Loss Vs the Potential for Gain

image1-2

There’s very little length to this blog today. Simply a lesson I am learning more and more.

If it’s worth saving, it’s worth losing. 

There are many situations in our lives where we weigh out the potential for loss. We consider risk when making decisions.

How often have I heard a friend say “I would have asked him out, but if he says no?” or “I really think she needs to know this before she marries him.” or maybe, “He hurt me and I don’t know how to tell him, what if it makes it worse.”

These are of course, just three simple examples where we consider the risk of being honest with someone. Honesty in this day seems to be very difficult. It’s often hard to be honest and even more difficult to take.

One internet meme says it well. In reference to a long-marriage the quote says, “they came from a time where you fixed what was broken instead of throwing it away.”

We are in an age of hyper-communication and yet we tend to shy away from real communications, instead opting for niceties, likes and/or passive aggressive communication. We worry about saying something what could be deemed as harsh, negative or, even in many cases, just put us into a vulnerable position. Honesty is scary.

But when we love someone it’s worth it. Just like our parents put boundaries on us or discipline us because they love us, when we care about someone, when we love them, words end up only helping.

I don’t want to go halfway. I don’t want friends (and I mean real friends, not acquaintances) with whom I can’t bare my soul. I don’t want leave a broken mess behind me.

If I care enough about keeping it, I care enough about losing it.

If it was real it won’t stay broken long.

Break the Walls Down

Walls01

And you got nowhere else to go
And you’re lost within your own home
And you’re trying so hard to win
You keep trying its embarrassing
And how you don’t even know
But you know you’re off the tracks
And how did you get in here
Thinking how did I get in here

I’ll help you break the walls down
I’ll help you break the walls down
And bust you out and take you home
Believe in me you are not alone
I’ll help you break the walls down

-The Rocket Summer, Walls

Brick by brick. Stone by stone.

With each broken promise, with every dream never realised, with each empty word falling flat, the walls were built.

With each slanderous word, with each whisper of gossip, with each backstabbing thought, the walls were built.

With each painful glance at the mirror, with each damaging thought, with each murmur of self-doubt, the walls were built.

With each break up, with each broken friendship, with each moment of abuse, the walls were built.

Brick by brick. Stone by stone.

The walls went up. and up. and up.

-mp. 2013

Your walls look different than mine. Mine may be brick, with graffiti and big windows. Yours may be concrete, scratched by years of pain or maybe wood, damaged by the rain of tears.

Walls are dangerous. While healthy boundaries force you to look up and keep you protected, walls keep you hidden, closed off and unable to grow.

A lot of the time our walls are invisible to us. The walls we have built are for protection against more pain (in whatever form). They keep the abuser at bay, they keep the potential of heartbreak from existing, they hold the world away.

These walls are usually not visible to others, in fact, often over compensation leads those around you to believe you are just fine. We act out in order to preserve our dignity; over compensate to hide the pain.

Admittedly I have built walls more than once in my life. Self-preservation yielded the need to hide, to run away, to close off so that as not to allow someone else to tell me that I wasn’t good enough…

I stopped writing, stopped singing, stopped being me because “me” wasn’t good enough.

Most recently I built up walls around my heart. My mom told me I am stand offish. I’m not even sure that’s a real word but apparently whenever she sees someone show interest I turn into stone.

What I thought was healed was merely mended. Although no longer in pain the next step, the one that would allow me to move on was to break down the walls.

For the former, breaking down the walls meant getting up in front of a whole lot of my friends who had never heard me sing and just belt it out at a friend’s wedding in France. It was there that I found the courage to break the walls down and believe that I was enough.

Now, for me, it’s vulnerability of the heart. In this case, when it comes to my heart, it means letting someone in again. It means even simply allowing myself to be myself with another person, to let him see me, to know me, to consider the possibility of more. It’s often a prayer, a cry out to God, going…protect me Lord, because I’m trying here…

The thing with walls is, that even if they were built because of something done to us, we choose to be victims and build the walls. Walls are built because we do not feel that we are enough. We may not feel that we can overcome the pain, the abuse, the heartache…whatever the case may be (and to varying degrees these things are not easy and may require, in some cases, professional assistance*), but they do take a first step of believing that we are good enough for a complete and fulfilled and whole life.

Understanding your value and knowing you are completely worthy of being whole is not easy. It requires acceptance of flaws, understanding that no one is perfect, and most importantly, I believe, the knowledge that you were created with a plan in mind. Intricately, fearfully and wonderfully made by God. Knowing that the King of Kings loves you and planned your very existence can help break those walls down.

He wants you to be whole, to live a full life, in relationship with Him and in healthy relationship with others.

go on, let Him break your walls down.


side note: if you or someone you know needs professional help please contact your local church or medical professional, or talk to a friend. We’re not in this life alone. x

wounded

“You’re going to go through a season of healing. You have wounds that need tending to”

Great, I thought to myself, hadn’t I just spent the last 6 months healing. Hadn’t I experienced enough random moments where I broke down crying? Hadn’t I had enough days where getting up was hard enough, let alone functioning? Wasn’t I whole? Wasn’t this past year hard enough?

My friend, even thousands of miles away and over Skype, could tell that this scared me. She looked at me through her computer screen and told me that I would be okay, that in order to move to the next season in my life, to do all that I was meant to do, I would need to go through this season…sure it would be tough, but it was necessary.

Sometimes we have physical wounds and sometimes they’re emotional or psychological. When we have a physical wound it is evident to those around us. We can see it disappear as it heals, the scab growing across it and eventually disappearing. Wounds that are inside, psychological and emotional, often take longer to heal or even worse, completely ignored because we don’t take the time to stop and see where we are at. Or, sometimes we don’t deal with the wounds because it hurts to much to deal with them completely.

