Tag Archives: heart

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.


Expecting… The Unexpected!

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Expecting… The Unexpected!

Ever plan for something you wanted so badly? Did you ever do everything that could have been done and fight with all of your might? Have you ever seen a dream so real you just knew with all your soul it would become reality? Have you ever been crushed, disappointed beyond belief?

To hope in the face of despair, to pursue against the odds, to believe beyond doubt…. is it stupid to wish for the impossible? Or is it rational to be apprehensive to ask for our heart’s desires out of fear they won’t be answered the way we want?

It can be discouraging when what you seek always seems to be just beyond your reach. Such a helpless feeling when you are not in control of your own destiny. Even though many others have experienced similar pain it can still be such a lonely feeling. Yet you press in, you dig deep, you suppress those nagging feelings of frustration.

What happens when you have put your heart and soul into something but reality tells you it is not going to happen? Everything seems to turn against you. Even time itself ceases to be a friend. At what point do you finally put to rest the very thing that motivates you to live? How do you bury what you been imagining, and simply “move on”?

When it feels like you’ve died, at the point you finally let go, that moment is often the very moment your seed is finally planted, finally able to bloom. All this time you thought you had been carrying rotten fruit: dreams that seemed to be shriveling, decaying, and growing mold like a disease. Come to find out, like fruit decomposing into the soil, it is not what is seen that matters.  Rather it is the potential, the hope, the life it carries inside that matters. It is this self-contained life that gives this seemingly small, yet deeply meaningful, pregnant aspiration the potential to become great.

It can be difficult when others so easily acquire what you have been longing for. The thing that seems to come by accident to some, and even unwanted by others, is the very thing you yearn to possess. In those moments, not becoming angry or embittered, and remaining faithful and vigilant to your own dreams may be the hardest thing you ever do. However, this will cause your roots to grow deep. And relative to your surroundings, though you may not flower often, your blossom will be rare and magnificent.

Very few appreciate what they have. Even fewer express true gratitude for what comes naturally. It is those whom have known the strain of struggle, the ecstasy of endurance, and the payoff of perseverance who truly value the prize. For it is the joy set before us that makes this life worth the darkness we go through to get there.

There are those of us who choose to never give up on our dreams. Though we choose to lay down our right to toil in vain, we trust that God keeps His promises. We seek peace during the process even when understanding evades us.  There are those of us who believe that the power of love is stronger than the power of hate. There are also those of us that live in the joyful expectation of good no matter if we get what we expected or we are happily surprised by the unexpected.


Perphect!

Perphect…

“Perfectionism”, this unattainable yet infectious complex, spreads like infected cells.  The consuming, pseudo reality plays itself out for humanity, especially in our culture’s ideology.  The presumptuous intellect knows best.  Each individual creates their own internal infrastructure with the assistance of nature, nurture, and social factors. I myself developed an idealistic persona in my mind. A person I desired to be, but could not attain.

The problem with lofty ideals is we often develop a mental picture of these and how we think it should be. Then we are discouraged when something does not end up looking like the picture we saw in our heads. We are stubborn. We think things need to go a certain way and produce a certain outcome. That is all well and good as far as intentions go, however, it totally screws with our head. Like an artist with an idea, it is frustrating when what is in our mind does not come out on paper.

I found the more I tried the further away the person I wanted to become would be. I sabotaged my joy by setting up unrealistic expectations. If I wanted to always be good at something and happy, I would push myself as hard as I could. I would find the brighter side to every moment. Now, those are good things. However, I was coming at them from an obsessive place. When things went out of my control, I was in chaos. My internal world felt out of sorts. The conflict heightened when worry entered the equation. Anxiety had found a place to rest in my heart. It caused turmoil to spin like a hurricane inside of me.  This storm surfaced the belief: If I could just be OCD enough bad things would stop happening.

Happiness, easy going, delight, and stress collided. I quickly realized to be fun and carefree I needed to pursue my dreams. I did not know how to do this practically, outside of  a fantasy world.  Yet, it was in this very place I delighted to be that caused the most frustration and disappointment.  I could not hope and be a realist at the same time. I relinquished one for the other. I developed a “poverty” mentality of surrender and slavery. I felt like I was constantly in lack. I became bound by my own perceptions and core beliefs. I was uncertain how to be happy and carefree from the inside out no matter the circumstances .

I wanted it all. Yet how could I reconcile my hearts desires, live in the here and now, and be okay with the inevitable imperphections? I was afraid I would let my dreams hinder my capability to apply wisdom and practicality.  I began slowly suppressing myself, my joy, my nature, my being….the very name that I was called to be.  My fear and worries slowly took over my spirit. I was drowning in quick sand.

