Don’t Tell Me What To Do!

E63D62E3-275D-4828-9573-35AA1514701E

So often through the years, I have found I really get frustrated with my pastor. Yes you read that correctly, but I do. Recently, no different. Apparently, he gets frustrated with the congregation, and me being one. While I understand him and know he is trying to help me and each one of us, I feel he is hollering at me. I don’t know what others think or feel, I don’t dare ask. He probably is frustrated and that is how he wants it to come across but it really makes me cringe and feel less than of a Christian. While that may motivate others, it causes me to stop dead in my tracks, doubt and be cautious.7B690AB6-BE66-429D-AB6D-50D6F4B408DB

As I have pondered this over the years, I still come up with this no-good-for-nothing person, Christian that I claim I am. It makes me sink into a state of unworthiness. I hate this feeling. Questioning if this is condemnation he is placing on us (me) and if so, that is wrong. Or is it condemnation that I am throwing on myself? Does this trigger a part of my childhood I wonder and no doubt it does.

I know he preaches his heart out and is anointed but in this area, I think to myself, here he goes again. Knowing full well that I will have to fight my thoughts of being less than and I will go down the rabbit hole yet again. Whether I sit in the congregation or now as we listen online due to the distancing required.

E4AE16BB-84B6-4678-AB98-086C270E741DI know to pray, I know that the Lord hears my prayers whether in my thoughts, silently or verbally. Had it not been, I would not be here, right now. At times, all I could muster up was, Lord help me. My heart being in such despair and nobody to turn to or trust, He was all that I had. He was all that I needed. Even though I felt alone in the thick of it all, and even felt at times He was nowhere to be found. Although, I know now that my faith grew in those dark, lonely periods, it had to in order to survive.0FD531CE-BD59-4ABF-ABAD-8C1A98FCCA71

I did not have to yell from the rooftops, make a big, elaborate prayer of words that was not me for the Lord to hear my prayers. I am just plain and simple.

We are to praise and worship the Lord and I know that but that also gets heaped into his rants along with prayer. The comment of us sitting like a lump on a log, usually makes my mouth twist and jaws clinch, now in total frustration.  I am not him, will never be him and I do not want to fake my prayer, praise and worship.

As I was cleaning, still pondering this in my mind, realizing that this is a childhood issue that I need to come to terms with. The boldness from his voice at the podium, finger pointing and 7F89A8B9-B371-4116-9A64-EA8D859D3F13to say lump on a log, smacks me. To bring it home to understand and to grasp, I feel he is mad and hollering at me, his finger pointing confirms I am unworthy, to say sitting like a lump on the log is that I am also lazy. End result, convinced I am a good-for-nothing person on the face of the earth or in my family, now church family as a Christian.

77EC128B-21E8-4CAB-BA93-B042464BA8F6In a church service or in our private time, we worship and praise the Lord to usher in His Presence. His Presence is precious and I am fully aware of Him during such times. I do not have to put on a full production of waving my hands, shouting praises and being something I am not. If I do all of that and I have tried but that is my time between me and the Lord. I can stand or sit quietly and feel His presence all over me with tears flowing down my face, dropping from my chin in my worship, praise and prayer. This is my personal time with Him. I don’t need to care what others think or expect of me, although at times I do and accustomed to, which has always held me back.

At times, wanting to speak up and say stop making me feel unworthy and that I will never measure up. I have had that all my life. Is this the rebelliousness within me of my hesitancy, perhaps fear, too. Probably as I dig my heels in and protest as a child saying, you can’t make me and don’t tell me what to do.

Do I know it could be pride on my part? Yes, and intimidation but please don’t add to it and plop on more fear, as I will freeze in my tracks. I have had to wonder if this was conviction, but it is not the same.

4F5CA56F-5565-4E26-9960-1B850F8E1119So as I toss this back and forth the past few weeks due to the COVID19 situation and the seriousness of it all, the finger pointing and preaching returns, of saying do this, do that.  Again, I get it, I really do, but each time, I still get that unworthy feeling. I know, too, that the enemy wants me, us all to feel the unworthiness and to remain stuck. Am I going to act and put on a show just to please the preacher? No. Will I still get frustrated with him when he pushes this down our throat once again? Yes. I do understand he is trying to help us grow in the Lord but it is a big turn off for me. I love my church, my pastor and the anointing. I have considered finding another church at times, which may or may not be any better. I know that the enemy antagonizes me and I realize this could be a ploy to separate me from the church.  So with that, something is about to break, a battle within.  I have been at this church since 1985 so change is hard, too. This is when I need to be rebellious and stubborn, not with the Pastor or even with myself but the enemy wanting to halt my praise, worship and prayer.

