Every week I hear from stressed-out women dealing with enormous upheaval. I’m glad they can talk about it. For a minute, it makes my problems seem small. For a MINUTE, mind you. Then I wake up to the drama of my own life. It does no good to compare my issues with anyone else’s, or work up gratefulness to suppress the malaise, or minimize my trials. It is what it is, and we all have stuff we’re facing.
I let God sort me out right where I am. Although plenty folks would love the opportunity. God likes it when I’m real. So do I. Much better than exerting useless energy trying to get others to like me when I first need to accept myself. In my world, I still deal with losses, look for ways to de-stress, accept my circumstances, find the joy anyway, and replace my stinkin’ thinking with the truth. You might say I’m being transformed by the daily reprogramming of my stinkin’ thinkin’.
What if how we respond to life is half the battle?
Some of our stress feels hoisted onto us through unexpected events. I call these the avalanches of life, when we’re hit full force by death, a diagnosis, divorce – name your own avalanche. These are bone-crushing changes, mostly out of our control.
The chronic daily stuff, however – what I call the drip-drip stresses of life – will eat at us over time. Some of this we can change, or at least the way we respond or react. One day we wake up and realize we’ve been held hostage to a bad attitude for 30 years. And no wonder! We spent decades living for everyone else! Maybe the only time we felt truly comfortable with God was when we were clicking away pretty good on that religious treadmill . . . but, oh dear. . . then the treadmill broke. What does God think of us now?
Sadly, we discover everything from faith to relationship has suffered a quiet erosion, even the little self-worth we thought we had. That is, if we believe that brokenness belongs to others, and not us.
Surprise. We’re all broken. But we don’t have to stay that way.
Why do we try to hide it?
Brennan Manning once wrote:
If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated not become a light for others. We cling to our bad feelings and beat ourselves with the past when what we should do is let go.
Why do we try so hard to maintain appearances? Is that the reason for cliches and religiosity?. . . to appear more spiritual? What a dilemma! Because if we can’t stop hiding, we’re living with fear. And perfect love casts out all fear, right? We’re already loved and accepted. Believing this could put an end to projecting our insecurities onto each other. What’s your own journey been like?
I’ve so appreciated your good comments this week. Beautiful sojourners here. Thank you for joining in.
Your sister scribe,