Have you ever been asked to scratch someone’s back. You start to scratch and then they say a little to the left, up a bit, down a bit then the words ‘ahh’ drift out. You know that you have found the spot.
When you write blogposts and put out content you wonder if you are hitting the mark. If what you put out makes a difference. Some times you get feedback, but mostly you don’t. Continue reading →
Was there a song at all, or was it the whisper of tiredness from an unseen cosmic battle.
The Easter story is full of drama, but what was the musical score. We go to the movies and in the background behind the storyline there is music. If you’re a Lord of the Ring fan just contrast the happy light music of life in Hobbiton to that of the music when those hairy Hobbit feet climbed Mount Mordor or battled those Orcs.
Music fills out the background of life.
I was in the vegetable garden at Chapel Downs Primary School the other day when all of a sudden I heard music coming from one of the classrooms. The class was singing the national anthem.
I tell you, those kids certainly know how to sing. It was like each child was competing with every other child to see who could sing it with more gusto. It was only one classroom but the air was filled with song.
At the end of last year the school gathered together in the hall for prize giving. 600 children’s voices plus teachers, parents, and a few odd strays like the gardener shook the neighbourhood with song as the national anthem was sung.
Music has a power both to stir up and to calm down. To send a message with tones that resonate deep within.
Music is a mystery. Just how do those quivering unseen wave lengths affect the soul? Why does music have such a powerful effect on us?
God created music to reverberate something of God’s own nature into us and through us.
What is the song you are listening to? What is the anthem, or theme song that you are tuned into?
As I look through scripture I find song, music, anthems, praise, laments.
Nadia Bolz-Weber recently put it well in a message she gave.
In the beginning God – the source and ground of all being – set the universe into motion through sound and self-giving in a love song that set it all into motion. saying, Let there be Light.
God so loved the world that God gave God’s own breath to speak into existence that which was not – and then God so loved the world that God gave God’s breath another time, breathing into dust to create humanity.
Through dust and the very breath of divine love we were created. In the image of the songwriter we were created, and we too were given voice and language and breath and song.
And that love song of creation continued, but we tended to create our own melodies in another rhythm, in another key, in our own scale.
So there is the song of life which rings through eternity and then there are human-generated temporary alternate songs. With our own breath, language, voice, we still tend to create our own rhythm and melodies – that we think will save us, songs of domination, violence, greed, and power.
And so once again, God’s breath was given to us…through sound and self-giving: only this time, the sound interrupted the din of the Roman empire. This time, God’s divine love song was heard in the cry of a new-born baby.
For God so loved the world that God gave God’s self to it in the form of a son. This was such a big deal that angels sang back up – the heavenly hosts joined in the divine love song interrupting our regularly scheduled program of soldiers and taxes and purity codes.
God so loved this corrupt world of empires and victims and violence that God gave God’s self to us. God so loved the world that God came to us in the most vulnerable and fragile way possible.
God so loved the world God created, that God walked among us as love.
But not the us kind of love. Our love is limited by self-interest, biology and time. No, this love takes no account of opinion or history, but insists on ignoring information we think of as important: data about worth, beauty, status.
For God so loved the world, for God so loved soldiers and prostitutes and traitors and unwed mothers and soccer moms and CEOs and ex-cons and Burger King janitors that God gave of God’s self in the form of Jesus. And Jesus was like a clearer set of lyrics so that we might be saved from the noise of sin and self-preservation. So that we might not perish.
But be reminded again of the true beat, the real rhythm, the clear lyrics of the song of creation and salvation that is life and that is eternal.
And those who heard this tune, began to sing it to others, they wrote about it in Gospels and hymns and we here in this room, maybe for only a moment a breath a flicker, hear it for ourselves and we know it is life and it is here and it always has been and always will be.
It is eternal life and it is for you. Don’t try and believe it. Just hear it. After all, Brother Martin Luther once said, “a person becomes a Christian, not by working but by listening. Nadia Bolz-Weber
How was Jesus resurrected? How did it happen? What medically happened here?
It wasn’t a resuscitation with the angels giving the body C.P.R. Grabbing jumper leads, shouting ‘clear’, jumping back, slapping on paddles and kicking the body into life.
This physical body was dead as dead can be. It was pierced by a Roman spear. Jesus was dead as any corpse in a grave. Yet now he was alive. He was recognisable and better still there was gloriousness to his appearance. His skin never looked better!
