13/05/2013

Just Playing Your Role*

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , at 9:41 am by The Water Bearer

stage

One of the concepts my Dear Departed Dad always used to explain to me, has come back to me recently. It’s as though he still helping me, even after his passing.

Back when he was still around, and I was struggling to keep the faith and stay on track, He always had a phrase of comfort, or a story with stability to ground me. During series of events that made me freak out with fear and dread, events that set off all my triggers of my psychological issues, when I was filled with self-condemnation and depression etc. He knew exactly what to say to provide the support that I needed.

This is another one of his concepts that has come back into my recollection…

“Life is a play, earth is the stage. You are merely playing your role. What you face here and how you must react to it will not last forever. You are just up on stage reciting the lines, responding to the actors, the director and the plot. This is not your permanent place, this is a stepping stone to the next place. Just hold on, play the best part you can, and know that when the curtain drops it will all be over and you will never have to play that role again.”

Does that resonate with you as much as it does me?

If an actor makes a mistake on stage, they just keep going as if nothing happened (yet determined to do better next time). If the audience isn’t paying attention to them they just keep on going, doing their best, the reactions around them hardly effect the play.

In the past it helped me avoid so much dread. It helped me step aside and look at the issues without letting them overwhelm me. How I dearly miss his words of wisdom. I am so grateful that they come back to me like this so I can lean on them once again.

Even though life is tough, and gets to be too much at times, we have also been given some great roles to play that balance out the bad. The times I feel like a good mum, when I play with my girls and nurture them with kindness, approval, affection and attention. As a wife, when I can comfort and support my man. Times I feel completely loved as a child of God, Or am brave enough to share something I created. Amongst gatherings of loved ones filled with laughter and companionship, or as a servant to those in need. Even just the ability to enjoy my own company while staring deep into the blue sky above or a picturesque sunset, or the crashing waves of the ocean.

There are so many fabulous roles for us to play, let’s not allow the harder roles drag us into despair. One day all will be washed new, the curtain will drop on our time here and the next place will be where we can be our true authentic selves, not poisoned by the inner enemies we carry around with us while we are here.

It is just a play and this is just the stage!

end curtain

22/03/2013

Giving Up Comfort for Destiny*

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:21 am by The Water Bearer

comfort 2

It took a long time for me to hit publish on my first post, 2 years in fact. I missed out on the wonderful Blogosphere for so long because it was so very far from my comfort zone. Have you missed out, while clinging to your comfort zone too? But isn’t it amazing when we do take a risk and perhaps experience a little discomfort, in order to bring something new and wonderful into our lives!

After the long list of times I have found success in my faith walk, you would think I might be more courageous. I have written many posts bursting with evidence of courage and victory, posts about standing on God’s promises, about speaking up for faith while risking my reputation. I have shared the amazing tale of trusting God with my premature Daughter. I have advised on all the ways to gain help from above, and many more, but my courage seems fickle sometimes.

I’ve noticed that most of these experiences seem to have emerged from the most desperate times in my life. Times I was fighting for my sanity, when I was fighting for my family’s & my safety, or I was fighting for a new life.boxing

It is much easier to choose to hand these types of situations over to God, because I know I have no control over them anyway.

Recently, God has been teaching me to let go of control in other ways, in areas that don’t threaten my life, or my sanity. Teaching me about sacrificing my ability to create comfort around me.

You see, I have this yearning inside me to go to the next level in my life, like destiny is calling my name so loudly it is deafening sometimes.

Yet, I have a good life. I am extremely blessed. I don’t have that desperation to HAVE TO change or improve anything with great intensity. Life is looking pretty damn good right now, and I am so grateful for that!

I guess I find myself at a point where I am scared of what I will have to give up in order to reach that next level. Sayings, which we have all heard a million times, are replaying in my mind, “Why fix something that is not broken” & “Don’t rock the boat!”. (Sigh*)

I read this awesome post Being Comfortable can Become Crippling and it hit me in the core of my being. It made me realise something profound.

I am crippled by my comfort!

The blogger replied to my comment, where I shared my recent predicament, and her words were simple, convicting and wonderful. I saw how our Inner enemies use our comfort as something we pursue, aimlessly following it wherever it takes us, yet while chasing after this comfort we miss out on the greater blessings and purpose given to us from above.

Her last few words gave me the kick in the pants I needed –

“It’s time to bust out of our comfort zone and jump into the lake of faith and swim. I know we don’t know how deep the water is, but God will be our floatation device. Trust Him!!!”

