Are you the kind of person that makes sure everyone and everything around you is supported and stable?
Do you absorb their burdens, emotions, and stress as your own?
I used to come home from work every day with a tension headache, low back pain and just plum worn out.
I’d grab for my daily dose of ibuprofen and collapse on the couch to try and regain enough energy to make dinner. And I was only working 25 hrs/week. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t seem to handle my seemingly easy load.
One day it hit me.
I wasn’t just physically exhausted.
I was emotionally and mentally depleted too.
As helpers we tend to pour our whole selves into everything we do.
I helped my daughter pick out some flowers for her teacher this week to show her appreciation for ALL THE THINGS she has done for her this year.
At the last minute Friday morning, she scrambled to find a message to go with them. She had already made her a giant sized card out of poster board, but this girl doesn’t do anything half way. She copied these words on a little card, glued it to a dowel stick and inserted it into the vase and was finally satisfied with her offer.
These words can be found on countless Mother’s day cards, and who knows, maybe you will get one tomorrow with a similar message, because after all , isn’t that what we do?
ALL THE THINGS?
Our families are grateful.
Maybe that is the outcome we desire;
To be appreciated.
I came in the house the other night with my emotions leading the way. They led me straight to the refrigerator where my brain came up with the best survival strategy it knew: peanut butter and chocolate ice cream. I took my bowl and sat down to digest it hoping that it would make me feel better about what I had just experienced. It tasted good going down, but when I got to the bottom of the bowl not only were the negative feelings still there, now I had a lump of ice cream just sitting in my gut along with my undigested emotions.
Instead of taking the time to digest my negative emotions I opted to ingest something more pleasurable.
I just wanted to FEEL BETTER.
Sometimes when a storm starts brewing inside of us we, with good intentions, go into survival mode by trying to make the best of it. We reach for our go to solution that has “served us well” in the past.
For me it’s ice cream; for you maybe it’s a glass of wine.
Most of my life I have struggled with the Why of being in a place that is hard.
I am passionate about people thriving and being in healthy environments. I believe that passion is ‘God wired’ and we long to thrive because “He has set eternity in our hearts.”
But does that mean if I find myself in an environment that is hard and full of unhealthy ingredients that I tuck tail and run for cover?
Does that mean that people only thrive in the best of circumstances?
…and what exactly are the ingredients to a healthy thriving place?
I could feel it happening.. my confidence shrinking, the vision of my dreams slowly fading, the clarity I had just moments before being replaced by a storm cloud that came out of no where ..
I just wanted to end the call…
What was I doing?
Who did I think I was and why in the world did I think I could do anything like this?
I couldn’t even receive her attempts to encourage me , and her offers to continue coaching me were like banana peels I just wanted to throw away… useless.
I pushed the ‘leave the meeting’ button just in time to protect the last ounce of pride I had, and let the tears well up as I slapped my lap top shut like it had betrayed me..
I had just spent HOURS of my day on something that I could not even articulate … What a waste..
If someone asks me one more time what my WHY is I am going to scream!
” I DON’t KNOW!!”
“WHY DO I HAVE TO KNOW!”
“WHY CAN”T I JUST LIVE, MOVE AND BE without having to explain it? ”
I am sooo tired of trying to figure it out….
My assignment was to keep working on gaining clarity for what my readers needed so that I could use their language and write with that in mind.. So I could RELATE and RESONATE.
Why did that feel like I was betraying my voice?
I was reminded that I can’t just write for myself. That I have to speak my reader’s language…
Doesn’t she know writing is breathing to me?
That if I deny the voice in my heart that is dying to get out then I might as well not write?
How can I BE MYSELF while trying to analyze someone else’s voice and then use marketing strategies to try and reel them in like a fish , making them think I must be speaking directly to them?
That feels like deceit.
Honesty is one of my core values.
I say what I mean and I can not just say what the listener wants to hear.
But then again… what’s the point in putting anything out there for others to read unless it will benefit them?
If I just want to write for me and my benefit then why am I even doing this?
I keep telling myself that is not my motivation, but then why did I get so offended? so hurt?
Why was she telling me to deny my voice?
it was sooo confusing..
First it was ,”You have to find your authentic voice,”… and in the next breathe… “You can’t say it like that because no one will RELATE. You have to change your language so it RESONATES with them… ”
Ugh…. that is too hard and that feels like giving up my identity…
Thus the tears and the trigger…
” I am being rejected… ”
“What I have to say; what I feel, is not what people need… ”
“I am not needed.. ”
“I cannot help anyone… ”
“I am not enough…. ”
..but what about that question I was challenged with in small group the other night when we were studying effective communication..
“Is the purpose of your communication to help the other person flourish or to just make your point?”
Isn’t communication about CONNECTION?
About learning to RELATE so that we are living, moving, and being in relationship together…
Is my life , my work and my gift just for self expression or is there a greater purpose?
I have got to figure out what IDENTITY even means and why I need to cling to it so much.
Haven’t I struggled with doing it alone?
Haven’t I been longing to CONNECT; to RELATE?
So why am I clinging to ME?
