Thursday, January 30, 2014

Where are you Looking? Part 2

I have been procrastinating long enough about writing this post! It had seemed like such a great idea at the time, but I now find myself dragging my feet for one reason or another. Had I not announced in the last one that I would be writing a part two, I am pretty sure that this post wouldn't have come about. At least not this soon. Since I like to do what I say I'm gonna do in a timely manner, it looks like I'd better find some words in a hurry. 

Lord, help me to express those things that will bless someone who reads this. You know what needs to be said... and how... and for whom. You also know how terrifying it is to share on this kind of level. Do Your thing! In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

When I left off I had just recounted how the Lord had spoken to me during the process of looking back over my life. Because He doesn't do anything halfway, He had much more to speak to me about where I was looking. Specifically about what I was and was not looking for in my relationships. It started with me finding myself in a place where I had absolutely no recollection of something my husband had said during a conversation we had with a friend. I have a pretty great memory (a blessing and a curse), and I was surprised by this lapse in my cognitive abilities. I had been right there and hadn't the slightest remembrance of that entire part of the conversation? What in the world? I am thankful that the friend had enough guts to call me on it and offer some words of wisdom. He shared how a friend had told him that "we will find in others what we are looking for." In my case, I hadn't heard something that I wasn't listening for. You see, it was beginning to dawn on me that I had an agenda.

I know that I am not without sin and that my heart can deceive me. Still, I've got to be honest that I was disturbed by this. I highly value honesty and all of a sudden I was faced with the knowledge that I was deceiving myself. Ugh! I purposed to tackle it head on and see what the Lord might show me. From that point on I became keenly aware of what was happening/being said around me and how I was filtering each thing. Sure enough, I caught myself several times seeing things in a skewed way. Not surprisingly, I found myself doing this a lot with my husband. It may sound silly, but on any given day I have myself convinced that he totally despises me. I began to suspect that this probably wasn't the case, and that I should consciously look for evidence to the contrary. 

Two examples immediately spring to the forefront of my mind, the first being John's practice of backing in the car in for me. Knowing that I am a nervous driver and even passenger, he thoughtfully goes out of his way to do certain things to ensure that any trips I have to make will go smoothly. Besides backing in the car, he often programs the address into the GPS and mounts it, warms up the car, cleans the windows, makes sure I have gas, etc. All of this sounds great, right? How do I see it? Well, I get in the car (that I can now pull straight out of the driveway in!) and am overtaken by negative thoughts. Surely he must think that I possess inadequate driving skills and am incapable of driving well! His attempt to love me is totally blocked by my uncanny ability to flip it around into something that it isn't. Can't have anyone loving me, now can I?

Similarly, I caught myself misreading an exchange we had about skydiving. I had shared a desire to do so and had been met by his outright refusal. He pointed out that it seemed safe because more and more people were doing it, but that people were bound to start having fatal accidents. He had then said, "And you are way too valuable to our family." Seems pretty straightforward, doesn't it? That's not at all what I heard. I heard, "You are never allowed to have any fun. I will control what you can and cannot do, however, I can do whatever I please." Unbelievable! It took me about a day to catch what I was doing, which was deflecting any possibility of him caring. To me, there was no way that it could have anything to do with him loving me, so I needed to turn it into him desiring to control me. Sigh! Why do I do this?!!!

I began realizing that I have a tendency to hyper focus on things that will "prove" that I am not loved. Personal failures on the part of anyone I come into contact with can somehow become evidence that I do not deserve love. I have became a pro at seeing what I want to see. Bit by bit I have stocked my own little arsenal of weapons. If someone gets too close, I need only pull one out to create a little space. I do this with my husband, family, friends, just about anyone. As much as I welcome intimacy, I have really begun to see how I project things upon people in accordance with the way I am sure they must feel about me. It all boils down to me, once again, not believing what my Father says about me.

It is almost like scales have been falling from my eyes. When I really began looking for ways that John and others were loving me I was overwhelmed. I was seeing love everywhere and it had always been there! Subconsciously, I have always believed that I am not worthy of love. I have carefully built my case to support it and have deliberately used weapons to protect that belief. And now I have to ask myself what am I so afraid of? 

The pictures I am using for this post are of the spring wildflower Star-of-Bethlehem. Wishing to find it, I was surprised when I discovered it in our backyard. Really hoping it was the real thing, I had run in the house and retrieved my field guide. Everything seemed to line up just so, but I was still looking for that one thing that might cement my ID. I read on and discovered that there is a green stripe going down the center of the underside of the petal. How exciting! I couldn't wait to flip over a petal to see if the stripe was there. If you look back at the top picture you will notice that the stripe is not visible. It would take some looking to see it. And so I am discovering that if I want to be everything that God is calling me to be, I will have to start consciously looking for love from those He places my life.

I love You, Father. You love me... and, wonder of wonders, other people love me. I am sitting here allowing those truths to sink in. You have painstakingly dealt with me in this area for what seems like forever, Lord! You are so very patient with me. Though I find myself slipping into my old ways of thinking from time to time, I really have felt that I have made vast improvements as far as believing Your love for me. That was a start, but it seems that You desired to carry that over into my other relationships. Did You think it was time to shake things up because I was finally feeling more secure in Your love? Whatever the case, I am so grateful that You are always building me. Thank You for this reminder to look for the love that I so often refuse to see. I confess that I have blinded myself from seeing healthy expressions of love from those You've placed in my life. Forgive me, please. Since You are the Great Physician, I pray that You will align my vision. As I seek to obey You in this, would You please help it to come more naturally for me? I want to live in a way that pleases You. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.