Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who am I?

My husband has been reading one of my favorite books to the kids. Its called Tales of the Kingdom. I highly recommend this particular edition of the book for the amazing pictures that help tell the story. Honestly the story wouldn't be the same without them in my opinion. Its an amazing allegory about the Kingdom of Heaven. I received it as a child and have loved it ever since.

In this book everyone has a Name that is given to them when they enter the Kingdom. The Name is for your true self, who you were created to be. Sometimes the name doesn't seem to make sense to the bearer, in fact it seems to the complete opposite of who the person is. For example, Princess Amanda who is by all appearances a tomboy and anything but a princess. Without going into too much detail, in case you want to buy the wonderful book, there is a process that every character has to go through to make their true self known. Its known as Becoming Real.

I was listening to my husband read tonight as one of the main characters begins to take the meaning of his Name to heart and become who he was meant to be. It got me thinking. Even though we don't actually receive a new name when we enter the God's Kingdom we do receive a new identity in Him. It takes a while to become who God intended us to be. In fact we never fully get there here on earth but a change does begin to take place.

So what is that new identity? Who is it that we are supposed to become? Or maybe even how do we find out? I can't say I really know any of those answers but I think we need to pursue them. God loves us too much to leave us as he finds us. This is beautifully illustrated in the book. People come to the Kingdom and are treated with respect and love. Even those that have never experienced love before, and more importantly, those who don't who don't want it at first. In a book its easy to see a person's journey to their real self. Its a lot harder to navigate it in life, on your own, without seeing the plot points. And in the book they are sequestered in a safe place for a time to learn who they are.

In the real world that we live in we have to face the fact that when we decide to follow God we are in the same circumstances that we were before. We have the same life, the same problems and the same sinful desires haunting us. Its harder to Become Real when you aren't so protected. But the process is there if we reach for it. There is Someone willing to walk you through the flames of your life and help you come out the other side as you were meant to be. (Yes, subtle spoiler but if you haven't read it you'll still be clueless)

It all makes me wonder. Who am I? Who was I made to be? What am I missing by stubbornly clinging to my old life? Am I being like Dirty, the main character in one of my favorite stories from the book? Am I clinging onto my old self because I terrified to be loved in the way that God wants to love me? While I don't know the answers to the first few questions I have to say yes to the last few. Its scary to let go and walk toward that new life, that Real me that I'm supposed to be.

How do I Become Real? I'm not sure but I know I want to and that I need to.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Me treasure me?

I've heard it my entire life and I'm sure you have too. "You have to love yourself." But that's a hard thing to do isn't it? When, as a teenager, you are the only one (or so it seems) that isn't dating at all much less at the moment it feels lonely and you feel unlovable. I chose not to date because it seemed pointless to me but still it made me feel like an outcast. I wasn't flirting with the small pack of guys in our group like the other girls were. At the time it made me a freak but now all I can say is, "Thank you for saving me from that dear Jesus!" But as that outcast its hard to look to the future and realize that one day you will be grateful for those choices.

Or how about when you are looking in the mirror at a less than perfect body and you wonder how he could still find that attractive? Yeah, its hard to love yourself then no matter how warped that thinking is. When you realize an entire day has gone by and nothing has been accomplished its hard to love yourself. When you catch yourself yelling at those you love most and see the faces of your children in reaction to that yelling its hard to love yourself. And what about all those other times you fail at life and don't do what you should? Do you feel very lovable then? Not usually. And you can rationalize how others can still love you because they don't know all the sordid details, but you do so your self hatred is justified.

Even though I'm talking to myself as much as anyone else when I write I want to challenge that thinking. In me as much as anyone else.

When we, as women, treat ourselves as less than worthy what are we doing to those around us? I would go so far as to say that we are calling the ones that love us stupid and discounting their view of us all together. When my husband tells me I'm beautiful, pregnant belly and all and I tell myself he's nuts then I'm calling him a liar and calling his opinion garbage. When he tells me I'm a great mom and I find myself arguing with him inwardly or out loud again I'm hurting myself and him. The same goes for every other time I tell myself something contrary to what he says or for that matter what God says.

So maybe that old annoying saying is true. Maybe we do have to love and even treasure ourselves a bit. Not that I know how to go about that exactly but I think its time I figure it out a little bit. Moms are the worst at this I think. We sacrifice far beyond the point of needing to. We don't have "me time" ever because its "selfish." We feel guilty for buying new things or even wanting a new hand lotion for goodness sake.

