Thursday, January 20, 2011

Boxed up emotions

Do you have no access spaces? You know those areas inside that you know about but pretend you don't? Like the relative no-one sees at Christmas, you kinda pretend they don't exist until one year they show up drunk and you remember why you pretended they didn't exist but have no choice but to deal with them.. That sounds horrible but you get the point. Back to the no access areas, do you have them? If so what are they for you?

Mine generally relate to past relationships, they are possibly my biggest no go to zones. My theory is they ended for a reason put them away and move on but unfortunately it's not that simple. Unfortunately the drug addict, the affair, the friend, the high school sweetheart each of them left an imprint, each in their own way whether good or bad or both, they shape who you are and how you interact with members of the opposite sex. I would rather forget about them, look for the lesson in them, be thankful for the lessons and then move forward but lately I've been realising that you can't move forward while you are still tripping over your past and that until you will keep tripping over the same emotions until you let them heal.

You see I am one of those annoying life goes on people, the pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep moving kind. I am generally so busy moving forward that I neglect to feel the full emotion of all that has happened and end up putting it in a box and labelling it "junk - do not open". Lately, I find myself in situations where these emotions or the relationships that they stemmed from are re-surfacing and after years of locking them away I am looking at them with fresh eyes. Eyes of love and not of hate. Eyes of healing not of hurt. I am amazed at what I am seeing... besides seeing how one little decision made in a moment of heart-ache can result in years of poor relationship choices I have seen the power that fear gives a situation.

You see when you are afraid of feeling the hurt of a break-up and you quickly put those emotions in a box and lock them away, you give the emotions a strange power over you. Something happens when you don't even look at them, when you just go "wow this hurts" and lock them away, it's like you are so busy being afraid of getting hurt that you don't take time to see how big the hurt really is. Now I find myself opening up the boxes after all these years and the main thing I am discovering is that the hurt I was afraid of isn't even that big. For years I have been locking away these emotions, too afraid to see them because the hurt would be too much to bare but all this time it was a lie. The hurt wasn't what was big, the fear was.

All this time and it was the fear because the emotions themselves, the relationships that ended, when I look at it instead of hiding it, when I stop being afraid and I lay it all out in front of me.. well it all seems so much smaller. So I've decided to keep taking the lids of the boxes, I am reaching in and taking out the relationships and the emotion and I am looking at them and letting them be healed.  

We all have no go areas, spaces inside that we don't access, each of us have these little storage compartments deep inside where we store all the stuff that we don't want to think about but the longer we store them there the bigger they get and the more afraid of them we become. So my prayer is that this week we will have the courage to take the lid of at least one box, that we carefully and lovingly lay it's contents on the floor and then we look at the contents with eyes of love and allow God to heal the pain that only he can heal. Be blessed and let your emotions free xo

Monday, January 17, 2011

How much can life change?

How much can life change in a week? In a month? How quickly can we be catapulted from one season to the next? How quickly can we awake from our holidays into the harsh reality of life? How quickly can the world as you know it change?

I wasn't going to post about the floods. I specifically recall thinking earlier today how I was going to make some time to get here tonight but that I wasn't going to talk about the floods.. yet now I am here and I don't know how not to talk about them so I will break the deal I have with myself and talk about them, maybe less them and more how I feel about right now but nevertheless the floods will get a mention.

Today was our first day back at work. After almost a week of being shut down Brisbane city resumed operation as the commercial hub of our State. It was extraordinary and surreal. I don't quite know how to explain it but something is different, our city has grown up a little, a shift has happened and you can feel it in the air. Maybe it's like the water washed the crap off.. the pretty, perfect, polished facade that was fast growing up over this beautiful, big country town we call home has been washed away and what is left is magnificent. There is this earthly beauty to our city, a unity, we have resurfaced stronger, together. Wait! I can't quite capture this and I kind of don't want to.

I'm not sure why I find this difficult to write about.. maybe it's too soon, maybe it's because if I write about it then it becomes very real, maybe because writing about it makes it sound like it is over and it's not. It's almost like writing about it makes it yesterdays story but in reality it is very much our today and will be for many days to come. I guess I feel uncomfortable about going back to work. It seems kinda wrong to be going along with my life while so much of our city is in ruin. I feel like it's insulting to be resuming our normal lives while thousands of peoples homes remain unlivable and their lives are so insane.

I guess the biggest issue for me today was that there was no meaning in my work, I looked around my office and at the day ahead of me and it was empty and unfortunately this feeling was a little too familiar. After spending 2 days at church actually making a difference sitting in my office was more difficult than I imagined. Deep inside me burns a desire to use the skills God has given me to help the people who are suffering. It just seems like a waste to use my brain and hands in the office when they could be used to help, I could have been helping to mobilise and support our volunteers or even better I could have been out in the field but I wasn't. I was at work and for me that was hard. It was coming home from Cambodia all over again and suddenly the emotions of that time in my life came flooding back...

