Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Uncontrollable Laughter

It took me a long time to get my Associates degree. I wasn’t a fan of schooling. I got bored easily, and my mind more often than not, drifted to places I’d much rather be. Daydreamer. Yeah, I’m ok, with that label.

In grade school I was the girl in the corner because I talked too much. I don’t ever remember a teacher asking me why I was disruptive. I wonder if I would have told them you didn’t speak much in my house. That school was the only place I felt I got to be “me.” Funny, they thought placement in a corner could keep me quiet.

In High School one of my favorite classes was typing class. The teacher would call out, A,S,D,F,J,K,L,semma (for semi-colon), over and over, for our finger placement on the keys. As I sit down at the computer keyboard, I still think about this. When my fingers are placed incorrectly, words are jumbled and off their mark.

We had assignments in typing class. I would get them done and then type up stories about my best friend and her boyfriend. I titled all the stories “As The Stomach Turns.” I got the title from the Carol Burnett show. Those particular skits made fun of soap operas. If you’re a soap opera fan, you may recall the show, “As The World Turns.”

I would giggle and smile at the overly dramatic stories of my beloved friend and her love life as I typed them out. You may understand if you’ve ever been caught smiling at your smart phone as you received or typed out a text to someone. My bestie would read the stories and we’d both laugh at the ridiculousness of them. It was a highlight of our day.

Daily laughter was crucial to my existence. Laughter didn’t come so easily in the home where I grew up. But when we did laugh, we really laughed. The kind of laughing where your stomach and cheeks hurt.

Back to my degree. When you enter the military you have the opportunity to go to college. For many years, I couldn’t be bothered. I thought we had enough “schooling” with learning how to do our jobs and become great leaders. But, if you wanted to progress in rank, having that coveted piece of paper proving you were educated was required.

Thankfully this is where the Community College of the Air Force came into play. So many of the courses you took for your military job could be counted as credit to your degree. Sa-weet!

Two of the last classes I needed for my 20 year degree was algebra and public speaking. Yes, it took me 20 years to get my degree. But, that’s not the point. This is about the last 2 classes and more pointedly the public speaking class.

If you stay in the military long enough, you’re going to have to get up in front of folks and either recite something, teach something, or commend someone.

Public speaking can be scary. My legs shook and wobbled and it took all I could do to remain upright. My voice sounded crackly, my throat got dry, and let’s throw shaky hands in the mix. Is it any wonder that one of the last classes I took was public speaking?

When it came time to sign up for that dreaded public speaking class I was elated to find there was a condensed summer course. Score!

I have to admit I totally loved the class. It was so much fun. All the outwardly things I spoke about earlier still happened, but I wasn’t alone. My fellow students understood what I was feeling. Then this happened.

We were given a simple tongue twister to recite. Simple enough. When it was my turn, I got up from my seat, walked to the podium, and confidently started to recite what was in my hand. I think I was about 5 words into it, when I started laughing uncontrollably. Seriously, the more I tried to stop laughing, I laughed even more. I looked at the professor, and she was not amused.

To make matters worse, I looked at 2 of my friends in the class and the look on their faces made me laugh even harder. Eventually, the whole class was laughing. Not my teacher. She still was not amused.

I decided to turn my back to the class. After a minute or what seemed like a lifetime, I finally regained my composure. I took a deep breath, turned around, opened my mouth to speak only to have laughter come pouring forth…again. The class for whatever reason was still just as amused as I was, and joined me. I wonder if their stomach and cheeks hurt as much as mine did?

In an effort to get this madness under control I once again turned my back on my audience. I regained my composure, and I turned around. I looked at my professor’s face, and I finally got the assignment over with. I’ve never had anything like this happen before, and I’ve never had anything happen like that again. To this day, I have no clue why it happened.

If I had to venture a guess, God either knew I needed a good laugh, or someone in the class did, or maybe we all just needed a good belly laugh. I can’t say for sure if the class was laughing with me or at me. Maybe it was both. Either way, the memory of it brings a silly smile to my face.

Life can get super serious. Make sure you take time to be silly. Laugh! It’s good for you. We’ve all been through a lot lately. Too much of any emotion will leave us unbalanced.

Is laughing a cure-all? Probably not, but it has a lot of benefits. I’ll leave you with a question.

When was the last time you laughed…really laughed?

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Rancid Stew

Last night I had a crazy dream….totally sang that! There were a lot of parts to my dream but I want to share the part where I got shot in the leg by someone I didn’t know, or maybe it was just some I didn’t recognize. I stared in disbelief that this person shot me. I screamed out “why did you shoot me”? They just looked at me, shrugged their shoulders and moved on, while I was left there wounded and bleeding.

