My Cisa Name

Friday, February 1, 2019

Lovable? Yes, You Are

"She was loved not because she is lovable but because God is loving"  


Proverbs 23:7 states:  as a man (or woman) thinks in his/her heart, so is he/she.  So if you believe that you are "unlovable" then you will strive and perform and search for the approval of people, especially those in authority, to give you value.

When you believe you aren't lovable, you'll doubt yourself unless you have applause. 

When you believe you aren't lovable, you'll compare yourself to others
and complete for the position of "accepted and valuable"
the coveted prize handed down by the few who set the image standard

When you believe you aren't lovable you'll FEAR all the time
You'll worry you aren't good enough and be
anxious that they'll see your humanness so you'll craft images to hide it.

 And when you fail, you'll believe you're less than others.  
You won't know you're perfect just the way you are and loved because of 
who you are not because of what you do or how you appear (image).

Would a father tell his daughter she isn't lovable?  I can't imagine a good, whole hearted man who would ever tell his daughter she wasn't lovable.

As I read the words in quotes above, my heart twists and grieves for those who buy into such a philosophy. Not so long ago, I fell into that category, the one who doesn't know she is lovable.  The basis of this thinking? God is good but I am not.  God loves me because of who He is not because of who I am.  I am his creation but I'm not lovable...that makes no logical sense.

I'm not sure how this gets all twisted up in our hearts.  Maybe it comes from the idea that we humans are bad, born bad.  Not that we're born human but born bad.  That's not what Genesis says, it says God created and called what he had created good.  And further states that the human he breathed the breath of life into was very good.

Have you ever looked at a baby straight from the womb?  Have you ever just stared intently at the soft pink skin, the tiny fingers and toes and even smaller finger nails and marveled at the goodness of it?  Those tiny humans, they're good, very good.  They are magnificent creatures, born into a world that's all twisted up.  Babies know from whence they've come, that they are "born of love".  It's the adults who have forgotten.  We've forgotten that we are created in love, born in love and always and forever loved fully, completely accepted and valuable.

I've been on a journey back, back to the beginning, back to find my true Self, the one who is made from love, the one created in the image of God.  The image of man is empty.  The images we curate to help us make sense of our world, to keep us safe and in demand, you know the ones.  They're the Fear images.  They show up at gatherings of other humans all spit shined, ready to do all the things that garner approval and please all the other people while neglecting themselves.  They serve on committees and tell the jokes and cook the food and clean the things and keep the children in line and are never tired, seemingly and in need of nothing.  But that's not WHO we are because we've forgotten that we are not what we DO or WEAR or MAKE or HAVE.  Our identity is none of those things.  Our identity is Love.  We've simply forgotten.

But, what we believe in our heart about who we are will definitely play out in our every day.  Believing we're not good enough, not lovable will keep us striving and working, trying to earn instead of resting, abiding with God in the love from which we were created.

There is a shift happening.  The opening of the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf.  Jesus said, He who has ears to hear let him hear.  I don't think we're listening to the right voice.  I know I wasn't.  I had been conditioned since childhood to listen to the voice of a man outside of myself instead of the voice of God IN me.  I trusted the humans outside of myself to tell me what I needed to do and how I should be spending my time and money and living my one life instead of listening to the voice in me.  I was told so many half truths that it's taken a lot of years and some very intensive work in my heart/mind for me to really believe that I am loved and lovable.  The untangling and the opening of my heart to love is an amazing journey with God.

I felt compelled to share my thoughts here, not because I want to debate or try to convince you of anything.  That's not my place, not my calling.  Why? Well, because I'm not God.  I desire to tell a different story and I offer it here.  If it resonates with you, great.  Maybe you will begin to believe that you are lovable, fully and deeply loved as you are.  You don't have to earn anything, you can just BE without DOing a single thing and you are lovable right now.  You delight God to the point that He sings over you.  I'm not sure God would sing over his creation that he didn't consider lovable.

she believed in her heart that she was lovely and she was.
the love radiated from a heart, broken open and put back together again.
she was so filled up with love for herself and all of creation
 that it spilled out onto everyone she came into contact with.
fear and anxiety got out of the way because perfect love casts out fear
the love never ran out and never ran low and she blossomed and bloomed
into a sweet smelling garden of everything she was intended to be from the beginning

we need not compare or compete to be lovely
we need not show up as an image of perfect to be lovable
we need not fear showing our humanness
we need not wear ourselves out with the working
we ARE lovable
just as we are in this moment.

