Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Torn Between Two Lovers

Now, if you know me, you know I love to sing. I once had a friend tell me that when I was going in for a CT scan, they would find a jukebox in my brain. HA! 

Songs pop in and out of my head constantly. From the moment I wake up, till I go to sleep. Maybe you too? Today, I wanna talk about a song that was all about having your cake and eating it too and asking others to accept it. 

“Torn Between Two Lovers” was a song recorded by Mary McGregor back in 1976. That’s right, I still remember the lyrics from a song from 1976. I would say this song would have been classified as a love song. 

There’s just something about a good, sappy love song,right?  But, this wasn’t really sappy, and I wouldn’t really classify it as a love song all these years later. It was more of a selfish, all about me and my wants song. 

The song lyrics and melody played over and over in my head and sprung forth from my mouth, as I sang, oh so beautifully – ahem, from the sound stage that was my bedroom. I would totally ignoring the rude audience that were my brothers who would scream for me to shut up. Rude, right? La, la, la, I can’t hear you! Ha ha ha

Let’s take a peek at some of the lyrics, this song shall we? Go ahead, sing along if you remember the tune. You already know I’ll be singing.  🙂 

There are times when a woman has to say what’s on her mind
Even though she knows how much it’s gonna hurt
Before I say another word, let me tell you, I love you
Let me hold you close and say these words as gently as I can

There’s been another man that I’ve needed and I’ve loved
But that doesn’t mean I love you less
And he knows he can’t possess me and he knows he never will
There’s just this empty place inside of me that only he can fill”

Ummm, what? 

Wait, it gets better. 

Torn between two lovers, feelin’ like a fool
Lovin’ both of you is breakin’ all the rules
Torn between two lovers, feelin’ like a fool
Lovin’ you both is breakin’ all the rules”

Soooo, you know what you’re doing is wrong, but yet, you keep choosing to do it anyways. Ok, got it. Continue.

“You mustn’t think you’ve failed me
Just because there’s someone else
You were the first real love I ever had
And all the things I ever said
I swear they still are true
For no one else can have the part of me I gave to you” 

This is where that famous saying, “it’s not you, it’s me” comes into play. And it’s true here. It really is her and what she felt she lacked. Her answer, let’s get another guy to fill the gaps the first guy was clearly lacking. 

Ok, let’s wrap this up, because once the chorus gets sung again the pièce de résistance (she said in her best French accent) of this song comes into full focus. Are you ready for it? 

“I couldn’t really blame you if you turned and walked away
But with everything I feel inside, I’m asking you to stay”

Ummm, what? 

Notice she didn’t say she was gonna kick the other guy to the curb. She didn’t ask for forgiveness. She never even apologizes. She simply explains herself and her actions and asks him to be ok with the third wheel being in the mix. 

Sadly, we never get to hear his answer. Or if she told the other guy about the first guy. We’re just left with, here’s a girl, loving 2 guys, explaining why she needs two guys and for the two guys to be okay with it. 

Spoiler alert! Anyone who has ever been in a monogamous relationship, who thought they were truly in a monogamous relationship, is not okay with this cavalier attitude towards relationship. 

This is why it’s so very important what you allow to speak into your life. I’m not saying in any way, shape or form, this song is the reason I felt it was ok to ever cheat in my relationships, but it was definitely one of the seeds that gave me the illusion it was acceptable. 

Inevitably, ultimately and irrevocably, I made the selfish choices to do what I did. 

If you’ve ever been cheated on, I’m so sorry. It was a choice you didn’t make, but had thrust upon you and it no doubt turned your world upside down. I know, I’ve been there.  

If you’ve ever been the cheater, I’m so sorry for whatever happened in your life that you felt the answer was more of what you already had over addressing the true matter of your heart. I know, I’ve been there. 

Please know that if a person cheats on you, it’s not about you. I can’t say that enough. So, I’ll say it again. It’s not about you. It’s 100% about what’s going on in their heart. 

They may try to pin it on you, they may twist the words to justify it, but rarely, when they’re in the thick of it, will they take responsibility for their actions and claim it’s an issue with them. Because they won’t see or refuse to see it’s an issue with them. That’s how they justify what’s going on. I know, I’ve been there. 

How else could words like these be justified:

“I couldn’t really blame you if you turned and walked away
But with everything I feel inside, I’m asking you to stay”

They can’t. Those lyrics, are all about self, twisted to make it seem like they’re the victim. 

It’s a matter of the condition of the heart. Proverbs 4:23 warns us:

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  (NIV)

Did you see that, EV-ER-Y-THING you do, flows from your heart. 