I buried my heart. I began setting my standards lower. If I could achieve it then I would not be a failure. I would protect myself from disappointment by only attaining what I knew would be possible. No risk…no pain! I tried intently to avoid rejection and disapproval. I began to plan ahead so I could prevent mistakes. If I could overdo everything then nothing bad could happen to me, right? I was continually in a battle with discouragement and disappointment. I was bleeding love and hemorrhaging acceptance. I needed a tourniquet. I did not know how to genuinely receive a compliment. Overwhelmed by insecurities, I focused on my flaws. It was a dark place with too much introspection. It is a place where people go to get depressed. It was a place I desperately fought to get out of.

Still, it did not matter how hard I tried, all I saw were my flaws. My attention was continually drawn to what I could be doing better. I underestimated my worth and personal value. I did not think I had anything to offer this world or the people in it. I felt as if I needed to earn affection, earn approval, and keep on earning things once I got them. Imbalanced, I felt as though I could lose love if I wasn’t pretty enough. I believed I would lose acceptance if I let anyone see the real me. I also felt I could lose everything I held dear if I let just one thing slip through the cracks. I had so much weight on my shoulders. Even when I did manage a smile anyone who truly looked into my eyes saw I was hiding enormous amounts of pain. My dreams were drowning in my pursuit of perphectionism.

But “hope deferred makes the heart grow sick”. To live in hope I needed to believe in the joyful expectation of good. The problem was, I was constantly waiting for the next problem, for that proverbial “other shoe to fall”. I had this ever constant, looming feeling something bad was just about to happen. There was a foreboding atmosphere surrounding me. This constant state of fear had stolen my peace and rest, and had run away with my joy. I struggled to keep them in my heart. Occasionally I would grab them by the leg and force them to hang out for few hours, but could never get them to take up residency.

Eventually, I was able grasp grace. I finally realized I could understand my limits, and still pursue excellence as a way of life. Priorities are important. Reconciling discipline, healthy habits, and a strong identity remain beneficial. To this day my house is typically very clean. I exercise on a regular basis. I am actively involved in my children’s education and extra curricular activities. I adore gardening and the outdoors. I love being fashionable. I enjoy arts and crafts. And I pursue my dreams. Yet through all of this, I am motivated by intentionality. After removing the stress, anxiety, and pressure that comes from thinking my actions determine my success or failure as a person, the things that at one point I thought “defined” me are now operating out of who I am. Though I will always grow as a person, I will also know my best is simply the best I can do.

It was through experience I discovered love was not based on performance. It was through discovering “JOY” that I finally became comfortable with my imperphections.  Often times the hardest demons to tell to go to hell are Fear of Failure and the Fear of Rejection. However, false humility is our own worse self-deception. I found when I compared myself to what I saw in others, all I could see is where I fell short. I had to be honest with myself and believe the truth about what I liked in me. I did not have to make up stuff, I simply had to discover who I was and then except that person. I had to choose to use my talents, my abilities, and the person I am. I had to blend my nature with nurture and walk in my own shoes with confidence in the direction I was created to head.

If we don’t grow and mature as people we will be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually stunted and even retarded, twisted by what we have made agreements with over the course of our lifetimes. I’ve learned a lot from taking risks, from trying, from making mistakes. As I’ve learned how to walk I’ve had to be okay with falling. Falling is fine. Getting back up is the important part. I found it vital to keep my eyes focused on the goal, rather than constantly looking down and seeing only current restraints. If we don’t go after our what is in our hearts, we will live in envy of the lives of others, and we will not do the very things we were created for.

Remember: it is what we believe about ourselves that becomes our reality. If we think we need to be perfect to be good enough, we will never be good enough! We can remain in our self-absorbed cesspool breeding bacteria or we can flow within the current of our own rivers with all of their individual eddies and idiosyncrasies. We can enjoy the ebbs and flows and the path laid out before us. We can trust, for no matter what comes around the bend, we will eventually make it to our ocean.

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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


Lover

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Fear welled up inside of me as I heard him say, “open your eyes.” It was the same kind I get due to my fear of heights. My stomach started to churn, my imagination ran wild, my body began to tingle, and my world began to spin. It was the largest, most frightening roller-coaster I had ever went on. All I wanted to do was keep my eyes shut. I figured as long as I could not see the distance between me and the ground the safer I would feel, or, should I say, the less scared I would be.

But, this was not a ride, and death was not my concern. It was far worse than that. What if I opened my eyes and I did not like what I saw?! More so, what if what I saw was a disappointed look staring back at me? What wouldn’t kill me would destroy me.

I had a choice to make. I could keep my eyes closed, protect my fear, and live in denial; or, I could open my eyes, face reality, and let come what may. Things I knew for sure and for certain: he had NO false expectations of who I am, I was not under duress to perform any certain way, and he had continually been a refuge and a safe place.