So, how do we stop the madness? How do we take care of ourselves and even love ourselves? I'm not exactly sure. Although a good place to start would be to, within the budget of course to stay guilt free, buy yourself a new shirt and be happy about it. But what about the things that don't cost money? What ways can you love yourself just a little bit today? Maybe I'll try listening to my husband for once and not let those silly little reasons that don't matter sneak into my thoughts.

For now its a start and one I think I can make. But I need to work harder at that loving myself thing. Maybe we can work on it together.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

When the treasure is missing

I know, it looked like I started a blog and vanished like 90% of new blogs do. (Yes, I totally made up that number but I'm betting its close to accurate) But really I've just be struggling. Struggling with my own feelings of lacking and my own out of it state of mind. This blog is about accepting yourself as a woman and overcoming your fears and weakness. So, what is the writer of said blog supposed to do when she gets lost in those feelings that she is supposedly fighting? Hide apparently.

I guess that's not the best way to handle something though is it? I have been known to hide in the closet when I am having a bad day and I want to get away from the kids. I've gone in there and cried before. And maybe that did help a little by letting me cry without being seen but I still had to come out and face the little terrors that drove me in there in the first place.

A far better way to fix your problems is to deal with them. Especially in a place like this. If I want readers I should write about my own problems and struggles so other women can know they aren't alone in those feelings. So here I am, back again to share what has been going on.

I have felt like a failure. I had been doing so well in so many ways and then I lost my grip on whatever it was that was keeping me anchored. Ok, if I'm honest I know what I lost my grip on, God. I was spending time reading a devotional and praying and actually getting nourished by my Savior.

But then I got sick. Really sick for two or three days, I had the flu. I couldn't sit up for very long much less read anything or quite honestly, pray. Which is fine actually. People get sick. My wonderful husband even stayed home from work for a couple of days (working from home) because he was the only one not sick. He took care of all of us, managed to do some work and didn't make me feel bad about it at all.

But somehow I still felt guilty. Moms do not get sick, we aren't allowed! Right? Mom isn't allowed to be weak or be human. We are supposed to be super human and fix everything for everyone. We are supposed to be the caretakers not the ones stuck in bed with a fever unable to keep food down or stay awake. But there I was, helpless. Helpless. Its not a feeling anyone likes to feel but it was a fact for me

I was dependent on my husband for anything for two days. I couldn't even dry myself after a shower without help. The kids were also sick and I couldn't help take care of them. After the first one got sick, that I did help with, I got it so the other two were Hubby's alone to deal with and clean up after. I hated that. And somehow those two days sent me into a two month tailspin. One that I almost drowned in. (Yes, you can metaphorically drown in a tailspin, its my metaphor anyway so hush.)

I began to lose myself the day I got sick. Not because I was sick, not because my husband wasn't there for me, he was more than I could have dreamed. But because I listened to the wrong little voice. Instead of the one that told me to just rest and get better and let Hubby handle everything, and that it would all be ok I listened to the one that said I was failing. The one that said I should have been up and helping him or even taking over. The voice that said, now I was worthless because I failed my family simply by having a virus take over my body. There was nothing I could have done to stop it but I forgot that. I listened to the Enemy of my soul who managed to steal me away from my family for two months.

I did ok for a while during that time because I hid how I felt but I was slowly giving in. I was sinking into a pit of quicksand and lies. You aren't good enough, you can't hold onto this for very long, you will fail again. And just today did I realize how far I sank. My husband told me that he missed me in a simple text message. He also brought up the morning coffee "dates" we were having before I got sick. Just having coffee together before he left for work. I didn't realized how much he missed that, or how much I do for that matter.

I have said that the title of this blog is because I have two men in my life that treasure me just as I am. My God and my husband. But what happens when I hide that treasure from both of them? They are both left standing waiting for my return. I complain to myself that I'm not feeling loved the way I should be and that I feel all alone. But really, that old Christian cliche is true, "When God feels far away, who do you think moved?" And I realized the same holds true, in this case, for my relationship with my husband. Who moved? Simple answer, I did. I ran and hid because I felt useless.

Sometimes when I'm not feeling treasured I need to remember that its hard to treasure something that has been lost. When the treasure is missing its impossible to guard it and protect it. So, in more ways than one, I'm back. I'm back here on my blog and I am back emotionally back in the two sets of arms that love me more than anything. I'm not helpless, I'm not useless. I am a treasure and its time I act like it again.