Tag Archives: angry Christians

Messing with my Imagination

picturesIt all started close to 7 years ago. It was not intentional by any means; the idea of using my imagination to talk to God was quite freaky really. How do I describe this…? After complaining to God that I thought He was mean one evening, I immediately saw (in my mind’s eye of course) a man sitting on the couch across from me, looking relaxed, and I had the sense that it was supposed to be Jesus.

I know. Weird. I knew it wasn’t something I was secretly wishing for or conjured up on my own! To say that it threw me off guard would be an understatement, but aside from my initial surprise I would have to say I responded quite well when it happened. (chuckle) What I came away with from that encounter was the notion that perhaps He wasn’t as mean as I thought.

Since then, the willingness to use my imagination has gradually become more of a natural way of communicating with Him, but only because it became evident that I wasn’t jumping off the deep end. I discovered that my heart will connect to Him so much easier when I can visualize Him with me when I talk with Him, or imagine the scene in my mind as I read the Bible. Maybe I’m weirding people out by admitting this, but I’m o.k. with that. I always, always use the Bible as my reference point since I believe it’s the Word of God and that it is true. And so far nothing I have experienced in my imagination has contradicted truths written there. If nothing else, it has deepened my beliefs far more than simply praying to the Someone I can’t see, or reading words on a page.

Something profound happens when I am listening to Him speak to me, and then see Him put His arm around me in a hug, or kiss me on the forehead when He tells me He’s proud of me or calls me Darlin’. One could easily assume that I’m simply missing my Dad and am superimposing the relationship I had with him onto God. Well… – no. I was my Daddy’s girl, no doubt about it, and I think that that has definitely contributed to my ability to accept the concept of a Father’s love for me. But when I see Jesus with me, it’s so comfortable… like we are best friends, but better. I jump up when I see Him walking toward me, and I hug Him so tight, beaming from head to toe. He always says something that surprises me and warms me to my very core. Its different every time, too.

Why do I bother sharing this? Well, the fact that I’m a broken record when it comes to the differences between what we think we know as opposed to what we truly believe is no secret. Our hearts are that place where our beliefs have their headquarters, and it’s predominantly through experiences or repetition that beliefs are created – true or false. If we hear or experience something that causes us to have an emotional response to it, that “something’s” effect will remain with us, like it or not.
When we worry about things, we imagine all sorts of possible crazy scenarios, or when we want something badly we fantasize about what it would be like to have it… So the idea of using our imagination to commune with our Creator in a way that draws an emotional response should not be so scary, provided it is plumbed by the Word of God.

Go ahead, I dare ya. Try using your imagination. You know He made it right? (stupid grin)

Shameful Little Secrets

embarrassment       Sharp intake of breath. Right hand rubs my forehead, covering my eyes. Barely audible groan. Whoosh of exhaled breath. Stomach in knots.

That’s what happens when something crosses my mind to remind me of an embarrassing moment, a poor judgement call, a foot-in-the-mouth episode, colorful language I let fly without thinking, or anything else I’ve done that now makes me cringe. These moments still take me by surprise, and tend to plunge me into a mud hole of despair. My shameful little secrets grab me by the throat with no intention of letting go.

I shake my head in disbelief as I recall the people I have hurt, or embarrassment I’ve incurred. What brings tears to my eyes is knowing I have besmirched the name of God countless times by my ignorance, my hot temper, bad 1st impression, or a poorly handled situation. For most of my life I have lived under the category heading of  ‘Christian’. I’ve attended church, youth group, camp, mission trips, and even traveled through the U.S. singing in churches about love and blessings. Yet I still behaved poorly. I would be one of those wretched souls who cause someone that does not know God to look and say “no thanks, if that’s what it means to be a Christian, I don’t want it.”

Believing that it was completely up to me to muster up enough love and control to better my life and be a good example, I deemed myself a failure. A lost cause. 1 Corinthians 13 -the famous Love chapter in the Bible – was avoided at all costs lest I be reminded of my lack of fortitude in that area. I did not have enough love, no matter how deep I dug.

