This blog is my shared process in working towards integrating self-awareness with all other aspects of life, while on my way to becoming more authentic and whole.

Archive for the month “June, 2014”

I Don’t Wanna Cry

crybaby“Now, O women, hear the word of the Lord;
open your ears to the words of his mouth.
Teach your daughters how to wail; teach one another a lament.  Death has climbed in through our windows and has entered our fortresses; it has cut off the children from the streets and the young men from the public squares.”
– Jeremiah 9:20-21

We -women, are instructed specifically to teach our daughters how to wail?  What?  -Not just to cook, clean, do laundry and make beds?   -Nope, to wail and lament; to be emotional. 

Where there is brokenness, where there is death that cuts off life…what are we to do?  Be silent?  Go bake a cake?  -Nope.  Teach our daughters how to wail and lament.  Is wailing feminine?  Are wailing women attractive though?  What will the men think?  It might repel the men who want nothing to do with a woman who expresses her emotions so openly!  Only crying that’s under restraint sounds somewhat acceptable, in much of our American culture.  I’ve had a low tolerance level for other people’s emotions being expressed, over and above what I’m individually comfortable with expressing myself.  Wailing isn’t common or well-accepted in American society, outside of having entertainment value, at least in my experience and observation.

What’s an effective way to teach our daughters (or children) anything?  – Openly role modeling it.  Allowing them backstage passes behind the curtain, and into our hearts by giving them access to see grief being safely (not beautifully) expressed in real life, by doing it yourself.

My initial reaction is of judgment and fear.  -It’s unsafe!  -People need to control themselves!

I’ve believed that emotions are not something to outwardly be welcomed, they are something to be tamed.  There’s some truth to that.  Emotions do need to be tamed.

But the emotions needing to be tamed are usually needing to be tamed because they’ve been repressed, denied or stuffed so much that they’re about to start boiling over.  

Mama’s can cry in front of their daughters.  Really, it’s OK.  When it comes to strong emotions; feel and deal.  Don’t stuff, to look tough.  Women of character are not women who lack emotional expression.  Women of character; godly character – can wail –per God.

Most of us women that do not allow ourselves to grieve, but instead repress were probably shown that by our own mothers in how they coped with the hard stuff in life.  And they from their mothers, and theirs, and so on and so forth….and it can be traced all the way back to Eve.  Poor Eve, she still gets blamed for stuff…

Jesus wailed.  Jesus lamented, openly.  I’ve heard in sermons before that he cried so loudly, people who weren’t nearby could hear him when Lazarus died.  The presence of strong emotions being expressed, especially of fear, anger and sadness make many of us Americans feel uneasy.  What’s up with that?  My suspicion is that it’s a result of a toxic partnership between two odorless contaminants: fear and shame.  Jesus didn’t allow fear or shame to steer him or else we’d be in a LOT of trouble…

“Jesus wept.” -John 11:35
“Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb.”  -John 11:38

“A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”  -Luke 6:40

Wail and lament when there is brokenness…

Do not repress pain to cover it up using a deceptive mask in an attempt to maintain the facade that we are strong by hiding our emotions.  The worst thing to do is hide my pain from myself.  That is not self-control, it is denial that’s locked in fear and toxic shame.

Take time out, to wail and lament…p.r.n.

Homosexuality and Christian Leadership: Setting An Example of Biased Grace?

jesus drawing line in sandI’ve recently become aware of Christians who lost their jobs in a leadership role within a church ministry, getting fired due to being in a lesbian relationship and not being willing to end that relationship.  While there are a host of issues this post could address, such as homosexuality and the Bible, I am not going to go there.  I am not a credentialed theologian or Bible scholar, but I do consider myself a student of the Bible who is personally invested in these issues.

I am wrestling with the subject of homosexuality and the Bible myself, trying to process such a profoundly complex issue of humanity’s sexual expression of love and union, and all I can say now is I do not think the Bible is as cut-and-dry on homosexuality, as most Christians I’ve heard of, seem to think it is.  I will reserve that for perhaps a future post, but if you want more on what influences me in this process, check out this video.

I respect and honor that Christians in church leadership are trying to consciously live out their interpretations of the Bible on personal matters, and model that for those in their flock out of a sincere place.  At the same time though,  I cannot understand how the Bible justifies terminating Christians in ministry due to openly being in a loving yet imperfectly human, committed, consensual, homosexual relationship.

