posts in category God

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

On Improvement



 I feel as if I am constantly on a quest to be better. From being a child pouring over my aunt's teen magazine and my mother's women's magazines to ordering fun little books like "14 Days to a Whole New You," from the book form in junior high, I have always wanted to do better.

As a child, conquering my temper was my main area of focus. Oh, I could get mad. It still flares from time to time, particularly when one of the kids are making gigantic messes on a day when my body is already just done. Or when the person I am trying to have a discussion/argument with is refusing to be logical-or bringing up past arguments. Then I will find myself on the edge (you know, the place where the F word abounds). 

One thing that amuses me is how in my 20s and 30s and early 40s I always saw myself as the good guy. Yes, I was too prideful and could get bitchy when my pride was attacked, but my expectations for others were rather high, perhaps impossible. My fear of rejection was so great, I couldn't just relax. I was ever vigilant, ever worried.  And there is some reason behind that-people do exclude and people do talk about other people-even friends, and that sucks. But somehow, you just have to suck it up, and keep moving on. The problem is I don't know how to be open and vulnerable to people and still be detached and self-protective. And I guess you can't. If you want to be open to people, you have to just accept you are going to be disappointed and hurt. You are going to have to pick yourself up, talk about it, and forgive. I can understand that intellectually. But emotionally, there is always this wall that barricades me from the pain faster than I can see it happening. I don't want to detach so easily, but I do understand and accept that this wall once served an important purpose in my life. 

We won't drag all that out here. Let's just say, I don't feel I have reached the previous year's goal word of "connection." 

To me, connection would be having someone to call when I needed to talk (besides my poor daughter), someone to walk with, someone to see movies with. Or several someones. And I am not there. Of course, I have real, pressing daily responsibilities which preclude just being able to go do things, and I am weirdly perfectionistic about my home (which means, I won't let people in, unless it is just so), so...it just may not be my season for that, but it doesn't stop the yearning. 

Anyway, improvement. I feel I have shown growth over the past few years. I feel angry that lessons which should have been learned early were not-but what can you do with that? I mean, it is what it is, right? I need to talk and identify feelings more with my kids, so they don't have to figure so much out on their own-not to make my life easier-but to make theirs easier.

But you want to know a secret? Nature is there. She is coiled up in the pit of your stomach, and no matter how much you learn to tame your pride, and how much you struggle to keep your eyes open and be honest with yourself, she is always ready to strike. Maybe the real truth isn't that I don't trust others. Maybe it is that I don't trust myself. 

There is an argument that people don't change-not really. And whenever I feel the flare begin to flame in my belly, I understand this. Our nature is always with us, always awaiting its chance to strike, tear apart, and build itself up. Our higher self must remain ever-vigilant, ever aware of this impending destruction. Our higher self must calmly hold the reins, guiding us ever-onward and upward. It isn't an easy fight, and it is one I have poured my soul into through my prayer journals (but wait, there's more!)

And so, we keep moving forward. I have my journals begging for growth, peace, clarity, wisdom. God DOES answer prayers-but the path he leads you on is not the path of least resistance. To the external eye, it may seem as nothing is happening. To the seeker however, the path is present and difficult and real. 

Let's finish up with up with a little Oceans, shall we?

I long to be in the mountains.


 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Reading Choose Love by Stormie Omartian and other books




Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash


I am down to the bottom of my book stack, although I have multiple ebooks awaiting me. I am currently reading Choose Love, by Stormie Omartian.
Note: This blog post contains affiliate links.




Choose Love


I feel like this book is for someone with little to no understanding of God, self, and their place in this world. It begins with helping the reader to see their value in God's eyes and the how loved we are by God. Then it goes through the whole conversion spiel, followed by what  it looks like to love God. Most importantly, it stresses the importance of reading scripture and tucking it away in our heart.

It's not a bad book. It just isn't quite what I am looking for at this time. It is an old story, and I dream of a new story. However, in no way is it a bad story. The book is fairly well written and I enjoyed the bits of bible text-though I was raised on King James Version and this new clear language doesn't feel very spiritual to me. What frustrated me is the gushing language. I am not a huge fan of gushing and her language was gushy. I feel like she would have held the book Redeeming Love close to her heart, tears in her eyes, and told her friends what a great book it was (it wasn't).