Here’s a few examples. If you’ve ever had a broken heart, you cry, you grieve and your countenance is usually sad. If you’re excited, your heart beats a bit faster, your eyes glisten, and maybe your palms sweat. If your adrenaline is really kicking, from something good or bad (like being afraid), your heart beats to the rhythm of what’s going on, your breathing gets a bit more labored and you feel like you want to bust right out of your skin. And in its’ final curtain call, if your heart stops beating, well, you know that ending. 

Every choice we make, every decision we act on has a consequence. It’s never just about one single person. When it comes to cheating I daresay it’s all about how much worth you place on yourself and where you get it from. 

I wrote about that in this post What’s In Your Treasure Chest

But, no matter what the excuse is for cheating, it will always come back to it being a matter of your heart, your choice, your decision. It’s all about you. 

So choose wisely because I can say the consequences of the thing that makes you feel temporarily awesome will inevitably rip your guts out. I know, because I was there. 

There’s a saying, “once a cheater, always a cheater.” It’s what someone or society labels you when you cheat. But they don’t just call you a cheater, they wrap you in an “always a cheater”  blanket and stop looking at who you really are. 

If said aloud or enough to yourself, it will take root, and if you’re not secure in who God says you are, you’ll believe the lie and start acting out what those believe say you are, forgetting whose you are. 

How many times have your heard someone say, “I’m such a _________. It must be true or they wouldn’t say it.” You can fill in the blank with any number of things. Failure. Loser. Mistake. Cheater. 

It was in this place, where I piled guilt upon shame upon disgrace upon self-loathing, upon disgust, upon regret, upon hate on myself. It’s no wonder I didn’t want to be around myself or think I had anything good to offer this world. How could I? 

But God! 

Proverbs 19:21 says:

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”  (NIV) 

In my heart, I wanted to take away my pain by ending my life. As you can see, I’m still here, my plans failed and His purpose is prevailing. Yay! Thank you Jesus!  

Your lot in this life is not found in your failures. It’s about getting up after the fall. Jesus didn’t remain dead after being crucified. I mean, you can’t fall much harder than that. 

No, He rose up and kicked death square in the face so that we could know victory. But before we know what victory looks like, we will fail. We will have trials. We will face persecution. We will come up against opposition. But, those things are not the end. 

Today, let’s grab hold of some serious truth. This is one of my favorite truths to hold onto when I think things can “never” change. 

Isaiah 43:19 says:

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (ESV)

Friends, don’t give up. It’s not over yet. This is absolutely the first day of the rest of your life. Everything else is the past, and you are not your past. You are very much here, and in the present and God is most assuredly making a way in the wilderness. I know, because I’m there. 

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What’s In Your Treasure Chest?

When I was a little girl, I adored peeking into my grandmother’s jewelry box and playing with the baubles inside. I can still “see” and “smell” what I considered to be my personal treasure chest. 

The black leather box had a top that flipped open as well as several drawers that had delicate silver knobs on either side. Each drawer was lined with red velvet and the smell was like no other. 

Since my grandmother didn’t have pierced ears, she had those clip on style earrings.  When no one was looking I would take them out and carefully clip them on my ear lobes and pretend that their very existence on my ears made me oh so glamorous.

I’m not so sure she appreciated me trying on her troves of treasure or that pieces would come up missing from time to time. But, if she did mind, she never said. Or maybe she did say, and I don’t remember. Either way, the memory of her jewelry box brings a smile to my face. 

As I was driving to work today, a song by Mercy Me called “Dear Younger Me,” came on the radio. I’ve heard it many times before but today a line from the song stood out to me:

“My joy, my pain, would’ve never been my worth”

So here’s a peek inside my brain. As I sang along to those words, “my joy, my pain, would’ve never been my worth,” my soul was arrested with the thought, where are you placing your worth?  

As I dug a little deeper into that question, a visual of a treasure chest popped into my brain. This brought me to a paper I had written for a college class about topics I’d like to write about.  One of those topics was a story about my grandmother’s jewelry box. And voila! Here we are.

I remember lifting the lid to that jewelry box. I remember the jewels inside that garnered my full attention. I remember the anticipation I felt even though I already knew what was in there. I’m sure my eyes sparkled with the reflection of the treasure I held in my little hands.

But, I grew up. I stopped going to the jewelry box. I was no longer captivated by its contents. The things in there were familiar, dull, and lifeless. Yet it sat there, year after year, unappreciated.

The treasure trove once my place of temporary joy and wonder is now long gone with the passing of my grandmother years ago.  