Why are certain “lifestyle choices” OK to rationalize away, while others (namely openly being in a committed, loving and consensual homosexual relationship) will cause you your job and ministry if you will not end it?  What is the limit as far as what is acceptable and not when it comes to living according to what’s concluded or defined as Biblical principles?  There are more Bible verses that speak against being indifferent to the poor, gossiping, and greed than there are about homosexuality.  Will a person in a church or ministry leadership role get fired for not giving a certain percentage of their income to the poor, while they go with their basic needs met with more to spare?  Or will they get fired if they gossip about a homosexual’s “lifestyle choices” or any other lifestyle choices they do not approve of all while being disguised in “prayer needs”?  I highly doubt it.

There seems to be something wrong with this picture.  I cannot quite put my finger on it, but my gut instinctively acknowledges and feels the ick factor.  Terminating jobs due to one living consistently within their homosexual orientation AND their walk with Jesus certainly does send a message, but the message is one of a double-bind.  Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.  It paints a picture of biased or conditional grace, is that a Biblical principle?  It implicitly supports playing favorites when it comes to who is “in” and who is “out” in non-impartial standards of godly living, while holding a professional position in Christian ministry.  I’m pretty sure THAT is inconsistent with the message of the gospel and the life Jesus died living out: Him willingly laying down his life and dying on the cross for all people, including those who invalidated his proclamations of having a divine-identity unlike no other, which therefore gave him the authority to reframe religious laws that were being used by religious leaders to marginalize people (whom God made and loved) through scapegoating them.

Jesus carried this message and lived it out through the ways he related with certain people who were commonly looked down upon by religious leaders in his time; the prostitutes, Samaritans, tax collectors, and Gentiles (that’s most of us unless you’re an ethnic Jew).  With Jesus relating to these people as friends and even as examples to others, the religious leaders in his day looked less than godly, which was something intolerable because feeling and looking godly to certain others was a source of life to them.  It is a false source of life though.  Isn’t the message of the New Testament that the only source of life is God’s profound love for us, which is proven and demonstrated by what Jesus did on the cross despite what we have or have not done?  And isn’t it true that part of Jesus’ story (per the Bible) involves him being tortured and murdered by an agenda promoted by the religious leaders of his day, whose particular interpretations of Scripture were used to justify and demand his death-penalty?  Jesus was put on trial and crucified by the religious leaders/experts who distorted the Scriptures’ essence in order to justify finding Jesus guilty of blaspheme.

“So woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees. You hypocrites! You tithe from your luxuries and your spices, giving away a tenth of your mint, your dill, and your cumin. But you have ignored the essentials of the law: justice, mercy, faithfulness. It is practice of the latter that makes sense of the former.  You hypocritical, blind leaders. You spoon a fly from your soup and swallow a camel.”  – MATTHEW 23:23-24 (VOICE)

Don’t Jesus’ words here seem pertinent towards much of the church in America (self included) today?



Affirming What Is

truthAcceptance has been a missing piece in my life.  Self-acceptance and others-acceptance has not come easily for me.  The ramifications of that have been discontentment.

The kind of acceptance I am wanting to cultivate is not an absence of desire or a dismissal of what is or is not.  It is seeing clearly what is and what is not, along with acknowledging how I feel about it, and then coming to terms with it.  In the process of coming to terms with what is or what is not, I need to access my feelings and beliefs through self-awareness.

Self-awareness feels foggy and intimidating when I do not have boundaries that affirm what is.

The following statements are affirming what is, so I can grow in my self-awareness within these affirmative boundaries, and therefore be less self-deceived.

