Tag Archives: pain

haunted?

26 Dec

Do you ever feel like you’re being haunted?

Not by ghosts or spooky-type-haunty-things, but by previous incidents, past experiences or people in your life that you wish you could forget or move on from? Memories that serve as constant reminders of the past, of how things were, that you cannot seem to escape? Have you ever felt like these “ghosts” are just freakin everywhere you turn??

Well, I don’t .

Just kidding. Its been happening to me all the time lately! Being “haunted” by the past… its like I can never truly escape it. Why can’t I stop thinking about these things? Pesky little ghosts.

Maybe your ghosts look like people, memories of someone who used to play a much larger role in your life. These ghosts may represent painful memories and/or broken relationships. You cannot seem to stop thinking about them, yet still these ghosts show up when you least expect them. Maybe they haunt you for years, sucking your thoughts back to a time you wish they would no longer recall. When these ghosts haunt you, they leave painful scars on your heart.

Maybe your ghosts look like past mistakes you’ve made, memories filled with regret and guilt. Have you ever been defined by your worst moment? You made a mistake, and eventually everyone found out. From that point on, they judged you and defined you by that one bad decision, by your worst moment, by your most painful memory.

Doesn’t that just feel awesome?

Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. You try to move on from the past and “learn from your mistakes” but this ghost (your past) just keeps coming back… it just pops up out of nowhere and grabs you and starts dragging you down. You don’t know how to fight… well, how do you fight a ghost? A memory? You can never actually kill it anyway, for it is already dead, it is the past afterall. Yet, how are you supposed to make any progress moving forward when you are constantly reminded of and haunted by how things could have, or should have, been? Relentlessly haunted.

LEAVE ME ALONE ALREADY!

I do not want my thoughts to be consumed by these “ghosts” any longer! They are suffocating me. They are holding me hostage. I need some air. I need freedom from these ghosts.

But they seem to never go away, and the things or people they represent are never forgotten. These ghosts appear to never stop haunting you no matter how much time goes by or how much work you do to “fix” whatever situation after the fact (as if you could). You screwed up big time, everyone knows it, and now that is just who you are. That is your identity now.

Except it’s not.

Consider someone in the Bible who found himself in a similar situation:

One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, ‘Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?’ The man said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?’ Then Moses was afraid and thought, ‘What I did must have become known.’ When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian…” – Exodus 2:11-15

Yeah that’s right, Moses killed a guy. He MURDERED someone. He thought he got away with it too, until he found out everyone and their mom knew about it. Not cool. He ran away and time passed until one day God told Moses that He wanted him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses was all “Excuuuse me? What? Uhh, no, I mean, I can’t… I’m like a murderer and a horrible person (in case You forgot) and I think You may have just mixed me up with someone else because I am no hero. I can’t do anything great because I am a major screw-up, just look at my past, look at what I’ve done –that’s who I am. You don’t want me. Seriously.”

But God was all like, “Listen here buddy, I know exactly who you are. Your future doesn’t have to be measured by your past mistakes. YOU are not defined by your past. I have something great planned for you. You do your part, and I’ll do mine.”

There is a phrase used a couple times throughout the book of Exodus that says: “This same Moses [fill-in-the-blank].” This same Moses who murdered the Egyptian, this same Moses who made a horrible mistake, this same Moses is the Moses that God is calling to do something great –to lead His people to freedom. God wanted to make it known that He did not define Moses the way other people did, or even the way Moses himself did. He wanted to define Moses’ life, his future, in a different way.

It’s kind of awesome.

I am the same Kadi that God wants to use and call to great things. YOU are the same [insert name here] that He wants to use and call to great things! No matter what you may have done in your past, He still has a plan for your life. He started at the beginning and is going to be faithful to complete it. He is going to do His part, He wants us to do ours.

“…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” -Phil 1:6

When we allow ourselves to be defined by our worst moment, whether it is by others or by ourselves, we are paralyzed, stuck, unable to move into the future God wants to bring to our lives. He wants you to define your future in a different way.

There will never be anyone like you. The only person that can be the best version of yourself is you. God wants to bring the very best to your life. Do not allow yourself to be defined by your past, by your broken relationships, by your mistakes, by what others have judged you for or labeled you as. Sometimes we know God wants to give us a second chance, but we don’t give ourselves a second chance. Sometimes we need to learn how to forgive ourselves.

