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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Just in case you or I don’t make it

There is so much I want and feel I need to say. Too many things.
This is for the irreconcilable moment where sadness attends and insists on staying.
This is for the time when it’s too late. A whisper from heaven to let you know.
This is for those times when you wonder. Are we ‘okay’? Without a moment’s hesitation—with no reservation—yes, we are, unequivocally.
For all those times that were—times locked firm in the past, undoable by the nature of time and history—we were more, much more, in our hearts, for each other, than those times.
If I don’t make it, I want you to know that our love will never change. I know you will keep loving me. If you don’t make it, I want you to know our love will never change. I will keep loving you.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Sing this song of love over your loved ones

Here is a prayer to sing over those you love.
Oh love, I love you with such an indescribable love that words cannot express, nor can action show, what I have in my mind and heart for you, that I just wish I could do and continually do and never stop doing, for you.
I wish it were the case that I could say and do all the things that I think and feel toward you, and for you, and with you, never acting against you.
My heart longs for the situation where you are at peace, where all about you is hope, and truly all you experience is joy. My soul yearns for radiance to shine forth through you, that all your dreams would come to be within reach and be able to be fulfilled, that all about you would be vivacity, buoyant vulnerability and vision.
But so very sadly, it is to be, and is actually the case, that life cannot ever be like this. This fact leaves me bereft of response, saddened for a reality I would want to reverse.
It causes my heart pain simply to acknowledge that life cannot be controlled to the extent with which I would want your life blessed. If I want this for you, truly I would do anything to help you to bring it about, if only I could. I would do this. If only I could.
My heart aches and groans for the fact that yours does. And my mind doesn’t stop thinking about you. My grimaces of anguish suffer for the sole purpose that you are still not where you want to be. I want it for you… so much!
But let me sing this song over you.
Let me sing a song of hope and of peace and of joy, so you would know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am for you and never against you.
Even if I acted in a way that would leave you doubtful, I do hope and pray that part of you will see that my intent cannot help but love you.
Let me sing this song over you.
Let my prayer of love soothe your senses and fill your void. And if only it could! Surely I know in fact, even as I muse on the theory, that all of what I say is an aspiration, but it is still the devotion of love the drives my heart interminably toward you. For you. With you. By your side. Always.
I cannot bear for you to be in pain, but I realise and recognise and accept that I cannot control every nuance or semblance of reality. My heart is charged to want good for you, and to keep believing in you, no matter what, and my belief in you will never fail, even if it is that you thought that I did give up on you. I never will.
I pray that you would grant me the benefit of the doubt when I disappoint you, but even if you don’t, I will keep trying anyway, because my love for you means more to me than life itself.
I’m captivated by love for you. My life is absorbed in yours, and yet, even as I think, I’m so blessed by the love that God poured out my way by the very thought of you in my mind, and what God gave me as you rest indelibly on my heart. This thought gives me such gratitude.
But my song for you remains. My spirit will go with you, whether I’m here or at home with the Lord. You will always have me, even when you don’t. My love will remain, it will abide, it will go on, ever and ever, for you, for your ‘ever’, before we are reunited in the heavenlies.
I do thank God for this love in my heart for you that connects me to life itself.

Photo by Jamez Picard on Unsplash

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Why we MUST love one another

We must love one another simply because the issue of vulnerability, or the potential vulnerability, or the past vulnerability of people will mean that those negative experiences have meant that the last thing they need is for us to add to their burden.
This means none of us can afford to wear even more than we’ve worn. And none of us can afford to put onto another person more than they’re already wearing.
For this reason, it is imperative that we love people with every ounce of encouragement that we can give them, because in assuming that there is vulnerability (loss, abuse, mental illness, etc) in a person’s past or present or future, we know that we cannot add to that trauma, for reasons that would be obvious. 
We do not need to put ourselves in harm’s way by becoming a protagonist when in the same moment and vein we could very easily become an instrument of peace and healing and of hope in their lives.
It is therefore the best and only way of Christian discipleship with others to love them with the love that Christ loves us with which is the Father’s love for Christ himself.
You may ask what about the truth? Sometimes we need to love people with the truth. Of course, we do. What I suggest is an equal blend of love and truth, to the measure that truth is honoured, and love is not betrayed, is an ‘equal’ mix of 49% truth with 51% love. See how not all things when being equal are equal?
A truth honoured where love is not betrayed is a firmly gentle communication, characterised by patience and perseverance. If a truth were to burn the person, we ratchet back. We don’t always get it right, of course. So, having burned a person, we go back and make amends.
Sometimes I’ve sought to love people with the truth and gotten the mix wrong—perhaps it was 51% truth, or 60%, or 90%. When love was minimised and truth appeared too strong, truth wasn’t appreciated. It’s not to say there can’t be eventual or overall benefit, but we need to recall Jesus’ final command wasn’t, “Truth one another,” but “Love one another.” Yet, in all this we need to acknowledge just how much speaking the truth IS love.
We MUST love others simply because there is already too much pain in this world; there is already too much grief, too much existential confusion, too much lack of meaning and purpose. There are weary people everywhere. None of us can assume that others are impenetrable and resilient. The safer assumption is that they aren’t. 

Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

Friday, October 18, 2019

Those behaving narcissistically self-select

Here it is in the first line: call someone narcissistic. If they’re upset, yell, kick and scream, sob pathetically, and more so, refuse to look at their behaviour that bears narcissistic qualities, i.e. they are behaving narcissistically, then they’re behaving narcissistically. (The repetition is intentional.)
I am deliberately avoiding the term “narcissist” for the purposes of this exercise.
Narcissistic behaviour is
entitled in exploitative ways
revealing zero empathy.
But the darkest narcissistic behaviour
feigns empathy majestically,
exploits covertly,
even as it appears to care greatly,
and is founded and grounded in entitlement.
Now, if someone is mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy, this can be checked; we see it in their behaviour. They are perfectly willing and able to go within.
What do I mean by going within? Not to those safe and warm places where the tentacles of feeling are soothed, where all manner of drugs will stimulate; not where gooey poetry streams forth in fleetingly joyous overtures (interspersed by fits of rage). No, by going within, I mean going into the pain, to bear the presence of ugly realities, to be true to trauma experienced, to bear one’s shame and guilt and fear.
By the particular context we’re in, this means going within to genuinely and humbly explore and actually investigate for the presence of narcissistic behaviours that might reveal narcissistic attitudes that might be a beacon for narcissistic character traits.
To go within is to go on a quest for healing, admitting and accepting that healing is needed. That, in and of itself, is antithetical to narcissistic character. To be able to admit and accept the need for help.
That takes humility, courage and honesty. Not everyone can go there, and certainly not the person presenting narcissistically. And if they go there, can they stay there?
The person behaving narcissistically cannot go there and stay there. Well, it’s a toss-up whether they cannot or will not. The money’s an each-way bet. They cannot see it, nor are they prepared to.
Now a person who is behaving narcissistically may or may not be characterised as narcissistic. It all depends on their response. If a person who is called narcissistic takes it on the chin (they’re allowed to be disappointed and hurt), and they resolve in humility to take an honest look, to do what the AAs call a rigorous moral inventory, honest enough to find some things to work on, then they de-select themselves from the narcissistic cohort.
Importantly, however, they need to be characterised by having the ROUTINE ability to go within—they can and do go there routinely—and honestly self-assess their behaviour, especially as it impacts on others. And then they don’t leave it at self-assessment; they seek honest feedback from others. They feel sorrow for hurting others to the degree that they change their behaviour. It’s no good if they see the hurt they cause, yet cannot and do not change. The hurt is simply repeated. No, they seek to make restitution and they ensure they make amends.
Do you see a fascinating paradox emerge?
There are times when we can appear to behave somewhat narcissistically; but there needs to be a check on the three E’s: Entitlement, empathy and exploitation. A certain entitlement in abusive spaces is to be expected. Entitlement to be respected and understood, for instance, in environments where there is scant, fleeting or conditional respect, and no desire from the other party to understand.
But the tell-tales of true narcissistic behaviour are the capacity to exploit situations and people, caused from a lack of empathy—an intrinsic lack of care and concern that translates into impact upon people, especially loved ones, which further translates in them being a bringer of pain.
So, the characteristic of looking entitled, in and of itself, isn’t enough to pinpoint what would be considered narcissistic behaviour. Again, there are a range of motives for why someone would act entitled, including, as a response to abuse.
Only the one who sees themselves honestly, their real flaws, can refute the tag “narcissist”. Only the one who cannot bear the exploitation of others; who cannot help but be empathetic; who can see when they’re acting entitled.
Those who behave narcissistically self-select the label “narcissist” by behaving narcissistically. It’s the behaviour itself that speaks for itself.
We can and should trust what we can observe.