WOW! Right?

It is easy to fight against an opposition that is obvious, enemies that you can see threatening you, but we must go deeper and fight against those next level inner enemies, the ones that aren’t so blatant but just as damaging to the greater plan for our lives.

It is time to fight back against these tactics which hold us back. Time to break out of our comfort zone and see what we are really here for.

Lord I pray you show me how, guide me toward YOUR steps, and I will go, with your strength as my cane and your wings as my safety.

breaking free 3

08/02/2013

Spiritual Surgery*

Posted in Family, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:34 pm by The Water Bearer

scalpel

There are times when I get so frustrated at myself for my sins, when I drop to my knees and scream “I want to change more!”. The Lord has protected me, and been faithful to me, He suffered for me and forgives me. He has led me to grow through my life and I have changed in so many ways, but still I scream….

I am a Type A, Sanguine personality, we are naturally quite fiery and feisty, not placid and calm very often, being quiet is extremely hard for this personality type. Over the years the Lord has been working on me and we have made some progress in this area. However, I can still get going at times and once I am in full flight it can be nearly impossible to stop myself. In the worst episodes I can be cocky and arrogant, I can be condescending and self-righteous. I mentioned in a previous post that I was praying for the Lord to help me develop quiet confidence and this post seems to be an extension of that.

Many of us grew up answering back and yelling our way through, believing we have to prove we are right against anyone who questions or challenges us. This is usually directed at, but not limited to, other family members, who also yell to prove how right they are. I can say honestly that this has been an extremely hard habit to break, and I am still not completely there yet.

It seems absurd to me though, I am a child of God and desperately want to represent all the good He can bring about in a person who submits to Him. And yet, while trying to be seen as right, my actions can be so very wrong.

How can we be a good example of God’s grace if we are so busy being right, that we forget to be kind?

What is the point of convincing the whole world we are right about something, if we have lost the respect of those we love along the way? None at all!

In this way and others, my fear of mistakes has been showing it’s ugly head in more and more ways since my recent breakthrough. I pray this is the Lord purging it from my nature so I can finally treat others with the respect and kindness I would like to, without this subconscious fear poisoning my reactions. I have had some ridiculous fears in my lifetime, and as I have come to recognise each one in turn I have handed them over into God’s hands. I am so grateful that I can now recognise and confess this deep fear, because He has never let me down, He is faithful to destroy all fear!

I am looking at this fear as a giant boil that has been festering away, growing and infecting me for too long, and now that we have found it Christ can bring it to the surface and remove it from me, just as He has done with all the fears that came before this one.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
 
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)
 

Developing faith into every area of life is a gradual process. At the start of our walk with Him we may see many changes quite quickly, however over time I have noticed that it takes a fair bit of digging to get right down to those conditions we didn’t even know have been there all along, generational curses, soul ties, deeply buried pain, and other enemies we may have been exposed to during childhood.

I may have found and confessed my fear, I may be frustrated that it is still coming out of me in ways I don’t find very flattering. However I understand that Christ is the surgeon, if we put our lives and fears in His hands, we can watch as His precise scalpel removes each and every inner enemy, and there are always many of His amazing blessings to reap after recovering from the surgery! Amen!

Praise His Name, I am so grateful to know the love of the Lord!

fear nothing

04/02/2013

Fear of Mistakes*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , at 11:50 am by The Water Bearer

I have another confession to make…

Deep down I’m petrified!

anxiety

Of getting it WRONG!

Am I alone in this fear?  … I doubt it.

This has been a fear all of my life, although I am only just recently beginning to accept and understand it on a new level. I can get quite defensive if I am accused of doing something wrong, especially when I know I tried my best and someone else assumes I didn’t. I take it as a personal attack, an accusation that I didn’t care enough to try.

This is not to say that I won’t admit when I am wrong, if I see my error first I will be the first to announce it, in fact I run to apologise and correct my err. If I have ever consciously chosen to do the wrong thing I expect to feel remorse and will take my punishment on the chin.

My fear is more that I will be deemed unworthy because of my short-comings, shamed to the point of rejection, rejected to the point of depression. It is those times that come unexpected, those left field errors, the times you thought you got it right and it turns out you got it WRONG! When you realise you have been deceived, by yourself, or by your inner enemies. Times like these I feel the colour drain from my face, my stomach does a flip and heat rises up my neck like a flame, covering my face in beads of sweat. My mind becomes a chaos of thoughts of shame and self-condemnation, justifications and desperation. In some cases tears well in my eyes.