What I had to find was my heart. I had become so numb, so robotic, so inoculated. I wasn’t sure what true love looked like… even when it was looking back at me. I had so carefully tucked my heart under the clutter of duty. I hid it so perfectly beneath mounds of hurt. I covered it beautifully behind a mask of independence.

Yet through patience, diligence, and determination, he sought it out. He nurtured it to health. He removed it’s rough calluses. Over time he tore down the fortified walls I built due to the assaults my heart had previously endured.

Why then such intense irrational fear???

He was the man I wanted all of my life. He was the one I dreamed of, but did not truly believe existed. He was the man I was told was worth waiting for, and he was right in front of me. Yet, I was the one who doubted my emotional security.

Such cruelty haunted me. As long as I did not have to face the danger I was in, I was fine with my situation. However, the danger I was facing was the prospect of loving like I had never been hurt. I was getting ready to take the biggest risk of my life. I had to face a fear greater than my fear of heights. I was getting ready to jump from a perfectly good plane and had to trust him to be a well-crafted parachute.

In my head, I heard myself say, “love is a safe place to land, first I must fall.” It was from a poem I had wrote years ago, just after we first met. I had to admit, I did so enjoy the way I felt in his arms. His voice was gentle and pleasing to my soul. His smile made me radiate with happiness. He had drawn me in, and with every part of my being I wanted to answer his call.

I pondered a little longer. I had never before seen lust linger behind his pupils. There was no darkness when I had previously peered through the windows into the depth of his person. It was not him that I feared. Instantaneously, I was swept up into self-consciousness. I was overwhelmed by my inadequacies. All I could do was view my exaggerated flaws as in a fun house mirror. My short comings were suddenly thrust into the forefront of my mind.

What could he see in me that he would find desirable? What would he find in me if I opened my eyes? I was covered in shame. What could I offer him beyond my pain?

Still I found myself trapped in this moment… caught by these words, “Open your eyes.”

I knew what they meant. I knew what they would cost. This was not so much about me opening my eyes as it was about me opening my heart.

Suggested reading:
Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge
Moral Revolution by Kris and Jason Vallotton


Mommy, why does it hurt so bad?

I call it my mommy heart. My desire for all of my children to feel loved drives me. I want the best for each of them. I want them to feel special. I want them to know how important they are. I want to nourish and encourage their strengths. I want to guide them through their weaknesses. My mommy heart desires each child be free from the pressures of perphection. I want them to view mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow. I earnestly seek ways to draw the best in each of them to the surface like a gold miner panning for gold. I want them to live life to the fullest, reach their destinies, and pursue their dreams.

It is when bad things happen that my mommy heart kicks in to overdrive. I want to stick my children in a bubble, and keep them from any and all pain. I see it in their eyes; the feeling of loss, a deep indescribable sadness, and a sense of helplessness. I wish to swoop in and save the day. I wish to comfort them and take all of their pain away. I wish to protect them and help them avoid hurt in every way. I learned years ago, this is not only impossible, it is unhealthy. It teaches our children bad coping mechanisms. It also sets them up for failure.

Unfortunately, in life bad things happen; some parents get divorced; some of our closest pets die; sometimes we move away from our friends and family… the list goes on and on. Bad things simply happen. When they do, the hurt can feel overwhelming. The pain can be intense. Our greatest fears can surface and the world can feel unsafe. So many of us have endured great hardships. To act as if we haven’t sets up a false reality for our children to live in. To dwell on our hardships causes us to live impaired. To walk out our hurt with our eyes focused in gratitude teaches victory.

Showing empathy in the middle of our child’s pain is vital. Being compassionate as we listen to them process their hurt will bring healing. Not always knowing the answers is okay. Often times sacrificing our desire to provide understanding can liberate us all from false perceptions and dogma. Allowing our children to walk through their pain leaves less emotional scars, like ointment on an open wound.

Medicating our children’s emotional pain covers it up. Things rarely get resolved like a broken bone that never got reset and cast properly. This often times leads to addictions whether it be shopping, eating disorders (including overeating), alcoholism, drug abuse, etc.. Teaching our children to avoid pain can lead to seclusion, isolation, and loneliness. Fretting about the unknown can lead to irrational fears, wild imaginations, and lofty thoughts. Things that don’t kill us can make us stronger. However, they can make us callus, bitter, angry, or passive as well.

We don’t have to be our children’s savior either. They already have one. He promised to send a comforter. He said, He will never leave us, nor forsake us. As we look to Him as our source, we show them how to do the same. By this we can give our children the tools to have more self-control so they will not try to constantly live on artificially stimulated emotional highs. It takes courage to hold our children’s hand, look them in the eye, and say you can do this; I will be right here with you; I will coach you through to manage your pain; I am sorry it hurts so bad, but you are not alone. I know, because I too have endured pain. Like the sunshine behind the clouds, joy will come in the morning.


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