So, I am giving my ghosts to Him. I cannot change my past. I cannot fix what someone else broke in my life. I have to let it go. I want to grab hold of the future that God is calling me to. The greatness He has in store for me. My identity is found in HIM, not in what I’ve done (whether good or bad). I want to allow God to use the pain of my past for something beautiful, as only He can. He will provide rest and relief from these ghosts.

Peace out, ghosties!

(props to Mosaic for inspiring this post)

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“love is a violent flame not to be ignored” -AE

24 Dec

I heard the most horrible story the other day. I am hesitant to write it here because it is so sad, but I want to convey the reality of this painful situation… (or is it the painful situation that is reality?) I am currently working at an insurance company, and a lady called first thing in the morning – she was distraught, asking about accidental death coverage for her mother. She went on to explain that her mom passed away earlier in the week. Her mother had dementia and wandered out of her sisters house somewhere up north where she was staying, while they thought she was sleeping. When they realized she wasn’t there and couldn’t find her, they called the police. The police searched the house and one of them went to the back of the house where they heard someone gasping for air. There was a freezing cold creek behind the house that she had fallen into. They rushed her to the hospital, but it was too late and because she had been in the creek for a couple hours, she froze to death. The lady on the phone began to cry as she said the words. My heart was so so broken for her. There was so much hurt and sadness on the other end of that phone line.

Its crazy how this time of year, the holiday season, is supposed to be so joyful and full of hope, and yet there are people all around who are in tremendous pain. About a month ago I was out watching some friends play football for an annual Turkey Bowl game they always participate in around Thanksgiving time. I sat next to a lady who was watching her son play. We small-talked for a while, and I asked about her Thanksgiving plans and her family. When I asked if she had any more kids who would be home for the holiday, she choked up. She told me through held-back tears and a quivering voice that she used to have 2 sons, but one was killed in a car accident 1 year ago to the day, right before Thanksgiving on his way home from college. She had taken the day off from work because she knew she wouldn’t be in the right mind-set, and came to watch her other son play football and spend time with him. My heart sank. Brokenness and pain was sitting right next to me.

Those stories ruined me. Each time for the rest of the day and the days thereafter, I could think of nothing else. Their sorrow left an ache in my heart, and the soreness would not go away. I wanted to do something, to say something, to somehow make things better, but what could I do? What could anyone really do?

In darkness like that, there is only one source of Light. I honestly don’t know how people get through life without Jesus. He is my rock, my comforter in times of sorrow, my support, my healer, my helper, my salvation, and so much more. What is the meaning of life without Him? What is LIFE without Him?

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26

Hearing those stories prompts me to put my life back in perspective, remembering what and who is truly important and forgetting the rest. Their hurt reminds me to be kind to those around me, strangers or not, and constantly be showing and sharing His love in whichever ways I can. The holidays will never be the same for these ladies who have lost so much, as well as so many others with similar heart-aching stories. A little kindness can go a long way. Even a hug can go a long way. Even a listening ear and a caring heart can go a long way!

Don’t be so consumed in the holiday season that you walk all over those around you. In our American consumer-driven world, it is so easy to get caught up in what we need to get done, and who we need to buy gifts for, and who we are going to fight for the last Tickle-Me-Elmo doll (flashback!). Of course I am included in this, and just as guilty for making this season all about me and not about sharing the Love.

And so, with a heavy heart I challenge you (and me) to take a good look around. Be aware of those who are hurting, and extend your (fill-in-the-blank) in compassion and love. Make a positive difference in the life of someone who could use a little support. Thank your friends and family who have been that support for you.

Live your life for someone else for a change.  This is the message of Christmas.

Love is a powerful thing. Share it with someone.

“Love is a violent flame not to be ignored” – Andrew Ehrenzeller (musician)

So love, and do not stop.

fresh strength

3 Dec

Well its 1:49AM and Star Trek: The Next Generation is on mute in the background. In my defense, it was a total accident. I was watching Scrubs… hours ago… and then I put it on mute and now its Star Trek. I have no idea whats happening on it right now though. However, half-watching it on mute has brought me to the realization that this would be a great show to do hilarious voice-overs on. Yes.

Also, this couch has lost its comfyness and my left leg is falling asleep.

None of this is relevant.

I haven’t blogged in quite some time, and I still don’t have much to say really, so Im not sure where this is going.

I got some new music by a band named Glass Pear. Really really good. So far my favorite is a song called “My Ghost”. Youre welcome.

