of my life because I learn differently than is valued by our educational system. I wanted to be defined as independent because I know I can count on myself…it’s others that have let me down in the past.) I may or may not be those things…but they aren’t my identity…they aren’t WHO I am…because if they were, I would actually be defined by the hurts that caused me to respond in those ways. No, I am not defined by my damage…I am defined by the meaningful ways that God has poured into me…and that is why I am able to pour out those characteristics…and I feel whole and amazing when I get to do them.

That is how I arrived in this new place of freedom…and if you have read this far, then you not only have a lot of endurance in this long musing, but you may also want to ask yourself some questions: Do you know who God says you are? Are you able to differentiate between who he says you are and who you tell yourself you are? What might you do in order to position yourself to hear from God instead of all the noise around you? What characteristics do you have that are a response to pain in your life? Are you letting those characteristics (and pain) define you? What is the thing you give to the world and despite continuing to pour out, you end up filled up?  

My prayer today is that we would be able to still ourselves enough to hear from God. I’m praying that we would achieve our purpose in life by fully coming to terms with our true identity. I’m praying that we would become positioned so that we can continuously receive from God and consequently keep pouring out from him as well.

Much love friends,
Beks

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9/5/17 Morning Musing: As Is

Last week, I went out and got a new tattoo. The artist was hesitant to ask the importance of the tattoo because it said “freedom.” He was afraid that I would answer his question with sadness and tears about a divorce or leaving an abusive relationship. During our conversation, I told him that my husband didn’t have any tattoos and that was when he felt able to ask about the one that I was getting…if it wasn’t about getting out of a sad relationship (apparently something that he hears a lot about) then what was the meaning? I tried to condense the huge meaning for me to a couple of sentences so that I wouldn’t talk the poor kid to death…because…well…me…y’all know me…there are just SO many words!!!!  

Anyway, I told him that I have spent my entire life as a people-pleaser…that I have always tried to make myself into the person that others needed or wanted…and that finally, at 40 years old, I was learning that I am enough and that there is rest in that. He nodded his head and said “I see…so you are starting to live just for yourself.” Nope…he isn’t getting it…that is ok…I can still explain it better. “Actually, I believe very strongly that I am meant to live a life full of loving others and putting them first…in serving people and doing what I can to help them also achieve freedom from whatever holds them back…basically I believe in following God…but the freedom I feel that I have finally achieved is in understanding that I don’t have to be what someone else wants me to be in order to do those things really well…I don’t have to “try” so hard…I can just be me and offer what I have and know that it is enough without striving to be something or someone better…this tattoo is important to me because it is a reminder that I already am exactly who I am supposed to be…and God loves me and can love others through me right now…as is.”  

I could tell he was thinking about what I had said as he finished up my tattoo. I wish I could tell you that I then was able to tell him all about Jesus…but in truth, time was up and it was time to pay and leave. Since then, I have run through that interaction with the artist many times in my head and I feel certain that he was struggling with his own sense of being “enough.” So, I’m wondering…how are you doing with this? Do you get to be the real you? Do you even know who that is? Do you get caught up being who you think others want you to be or striving to be or to do more? What would freedom look like for you? Does it involve shattering a mold that you feel you keep getting pressed into? Could freedom be something that you offer yourself by allowing yourself to just be? After all, we are human beings…not human doings.

My prayer today is that we would all ask God who he says we are. As our designer and creator, he knows what characteristics and purposes are in place for us. I am praying that we would stop fighting who we are and embrace it instead. I am praying that we would reach a point of freedom and rest when we stop striving and competing so much…because the real me or you is exactly the person that is needed wherever our purpose is.

Much love friends,

Beks

3/21/16 Morning Musing: What is the Stuff that You Are Made Of?

This morning, I woke up 40 minutes after my alarm went off and with a furry dog butt in my face. (I know! My life is so glamorous…don’t be too jealous.) That initiated the 16.5 minute chaotic race to get the kids up and somewhat conscious, dressed, fed, medicated, and to school. Honestly, I was just glad that we got to school without any tears this time. (Michaela is a sensitive one who wants to luxuriate through her morning routine and when I have fouled this up before she has just melted into tears.)    