  • I can trust myself and others when I acknowledge and do not deny what I know, see, feel and hear.
  • I acknowledge that I may never be totally without pain and suffering AND I can learn to protect and nurture myself.  The two are not mutually exclusive
  • I can take care of myself and it won’t kill others.
  • My self-care is my business and my business will go bankrupt if I rob myself of self-care.
  • My feelings have equal value as other people’s; not more and not less.
  • Other people’s willingness and capacity to accept and love me for who I am is not my business to own.  I am not responsible for running other people’s businesses.
  • I can function even when I’m scared.  I can be scared and uncertain, and still be OK.
  • I can pause while feeling strong emotions, I do not always need to act immediately.
  • I can know when it’s better to just sit in my emotions and ride them out, before acting on them.
  • I know how my insides work best; what I need, what I perceive, what I intuit….when I listen and honor myself.
  • I need to admit how much I needed them, before I can let go of needing them now.
  • I can tell my shaming inner-parent, “Your message has been received, now shut-up!”
  • In recovery, I can separate and individuate while still showing up for myself.  All else will follow.
  • First things first.
  • My trust in God, myself and other safe people will grow.
  • I no longer need to live in denial, because God has my back when it comes to acknowledging hard things.
  • The more awake and present I am in the moment, the better I can take care of myself and others when I consciously choose to do so.
  • My emotions cannot kill or harm anyone else, ever.  My actions, however; may or may not.
  • I can take ownership of my choices and feel empowered with the self-awareness I gain from doing so.
  • I can hear criticism from others and perhaps extract beneficial information for my own recovery, without absorbing shame and unwarranted guilt.
  • Most decisions I make are not life or death (even if they feel like it).
  • If I’m having self-destructive thoughts, I can ask how my heart has been missed.
  • My inner child has wounded/injured parts as well as healthy/strong parts.  I can respect both.
  • My pain is all I need as proof that I am hurting.
  • I can learn to trust myself and ask for what I need.
  • I can choose whom I will and will not let into my inner life.
  • I can stop giving away my power to others out of fear, and take steps towards reclaiming my personal power.
  • I can be present and sincerely listen to another share their raw pain and anger, without having to take responsibility for fixing or rescuing them from feeling their pain.
  • I can always listen to my inner-child.
  • Feeling deep abandonment pain is not self-hate or self-pity, it helps heal my inner-child.
  • I can see that I have many options and choices.
  • Getting well and becoming whole is the sweetest revenge!

Dancing in the Storm of Anger


There is no contract between me and life that says:

“If you do everything the “right” way, life will go your way.  If it doesn’t go your way, you will be entitled to a settlement which requires life to compensate for it.”

Life. Isn’t. Fair.

Life carries challenges.

Life gives us hard stuff and easy stuff.

I can do everything “right” and the shit can still hit the fan.

As a mother, I am equipping my children to handle all of life’s ups and downs by allowing them to experience the reality of life, with all the good, bad and the ugly.  I will do my best to protect them from pain that I can keep away and teach them to keep away from, but I cannot keep all pain away.  Life has pain, it also has pleasure though.

Shielding my children from all pain is shielding my children from learning important life-lessons.  My best bet is to help them build a tolerance level for pain through teaching and modeling to them how to cope with it. I can provide modeling to my children with how I myself feel pain through grieving, and trusting my body and my God to guide the process in ways that don’t involve harming myself and/or others as part of this process.

Just like me, my children GET to feel angry at whomever or whatever they feel angry at.  But just like me, they don’t GET to express their anger beyond the limits of honoring their own dignity and the dignity of others, at least not without expecting it to be intervened upon through corrective action by me or others.

I want to teach, model and affirm these core-beliefs surrounding anger to serve as a guide in their relationship with anger:

You can learn through practice, to dance with your anger without being struck or stuck by its powerful presence.

  • You CAN feel angry while NOT harming the person you feel angry towards.
  • Anger doesn’t travel solo, there are hidden emotions underneath it, search for them with God’s help.
  • If you think that expressing the emotion of anger only helps you be in control, you will be held hostage by anger.
  • Being angry doesn’t mean being mean.
  • Anger comes in all different shapes and sizes.  Notice when it keeps you from being fully available in your closest relationships, because the more it’s disguised, the more it goes unchecked. The more it goes unchecked, the more the distance will be between you and your loved-one.  Be self-aware or risk being self-deceived.
  • Anger is a normal human emotion.  It is more harmful to resist feeling it, then to allow yourself to feel it.
  • You are not responsible for controlling other people’s anger for them.  Whenever you either volunteer or accept that role, expect disappointment and resentment.
  • Do not hold other people responsible for controlling your anger for you, when you do, expect disappointment and resentment.
  • Expressing big and intense emotions of anger does not mean someone needs to be harmed by them.
  • Others may feel uncomfortable in their own skin while you’re appropriately discharging anger (without harming yourself or others as part of the process), and that is OK.
  • How other people feel in their own skin while you appropriately express your anger has nothing to do with you, but them.
  • Appropriately expressing anger that does not harm self or others is not culturally “normal”, it is hazardous only to the ego or false-self.
  • Whenever possible, express it with those whom you trust and feel emotionally safe with.
  • If you do not feel this is possible with any of the people you are in relationship with, re-evaluate the health of your relationships..healthy relationships can contain anger without being extinguished by it.

Living well involves learning to dance in the storm of anger.  You CAN dance with it and learn to not be overcome or imprisoned by it.  Practice makes progress, and practicing this will serve you well in life.


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