Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Check Engine Light

This morning I found myself in an angry mood. Like how is it even possible to be angry without anything even really happening yet?

As I’m talking it out with God, while trying to listen to a “Gratitude devotional,” (did you catch the irony there), I berated myself for even being angry. Like, my anger was something to be stuffed down and swallowed so it could continue to fester in the dark.

It was then my Heavenly Father asked me why I was being dismissive of myself? Wait, what? So, I had to sit with that. Anger stuffed down, will find its way out. Most likely, someone close to you will suffer the brunt of your unchecked emotion. Then you have that to deal with.

On the show, “The Big Bang Theory,” Penny never pays any real attention to the “check engine” light in her car. She just keeps saying “it’s fine” to anyone who points out the light is on. Eventually, her car gives up. It sputters and spews, as smoke fills the engine area and then it completely dies.

Consider your emotions as your check engine light. They’re telling you something. They’re letting you know, something requires your attention. Ignoring or dismissing them, will not make them disappear. You either deal with them, or they’ll deal with you.

In dismissing my anger away, I was telling myself, I wasn’t worth my own attention. That I didn’t really matter. That it was just an extension of my constant state of ungratefulness and I just needed to get over myself. But, it wasn’t. It went so much deeper than that.

So, as silly as it sounds, I apologized to myself for ignoring the “silly” check engine light. I sat in it. I processed it with God and now I’m sharing it with you.

If God thinks every detail of our life matters, why would we think any less about our own lives? Why do we ignore what we’re feeling? Where did we learn to do that? Acknowledging our emotions is simply giving ourselves permission to look under the hood. It may be a minor adjustment or something that goes deeper than a quick glance.

Either way, daily maintenance is critical to how you keep your heart in check.

Proverbs 4:23 reminds us; “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (NIV)

When was the last time you checked your engine? I daresay, you’re well being depends on it.

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What Happens Next

Did you ever have someone pick a fight with you but you didn’t even know a battle existed? Have you ever faced an enemy you had no real understanding as to why you were thought of as the enemy, just to find out it was because you were being you?

What happens next in that moment is crucial. You can turn to people pleasing mechanisms to try to gain their affection which will inevitably cause you to resent them.

You can ask others what their take on the situation is and see what suggestions they offer. Keep in mind, most friends will be biased to your presentation of the situation. Which is typically one sided.

You can get angry and retaliate causing an even bigger rift. Ya know, cause that always works out well.

You can reactionary text the person. Here you can easily hide behind the screen and say and approach things in ways you never would during an in-person conversation. Most likely “tone” will be inserted and a text argument will ensue. No one comes out feeling better after these. They are the epitome of immaturity and fruitlessness. And now you have written documentation so you can rehash the situation or put it in your weapon arsenal. Ya know, cuz that’s healthy.

You can sit and stew and think about all the things you want to do or say. You can twist your imaginary mustache planning and plotting all while snickering devilishly. Picture Snidely Whiplash from Dudley Do-Right.

Or, you can pray. You can ask God to show you what you need to do next. Praying might not change the situation but it will definitely help you process with the One who understands you best. He alone is able to handle ALL of you. Let’s face it, we all got stuff. But, He alone will love you unbiasedly through it. He alone has the ultimate answer.

Relationships take time. Trying to rush through them to be only what you desire is not a relationship. It’s a dictatorship. You’re better off with just being an acquaintance. This way you can fake it till you make it and never have to be vulnerable or authentic. Putting on a constant show to garner one’s attention or affection is draining and caustic. It’s like playing a game of roulette. Who will I be today? Sounds exhausting.

Thankfully, God is faithful. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He’s my constant in the storms and the One I can safely find refuge in. Knowing that I’m fully accepted by Him, helps me be more authentic and vulnerable.

Let’s face it, pretending to be something we’re not only gets us so far. Eventually the facade falls away and we “lose” it. Typically blaming the other person for our own lack of authenticity and self-control.

It’s not easy being “real” in a “look at me” selfie world. But, if you can find it in you, to be more self-accepting, you may just be more accepting of others. Because in the end, isn’t that what we all want? To be accepted and loved for who we are, and not what we bring to the table?

