Category Archives: Conflict

Silencing the Voices

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Voices raced through my head as if I was standing in the middle of grand central station. Instantly I was agoraphobic, yet I was alone in my room. I snapped back to reality as the person on the other end of the phone line became the most important person in my world. I must become present and attentive, I thought to myself. My response, my reaction, my perspective will have lasting impacts on this person. I must quiet everyone else’s judgements, gossips, and condemning words.

Duct tape in the imagination can work wonders on the voices of friends, family, loved ones, and not so loved ones who are speaking in my mind. As the truth about the situation arose to the top of my thought processes I felt peace penetrate my soul. I swallowed my pride, my desire for idealism and perphectionsim. I did not panic. I knew everything was going to work out and people would have their opinions regardless of what was going on. If my life was on the tabloids, it would sell. Why? Because people eat up drama. And boy have I been through some dramatic moments.

I began to question why did I care what others think of me? Why did I care what they had to say or what their opinion was? I am walking in relationship with someone I care deeply about. Everyone else gets to choose their own path. They can deal with their own fears, insecurities, pains, and issues. Even if I heard their disapproving comments, I have control over myself alone. I chose to silence the voices in my head and the power I had previously given them in my life.

The only voices I give credence to are the ones who are willing to walk through life with me. They are people full of wisdom and experience. They know me. They know my heart. They will take the time to speak into my life in truth and love. Those people have the ability to make me feel vulnerable and safe at the same time, and their opinion is greatly valued.

By the time I had finished my phone conversation I had processed through a myriad of emotions. I felt and experienced raw emotions derived organically as I was receiving information. As I encountered each new wave of voices I silenced their voice with this truth: Though at times this is not an ideal life, it is a really good one.

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Never Enough

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Never Enough!

    We lose heart before we start,
Listening to the voices in our heads.

Seeking approval from those we desire affection.
All in all we desire a deep connection.

It came from our parents, our, siblings, our friends,
It came from our culture, our race, the trends.

This feeling of inadequacy that doesn’t subside.
It causes us stress, grief, and pain inside.

We have become jealous like Cain with Able.
We chose not to believe the truth over a fable.

We compare ourselves to others only to discover our flaws.
We exaggerate our weaknesses, our value, and our cause.

We have adapted a victim mentality,
Clinching tighter to our pain.

If only our parents would have done this different,
and our teachers done that.
Our dreams would not have been crushed,
and our wallets would be fat.

Truth is… We agree with the lies we have been told;
Especially the ones we tell ourselves.

We put limits on what we view as risk.
We hesitate in fear and apprehension,
And, untrusting we recoil.

Night terrors haunt us like the unrest of weary soldiers.
Still, day after day we begrudgingly toil.

When success eventually comes on any level,
The unresolved what’s next is soon to follow.

When will our world cave in and all the naysayers win?
Such negative foreboding can prod the most optimistic people.

We affirm the discouraging words,
Giving ear to such negative things.
When we push past disappointment we struggle to hang on,
Praying our coping mechanisms will be faithful.

Our peace has been tested.
Our faith has been tried.

Our support systems stretched,
As they know us well and can judge just as harsh.

When we do walk in humility, confidence, & safety,
It feels like we have to fight to remain there.

To relinquish control and live in freedom appears irresponsible, reckless, and dangerous.
Instead of walking in faith and love,
We choose to entertain our fears and trust their ability to deliver.

Wholeness is hard,
Truth is more than perspective,
And the right thing comes from the heart,
Not because we are told we should.


Bullied!

Bully!
Gnashing their teeth to intimidate. Growling along the fence line with threatening barks. All with the intention of giving you the intended impression of fear. They are loud, out spoken, and aggressive.  They do not care what is in their path. Unsatisfied with wounding alone, they seek to utterly destroy. They have one mission: to shred you to pieces.

Like abused Pit Bulls who are trained and breed to be fighters, bullies appear to battle to the death. With suicide on the rampage, a simple “joke” turns a person into a “hypersensitive _______” (fill in the blank with any degrading remark). Not being pack dogs they look out for themselves. They thrive alone, in their own world. We are cautious of them in general. Like prey hunted by a predator, we seek to avoid them.

We all know of the bully on the play yard. We avoid eye contact and even walk the other direction. We have no recourse but to circumvent contact with them altogether. We do not know how to stand up to them without engaging. This only furthers their outbursts. Playing “I’m rubber, you’re glue” does not appear to work when you have to see them on any sort of regular basis.