You know who else I like? Lady GaGa. That’s right. I said it. Sure, she’s twisted and controversial at times, but she is super talented, an awesome performer, and uber creative. A-mazing artist. And Im pretty sure she is only 23 years old. Makes you re-evaluate what all you have accomplished in life so far doesn’t it? Just me?

Its finals week. Well, technically next week is finals week, which just means I have a boatload of stuff to do by then. That’s probably why I feel the need to blog. Haha.

My birthday is coming up. I don’t know where this year has gone. They say the years fly by more quickly the older you get. I am starting to believe them. Oh them.

But seriously, this year has been ridiculous. So many things I went through that I never would have anticipated. I guess that’s the beauty and excitement of it all, the future, the unknown. Who knows what I will have experienced by this time next year. Its crazy.

But I am thankful. Thankful for all the pain and all the insight I have gained through it and because of it. Not that it was all painful of course, many great and wonderfully amazing times were had as well. But this was a hard year. Not just for me, but for most people I feel like. Sure the recession had a lot to do with it, but 2009 seemed to really take pleasure in kicking you while you were down, ya know? I sure hope 2010 isn’t such a bully.

Wow 2010. I can remember 10 years ago – the year 2000! I remember before the year 2000, thinking about how old I would be in the year 2000 and how crazy it would be in the 1900’s anymore. Holy crap I feel old.

Which is nonsense. I am NOT old.  But “young” hardly applies anymore it seems. Guess Im somewhere in between.

All this thinking of time passing by reminds me of all the things I wanted to do that I haven’t done yet. I recently had a nightmare that woke me up in the middle of the night. I can only remember 1 or 2 other times in my whole life that Ive had a dream like that. So, I decided to try to figure out what it meant. But how does one go about interpreting their own dreams, you ask? The internet, of course!

Now, I don’t buy into some random dream website for the end-all be-all in exact dream interpretation, but theres lots of research out there about common symbols in dreams and what they mean or something like that, so who knows. Just thought it would be interesting to try to figure it out.

Turns out that random dream website thinks I have issues with my job, future career, expectations, identity, loneliness, helplessness, frustration, and “unclear” issues.

Well, that sure was helpful. Good to know my subconscious has issues with practically every area of my life.

But really, who doesn’t struggle with these issues on a semi-regular basis? I mean, yes, certain areas of life will go good for a time, but then things get hard. Hardships come and go all the time. Such is life.

We all have dreams. We all have desires and goals and passions and things we want to do… and things we want to do before we get “old”. These things don’t always work out the way we hope, and certainly not as soon as we wish they would. In fact, they hardly ever do.

But do we give up hope?

Do we believe the lies?

I know for me, and I think I have mentioned this before, it is so easy to get caught up in my own life and self to the point where I don’t even realize the many lies I have bought into and started to believe.

Like, (and these are my honest struggles) there’s no way this dream that God has placed in my heart will ever really work. I don’t have the skills or the talent or the know-how. I am not capable. I don’t have anyone who will help me. I have no idea what Im doing here. I don’t belong here. I should just give up, do something easier, blend in with everyone else. Etc, etc, etc…

But those are LIES.

God will ALWAYS give you what you need to do what He wants you to do. – Derrick Scott

So use your passion, focus on your strengths, be willing to learn, and don’t waste anymore time.

Don’t get me wrong, life can and will be disappointing a lot of the time. Going after your dreams is hard freakin work. But everything worth anything is going to cost you something. At times you will fail, but failure is not defeat. It is opportunity and challenge.

Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them. – Ann Landers

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. – Henry Ford

I think Im starting to sound like a broken record. Guess I need to keep reminding myself of these things.

It is easy to lose hope.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

–      Isaiah 40:27-31

God cares. He has not forgotten about you. He is the Creator of EVERYTHING, including you, and He knows you inside and out. He never gets tired – He energizes those who are tired so they can run and not grow weary, soar like eagles, and not lag behind. The Message version refers to “hope” in these verses as “fresh strength” (I like that). He cares for His children like a shepherd cares for his flock, leading them into good pastures. Leading them into GOOD pastures. He has our best interest at heart. He will not abandon us. He wants to give us the future we hope for. He listens when we call out to Him.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. – Romans 5:3-5

His timing is perfect. Trust is the issue. Don’t quit in hard times, it will be worth all the pain. Expect God to come through – He is faithful.

risk

27 Apr

A turtle never moves forward until he sticks his neck out.

