The original plan here was to work through some old memories. It's a technique Rick and I learned in counseling (you could call it 'pre-marital counseling', or you could call it, 'two people who both came from abusive households want to get married and think they're going to need a lot of counseling on both sides of the wedding, so let's start now!') - "reparenting." Going back into a memory as a third-party observer, who can talk to the kid-you about what just happened.
For example, I'm in the den, having just brought home another testament to my dismal efforts at school. She's furious with me and on the tail-end of a tirade, spits out, "You know what, Dawn? If you don't do your best, you won't like the life you make for yourself." Storms upstairs. I believed this for over ten years. Reparenting, I'm now an adult, someone that fifteen-year-old Dawn would respect and listen to. And I can go into that memory, and talk to her, and tell her that her mom is scared for her, and that's why she's angry. And that even as a baby, I was always the happy one. I don't need to be scared. Yes, doing my best is important, but things are going to happen in life that are God's control, not mine, and I need to understand that they didn't just happen because I didn't do my best. More than that, I can like my life - I can be happy and thankful for what God has given me, every day. It's not a bad thing to do so - it's a GOOD thing, and God wants me to have a thankful heart, not a scared one.
Reparenting. Good stuff.
So, I was going to use this to work through some of the pieces. There are a lot of them. Also as a place to collect some of the pieces - my friend Denker ended up having to rebuild my psyche when I shattered around sixteen, and we realized then that it was irresponsible to have one person hold all the pieces. That's when I started giving more of myself to each friend. More recently, I've realized it's also not okay to have someone else be responsible for putting me back together - even several someones. (Four years ago, I was going into a psychological meat-grinder, that my sister Stormie knew might leave very little left of me. She promised to sing me back to myself when I had forgotten the words. This is wonderful of her to do if she can, but I need her to not think she's the only hope.)
Well, this week there's been something of a crisis of faith. Actually, this month. Maybe the last two months. And what's actually been going on has been a slow build over YEARS, realizing that I'm depending on a scaffolding rather than the Rock. It's just in the last two months, with Rick overseas, taking on a lot of adult challenges, and spending more time by myself than I ever have (and that takes some doing - I'm usually a pretty independent person), I've realized that for all that I ridicule "prosperity gospel," I've completely bought into it.
I have the concept that if I follow Christ, doing things His way will make me successful at work. Will make me devastatingly attractive to my husband. Will give me a good reputation, make people admire me, I will be the kind of person that no longer fails at anything, if I just follow Christ.
Rick's aunt J had a chat with me last night, and asked me what I would do if I knew that following Christ would get me fired. I have one of those jobs where, if I get fired, it's a black mark on my record for life. I also know that it's entirely possible for this to happen - I don't work for a Christ-following organization. It's one that's honorable and even somewhat prestigious by the world's standards - people admire me for this job. And I know there are times when I've done things in line with how my work wants them done, that isn't in line with how Christ would do them.
J is so gentle, and patient to talk the hard things through. Her husband, Doc, is my husband's closest friend, and he's the one who goes hard-hitting for what needs to be pushed out, like pus from a wound. J's been there for every conversation I've had with Doc, and she sees what I hadn't - I've raised my reputation to a higher pedestal than Christ.
Everything I want to do at work, in fitness, in caring for the house, and almost everything in my marriage - they're all things I want to do to make people like me, approve of me. I have not been considering God's approval a priority at all. There are several areas where I was kind of hoping that I could have both - that it would just work out that if I made people happy, then God would be happy with me, too.
Stormie is one of a very short list of people who realize how tremendously selfish, self-absorbed, I am. The actions and words that cause most people think I'm so nice, kind, and sweet, come from the motivation that I really really want their approval - I feel validated as a person when people like me, and I feel like a failure when they're disappointed in me. So I do things that I think will make people like me.
J has been patient with me since last summer or more about the concept of finding my identity in Christ. It's a phrase I've heard dozens of times, but not understood. Part of it, I'm starting to see, is finding my VALUE in Christ - because right now, I find it in other people's opinions - so much so that I will lash out in nasty passive-aggressive ways when I think I've earned someone's good opinion and they don't give it to me.
