Tag Archives: shame

Um, hi?

changeSo… apparently I have not written since Nov. of 2014. The December one doesn’t count because I was just sharing a video. It’s September of 2015. Um, yeah… I just don’t know.

Now that I have that taken care of… I thought I’d pop in and document a little of what God has been doing. Because, of course, He IS doing stuff. All.The.Time. I love this about Him, I really do. Sometimes the stuff is hard and that’s what He’s been doing over the past 10 months. This could also explain the 10 months of quiet. And possibly the additional weight, because I tend to eat when things are hard. That could be a post all its’ own. But now I hear Krispy Kream will be opening two locations in Houston, so there’s that.

Anyway, I started a 24 week class called Faithwalking 201. Every other Monday the group met together and every week we “met” with our assigned coach via google. If you have ever been in any kind of 12 Step program, the coach is exactly like a sponsor. My Alanon sponsor moved a few years ago and I haven’t asked anyone else, so having a coach was great for me. In fact, accountability has never proven to be a poor choice for me. Plus, my coach was awesome!

There were several things I learned, and I am still learning, about why I do the things I do.  Having been through LOTS of study and counseling of who I am both in the Christian realm and through Alanon,  I had my doubts about participating in Faithwalking (FW). (I mean, really… in my head I kept saying, “I already dealt with all that stuff!”)  I have to say, though, FW201 helped me figure out how all my “character flaws” (Alanon)/ “vows” (FW) are related: I have never felt good enough. Ever. Well, since elementary school. Gah! Yes, I know in my mind all the things God says about me. I have memorized verses that talk about his love towards me, how I’m forgiven, how I’m cleansed through Jesus, etc. I have two amazing parents who not only taught me these things, but showed me by how they lived their lives. I’ve completed bible studies on the subject. I’ve even counseled others. But here’s the thing – when I was little I internalized something (a lie) and told myself I wasn’t good enough. Several events happened, which reinforced the lie, so it parked in my heart. And from then on I tried coping with that lie by being a people pleaser, perfectionist, and ridiculously competitive. It was an attempt to try and feel good enough. I made good grades, excelled at the extra-curricular activities I was in, could pretty much get along with anyone, did well at work, kept my spaces clean/tidy, etc. These things, in and of themselves, are not bad. But it is the reason I did these things (to “earn” value) that ended up being unhealthy for me.

Because I was trying to earn my value, I allowed bad behavior in relationships because I honestly felt I wasn’t good enough for the relationship anyway, so… yeah. Also, following the rules was imperative in my world and I’ve pretty much done that all my life. (OK, so maybe a “few” things I haven’t followed the rules on. Or more. But mainly… you get the point. Let’s not dwell on that right now. Ha.) I have also judged others based on their lack of rule following.  I have also expected things to go “right” if I did follow the rules.  As you and I both know, life is not fair and “following the rules” does not guarantee the conclusion you want. Unfortunately. Hard lesson.

As a competitive, people pleasing perfectionist (that’s a mouthful), I have hurt people. Sometimes it sounded like putting someone else down to briefly feel better about myself. At times it looked like agreeing, even when I did not agree, because I did not think my opinion held value. Sometimes it looked like “one – upping” on a project or activity.  It also took the form of being angry while playing sports or games or pretty much anything where there is a known winner and loser. Even if I didn’t show it outwardly (which I did quite often), it was in my heart. Activities that were meant to be fun were not. In fact, I would not try something unless I thought I would be good at it -and by good at it, I mean win or be the best.  And I have expected things from others that they are not able to give.

These coping mechanisms (people pleasing, perfectionism & being competitive) have not served me well over the past 47 years. But here is the GREAT news… as Dr. Phil says… you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. For years I could not (or would not) acknowledge my people pleasing, perfectionism or the fact I felt the need to compete with every.single.person.on.the.planet did harm to anyone but myself. Inside I knew I didn’t like those traits about myself, but never realized those things could be changed.

Knowing the reason I started all that craziness, brings so much hope. Hope, because that means I can change. I can encourage and applaud those better than me without feeling less. In fact, doing that for others has actually increased my self-esteem. I can let go of the competition, knowing we are all created equally. I can let cars in front of me instead of having to be first. I can play games and have fun even if I lose. I no longer need to avoid social situations because I don’t feel good enough or pretty enough or smart enough… or any of the enoughs. I am enough because God says I am. I can share my opinion and even survive conflict (gasp) without my whole world crumbling. Obviously, these are all things in progress, so don’t read this thinking I’ve gotten it all together because I haven’t. Not even close. I’m sure my kids would agree. 😉

Acknowledging and changing are two very distant cousins…but they are related. More hope, just in case you needed it. :) Because here’s the truth: we ALL have SOMETHING. Some lie we have internalized and along with that lie, another lie which tells us that’s just who we are. That people can either “take us as we are or get out of our lives”. This is not true. God is in the business of changing us so we are able to serve him and honor him with our lives. He is willing to bring up all the yuck to get to the good stuff…if we will let him.