Out of fear they tear us apart with their hurtful words, while we experience helplessness. We have nothing to offer besides blood to satisfy their incessant behavior. They use intimidation to manipulate. If that does not work, the bully uses their power to coerce others to rally around them and reject their opponent as an outcast. They find “grace” and “excuses” for their actions, while they shame and humiliate their target.

So many people are afraid of what others think of them. It feels as though you are naked in front of a crowd of people laughing and making fun of who you are.  In disgust, they point fingers at you as if to complain about your very being. We will go so far as to change ourselves so to avert the discomfort we are sensing. We hide ourselves to abstain from this type of ridicule. This does not just happen to children. Many adults are effected by bullying as well. Racism, agism, sexism, and much more stem from people’s disdain for those unlike themselves.

Others are made fun of, put down, or bashed on for something they did. Many people get stuck in the moment of their greatest failure, trapped by their past mistakes. They can be bullied, shamed, embarrassed, and gossiped about and now are “destined” to repeat future failures. Like the Amanda Todd’s, those who could not run from their past, resort to escaping from it, only to find hell was a place on earth.

Confidence is the only thing that can disarm a bully. It is so far from who they are, they have know idea what to do with a person who is secure. It confuses the crap out of them to find a person unaffected by their puffed up demeanor. Unwavering, “come-what-may”, bold truth stands in the face of anger and is humbly victorious. The battle is not won through blunt force. It is through the knowledge of no matter what, you can walk away with your head held high.

Do not sink to their level. You are not immature or  petty. Do not give into their drama or get sucked into their tornado of emotions. Take back your authority and don’t give them power over you by taking on their insecurities. Do not obsess over what they think about you. Their opinion is simply that… theirs. They do not respect you, so why give ear to their hate?

When people make fun of others it tells more about their internal condition than it does about the person they are making fun of. A person’s lack of self control will cause them to make digs, poke fun, mock, or even out and out slam others so they can feel better about themselves and their insecurities. Bullies are often jealous of their victims. They struggle with their own self-worth and lack of personal esteem.

People who become so introspective about who they really are become immobilized. When we focus on helpless, negative and depressing thoughts it leads to a dark place. Though bullying should stop and people should not cause others intentional harm with their words, we also need to cultivate confidence, self-esteem, and a healthy identity. If you want to succeed in life and you want your children to succeed, stop giving ear to the haters, stop fearing mistakes, and do not worry about perphectionism!

Acceptance and approval are important for all of us humans, it is where we are getting them from that matters the most. We may not be able to stop from being bullied, however, the worst thing we could do is agree with the bullies. Our biggest mistake is trying to please those who have know idea who we are or frankly, who they are. Like a black hole they suck the life from others and we can never fill their void. When we respond to their prideful ignorance, we fall into a pit that has no bottom.

The only power they have over us is the power we give them. When we try to please them it makes them feel justified in their actions. When we reject their remarks we may anger them more. However, we walk away in peace while they remain tormented.

May we forgive the bullies of the world, for they themselves are also hurting. May we gain confidence in who we are so we act accordingly. May we value others and treat them as the priceless creatures they are. May we live unafraid and let love be our compass.


Filtered!

Filtered!
Is it what we have been smoking or the filter we are using that causes misunderstandings?

I have wrote several blogs by now. Each of which has their own unique subject matter. I have written poems, stream of conscious thoughts, and stories from my life and lives of those around me. It is fascinating to hear how people interpret my words. They have filtered what I have written through their own individual paradigms, and some have blown smoke rings (and even fire) in return.

What I find intriguing is during this process I am attempting to convey the pure content in my heart with words. This is one filter. The next filter is how people read my words and the meanings they attach to them according to their world view. My very thoughts, feelings, and written dialect (or at least people’s interpretations of them) become subject to those inhaling it, making it their own.

According to what others think, believe, and may or may not have experienced, they will filter what they read, hear, and perceive. This is why relationships are so important. This is why discussion is vital, two way communication that allows clarification to surface. This is why it is paramount to keep ourselves from jumping to conclusions….there might be a cliff we don’t know about.

This is also when judgements are so damaging and narrow minds interfere with perceptions. This is when broken, infected places in the heart are poked and prodded and breakdown in communication inevitably happens.

It is essential to renew our minds to see through the lenses of others. We tend to get hung up on verbiage rather than seeking the heart of a matter. When we do this we end up criticizing those who are not like us. We take their words personally and attack their character. We fail to objectively argue ideas.

This is why objectively managing our own filter is so critical. People who are looking for good will find it. Those that look for evil, see it everywhere. What we focus on will be highlighted. However, there is such a bigger picture than our narcissistic view. Just like in the movie Inception, even our own perception of our own inner world can be so limited, so subjective.