It’s kind of like life, isn’t it? We find things that bring us joy and happiness for a moment and for a while we’re enamored with it.  We get the “thing” we wanted or lose the weight, or have the big wedding. We study hard and get the job we wanted so we can buy all the things we think we’d be missing out on if we didn’t have it in our lives. 

And yet, there’s still an emptiness. 

Once again, things become familiar, dull, and lifeless. So we search for the next shiny treasure that will bring us temporary happiness. It’s easy to kick things and people to the curb when they’ve served their purpose and we have so many other options available. 

So the question of where are you putting your worth is not a surface question. It’s a let’s get real with ourselves question of the heart. 

Is your worth found in people’s approval? The way you look? The amount of money you make? The material things you’ve collected? You’re job title? Maybe you’re basing your worth on societal standards. Only you know the absolute truth. 

There are so many things of this world we consider treasure. But they are all things that will one day fade away. I’m not saying it’s bad to have those things. It’s really only when we put our faith, trust, and worth in them that we can get in trouble. 

The harsh reality is, houses burn down, people steal your stuff, companies fold, things and bodies quit working, loved ones die, and accidents happen. 

When those unexpected things happen a hard downward spiral begins and you’re faced with the question, “what do I do now“? Sadly, some never make it to the other side of that question because they tied their existence to a thing or a person and their hope was lost. 

Having been at the brink of that dark precipice, many times, I get it.  

After retiring from a career I held 29 years, it was tough trying to figure out what to do next. My treasure was found in seriously numbing my senses with alcohol. 

After years of singleness and dating my treasure was to find the perfect mate. 

When marriage got too hard and I felt unloved, unwanted, and not enough. My treasure was found in men who made me feel “loved,” “wanted,” and “enough”. 

When menopause hit and I couldn’t lose weight the way I used to, I was beside myself. My treasure was self-loathing and disgust. 

When my body betrayed me and I couldn’t work out the way I used to, my treasure became excuses. 

When the reflection in the mirror started showing my age in years, my treasure became longings of days gone by. 

As if any of this was all there was to life on this earth. In all of that, I was so wrapped up in self, I couldn’t get past myself. I was always in my own way. It mattered not what any good thing anyone said because I bought into the lies that I was not enough based on unattainable societal standards. 

I was the picture of smiling on the outside, while slowly dying inside. 

I literally could not accept myself because everyone and their life looked better, shinier, happier, healthier, and more complete. My treasure was in the wanting. Have you ever been there? Maybe you’re there now. 

Can I just say, if you’re still reading this, you’re story is not over, it’s just a new chapter. It’s not going to look like the rest of your life for a reason. Times change and time most assuredly doesn’t stand still. We’ll either get stuck in what was, or we grab onto what is, and hope for what could be. 

I’m not gonna say some of the things that brought me down don’t come back and haunt me, because they do. But now I know better than to latch onto the lies that tell me I’m not enough and sit in my woe is me pot for days on end. 

These lies stole years from my well-being. Maybe you as well. If that’s true, I’m so very sorry for all you’ve been through. 

But today is a brand new day my friend. It’s full of God’s faithful love, faithfulness, and mercy. (Lamentations 3:22-23) When God says you the apple of His eye, (Psalm 17:8), then you’re the apple of His eye. When He says He takes great delight and is singing over you (Zephaniah 3:20) then take hold of that truth and run with it. When God says He’s got a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11) then believe it. 

Can we just agree that God’s Truth should never be harder to believe than the enemies lies? And yet, here we are, letting the thoughts of the one who only comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) take our thoughts captive. Let me just say he’s not the boss of you, unless you allow it. 

The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galations 5:22-23)

Did you see that…self-control. We have that. Plus all those other attributes. But, it’s up to us to exercise them. One last thing on this treasure topic and where we place our worth and then I’m off to seize the day. 

Matthew 6:19-21 says: 

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (bold emphasis added)

So, let me ask, what’s in your treasure chest? 

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The Choice You Choose

The hard fact of the matter is, you may not like it, you may not agree with it, but it is their body and it is their choice. Please, hear me out. Your right to believe in something does not give you the right to stomp all over someone else’s choice and make them feel less than because you believe your choice is better.

Screaming louder does not make your choice superior. Nasty quotes and making fun of things you wouldn’t choose, or name-calling is a form of bullying, allowing for division and pompous “knowledge” to rule over compassion.

From choosing whether or not to go to college, choosing a career path, getting tattooed or pierced, who to vote for, pro-life or pro-choice, having sex before marriage or not, to eat the donut or not, and so many more, are all choices an individual makes. You and I both know that choice conviction comes from God, not man.