What I am struggling with


I realize I feel a bit antagonistic towards this book, especially since it wasn't the weakest book I have read in the past month by far. If you are looking for a traditional Christian book about living, this book will fit the bill. I think what is bothering me, is how she starts off the book with feeling unloved and feeling guilt. I just don't feel those very much anymore. Maybe in my 20s and early 30s, but for the most part, it is very clear I have been fortunate and loved. I can't relate to the need to be broken in order to become more with God. That doesn't mean I HAVEN'T been there. It means I am not there now. I want something deeper. This is a book for new Christian recruits, I felt.


So the funniest thing just happened. I was typing the previous paragraph, and the floor lamp beside me, flickered and went off for about 3-4 seconds, then came back on, as I was trying to decide what to do. Nope. Not creepy at all.

Signs


Signs, signs, everywhere signs. Except not. The book I read a few weeks ago  E cubed




suggested you could play with the Universe (aka, God) to get signs to let you know you are not alone. The Universe would be happy to oblige. The audiobook I was listening to, Signs,  suggested more of the same.




Except that it didn't work. So I have a few theories on why all these people are gushing over signs, and the boys woke me up at four a.m., so I might as well share. First, maybe it is just a big load of bull, and hopeful people are seeing what they want to see. Or maybe, the "signs" aren't really God or a loved one, but something more sinister (you can take girl out of church, but you can't take early church teaching out of the girl). Or on the same vein, maybe God is protecting me from seeing "signs", because it is unnecessary, perhaps sinister, and not how I should be using my time.

I don't know. All I know is I didn't get my signs. Well, lemons, but lemons are a thing lately, so not too meaningful.

I am rambling a lot. I got less than 4 hours of sleep and of course, it is the busiest day of my week coming up.


Sunday, March 1, 2020

Responsibility

Image result for sunset photos


It has been a long and beautiful weekend. The days crawled by as the children played with neighbors in 60 degree weather. I did next to nothing. Oh, I did some maintenance housework, my husband and I rearranged the bedroom, (managing to avoid the Coffin position for the bed, for those who read my personal blog), and the house received a good airing. I did some things for my online shop, but really, it has been a lazy weekend.

I paid off my library fine for the coffee damaged books, and have more on reserve. I have been listening to books on Audible, but this will not be about them.

I found a short little article which so succinctly summed up my feelings on healing and responsibility, by Brianna Wiest,
Trauma is not Your Fault, but Healing is Your Responsibility.

This article has been timely for me because I find myself being reminded of snippets of unpleasant memories. Not the memories of  my many, humiliating mistakes, but memories of moments outside of my control. Many of these occured as child, a few as an adult. And sometimes it is helpful to be reminded of the pain and trauma of the past for various reasons. For one, a depth of feeling brings a sense of painful angst which drives me to write, drives me to create. Also, little Jill just sometimes wants remind the world, she is still here, and the scars still mark her skin.

But, the thing is, noone can fix the pain, but me. It doesn't need erased. It needs acknowledgement. But acknowledging it and dwelling in it are different. We all have our scars. In some way, we have all been hurt. Some have faced more trauma than others. I am luckier than so, so many who walk the earth. If I don't choose to learn and grow and takes steps to make different choices, my life can never accomplish what I was intended to accomplish. So while at times I choose to snuggle up with the inner child and hold her, I don't choose to live in that place.

I believe in a higher power who listens to me and helps me. If I ask for strength, or guidance, or wisdom, or even for unspecified help, I believe I will receive it. We are our own superman. We are the ones who intervene for our more fragile selves and take the leap of faith and ask for help. We are so strong and so powerful when we learn who and how to ask.

If you are like me, a part of you is dismayed with this focus on self. Perhaps you, too, feel your focus should be on helping others. But my dear, you can't save anyone until you have learned to save yourself (or to ask God for the help you need). You can't hold your child aloft in the crashing sea  if you don't put your life preserver on, too. There are so many things I wish I understood decades ago. But with faith I walk forth, and the blame game stops, and the healing begins.

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