The song of God was sung into a dark tomb.
I believe in the Resurrection.
When I am in my darkest depression I remember the Resurrection.
When I hear of strife I remember the Resurrection.
When I hear of relational breakdown I remember the Resurrection.
When I hear of terminal illness I remember the Resurrection.
When I feel anxiety and fear knocking at my door I remember the Resurrection.
The problem though, is, for a Resurrection to happen, for a new song to be sung there must be a death, a complete and final death.
For new life to spring out there must be a death.
There has to be a change. The old self protective clothing we have worn must be laid to the side if we are to have new garments to wear.
Richard Rohr write this …
All great spirituality teaches about letting go of what you don’t need and who you are not. Then, when you can get little enough and naked enough and poor enough, you’ll find that the little place where you really are is ironically more than enough and is all that you need. At that place, you will have nothing to prove to anybody and nothing to protect. That place is called freedom. It’s the freedom of the children of God. Such people can connect with everybody. They don’t feel the need to eliminate anybody. Richard Rohr
If we are truly honest with ourselves we don’t want the stuff in us to die. That means potential shame, of acknowledging I got it wrong, of vulnerability, of exposure, of humbling oneself, of brokenness, of sacrifice.
Resurrection Sunday is not the time, if there ever is one, to start judging the lives of others. ‘That person over there needs to die in this area, they need to stop doing …’
We need the logs in our own eyes to be taken and formed into crosses where our prejudices are put to death.
Resurrection Sunday is a time of looking beyond a grave into a garden, a morning, a voice, a song.
Note what Mary did. She went into the tomb, the place of internment. Here where her dreams had been buried, something miraculous was revealed.
Where there is great love there are always miracles. Willa Cather
What song are you listening to? Is it the song of your own making, lyrics you have chosen and refuse to let go of.
Want to sing a new glorious resurrection song? Then you need to let the old song die.
God’s grace to me is that my brokenness is not the final word. Nadia Bolz-Weber
God’s grace to us is that Jesus death was not the final word, and so there is hope.
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They grab your attention don’t they. Big, bright, and tall, they stand out and call for your attention. You come to a sunflower and take in the brilliant freshness of colour.
There is something however that is generally over looked. We don’t give it careful attention, yet without it there would be no flower, no glory, and no future.
Its all the other components of the sunflower.
The roots all unseen feeding and anchoring that skyscraper stem against wind and rain. Milllions and millions of microscopically fine hairlike roots all gathering moisture to feed the plant.
The stalk rising fast and strong bearing large sunlight collecting leaves.
No Stalk, No Glorious Flower
A lot of attention is given to that flower, yet underneath there is a system, a chemical pathway, a division of cells.
For all the glory, praise, and brilliance offered in this world there is a undergirding of struggle and growth. Of a laying down of foundations, of working hard, building the habits of growth.
To have the glorious flower there has to be a struggle.
Some of the most beautiful impacting people I have encountered are those that others overlook. They aren’t beautiful in the way they would be on the front cover of the glossy fashion magazine. They haven’t achieved in terms that would place them on any man made honors list.
They are beautiful and honorable because of some inner life changing ‘nose to the grindstone’ experience.
Jesus was one that could see the beauty and honour in those others despised. He ate and partied with the not so ‘rich and famous’.
You see Jesus had a compelling vision for them all. A vision of sunflower glory, but in order to get there some hard realities needed to be faced.
5 Overlooked Ingredients for Sunflower Brilliance
1. Patience. It would be pretty amazing if suddenly the change you wanted miraculously happened. It doesn’t though, you have to be patient and wait. For all the self help gurus, the bling laden hype heroes, you still have to wait for good things to happen. I know, you want it now, now, now, but there are many lessons to be learnt just through the practice of patience.
2. Consistency. The cells of a growing plant consistently, day in day out, keep on laying the foundations of growth. The have a God designed habit of multiplication. Its a consistent habit of showing up and putting in the hard yards.
I have learned one thing. As Woody [Allen] says, ‘Showing up is 80 percent of life.’ Sometimes it’s easier to hide home in bed. I’ve done both. Marshall Brickman
3. An acceptance of the mundane. Its not all razzle dazzle. The mundane boring grind of life is part of the journey. Accepting it and knowing that it has a place will bring secure stability to your life. Jesus walked on water but mostly he walked on dirt.
