Tuesday, March 10, 2015

It's My Party

Happy Birthday Heather!
Google says Happy Birthday--how did they know?

The past couple of weeks have been a little bit down in the mouth for me, and today isn't really any different. First of all, I feel a tiny bit lonely and sad even though I know there are plenty of people in my corner, and second today is my birthday and it is raining and no one should have rain on their birthday.

Before you go and start thinking "boy, some people are just really hard to please", understand that I know that I often am hard to please, which puts the people who love me in the proverbial "rock and hard place" situation. I get it. Sometimes my expectations are so spectacular that no one could possibly meet them, because who can celebrate anyone's birthday for an entire month, even if they are a princess inside their very own head, but sometimes my expectations seem reasonable to me, so even though my dad sent me a card with a Panera gift card inside, I wish he would have been able to take me to lunch and spend some time with me instead, and I get disappointed.

I know. Hard to please.

So I keep telling myself that if I were to just lower my expectations a touch, I would not be quite so disappointed, but instead, I hope, and then wake up in the middle of the night with disappointment and angst over not having enough people in my corner, and then I oversleep and am rushed the next morning, which turns out to be rainy anyway.

Sometimes, it's really easy to get stuck inside your own head. I know this because it happens to me all the time. I am that personality that likes to control everything around her, even the things that don't matter, which leads, for me anyway, to food issues and the like, because I am a perfectionist who likes to control, lest anything under my watchful eye come out less than perfect. Like my cholesterol, which has skyrocketed over the last two years. Which puts me in a tizzy, deciding with certainty that eating food is no longer an option for me (and I was certain of it--at least last night I was), as I cannot figure out any other way to control my body. I threw my hands in the air and told my husband as much, leading him to look at me, stupefied, because I could tell he was thinking "I don't know what to do with you right now".

Unglued moments are going to happen. And most of the time, they don't feel so great, and, according to Lysa TerKeurst, they can lead us to label ourselves and then live in those labels as if they are true.

We know we have issues, and labeling ourselves is what comes naturally to us--it's just what we do. How we act is how we label ourselves. We don't know any other way.
{lysa terkerust, unglued}

But later in the book, she describes how she began seeing things from a new perspective.

She was visiting the David sculpture by Michelangelo at the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy. (It is a personal dream of mine to see the David with my own eyes in Florence.) In the hallway leading to the David, there are other sculptures in various forms of completion, and this is where she got the most out of her visit. Because she saw her "reality depicted in stone...unfinished prisoner[s] locked away in a hard place, labeled and on prominent display in a hallway leading to greatness." (pg. 36)

accademia.org

In that moment, I recognized a truth I'd needed to see for a long, long time: 
It is beautiful when the Master chisels
God doesn't allow the unglued moments of our lives to happen so we'll label ourselves and stay stuck. He allows the unglued moments to make us aware of the chiseling that needs to be done...
God is calling us out--out of darkness, out from those places we thought would never get better, 
out of being stuck.
{unglued}

It's true that sometimes I get stuck in my own head, focusing only on myself and my issues and the things that I'm disappointed by or can't do right or have messed up one too many times. But an intense self-focus is never healthy, and it can lead to all kinds of darker issues, like anxiety and depression. I have been focused on myself too much, too long, and it has lead to unhealthy side effects like an anxiety that wakes me up in the middle of the night, spinning non-events into near-despair-like worry. And depression that convinces me I have no people in my corner. Stuck and sad and lonely. A prisoner in a prison of my own making.

Lysa has three practical ways to see ourselves as God's workmanship:

1. Identify the label as a lie meant to tear you down
2. Choose to view the circumstance as a call to action, not a call to beat yourself up mentally
3. Use the momentum of tackling one label to help tackle more

Grace.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, 
it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. 
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
{ephesians 2:8-10}

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