Friday, March 9, 2012

From the Other Side of Love and Joy

I've been trying to take note of what it is exactly, or rather, how it is exactly that I've "been transformed" in this process.   While I haven't figured it all out yet, I have taken note of a few things I've realized since I "gave myself up " for Lent.

Here's what I've noticed so far:

  • I worry less.  For someone who is, as my husband gently chides "genetically predisposed" to worrying, this has been a VERY unusual (but welcome!) change for me.   I have a new awareness that worry is really often  symptomatic of a lack of trust (in either God or myself, or both) to handle the situation at hand.  Now, instead of worrying, I find myself more often just "taking in" the situation.  I can't say I don't worry at all anymore, but I will tell you this, I catch myself beginning to worry much earlier and this helps me see the worry for what it is, and then put it away.  I'm realizing now that while it's OK to worry, it's also important not to let the worry win! 

  • I have a cure for the "Disease to Please":   I don't think I'd realized just how pervasive this disease was!  But when I find myself beginning to worry (I said beginning...remember, I don't let it win!) about what others think, I remember that  Jesus Himself was never concerned with pleasing people for fear of hurting their feelings or disappointing them.  He just lived the Truth.  This is just the mindset I need to help me stay focused on living my own Personal Truth.  

  • I can focus more on others.  If I'd had to describe before what a person who "loves him/herself" looked like, I can see now that the idea of "loving oneself" just sounds, well...vain!  We certainly all want to have a "healthy self-esteem" and like ourselves.  But loving ourselves just sounds a bit to much like being IN LOVE with oneself,  which generally means a person who does a lot of talking about oneself, and then bringing the subject back to oneself.  Self-love though, means that you now have, for lack of a better word...enough.  You're no longer busy trying to soak up love and attention from others and turn the light back on yourself, and you finally have "enough" love to truly give it away!

  • It takes one to know one.    It's funny.  I've known people with eating disorders who can spot another sufferer of eating disorders from across the cafeteria just by seeing what's on (or absent) from their lunch tray.  I think the best part of any transformation is  that very often, as soon as we properly identify a broken part of ourselves, God gives us a new lens with which to view the world so that we can  begin to identify and come to the aid of that brokenness in others.  Now my awareness is more finely-tuned so I can better hear the Truth behind the self-depricating laughter.  I can better see the harshness with which we judge ourselves, and the painfully high expectations we put on ourselves.  It is shocking just how often we do!

That being said, let me be the first to tell you that these changes in me are BARELY NOTICEABLE to the outside world.  

You'd never be able to see the difference in a
"before" and "after" photo.

(Though, if I thought you could see them, I'd take the photos and sell this whole program to you for only three easy payments of 39.95!) 

In truth, though, this type of transformation is the way a lot of weight loss and work out programs have been for me.  I just read something the other day that said  it takes our friends up to twelve weeks to notice a difference in our body once we've started working out and eating right, but it only takes us two. 

And I realize it sounds so... well, frankly, dumb to be talking about the need to be more loving towards ourselves, even to my own ears.  But look at it this way... how many of us really need to be educated on eating right and staying healthy?  I think statistically the number must be very small.The truth is that we already know what we need to do. And if we know what we need to do, then we must ask ourselves,

"Who is it that doesn't want me to change?"

And that just may be the moment your head will finally awaken to your (endlessly loving )heart.

As a closing thought, I realize this all may seem just too "common sense."  And I'm sure you're right.  But "common sense" is still thinking with our heads

So let me just tell you what your heart may be saying that you cannot yet hear:

It's like the conversation I have with my kids when they want me to stop nagging them to brush their teeth or put their shoes away or carry out any number of  other chores and habits I want them to develop.  Inevitably they start nagging back to me in reply, "I know, I know, I know!"  To which I always give them the same  three word response,

"Then show me."

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