Isn’t it so great to know a God who loves you enough to show you your faults? Not to shame or guilt you, but so you can be FREE? Seriously, that is some kind of love.  I was just telling my kids a few nights ago that I have rules for them BECAUSE I love them. It’s the same way in friendships. I confront because I love, not because I don’t. It’s almost always difficult to be on the receiving end, but it can also change your life for the better if you allow it.

Once you start learning to live without the lie you’ve believed for years, replacing it with something true is vital.  Now when the lie runs through my head I remind myself of my 3 new truths: I am strong, I am courageous, and I am adored by the One that matters. These are true for you, too.

OH…and just in case I don’t write again for awhile (because obviously this post is long enough for several posts – hope you had some caffeine)…

Happy Halloween
Happy Thanksgiving
Merry Christmas
Happy New Year

Just kidding.

Maybe. :)

Accepting Boundaries

HOVThree years ago the company I work for decided to move its’ office.  Without asking me. Further from my house. The traffic at 8 AM on I-10, in Houston, is excruciating (and at 9am this morning it was just as excruiating. Ugh.).  Just going from my house to the first office nearly put me over the edge. Bubble wrap became a welcomed friend for the drive to work every morning. It was that, or road rage.

The thing was… there was an HOV lane. Sitting in traffic day after day, watching others enjoy its “goodness”, I started dreaming of driving on that lane.  I would watch countless people weave back and forth on the lane. Single drivers. Not getting caught. I judged them. How could they? They should know better! Often I would shout (as if they could hear me), “You need to go back to kindergarten so you can learn to wait in a line!” When one of them tried to weave back into the main lanes, I was determined they would not get in front of me.  I would have my own justice. Some even got “the eye”. You know, the “stink eye”.  The one that can move children to do things without a single word. Yep, that’s the one.

Then it happened…it all started with a single thought…that grew. Maybe I could weave in and out and get to work faster. All these people in the regular lanes are just suckers. Who sits in a really long line when there is obviously an alternative? I even seriously considered purchasing a dummy to put in my backseat so I could drive on it “legally”. (And yes, I use that term lightly.) I spent days thinking about the hair color, the outfit the dummy would wear,  accessories, and even the age.  I settled on an infant… in a car seat… with a blanket over it like I used to do with my kids while they slept. I even decided I would have a CD of a baby crying playing so when the policeman looked in he would not only see the infant carrier, but he/she would HEAR my “baby” crying. (Don’t judge. I had HOURS every morning to think about this stuff.) Until one morning, I was one of the ones weaving in and out on that lane. Once I did it the first time (and didn’t get caught), I couldn’t stop myself. The rush of potentially getting caught was not a good rush. It was a stress; an “OMGOSH I’m gonna get caught!” kind of rush. Every. Single. Time. The judgement I had for others came back to me. Every time I drove back into the regular lanes, I felt stares boring into my soul. My embarrassment and shame for breaking the law was just too much. Every morning I promised myself I would not do it and every morning I did. I felt trapped. Trapped in my own shame. Trapped by a decision that began with one single thought. I was “one of those people”. Ugh.

Until… magical white boundaries appeared one day.  A boundary that wasn’t just a line that I could cross, but 4′ plastic markers placed about 6 feet apart. Instead of feeling frustrated, I was relieved. That boundary helped me stop a very bad habit of breaking the law. I felt safe. And still do.

It’s funny how boundaries work that way.

Recently, God set a boundary for me. At the time, it was difficult to accept. Very difficult. In fact, I fought it for awhile and shed lots of tears. I kept thinking I could just go back and forth and be OK.  But God said no. More than once. He can be quite persistent.

Once I accepted the boundary, though, I felt free…and safe. I also realized it was set to protect me. Not to keep me from something good, as I once thought.

There are so many things in life that happen that way. A thought takes root. And before we know it, we are doing something we never thought we’d do… or say.

So thankful to have a Father that loves me enough to discipline me. It does hurt at the time, but brings healing and freedom after. Freedom that sometimes I didn’t even know I needed.

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Hebrews 12:10/The Message (MSG)
4-11 Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?

My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,
but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.

God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.