God is more than loving, God IS Love and we are created in HIS image.
1 John 4

Monday, January 28, 2019

Two Years To The Day

I'll never forget that phone call, where I was, what I was doing.  I can see it in my mind's eye.  What we all feared was inevitable if something didn't change.  What could we do?  Almost nothing.

A few months ago over lunch, a friend spoke these words, "there was nothing you could have done to change a thing".  As tears spilled over and streaked my face, I was fully aware of what she was saying.  It was out of my control. The choice to use was hers, is mine.

It comes at the most unexpected times.  Today, on the date anniversary, I've been "fine".  Last week, it crept in like a dark cloud, overshadowing every detail of my day.  I felt it, thick, all encompassing, pressing into my heart.  I didn't know at the time what it was.  As I sat and asked the Spirit what was happening, I heard it, Grief.

When I shared with a friend at work she said "grief from an out of order death is different".  Disordered, meaning I should have passed before she did, it was out of the regular order of things.  I have processed other types of loss, including my Dad's passing but I have never experienced anything similar to the dark shadows of this type of grief.

For many years I buried all the "bad" emotions, kept silent, pushed them down trying to avoid feeling the pain.  Or I kept busy, going fast, filling my days with activities to distract, always having something playing in my ears, avoiding the quiet so I wouldn't have to feel.  Of course, I wasn't aware at the time.  My yoga practices have provided a new way, a better way.  A way that doesn't cause my body to hold the toxic energy of loss, disappointment, regret, or any other emotion that could settle into my body and cause dis-ease.  Sitting with the emotion, acknowledging it's presence, greeting it even, and releasing it is my process now.  This requires intention, making space to feel and a time of quiet.  Sitting still and allowing the pain to rise to the surface so it can be released.  This process is simple but never easy.  I resist the pain, avoid the quiet.  In the end, it always produces the most glorious reward.  A pouring out, usually through the ducts in my eyes.  And then resignation.  It is what it is.  No judgment, no commentary, no what if's.

Today, I honor the memory of Chasity Dawn Shingleton.  It goes without saying we miss her presence in our family and wonder how and why the beast that is addiction stole her away.  It was a slow fade, one we bore witness to and had no idea how to enter.  We did the best we could.  That's really the point, isn't it?  We're all just doing the best we can.









Monday, November 12, 2018

Perspective

It's November as I write these words on a cold, sunny Sunday.  I'm up early with coffee and lengthy phrases swirling in my head.  I come to my usual spot to think and meditate and happen to glance to the left instead of the right as I get myself situated on my yoga mat.  I grab my mug of chocolatey caffeine goodness and the view outside my second story window reveals the most wonderful golden orange colors on the tree to the left.  Just last week I  took a picture of a tree from the same window but from a slightly different perspective.  That photo showed a tree barren of it's color, all of the beautiful red leaves were gone.  All had dropped in a wind storm and the tree was now completely bare, brown and, in my opinion, sad. I longed for more colorful Fall beauty.

It was no accident that I should see the lovely golden orange colors of another tree simply because I was seated at a different angle.  When I saw the beauty of those leaves, my mind immediately went to the bare tree just a few feet away and how I had longed for more and felt the ever present pang of never enough.

God has been so gracious to remind me over and over that I live in a new way, an abundant life.  I live in the kingdom being formed by the One who is enough, who promises his children will be blessed and is leading them into the Promised Land.

I am thankful today as I sit and ponder how He shows up over and over, reminding us that He sees and cares.  The provision might seem ordinary and of little insignificace to some but these reminders of his New Covenant of Love and constant presence cause my soul to sing.  The "withness" that I long for is always available.  I simply need to slow and notice God speaking love to me in the unique and tender way that resonates deeply in my heart.  Today, that experience is noticing a tree and hearing whispers of hope and love.  "See, there are more leaves, there is more than enough, there is plenty!"

I could continue to look longingly at the former tree that had lost all its leaves or I could enjoy another view, a different perspective.  The different view was a picture of hope to my somewhat always anticipating the loss self.  There are roots to this negative perspective that I seem to fight on a regular basis, but I'm doing the work. I'm pulling out the weed roots and have planted lots of positive seeds in my heart garden.

