You can probably see the hand going up, palm out; the face turning… eyes tilted… slit sideways glaring at you; front shoulder slumping downward to expertly avoid the burden they believe you have just attempted to place there. Maybe you can even hear a huff escaping before,”Stop! You’re breaking my heart!” Can you hear it? Can you see her…maybe she has a Boston accent or a New Jersey accent. Maybe she just has a smart-ass accent. Maybe she…or he is sassy. Thoughtless? Yes. Rude? Sadly, yes.
One thing you know immediately and for certain is that you really are not breaking their heart. What they are saying is that they do not have time for your foolishness. You are silly and stupid and need to shush-up. Stuff it. They don’t want to hear it. Not now. Not ever. They don’t care.
Please don’t shush me up. Please don’t mind if I tell you something…
Let’s go back to an hour ago. I was at a funeral for a 29 year old woman. I did not know her, but I “kind of” know her mother. “Kind of” because she helps at my church by making phone calls or sending emails to remind volunteers when they are on the schedule to serve. That is how she serves…reminding people when they are needed. She does this from home because she has physical realities that make it hard for her to get out. She has had a tough go of it…and now she has lost her daughter way too soon.
I cried. I cried for the mother and the friends and family. I cried because I hoped that the daughter had not had too much pain before she passed …and that the mother and friends and family would not have too much pain now.
Let’s go back to 8am this morning.
I saw a perfect cat… dead on a busy road.
It was not bloody or mangled…it was just lying still on the side of the road.
I said, “Oh, no! How sad!” And I wanted to cry. I thought of the cat’s human family…maybe the child who had lost its pet. I worried that the cat might not have died suddenly and had experienced pain before it died all alone. And then immediately I heard God remind me of something that I just read last week…”More than a million children are prostituted into the sex trade each year…There are 143,000,000 (THAT IS NOT THOUSAND but MILLION) orphans in the world today. Thirty-five million people world-wide have HIV. Twenty-seven million souls are currently slaves…”
The list could go on and on and on…Children being abused; spouses being abused; children being neglected; children being used as pawns in their childish parent’s horrible divorce games; starvation; chronic disease; cancer and its horrific toll
…the toll on everyone who knows and loves someone who is a victim.
There is so much pain and hurting.
And last week I thought that I was in pain.
I pulled a 400 pound Sam’s Club grocery cart over my left Achilles. After I gingerly pushed it off, I wanted to scream and cry and throw up. But I was in the middle of the Sam’s store! So, instead I stood silently and waited until I could walk again. In my head I said, “Why?”… “What? What is it?”
It was far too random to be coincidence.
Two days later I shut my finger in a door. I wanted to scream and cry again…but I was in the middle of my daughter’s school at her theater performance…so I bit my lip and tried to ignore the pounding and throbbing that made me again silently but fervently ask, “Why? What are you trying to tell me?”
You have my attention!
Two days later I am walking down my road about a mile from my house and I greet a couple of kids riding bikes and as I say hello, I step into the gutter and twist my left ankle…the one attached to the terribly bruised Achilles. The kids were concerned for me…but I assured them I was OK even though I was not sure of it myself. It took me several seconds to determine that the sprain could be walked off and I had not pulled any ligaments or broken any bones.
“What are you trying to tell me? Please tell me!”
I KNEW it was God trying to get my attention. That is just how our relationship is. It is what He sometimes has to do to get me to PAY ATTENTION. Random excruciating pain that is not permanent is what happens to me when I need to learn something and I am not “getting it” by gentler methods.
Two days later my friend Joy tells me that our friend Angie…who is a “healer” and a “wise woman” (my titles for her because that IS what she is!)… wants to see me. That was random too…but I was looking for the message…and Angie is a messenger.
I sent Angie a text to find out why she wanted to see me. To make a long story short…she asked me what was going on in my life and I was very unfiltered. I did not tell her about my random injuries…but I told her about myself. And because I trust her and know that she is a beautiful person who has good motives I was very honest with her.
Several minutes later she had posted the following message on her Facebook page…
“We all come to a point where we learn to take responsibility for our experience, our actions, and our reactions to others. It’s very easy to look outwardly at how others need to change and do things differently. Then we wouldn’t have the problems we do. This is false and we are missing the point of the interaction.
But we are the ones who have it all together, right? I mean, we have read all the spiritual self help books, done the emotional work on ourselves. We are the ones …thinking positive and keeping our vibes high. Surely the problem has nothing to do with us and our behavior and our beliefs. Maybe we can help them change and grow by sharing our awesome wisdom. So says the spiritual ego. It has everything to do with us.
Dr Hew Len says, ” Have you ever noticed that every time there is a problem, you are there perceiving it?” Hmmm.. Curious thought.
In order to be the one who is always right, we must make others wrong. This is an endless cycle and growth only comes when we let go of that ego need and our strong personal opinions and beliefs about how everything should be and how everyone should behave.