Photo by Jeroen Bosch on Unsplash

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A torrent of blessing… IF you don’t give up

God spoke to me these words: “See what happened there; the attack was incessantly furious, wasn’t it? Yet, how did you respond? I know, but have you noticed yet? You did not give up, so I’m coming through for you… now watch!”
Of course, you know these moments, because you see them through the rear-view mirror of your own life. We all know those times when we could have reacted in a desperate overture of anger or despair that spoke only of a fearful and resonating hopelessness. 
Those times when we could have but didn’t.
As tsunamis and landslides and hurricanes and floods cannot be stopped, acts of God as the world insurance industry refers to them, God’s favour toward those who patiently persevere cannot be stopped. God’s will cannot be thwarted.
A torrent of blessing is coming… IF you don’t give up. IF in the circumstance of your exhaustion, bewilderment, grief, depression, etc, we don’t resign from the purposes of hope. 
So, knowing all will be set right, we don’t. We keep hoping onward beyond the torment, reminding ourselves of our resources of patience and quiet and honest strength.
We take that situation audaciously, as just the situation we were waiting for, as look at the enemy and say, “You’re on!” That’s right, it was no curse, because it was our opportunity. We don’t fight with the weapons of this world. We fight with the patient fortitude of a grace that is sufficient for us. The world looks on as if to say, “Are you for real? How do you slay this evil with a smile?”
It was what was hatched in the beginning as the conquest set before us.
To be crushed? No, it’s not about that, at all. That’s the reality that has beset us, for sure, but there’s more ahead, if only we can bear the present moment in gentle patience and perseverance.
This moment that has hit us, this reality of torment, precedes the very torrent of blessing that is coming forth toward us, that again, cannot be stopped. The moments ahead are not easy, but they will be worthwhile in the overall plan of our redemption.
We look not for reward, but we are assured that reward is coming. We are assured that a torrent of blessing is rushing toward us, just like that unstoppable tsunami, and once it sweeps in, we shall see from that Mountaintop. All was worth it.
This is our hope even as we prevail without a hope in this world.
See how the Kingdom is advancing and sweeping up the captives, carrying us to safety and security, converting our hardship and misery into sweet droplets of blessing, a vision building even as we wait and toil.

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The who, what, when, where, how and why of Triggers

Life takes its toll on all of us. And that toll is often borne out from trauma into triggers, from our minds to our bodies, from our attitudes to our behaviours, at light speed, like a flash on a camera.
That toll, when it was too much for us, is revealed through the visible manifestation of trauma.
The toll is taken,
it’s transmuted into trauma, and
ongoing effect is felt through triggering.
When we’re triggered
When we’re triggered one or more of a number of things can happen, from freezing in thought or action (or both); to fighting through anger which comes more from anguish and utter confusion than through wanting to be violent, because there is an itch that cannot be scratched; to fleeing through all manner of denial, escape to sheer panic attack.
It occurs and we may run without a thought to food or drink or drugs or video games or shopping or some other crutch. Being triggered sets off a chain reaction of responses that seem beyond our control. We run to comfort, no matter the negative consequences of our behaviour.
Being triggered can often feel like and often is borne out of spiritual attack, when we feel threatened, whether the threat is real or not. In actual fact, the very nature of spiritual attack is it’s a threat we cannot see, feel, taste, touch or hear; we sense it in our spirit. It doesn’t get much more disconcerting than that.
Being triggered is scary, because, though we suspect we know what is happening, we can feel hopelessly out of control, we feel exposed and vulnerable, and we may often feel embarrassed and incredibly silly.
When we’re triggered, we hardly recognise or acknowledge that most if not all people have triggers. We may feel as if it’s only us that has this ‘silly’ weakness.
What is a trigger? Why do we have them? Can we lessen their impact?
Well, it’s the body’s adapted physiological response to trauma. Because trauma was unconscionable, and the mind could not cope with it, we developed a way of coping that is far from ideal. When we are triggered (re-traumatised) our minds switch us straight into this learned response.
Tracking back from the triggering is the key to learning what trauma we met in the past and how we might better understand it. When we better understand what sweeps us off our feet by what cut us off at our knees, we have a better chance in future through using our mind to gradually respond better, little by little as we adjust our coping style.
How should we respond when we’re triggered?
These are the nuts and bolts of where we start in reconciling those things that happen that are beyond our control. So, how do we manage our responses to the things we cannot control? Great question!
In the early going, when we’re first discovering what triggers are and how they collapse our world in a second, we need to be gentle with ourselves and take the pressure off ourselves. Inevitably we may find we can talk ourselves through it. A trusted and competent psychologist will help.
As we gain more knowledge about ourselves, and more knowledge about the antecedent trauma, and having accepted it, we’re given ways, through prayer, to respond better, through practice.
Most of all, we need to be reminded that being triggered is not our fault. We are all wired to be able to cope with so much; any more than that, and trauma occurs. It’s therefore not us, but the experiences we had.
Our journey’s in forgiving those experiences and learning how we can respond better.
Where does triggering most often occur?
When we’re feeling unsafe, vulnerable in a situation, or particularly when we’re surprised or didn’t anticipate a thing happening, that’s when a trigger is most likely to occur.
There are places we may go, places associated with trauma, where our mere presence in that place will raise us to alert.
Then there’s a particular person or persons. Those who have threatened us or who have posed as a threat—and this is often the case, when we just discern something is off about a person—are a major cause of triggering.
Sometimes it’s a task that we do, or an activity that brings it on.
And very often it’s the case that all kinds of stimuli can cavort together to bring on a time of triggering.
Whether it’s a situation or a person or a task or anything else, it’s not good to remain in such an environment. Wisdom dictates we’re always better off in safety.
~
When we notice someone behaving out of character, or responding without thought or by instinct, in ways that could mean they’re being triggered by their trauma, the compassionate approach is to keep them safe, offer them comfort, to be gentle with them.
I know personally that enduring a season of feeling triggered can leave my body feeling bruised and battered, and most often not physically, but spiritually. Somehow in being triggered repetitively, the body bears the brunt of what we cannot cope with. And to recover, we need time to reconnect with our bodies—our physical self.