I learned while in counseling, it was when I wanted to quit, throw up my hands and many times when leaving and once in my car, saying that I am not doing this anymore. The next week I would return. Thank God I did return because it was in those sessions we broke through some areas that changed me. I saw the pattern as I do now so I will dig my heels in and protest.

Could this all be the shame I have had dumped on me throughout my life? Absolutely, it falls right in line.

Up until the Fall of 2014 and for years later in counseling, I really never knew of shame. Never gave it any thought but as each session occurred, it was obvious that shame had hindered me in life, all of my life, which is sad. Since I now have a word and an understanding, changes and healing can occur as I have gone and go forward.

As I write, I tend to believe all of this frustration with the preacher to make me feel less than, unworthy, etc., is all but shame that I have carried. My issue, not his.

D84FF6C3-1891-41FC-B999-509BE7C3263DKnowing and understanding this, perhaps praying, praise and worship will come easier for me. Still, I know the Lord meets us where we are and He is the one to direct us and help us in areas to get us to where we need to be. To be a willing vessel, He will do just that. I do not need to put on an air to appease the preacher or anyone around me. The Lord is all that matters and my relationship with Him. To acknowledge how this has affected me, I do not need to accept the feelings of unworthiness. I am worthy!

8FE8F7D3-9E1F-4E6B-8A72-98C194BB8199

 

https://jerralea.blogspot.com/2019/09/lumps-on-log.html

9 Ways to Get Over the Fear of Praying Out Loud

https://www.reviveourhearts.com/articles/overcoming-obstacle-praying-out-loud/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-toxic-shame/

https://aibi.ph/harvest/Shattering%20Shame/ShatteringShame.htm

8DA28AF5-CD92-42A9-AD8F-EA83DC65F06B

The Light is On

5EDFB0D5-09E2-4410-B860-11A76D5CF117As I sat and talked with my counselor the other night, we covered a lot of ground, as I try to understand myself and as she is trying to understand me. Counseling has been good for me the past five years. I am not the same person that I was when I first walked into my former counselor’s office. It has been a safe place to share anything and everything, not be judged, ridiculed or made to feel less than, adding to shame.

At times it seems like a waste of time to discuss the past but the past affects our today and future, if not dealt with and understood. There are some things I want to know and to understand the whys in life as a child, adult and even now as I ponder at my present age. Talking it through, listening, research and even writing blogs have been healing for me.

507CEA41-7C24-4F93-8B66-D87DD9237A73

It was even when I was a child I knew I had a teacher that was a role model for me when in elementary school and years following. I watched her, how she dressed, I looked at her gold wedding ring of how pretty, her short dark hair, how she carried herself and conversation with others (adults or students). Always positive, I felt in my view, perfect.

I wanted to be just like her. It was my desire to become a teacher at that age. No surprise, as I would have the neighborhood kids in our garage sit as students, at times, during summer break and we had school. Of course, I was the teacher, just like her. We all had fun at this time in my life, as children should play and be imaginative.

As a little girl, I had my Barbie dolls, as many little girls did, and I was oftentimes in my Barbie doll world as I was off in my bedroom while others were in the living room 7F3EF6F6-4630-4F1F-BE80-8445AEB29898talking, laughing and drinking beer. I had this one Barbie doll that I probably picked out to buy that reminded me of her, with short dark hair. We all know, Barbie dolls are perfect.

Later, there came a time when I sat down to all of my dolls, and I remember thinking this is silly. I packed up my dolls, doll house, clothes and they went into storage. I still have all my dolls in safe keeping one day for my granddaughter(s) to play with or for an antique store to sell, when I am gone.

Even though my dolls were put away from childhood, as I entered into a new phase of my life, my role model was still special to me.

With her importance to me, it was always a joy to run into her outside of school or see her as I rode my bike. When riding in the car, I could see her house in the distance, across the train tracks in this one area of the road, right 8CC190FD-A536-4759-839C-DD9A2AE8677Dbefore you go over a hill. I was always alert of my surroundings when going down this main highway because of that, as I would see a light in her kitchen window. To me, that light brought a calmness because I knew she was there. Was she? I do not know for sure but the light helped me to cope in my life at that time. Silly but I did that.

Not having a close relationship with my mother or sisters to help understand matters growing up, I had to listen and observe mostly of those that were around me. Having a light in my lonely childhood full of unanswered questions, helped me.