 

To move forward, you have to take some risks.

 

Check this out, the Bible is not a book that was written for our information, but for our transformation. When we choose to believe in the promises that God has to offer, when we actually apply those truths to our everyday lives, we will find the reward is well worth the effort.

 

Easier said that done though, right? In this life, it takes a lot of courage to risk everything on God’s promises. Like, when I put my hope in His promises, I’m pretty much betting my whole life on something I haven’t seen or experienced yet.

 

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:24-25)

 

 Which is where faith comes in I guess.

 

 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1)

 

Maybe sometimes we are supposed to do things the hard way. If we constantly do the whole pain-avoidance strategy, playing it safe, never taking chances, never dreaming bigger than what we are now… because we are afraid to trust God, afraid He wont hold up His end, afraid He will disappoint, afraid He wont handle it the way we want Him to (the safe, easy, pain-free way we are comfortable with)… then we actually inflict greater pain on ourselves. It’s ironic. By trying to avoid pain, we end up with more of it.

 

For me at least, I feel like I actually learn more from my mistakes than my successes. Mistakes teach us more about ourselves, more about reality. Pain often does that I think. I try not to see mistakes as mistakes though – as long as I’ve learned something, it was worth it. And I most likely wont make the same mistake again. There’s something about “learning the hard way” that really sticks with you.

 

There are times when God invites us and leads us in a direction that we are scared or uncomfortable going, and we choose not to trust Him. But God has our best interests at heart. He truly, deeply LOVES and cares about you. He created you, He knows you better than anyone, and He wants you to reach your full potential – what you were created for! He wants your life to glorify Him.

 

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

 

If you have God on your side, what is stopping you?? Anything worthwhile is going to be hard to get. It’s worth the risk.

 

Stick your neck out.

 

And don’t stop. Its not always going to work out. Pain is part of life. Embrace it. As hard as it may be. Because if you keep avoiding pain, you’re going to miss out.  Dream big and pursue those dreams. Take the risk to follow wherever He is leading you.

 

Don’t let fear hold you back.

 

And when you come to a painful place, hold fast hope. Hold fast to the hope that you have in Christ, the promises and truth that He has provided. If you walk away from Him when things get tough, you will never experience all the awesome things God can do in spite of your seemingly hopeless situation. That’s what He does best – take the broken pieces and put them back together, even better than before. Beauty from ashes. He wants to bring you out of the dark mess you’re in, and into the bright fullness of life that only He offers.

 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

 

Sin is reality. Pain is reality. Suffering is reality. Having God on your side does NOT mean everything is easy and pain-free, but it DOES mean that He is your ever-present help in times of need, your comforter, your protector, your peace that transcends understanding. He is love and He is good and He is on your side. He has a plan for you, He knows whats going on, and His timing is always perfect.

 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

 

So if you believe it, live like it.

 

In the Bible theres a story where Jacob wrestles with an angel (Gen 32:22-32). Now, I don’t presume to completely understand this story, but here’s the way I see it:  Jacob’s brother, Esau, wants to kill him because Jacob tricked him out of all his inheritance mulah. Esau is a big ol burly hunter with an army of like 400 bandits. Jacob is a little soft guy who likes to play with animals and talk to women. Esau could totally kill Jacob if he wanted to, which he did. So Jacob’s running away with his peeps to stay alive and they’re camping out one night, and Jacob decides to go off by himself to pray and be alone and sleep under the stars. Someone attacks him, they start fighting, turns out its an angel. (Weird.) They wrestle. The angel throws Jacob’s hip out of joint. Its uber-painful. Jacob keeps wrestling. All night. With a wrenched hip. He wont let go until he gets God’s blessing. The angel finally gives in a Jacob is given a new name. He goes from Jacob “the cheater”, to Israel “the overcomer”. The rest of his life he walks with limp. And a smile. 

 

Here’s what I get from this. Even when he is scared and in pain, Jacob wont let go of the angel until he receives a new name. He no longer wants to be known as a cheater, he wants God to give him a new name – he wants to be an overcomer. And God does just that. When Jacob cries out for God’s favor and protection, when he clings to His promise in the midst of a tough painful situation, God is faithful to bring him through. In Christ we are overcomers.

 

It’s a risk to live the life He calls us to. But it’s the only way to truly live. Don’t run from the pain, let God help you overcome it.