I'm planning to take a week off - I can't swing it this week or next, but soon - and go up into the mountains with my Bible, and ask God what HE thinks of me. Read it cover-to-cover if I can, take notes on that question. I feel so shallow now - and the odd thing is, I know a time when there was so much more depth to my spirit, my motivations - I didn't have the kind of job, prospects, or living situation that I do now. I was single, didn't dress in a feminine fashion, paid almost no attention to developing my abs or any other muscle group, and I had no idea where to go with my life. I thought I was at a dead end on that one, actually.
I now have a steady paycheck, and a sweet little house to work on. I have a wonderful husband, several options for where I could go with work, know how to train my body, manage my depression, flirt or not flirt with confidence, stand my ground against someone who would push me down. While I'm not batting 100% in any of these, I actually do have just about everything the world says I need. And I'm shallow, manipulating, self-absorbed, and my foundation is flimsy at best.
I really can't serve both. I thought I could. I'm desperately grateful that He showed me this before it was too late, but now...I only know a little bit of what to do. It's like learning to walk again.
I expect there will be notes from this process here, possibly mixed in with pieces that shaped everything. I don't have any solid answers, just what I've learned, and am learning.
I love you. I love you for loving me without a second thought. I love you because when I could not love myself you loved me enough for the both of us. I love you. I love you for being more than I thought you could after I gave up on everyone else. I love you. I love you and I don't know the sound of your voice or the touch of your hands. I love you I love you after I prayed for you to come into my life.
Today was my visit to the jobs counselor and after a 2 hour drive and another 3 hours of test I made it! This is a new start in my life. I no longer have secret baggage I feel the need to store away or carry on my back. I no longer need everyone to be a friend or be in the in crowd. Today my hard work in getting better and dealing with the rough truths of my life were recognized and approved. I still have scars that need more time to heal, but they don't cause me the pain of not wanting to be here. I truly know in my heart and soul there is nothing too heavy or shameful for me to overcome. I can now see the rainbows and rain before the storm and I am ok with that. The idea of seeing things in my path allows preparation and the ability to overcome obstacles. Thank you feels like a very small and powerless word, but its all I have to give right now. Thank you for helping me, saving me and loving me! My God is Good!
I go crazy trying to decide whether I can be a true believer again or not.
I used to have faith. Hope. Goals. Morals. A sense of accomplishment when I was able to speak freely about my love for Christ. I truly felt like I could move mountains with the strength I gained from God. Then something happened, and now I don't know what to do. I tend to over-think things. And just when I feel like I'll finally get everything back, one thought shakes my entire foundation, forcing me to start from the lowest level and try to make it back to the top.
I can't deny his existence...but I can't justify it, either. Yeah I know that the whole point of faith is to believe without seeing, and that's exactly what keeps me from him.
to all of the churches and their members,My name is Kathryne Loukopoulos and I am opening my website www.prayersdocometrue.com to be able to help take care of God's Children and my own. Our Heavenly Father designed it and told me what to do and I did, so I hope you enjoy it for Our Heavenly Father dedicates it to all his Chosen Ones and Elect. God Bless.
Perhaps the most vivid example from the domain of religion that the body is a cultural phenomenon subject to cultural transformations is given in the classic work on New Caledonia by Maurice Leenhardt, the anthropologist and missionary. Leenhardt recounts his discovery of the impact of Christianity on the cosmocentric world of the New Caledonian Canaques via a conversation with an aged indigenous philosopher. Leenhardt suggested that the Europeans had introduced the notion of “spirit” to the indigenous way of thinking. His interlocutor contradicted him, pointed out that his people had “always acted in accord with the spirit. What you’ve brought us is the body” (Leenhardt, p. 164). In brief, the indigenous worldview held that the person was not individuated but was diffused with other persons and things in a unitary sociomythic domain: [The body] had no existence of its own, nor specific name to distinguish it. It was only a support. But henceforth the circumscription of the physical being is completed, making possible its objectification. The idea of a human body becomes explicit. This discovery leads forthwith to a discrimination between the body and the mythic world. (Leenhardt, p. 164) There could be no more powerful evidence that the body is a cultural and historical phenomenon. Insofar as the objectification of the body has the consequences of individuation of the psychological self and the instantiation of dualism in the conceptualization of human being, it has implications for defining a very different regime of ethical relationships and responsibilities.