Photo by Ariana Prestes on Unsplash

Friday, October 11, 2019

The tragic legend of Narcissus and Echo for today

Narcissus, as Greek mythology would have it, was so attractive that many women wanted him, but his heart was hard, and he rejected all the love cast toward him.
When Echo, a maiden, followed him, fell for him, and finally revealed herself to him, her infatuation was unrequited. Like with all the others, Narcissus pushed her away, and in despair, Echo roamed around aimlessly and became what we now know as an echo sound, a mere reverberation of her former self.
This is when Nemesis stepped in. The goddess of reckoning and reprisal, she learned what had happened to Echo and vowed to punish Narcissus. She took him to a pool where he was found to linger lustfully at his own reflection, and as water reflects the face, so his heart reflected who he was—in his case too much in love with himself, to love someone else, which was ironic, given he was so very insecure within himself.
As Narcissus peered into the still water’s surface, he discovered with utter disillusionment that his love could not materialise, so he despaired and took his life.
Out of Narcissus’s death, however, from the ground to which he had fallen, fell a seed. What emerged was the vibrant and fragrant flower, Narcissus, proving that beauty can only come to life when the excessive and obsessive self-love dies. (Which is not to say that self-love in and of itself is wrong. If we don’t have enough of it, we may despair for the opposite reason.)
How the tale plays out in real life…
The narcissist is naturally very attractive. Women fall for him. There’s something about him that they, and everyone else, just cannot work out. It’s the allure of the charismata.
No matter how charming he presents, however, he has a hidden self that is hidden even to him. He cannot see himself, and therefore he cannot help himself. And others can never really know him, either.
Finally he sees the only thing he can love—his own reflection—and he despairs of that, finding it unconscionable within his unconscious mind, and punishes everyone in sight because of it, transferring all that weight of self-hate onto others. Yes, that’s right; he’s the confused epitome of self-love and self-hate at one and the same time.
The narcissist is ever distant, and while they may present the ubiquitous fa├žade of intimacy, once they have a partner ensnared that intimacy is but a cruel promise that is never again fulfilled. That partner literally lives the rest of their relationship with them, every day, riding the merry-go-round of hoping for better than the tantalising despair that has become their lot.
Let’s call the empath, Echo. She falls for the narcissist, because there is an echo in her own soul needing love; as there is for all humanity. It’s a God-shaped hole that only God can fill. But the empath finds the narcissist a very close match. So close but yet so far, however, because he’s a cheap counterfeit with looks like God (the incredible charm that looks holy and beautiful) but he has in fact got the opposite substance. 
The lessons…
The empath must be constantly on her guard of the presence of narcissists at all times. She is susceptible for good reason. She trusts. She believes. She hopes. She perseveres. She is so ready to love. It’s that hole in her heart that only God can fill, and yet there are godly men; they’re just not as obvious to her. And, of course, the narcissist detects the empath and locks on to feed.
There is hope for the narcissist. But only through death does beauty shine through. It’s the same for us all. Only as we live the death of Jesus does his life shine through ours and give others life.
The narcissist has no hope until he loses his life to save it. He must admit he’s hard of heart, because he’s self-obsessed, and he must see his pride, and repent of it. He must enter an aggressive program of recovery. Statistically, the odds aren’t great, but if I were a narcissist I’d depart that hopeless and hateful existence and fall headlong in love with God, the Saviour.
Unfortunately, there are so many narcissistic Christians. They’re often charismatic, but not always. The obvious ones are hardly a problem, however, (except many are trolls) because they present as toxically obnoxious. Why do we even entertain the ‘Christian’ troll in their narcissistic escapade by entering into the futility of a discussion? Wisdom decrees, “None of it!” Except to avenge an innocent one, then it’s about being shrewd.
The ones we have to watch have a particular charm,
where the toxic barbs lie hidden just below their surface.
The narcissistic Christian enjoys power. They cultivate a fellowship of people who agree with them. They do not tolerate disagreement, and always retaliate. Instantly they project any heat coming their way onto others through the blame language of gaslighting. They are always right in their own eyes (they do not consult with others—they think they do not need others). Especially in terms of their own biblical interpretations, their defence is always couched in attack. The fact there is no love in them shows there’s no truth in them.
