Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Start to Think and Then Change My Mind

You know how that goes ...

You get a thought, and you start to explore it, but you don't like the path it's leading you on, so you abandon that line of thinking and go off into fantasy land instead and before you know it, you've got a second husband and a newer vehicle and it doesn't matter if you're the next one laid off because he can support you. And he sings. Plus he knows what to do about the light fixture in the kitchen that keeps flickering and the lawnmower that doesn't start. And if you're in for a penny, you're in for a pound - so you carry on with the fantasy and guess what? You weigh 120 pounds and have perky boobs too.

Escaping into fantasy land whenever life gets complicated is no way to handle reality. Some people drink. Smoke pot. Take pills. Spend money. Some cut. Some cut out.

I take a mental break and imagine all the very best parts about having someone love me to bits.

Know what the problem with doing this is?
Actually, what the two problems are?
1. As the fantasy gets more and more detailed, I set myself up with expectations that can never be met. I think I wrote an entire romance novel in my head this past week, starring me, a blond bombshell with no issues and some faceless, perfect man who loves me passionately.
2. I stopped praying.
Every time I had some free moments, I had a choice. I could pray. Or go to that happy place in my mind.

Yeah. So that was mostly a waste of a week.
And I'm left feeling guilty.

I rock at guilty.

Sometimes life is hard.
Our kids make decisions that horrify us. Our spouses aren't who we thought they were. Our parents aren't super heroes who can swoop in and make it all OK. Our friends let us down. Our jobs aren't secure. Our things fall apart. Our bodies get old. Life on earth sucks sometimes.

Rather than zipping away to that castle-fun-park in my mind, I should have dealt with my crap head on. Plugged my nose and just waded in.

Added to my own self-imposed failure, I had someone I love say, (in regards to a totally different issue), "You call yourself a Christian? HA!"

Yeah. I call myself a Christian.

I lost my temper and used an angry voice to say some strong words that offended the listener.

"You call yourself a Christian? HA!"

He knew he was pushing a button when he said that. The original subject of our conversation got de-railed (as was his intention) and my "christianity" became the object of discussion. And from his view point, I was a pretty lousy one. I started to defend myself (which of course is pointless) and ended up defeated and weighted down by the burden of being a failure at working towards being described as Godly, prayerful, compassionate, generous, and encouraging.

You know what? I just crossed Canada learning about conflict.
There are 4 ways to incorrectly respond:
1. Be passive (be silent, be in denial, play the victim/martyr)
2. Be evasive (flea the scene, minimize the issue, smooth over without dealing with it, shift the burden to someone else.)
3. Be defensive (claim a status or position that places you above correction, puff yourself up, blame others)
4. Be aggressive (attack or threaten, be intimidating, shame others through excessive guilt, sue or bring about legal action, make sure you "win" because you are RIGHT.

I think I used them all in that particular interchange.


But in the end? I backed down.
Because my need to be loved is stronger than my need to be right.
I agreed that I sucked at being a Christian. And added that as long as I still live on earth, I'm going to suck at it. And I'm going to love Heaven because I'll be perfect there.

This morning at work, I read a prayer and the last sentence was this: "May all my walk and all my talk (and all my thoughts) be such as becometh the gospel of Christ, amen." And I knew that I had to stop my escapism daydreaming and take hold of my thoughts. And instead of filling my mind with fantasy conversations and situations, I need to ponder those things that are pure and good and holy.

Carson's facebook status all day was made up of "tweets" from the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Conference he was attending. I let each statement percolate in my brain for a while:

  • Sabbath = a 24 hour time frame without anxiety or "have to's".
  • Your exterior life flows out of your interior life.
  • Anger masks two things. How have you been hurt or what are you afraid of?
  • The blessings or sins of the family extend for three or four generations.
  • Discipleship is the process of putting off the negative patterns of our family of origin and re learning how to do life in God's family
  • An emotional allergy is a reaction to something in the present that reminds us of something similar to the past.
Yeah, thinking about those things is way more fun thanthinking about romantic interludes on a private tropical beach with hubby number two. Who can sing. :)

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. God is patient with me.
2. If I ask, He will help me deal with all those things I'd rather not think about.
3. God is more concerned with our holiness than our happiness. Which is a good thing in the end, no?

Tonight's prayer from " A Diary of Private Prayer" by John Baillie

O God, let Your spirit enter my heart.
(And as I pray this prayer, let not any room within me be closed to keep you out.)
O God, give me the power to follow after that which is good.
(And as I pray this prayer, let there be no secret purpose of evil formed in my mind that waits for an opportunity of fulfilment.)
O God, bless all my undertakings and cause them to prosper.
(And as I pray this prayer, let me not be still holding on to some undertaking of which I dare not ask Your blessing.)
O God, give me chastity.
(And as I pray this prayer, let me not say to myself secretly, but not yet, or but not really.)
O God, bless every member of this household.
(And as I pray this prayer, let me not still harbour in my heart a wrongful feeling of jealousy or bitterness or anger towards any of them.)
O God, bless my enemies and those who have done me wrong.
(And as I pray this prayer, let me not still cherish in my heart the resolve to revenge them when the occasion offers.)
O God, let Thy Kingdom come on earth.
(And as I pray this prayer, let me not be still intending to devote my own best hours and years to the service of lesser ends.)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jane,
I hear you, I hear you, I hear you. This post might as well have been from my blog. You'd think two intelligent, capable women like us wouldn't be waiting for Prince Charming to come take care of our job situation and our aging vehicles and figure out why 2 of 3 light bulbs keep burning out in the only light fixture that's 20 feet off the ground and requires a man to bring his special ladder, only to have them go out a month later.
I hear ya.
Bless you Jane. You are a special woman and it's gonna work out.