After I saw the critters off to school, I sat down (again) to deal with that weird medical bill that I opened last week while Stan was finding out that he was being laid off. I have spent many hours on the phone with many people who “aren’t the ones responsible” for me receiving a bill for $10,000 for a routine drug screening last month. So, I called probably the 100th phone number in dealing with this and was “the first person in the queue” for 50 minutes before I eventually gave up and hung up without ever talking to a real human. (Awesome! I couldn’t have possibly used that hour doing something productive.) So, that is when the frustration welled up in me and I just started bawling. It sucks to be the guy responsible to clean up someone else’s screw up. It especially sucks when you can’t get any information about the screw up and consequently are chasing your tail when it comes to cleaning it up.

“Weak. What are you made of?” Wait…what? “What are you made of? Is this all it takes to have you defeated and in fetal position?” Ummm…apparently? “Whose are you? Whose image-bearer? Do you represent him well like this?” Ouch. Ok, I see where you are going. “And what about Stan. He is holding strong. Are you going to be his partner…his team mate…or are you going to be one more thing that he has to handle?” OUCH! Ok! I get it. (Sometimes, God doesn’t talk to me all sweet and gentle…sometimes, it kinda sucks because I end up getting my butt handed to me. But he is right (stating the obvious there.)) 

You know, I’ve been watching Stan this past week and have been so proud of him throughout this process. Despite getting laid off, he is finishing his work strong…with integrity…and trying to help others do the same. He is following leads and having conversations. He is finding the humor in the situation and laughing until it hurts. He is putting himself out there. But mostly, he is just trusting God. God who brought us through the poisoning incident. God who provided financially every time an unexpected bill came in. God who has seen us when we felt invisible. God who has spoken to us in exactly the ways that we have needed over the years. God who continued to heal me from the poisoning even when we had quit asking him to. Stan has been remembering God’s character when I have had sudden onset of amnesia. In fact, I asked him the other day how he was able to keep everything in the right perspective. His answer? “I keep reminding myself that my purpose is bigger than my pride.”  

Yeah…so, I should tell you that it is really difficult to come out and publicly confess to what a giant baby I have been through all of this. I’ve been short-sighted and inconsistent. I have forgotten, at times, that I am part of a team…and that Team Massey has a purpose. And while that kick in the butt from God wasn’t fun this morning, I think it was exactly what I needed to get over the frustration spiral that I have been in.  

So, enough about me. How are you doing with this? Have you been through times that you had to completely reset in order to get back to who you are? Have you ever lost sight of your purpose? How did you get back on track? Do you know what your mission is right now? What are you doing to live a life of purpose? Do you know who is on your team and does the whole team have a sense of what their mission is? How can you help each other out? Do you need to revisit what/who you are about in order to contextualize your circumstances?

My prayer today is that we would all take time with the one who gives our lives purpose. I’m praying that we would be good reflections of him as we handle whatever circumstances we find ourselves in…because they are just circumstances…these are not the things that define us…but how we handle them…well, that’s another story. I’m praying that we would be strong and brave…and that we would understand that, by definition, strength is nothing without opposition and bravery is nothing without something to be afraid of. Finally, I’m praying that we would be able to ask ourselves what we are made of and that we would not wince at the answer. Much love friends,

Beks

3/31/15 Morning Musing – Prophesy and Hamster Wheels?

Exhortation…Pastor/Shepherd…Teacher…Prophesy…seriously?  I only fully understood the meaning of one of these and these were what the test said my Spiritual Gifts were.  Well, that must be a mistake.  I should take a different test.  Same answers.  Hmmmm…must be my state of mind at the time…I’ll take the tests at a different time of day and when I’m in a different mood.  Same answers.  *Sigh*  Ok…ok…I will study up on these and figure out what they mean (since they supposedly add up to mean…well…me.)  Exhortation seemed to mean cheer-leader…that bugged me.  Pastor…ummmm…not interested in that job!  Shepherd…I live in Flower Mound?  Teacher…done that…I get that one…and I really liked it.  Prophesy…ummmm…as in “the end of the world is near!”??????  

