Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fear of Failure.. Lie Based Thinking and Finding the Truth

Just when she thought she had it all figured out she noticed a million eyes watching her as she entered the building. Less than five minutes ago she heard a touching song on K-LOVE that inspired her to turn her life over to Christ and start anew. Her head held high, spirits souring at-least ten feet above her, nothing could bring her down today... Nothing. Well, nothing except every co-worker from every floor staring and snickering in her direction that is. Before long she felt embarrassed and completely vulnerable, could they see inside of her? Were they mocking her joy? Obviously they could not possibly know what she had just done, nor were they attempting to crush her sudden burst of spiritual enthusiasm. What they did see was the four feet of Charmin trailing behind her stuck in the waistband of her pantyhose. It wouldn’t be long before someone gently tapped her shoulder in the elevator informing her of her amusing appendage. Despite the fact that the source of the snickering eyes was revealed, the suit wearing confidant woman stood like a child, feeling defeated yet again. Forgetting about her earlier proclamation she went on about her day avoiding anyone she thought might remind her of the toilet tissue stalker.

How many of us have experienced something like this, where we have had some momentous transformation that is sure to change our life, until everything goes wrong? Until that one person we need support from is unavailable or even unsupportive. Until we believe God will take care of us and we are diagnosed with a terminal disease. Does discouragement always equal weakness or insubordination to the will of God? I suppose it can depending on the situation, but I have recently learned that it simply means we are human. Unfortunately human nature often means that we operate under the impression that when our lives are going well, everyone around us should be supportive or in the "same boat" so to speak. Finding peace within ourselves is by no means expecting too much, but expecting the world to follow suit is unrealistic at best. I have been in a situation more than once where a battle of wills has raged on between two parts within my own person. More specifically, where my heart is transforming in one way but my mind is not willing. I suppose the ultimate goal is to allow God to have control over every aspect of our bodies so that we are in sync at least with our own spiritual ambitions.

Fear of failure is not something that we are born with or acquire from a relationship with God, rather it is a result of a system of lies that we believe. Some might refer to it as a self fulfilling prophecy or a bad omen. However in the spiritual world it simply means that there is something or many something’s that we have been exposed to that lead us to believe certain things about ourselves. Unfortunately, recognizing that the lies exist are the easiest part, its replacing those lies with truth that requires real faith, understanding, and a willingness to change the way we think. I am far from having dealt with the castle of lies that binds me, but I have learned a valuable lesson. Not dealing with and facing those things that keep us from getting close to God means not getting close to God. That is a real problem for me because like any other Christian I believe my purpose in this life is to build an intimate relationship with my Savior. Not everyone has lies that keep them far from the spirit, but there are those of us that intrinsically believe that we are unworthy of such love and compassion from Christ. I have read scripture after scripture exclaiming that I am saved by the grace of God... but that does not mean I believe I deserve it.

The business woman confessed that Christ was her savior and decided in a moment that her life was going to change forever. She is not alone in that this sincere attempt at self renewal was squelched by unknowing onlookers in a matter of moments. In our society we are easily derailed by the things around us whether it be negative people, temptations, or our own beliefs. Allowing God to be the only voice that makes a difference is the only way any of us will ever make a lasting promise. Though, I have not figured out how to tune out the negative broadcasts or even look past temptation... my goal is to learn how to channel Gods voice in a way that supersedes everything else I may be told, hear, or see. Whether or not the toilet paper made her forget her recognition that Jesus is the savior, she still confessed it and God heard this confession. I was told by someone dear to me today that despite my deficiencies and inability to forgive my own mistakes, I am saved by the grace of God by my recognition that He is the only way. Consciously and even logically I have known this is true my entire spiritual life, but somehow I have equated His forgiveness with my inability to forgive myself.