As I slow and listen and just be with myself and God, he reminds me of these things.  His whisper of abundance and always enough rings out as I sit and ponder where I've been and all the small and big ways He has led me out of the desert.  There have been many Red Sea Roads on my journey from scarcity to abundance.  This freedom song my heart sings has been a hard fought battle with old ways, negative thought patterns and a body that continues to be challenged to move through life remembering that I am a new creation and the old is passing away.  No longer a slave to the law, no longer dependent on the blood of goats and lambs, no longer wandering in a wilderness but living in the lush green pastures of the Promised Land.  A land flowing with milk and honey and every sweet thing my heart longs for.  I simply need to slow down long enough to taste and see.  Knowing about God is not the same as experiencing God's unique love in my small every day moments.  Doctrine and dogma never caused me to feel or live as if I were loved.  Noticing the leaves on the tree this morning does.


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Invitation

My niece is getting married on November 4 which is just a couple of weeks away.  She is my brother's middle daughter.  I received a save the date magnet but I have yet to receive my personal invitation to her wedding.  She actually texted to ask my new address because I moved this summer so I was expecting to get my Official Invite in the snail mail.  I've gone to the mail box on a regular basis over the past several weeks, nothing.  I even called the local post office to see if perhaps some of my mail had gotten stuck at the post office.  Maybe the postal carrier thinks no one lives in my house.  I finally got a wreath on the door, a welcome mat and some mums out so surely when he/she passes by my residence they know someone lives there.  But so far no Invitation.

This wedding is a celebration and I know I'm invited to participate because I am, after all, the Father of the Bride's sister.  But there's nigling thought in the back of my mind that says until I receive the "Official Invite", I'm not really invited.

Have you ever felt that?  Knowing you're a part of the family and welcome to participate but deeply desiring an official invitation to join the celebration of life happening outside the four walls of your safe and cozy box?

When I observe the beauty evident in other humans showing up and the unique ways they are making art and offering that creative part of themselves to the world, I look back at myself and fear I am not enough.  I believe that my particular uniquness is boring, plain, simple, uninteresting.  I don't feel at all welcomed or invited, I feel inadequate.

I want to share my heart with people, right here in this small space on the blogesphere and outside the four walls of this computer screen.  You know what stops me?  Lies.  Perfection and Fear of Failure (two sides of the same coin).  Believing that no one really wants what I have to offer.  Showing up can be terrifying.  When you put yourself and your work out into the world you take a big risk of being evaluated, critiqued, judged and possibly rejected...yuck!

Moving from believing truth in my head to actually living in the free spaces is probably the most challenging part of this healing journey.  It's incredibly frustrating to know in your head that you're standing in your own way but not see with enough clarity or understand what it means physically to move. 

I'm a visionary, a top down thinker and identify most closely with the head triad of the Enneagram.  Translation:  I'm stuck in my head envisioning all these beautiful things and I don't have a clue how to move forward.  I get lost in all those details and then never make it to the end goal.  Becoming aware of these tendencies in myself has been extremely helpful.  I know I need an administrative type person to help me navigate the details and hold my feet to the fire. 

Since I know I need a plan as well as accountability and prefer to have a team atmosphere, the most logical solution was to gather some people.  So, I hired a life coach.  Outside of paying to see a counselor, this has been one of the best investments I've made thus far.  Karen brings a fresh perspective to my situations.  She isn't emotionally or physically invested in any decision I make so she is completely impartial and unbiased.  She listens and helps me process and together we come up with a plan to implement that will move me forward toward the goals we've identified.  And I was pleasantly suprised at the rates for a life coach, very manageable. 

Change requires us to identify the work that needs to be done and then move towards it.  If you have a desire, God has placed that in your heart so that you can reflect his beauty to all the other humans who are also invited.  Won't you join me?  The road can be rocky, but we have everything we need in us to do the work, we just have to decide that we're worth it!  And whether you believe that your not, you are! 

If you've happened upon this blog post and resonated with any of the things I've written here, I hope you will believe me when I say, "You're Invited".  Please consider this your official invite to get out of your comfortable box, spend a little money if you need to, and offer your unique beauty to the world around you, at your work place, in your neighborhood.  And if your first response upon reading that sentence was "I can't", here's your first assignment, should you choose to accept it:  Repeat after me, "I CAN". 

I'll leave you with the lyrics to a song, because music is a form of art and these words are beautiful and helpful.  I hope they encourage you wherever you are to take one step out. 

I Hope You'll Dance
Songwriters: Tia Sillers / Mark Sanders
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin'
Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin'
Don't let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin' out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance
I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance (Where those years have gone?)
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
Dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder?)