It is very unfortunate that the narcissist’s self-love comes across as a love for the other, at least in the initial stages of the relationship, until it becomes obvious to both that that love is for one and for one alone; the narcissist, himself. Even when he pleads the integrity and quality of his love for her, all the while really thinking she’s not good enough for him.
The word “Narcissus” literally means “narc” for narcotic or “stupor”. The narcissist might as well be intoxicated, because in terms of them seeing truth that would liberate them and everyone else in their sphere, they’re inebriated beyond seeing it. They’re intoxicated beyond seeing their own toxicity.
NOTE: not all narcissists are men, but in the tale and in real life most of the problematic ones for violence are. This is not to say there aren’t violent narcissistic women out there. There are.

Photo by Alex Radelich on Unsplash

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Where there is love for God, there is care for humanity

At the risk of telling people things in an age where people don’t like to be told, I wanted to express something that’s been on my heart for some time.
One thing I’ve always been keen to observe is how Christians get along with one another, and how they care for one another, as an extension of the Lord’s final command to “love one another”; just as Jesus loved his disciples, and our love is to be the same as the Father’s love is to Jesus, and Jesus’ love for the Father (see John 13-17).
Just as Jesus loved the disciples is how we’re to love one another.
Jesus himself warned us, that the world will know we are his disciples by the way we love one another. To consistently fail in this regard is to consistently fail God.
And yet, what is the measure of such care?
Care is defined by those who need the care, not by those who are positioned to care, but it is often the case that those who are properly positioned to care, know implicitly how to care. A caricature of the wounded healer, for instance.
The advocate needs no coaching. They discern the sufferer and know how to apply the balm of healing, for they have been there, just as The Advocate has.
Usually, however, the agency to healing is much simpler, and requires much more patience, and needs less of our humanity, than our humanity is comfortable with.
When God is glorified in the healing, the human agent gets no glory, for the human agent who acts for The Advocate seeks no glory; for, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand’s doing (Matthew 6:2-4). But still too many want their taste of success and disqualify their love as being an attribute of God’s hand.
The measure of care, defined by those needing it, comes in portions of first aid and then of surgery.
The former requires simply a heart to care, yet the latter requires the discernment of a ‘therapist’ who is trauma-informed.
This denotes that there are two levels of care: the primary level for the actual site of the injury, and the secondary level for the trauma that occurs deeper in the tissues beneath because of the injury.
When we suffer loss or abuse or a crisis of faith or we burn out, there is always the event which is traumatic in and of itself. But then there are the deeper levels in layers of loss and trauma that come as the ripples of suffering flow outward.
Just like a tsunami, the most tumultuous and cataclysmic effects are felt as aftershocks once the waves have reached their destination before receding.
In trauma, the aftershocks last much longer than was ever anticipated, because the story needs to be told and retold, each time producing waves that discombobulate the equilibrium.
It is a sensitive work of faith to continue when there are consistently no signs of progress. But, trust. For healing is like a seed about to germinate. We don’t see growth until the shoot pierces the surface. Then and only then do we celebrate, when our faith is vindicated. Before then it looks like a lost cause.
And there arrives the Christian, with the word of God in their right hand, which compels them to love; and especially, to love the wounded like the Good Samaritan would.
The Christian isn’t the person he slides on by and the other side of the road.
And they are definitely not the person to mete out harm!
And yet in our day, as the #ChurchToo movement suggests, as it continues to gather momentum, we see Christians not only sliding by on the other side of the road, but they were the attackers who left the wounded traveller dying on the side of the road in the first place.
Christian? Really? To not respond in care? To injure? To injure and then to fail to care… oh, that’s right, to injure would preclude the motive of care.
There is little wonder that on the occasion of causing suffering, the one causing suffering fails to respond in care.
It is one thing to cause suffering, it is infinitely worse to fail to respond to suffering one has caused. And yet, the suffering that a person causes is never easily nor willingly confessed. And yet, we will all face God.
Is infinitely better to confess our sin in this mortal life, where healing and reconciliation and God’s will might be done, than to carry it over into a time of judgement.
Yet, those who won’t listen to the calls of the sufferer now are those also who will not heed the call that echoes throughout all eternity. Woe.
Whoever would love God will care for their fellow humanity.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