Sy Rogers once spoke to our leadership team in London about bringing up wounds of the past. He warned us against digging up wounds from the past at the wrong time, instead to let them come out when they’re meant to.

On Saturday night, a very wise friend of mine said that it might be scary to deal with your wounds, but the Lord will love you, fight for you and protect you no matter what because He would never put you through something you could not handle.

The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain in rest. 

Here in Stockholm I rest a lot more than I did in London. This probably has to do with the fact that although I’m in school and running my own business I still have heaps of time…and in that rest I’m letting the Lord fight for me. I know that in Him my wounds will be healed, so that I may be whole to do all He wants for my life. It could be scary and it might hurt a bit, but I know it’s for the best.

Can I encourage you to let your wounds heal. Talk to a friend, a counsellor, a pastor. Get the right care. Journal, take time out to be with yourself. I pray that in all of this you will find wholeness in Him.

I only want to be strong

I may not look like that right now but I can hang like that…

I was 16 years old and I laid in bed with tears falling. They were tears of sadness mixed with tears of determination. I chose that moment to stop being weak.

You see, I was in high school and very close to a size 26 (US sizes). I wasn’t unhappy, depressed or sad. However, I had just been to South Africa and for the first time ever in my life I struggled to close the seat belt. I remember sitting on that plane, at the beginning of a one month trip across the world, wondering if the tiny planes I would have to eventually sit in, would be too small.

I knew I would be going off to university in two years and I didn’t just want to be the “fun and bubbly” Michelle. I didn’t so much care how I looked but that I could pick whatever clothes I wanted and most of all that I would be strong one day.

So the journey began…

I stopped eating sugar, cut out soda and just started being that much more active. I don’t believe in quick fixes, pills or surgery (until you really need it). Although it’s taken me many years and I have plateaued through the years I have learned many valuable lessons along the way. Now, today I have gone down 14 dress sizes and this week at the gym I was able to do a whole lot of pull ups on the frame. I’m stronger and slimmer and healthier than I have ever been. Best feeling ever when the gym junkies stare at you and their jaws drop! I have even ran a half marathon and considering doing a full one next year. Oh! And air plane seat belts? Loose…

I don’t write this because I want to brag about what I have done. Trust me, I have still a ways to go and I know that I’ll get there. I write this because to each of you reading this that has a goal; I encourage you to start today. Whether that means you need to lose weight, or eat healthier. Whether it means getting out of that abusive relationship or studying really hard to get into the school you want. It may be that you just simply want to save the money and travel around the world for a year…you can do it. I’m living proof that when you put your mind to something you can and will see results and accomplish what you started. Like me, it may take you longer than you wanted but I personally have learned so much along the way. I have zero regrets.

Recently, in the middle of feeling broken hearted, I looked back and remembered crossing the finish line after running 21k and with that thought in mind, got up and went…sure my heart hurts now but it will get stronger again. With determination, self-control and a lot of passion you will do anything you want…

so, what’s stopping you?

 

I’ve still got about 3-4 dress sizes to go but I’m getting there…

it’s okay to be sad

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,

 and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

    a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

    a time for war and a time for peace.

I was having a conversation with a beautiful friend of mine today. We were discussing the discipline of changing your thought pattern or transforming your mind. In our case the challenge of focusing our hearts and our minds back on Christ and our hope, rather than our current circumstances. Then conversation evolved into whether it was okay to be sad.

Often I don’t give myself permission to grieve or to be sad. I think that I should be stronger than my tears, stronger than my pain, stronger than the hole in my heart. It’s easy to put pressure on yourself to get over the moment, when in actual fact, we need to live in the moment, deal with it so we can move on healthily; becoming the person that God wants us to be. There is a time for each season of our lives.

James 4 states “So submit to God…draw near to God and he will draw near to you…Grieve, mourn and weep. Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy into despair.” (v. 7-9 paraphrased). I reckon it’s okay to be sad but in that we need to give that sadness to God and allow him to be our comfort.

I have learned over the last year that sadness isn’t wrong. Nor is grieving. It is okay to be sad, knowing our hope is not in the temporal but in the eternal. Our peace is not of this world but of the one who has overcome the world.  (John 16:33)

Broken

I’m possibly one of the most tactile people I have ever met. I’m not opposed to holding hands in public, or someone (I know) sitting close to me. One of my best friends frequently sits with her legs on my lap.

I think when you are experiencing pain or brokenness (and this is only my opinion) the effects come out in your most basic responses to love. When I’m in love I want to be near the person I love. Distance makes my heart break and ache. When I love someone, romantic or otherwise, they can be nearer than skin to be an it doesn’t matter.

Two weeks ago my mom came to visit. I barely wanted her near me, I was so broken. Then in the last two weeks I attended an amazing conference (Colour), had my mom and friends near me and stepped into another part of the healing process. I didn’t realise how bad it was, how broken I had been, until 2 days ago when I hurt my back and I could barely move. I was getting a massage and I said something to the lady which opened my eyes to how far I have come in the last two weeks…

“two weeks ago not even my mom could touch me”

Of all people in the world my mom should be the safest and yet even her nearness brought pain. Now that it’s changed I have realised that we often hide our brokenness. Whether it’s hiding away in our homes, by eating too much, by eating too little, by backing away from friends, we often only half heal. It’s not until we completely let our defences down that we can complete or move the healing process along.

I have written about this before, but I was again reminded by Sheila Walsh, that we may not always have the answers, we may want to ask why, but God is sovereign, therefore He is always in control. If the God that sent His son to us so that we can be free loves us that much, He can heal us, whatever the brokenness is.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

So let go, surrender and lean on the one who loves so completely He gave it all so we could be free.