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Images

Two people, two persons to blame.  Is that a perception in most cases where a marriage disolves?  Seems like if there are two people in the relationship, there are two people who bear the responsibility of maintaining the relationship.  It's sad to me that often one person is left feeling as if he/she failed in some way to keep it together.  Could the phrase "it is what it is" apply?

Moving through a divorce was NOT a part of my plan, ever.  I had every intention of my marriage being "till death do us part".  I believe when we said our vows before God and the minister in 1985 my ex-husband was of the same mind.  Divorce wasn't his plan either.  However, our ideas of what "happily ever after" looked like were very different, we just weren't aware of that difference at that point.

I remember when I first became acquainted with my ex-husband's family.  They were the ones who lived in the two story white house with black shutters complete with a white picket fence.  Their well maintained yard was where lots of neighborhood kids congreated in the 60's and 70's to play football or basketball or spot light.  His dad was the President of the bank in our small town. I remember going there with my mother as a little girl and this kind man giving my brother and I a stick of Doublemint gum.  Those were the days, am I right?

My perception of the "perfect family" was, of course, not real.  But the picture painted in my mind's eye was the life I dreamed of having one day when I "found Mr. Right".  Can you hear where this is going?  I was young and niave and looking for a deep need to be met outside of myself.  I was all kinds of messy human looking to connect to the opposite of my too dependent self and, guess what, that's what I found.  The energy I was putting out into the world attracted my opposite in every possible unhealthy way.

Back when I was chewing gum from the kind bank president, I could not even imagine him being my father-in-law, it just wasn't even a possibility, until it was.  Fast forward 10 or 12 years and I'm there, except I never "felt" there.  Does that make any sense?  If I've lost you, maybe just quit reading right now because I'm not sure this is for you. :)  I had the last name and all the people connected to it and eventually I even ended up LIVING in the big white house (sans the picket fence), but it wasn't enough.  Why?  Because I didn't believe I was enough, among other things.

The image is never enough because the image is just that, an image.  It isn't real.  The image in my Cinderella dream wasn't real, the image of the perfect family wasn't real and the image put forth before we were married, wasn't real.  The only way to discover real is to connect to real and that wasn't a possibility for either of us because neither of us really knew WHO we were, apart from the image.

So much of our human culture is posturing this curated image of who we believe we need to be or are supposed to be in order to get what we want; love, acceptance, value. This posturing begins early in childhood as we create ways of belonging  in our families of origin. Then throw us into a wider culture of other humans in schools and neighborhoods and the image building continues into adulthood.

So, what should we do about the image?  Crush it or allow it fall away as it begins to crumble?  I don't know many people who want to willingly submit themselves to "crushing" because we all know that crushing involves pain.  We tend to avoid anything painful and certainly aren't excited to place ourselves (our curated image) on an alter to be crushed.  But isn't that the example Jesus lived for us?  Allowing himself to be "sacrificed" in order to bring forth, resurrect, new life?  And what about the sweetness of wine after the grapes have been crushed?  And remember the parables of the seeds and how dropping a seed into the dark where it is crushed is the only way to bring forth the fruit it was designed to bear?

The past few years, working through all the images I had curated has been interesting to say the least.  I'm not sure if anyone else notices the difference when we are together but I sure do.  The anxiety I felt on the inside, the worring I did when I was in the presence of others, the wondering "am I good enough", "do I belong" has all but evaporated.  What's left is this sweet peace and confidence in knowing that no matter where I am, that's where I belong.  Comparrision, Competition and Not Measuring Up have been pushed to the back seat along with fear and doubt.  That doesn't mean they won't try to creap back to the front and even attempt to take the steering wheel, but now I'm more aware of what triggers their movement and what I need to do to take care of my Self.

I have no regrets on this journey.  It has been so incredible to witness the falling away of the old and the resurrecting of the new, over and over again.  I am amazed every time at what is revealed when I am willing to look deep into the dark.  The dark...that's where the stars shine the brightest, have you ever considered that?





 





Monday, August 6, 2018

Vulnerability

I listened to a podcast yesterday about nutrition wherein the woman being interviewed told a part of her story that she "seldom reveals" in her nutrition counseling with private clients or talks about publically on social media.  She admitted that she should include that part of her story more often because it is a key part of her journey.  As I listened to her speak, I automatically knew WHY she didn't share.  It's the same reason I don't share all of my thoughts here on this blog.  I write daily but seldom put my thoughts out here because I don't want to be judged, criticized or rejected because of what I write.