Needless to say, I was seriously disappointed in the results of the test (ahem…many tests.)  Like I said, I understood teacher.  I felt fulfilled and joyful when interacting with those wacky middle-school students.  I so deeply enjoyed it when a lightbulb would go off in their minds and I could see their expressions go from confused to happy and craving more knowledge.  But the other gifts…those were a bit of a mystery.  Many sources kept defining these incredibly complicated qualities with one or two words:  Exhortation = encourager.  Pastor/Shepherd = parent (the descriptions all sounded this way to me.)  Prophesy = counselor.  So, I went deeper.  Turns out, these short descriptions don’t even come close.  

Exhortation is not simply an encourager: (an encourager doesn’t have to understand or identify with the encouragee (is that a word?))  It is the ability to counsel or challenge others toward a healthy relationship with Jesus and is often utilized to motivate people to make God-honoring choices. Exhorters regard trials as opportunities for growth and sympathize with the suffering Christian, but see the pain through the lens of God’s sovereignty rather than through the lens of suffering.  Exhorters express love through availability. (Ok…yep…that is me…add feels a deep need to feed people and you would see my picture with this definition!)

Pastor/ Shepherd is not simply two very different job titles, as it turns out:  Apparently, the word pastor is related to pasture and the Greek word for it means “herdsman.”  So, like actual shepherds, these people have a great need for long-term relationships and will sacrificially give themselves to other people in such a way that they are built-up in their faith.  They are concerned with the health, growth, and well-being of those that they are committed to.  (Ok…yeah, that one sounds like me too…I don’t just want relationships…I need them…and I get a bit protective of those people…but I’m more comfortable with the word shepherd than I am with the word pastor…so we’ll just go with that one.)

Prophesy, as it turns out, is not just for nut-jobs:  Apparently, it is a deep-rooted calling to expose sin…not for the sake of punishment…in order to lead to restoration in relationship with God and to bring unity to people.  (Ok, yeah…that is absolutely my heartbeat!)  Also, people with this gift are quick to repent of their own sin when confronted with it but can be crushed by this too because they see the depravity in that sin.  (Yes!  That is me!  When I realize I have wronged someone…even just a little…I am devastated by it and have a hard time getting past it.  (Just ask Stan.  I know it sometimes wears him out!))

So, what in the world is the point of me writing about this?  Well first, some of you may not be familiar with your spiritual gifts and I would encourage you to investigate them and learn about them.  (You can google free online spiritual gift tests…I really like the one at churchgrowth.org…good descriptions that also touch on your potential pitfalls and strengths.)  Next, I would urge you to look at what areas of your life feel the most fulfilling and see if there is any overlap between that and the results of your tests.  Why?  Because that is where you will be the most energized, the most effective, and the most…”you.”  I have gone through long periods of time where I didn’t feel like “me.”  I felt almost like a visitor in my life.  But last year, when I started musing…I became more “me” than I have ever been.  (I didn’t do any of this intentionally…I just felt like I should start writing…although I had no agenda and have never been a skilled writer…so I did.)  I feel closer to God and am more energized by this aspect of my life than any other.  Since I started writing, I have had countless conversations, lunches, and meetings with people I didn’t know before…because I was able to somehow touch some part of them through this…it is uncanny and still blows my mind every time it happens.  It is encouraging to see ability in me to bring about something positive for other people and it not wear me down to a nub because it is so exhausting…if anything, it energizes and excites me.  Finally, I would ask you to invest in your giftedness.  Find some way to give space and time to explore your giftedness so you can see yourself and God more clearly.  (Know that anything you sacrifice in pursuing this will be worthwhile because this is your actual calling…your purpose.  I never have enough time but I am spending about 1.5 to 3 hours per day writing.  I don’t miss whatever I was doing before because whatever it was is so much less valuable to me than this.  I will also say that it has freed me up to say no to more things as well because I know where my purpose is so, I consequently, also know where it is not.  Other things aren’t bad…they just aren’t MY things.)