4. The nurturing of the unseen. The powerful roots of a sunflower need the focus of the gardener. Water, compost, mulch, protection, all for that which is unseen. Much of life is intangible. It can’t be held, measured or grasped. Many of our questions will never be answered. For me the nurturing of the unseen is learning to be quiet and still, to listen and meditate on maybe just a few scriptures then seeing what grows out of this moist rich soil.
5. That life begins with a death. The seed has to die. The seed in its expression of smallness, yet laden with potent power, has to lose its shape, its shell and husk. It surrenders itself to the soil around it. If I want to see change in my life, to heal, recover then something has to die. A stubborn proud self reliance will never reap the harvest the seed was designed for.
Glory without grit is shallow and shabby.
What does your growth look like?
Its growing a life mini habit by mini habit. Its putting in the hard yards, its the struggle and the strain. Its the daily choices to build our sunflower stalk cell by cell.
What choices are you making today to grow?
Quotes to Consider
The secret of your success is hidden in your daily habits. Mike Murdock
Before the reward there must be labor. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy. Ralph Ransom
Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown. Soren Kierkegaard
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. Robert Louis Stevenson
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I’m not and having multiple plates spinning at one time can create a lot of tension and stress in my life.
I remember as a kid watching someone spinning plates on the top of long poles. They would get the plate spinning, then move on to the next one and then the next one. All the time looking at all the plates spinning and rushing back to those that were slowing down.
Maybe it was this guy on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ (shows my age).
At times life can seem like a whole lot of spinning plates. You could probably list off a number of plates spinning in your grey matter right now.
Then you realise that you haven’t done this task and you really should do this and you could do this. On and on it goes, round and round creating pressure. Then one of those plates falls, smashing on the floor.
Here is a trick I learnt.
Only do what you can do. Not hope to do, should do or could do.
And please stop shoulding on yourself
One of things you can do is to create a task list.
7 Mental Health benefits of having a ‘can do’ task list.
1. Unclutters your brain. Do you have too much traffic in your mind? So many things going around in the brain that you feel like you are just living in a whirlpool of things to do, ideas to chase, and ‘must do’ moments. Perhaps having a task list will start to solidify what needs to be done.
Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week. Anonymous
2. Deflates the ‘overwhelmed’ feelings balloon. Feeling overwhelmed? So often for me the feeling of having a large amount of things to do is greater than the actual reality of what those things require. Having all these things to do seems daunting and overwhelming. The task becomes unrealistically out of proportion to the actual size. Having that a list and breaking down the list into smaller chunks deflates the feeling of it being too much.
3. Makes creative space. I find that once you have got that task written down then it creates a space in your thinking for you to turn your focus on how to do that task. So often after doing this the task feels like it is already half done.
4. Pushs the Pause button. Having to stop just for a minute to plan creates a sense of pausing. You don’t need to rush at all the things to do. Pause, focus, think plan. Develop a little mini habit of say ‘Spending one minute each day to pause and plan’.
There is more to life than increasing its speed. Mahatma Gandhi
5. Stimulates a sense of achievement. I love to be able to tick that box and draw a line through that task. It just feels good and my brain enjoys the success. It enjoys it so much that it will form a pathway that invites me to come and do it again.
Seriously, if you are deeply depressed then having a task list with one item such as ‘brush teeth’ maybe the gold medal award task for you today. Just because it may seem small doesnt mean it isnt important. Don’t let others expectations, or even your own diminish the power of taking one small step. Maybe even getting dressed maybe a feat of heroic proportions. Well done, tick it off, cross it out, write DONE in big bold letters. You are training your brain into achievement thinking.
6. Builds Confidence. If I have done this once and succeeded then the odds of doing it again and succeeding are high. Confidence builds upon itself and the brain forms new pathways when of achievement.
Lists help us remember the things we need to remember — but not memorize. Cynthia Green
7. Substitutes for hindered memory. Often with mental illness the memory and the ability to focus can be affected. I have found this with my depression. So by having a ‘to do list’ and a little notebook to capture items it has really helped me to overcome this problem.
What tools do I use?
There is an abundance of tools you can choose from. I think it is really important to choose the one that is most simple and easy to use for you. I use both electronic and paper.
Before you get anything else, getorganised. It will always save you time and trouble and unneccessary anger. David Riddell
I have only recently discovered this great application. It links into my gmail account, I can create lists, add links to articles, colour code items, set reminders, voice memos, collect photos. It is web based so you have to go online to use it, but there is also a mobile app for android users.