I found myself here the other day and am grateful to have a friend who cared enough to point out that I was the problem. I would have much rather it been someone else’s issue, then I wouldn’t have had to do anything in order to change myself. Change is necessary. Change is good.”
I posted a comment in response: “Ouch. That was painful. Growing pains I guess.”
BUT my immediately feeling was a huge pain in my heart. Like she was judging me. Like she thought that my ego was out of control…like I wanted others to change but was failing to see that it was ME who needed to change. I felt like she had seen the error of my ways and was making an example out of my honesty to her…
I actually felt like my heart had been stabbed. It was excruciating! I wanted to scream and cry and throw up. I was in my house, so this time I allowed myself to shed a few tears.
I wanted to scream, “Et tu, Brute?” “Don’t you understand how hard it is to be me???”
And then as quickly as I felt betrayed I went, “Ah HA!” There it is. There is the lesson!” And I was happy. I was relieved and thankful.
When I took my ego out of it, I could see that what I had said made her remember how she had felt the week before about her own self. She had written the message not to me, but TO HERSELF! …just like I always do with these posts….there may be Universal Truths in my words and stories that speak to other people too…but mostly this is my place for my own personal growth. These are my own Life Lessons that I put down so that I can read them…and if you happen to read them and get something from them, then that is icing.
I knew that when I read her words, that I felt such stabbing pain because the painful truth of them… and the way that she just laid them out there raw…
Like I do.
No sugar coating. No rounding off the sharp edges. No sparing who might be struck by the flaming arrows zinging through the air.
I sent her a message that said, “You know you just did to me what I am so good at doing to others…straight shooting. Honesty is brutal. Lesson learned.”
She responded assuring me that the lesson had been her discovering a truth through her own life and pain. It was her lesson for her and not directed at me.
But it was to me. It was the growing pain that God was preparing me for all week.
I told her that it “hurts to be smacked awake by a peaceful person. It gets your attention. But thank you.”
She gave me permission to smack her awake in the same fashion as needed.
That is what friends are for.
Dying is painful.
Living is painful.
Change can be REALLY painful.
Pain and suffering can cause us to shut down or give up hope. That IS the evil scheme. And it works. Too often it works!
When we are in pain and are suffering we want to close our eyes and curl up in a ball or grasp on to anything…in desperation like a person who feels like they are drowning.
But this is what we must do to thwart the scheme: Keep our eyes fixed. Resist the urge to panic and flail. Stand firm.
On October 15, 2014 a lady I had never met and have not seen since gave me a prophecy. Other ladies present knew this woman had a gift, so one of them wrote down the words spoken and presented the prophecy on a piece of notebook paper.
This is what was said:
“Do not be weary in well-doing. I see you standing on a hill. A strong wind is blowing; so strong your hair is blown back. You are standing with your face to the wind. Stand firm. God has heard every prayer. He captures all of your prayers and will answer. Someone close to your heart will see a glorious change. I see a clock that is set at almost 12:00. In prophetic language that means that it is about to happen. Do not be weary in well-doing. When the wind of adversity blows, stand firm. God has given you hinds’s feet for high places. Joy, joy, joy unspeakable is your lot.God is never late but He is never early. He is always right on time. Your part is to stand.”
I have not read that since October. It makes me cry. It gives me chills. I know it is true.
I am going to say some things soon that might make you angry…or test your beliefs.
Again I must remind you that Religion and God are not the same thing…And as long as you are caught up in your Religion you will not be able to see God. Matthew 6:24: says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Or anything more than God. Do you love your Methodist or Lutheran Traditions? Do you love your Baptist or Church of Christ Beliefs? Do you love the Sacraments that your church performs? Will any of that save your soul? Is God anywhere to be found in all the things that you do for Him?
Have you ever considered that He doesn’t want or need anything but to be loved by you…to be loved by you more than you love anything or anyone else?
And if you really do love Him like we should then that is all that we need to “do” because everything else will come from that.
If it isn’t about your love for God then it is Religion…and it is meaningless.
..anything that does not point to God’s mercy… that He chose us! It is not our place to do the choosing! It has already been done!
…anything that is not about Salvation …belief and faith that Jesus took our place! When we deserved to die for our sin He took our punishment on Himself! It has already been done!
…anything else is part of a scheme to keep you occupied and feeling guilty…like you haven’t done enough. You can’t do anything to earn God’s mercy or win salvation…except accept it.
A life lived blinded by and consumed by Religion looks like this:
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.”
Friends, I will try to be gentle…but I will not be moved. I must speak out. There is a world full of Religion that will not like my message! But I am determined to shout it from the Mountain top and pray that upon hearing it, you will know for certain that there is no law that we can keep and no law that we can break that can do or undo the Work that God has already accomplished. All that is required is for us to believe and accept and let God do with us what He will.
To His Glory.