No wonder I have struggled with CONNECTION; thinking people just don’t get me… Or want to …
Lord help me get out of my head and learn to see beyond me!
Remind me that my IDENTITY is IN YOU.
You created me and wired me uniquely, but for a purpose that is greater than myself.
Just as the tree was not made simply to be a tree.
Sure it could stand there all tall and mighty, but unless it drops its leaves,bears fruit, and allows it’s branches to be a place of habitation, it’s canopy to be a covering, and it’s roots to grow wide and deep then It may have hung onto it’s identity but it will shrivel up and die.
Without purpose that extends beyond itself IDENTITY is meaningless.
Webster’s says IDENTITY is the distinguishing character or personality of an individual; individuality; a close similarity or affinity.
It’s what distinguishes us…
but one of the synonyms is SAMENESS…
A closely related word is IDENTIFY, which means..
to establish or indicate who or what (someone or something) is;
Do I want to fight for my IDENTITY or to IDENTIFY with others?
Do I want to find a tribe of people to do life with; to CONNECT, RELATE; really KNOW others and PINPOINT how we share similar struggles and then LINK up with them so that TOGETHER we can express the full IMAGE and splendor of the creator?
Do I want to talk to myself or have a DIALOGUE?
Can I truly flourish alone?
Alright. I got it.
Lies identified. Truth uncovered.
Here’s another great lesson I learned in my Propel Women’s Personal Leadership group. I think Lisa Harper said it..
” You gotta throw the enemy up against the car and frisk him.”
” Put him in a choke hold until you suffocate his voice and you can’t hear him anymore.” ( Bianca Olthoff)
The enemy always tries to convince us to fight for self , for our rights , for our identity … but he leaves out some vital information.
WE WERE CREATED for MORE than SELF.
To fight for self and focus inwardly is to shrivel up and die.
It’s when we open up and learn to IDENTIFY with those God has placed around us that we truly LIVE and find a purpose for our voice.
I stopped myself before I sat down to write this morning and reminded myself to worship first.
..to get out of my head and invite His presence to MOVE in me…
My dog was a little confused by my change in habit as he had just settled by my feet under the picnic table. Because he values CONNECTION more than his comfort he followed me in and sat beside me as I asked Alexa to play us some Hillsong worship..
Here are the words that brought me back from yesterdays rejection to remind me..
“It’s OK not to be OK.”
We are all broken and scattered.
That’s what we have in common.
We all need to be made WHOLE.
But it doesn’t happen by closing our fists around ourselves.
WHOLENESS is the gift on the other side of release…
When we hand over our broken pieces and allow HIM to mend them , blend them, multiply them and distribute them…together WE ARE MADE WHOLE.
Interesting how the words she used were the words my heart was feeling…
Does that mean the song is not the authentic voice from her heart? I don’t think so.. I think it means she allowed the One who unites us in Spirit to speak the language through her that I needed to hear …
in order that I might be mended and WHOLE ….
not just for my own sake, but so that, just maybe, you might be raised up today too.
All these pieces Broken and scattered In mercy gathered Mended and whole
Empty-handed But not forsaken
I’ve been set free I’ve been set free
Amazing grace How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me, oh I once was lost But now I’m found Was blind but now I see Oh, I can see it now Oh, I can see the love in Your eyes Laying yourself down Raising up the broken to life You take our failure You take our weakness You set Your treasure In jars of clay
So take this heart, Lord I’ll be Your vessel The world to see Your life in me,
Can you see it now? Do you get it?
Listen here and let the words wash over you.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is IN HIM. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17: 7-8
” Mom, can I have some chocolate chip pancakes?” “If you want to puke some more. Sure.”
My 11 yr old daughter has the FLU and we were only 24 hours out from a day spent over the toilet. So far she had tolerated Gatorade , a few popsicles, crackers, and a little white chili the night before. She was making progress and felt a lot better so why wouldn’t I let her?
I have been there , done that, and knew her body wasn’t ready to handle chocolate chip pancakes. I offered her a plain one, which she begrudgingly took. Last night she chose to eat the Salmon and asparagus we were having for dinner and within an hour she was holding her stomach; cramping. A few minutes later, she was holding the toilet bowl.
Sometimes we just have to learn from our own experience…
Why is it that we ignore what we know is in our best interest and choose what we desire in the moment?
Have you ever eaten way too many warm, fresh baked brownies or gone back for a second piece of chocolate sheet cake because, ‘ how can something that tastes sooo good be bad?’
And then when you are curled up in a ball as your stomach pays the price for your indulgence, you swear on your life that you will never eat brownies again. But the next time that familiar scent drifts through the air ..we forget.
Our bodies are just responding through their senses and our senses are telling us there is something pleasurable. It means well. It has good intentions. The craving, and the choice to eat a brownie is not the problem. It is a perfectly practical solution to our desire for pleasure. We were designed to experience it. The problem is that we are responding through the craving loop vs using our critical thinking skills to make the decision. We aren’t accessing the part of the brain that stores memories from previous experiences; that remind us that the pleasure is fleeting and in the end, we will suffer.
So how do we stop our hand from grabbing the brownie?
It seems to do it without our permission doesn’t it?