Those who go through anger management are taught to articulate their frustrations rather than giving into their rage. Our emotions are simply another filter. They themselves are neither good nor bad. It is what we do with them that brings them to life.

Intuitive people have a special gift. They easily make assumptions. It gives us quick access to insight, allowing us to make judgements about situations in someone else’s life. We can surmise who, what, when, where, and why with natural ability. Yet, as intuitive as people can be, even they can project their imagination into the equation, and misinterpret the information they are discerning the most. Again this is why relationship and communication is so vital.

I understand the more I blog the more people will connect with what I have to say. More people are going to relate to experiences I have had in life. And more people are going to misinterpret what I am saying. The more popular one becomes the more misunderstandings there are about that person. It is common to spread rumors about people you do not know personally and have no vested interest in their well-being. Does that mean I should not share my stories? Should I live in fear and hide my heart? Should I feel the need to over explain my every word so as to avoid misinterpretation and misunderstanding? Or should I just simply put myself out there the best I can, knowing how perfectly imperphect I am, letting that simply be more than okay?!

This blog is not a tabloid. I am not trying to exploit myself or those I care about. This is not a gossip column for my stalkers to relish over. This is not so people can use my words against me or to harm those I care about. The opinions of people who do not like us should not matter. They will have nothing uplifting, encouraging or inspiring to say anyway. What they say and think about us says more about them than it does about us. It is those we hold in high regard, those we are accountable to, those who give us constructive criticism through love… those are the ones we must trust. We need not seek approval from others anyhow. Our identity and approval should always come out of our relationship God first.

This is a place of healing, for me and, hopefully, for others. This is an outlet for me to reach an audience I may never otherwise come in contact with. I understand I am a little raw. I am very transparent. I am being extremely vulnerable. Through this I aspire to bring hope to others. I seek to move people to forgive, to let go of their fears, and to dream again. I am determined to get people out of perphectionism and into in a place of joy!

Recommendations:

Battlefield Of The Mind

Interpersonal Communication


Abort!

Abort!

Panic sets in. Fear takes control. Rational thought abandons ship and ‘ABORT MISSION’ becomes the primary goal. In crisis situations people tend not to think through their options. Emergency responses kick in: “Fight!”, “Flight!”, “Act now!”, “Run and hide!” Our greatest fears become the focus of our reality. Survival instincts can betray us when we’re in this mode. We get so caught up in the moment. We may solve an instantaneous problem; however, we may also cause long term issues we regret.

Unlike most teen pregnancies, I planned my daughter. I was 15 when I got “knocked-up.” I was not under duress. This was not an accident. Nor was I ignorant of the consequences of unprotected sex. With full understanding of my actions, I sought out becoming pregnant. It took me a whole three tries, and ‘voila!’ – I was with child.

My boyfriend of a couple years was also a willing participant. He and I were “in-love”. We were going to be the exception to the rule. We were going to stick in there, make this relationship last, and we were going to defy the odds. All this except…. we were not doing anything different than anyone else. We did not have some amazing skills and relationship tools. We did not listen to wisdom and healthy advice. We were independent.

We were arrogant, self-sufficient, and cut off from genuine accountability. Like most teenagers, we thought we “knew it all”. However, in our culture today, even adults act like this. We have become so good at telling others what to do, how they should live their life, and pointing out their shortcomings. Yet, we isolate ourselves. We walk in pride, thinking we do not need others who have knowledge, wisdom, and expertise in any area.

We then reproduce dysfunction. We cultivate and perpetuate the need for right and wrong, fear and punishment, living in secret and walking in ignorance. We demand respect, but do not give it. We want freedom and independence without responsibility and covenant relationships. We do not want to be bothered and burdened. Most certainly we do not want the stress of learning how to have self-control and deal with conflict.

We want all the pleasures and no difficulties. We act like self-centered toddlers demanding our way. We are perpetually in the “mine” stage. As essentially very large children ourselves, we consequently view having our own children as an inconvenience, as an annoyance, and as a noose around our neck, like some necessary evil. They get in the way of the “mine” and the “me time.”

Even those children who are wanted can be strenuous. They can (and will) expose our core beliefs, our insecurities, our unpreparedness, and our own immaturity. Why then are they called a blessing? Why then desire to have them? Why bring one into this horrific and broken world in the first place?

You see those cute little faces and your heart melts. Something inside softens. Most people want babies, and most people have an intense fear of teenagers. Yet, even with babies, we get afraid. What about the cost? What about “my dreams”? What if I suck at parenting and I ruin their life? The “What if’s…” screw us every-time!