I don’t believe this was a random dream. The other day someone close to me intentionally hurt me. But it wasn’t with a gun. It was with their words. I wasn’t stunned in disbelief as in my dream as this wasn’t the first time this has happened. Because of that fact, I can more easily decipher this wasn’t about me, it was something that hurt them, and the retaliation was to ensure someone felt their pain. That someone, was me.

As misguided as that sounds, this happens all the time. It’s been said, “You get what you give” or that’s “karma” for you. But it’s really just “hurt people, hurt people.” This comes from growing bitter. This comes from not openly and honestly confronting the problem you have with someone in love. Instead, stewing about it for days seems the better option. Trust me, it’s not.

“Danger, Will Robinson, danger”!

During the stewing process, not only does the current hurt get added, but previous hurts, unresolved bitterness, and things not even pertinent to the current issue gets thrown in. Now you’ve got one rancid stew. As the rancid stew keeps bubbling it’s got to go somewhere. After all, it’s been brewing for days now, and you have to release the pressure. Or in this case, release the hate.

Unfortunately, the receiver of this rancid stew you’re ready to serve rarely sees it coming. How do I know? Because I’ve been both the receiver and the giver of rancid stew.

I’ve learned as the receiver of this stew I have 2 options. Respond in kind, or try to get to the real heart of the matter. I’ve also learned responding in kind keeps the unhealthy behavior in play and gets me nowhere. This is not what I want for my life or for anyone’s life for that matter.

I know not to enter into the fray too soon after being served rancid stew. The server (original hurting person) may still be in “stewing” mode. Only this stew is the, “I showed them” kind of stew. This stew is all about feeling vindicated and successful in the hurting of you. This stew is totally acceptable to the server of the rancid stew. What’s that phrase? Oh yeah. “Misery loves company.”

And because misery loves company, we make sure everyone around us gets a taste of the rancid stew so we can ensure:

  1. We have backing before we serve the stew. (Misguided courage and pride)
  2. We can share afterwards how the intended received the stew. (Pride, pride, and more pride)
  3. And lastly, we can sit back and pat ourselves on the back for having the guts to hurt someone. (I’ll let you fill this part in, but for sure pride is in the mix)

When I became a Christian, I thought I just needed to take this type of stew, talk it out with Jesus, pray for the person, and go about my day.

This is where healthy boundaries come into play. I think I just heard angels sing! God gave us the Ten Commandments. Think of them as boundaries. The minute you bust a boundary, consequences are sure to follow. You either correct the behavior that caused you to break the boundary or you keep going until it breaks you. Yeah, I may know a thing or two about being broken by the consequences of breaking those boundaries. Oy vey!

It was time to set a boundary. The first thing to do was to find out what the real issue was that started the stew. Fortunately, it was relatively easy. As I said, there’s a starter to the stew, and then all the other things not necessarily pertinent get thrown in as well. I was prepared for all the stew ingredients because they haven’t changed for this person. I hurt for this person but at the same time, being continually hurt by and blamed for all the things I can neither change or fix is exhausting.

However, if there’s something I need to own, I need to do so in order to help “fix” the stew. This ingredient is called responsibility. Yup, it’s true, I’m being responsible for my own actions. It’s not a new concept, but it’s one largely forgotten or misplaced.

Years of carrying the same unresolved hurts weigh heavy on your soul. It’s too much to carry. It’s why we make the rancid stew. Something has to give or the stew will keep getting more rancid. Hmmm. Let’s start with this, Jesus said,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)

When we first process all the things that burden us with Jesus, we’re better equipped to handle things. Why? Because He will show you a better way. He is after all, the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:16)

When we process things through hate, hurt, lies, and discontent we fill our own heads with, we lash out with the same.

To get to the heart of any matter takes courage and vulnerability. We all have flaws. To see the flaws in ourselves reminds us we’re not perfect. We assume a lot. We’re wrong a lot. We act irrationally, and when that happens we add feeling foolish to the mixture. Not to worry. We’re in good company.

As the song says:

“Everybody plays the fool sometime
There’s no exception to the rule”

Funny, I just looked that up those lyrics and the group who sang that back in the 70s was “The Main Ingredient.” Coincidence? I think not. Moving on.

But, we don’t have to act the fool. Nobody likes to be served rancid stew. I hope the next time someone, myself included, feels the rancid stew brewing, we stop the recipe of misconception, lies, and hurt, and ditch that recipe for disaster into the trash where it belongs.

Honest communication, kindness, and love are great starters for a relationship stew. After all, you know the best meals are all made with….say it with me…bacon! Haha Gotcha! It’s made with love my friends!

Have an amazing day! Remember it doesn’t cost our souls a thing to be kind, but there are great rewards!

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