As I mentioned in my last post, somewhere along the road of life I have subconsciously attached being ‘Right’ with being ‘Happy’, and therefore if I am wrong I am doomed to be ashamed and unhappy. Yet most of us understand we must make mistakes in order to learn. I love to learn so I should love making mistakes. Right? Wrong again!

As I’ve gotten older I have made many efforts to tackle this fear, after my car accident I suffered tremendous attacks of anxiety which made my ability to concentrate extremely difficult, if not impossible. I spent 3 years after my car accident, off work and in therapy, trying to recover both physically and mentally. I felt useless, I couldn’t imagine how I could be of any use to an employer or to my family. I needed quite a bit of rehabilitation to help me feel capable of working again, anxiety had me in it’s tight grip and I was sure my constant lack of concentration and focus would cause me to be punished and looked down on, viewed as worthless and perhaps even fired. I couldn’t bare the thought of letting people down, especially not an employer or a loved one.

mistakes

Therapy and working since then has helped me accept that we all make mistakes, human errors are unavoidable, I needed to learn to give myself a break.

My first job after the accident was with my best friend, she was extremely understanding and supportive. The boss of our department did me the world of good, He never punished his staff for making mistakes, he never made us feel like we had let him down if we didn’t reach perfection, in fact the opposite. He made fun of us in a joking, sarcastic manner, like a friend would, and always took our side against cranky customers. He made us feel we were good enough, even if we had done nothing but make mistakes all day. Lets face it, we have all had days like that..Haven’t we?

My recent breakthrough in therapy, made me aware that I allow this fear to infiltrate my parenting techniques, and I have been making every attempt to undo some of the damage this may have had on my children. It is not easy, I am still afraid, I wonder if I will ever be able to let these attacks slide off my back like water off a duck. (There are some great tips in this post how to prevent a cycle of this fear passing onto our children, also Brené Brown has done some amazing research in this area.)

I thank God so much for the realisation of this deep fear, because it is only when we accept something that we can begin to change it, we can place our fears in His capable hands. Our children deserve to feel good enough even when they make mistakes. We deserve to feel good enough even when we are wrong. Yeshua/Jesus would not have needed to come and suffer such a horrendous ordeal if we were capable of being perfect on our own. Our true happiness doesn’t come from getting it right all the time, it comes from knowing we are always worthy to Him, that He will never reject us, and that we will always be loved by Him.

29/01/2013

Beginning to Undo the Damage*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:29 pm by The Water Bearer

beach

The theme of my concerns over recent weeks/months/years, has circled my role as a Mum. I have this tremendous fear that my insecure reactions may have already damaged my children’s sense of self worth. How it is especially hard trying to raise them to be healthy, happy and secure, while I am still trying to get myself there. I get angry at myself for falling short, giving them less than they deserve. Tears well up as I confess this, it is extremely difficult to share, so please bear with me. I will try to allow my vulnerability and shame to create something worthwhile here…

I lean heavily into my faith, repeating the mantra, “Don’t Stress, Do your Best, God will take care of the Rest and You’ll be Blessed”. I trust in this, yet I admit my trust wavers, especially when it comes to me doing my best, am I really? While He develops my faith, I pursue healing… I must for their sake and my own.

My children are older now (9 & 16), they are dealing with emotional issues, more than behavioural ones. They are extremely well behaved, and try their best to be so. Recently I watched my reactions as a parent to my children even more closely; I saw how often my desire to teach them sounded as if they were ‘less than’. How my attempts to help them understand happiness made them confused and sad. How my reaction to their unhappiness made them self-conscious and withdrawn.

I broke down…

“How is this still happening?” I thought to myself. After over 6 years of therapy and 13 years of developing faith, I still have not figured out how to stop the cycle of damage and self-loathing which has infected its way throughout my family tree.

I wrote and wrote, I poured out my confessions on every scrap of paper I could lay my hand to. I let the tears fall as I held myself accountable for their growing hearts, which need to be nurtured by a Mum that loves in healing ways, not toxic ones. Yet I had no idea why my love was so poisoned.

Then as usual I withdrew again…. into distractions and a couple of glasses of red.

I had a 2.5 hour session with my therapist the other week, and we spent time figuring out the core of my parenting crisis. It was supposed to be the usual hour, but he knew I needed more time and gave it willingly, bless him.