We don’t think about solutions. We don’t problem solve. We simply respond to our fear and trample faith beneath our feet. We dig a hole deep down and we bury possibility. We cover it with the dust of the ground and live within the rot of hope and the loss of joy.

My high school sweet heart and I did not make it. After many years of a co-dependent relationship we separated. In our wake, two amazing, devastated children. It would be over a decade later their father would pass away, leaving more heartache and trauma. I learned, as most of us do, no matter how much as we plan life isn’t always smooth sailing. At times we have to batten the hatches, but no matter what storms we weather the most important thing is that we remain true to our destination.

My beautiful daughter grew up, and at the age of sixteen she surprised me. It was not exciting. It was not bliss. And it was not welcomed with happiness. As we stood together in the bathroom, her body fell to the floor. She began crying in emotional agony. She felt she had made the biggest mistake of her life. With two blues lines on a pee stick, I was now going to be a grandmother and she a mom to an unwanted, very unplanned pregnancy.

It was all I could do not to carry her shame. Riddled with guilt, she clung to my body all night long. Being passionate about life I encouraged her to believe in herself. I held her hand and whispered in her ear. Though I was disappointed, it was not in her. I felt I myself had failed as a parent. I came to terms with being a young grandmother, but she could not get over the fears of raising this child “alone.”

Her dreams were so big. Her imagination so wild. And her better judgement did not get control of her. She entertained all the truths that are subject to interpretation. “It’s going to be harder to date.” “It is going to be harder to finish school.” “It is going to be harder to pay for things.” Suddenly, all she could hear was, “Life is going to get really HARD!”

Several weeks into her pregnancy she made a decision. A decision she later regretted. A decision she can never take back. We had already been shopping, preparing, going to classes, etc. I was so proud of how she was handling herself and the predicament she was in. I had embraced becoming a grandma. I was even going to be known as Glam-ma. I had gone to all her doctors appointments and had even been talking to her belly.

All the while she was dying inside…

She never got past her fears. One mistake and everything changed. But two wrongs don’t make a right.

Quietly, she laid in a clinic convinced she was doing what was best. Behind my back she got rid of this ‘tissue’ as if was some cancer growing inside of her. She justified her actions as morally responsible. Knowing I would be grieved, she hid her secret from me. Trying to save me from pain, her from condemnation, and us from from conflict, she fabricated the loss of her child to my face.

Betrayal was beyond what I was feeling. My daughter was engrossed with sadness. She felt alone. She gave up her baby for the sake of the greater good. Why then did we both feel so bad? I bonded with my grandchild. I was mad at my daughter. I was trying to be sensitive to her pain without condoning her actions.

We sat in our driveway as she explained her heart the best she could, while I mourned the loss of my grand baby. It was such a helpless feeling. I wanted so badly to reach into her situation and change things. Her life was going up in flames. My power was in maintaining self-control and by not adding more fuel to her flaming, crumbling infrastructure.

I watched as my little girl drive off in my car. She had kicked me in the gut with her words and was now leaving because she did not know how to deal with the intense pain we were both enduring. I prayed for peace. I prayed for comfort. And I prayed for wisdom.

With the impression that the baby was going to be a girl, Trinity Honor was going to be her name. This precious human being that now resides in heaven with her grandfather has never left my heart. More-so, she has haunted her mother ever since she departed.

It took over a year for my daughter to attempt to get over what she had done. She turned to substance abuse to drowned out the noises in her head. She shut out everyone she loved and was close to. She abandoned the dreams she sacrificed her daughter for. And she herself no longer lived but simply existed waiting for time to pass her by…

I am not saying planning a child when you are a teenager is a good thing. I am not supporting nor am I condoning my own behavior in that area. I love being a mother and I adore all of my children. I also do not support or condone abortions. I know many people who have had one and I still love those people.

In life we make mistakes. Hopefully we learn and grow from them. I do not expect people to be perphect, nor do I demand perphection out myself. It is not my place to judge others actions. I do not have to, nor do I get to live their lives. What I can say is:

Most people’s consequences for their own actions condemn and shame them enough.

When we pull others from their self imposed guilt, we empower them to walk in their destiny. People are pretty amazing. Given the opportunity, most will choose to walk in the light.

How can we impose our values and beliefs on others when we ourselves do not view children as a blessing? How do we “make” them believe they should want their children when we do not “like” our own? How do we show people that generations are to be enjoyed when we ourselves avoid the vulnerability of messy relationships?

