Transformed…

Photo Credit: http://pin.it/SNOEQ9r

To honor God with my life. Nothing more or less. This is what I want and what I need. But my body and breath often betray me. The pieces of my flesh – in direct contact with my spirit – create a mishmash of confused decisions that leave me feeling broken and damaged.

The past week has been a whirlwind, which is how my ADHD brain functions anyways (at warp speed), but this week took hectic to another level.

Sunday at church God challenged me to make some alterations in my posture and dialogue. I left church on fire and filled with the Holy Spirit…yet consumed with anxiety.

The anxiety started the week before. My past got triggered and nightmares robbed me of sleep. Shame sat on me like an elephant. So after the sermon Sunday, I decided to just stare it in the face. To look at what was making me anxious with both eyes and give it the what for. Seemed like a good idea at the time…but I’m not certain that’s what God meant when he asked me to change my posture and dialogue.

Lord knows I am a fan of talking about your trauma. I work with trauma for a living. But there is talking about your trauma, and obsessing over your trauma. Two very different things. Bringing it out and processing further could have been helpful, but as my hyperfocus race-car brain does, I could not stop thinking about it. 24/7. Intrusive thoughts. Hello PTSD – I thought I had left you behind – but here you are again.¬†I was unraveling at the seems. All it took was one small drop of redirection from someone I love and care about deeply – and I lost it. I unleashed anger on her in ways I didn’t even know I was capable of. Not pretty. Not pretty at all.

I felt horrible. And because my body was already in full PTSD hypervigalent danger mode – I did what I do…cut and run. Cut the ties. Run away. Pretend you didn’t mess up. Hide. And ¬†maybe it will all disappear.

Oh…but then there was God…and his dang word for the year…GRACE.

All night He ran around my head. Don’t run. This is not how you grow. You told me you wanted a challenge. Growth. Healing. Redemption. You told me you want to honor me with your life…well here is an amazing opportunity. But you are choosing to run away…and I won’t give up on you.

I swallowed my pride, rolled up my sleeves, and stepped back in the ring. But the girl that stepped back in was not the girl that ran out.

The girl that ran out was ashamed. She focused on her insecurities, magnified her pain, and saw grace as evidence of her failings. She wanted to use her voice, but forgot the reason God had called her to use it in the first place. She wanted to change her posture and grow – but refused to let anyone show her how it could be done.

And when she went back in there was fire in her tongue. Not her own. But the very breath of God. She might speak of her pain – but in the same breath would be a declaration of freedom and change. She might trip on her insecurity – but would accept the boundaries and redirection others offered her because freedom never comes from doing more of the same. She’s made new alright. Human. But with the power of God not just in her Bible or whirling around her head – but spoken over her life with power and authority.

That’s what God meant when He said change your posture and your dialogue. He didn’t mean give your anxiety a voice both in and outside your head. Or take your lame ass body and try to start running a marathon. He meant acknowledge your pain – but don’t you dare stop there. Tell it where it belongs and where it can go. Get your lame self moving – but also be willing to acknowledge you might need some help re-learning how to stand. Speak life and posture yourself in such a way for things to be different.

You can’t create change by beating the past into the ground. Growth happens under His direction and power for the present. That’s how you honor God with your life. You allow Him to blow the winds of change. You speak life until you run out of breath. And when you get tired, you get on your knees, confess your humanity, and get back in the ring once again.


 

 

When your shoe and your soul simultaneously get run over…

I love me some Tieks. Whoever thought a pair of flats could be so awesome? They are freaking expensive. But I wear them just about daily – so for me – it’s been worth the investment. I suppose ripping a hole in the nice soft refined leather with a gigantic steel door corner is probably the best metaphor for today I could have. Because I’m not even gonna lie…it’s been a tough one.

And I’ve challenged myself to put it all out there. Not just the pretty. Not just the healed. But the rawness of life that we all experience – but rarely talk about.

I’m good at doing it with large audiences – like on my blog. But struggle to apply genuine vulnerability to my closest personal relationships – the ones that really matter.

And true to what God does…when I say I want to work on vulnerability in the intimate spaces…He gives me more than enough opportunities to work it…and work it well.

The nice pretty leather? Ripped wide open.

#whydidIpraythis?

Under the leather sit 5 sensitive little toes. Had the shoe not provided protection, there would have been bleeding. And although my toes are sore, no wound is visible. I suppose I’ve walked around with a beautiful pair of Italian leather Tieks – per-say – on the entirety of my person. Sensitive areas never seen by the eye or susceptible to wounding – because a nice soft shade of protection covered them up. And that’s been ok. It’s worked for a while. Like I said – I like my Tieks.

But wouldn’t it be weird if I never took them off? If I came home and continued to wear them rather than transitioning to barefoot (my fav mode at home). Or wore them in the shower? Or to bed at night? There’s a time and place for shoes, and a time to take them off. Even the very most comfortable pair of shoes gets cumbersome sometimes. Especially when toes feel squished and start hurting.

And my emotional toes have been squished lately. In every way-shape-form. I’ve kept the leather covering in tact, because if I let the sharp edge of the door hit things just right – I might bleed. And I don’t like bleeding. No one does. But reality is, sometimes fragile places need to breath. And sometimes while breathing, the edges might hurt. And I’m not saying run barefoot through a parking lot full of glass. That’s just crazy. But in the safety of our own homes – in the intimacy of our closest relationships – it’s ok to take the shoe off and let your soul breath. To accept a few sharp edges and trust those you say you trust to manage and sit with you through any bleeding.

It’s not only ok, in fact it’s necessary.

And through this process of life’s ups and downs we have all sorts of opportunities. To look tough. To accomplish things. To make people proud. And it’s all well and good. But most of us would admit those aren’t the things we value in our loved ones the most. We value the time spent with our shoes off. That’s where the meaning lives. That’s where true friendships and relationships are born and maintained. In the raw real places of a raw real life. So imma go home after a long day and take my shoes off, and let my toes breathe. Because barefoot vulnerability is what life is made of.