Put your behind in your past…

At least that’s what Pumbaa said.

Man, I sure know a few of us that need to turn our heads forward sometimes.  I honestly wonder how we get around at all with our eyes firmly fixed on what is behind! You’ll notice that I am including myself in the mix.  It’s a pattern I can quickly fall into if I’m not careful.  It’s the pain.  It’s always what hurts that keeps us turned the wrong way.

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We have a ridiculously fat, old cat named Rhetta.  She is embarrassingly large — so large, in fact, that she can no longer wash her own back and has mats that form in her fur.  We call them dreads so as not to make her feel ashamed.  We feed each of our cats the same amount of food per day.  Rhetta, however, is sneaky and discovered the dog food years ago, and helped herself a bit too often.  She is also scared of everything.  She’s been kind of a nasty personality for years now.  You just never know when you’ll get bitten — even if she seems pleasant.  She HATES the other pets and prefers her dark, little corner of the world where she hides and growls and spits at anyone who gets too close.  We think the addition of each pet and each life change (including the 12 hour drive to a new home a few years ago) really messed with her.  She just seems broken.  We just love her and shave her back now and then and try to get her through.  Sad, isn’t it?  She just can’t step out of what hurt her into enjoying even a little bit of life.

I look around and realize we all have things that scarred and tried to break us.  Tricky mommy and daddy issues, folks who promised to love us and didn’t follow through, physical and emotional abuse, folks who pointed out our flaws and created ugly thoughts that seem to stay on repeat, the loss of someone we loved deeply, insecurity…this list could go on ad infinitum.

No one is immune.  But some have found a way to move on.  Have you noticed that?  Some folks seem to take it stride or heal faster or something.

As I’ve looked around with this in mind, I realize that folks tend to use their pain to either justify their behavior or as a catalyst to change.  Yeah, that’s tough stuff, but if we’re being honest, we know it’s true.  Either we repeat patterns or we break the chains.

I have cross-country skied since I was three years old.  It has always been just for fun and I’m too out of shape now to want to let anyone see me trudge/glide along.  I had stopped for decades and recently came back to it thanks to my kids and their gift of equipment.  Then some stupid health stuff gave me excuses to sit instead of ski.  My husband got me out the other day and in the middle of a winter weather advisory, we went for a walk/ski together.  We got about 16 inches of fresh snow that day.  The plows couldn’t keep up, and since we live in the middle of absolute nowhere that was no surprise.  Our area is mountainous.  I was on the last day of one of the worst colds I’ve ever had and had been coughing ridiculously for days.  Perfect set-up to get back into things.  Haha.

A half mile in, huffing and puffing, I had a decision to make.  I could turn around and go home (which sounded mighty good).  Or, I could commit to the next three legs of equal length and make *the square* which would bring me back to my driveway.  The square consists of huge inclines and I was already sucking some serious wind.  But darn it, I wanted to have proven it to myself that I could do it.  So I committed.unblazed trail

I've got this

halfway

{I had to document it with photos because I could just feel my thoughts brewing as my lungs burned!}

This journey we are on is daunting!  Pitfalls and mountains and the overwhelming-ness of it all can make us just want to go back to somewhere safe and easy!  Sometimes, we gloss over the pain of our past and live there emotionally just to not have to face what is in our front view!  Often, it’s just too hard to breathe where the path hasn’t been broken for us, and we quit and take off our gear and camp out.  I get it!  I’ve done it!

But the past has passed!!!  It’s just our catalyst to a great story!  It’s not a dwelling place or a camp or a place we even want to stay!  The mystery, the beauty is in the new trail!

The triumph is in only the glance back where we see our tracks and rejoice in the accomplishment!  When we see that there was always at least One Who walked alongside us, cheering us on!  When we get a new story — a renewed sense of victory and hope.

a glance back

No one wants to continue to hear my sad stories.  I have a million.  They’re getting old though, and it feels just like stench at this point.  Those stories are just my stepping stones into who I stepped up to be.  Yes, they hurt, but I worked hard to survive and I am determined to look forward to the new, unblazed, fresh and beautiful path into who I am now — despite and because of those obstacles!

I glance back only to be thankful for how far I’ve come.  I refuse to trip over them any longer.

Anyone with me?

 

My Strange Addiction

This is not a topic I relish discussing.  There are just some things I don’t necessarily want to dredge up publicly, but I also long to find that common thread — that chord that will resonate between us.  We are, after all, all in this thing together.  And it’s possible that someone else wrestles in their mind and spirit in the same way I do.  I keep waiting to grow up ’cause I’m pretty sure once I do, it will be such a relief to have matured past all of this stuff, but here I am.  Waiting.

Guys, I have this ugly girl who lives in my head and tries to whisper ugly words to me all day.  Before you think I need to be evaluated, I will explain.  Negative self-talk.  Ugly words that tell me that I’m no good.  Ugly words that try to leak out about other people — even people I love.  Just plain ugly thoughts.  My fascination with learning about how our minds work that I acquired from my alma mater, Google University, tells me some of how I acquired this from my childhood.  I like having the explanation, but that does nothing to fix it.  And frankly, I hate the excuse.  Everyone has hurts.  Every single one of us had folks shape us negatively.  At some point, we need to do something about it to head toward healing and not just live in that place of pain.