After many tears shed and much rambling, probably mostly incoherent, we came to a few realisations. Firstly, that I have a list of responsibilities in the forefront of my mind. Fighting for the top spot of that list is my desire to make my children happy, along with being an obedient, self aware, child of God, and a supportive, capable and loving wife etc.

We narrowed in on my role as a Mum, to find out what causes me to react in unhealthy ways rather than healthy ones (besides the general thesis that my reactions spring from a platform of shame and insecurity). We needed to discover the more specific catalyst.

Eventually this catalyst revealed itself to be a connection between being happy and being right. I grew up believing being ‘right’ was the be all and end all. I spent so many early years unhappy for being so very far from ‘right’, believing many lies were truth, that somewhere along the way of realising this I have attached unhappiness with being wrong.

As we dug a little deeper we found that whenever I see a need to correct my children’s behaviour or teach them how to deal with something new, my fear of their unhappiness attaches itself to them being human (not perfect) and my panic causes an emotional reaction. This emotional reaction is more powerful than my words aimed to teach, more powerful than my good intentions. My way of defending against the fear is what shows on my face as I react. My anger at myself for believing those early lies is what shines out, and all they must see is an angry, scared Mum. No wonder it doesn’t work out well. 😦

We also figured out that I seem to be missing a piece of the puzzle, the place of stability that helps gauge which situations are worth getting upset about and which ones can be met with a neutral, unemotional  response. In my desperate mission to stop my girls ending up like me, I have been allowing my fear to unconsciously correct their emotions and even their opinions. I cant express in words how ashamed I am. Forgive me Father, Forgive me Girls!

And so now that I have become aware of this in more detail, I must learn to give supportive freedom for them to experience their own emotions and opinions in each situation and not link them to being right or wrong, happy or sad, damaged or healed. Just to simply accept them, for all that they are. The Lord will teach them in life what I cannot, I need to change my focus to be less about teaching them how to not be like I was/am, and more on helping them be who they are. Using Affection, Approval and Acceptance to help them believe they are good enough, that they belong and are loved.

My psych has given me some tips to practice, in order to attempt to undo some of these patterns.

  • Sitting face-to-face with them wordlessly, non-judgmentally, soothing the internal dialogue inside me, which drives me to teach them to control and avoid imagined catastrophes.
  • Sit and listen without responding so much. (Oh my, that is hard for me at anytime)
  • Try not to challenge any opinion they have unless 99% sure that it is incorrect.
  • Try not to challenge any emotions they have, merely SHARE the experience with them.
  • Try not to let their emotions change my emotions reactively. Wait until I can think neutrally before making decisions. This will teach what my words could not, that emotional manipulation is unfair and unhealthy.
  • Before I respond to anything, ask myself this question, “Do I feel good enough or defensive?”, and wait until I feel good enough before I respond.
  • Use soft eyes and a low pitch when correcting and teaching.
  • Be aware of my fearful reactions during meditation, run through these tips from a calm relaxed place and allow the fear to pass by without being the catalyst for reaction.

This list is not going to be easy for me to apply, but I have been trying and had a few successes. I hope that someone else out there can gain something useful from this post. So that other children don’t have to stay in unhealthy cycles. I ask for your prayers, pray that this is finally the breakthrough I have been waiting years for and that God will reach down His hand and help me walk these new strategies out in my life. That His love will flow through to fulfill my girls when my love is tainted with fear. That my inner enemies will not win out, but will end up in the pit far away from my me and my family. In Yeshua’s Mighty Name I pray. Amen!

prayer hands

25/01/2013

Rejecting Rejection*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , at 7:22 pm by The Water Bearer

This is one of the most informative and necessary posts I have ever come across, and is referred to in my recent post Healing the Insecurity. Please check it out! Blessings to you!

His Grace Is Enough

Rejecting Rejection
“…to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph.1:6)

The emotional soil our roots are planted in has a bearing on our entire lives. God designed that we should receive love, care and protection in the family. As a child is born into a family it is totally defenseless, and dependable on the family that surrounds it. It is during the formative years of its life that it will receive its identity message. A child brought up in a loving atmosphere and home will face future relationships with security and confidence. Our family loved us and valued us; therefore we must be people of worth.