Paper is just a simple notebook for on the go writing stuff down. I find that by the time I take to pull out the phone, tap on buttons etc I could have written a short note in my little notebook.
I use a small Moleskin notebook that can easily fit into my pocket with a pen.
Some final pointers
Put everything down. It may seem unimportant but habits are reinforced by reward.( tick or cross)
Tick or cross off when done to creates an ongoing sense of achievement
Quotes to consider
Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started. David Allen
Keep it simple, and focus on what you have to do right now, not on playing with your system or your tools. Leo Babauta
The best way you can predict your future is to create it. Stephen Covey
The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine. Mike Murdock
Question to consider and leave a comment below
What benefits have you found from having a ‘To do’ list?
No matter where they are in the world—I’m thinking of friends in Canada, England, Mexico, Zambia, Thailand, and of course New Zealand—the rapid pace of work, home, family life, and keeping up with it all has countless people frazzled.
Worried. Frustrated. Angry. Maybe even afraid, just a little.
Face it—many people are stressed out.
What to do about this? I have three suggestions to reduce stress in your life today.
Yes, you can reduce that knot of frustration in the pit of your stomach. Or, perhaps that nagging headache in the back of your head, traveling down your neck. I can’t promise total relief, but these three management tools willhelp you begin to get these challenges of stress right-sized.
First, you can do a quick body scan.
This lasts only a few minutes, but will help you to isolate areas in your body that need some attention. Now, sit comfortably in an upright chair. (A kitchen or dining room chair works well.) Feet flat, directly below your knees. Hands loose, comfortably in your lap. Close your eyes.
Spend several seconds becoming aware of your breath. In, out. In, out. Become aware of your internal body, tight muscles. Start at your toes, feet and ankles. Is there any tension? Move up your legs—your shins, knees, thighs. Anything tight or uncomfortable? If there is, slowly exaggerate the tenseness. And just as slowly, try to relax that tightness. Continue being aware of your internal body, traveling up your torso. Fingers, wrists, and arms. Do you encounter anything tense?
Repeat, tensing and relaxing that tightness. Now, the upper back and shoulders. (One of my huge, personal places of tension!) Repeat, tensing and relaxing any discomfort or tightness. Letting the tension dissipate. Move up to the jaw, face, forehead. (Sometimes I find it helpful to give myself a mini-massage right here.)
Any place your body is keeping (or hiding!) tension is a caution, maybe even a warning to you. A heads-up for less stress in your future day-to-day living!
The second suggestion? Just let go.
Yes, you heard me correctly. Lie down on a rug or a firm mattress.
Get comfortable—very important! Pull your knees up slowly until your feet are flat on the rug (or mattress).
This is significant because it’s often best for your back to be in contact with the floor, especially for those with lower back issues. Wiggle your body around, and align yourself in a straight line, as much as you are able. Close your eyes gently. Feel your breathing. In, out. In, out.
Focus on your body, on the air moving in and out, your lungs filling with air and then pushing it out. What parts of your body are you aware of next?
Feel those parts, become aware of them in a particular way. Is there tension? Stress? Or, the absence of tightness? Check out your right side, and then your left side. Is one side more loose than the other? Are there other differences, say, a tightness in one area on one side, and a complementary tenseness in another area, on the other side of your body?
Can you describe the tenseness? What about the specific location in your body? Wiggle your body around again, gently, especially where you feel tight, tense, stressed. (Perhaps you might even want to document, to write this down, identifying the location and the specific kind of discomfort—but try to wait until you’re done letting go.)
Breathe deeply, in and out. Release those areas of tightness and discomfort, as much as you are able. Allow peace, calm, gentleness, and wholeness to come in where stress, tightness and anxiety were resident. Breathe. Let go. If you would like, you may rest for a few minutes in the peaceful place you are in right now.
Third, you may make a stress-awareness diary.
Certain people, places, or things can cause stress in all of our lives. Some parts of the day or night may be more stressful, too. Any or all of these may cause physical, emotional and/or psychological feelings of stress.
Tightness. Discomfort. General anxiety. Repeated stress-filled events may very well be a root cause of physical or mental discomfort. What to do?
For two weeks, keep a diary of events or people or places that trigger stress in your life.