 So, how are you doing with this?  Do you know what your giftedness is?  Are you using it?  Do you know how to implement it in your life?  How can you bring truth, healing, and love to others through your gifts?  What might you need to sacrifice in order to be obedient in this area?

My prayer today is that we would not just go through life aimlessly, running along like a hamster on a wheel, without a purpose…but that we would determine where our gifts and passions intersect so that we can be tools in the hands of an amazingly loving and creative God.  Much love friends,

Beks

1/27/15 Morning Musing: Live Your Story!

When I was in high school, there was this really adorable couple…you know the kind…they were so into each other and so singularly-focused that you just knew that they were going to always be together…not because of PDA…just because they treated each other with complete tenderness and respect. (I didn’t know them personally, this was my observation from afar…in fact, right now, I can’t even recall their names.) But, one day, everything changed. See, where I grew up, there weren’t a bunch of big gangs like you hear about in a lot of inner-city areas…but there were punk gangs that were trying to prove something (which, in my opinion, is actually worse because they were doing horrendous things so that their names would get out there.) As the story goes (again, I didn’t get any of this information first-hand) the adorable couple was at a park one afternoon when some of the wanna-be gang-bangers attacked them. The boy was beaten up and then held at gun-point while his girlfriend was repeatedly…um…sexually assaulted in front of him. If that weren’t enough, it came out later that the gun was empty. As the rumor goes, one of them committed suicide and the other moved away. If you are like me, hearing this story makes you want to throw up. I can tell you that just writing it down all this time later makes my heartbeat race and my breathing rate rise…it is so awful. But the kicker in the whole thing is that sentence about the gun being empty. Why does that make it worse? And why on earth am I writing about this topic?

Gang activity is not my subject today. Adorable couples are not my subject. I’m not writing about crime and punishment or justice. Today, it occurred to me that we crave a reason for enduring things…a mission. When reason is removed from a situation, we feel like the pain is wasted…and that somehow makes it a heavier burden to carry. An easier example to handle was something I saw on Downton Abbey last night. Ms. Patmoor’s nephew died in war as he was running away from enemy fire (at least that is what I am able to gather through all of the weird phrases and talk of “spotted dick.” I get confused a lot when watching this show.) It doesn’t change the fact that he volunteered for battle when others had to be recruited. He served well…and when things got scary, he (reasonably) got scared…it happens. But his name is being left off of a monument for fallen soldiers and her claim is that it makes his death a waste. It takes away from the fact that he voluntarily signed up. It tarnishes his name. The thing is, getting his name on the monument would NOT bring him back. It doesn’t change the circumstances at all. But, it somehow lends purpose…mission…to his sacrifice…it would somehow ease Ms. Patmoor’s heavy burden of continuing on without her nephew. It would lend reason and dignity to the suffering.

So, my question to ponder today is this: Why do we mainly apply the need for mission or purpose for these extreme cases that result in death and/or devastation? Why do we put our purpose out there as a future event? It seems to me, that we only get to die once (and how we do that is important…don’t get me wrong) but every day is an opportunity to live. Should we not approach each day of life with the same desire for mission and purpose as we would if we knew it was the day we were to die? That may sound a bit heavy or dramatic for you but, honestly, it’s easy to say “I would die for you” to someone you love (not only because it is theoretical…but because it would only happen once.) Me personally? I’d rather hear from Stan that he would live for me. (Don’t get me wrong…I’m not trying to replace God in his life…I’m saying that it holds more meaning when you have to re-commit yourself to something each day and actively choose it.)

So, this was a bit heavy and chaotic but I’m going to ask you anyway: How are you doing with this? Do you see purpose in your daily life? Do you love people so deeply that you would die for them? Do you love them even more deeply so that you would live for them? Jesus did both and I think we are called to do both as well. This life we get…this time here…it’s short and it’s precious. Sometimes, it feels like a prison sentence…but it’s still a gift…a gift right now…right where we are at this moment. How is God asking you to use your gift right now? I’m not talking about your 5-year plan where you will eventually go into ministry or eventually do something selfless…I mean, right now. What are you called to live out today? (Because that 5-year plan leaves it wasted if you die tomorrow.) Where do you derive your meaning or value? Don’t be conned out of living a life of purpose!