There is a long road ahead of me and for many of you but one thing we can all be sure of is that this battle, war, misunderstanding whatever it might be, we are not and will never be facing it alone. The most terrible embarrassing moment, or deeply tragic event is never gone unseen by the Father who designed our lives such that we could experience all of those things which make us who we are. I may not understand my calling, or know how God is going to use me in this life, but before the time comes I hope to know who I am and be secure in that knowledge. Don't forget that there are no perfect people, that there is no perfect life and expecting that from yourself is like expecting cow manure to magically hold the value of a diamond. Just as each of us was born with defects we would hate for the world to know, we were also blessed with unique and beautiful gifts meant to be shared. I am certain you are loved and there is a plan for your life, what it is I have no way of knowing, where it will take you I have no idea. What I can promise is that whatever it is, is far better than anything you, or I, or anyone else could ever imagine.

If you are believing lies in your life that prevent you from finding peace with yourself or in your relationship with God I encourage you to ask your church about Theophostic Prayer Ministry. TPM, is specifically designed to aid you in replacing those lies with the freedom of truth through a specific spiritual process. If they do not offer it, suggest it. Though I do not have a full knowledge or understanding of it yet myself I invite and encourage you to join in my journey toward personal freedom.

God is good....All the time!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Television and Development

Television is the root of all evil when it comes to the developing minds of young children. Some people will argue to the death saying "TV is fine it doesn't hurt a thing", but I can speak from experience when I say it is far from innocent. I became a mother at a young 24, not to a newborn but to two little boys ages 13months and 32 months. Though, my oldest son was set to turn 3 two months after we married his vocabulary consisted of only about 5 words; nemo, drink, shreck, daddy, grampa, and cookie. Having gone to school for psychology I took several courses specifically focused on human development. Though, I had no children prior I was fairly familiar with the different childhood stages and where my son should have been.

As time went on I became increasingly more frustrated because neither he or my younger son were remotely close (developmentally) to where they should have been. Simple tasks that most children their ages could easily accomplish would be an all out battle of miss communication and un-success. They are now 5 and about to be 4 and this same war is still waging. Kindergarten is less than 6 months away and I have began to feel panicked over the situation. Sending a child to a specialist is extremely expensive and even if we had insurance most wouldn't cover it anyway, therefore, I have done the best I can to help them catch up on my own. My youngest son is not nearly as challenged as my oldest one, he speaks clearly, understands abstract concepts, and even anticipates directions. We are certain that once he is not influenced by his brother all day he will be fine.

It is difficult for a mother to observe children years younger have more original thought, personality and ability than her own child. I have had a great deal of time to ponder the reasons for it all and even do a little research, here is what I have decided. Before marrying my husband my oldest son was babysat by the television, if he wanted something he simply had to point and it was given to him. He was not required to try things on his own and if he turned his nose up at a food or activity he was never pushed to stay with it or try it again. There was not one educational video in sight and most of his time was spent glued to Sponge Bob or Fairly Odd Parents. If he cried as a baby a pacifier was shoved in his mouth or he was given a cookie in hopes that it would appease him enough to stop crying. Though he may have only been 3 when we got married the damage was already done.

Research shows that human beings develop at remarkable rates during the first 3 years of their lives. A great deal of our personality is formed by the age of three and almost concrete by the age of five. Anything that is too hard or requires effort is easily abandoned by my son and I am required to push him in ways that seem unnatural to me. Unfortunately, for him it was not only my husband who practiced this parenting style it was handed down by his parents who also did there fair share of damage. Education is not important to my husbands family, in fact according to his parents we are "bad parents" because we are going to require our children to at least try college. In their opinion it is wrong for us to expect the best from them and encourage them to expect the best from themselves. When we got married my first order of business was to turn the TV off, completely remove Nickelodeon from our vocabulary, and purchase a variety of good learning videos.

