The sun is in a slow rise into the sky as though the lazy relaxation of Sabbath is rising with it! I find this time of year so intriguing... the sun's journey across the sky is so shortened and narrowed that it's almost as though he merely pokes his head up to check in on us and then dips right back down below the horizon again. While the days are shorter with light, they somehow feel longer in duration. The only aspect of our lives that seems unchanging is the constant exhaustion that follows our every reluctant step and the relentless interruption of our every move and attempt to accomplish anything...
Already, I have had to stop and feed a few bites of snack to Sivana, answer Ethan's question about which sticker I want, unhook a latch he couldn't figure out, put Sivana down for a nap, wake up Melina, and start Isabel's next episode of Little Bear... all within trying to type three sentences! No wonder it is a huge accomplishment for me to even GET to the blog, let alone TYPE something on it... sigh.
But even as I type this, I am all too aware of this season passing us much as summer and fall did... and the seasons before them... and before we know it... (hang on, one more interruption....) our children will barely be popping their heads in to check in on us, their light all too quickly leaving the comforts of our home and illuminating somewhere over the horizon.
I try to be careful with my feelings ("try" being the key word here). I think it is important to acknowledge whatever processes we are experiencing but then moving our perspective outward to the bigger picture. When successful, I can accept the moment of a "feeling" and then let it go as I choose what significance it will have in the grand scheme of things.
I suppose that is free-will.
No one else gets to dictate what we experience feelings-wise... we get to choose. I don't know about you, but sometimes when I REACT to a situation, that hurt seems to be a direct result of what the OTHER PERSON said or did. So once upon a time, I would have agreed with those who claim that outside sources dictate our current emotional state. And to some extend, perhaps they do. Bang, we've been hit with something, and for whatever reason we have wired ourselves in such a way that determines what our REACTION will be. But the truth is, we CHOOSE how we want to wire ourselves and ultimately HOW our immediate reactions will look like. One step even further than that, we can see what would be our reaction and still choose an alternate outcome.
Don't get me wrong, I am not a fan of people who have a real feeling about something but choose to put up a front that mirrors what they WANT their feeling to be rather than what it really is. To me, that gets chalked up with deception. There's a fine line between being civil and diplomatic and being down-right two-faced. How many times have you personally experienced deep hurt from a situation that after seeking clarification, you found out it was misunderstood from the get go? All that hurt for no reason at all!
But how often do you seek that clarification? How much hurt do you have that may not even need to be there at all?
I've decided that I would much prefer having someone come up to me and say "Hey, when you said... blah-blah-blah... that really hurt. Is that really what you meant or did I misunderstand you?" Wouldn't that be so much better than the person thinking I really meant what I said in the negative aspect they mistook it for? Yikes! My mouth rambles off many times... I shudder at the notion of things I may have said that could have easily been misunderstood! Please allow me the chance to further explain, or clarify rather than think I would wish ill on anyone!
Doesn't everyone feel that way?
To my surprise... no. Some people just really have no desire to find out where they are wrong. I suppose it is much easier to live in a lovely world where one makes no mistakes, but the truth is, we do live in a fallen world and that means we are riddled with mistakes... both conscious and unconscious. So how can fix them if we aren't willing to find them?
How badly do we want to see ourselves as we truly are?
Perhaps some of us much prefer the shortened days of winter where the light being cast on us is minimized and we can better live in the shadows of our own denial. Some days, even I think I like it there! Otherwise, I am reminded of my many faults and the long road ahead of me.
And why do we try to hide our faults from each other? I find that those who try to hide their humanity the most are those who often experience offence. So ask yourself truly... do you often take offence to what others are saying? Do you often care more about WHO knows about your life rather than WHAT is in it?
I think that's why this blog is so important to me. For one thing, it's a time for me to ask myself these questions and really seek out what is going on inside of me... Is this what I am doing in my own life? It's my processing, so to speak. But it also keeps me accountable. It's often a public confession, a big 'ol sign that says "Man o man, I am not perfect... look at me and see WHY God sent Jesus in the first place!" It knocks me off my pedestal of "best intentions" and reminds me that I have to LIVE my faith through constant growth. And how can I grow if I am not constantly challenging myself to look beyond my comfort zone?
It also teaches me to be respectful of other people's opinions. It's a vulnerability that doesn't leave me feeling as though other people's judgments could reach me like arrows... it is a giving of myself to God through witnesses. While other people's judgments can sting, their opinions have nothing to do with my eternity. In fact, they themselves will have to be accountable for their judgements... not me. (Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." So really, I have nothing to lose in being raw and honest... but I have everything to gain... freedom from my sin through accountability! Jesus cannot atone for my sin if I do not lay it bare before His feet. That means I need to know exactly what it is... and proclaim it!
As though on cue, a sunbeam has come bursting through the window!
So these are some of the questions that visit me today and the challenges they present me. Whose opinions matter most to me? My brethren or God's? Where do I seek my validation? My husband? My friends? Or God? Do I keep pointing the finger at those who "hurt" me? Or do I ask myself where I have played a part in situations of unease? Am I willing to apologize to someone who has felt hurt by me? Do I want to find out that I have hurt him or her?
Do I love my brothers and sisters in Christ enough to be lovingly honest and accountable to them? Or do I fear their opinion and live out a false front?
So many questions to keep me on task! So what do I CHOOSE? (I use the present term so as to own the following statements NOW rather than view them as a future goal).
I choose to be accountable.
I choose to be honest and seek clarification even if the potential outcome scares me.
I choose to see the bright side of all situations and to remind myself how things could be much worse. (Because really, they can!)
I choose to conquer each challenge in my life with triumphant conviction that all can be accomplished through the strength of God... and NOT my own!
I choose to shine with His light, not for my glory but for His!
With those choices in my heart, I can better serve my husband, my children, my family, my friends and even perfect strangers when I step out my front door... which means I can better serve God. Let's hope I can live those choices and stay accountable to them! Don't worry, I'll let you all know when I've failed!
With that, the sun is well in the sky beaming with his own triumphant glow! May the very warmth of His light pour forth and find you at this very moment. May you be freed not just by asking yourselves these questions, but by accepting the answers... even if they are not what you want them to be. May you feel my hand on yours as I look humbly into your eyes to remind you that you do not walk this humbling journey alone... and that I cannot think any less of you for your mistakes for I cannot even see yours past my own! May we find each other in the darkness and seek His light for the sake of illuminating what it is we need to see about ourselves... so that we can change it. And through this season of Winter in your lives, may you find His warmth and comfort as he embraces you as His sacred child... filled with the breath of His will. I love you all out there! Thanks for loving me, too, just as I am! God bless!