Monday, December 10, 2018

Messy Monday: Listen Closely, They're Worth It

When your kid has a meltdown, what do you do? Do you shut it down? Send them to their room? Hear them out?

My Love and I work hard to hear them out. We attempt to listen between the lines for their heart struggle beyond the extreme emotions being expressed. The temptation to shut them down because the timing of their meltdown is inconvenient or annoying can be hard to resist. We believe the act of choosing relationship with them, even when they are “messy” is a consistent conscious effort worth making. They each have legitimate stress in their lives putting excess pressure on them. It is no wonder it falls out, at the end of a long day or in the early morning worries.  All three of our sons have been bullied, belittled, and told they make life harder for the people around them.

The crazy thing is, most of the people communicating this are ADULTS. It’s shocking how many adults don’t want to accept responsibility for their own behavior/decisions and put it off on kids. Our boys, who have been knocked unconscious by another kid, stalked relentlessly by a peer, and be targeted by impatient teachers (often substitutes) for being themselves, are learning how to be tough AND kind. Protective AND respectful. Gracious AND holding someone accountable for their actions.

These challenges are not unique to them. We make that point often. But, I pray, that by sharing this, someone will give an emotional teen or pre-teen an opportunity to off load their stress, listen between the lines, and be a supportive adult instead of expecting a kid to make things easier on the grown up with decades more life experience and hopefully, maturity.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Five Minute Friday: BALANCE?!

Today's Five Minute Friday prompt is one I have wrestled with for years.

I have concluded: looking for, pursuing and seeking BALANCE is a waste of time.

I've spent more time trying to do that than being present. In life. What I've found in trying to find BALANCE is I spend more time wondering/worrying if something I'm doing or not doing is the right thing. Spending time trying to find BALANCE is like standing in the middle of a teeter totter while kids, church, school, dog, neighbors, friends, family and whoever else, jump on and off of either side randomly and with varying intensity. That is not a wise place to stand, as far as I'm concerned.

Snagged this from Google
I'd rather be on one side, adjusting as needed to the ups and downs as they come, being fully present in what is - which I believe is way more valuable and effective not only for my heart and mind but for the people around me.

And then there's this...

“I can confidently say that stories of pain and courage almost always include two things: praying and cussing. Sometimes at the exact same time.” ― BrenĂ© Brown, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

This book changed me. It gave me permission to do exactly what I wrote above. My faith was strengthened, my trust in who God created me to be and what He built me to say was reinforced so I can be fully present, regardless of what happens, making the need for BALANCE irrelevant.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Messy Monday: Who Determines Your Value Part 2

Last week I wrote about who I let determine my value in my youth. My parents and my two closest best friends were powerful components to me becoming who I am today. Like I said before, certainly not the only influences, but definitely transforming.

I have had some incredible people surround me in my adulthood who have shaped my understanding of my value. When my Love and I moved to Idaho before our first anniversary I had no idea how my Idaho people would become a whole layer of family I never imagined possible.

But, before that... I signed over my value to someone at the ripe old age of 20.

Back then I thought that was what you did. You lean in to the one you say "I do, forever til death do us part," and that's it. He's mine, I'm his, and that's the way God designed it to be. That is what I'd been taught, what I'd seen and all I knew. 

The problem with giving your freshly appointed spouse the power to determine your VALUE is they don't know what it means when you do that. They don't realize what happens inside you when:
  • They get frustrated with you - YOU are wrong
  • They are hurt - YOU hurt them
  • They are unhappy - YOU are failing
  • They aren't getting what they want out of life - YOU are at fault

Sometimes, in marriage, we get frustrated, hurt, unhappy, and unfulfilled and blame each other. I believe that is a normal part of the adjustment of doing life together. And even, 27+ years down the road, I can say it still happens. The results aren't the same, but the feelings are real. Emotional and physical pain have a way of stripping us down even more.

When I gave my VALUE to him and left him in charge of how I saw myself, I set us both up for epic failure. And that's what happened.

Unfortunately those feelings, can lead to pushing back and dishing the same yuck out that we believe we've received. And sometimes it feels justified. Sometimes it might be. However, that is no way to live. That is only living "... for worse, til death do us part".

When I sat sobbing in our counselor's office 20+ years in, reeling from another trauma (I believe the stats are every 5-7 years - we have found that to be true) in our marriage, he asked me why I put my husband on a pedestal. I looked back, confused. What? My world just blew up, how did I have him on a pedestal?

It turns out, when you let someone (anyone, actually) determine your VALUE, you are elevating them beyond the heights they actually live, or can live up to.

Every time I left my VALUE to be determined by someone else, I experienced a crushing in my soul that left me with the limp I have today. I believe it is here to stay as a reminder to not give my VALUE away ever again.

I am a created being. Cell upon cell, doubling, exponentially increasing and a month late for my birthday. The One I call God, formed me. Spirit leads me now, in a way like never before, and my Jesus, the Lover of my soul, is more real now than I thought was possible.

After the implosion of every pedestal I put my beloved people on, I am moving forward with greater purpose and intention to LIVE my VALUE every day. I was created with VALUE, I have the opportunity to communicate this with my words and actions.

I am free to love and be loved. To treasure and be treasured. To cherish and be cherished. The pains of being in relationships no longer cause my VALUE to fluctuate.

Let me know if I can help you learn how to experience your VALUE for yourself.