What we feel that goes soul deep to steal

Maya Angelou is famed for saying, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I’ve been reflecting on that of late. I’m finding that it’s not always the positive that I do that’s sometimes remembered in people’s lives I work with. I’m finding, to every pastor and counsellor’s chagrin, that it’s the times I’ve let people down that they can seem to remember the most.
It’s not that I make it a practice of trying to let people down. Nobody who seeks to help people does that. But in working with human beings, and being a human being, letting people down is the unintended consequence of time and the odds of getting it wrong at some point or other. I’m so glad of the facility of apology and repentance, as a way back to restore shaken relationships.
Something about the experience of a negative goes deep into the fissures of our soul.
And though it’s often the positive memories of our past that linger and the negative things fade, with people who’ve harmed us it’s one-hundred-and-eighty degrees different.
Those who I have forgiven long ago whom I still cannot bring myself to trust are those who made me feel the deepest, most negative experiences of my life, and those experiences are not easy to erase—indeed, it’s a good possibility that that’s impossible.
Not that we don’t pray for redemptive moments, and we should. Surely God will show up in some of these situations? Or even one? To give us hope for healing; for the relationship certainly, but for the reclamation of fragments of our own peace, too.
What is it that we feel that goes soul deep to steal?
When we were shamed in a degrading way or publicly or in ways that left us brutalised, where we were made to feel guilty, vile, useless and worthless.
I’ve been amazed at how many of these experiences I still recount as if they happened five minutes ago—the place, the person, the time, the words (sorry, Maya), the sting in the tail, even the weather. Something of that pain was immediately etched or imprinted on my psyche. And there it remains waiting to be healed.
Not that I’m scarred beyond help. Not that you are, either. But we all suffer from another’s careless whispers or worse. And these things dredge their way deeper into us than we’d ever expect or allow if we had that sort of control.
The way we were made is incredible. We were made to feel love and to respond in kind. We weren’t made to deal well with the life-crushing emotions of life.
These feelings we feel that went soul deep to steal—our joy, our hope, our peace, our trust, our faith—are real and they are necessary.
They are beacons to warn us of what is wrong that must be corrected. They are headlines from bygone times to remind us of what should have been protected. But wasn’t. Yet, they are also bells of hope for the fact that we felt, which qualifies us in the empathic realm.
Trauma is something to be held aloft and owned. It may be a trophy we don’t want, but it is also God’s reminder of the work God is yet to do. And hope for healing is both reasonable and necessary.
Those feelings are real. We shouldn’t allow anyone to undermine them for us.
Strangely enough, it’s when we accept the status quo of particular feelings, as being both real and relevant for our time now, that we actually begin to set up the healing sequence.
When we abide with Jesus those darker emotions—and it takes time—we find that what used to crush us now brings us agency. The truth has indeed set us free.

Photo by Simon Wilkes on Unsplash