Need an example? Read John, chapter 4 or 8. Let’s look at John, chapter 8. Here we learn the penalty for adultery is death by stoning. Could you imagine being hit full force, over and over with stones laced with hatred and “righteous” indignation, until you died? Umm, no, thank you. I’ll take a hard pass on that one!

But, that was not the case in this story. Two people decided to commit adultery anyways. They both made the choice and agreed that the act of committing adultery was worth dying for.

No matter the law, or what anyone else may have said, in the end, despite knowing the severe penalty it was their choice. They wanted what they wanted and they went for it.

Maybe like them, and dare I say me, you’ve made dangerous choices that weren’t in your best interest. Choices, no doubt others didn’t agree with or wouldn’t do. Choices others warned you about. Choices deep down you knew were wrong. So.Very.Wrong.

But if someone made the “wrong” decision in your eyes, what was your choice? Did you fight fire with fire or did your words/actions help put out the flames? Ugh, let me just say, I’ve fought fire with fire. But, I’ve learned that tactic only causes division, heartache, and regret.

Friends, God didn’t call us to shame and condemn one another. When did any of that ever make a relationship better? You could actually push the person to do exactly what you’d rather have them not do by being so crazy zealous over what you think they should do.

All you have to do is look back over your life and I bet you find a decision you made was because someone “forbade” you to do it. And you got all puffed up and under your breath, you muttered: “I’ll show them.”

Just so you know, that’s probably proof you shouldn’t make that decision. Nothing good ever really comes from, “I’ll show them.” Oy to the vey!

When did we get so wrapped up in trying to live other people’s lives, we forgot how to live our own because we knew in our knower, we “knew” what was best for them?

Why would I think I’m so good at telling others how to live their lives when my life can be such a mess? Maybe because it’s easier to put our focus on others instead of cleaning our own house?

In all honesty, I think we truly have the best of intentions when we want our loved ones and others to learn from our mistakes. I mean, experience must count for something, right? Seeing others fail must make a positive impact on our choices, right? That would be awesome, but it’s just not always the case.

A lot of my family members were alcoholics. I witnessed the devastation from it. I knew my chances of becoming an alcoholic were higher than others. I was educated on the effects alcohol has on the body and brain. However, despite being armed with all that knowledge, I still drank copious amounts of alcohol for years. That’s right, years. So.Many.Years.

No one made me do it. I chose it and many suffered from those choices. I can’t change it. It’s part of my story. But, it doesn’t define me. And no one can make me feel worse about my choices than myself.

The result of condemnation from myself is bad enough, but pile on condemnation from others and my little “woe is me” pit, will quickly escalate into a cavernous pit of self worthlessness and defeat. It’s the perfect place for the enemy to come in and keep talking me down.

Is that what we want? To help the enemy kick a person when they’re already so down on life they might not find their way back? What proverbial stone are you picking up and launching via your mouth, just because someone made a choice you wouldn’t? And don’t think that disapproving scowl goes unnoticed. That’s just adding insult to injury.

If we truly trust God, then can we have faith that while we “know best”, He actually knows better? That in fact, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:16) and not you. That what we should choose instead of slapping people with our churlish tongues is to pray for them while we love them through it? Not berate them through it?

And since we trust that God knows better than our best, maybe we should ask Him how we can help, not further hurt another.  Actually, pray for God to show you, your part in this process. Psalm 51:10 is an awesome prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me.” (bold emphasis added) Notice, you put the focus back on you in this instance and off of them. Lord, how can I help and not hurt?

Y’all, hate, bitterness, and rage are harsh taskmasters. All kinds of unhealthy emotions and physical and mental unwellness are tied to it.

In a world of “what have they done for me lately” (Totally just sang that Janet Jackson style) maybe start asking “what can I do for them?” Because in the end, all the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s and what-ifs, will never change the choice of what is. And when someone leaves this earth, you won’t worry or regret that you coulda, shoulda, woulda done something more.

We’re really only a choice away from what someone else chose. Every choice has a ripple effect. They’ll touch more than just our own life and we may never know how what we chose to do, say or act will impact another. But whatever they choose to do from what they’ve seen, learned or heard will be their choice.

So, share your stories. Share your failures and your wins. Share love, hope, and give great encouragement. Share your faith and your fears, and do unto others as you would have done to you. Share your gifts and give abundantly and don’t worry about the outcome. God’s got that part. Just do what you know to do with love and I guarantee you won’t regret it!

But that’s my choice, what’s yours?

Peace and much love to you my friends.

 

 

 

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Jillian Lancour

Championing Godly Womanhood

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