Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Exchange Rate

".....moving forward without lamenting masks itself as strong and together,
and while this is what I would have preferred over feeling like a mess,
I saw that sidestepping lament is not strength; it is settling."

We go to great lengths to mask our pain. We spiritualize by saying we know that God is in control, that our issues are nothing compared to what is going on in other parts of the world, and minimize the reality of what is happening in our hearts. And in the process, we are killing ourselves.

Last week I was at Target. As I was leaving there was a discussion happening between two women, one of whom was apparently parked either on the line or too close to it creating a difficulty for the other who was either ready to leave and couldn't get in her car or maybe felt she couldn't safely back out. Either way, the one doing the majority of the discussing was clearly upset.

I would hope that the majority of us would see this and realize that if someone is that upset about someone else's ability (or lack thereof) to park correctly that there is way more to what is going on in her heart and head than parking etiquette.

Now, say that woman went home and was on a rampage because of what happened. Now she's upset with her kids for not having homework done, she's upset with her husband because he's stuck in a meeting and will be late, and she's just gotten a bill in the mail for something she forgot about. 

Everything is compounding and her emotions are raging inside and out.

But let's back up.......three days earlier she got a phone call from a childhood friend. Her friend is going through an unexpected divorce. She talks with her friend, acknowledges her pain, promises to be their for support, and they plan to meet for lunch. She feels incredible sadness for her friend but only processes her thoughts on a surface level because the divorce rate is high.

However.......the reality is her parents divorced when she was 16 and she never dealt with it because nobody wanted to talk about it. Everyone equated it with things happen and (my personal favorite) you can't let this get to you and dwell on it. OH MY NO!

Pain is such a relative thing. Just like we are ready to put on shorts and tanktops when it hits 50*F in the winter after sub-zero windchill factors and are prepared to pull out jeans and hooded sweatshirts in the summer when it hits 65*F after a week of upper 90's with high humidity, we can not continue to determine the pain of others based on our perception of the situation. AND, we have to realize that what we are feeling is valid. Minimizing what is going on inside of us also minimizes our ability to heal.

And the worst part of all of this, is that we actually believe that if we take it to God we should be able to leave it there, let it go, walk away, and trust He will deal with it and we just need to come back and pick up our shattered hearts once He's fixed it. NO, NO, NO! God will fix it and He will certainly heal it, but we have to realize that sometimes it takes time....lots of time.....and we are meant to be a part of the process. It's only when we participate that He can show us His perspective on the situation.

I am not sure when we decided that to feel pain and admit it makes us weak and vulnerable. I have no idea why we put ourselves on timetables to get back to normal. For some reason we honestly believe that what other people think really matters and the last thing we want is to be viewed as is a whiner or complainer. Going to God with our brokenness and allowing His timing to determine our healing does not make us a whiner or complainer. He just might be giving us time and space to deal with all the layers of it. We might think it's just what we see, but just like with the woman in the parking lot, He knows the whole story.

Clearly this is a soapbox issue for me. I believe the enemy has us so wrapped up in what other people think and hyper-spiritualizing our problems so that we don't deal with them, that we are functional but unhealthy. God wants so much more for us than what we believing Him for. Esther Fleece shared that, "moving forward without lamenting masks itself as strong and together, and while this is what I would have preferred over feeling like a mess, I saw that sidestepping lament is not strength; it is settling." That will preach right there.

At this point in my life, I am happy to say I am a hot mess. There are a lot of things I have brushed past that I didn't realize how deeply they affected me. Frankly it's time they lose their power. And if that means going back through them with God and asking all the hard questions, no matter how painful it might be, I know it will be worth it because He promises to bind up the brokenhearted and give a crown of beauty instead of ashes. And to be honest, I think I'll look good with a crown on my head. And I know for a fact He wants to give you a crown, too. The question is will we be brave enough to face all the things to get it.

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