For the people that see us every day how we appear to them they take at face value. If I don’t bother with my clothes (and I don’t mean how expensive they are) and am sloppy and dirty then that is how I am perceived. God didn’t make junk and I don’t think he wants us to look that way.
Each of us has our own personality and we dress accordingly. I love to people watch and in some cases it is easy to fit people into categories. Admittedly our ideas may be wrong but sometimes we are right on target. Some people’s clothes just shout where they fit in. I was in a restaurant and saw a couple with lots of tattoos, black leather jackets with motorcycle logos, and boots. It wasn’t hard to figure out.
The problem is twofold. Sometimes we misjudge others based on how they look. Discrimination crops up when our view is based on skin color or other ethnic signs. We know that this is the kind of judging that God calls us to avoid.
The other side of the coin is when we don’t care enough for ourselves to put our best foot forward whatever that may be. God does not call us to be sour faced, sloppy and dirty. We are called to be the Christian someone else sees in a positive way whether they are Christian or not.
Remember you may be the best Christian someone sees today. A really scary thought.
O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us! Robert Burns
For some reason I spent the last week stressing about taking a trip with my daughter. I wanted to go but there is something about leaving home that is stressful. Is it about leaving my safe place? I suspect that is part of it. Routine is familiar and comforting. Sometimes it is hard to get outside of our comfort zone. I have always been this way. The crazy part is that I enjoy myself when I go. Why do some of us have this problem?
So I got myself organized am now I’m visiting Boston with my daughter. I also get to be with my grandaughter who is at Brandeis University.my anxiety is suspended. So why all the drama?
It is interesting how change can send us off the rails. Most of us don’t like change and some of us are anxious when we have to accept it. The trouble is change is one of the true constants. Life never stays the same. Again I share the quote from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. Since I don’t have it with me it may not be 100%: ” in the midst of all the changes and chances of this life I rest in Your eternal chamgelessness. ” please God let us live into this!
Today I have been thinking about cause and effect. No matter what we do, or don’t do for that matter, there is always a result. It cannot be avoided. Just how much control do we have over the result of our actions? Sometimes I think we don’t have any and at other times it seems that I am definitely responsible for the outcome.
If we have anything to do with the outcome then we need to be careful. What I choose may have a result that affects someone else. Do I think about that when I make choices? Do I have a positive or negative attitude? It seems to me that having a positive attitude can change the outcome.
There is a difference between positive and negative attitudes. All of us have been with people who are always negative. For them, nothing is ever good. This can really wear on me and I don’t like being around them. Their negativity is just depressing. How we approach things is a decision that we can choose. I can get up in the morning and decide that it is going to be a good day and usually it works. Of course there are times when the day goes downhill anyway but not always.
We do have some control over our own mind. For those of us who have anxiety sometimes we feel truly out of control. It is hard to think yourself into a better place. Depending on the circumstances it may not be possible but that is what I am working on. Developing skills for handling bad feelings is a matter of training. It is just so hard to be disciplined.
Taking control of your own mind is a challenge but it is possible to do. It just takes consistent work.
My husband and I have been watching the BBC series “Father Brown.” I have been struck with the many scenes about confession and forgiveness. Father Brown makes completely clear that there is no forgiveness if there is not true regret and a desire to change. That is the view for the person who needs forgiveness. There is also the side of the injured. What is forgiveness from that point of view?
Forgiveness can be a difficult thing. If someone has hurt us badly we can have so many different emotions…anger, pain, hurt, disappointment, betrayal and others. Our emotions may swing from one feeling to another. Forgiveness may be the last thing we think about. Maybe we don’t even want to forgive for to do that we would have to let it all go.
The important thing to remember about forgiveness is that it is not just for the person who hurt us but for us as well. All the emotions that we are feeling heighten our body in a flight or fight mode. We secrete extra adrenaline causing our body to prepare for danger. When we think about the hurt we drag up those emotions again and again. You can feel the upheaval. If we continue to hang on to the hurt and drag it around with us it damages our well being. Somehow we have to find a way to let it go.