My prayer today is that we would live out our purpose each day. I’m praying that we would ask God to help us tell the story that only our own lives can tell and that our lives…our stories…would matter. I’m praying that we would start this today and not put off our purpose for tomorrow.

I am asking you all right now…”What are you about?”

Much love friends,

Beks

4/16/14 Morning Musing – Not Measuring Up

I was putting together my to-do list this morning and noticing the piddly little stuff that is on it…stuff that nobody notices that I do: Go to Aldi’s to get hormone-free milk and hormone-free eggs, buy Easter-basket stuff for the kids for this weekend, wash everyone’s sheets today, buy bagels at Einstein’s for stocking the freezer for breakfasts, morning musing, cleaning the coffee pot, disinfecting the kitchen counters…and I started to feel self-conscious. See, Stan is home again today (working from home yet again because he still has pink-eye) and I was comparing the work that he does every day to the work that I do every day. He gets to help improve healthcare in a way that allows hospitals to save money…which in turn means that individuals seeking help can save money…which in turn means that lives are changed or even saved. I, on the other-hand, am making sure that we have clean hand-towels in the guest bathroom and making sure that the backyard gets pooper-scooped. It’s not the same. And, if I’m honest, I was feeling inadequate in comparison to this man that I love. I actually thought “I have a master’s degree in Integrative Physiology…did I really need to get that to make sure that our counters get cleaned properly?” It is not Stan’s fault that I was feeling this way..in fact, he won’t even know about it unless he reads my musing on Facebook…but, there it is. The ugly, honest, real me…insecurity up to my eyeballs at times.

So, as I was putting laundry into the washer and realizing that my family doesn’t even know how to run our washer…and thinking “If I died, how long would they use the same dirty sponge in the kitchen or the same hand-towels in the bathrooms before washing them?”…and it hit me…this is so unattractive. I started thinking about it (are you surprised? Me? Over-thinking something? Shocker!) and decided that I am not questioning this because I feel under-appreciated. I’m not thinking this because I feel un-loved. I feel this way because I have temporarily lost sight of my mission: My mission is to selflessly love the people that God has put into my life by whatever means I can. My family and friends don’t need me to move mountains and walk on water…they need me to wash mountains of clothes and put water in the coffee-maker. They don’t need me to be presented with a nobel peace prize…they need me to be present and they need me to provide a peaceful environment in which to thrive and grow.

I should not compare my calling to the calling of others…because my calling is mine…it is from God. I am not called to be Stan, or you, or anyone else. I am called to be me…and that is enough…sometimes I forget that…but it IS enough…and enough IS good. It is sometimes difficult to remember that I don’t have to justify my existence when I am faced with people (who I love) who are doing earth-changing things…but I keep hearing the sweet voice of God telling me to “be still…be present…be where I have you.” So, today, I will fill the car with gas, sweep the floor again, and make a dinner that my kids think tastes like crap because it includes vegetables…but, I will do it knowing that it is my calling and the best thing I can do is honor the calling that God has chosen for me.

Every time I think I have this under control, it sneaks up on me again and I have to re-set. What about you? Do you struggle with this or am I the only ingrate that “has it all” but still whines about my purpose?

Purpose in Pain

11/26/13

Science Geek-Out Alert: Been thinking about pain a lot lately and several thoughts are coming to mind: 1. I think many of us are voluntarily living with too much pain and stress in our lives…which causes us to enter into a physiological stress response and creating an analgesic effect. 2. That is basically fight or flight…this is meant for us experience in order to save our lives…not to set up camp and live in this experience. 3. I think with the analgesic effect, many of us are not learning from our pain experience and consequently, we are repeating the behavior that causes the pain and stress. 4. I think many of us are addicted to the analgesic response and even add to it by numbing ourselves further through escaping from our lives: television, alcohol, drugs, pornography, over-eating, under-eating, sex addictions, etc.

All that to say, don’t waste your pain. (Physical and emotional.) We are meant to learn something from it and we are meant to feel it so that our lives can eventually be better. Trouble comes when we numb our pain instead of dealing with the root causes.