I suppose it’s taken slamming to the concrete floor of nothingness and loosening my hold on all that I thought I could control to allow me to discover priceless treasure: I am different. I am unique. And the anger I have kept prisoner for over 20 years, fueled by fear, does not need to remain as my primary staple for survival. Slowly, but oh so surely, I have begun to cock my head in wonder as I listen to the whisperings of love that have been slipping past my defenses. Gently seeping into the hidden places of pain, the musty cellar hiding my insecurities and conclusions that I do not measure up.

The Voice I am learning to recognize, learning to trust, speaks to me of a love that is not based on what I do or have done in the past. It is given freely to me because the Giver is like that. He gives freely. The only requirement is that I accept it. To accept Him as the ultimate giver of love, freedom, peace, and fullness of life. His grace is immeasurable. And as I welcome this grace with jerks and halts and stops, it begins to settle into my bones, filling me with strength.

What baffles me the most in this extraordinary process is that as I release my anger and in turn accept love and adoration from the Giver, I find I don’t react to people or situations negatively like I used to. Sure I slip up once in awhile, but learning that God is bigger  than I am, and loves me for me somehow enables me to respond rather than react.

That love I could not seem to muster up on my own? It bubbles up to the surface and overflows, and it didn’t originate with me. What a beautiful thing.

 

 

You make me so angry!

Do other people drive you nuts sometimes?

Do you hate it when they just won’t quit? When they don’t get it?

angry

When they won’t stop doing the thing you told them not to do? (It’s for their own good, right?)

Yeah, me too. So why are we the ones with the headaches, the ulcers, the high blood pressure, the once-happy-now-irritable temperaments? It’s their fault, not ours, right?

Wrong.

Let me throw this out there: has it occurred to you that the offending individual will most likely continue their behavior whether you badger them or not? Now, I’m not talking about young children that are our responsibility to teach and protect. I mean the spouse, the sibling, the friend, the acquaintance, the parent, the adult child… the ones that you’re allowing to get under your skin. If you just up and quit the reminding, the bailing out, the protecting, the defending, the hounding, the rescuing, I wonder what would happen? I’ll tell you what would happen, you’d be free!

Hear me when I say this: you can’t control them. You may try, but the reality is that you can’t. The individual that is causing you so much angst is responsible for themselves. Period. They make their own decisions whether you are involved or not. You can have influence, yes, but the choices they make are theirs and theirs alone.

The choice you have is whether or not you’re going to die a slow death of suffering by giving them the power to affect your well-being (do you really want to give that power away?), or to own your responses and process your emotions in a thoughtful, freedom-giving manner. You can do that you know. Amazing, but some of us have lived our entire lives without that knowledge. Somehow we have conducted our day to day lives with the belief that our state of mind or ability to have a good day or experience was dependent on how someone else behaves. Nope.

I’m not saying that what they do won’t affect you. I am saying that you have the choice as to how you will respond and what you will do with what they do or say to you. You can let it fester and become bitter, or angry, or hurt and dejected, or you can choose to believe that they don’t have the power to control you. How freeing is that?

Get off the roller-coaster sweet’ums. Take the power back, and take responsibility. You can do it!

Side note:

  • If your good feelings about yourself stem from how someone approves of you, or whether they seem to like you or not;
  • if you can’t seem to be happy unless you are rescuing that person;
  • you don’t really know what your likes or dislikes are anymore, but you do whatever they like;
  • how that person presents themselves in dress and appearance or how they behave is to you a direct reflection on yourself;
  • or the quality of your life is dependent on the quality, values, and opinions of that other person,

I encourage you to consider the fact you may be co-dependent. It’s “a pattern of learned behaviors, feelings, and beliefs that make life painful.” (Sondra Smalley)

A social worker named Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse has defined it as, “all persons who

  1. are in love or in a marriage relationship with an alcoholic (or someone who engages in addictive behaviors. ie: drugs, booze, work, food.)
  2. have one or more alcoholic parents or grandparents, or
  3. grew up in an emotionally repressive family”

According to her, this includes 96% of the population. Whoa. If this rings true for you at all, you’re not alone. I urge you to begin the journey to take your life back, by looking for an Al-anon group in your area and get the support you need. There are many experienced counselors out there too, so please don’t wait. I regularly attend a group in my area, and it has been life-changing. You can click on this link  Al-anon to find one near you.

Take care of yourself.