Just my musings for today. I hope you find space in your day to appreciate you and know how very loved you are. You’ve been through a lot. Maybe it’s time you gave yourself the grace you’d give another. Speak kind words over yourself and watch how your mind and body respond. Because being your own best friend is so much better than being your own worst enemy.

Be brave my friends! It’s a new day, and sometimes the biggest obstacle we’ll face, is the one staring back at us in the mirror.

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Call It Something Else

This quote keeps coming to my mind: “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” I don’t know who originally said that, but when you google it, all kinds of things come up for it.

Maybe it’s the word, “sin” that has such a negative connotation to it, that most people don’t want to think (count the cost) before they leap into the things they know God said was bad for us. Or maybe they’ve never heard about God.

All I can say is, the word “sin”, isn’t the problem. It’s the action of sin that causes the damage. Think about the worst thing you’ve done and reflect on what it cost you. My own sin broke my heart to the point I wanted it all to end. The pain and long suffering was devastating on my soul.

Yes, I’ve asked for forgiveness. I’ve repented (changed my ways) and I know I’ve been forgiven. Yet, my battle field still tries to take up space. Some days it hits me out of the blue and next thing I know, I’m reduced to tears, berating myself once again for the pain I not only caused myself, which is bad unto itself, but more so the pain I caused others.

Knowing what I know now, I want to shout from the mountaintops, ”Don’t do it.” Don’t do that thing that will cause you great and long suffering pain. And while I’m able to warn others, and sometimes I get that opportunity, I also have to tread lightly because I know at any given moment I’m still prone to my own acts of sin. And in the end, people will choose, what they’re going to do.

Sometimes I don’t know what’s more heartbreaking. The heartbreak of others or my own. Watching your own loved ones suffer knowing you can’t fix their pain, is gut wrenching.

All of this to say, God will never lead you into sin. He gives us free will to choose. It’s a gift, yet it can seem like a curse when we make the unwise choice to enter into agreement with Satan.

But, today’s a new day. God’s mercies are new, and He’s doing a new thing. That’s good news! So, wherever you are today, know your gifts of free will and self-control can help lead you out of sin or keep you from sin. And if you don’t like the word sin, maybe call it something else if it helps you move away from it.

In a book I recently read by Matthew Perry, he called his sin “the big terrible thing.” If you read his book, you’ll see just how far that sin took him, just how much that sin cost him, and just how long that sin held him. And you’ll hear the heartbreak he caused himself and those he loved.

One last thing…your own sin will never just be about you. It’ll bring others along for the ride in ways you may never know about. You’ll leave a sin trail of collateral damage that can be years or even generations long.

Stay vigilant. Guard your heart and armour up. The devil is prowling and looking for someone to devour. I pray it’s not you.

Be blessed my friends. Make wise choices and flee from the enemy’s antics and devastating shenanigans. Remember, “…greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world”! (1 John 4:4)

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Lighting Your Own Fuse

It’s been quite awhile since I had trouble falling asleep. Trying to understand another’s person motives late at night, is not peaceful. The conversations I play out in my brain help me process, but based on the information I have, it’s limited to what knowledge I currently possess. Rather then letting the hamster of my mind run frantically on the wheel of make stuff up and blow things out of proportion, I did what I know to do. I grabbed my journal and I prayed.

As I prayed the Lord brought to mind the story of the two women who fought over a child. Gotta give a shout out to google. I typed what I knew in the search bar and voila, the information I needed presented itself. So, I clicked on 1 Kings 3:16-28 and spent time with it. Let’s take a look at this story, shall we?

A Wise Ruling

“Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us. “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.” The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours. But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king. The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’” Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other. The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him! But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!” Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.” (NIV)

Quite the dramatic story. While this story is about 2 women and a child, I believe it can relate to almost any relationship. It’s about laying aside what you feel is in your best interest for the greater good. Hmmmm, sounds a lot like what Jesus did for us. He cried out to His Father to take the cup that was sending Him to the cross, but followed it up with, not my will, but Your will be done. Luke 22:41-43

Jesus knew what was coming, but He did it anyway. What would make someone do something so horrific as to die on a cross for others? Love.

