Thursday, March 19, 2015

Transparently Me

The following is an excerpt from an unrestrained flow of thought that poured forth from my consciousness several nights ago.  I kept my eyes closed while I typed so that I wouldn't focus on editing while I wrote or how I presented to others.  I just felt and thought and wrote with no intention of trying to join or divide thoughts.  I find myself preaching transparency to others recently, yet so often I hold back. It's hypocritical and I find that to be free, I must, on my next step, be transparently me.  

I sit in the dark listening to the soft escape of the piano and I wonder ...will the fear ever end? Will the pain ever subside? What is it like to live without it and have I ever had a full day absent from it? I have, but so much time has elapsed that the memory is too distant, the feeling removed.  I strain to recall, but it's as if I'm incapable, stopped in my tracks.  What is blocking me?  Or, do I even need to remember?  Can I just begin again?  I would like that.  To begin again.  A rebirth.  Jesus take my wheel and set me free.  I imagine the soft caress of water enveloping me as a child in the womb.  Free.  But I can't go back.  I can only begin again.  But how? I long to understand my fears, but more than that I yearn to live on the other side of the prison doors.   I want to be in the fresh air and walk in the sunlight.  I want to bask and not cower.  I want to feel and not avoid.  I want to experience life and not run from it.  How do I do all of this? The Bible says to "cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you..." (Psalm 55:22), but I'm not quite sure I've ever known this phenomenon.  I try. I try so hard to "cast my cares"...and yet something seems to go wrong, because they remain.  How Lord?  How do I cast them onto you for you to take over?  How do I do what you ask and command in your word? I don't know how and I'm angry because I haven't been able to figure it out.  What comes to mind next is "cease striving and know that I am God.." (Psalm 46:10).  In one breath I'm told to "cast" which implies action and in another I'm told to "cease" which means stop.  How, Lord, how do I know what to do?  I feel like the confused youth on a basketball court learning to play for the first time. His coach yells directions to him from the sidelines but I watch his head turn all around looking for what she means. He doesn't find it.  Instead, her yelling and his uncertainty only distresses him more.  He doesn't know which way to turn.  I know this pain.  Just tell me what you want from me, Abba Father.  I just need to hear your voice, but there are so many directives in the Bible, which one is for me today, here and now? Psalm 27:14 enters the realm of consciousness now and it says this: "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD"...

I do love the sound of the piano as it plays alongside the running thoughts in my mind.  I've thought for some time now that if I only just got older, my worries and anxieties would dissipate in the wake of age and experience and wisdom.  Though some have settled, they have never fully gone.  Like the patient with schizophrenia who must learn to not feed his delusions, so too must I starve my fears and nourish my faith.  Rolling into my waking thoughts is Romans 8:37 that says "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us," so if the Bible truly is the Word of God, then I've already won.  I am "more than a conqueror..." I must only believe. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

I worked with a young woman recently whose presenting problem was attraction to a younger co-worker.  Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't be such an issue, but this young woman was married with children, not to mention a devout Christian.  Her faith was very important to her, but no matter what she tried in prayer and study, she couldn't shake what were for her adulterous thought patterns towards this other man.  She sought intercessors, she cried, and she even confessed her growing attraction to her husband and a close friend.  Still, the feelings remained.  When she came to me, she was worn out from trying to overcome it all and sought more than anything to understand the why behind her attraction.  She was particularly hung up on something the object of her affections said to her at work one day.  She had openly disclosed to him that she found him attractive, but assured him (and likely herself as well) that she loved God more than she would ever be drawn to him. In fact, she told him "I'm cured of my attraction to you and no longer bound by it."  Her alleged hope was that by being transparent with him, she would strip the situation of its mystery and allure, for after all, she reasoned, "we're attracted to the forbidden fruit, so if he ceases to be a 'forbidden' through the confession of my attraction, then I'll simultaneously be delivered." It would have been a potentially successful feat had it not been drenched in the dishonesty of her unconscious motives. She professed John 8:32 that says "the truth will set you free," but what she was really aiming to do by informing him of her expired attraction was increase his attraction to her.  She had shared with me that she felt the attraction was at times reciprocal, but wasn't entirely sure.  He was, after all, seven years younger.  For her, this confession was a way of testing the waters to find out where he stood.  When she told him of her "cure" he responded by telling her that she felt that way simply because she had been out of the office for several days and her deliverance was merely a case of "out of sight, out of mind." Success.  His ego had been hit and she interpreted this response as his desire for her to remain attracted to him, which, in her mind meant he must also be attracted to her.  The question at this point was why?  Why did she need him to be attracted to her? Why was she attracted to him and could an out of sight, out of mind approach really work to free her from the increasingly tangled web of her feelings?