Today my remarkable daughter started beauty college. I am so proud of her. She has gotten healthy. She has forgiven herself and she is pursuing her dreams. Though she is learning how to let go and how to manage her emotional pain, she holds dear a little girl who is forever apart of this world.

May we never give up on our dreams, and may we never ABORT our blessings even if they do come by accident.

Resources:

CareNet Pregnancy Center

Moral Revolution

Loving Our Kids On Purpose


Broken

Broken

We can play games of tug and war.
We can say things like who loves you more.
We can tell you vile truths that tear you apart.
We can comfort your bad dreams and still violate your heart.

We can make you hide behind close doors,
With all your dreams lying on the floor.
We can make you live in secret, full of fear.
We can make you so sad you cannot shed a tear.
We can kick you in the gut with our words.
We can make you sick, rest assured.

“You are just a dead beat dad, can’t you see…
You were never really there for me.”
“Mom plays the victim in every role,
She hasn’t figured out how to fill that hole.”
All the lies you were told,
All the lies you believe,
All the emptiness you must feel,
All the confusion with which you must deal.

What happened between us was not your fault.
You were just a child and we the adult.
For the “us” that once was will never again be the same.
That “us” gave us you…
Now you are caught in between.

You are a gift.
The light of our world.
The best of two, but a glorious you.
You are our much
And our affections are true.
Abandoned you may feel,
But the truth is far more real.

For your sake (not ours),
We will not enter in to more insecurities.
It is our desire for you to have sureties.
Often, it takes more courage to walk away,
Than it does to engage any day.

We can fight to the end,
And we can even win.
But sometimes to win is to lose,
And for that we must choose.
You are too important to put you through this.
It is for you that we must do this.

This does not mean you are not loved and adored.
Contrary, above our feelings, we care for yours more.
We are sorry for your pain and your loss.
We’re sorry our mistakes left you with the cost.

It is important for you to know,
We did not walk out on you or let you go.
Love prevails all of the time,
And even though you are theirs, you are also mine.
We are going to chose faith over fear.
We know in the end it will all work out, my dear.

May we offer you this token,
Though your family may be broken.
You may have two houses,
But with each of us, your heart always has a home.

Special Dedication: To all those who have grown up in broken homes.

Suggested Reading:

Good Parenting Through Your Divorce

Divorce Poison

Fathered By God

The Father’s Embrace


Casting Stones

While walking on a cobblestone beach with my husband we came across a lone golden colored pebble in the shape of a heart. Immediately it caught our attention. As far as our eyes could see the shore was lined with dark rocks. The crashing of the waves made a thunderous sound as the water tumbled the rocks beneath the gigantic swell. We stood there humbled by the glory we were experiencing. It was all so surreal.

This gorgeous, tumultuous landscape reminded me of a sea of people. All of whom used their boisterous voices like the thrashing of the waters on a cold, hard, black surface. We are likened to these stones; exotic in nature, beautifully polished, and congregated together. We can so eloquently point out the darkness in others while we struggle to recognize the juxtaposition that we are residing on the same beach.

We resist disciplining our own thoughts, actions, and lifestyles. We are affected by the tides and get caught up in the breaking waves. It may have a different shape and different size, but a rock is still a rock. We judge the person next to us as if we are somehow better than they are, not realizing we are human too. We condemn those we disagree with as we protect our pet beliefs, especially when it goes against our moral paradigms.

We set standards based on our opinions of right and wrong. These beliefs on how things should or shouldn’t be done muddy the waters. Fickle, we try to please others and become miserable and miserably confused. We are trapped by the hillside defining our borders. Layer upon layer, our morals are subject to humanity’s standards, and therefore judged by its laws.

As the cloud of pride hangs over head, we take the liberty to damn others while living arrogantly self-righteous, often guilty of the very thing we are condemning in others. But, we justify our actions. We have well reasoned excuses for our behavior. We do not hold ourselves to the same rule of law that we expect others to honor. We choose to whom we grant empathy, grace, and mercy. In our fear, we place ourselves behind the bench with gavel in hand. In haste we wield it’s power. Often while the jury is still out, we choose to proclaim guilt and shame in our attempt to manipulate that which we cannot control.

It has never been our job to convict the heart of another. Humility, empathy and true understanding comes from a place of rest. Rest comes from a peace that passes understanding. It resides in confidence of personal identity and purpose. It speaks the truth that sets us free. It remains in a state of continual love, and it stands out among the rest. While there are many who champion this cause we all seem to fall short in our own imperphections. There has only been one who has loved with a heart of gold and stayed pure. There is only one who has the right to cast a stone and even He chose mercy over judgement.


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