This week as I write this, I discussed some areas with my counselor and it made sense in part of why abandonment affects me A68EFC12-05E1-4842-8735-994ED36427F6somewhat. While having her as a teacher one year, she was out several times for medical reasons. I missed her, I was concerned about her and could not wait for her to return. The class sang this goofy song a boy wrote when she returned, I remember still to this day, as if it was just last week. Sigh of relief, she was back.

While I do know now that it is normal to feel an attachment to teachers and perhaps boys having a crush, I did not then and never had someone to talk to about this with. Lost in my thoughts of why she was so special. Now knowing, she cared for me and I needed that, if just a smile or a wave, I was somebody to her. I felt special.

As my counselors have discussed this and as I have pondered it more, I realize it was probably a grounding tool for me back then. I did not know that in my young years but I always wondered what was wrong with me to be somewhat obsessed with her. Even that brings shame because of just those thoughts, what is wrong with me.

I was nobody at home but the youngest in the family and just present while everyone around me was busy with their own lives. I just existed. Sadly, I escaped in thoughts of wanting to be just like her when I grew up.

FF05B067-6219-49C7-BA65-A52ACD9CC056

As children, and as I was a child, we develop coping mechanisms to survive and grow. With her, I learned not just from her class that one year but many years of not being forgotten, shown kindness when we would run into one another and the excitement I felt, like seeing a movie star, in my eyes back then. We are friends today. I know she cares and loves me as I do her. To top it off, she was in my wedding, the date of her birthday (that was not planned, just the calendar year although it was pretty awesome). The Lord truly blessed me to have a good role model, teacher and friend in my life.44A95196-F441-4F3E-A84E-03620C6FDCE9

While she does not live in the same house, I still look over the hill and railroad tracks to see a light on in the kitchen window of the unknown, present owners. The light still brings me a calmness.

In regard to counseling as an adult, I was not aware of the whys and confusion felt keeping it to myself, such as childhood emotional neglect, abandonment, coping mechanisms that came into play, grounding for calmness  and shame present and built because of thinking something was wrong with me.

How sad for a little girl to have all that within. Counseling has paid off for me and I believe that the Lord blessed me with the best counselors to understand some of the whys in my life to unlock the freedom within.

613C9AF4-9139-46CD-A53B-E5E5A489764A

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 NIV

 

CEN Home

https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-emotional-abandonment/

Daughters of Unloving Mothers (P. Streep)

 

 

A Slap of Shame

While driving to work the other day, my mind was busy just thinking of this or that, what to do once there, thoughts of what recently happened, etc., as normal.

Apparently, there was a song that came on to trigger a memory but what it was, I do not know now. What I do remember is how I had to deal with this periodEC3DC5C1-9754-4D5C-B8F1-0E6F3B56699B of driving and stopping at traffic lights as I made my way toward the office.

My oldest son, years ago, was working in Tennessee and was five hours away. This was way too far I loved the location, it was beautiful and he had a nice apartment. This time in his life, he definitely matured and had to deal with matters on his own because his parents were not near and he did it, I was so proud of him. Thankfully, he was back the next school year in Kentucky. This mama was happy.  Letting go is not always easy, as most moms can attest.

A70136AA-0AB2-439A-90CC-323FD8543761It was in the winter that year especially, that his distance from home I found more depressing for me. Those Christmas songs that start way too early did not help matters. The song, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” was the worst, or perhaps it was and is the best. I could not get through it without crying and even remembering that still while sitting at a stop light, I felt those tears well up ready to flow down my face.

This past Christmas, my oldest son and his wife were in Florida visiting her family. I adjusted very well, as I knew that was only right to share them. It was when my youngest son decided not to come home for Christmas. Although, the day before, he told me he would be on time for dinner and seemed excited and, of course, I was so happy that he would be home for Christmas. My son is coming home.

820DD634-4A6F-4958-A127-BAE882DD21A4

On Christmas Day others were late arriving, which is typical in this family but it got be very late and my son still was not present or had we heard from him. Of course, concern was trickling within my mind while I was hosting Christmas for my husband’s family. I want my son. I want him here, he is my son, he is my family. Where is he? The questions turned into worry as the time passed.

Finally, we heard from him. Oh to be young and carefree, with a sleep schedule that is all over the place. He overslept so now he has no interest to come home. Seriously?!?  My heart dropped and I was so hurt. I wanted to just sit down and bawl my eyes out. There was no way that I could keep a straight face of how that affected me and I really did not care. While I did not cry, I DF6007CA-2358-4586-B112-0F22CB8BDE3Fdid express to his father that I was not happy of his decision and they all heard me. How could they not know that? I think they heard my heart drop. I was just done. In my mind screaming, just everybody go home, as I want to fall apart and now anger was becoming a part of my emotional turmoil.

