Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Ultimate Boo-Boo Kisser

Today I am physically hurting and emotionally drained from thinking about the fact that I am in pain, want it to be gone, and that it is keeping me from doing all that needs to be done. The physical pain paves the way for the guilt to drive right in for the emotional blow.

ok... deep breath.

I have ulcerative colitis, which put me in the hospital almost exactly a year ago, but I have been fairly "flare up" free since then. Over the past few days however I have been dealing with the pain again. Fun.

As my mama reminded me this morning, it's true I have a tendency to pull away when I am experienceing any type of pain. I kind of go inside myself. I mean, it is MY pain, so I think I should be the one to have to deal with it- not everybody else. And it is easier for me to deal with it without everybody watching, you know?

I just don't like that kind of attention- the pity, I suppose. I guess part of me want others to simply acknowledge that they understand I am in pain, but I then have a hard time allowing anyone to help me through it.

For example....

When I was a little girl I would often keep my boo-boos to myself. I would go hide, or go to my mom in secret about whatever had happened.

As Mama reminded me today, "When you hurt, you hide."

And sometimes I hide right out in the open.

This one time in particular, when I was in the second grade(7 years old), I hurt my finger(I can't remember exactly what I did, but it was definitely finger related).

My mama did the mama thing and expressed her sympathy for my boo-boo, and knowing how I felt about her overreacting to my pain, went about things as if nothing had happened.

But this time, apparently, I needed more.

Thinking back to the situation, Mama said, "That time you finally decided you'd had enough of the pain, but you didn't know how to tell me."

I wanted to come out of hiding but wasn't sure how to do it.

So, I wrote her a letter.
She kept the letter...

Outside of the envelope(yes, I put it in an envelope):
To mama
From Julie.
Don't let anyone else see this.

The note:
Dear Mama,
My finger has been hurting all day. I wish you would take me to the doctor.
It hurts badly.
Sometimes you know I'm kidding, but this time I'm not.
I mean it. When I touch it, it hurts.
Please!!!!!!!!!!(big fat colored in exclamation points)
Love, Julie P.
(good thing I put the "P", right? or she might've gotten me confused with that other Julie hangin' around! Knowing my mama, anything is possible, though...)
Don't say anything to me about this unless you take me.

I remember writing that letter.
I remember distinctly my heart beating fast when I left it for Mama to find it.
I remember thinking that I wasn't sure what to say the next time I saw her, knowing she had read it...

...but I don't ever remember wondering if she would act on my behalf.

I knew she would do what was best for me- doctor or no doctor-whatever needed to be done to comfort me in my pain, to bring healing to the hurt, I knew she would do that...even if I didn't know exactly what that would look like or mean for me.
I just trusted.

That is who she was.
That is who she is.
That is who my Jesus is.

But I had to go to her. She knew my pain, she knew I was hurting.
But I had to ALLOW her to help me.
I had to willingly receive what she had to give...
...even if it meant me being a little uncomfortable.
...even if I did not understand the process.

I remember the relief when she came to me and said, "Julie, let's take a look at your finger. I don't think I saw it closely enough earlier..."
She never brought shame to the situation for my hiding, she never laughed at my fear of admitting I couldn't do it on my own.

She simply spoke to my need.

And that is what Jesus wants to do...speak to my need...to your need.
But we have to stop hiding right out in the open.

Trusting Him is not being weak, it is knowing where to find the purest strength.
"Therefore, do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."
2 Corinthians 4:16

Your Heavenly Father can bring victory over the source of your pain, even in the middle of the hurt...if we stop hiding.
It's time to cry out "PLEASE!!!!!"- big fat exclamation marks and all!
Instead of drawing into myself, I need to draw near to Him...
...the Ultimate Boo-boo Kisser.

"But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord.
I wait for God my Savior;
My God will hear me."
Micah 7:7
Don't say anything to me about this..........................................................just kidding!
Really. I'm over that......ok, ok........well mostly, anyway. ;)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Calling All Perfectionist Control Freaks

At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious…it’s been a long time since I have blogged.
Not because I haven’t written, mind you, but simply because I have not posted the many things I have written. You see, I have a format in the nice, neat little world of my mind that I like to follow when writing my devotions or blogs and I put a lot of pressure on myself to adhere to that standard. There are times I lie in bed and write in my mind…I even go back and make corrections on the rough draft in my head until it’s just like I want it.
But I have come to realize that sometimes, God just wants me to write my insides out.
He doesn’t care how pretty it does or doesn’t look or whether it looks like the last thing He asked me to write or not….He simply desires for me to say YES to what He is asking me to do. To genuinely pour out what He pours in.
For all you other control freaks out there…you know what I am talking about.
We want to have everything labeled, sorted, grouped, filed away before we get before God or take an issue to Him. We even like to take in a typed, double spaced report of our well meaning attempts to rectify the situation at hand. We work ourselves to the bone to “handle” it all so that we don’t have to bother God with it in the first place.
The problem is that this desire for perfection ends up weeding God out of it all because we are so busy trying to achieve that perfection BEFORE we willingly and wholly place ourselves in His presence.
Here’s the irony: achieving anything even close to perfection outside of His presence and power is IMPOSSIBLE…so the reality is, we’re just setting ourselves up for further failure- the very thing we are killing ourselves to try to avoid!
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
Still sinners…STILL SINNERS. He loved me BEFORE I even knew how to love Him. He loved me BEFORE I even knew I needed to love Him. He loved me BEFORE. Before I was cleaned up at all…He loved me in my mess in order to make a way for me to receive- not achieve- His perfection, His righteousness, His holiness.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”(Romans 5:6)
His free grace is yours and mine in spite of who we are. He sees us and knows us fully…imperfections and all. He isn’t afraid to look at your junk. He saw it in its fullness and STILL sent His Son to die on the cross in spite of it!
Focusing on how to fix what is wrong, rather than on the only ONE who can make it right, is paralyzing. Trying to do it in our own power is doing it with no TRUE power at all…and that is certainly destined for failure. We "were powerless", not "are powerless" according to verse six. We can have the perfecting power of the Holy Spirit right NOW...completely available to us when we make ourselves completley available.
Go ahead, face your junk…surrender.
Control’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Perfection is an elusive ideal.
And Jesus…well, He even loves and sees hope for the weirdo that writes herself to sleep and uses the backspace key over and over again in her head.