I can still feel them now as they simmer under the surface, they come from a pure place, from a desire for more, a desire that my life have meaning, a desire to live a life of purpose, from a heart that is breaking for the things that God's heart breaks for but I know the destructive power of these thoughts and emotions. I know how if left in the wrong hands they turn from healthy desires to a seed a bitterness.. I know how quickly I can go from enjoying my life to seeing it as empty, how quickly I can despise the choices I have made to date. How quickly thoughts like I chose an empty career, I chose to pour myself into the lie, I am a waste of air can grow, the list of them goes on and on and I can get so lost in them that I begin to hate my life and myself until I self-destruct.. Somewhere deep inside the pure thoughts were still alive but last time I got so lost in them, the truly consumed me, it was like they were twisted and manipulated until I drowned in the swirling pain of a life with no meaning. It sounds dramatic but at the time it was.

How much and how quickly my life has changed. A little over 12 months has passed and in the wake of the greatest tragedy to face my country during my lifetime the same thoughts and emotions have surfaced. The desire for more, the desire for a life with meaning, the desire to live for a purpose.. all of these desires burn brightly inside but this time the swirling pain has been calmed and the deep throbbing to do more simply fans the flame. This time I see the choices I have made that have made a difference, I see how God used my poor choices to shape me, how the things that made me feel empty now inspire me to keep walking on this path.  It's amazing how the same thoughts and emotions will result in a completely different life when they are placed in the hands of God. My heart is still broken but this time I have hope.

So today I am thankful. I am thankful that the fact that life appears to be returning to normal disturbs me. I am thankful that my heart is broken but my spirit is alive. I am thankful that I have enough faith to know that my returning to work will ultimately help our economy which in turn will help those who are suffering the most. I am also thankful that the desire to live a life of purpose and meaning gets stronger everyday but most importantly I am thankful that this time my thoughts and desires are in the hands of my God and I am thankful for this journey xo

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

faith bigger than fear

I am a woman of faith. I believe in God. My God is merciful and kind, loving and generous, my God is a God of life and not of death. I have been afraid before, afraid of giving up my career, afraid of the unknown, afraid of the future, I've even been afraid of myself but no matter what my faith has always been bigger than my fear. In the last few years my faith has been tested, I feel like I have indeed walked in dark places only to find God there willing me to come home, to believe in him but right now it is facing it's greatest test yet. My father is sick, not just the mental issues that he was having earlier in the year (which were devastating) but he is now physically sick, not the chronic pain or side-effects of medication sick that the doctors talk about but emergency room, fast track tests sick.

My father has been sick like this before years ago so we have walked this path as a family. Last time he came away better than the doctors expected - not himself, not whole but better than expected. I guess perhaps on some level this should bring comfort, we've done this before we can do it again.. except it doesn't because this time we know what the words "we've found something in your blood and want to do an MRI" mean, after annual MRI's for almost 14 years we know how hard it is to get an MRI, these concepts that were once foreign are now familiar. I know the look of fear in my father's eyes, the need to have us close, the frailty in his shoulders, the colour of his skin, I've seen these things before.. From experience I know that everything before my eyes points towards a tumor. Then there is the fact that he is not walking into this as a healthy man in his early 30's with a young family to fight for, he is walking into this as a man in his mid 40's who has survived on a cocktail of prescription drugs, chronic pain and virtually no sleep for the last 14 years, a man who feels like he's aged 10 years in 2 days (more words which are familiar). The fear inside me is big, I feel it bubble to the surface as the tears begin to stream down my face.

Is it too soon to cry? Too soon to let the fear stain my cheeks with lines of black mascara? Too soon to sniffle as I write? Am I giving into fear when there is still hope? And there is hope.

I feel like a little girl again, 13 and afraid. I feel uncertain, unsure, powerless and sad. Maybe even a little bit alone or at least scared of being alone. I love my father more than I love myself, he is an amazing man, a kind and loving father with a gentle spirit and a fight in him like I have never seen. An overcomer as the scriptures call it, one not content to listen to the word of the world he walks when they said he wouldn't, he is determined to live a normal life rarely limited by the pain. He is a gift and inspiration. Just the thought of him makes me smile.

I guess that's why this hurts so much and why the fear is so great but the question now is, is my fear greater than my faith? I hope not. I hope my faith is bigger. Is my fear bigger than my God? I know it is not. Can I look beyond my fear to the hope promised in the scriptures? Can I see the light of my God in the darkness? Are the promises of my God enough to get me through? In this dark hour can I say "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the living (Psalm 27:13)"? Can I say that I will "wait for the Lord: be strong take heart and wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:14)"? Can I allow my faith to be bigger than my fear?

My prayer is that I will be able to look beyond my fear in the coming weeks to see my God. May my faith be bigger than the fear xo