An added bonus comes from keeping track of those symptoms or emotions that accompany the stressors. It can be as simple and as clarifying as the following entries:
7:30 am Alarm didn’t go off, late to work Headache, worry about boss’s reaction
10:30 am Presentation to my department Nervousness, anxiety, sweaty palms
3:30 pm Phone call/fight with my mother Anger, tension in neck, worry about her
11:00 pm Insomnia, tossing and turning Worry about work, tightness in neck and back
A simple diary like this can tell you a great deal.
It can identify how a stressor results in a specific symptom or outcome. Interpersonal conflicts, inner reactions, outside stressors—keeping track of any and all of these can give you insight into how you/your body deals with different stress-filled situations, people, places and things.
This diary may also be a good resource for a counselor, therapist, or other medical staff person.
Try to recognize the things that help you become less anxious, less tension-filled.
Concentrate on beneficial, life-giving things. If you are helped by calming, spiritual or holy readings, recordings or conversations, I encourage you to reach out for them. Surround yourself—as much as you are able—with people, places and things that nurture, encourage, support you, and give you a positive outlook on life, one day at a time.
I wish you God’s blessings and all the best, to you and your loved ones.
(Special thanks to the wonderful resource The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook, 6th edition. Authors Martha Davis, Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman, and Matthew McKay, New Harbinger Publications, 2008. Portions of this article adapted and enlarged from the basic suggestions made in the workbook.)
Elizabeth Jones, M.Div., CADC, is currently a pastor at a small congregational church in the Chicago suburbs, St. Luke’s Church. She has been a chaplain for most of the last ten years. She also has a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling (with IAODAPCA). Elizabeth has volunteered as a leader and group facilitator for ten years at a drug and alcohol inpatient rehab unit. She also has interests in ministry and prayer-related activities, and is a member in the Federation of Christian Ministries.
Within the word and the way we use it we have the correct and general understanding of things made right.
We speak about ‘leaving wrongs done’ to God, for he will ‘make things right’ and we are correct.
It is part of what enables our forgiveness in the face of hurts and harms done to us. Within it we carry an expectation of retribution and recompense; we are glad because those who have done wrong will get it.
Yet, if we were honest, we may believe that God will carry out our vengeance on our behalf.
If we continue to peel back our heart attitude we may find that we believe that God’s justice indicates that all the bad people will hang in hell thank-you very much. And we are glad in an odd sick way of our own. You see, we’ve not yet grasped the depths of God’s justice.
When we say we want justice we are often really saying we want retribution, we want those who have done wrong to be punished.
But what if God making things right means that your perpetrator will be brought to healing and wholeness in the Lord? What if this is the ultimate intention of the heart of God towards all people?
We are glad that Christ carried our sins on the cross, we are not so glad that he carried the sins of the rapist and the murderer on the cross. This somehow seems unfair to us, an injustice even. We forget that God’s ways are higher than our ways.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face. Psalm 89:14
The thing is, we can choose to live by our definition of justice. We can wait on the Lord to make things right in our lives, to restore the wrongs and to exact retribution from those who have harmed us. Or we can choose to live by the fuller definition of justice, where all things are made right but where this includes those who have harmed us.
The one stops short of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the other enters in the Kingdom of God in all it’s glory.
I had a dream earlier this year. In it I knew the name of the teenager who raped me when I was a girl. And in my dream I put my hand on his shoulder and declared deep healing and the touch of the Lord over him. I awoke with indescribable joy and delight. And even though it was a dream I can only say that it was one of the greatest privileges of my life. The joy lasted for days.
We forget that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the whole world. This means that every sin perpetrated against you and I has already been carried at the cross. This means that we can step away from our demands for retribution and recompense and we can extend fullness of healing and God’s plan for making things right.
Will justice need to be brought for the freedom of victims all around the world? Of course.
We must do the hard work in our world of bringing criminal activity to an end. But justice goes far beyond the accountability of wrongdoing, it goes to the heart and soul of what went wrong in the first place.
God is intent on making right what went wrong in the life of a girl made a slave, and God is intent on making right what went wrong in the life the slaveholder. All of us have opportunity of restoration, deep profound restoration, and this is the fullness of justice we are called to uphold and to advocate for all.
So the next time you hear yourself saying, “Yes God will bring justice to him” accompany it with the good-will of healing and restoration deep into the heart and being of that one. For here we participate in the expansive work and heart of our Lord and we participate in
bringing the Kingdom of God to earth.
I looked at the pictures and I was revolted. I am not going share the image with you or even describe it. I do want to ask you though if there is anything that just triggers a feeling of revulsion.