Psychologists confirm this. They tell us there are three parental attitudes that are absolutely necessary for a sense of security and to develop a wholesome personality. These are acceptance, affection and approval…

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26/05/2012

Discipline + Trust = Love!*

Posted in Family, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:10 am by The Water Bearer

“Come Back!” I yelled through the tears streaming down my face as I ran up the street after him. My heart was twisted in turmoil, my head full of confusion and raging emotion. I was a child in an adult’s body and he was my boyfriend. We hadn’t been going out very long, a few months maybe, but once I had allowed him into my life physically and emotionally I began clinging on for dear life, pinning all my feelings on him. If he told me he ‘loved me and couldn’t live without me’, I was over the moon, if he told me to ‘get lost and leave him alone’, I was on the floor in a heap, devastated by his rejection.

This time he was going out with his friends for the night, but I had spent the day looking forward to spending the night with him. I had conjured up in my head a scene straight from a movie, that he would see me, run to me, hold me, tell me how long his day had been without me, yadda yadda yadda. I would have sent these expectations with my will-power out into the universe and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less!

However I would have no choice but to settle for something much less. He had walked through the door earlier that evening, thrown his work bag on the ground, grunted a ‘G’day’ at me and headed for the shower. I slinked up to him, trying to use my features and curves to get his attention, but he had had a long, hard day and wasn’t biting at any of the bait I was casting his way. All I got in return was that he had to get ready because his mates would be here to pick him up soon. Well, I had just practically thrown myself at this guy and had simply and coldly, been brushed off. Feelings began to build up in my chest and spilled over into my heart, they made their way up into my mind trying to grab onto some logic, something I could say to convince him to stay and make me believe his love for me. I gave him everything that came to mind, but what it boiled down to was ‘If you love me, why are you making me feel bad?’ He didn’t buy into any of my arguments, said of course he loved me but was still going out tonight. A car had pulled up out the front, he turned his back and walked away toward his waiting friends. I was pleading with him to stay, demanding he not leave me. Yearning for him to change his mind and do something to take away the pain, the rejection, the loneliness and fear I was drowning in. I banged on the window of the car and told him to “Get out and talk to me!”, yet instead he gave me an angry, confused look and told his friend to drive. So here I was, running after the car, screaming like a toddler throwing a tantrum in the supermarket over a lollipop they had been refused.

I kept on like that with different boyfriends for many years, every now and then my expectations would not be met, I couldn’t understand why and would become irrational. I couldn’t get my head around this one main question, the question that lit my heart on fire with anger, and devastation.

How can you say you love me, seeing me in tears, being the only one able to take away my pain and still not do what I want you to?’ … I always concluded ‘Then you can’t possibly love me!’

It wasn’t until much later that it all started to make sense to me, I realised that while I thought I had been a good child, I was also very good at turning on the waterworks at the onset of any event I might like to avoid. Being left with teachers, or babysitters, or eating my dinner, or sleeping in my own bed were certain to evoke tears. Like most parents, my Mum found it was simply too hard to stand up to me and my dramatic, emotional manipulation. She couldn’t bear to see me cry.

Who else remembers a typical kindergarten day? Mum or Dad showing you the toys pretending they were staying to play with you, and once you were distracted they would sneak out to avoid seeing your tears and hearing your screams. You would turn around to find they had simply disappeared, and they stayed gone for a many hours. (That’s a long time for a little child). Perhaps you too became scared that if you let go of someone you love they might not be there when you next looked around. Then Mum began making food that I didn’t fuss about so she wouldn’t have to fight to get me to eat, and eventually let me sleep in her bed every night without dispute. I came to believe that the people who love me don’t let me cry…for long.

As I got older, and through some therapy much later on, I came to understand that I suffered from abandonment fear and a misconception of love. My tantrum throwing was as distressing for me as it was for my loved ones. It wasn’t until many conversations with my Dad, where he helped me see that I was also a victim of my own emotional blackmail. In other words, I was allowing my inner enemy to create unreasonable emotions that overpowered me, and then expecting my loved ones to adjust themselves accordingly. Once I realised I simply couldn’t trust my emotions, and accepted that I was misunderstanding what love is and how loving people treat each other, I began the journey to keep my emotions in check and try acting in a loving way rather than an irrational way. It takes a lot of persistence to change a behaviour and a belief you have had all your life, and I am certain I would have had no success without my faith.

There are many others out there who have some experience with these types of overpowering emotions, and they may not have any similarities in their childhood to mine. I believe it is possible for any form of trauma that rocked the foundation of a child’s perception of trust, and love would still carry some weight to create this inner enemy.

In my next blog Discipline + Trust = Love! Part 2 I will continue with this story, and will detail the efforts I have made to prevent my children from following in my footsteps. I also feel compelled to write about how my attitude towards men changed and how wonderful the results were. You can read that here..

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