Okay, I’m going to back up a few steps to tell you how I got here and then I’m going to challenge you in a way that I’m not sure any of us can handle so hang in there with me.

My last post was about losing our dog, Lily.  To sum it up, she was a severe allergy dog who lived with a green cone on her head, a sweatshirt, and even sometimes an ace bandage wrapped around any other bare skin to prevent her from scratching it open.  These things weren’t put on her all at once.  One by one, we tried medicines, lotions, treatments, and then we found the best balance of all of these and then had to try to control her little mind and scratching feet.  At some point, she became addicted to scratching.  She couldn’t even resist.  So, we added a cone.  And then a shirt.  And then the bandage when we couldn’t supervise her.  It took a couple visitors stopping by to stare at our dog in pity for us to see through a different lens that our dog was suffering.  It had become normal to us.  A 24 hour watch on a miserable dog buried in fabric and plastic and medication became normal to us.  We needed to do something — even if it absolutely broke our hearts.

However it happened to me, I recently realized I wear my own cone of shame.

I found a bin of pictures in my garage that had never been unpacked from our move.  Amazingly, it was a treasure trove of family history items that I had been given that were brand new to me.  I found a box of newspaper clippings clipped by my grandfather, and pictures of his mother and brothers.  I found pictures of my parents from their youth.  They felt like windows to the past.  As I looked at pictures of my mother, I realized there were two of about a thousand in which she looked genuinely happy.  As I looked at pictures of myself I said awful things.  Most of what I said was ugly and in my own head.  A couple things I let slip out of my mouth in front of my children.  They were appalled.  And I hadn’t even said things that were that ugly on my Nasty Scale.  My son and daughters told me they never wanted to hear those things come out of my mouth again.  They said to be nice to their momma.  Whoops!

I don’t want to be that.  I don’t want to sound like that.  I didn’t allow myself to do that when they were little — I was more aware of my example.  Something about grown kids can sometimes let one let their guard down and forget we are still parenting and have responsibility.

I have a most beautiful friend who teaches me much.  I think she has grown up, and I don’t mean the couple decades she has on me.  She is what I want to be like.  She is real and she shares her heart struggles with me.  We share a similar background so she gets me.  She also challenges me to be better because she is constantly turning her heart over to her God and willing to let Him mold her.  It is a thing of beauty to me.  And such an example.  In one of our lovely phone conversations, she told me how she has allowed Him to help her throw off negativity that she said had snowballed.  She has replaced it with reveling in all the good things, and guess what?  She said that has snowballed in her! She reminded me to  continue to be thankful always — to meditate on truth and His goodness.  She encouraged me to let Him change out the old tapes that play lies in my head for new tapes of love from my heavenly Daddy.

It was like looking in a mirror and seeing a green cone on my head that I had attached and allowed to become my normal — definitely not my prettiest look, but apparently one I just forgot to notice after awhile.  When I saw it, it kinda felt like that moment in the shoe store when you see the new shoes against your old ones and cannot believe you walked around like that in public.  Or when you have guests coming and all of a sudden you see filth in your house that makes you feel like an episode of Hoarders.

This *strange addiction* of mine has to stop.

Once upon a time, I issued a challenge to you, my readers.  Over several months, I found a way to stop complaining for 30 days.  It took me way too long to break that pattern of my mouth and heart.

Today, I begin again with a bit of a spin.  I am putting on a bracelet.  I am going to fill my mind and heart with remembering truth and meditating on His love for me.  I will not complain.  I will not be negative about myself or anything else.  When it leaks out and I fail, I will change my bracelet to my opposite arm.  My goal is to keep my bracelet consistently on one arm for 30 days.

Friends, I want to reflect love.  I want to take my green cone off and break some rotten and self-destructive habits.  I want to be an example to my family, to my grandkids.  I want to just shine.  Maybe that’s how I will finally become a grown-up.  :o)

Will you join me?  Will you consider becoming aware of how we sound?  Will you take a look in the mirror with me and see if you see a cone of shame?

I want my collection of pictures that my great-great grandkids find in a bin in their garage to reflect JOY!  I want them to marvel at how this woman named Alison lived her life fully despite whatever her story may have been.

If you’re in.  Say so.  Comment here.  Please, help me share this idea and let’s be women (and men) who throw off our shame and step forward into victory.  Tell me the promises and truths to which you will hold tightly as you wear your bracelet.  Let’s join hands and do this together. Show me your bracelets!

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And oh, as you run, what hindered love will only become part of your story. (click for song)

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to You, my Strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Graham Cooke article — “There is a reason why the Father tells us to take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Because every action has a starting place. Every strong emotion has a beginning.  All transformation originates in renewed thinking (Romans 12:2). How we think about ourselves dominates our behavior (Proverbs 23:7) and sets our agenda in life towards other people.”

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well…Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139

“Happiness is a form of courage.” — George Holbrook Jackson

 

 

 

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