Letting it go may take time and conscious effort. Some of the hurts I have encountered in my life have hung on for quite a while. We have to consciously decide to turn it loose…. and do it again and again until those feelings subside. When we can remember the hurt without the emotions attached then we have truly let it go. There may always be a small residue like ashes left after burning paper but the real pain has subsided.
Forgiveness takes work.
It is a funny thing that when life seem to be going along well something will come and smack you in the face. Life is never smooth. The problem is that we can get lulled by lack of problems and complacent about how things are going. Just when you are starting to feel secure…..WHAM and there you are caught again.
Last week and this week seemed to be going so well and then plans that we had made were just wiped out. Somehow it always happens. It is even harder to deal with when I have to put plans on hold to be with my youngest daughter. That causes my heart to ache.
I know that most of the time it has to do with expectations that are either too high or altogether wrong. It does explain why I never seem to stop worrying.
Some how it will all work out but I’m having trouble with disappointment. I know that I need to put it into God’s hands but I am so good at picking it back up, For me turning things over to God is like hauling a big garbage bag out to the trash and then letting the truck go by without putting the bag in it. I follow the truck, drag the bag, follow the truck, drag the bag.
I don’t know why things are so hard to turn loose. I do wonder if it is arrogance and the inability to turn anything over to anyone else because I think I can handle it better. Wow! Knowing ourselves is really complicated and why I am on this journey toward better understanding. I hope I survive the journey.
Life can be difficult as we age. When I was young I thought that those people whose children were grown up and doing well were worry free. Now that I am there I have realized that this is very far from the truth.
If you have children the concern for them never goes away. It’s as if they will always be children in your eyes. Add to that as they grow older any problems that they have are usually more serious. Yous also add others to your worry list….grandchildren, spouses or significant others. The list of people you worry about grows exponentially.
Even if there are no children as we age health issues crop up. We would all like to just fade away in our sleep but life doesn’t always go that way.
It makes me realize how important it is to learn to live each day to the fullest. Wallowing in worry is wasted time. I can’t choose what life brings to me. I can only decide how I deal with it.
There are so many suggestions that people give you on how to do this. I do wonder if they are as successful as their suggestions imply. Each of us is a unique person and difficult as it may be we have to find our own path. It is important to be willing to try different things and be willing to make changes. We all know how hard this is. I have written before about getting rid of old habits and changing them for more fruitful ones.
I continue each day to struggle with the choices I make. Prayer and meditation help when I do them instead of wasting time. The bottom line is that to change ourselves is the most difficult task we face. Some people never question the path they are on and don’t explore new ways. I guess I am one of those who keeps asking questions and seeking answers. It is my curse and my blessing.
I commiserate with those who are like me. It may not be the easy road but it is an enriching one. Don’t be afraid to travel the questioning path.
Since the loss of my ministry as a Parish Nurse I have become aware of how much we humans need to be needed. When we are adrift on our own there is a longing for some connection….something to make us feel as if we belong.
I have had periods in my life where I have experienced this longing due to circumstances beyond my control. The time spent alone and separated from any meaningful relationship is painful. Spending time with ourselves requires soul searching. Sometimes some uncomfortable truths about ourselves are uncovered. I think this is even more difficult when this time alone is forced upon us and not of our choosing.
It is even harder for those of us who are extroverts. Loneliness brings on sadness. I was raised as a only child and do need some quiet and solitude but as the only thing there is it is difficult to bear.
This is why I am concentrating so hard on change. I do need other people and my previous role provided a chance to be present with others and share their joys and sorrows. It was a powerful and empowering experience. It gave my life meaning beyond my own personal needs.
It is hard to take on doing the things we must do to change. Most of all it is hard to be consistent with them. Sometimes no progress can be seen. The thing is we have to continue long enough for what is change now will become a habit. Habits are hard to form and just as hard to break.
Anxiety also can be a habit. One that is high on the list of difficult changes. One that requires major effort to conquer. It may not be possible to banish it forever but just pushing it down to a minor irritation would be a blessing.
So the journey continues.