If the TV did go on it was something not only appropriate but useful at the same time. I was called an abusive mother by my in-laws because I was forcing the boys to learn. Not only were they learning, they were enjoying it so we pressed on ignoring the opinions of those around us. To this day my son would rather sit in front of a TV than ride a bike or play with a toy, he will literally sit on the couch for extended periods of time in hopes that it will go on. I have to "make" him go play. For any parent out there who thinks that as long as a show is rated G or is said to have "some" educational value that it is an adequate babysitter you are wrong. My son has a long road ahead of him and because of his lack of real stimulation he may never fully achieve his potential. Having happy children is important but being a good parent is far more imperative. As a child I did not get to do what I wanted when I wanted, I was guided and encouraged to experience life even if it meant trying something new. The majority of people do not realize the depth to which the first years of a child's life impacts their future, I am here to tell you that I know just how imperative those first years are. I was not there but I am here now and will be actively searching for ways to help my son overcome this devastating obstacle.

Loving your child enough to take an active interest in him/her is not being strict, or expecting too much, it is being willing to invest in their future. I don't know about all of you but I want the best for my children and I can't trust anyone else to lead them other than myself.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Real People Are Really Different

It feels like no matter what happens in life, good or bad, we are rarely if ever prepared for the change it brings. No amount of planning or anticipation seems to prevent us from being thrown for a loop. People all over the world are struggling in a million different ways, whether it be an internal battle, tragic surprises, or relational difficulties one thing remains the same; we are all real people living in a real world. It is so easy to think that if we just had someone else's life, pocket book, or body that everything would be perfect. Perhaps, some things might be easier but every change comes with its own set of unexpected problems.

The majority of people today try to mask reality by trying to live through someone else or pacifying it with another beer, spending spree, or hit. Unfortunately, for us the problems we face will still manifest themselves once we have come off the high, tried on our new wardrobe, or sobered up. The most difficult thing for me to accept is that health officials, government entities, and social specialists seem to think that if we all did the same things and lived the same way all of our problems would be solved. In other words if we would all just fit this mold of "perfection" we could and would lead a "perfect" existence. The biggest problem with that is it is impossible for me to squeeze into a role I was not born to fill and vice versa.

After a great deal of contemplation I have come to the conclusion that there is not one right answer for any one situation or any one person. We are all equally accountable for the choices that we make and how we will respond to the various challenges in our lifetime. Each thing we do, person we meet, and hardship we face molds us into who we are. To say that the same action will have the same result for every person is also to suggest that this can occur despite a complete difference in experiences. Accepting that we are and always will be unique seems to be exceptionally difficult especially among those is high social positions. Ironically those same people who judge and ridicule those of us who don't "fit" would never be satisfied if we did.

If we all had the same standing how would they be able to claim some sort of "status" that separates them from the rest? A great deal of importance seems to be placed on an elevation of social popularity, financial wealth, and status. Being successful is not necessarily measured based upon how adequate and accomplished one is in their life but on how much popularity and wealth that position affords them. This begs the question, if a man drives a garbage truck for his entire life and does it well, is a good father, husband, and friend is he truly less successful than the presidents of the United States? Most would suggest that he is in fact less successful because he did not reach beyond some city job, is not wealthy, and is not known or respected among the community.

I guarantee that if he and every other garbage man were to stop doing their jobs it wouldn't take long before they would become pretty important, even to the president (I doubt he wants to take a visit to the landfill). Perhaps, if we learned as people to gauge our success on our own callings, talents, and goals we would not live such a miserable competitive existence. I understand and acknowledge that competition can be healthy and drive us to reach new heights, but at the same time there is a very unhealthy expectation that if one just works hard enough he/she can be exactly the same as someone else. I could get all the plastic surgery in the world, lose 100 pounds and get extensions put in my legs but I could never be Angelina Jolie. We are real people who are real different and whether we like it or not we have no choice but to share this world.

It is easy to say if we all just embraced our individuality everything would be perfect, but it is just as hard for me to be happy with myself as it is for you. Just when I think I can do something well another person comes along who blows me out of the water. Perhaps the goal is not to ignore the talents of others but to avoid a comparison that leaves you feeling less than worthy. In this blog I will be discussing various situations around the world and even some personal experiences with relation to the lives and experiences of real people. My goal here is to examine the cruelty, bravery, love, relationships, and spirituality of all people.