Normally, if and when hurt or in this predicament, I would just escape within myself and become quiet, not mentioning my hurt or show emotions. I wore a mask very well through the years and I could have won an Oscar. Thankfully, I am not the same person so I was not going to crawl into a shell. I did express my displeasure calmly. While I did not cry, I had to walk through the house, taking our grand dog that we were watching outside because he needed fresh air. Right? It helped the dog (and me) because when mama is not happy, nobody is happy, which was now a joke somewhat, when I returned, but true. The day continued and was fine although I had AFD3135B-1C35-4C74-8C01-BE1AB96B7E25neither of my sons at home, there was a void on Christmas.

Everyone is gone, what food was not taken by others is now all put away and dishes are done. It’s amazing how quick clean up can be done if upset. I was ahead of the game and I was ready to settle in for a long winter’s nap.

Forget the nap, my son appeared finally. The atmosphere in our living room was a little cold with our visit, at first. I knew he was uncomfortable, as I was and upset. We were all uncomfortable. He is an adult and even when younger and at home, rarely had we had such moments.  Maybe we should have had them.

Finally, the atmosphere was easing. I love my son and I know he loves me. I understand being young and doing such careless things, I really do.  Maybe, I wondered, if this was a payback to me of wrongs I did to my parent. The karma phrase many use, what goes around comes around, although that can be in bad or good but many see it as bad and want the worst, which is a whole other writing. 55D68B9F-327F-4219-BF0D-FD90DE0ADA20

Anyway, after his father went off to bed, my son and I talked. I expressed my hurt calmly and that I felt it was disrespectful of him to do this, especially on Christmas. This was not just for me but his grandparents and whole family, it is a time for all of us to be together. I wanted and needed my son at home. Knowing, too, this might be the last Christmas with the grandparents due to health issues. Also, one day he will regret the decision he made when I am gone, too, wishing he had more time with his mother.

Now that was all over, the new year is upon us and our relationship carries on and while helping him this past weekend at his new house, we had fun. Perhaps, that period and discussion brought us somewhat closer than before. He got to see his mom cry and hear the hurt of my heart, probably something that a son does not want. I was being real.4CDF2457-50F1-48D3-8846-EA6CCCF8B46C

As I mentioned before, and when they were young and at home, I wore a mask even with them, pretending that our home was a happy one between their father and myself. The mask is off more than on nowadays. I am better and happier, as it is quite nice taking care of me for once instead of hiding the sadness.

Now, with all that, while at the stop light, fighting back the tears as I could hear the song in my mind, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” a battle began.

It was a period of feeling like a no-good-for-nothing mother, I was wrong to express my feelings to him, he was going to pull away and never come home and that I was worthless and… WOW!!!

I caught all that and felt like25053267-F9F6-47CB-B438-38F24FA2119A a slap of shame was hitting me on one cheek and then the other and back again to make me crawl back into my hole of despair, feeling like a loser. NO, I WILL NOT!!!

All those years in counseling paid off at that point, as I could turn those negative lies around because I knew this was shame being hurled at me. I am a good mother, I have been a good mother and I always will be a good mother to my boys.

I believe that my boys and my husband and others have noticed that I am not the same person, but better. I can be direct and calm if I need to, in respect instead of hiding and them wondering if they need to walk on eggshells. I am not worthless, I am worthy to be their mother. The slap of shame had to stop.4E64CA34-5C75-4730-AD6B-4EF93158684D

Shame can and will erode any and all positive attributes in each of us. It makes us feel less than and the enemy will make sure we take that as a hook line and sinker so that we will not be all that we can be and have joy.

FEDBD51B-3170-40F7-8680-2F217B2EEBE9It felt great to know that I could acknowledge the shame and how I felt slapped from one traffic light to another. Once I grasped what was happening, turning these negative thoughts around. I was told and taught in counseling many times as we discussed such scenarios, the rewiring our brain, etc.  All of which sounded far-fetched, honestly for a long time, but I got it and I did it.

Shame, you are not going to slap me around anymore, not if I can help it.

A3A37428-760E-4795-AC06-4F63CAE79C2F

Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self, withdrawal motivations, and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/intense-emotions-and-strong-feelings/201104/shame-concealed-contagious-and-dangerous-emotion

https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/shame

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/neuroplasticity