I have heard some horrible stories, some of which I will carry for the rest of my life, and I only carry them lightly because I have Christ taking the fullness of the load with me. They don’t weigh me down, but at the time they were wounds to the soul, now they are healed scars of being present to revulsion.
I feel God calling me to write about the Dehumanised Man. Back in 2009 I wrote an essay for my final undergraduate paper at Carey Baptist College. It was titled Dehumanisation and Sexual Abuse – An essay on how sexual abuse dehumanises the human soul and a Christian response to this. Grab a copy if you like.
I used the Jesus story of the Dehumanised Man (The Good Samaritan) to look through the eyes of the man abused and left naked in the ditch.
What would he have felt, heard, sensed etc
Jesus used this story to describe what love truly is like. To embrace that which others may find revolting.
It was a horrible essay to write. Who wants to read stories of sexual abuse and being used as an object of gratification?
There is a call in this story for me, and for you.
The alluring whisper from the Holy Spirit is to invite a turning of the heart to the person of revulsion. Christ speaks ‘Do you see that I see’.
I don’t believe its a call to become overwhelmed and traumatised by the horror of the event. It is an invite to ask God’s grace to help you understand the soul at an empathetic level. That the other person experiences agape love. That they know what it like to be known, explored, discovered, touched.
10 Ideas to help you safely embrace the ‘revolted’ one.
Pray and ask for the eyes of Christ. How would Christ see this person? Imagine yourself as Christ looking at this situation. What thoughts and feelings would Christ have?
Pray and ask for a compelling vision. What would this person and this situation be like if it was fully alive with released presence of God. A compelling vision looks beyond the present to a time and place where Holy Spirit transformation has crafted something new and fresh.
Look beyond the immediate to where the soul is. What is in front of you can be truly overwhelming, but catch yourself and ask yourself and God what is happening in this person’s soul. Under the waterline of presenting issues what is truly happening.
Pray and ask for Agape love. Unconditional sacrificial love that goes beyond the what we know or can manufacture of ourselves. Ask God for this gift of love.
Talk with others. Debrief about what you’re experiencing with safe others. It maybe a counsellor, spiritual director, pastor or someone else that won’t just give bandaid quick fix solutions. You also need someone that can safely know, explore, discover, and touch you.
Sip don’t Slurp. Some stories and experiences you can only sip at, taking little samples. If you slurp, or take too much in at one time it be overwhelming. Its ok to say ‘I have heard enough for the moment and I am interested in the rest of your story so we will continue this next week’.
Know your limits. We all have limits to what we can safely handle and thats ok. God has equipped some people with skills and wisdom to be able to take the conversation further than you can take it. So please feel free to tell yourself and the other ‘This … is what I can do and this … is what I can’t do’.
Remember its Millimetre Ministry. Rome wasn’t built in a day and seeing change in people, especially traumatised people, takes many millimetre steps. Being consistent in the journey is more valuable than praying for a miraculous brain transplant.
Self care. It is ok to look after yourself and please do so! How can we truly give out love from a empty bucket. Do you love yourself enough to rest, say ‘No’, take up hobbies, exercise. Modelling self care to others trains them to self care for themselves.
Explore what it is you’re feeling revolted by. Why are you reacting in this way? Perhaps the feeling of revulsion has been triggered of from past experiences. Like an echo in a cave it all comes flashing back in full and glorious colour. Step back, take a breath and seek help for that unbearable feeling. Remember Christ is with you and he was when that event happened those years ago. Invite him into that space to be your comfort, strength and truth.
Questions to consider and leave a comment.
What triggers revulsion feelings for you? Why?
What would it be like to get down into the ditch of the naked dehumanised man and bathe his wounds?
Who are the ones that society in general is revolted by?
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To be known is to be pursued, examined, and shaken.
To be known is to be pursued, examined, and shaken.
To be known is to be loved and to have hopes and even demands placed on you.
It is to risk, not only the furniture in your home being rearranged, but your floor plans being rewritten, your walls being demolished and reconstructed.
To be known means that you allow your shame and guilt to be exposed—in order for them to be healed. Curt Thompson
Do you want to be known?
Deep in all of us there is a desire to be known and loved, yet I am not too sure whether I want you to know me fully. You see if you knew me completely, then that would give you a lot of power. You could expose me to others. Reveal all my thoughts and feelings. Tell others all my secrets.