Back to the story of our two women. What would make a woman give up her child to save them from being cut in two? Love. What would make a woman decide cutting a child in two would be best? The very opposite of love.

Nothing good ever comes from the mindset, “If I can’t have them, no one will.” Or “It’s my way or the highway.” There’s always something deeper going on under the surface of these two mindsets. And it usually stems from unhealed trauma.

I’m no expert, but I can attest to being both of these women. Control of any narrative made me feel “safe”. Growing up as a child in a home ruled by alcohol and addition, taught me that the only thing I could control was me and anyone who was in my path. If I could control everything that happened around me, I was okay. No one could “hurt” me”. At least, not that I’d let them see.

Unfortunately, that created a lot of chaos, discontent, and drama. Is it any wonder that eventually I would turn to alcohol to help me cope? I was literally my biggest problem. But, I made every thing and everyone else the problem. And I hid behind the lie the enemy calls “control”.

How many nights did I lie awake trying to manipulate a situation I needed control over? When the person I disagreed with, twisted, I’d turn. When they tried to speak, I spoke over them. When they tried to explain, I’d listen just enough to gush my desires over theirs. When I thought of a new way to present my case, I lay in wait for just the right moment to let loose the cracken. Nothing made me feel so satisfied as when I proved my point. But at what cost?

Maybe you can relate to either being that “controlling” person or having a “relationship” with that type person. If you’ve been that person, maybe, like me, you’ve processed your hurts and you’re working on being the victor of your story instead of the victim.

The victim will always point to the ways they’ve been hurt and make themselves the center of attention by being the martyr of any given situation, as they slap down the pity card. The pity card, is the last ditch effort to get you to agree with what they want. When that doesn’t work, they flip the script and make you the problem.

Their goal is to nag you to death until you’re so exhausted, you just give in because you just don’t want to deal with the constant barrage of the never ending dripping faucet. And when they get what they want, they go for the next jugular. Because winning = control = safe.

The victor will recognize their hurts are a part of their story, but not who they are. They rise above the chaos because they know peace is a gift. They now understand control can be a weapon of mass destruction and self-imploding still sends out deadly shrapnel and injures those they claim to “love”. They know that “cutting the person in two” is a loss they can’t bear. They lay their life down for another.

The woman in our story who attempted to manipulate the situation by swapping out the dead baby for the living one, wanted things her way. When the King wasn’t in agreement with her, she wanted everyone to suffer, like she was suffering. No doubt this woman must’ve gone through a lot of pain knowing she was cause of her baby’s death. But instead of processing through her grief, she jumped into action and caused undo stress and chaos by trying to weave a web of deceit. Thank God, a wise ruler saw through the deception and gave the baby back to the mother who loved the baby enough to let him go.

Okay, let’s wrap this up. There’s a fruit of the Spirit called self-control. It’s not called others-control for a reason. It’s not your place to control another person’s life to make yours feel complete/fit your narrative. If there’s a “dead baby” in your life, you need to deal with that or keep letting it push you around while it wreaks havoc over everyone in your sphere of “influence”.

Every human being on this earth has been given free will. Every person on this earth was created in Christ’s image, not yours. Sorry, not sorry. Every time you try to control another human who disagrees with you and you fight back with deceit and manipulation, you lose! So the theory of winning = control = safe, is blowing your life up. You’re lighting your own fuse. I know, the truth hurts. But, you have a choice.

If you’re exhausted from the fight; from the constant spinning of your mind, there’s someone waiting for you. He’s the good Counselor and Shepherd. He wants nothing more than to spend time with you and give you rest. His name is Jesus and what He wants for you, won’t be found in deceit or manipulation. No, what He wants is found only from His love for you. But, it’ll cost you something…letting go of control so He can show you what safe truly looks like. I’ll leave you with this invitation from your Heavenly Father…

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Notice He doesn’t say to go to everybody and your brother for that rest. Yet, we do. Totally guilty of this. But, in he end, I know where my help comes from. The maker of Heaven and earth. He truly has all I need. I pray if you don’t already know this, one day, very soon, you will.

Have a blessed day my friends!

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