Vulnerability is something I talk about in my private conversations and it's something I practice on a regular basis with the people in my smaller circle of friends.  Opening ourselves up, sharing our deepest fears and intimate parts of ourselves can be so scary.  There are lots of questions looming about what others will say or think or conclude about us IF we put it all out there.

I want to be liked and loved and so I dance around what to write here because someone might not like what I have to say or may disagree or may think less of me if they "knew_______".   I don't blog more because of fear of rejection.  I say with my mouth that the approval of people doesn't control me but if I'm not writing because of what others might think or say about me behind my back, then I am being controlled by fear and the opinion of others.  I've been moving from my head to my heart to my body for a while now and it's been a difficult process.  As an Enneagram Type 6 I'm in my head ALOT and everything stays nice and neatly labeled and categorized in there.  But when it comes down to where the rubber meets the road and I need to move into my body and "practice what I preach" it becomes a whole nother animal...a big scary monster actually.

Part of living my true identity as a daughter of God involves being honest about how my life has been shaped by the experiences I've had along the way.  Some of those experiences have been extremely painful, some filled with joy but BOTH the pain and the joy have helped to shape what I believe about this life.  Not who I am, but what I believe and perceive about life here on this earth and how I live it.

 I am not this body, I am not my feelings or emotions.  The Body I live in is a shell that contains the soul of a beautiful daughter of God who desperately desires to be fully known and loved just as I am.  I am not what I do or what others have done to me.  Those experiences shaped my perception of life but they don't define me.  I am responsible for my behaviors but my behaviors do not label me as "Failure" or "Success" because we all experience BOTH of these scenarios.  Perception is a weird and crazy thing in this life.  Our perception of what it means to be a success or a failure is all jacked up. A friend told me recently I needed to throw the word failure out of my vocabulary.  For a recovering perfectionist who has believed for lots and lots of years that there is a "right" way to do things and a "wrong" way to do things, that is a tall order.  But I believe her advice is helpful.

Believing that there is a "perfect" or "right" way to live life creates LOTS of issues for myself and others. Division is caused when anyone doesn't live their life according to MY STANDARD or perception of right and wrong.  I "judge" them as less valuable instead of simply different and still worthy of love and acceptance and valuable in this life. That attitude places me ABOVE others on some days and BELOW them on others, depending on my actions.

I haven't quite figured out when and where these superior, I know what you need, let me tell you how to do it better, my faith practices are superior and here's why attitude came from. I don't need to identify when and where to see that it has permeated most of my life.  I will say that the places that I chose to worship affirmed this attitude over and over to varying degrees.  Affirming judgment as correct and even necessary to maintain a sense of order because God is a God of order, just doesn't jive with the reckless love of Jesus I read about in the Bible. 

So, here's to vulnerability, to saying what I think instead of shrinking back because someone I like or love might be "offended" if we don't agree.  Here's to diversity and beauty that cannot be contained in a box made of human hands.  Here's to a BIG God who loves EVERYONE regardless of how they come to him.  Here's getting it, not "getting it right".  Here's to finding your true Self, not the image created to maintain security and a following. Here's to REAL Worship not the worship of man or an image molded before your eyes that isn't really valuable to you at all.  Here's to thinking for yourself and following YOUR journey even when others don't agree.  Here's to living for an audience of ONE.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Question 1

Are shitty days real or simply a matter of perspective?

That's my question today.  

I'm not sure I have an answer right now.   

Now, in this moment, I'm angry, which by my own definition is a secondary emotion for pain or hurt.

Maybe today was just a hard day.  One of those days when it seems I am the target for the word arrows.  Maybe the arrows I felt aren't the words but the unspoken attitudes of frustration and disapproval that seem to accompany the words.  Maybe the inability to navigate this day's interactions with all the people is a result of my own skewed perceptions?

No matter the cause of what I'm experiencing in THIS moment, I am angry.

Right now, I'm going to sit in this emotion and allow it; without judgment, without trying to fix a single thing.

This is a new practice for me.  It's going to take some time to get used to allowing emotions that have been taboo to surface and linger without pushing them down or attempting to refocus my attention to something else that perhaps might possibly get me out of "my bad mood".

I hope as I practice making space for myself to just BE and feel whatever it is I'm feeling in the moment, I will be able to do the same for others.  I am acutely aware that I have not always allowed myself or others freedom and space to just sit in their pain without trying to "make it better".

So, for this day, I will not make a single attempt to change the way I feel.  I will feel and that is all.




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