Naked, just like Adam, I run and find some fig leaves to self protect, yet again.
Do I want to be known?
Hmm, not really, not by anybody other than by someone who has experienced the kind of shame and humiliation that I fear.
I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified
in a cathedral between two candles,
but on a cross between two thieves;
on the town garbage heap;
at a crossroad so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title
in Hebrew and in Latin and in Greek;
at the kind of place where cynics talk smut,
and thieves curse,
and soldiers gamble.
Because that is where He died.
And that is what He died about.
Yes, I feel safe enough with Jesus to let down all defences.
The only problem is that I only know Jesus dimly, like looking through a mesh curtain.
I know something of him, I have some mind knowledge, some experiential knowledge, yet I still only know him partially. I have had a taste of knowing him, which excites my taste buds with an expectation of an eternal everlasting feast of knowing, and being known.
‘I wish I had a friend, a real friend’.
I have heard this so many times, said and unsaid.
People have a craving for the loneliness to be filled. Yet dig deep enough and you will find an obstruction or a wall to being known.
‘If you really knew me you wouldn’t love me’ or the wall of ‘I will never let my heart be broken again’. Perhaps there are many other walls that we raise up to being known.
We have our walls because we like to be control of the outcome. Jesus comes to us, knowing fully well what is beyond the wall and mask we present, and greets us with an embrace that imparts a love that dismantles a wall brick by brick.
Surely this is the way we are to approach knowing others. Knowing that behind the wall lies mess because we know that we also have mess behind our walls.
When someone pulls down a wall and reveals they have Depression, Suicidal Ideation’s, Psychosis, Desires to Cut and Self Harm, Addictions, how do you respond?
Do you …
Back off quick?
Refer them to a ‘professional’?
Give quick advice?
Self reference with your own story or the experience of someone else?
(insert your favourite avoidance tactic here)
Or do you
Gently and respectfully ask questions that demonstrate your desire to know the person and not just the illness.
Many run or avoid the last option because they consider that don’t have enough knowledge to help.
A lack of knowledge does not constitute a good enough reason to avoid the knowing of another.
There is a vicious cycle associated with the Stigma of mental illness.
In a Lancet study it was discovered that people with mental illnesses adjust their expectations to society’s views.
The study discovered that more than a third of participants had not started a new relationship because they expected it to fail as a result of discrimination. For the same reason, 71 per cent said that they wished to conceal their diagnosis of depression from others. The cycle of social exclusion and self-exclusion is therefore complete.
Most research on discrimination shows that direct social contact between people in good health and people with a mental illness is an important way to reduce stigma.
Concealment therefore reduces social contact and perpetuates stigma. On the other hand, disclosure also brings real risks of discrimination. Those with mental illness are constantly confronted with this dilemma of keeping quiet or opening up.New Scientist
Someone has to break the cycle of social exclusion and self-exclusion.
Why not you?
Would be you willing to know someone without a desire to fix them, problem solve them, heal them, pray on them (yes, I wrote that correctly :)), self reference them, or give quick advice?
Has anyone done this for you?
Consider these quotes about knowing from Dr. Curt Thompson in a book I highly recommend Anatomy of the Soul.
It is only when we are known that we are positioned to become conduits of love. And it is love that transforms our minds, makes forgiveness possible, and weaves a community of disparate people into the tapestry of God’s family.
When I know that I know something because I can logically prove it, I step away from trust. When I no longer trust, I am no longer open to being known, to relationship, to love.
Ultimately, then, knowledge alone does not satisfy. What does satisfy is being known.
We have failed to see that this need to be right, to be rationally orderly and correct, subtly but effectively prevents us from the experience of being known, of loving and being loved, which is the highest call of humanity.
Is not hard to see why we are infatuated with knowing things in this way. It gives us the illusion that we are secure and in charge. We are no longer vulnerable. We believe we are safe, protected, and happy. We delude ourselves into thinking that we know God, but God as we believe him to be—in control and invulnerable—not God as Scripture describes him to be: risk-taking and able to be hurt badly. We no longer have to trust since we’ve got him all figured out. Knowing things and being right is very important to us, but when overemphasized it comes with a price.
Questions to consider and leave a comment.
How have you seen the cycle of social exclusion and self-exclusion demonstrated in your life?
What walls do you or others put up to being known?
What avoidance techniques have you experienced by people afraid to truly know you?