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restless? write it down

Fear of rejection. Self esteem. Dang it…here it is again.
I was in a bad place today. I was reacting to everything with emotion. Everything was being done to me. I was restless, irritable, and discontent. I didn’t even see it. I reassured my daughter that going to an amusement park with her dad, despite how much I don’t like rides, would be fun. She was hesitant but I thought it would be good bonding time and maybe other people would come along, follow up on arrangements made. I knew they wouldn’t, but still pushed going. We went. They didn’t. She was bored. I tried to ride a few rides, but my stomach turned. I did ok, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do the spinning rides. Despite all the let-downs, I expected her to have fun. She didn’t and I was bummed out.
Fear of rejection. Fear of not being good enough.

I told the real estate agent I thought the electric box was illegal based on what the groundskeeper said. He refuted my statement. I held it together but was upset he didn’t take my uniformed word for it.
Fear of being incompetent or seen as stupid.

I faltered and avoided being direct on an invite to a party. I was feeling irritable, restless, and discontent and was going to a meeting. I didn’t think I wanted to be around people. She had to get blunt and tell me that I wasn’t coming. Finally, I answered that unless I felt much better after the meeting, I wasn’t. I couldn’t just say it.
Fear of rejection. Fear of not being liked.

Its all the same stuff. This has all showed up on my list before. I implored God and asked Him what it hasn’t gone away yet. I have done the work…oh wait! I have not been doing the work. I have been resting on my laurels.

I searched and searched the moral inventory. I felt the fear and drug it out in the light. The false events no longer appear real. Wahoo

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Posted by on June 21, 2014 in faith, journey, Uncategorized

 

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cowbell

Today I feel like crying. You know that feeling where you need to sneeze, but it doesn’t happen? That is the feeling I have about crying today. I didn’t sleep well last night and maybe that is it. I am nonplussed about the lack of moral fiber in America, as seen recently in a few colleges. Maybe that’s it. I won’t say it out loud, but I feel ‘small’ again.

I want to live out loud. I want my life to be that hysterical cowbell skit. I want to be able to listen to God telling me, in his best Christopher Walken voice, “I have a fever, and the only cure is more cowbell.” I want my heart, mind, soul to soar. I want to recognize the day and rejoice in it. Instead I “walk around like Charlie Brown, full of hope, eyes to the ground.”

I have been stuck, recently, thinking of what glorious triumphs and adventures I should undertake. I have been creating a scenario of reviving aspects of my life.

Unfortunately, I have been dwelling on the ‘have to’s’. I am tired of suffocating under that weight.
Enough of the preamble. Starting a few years ago, I leaped out of the boat (stepping is for wimps). I was told, by God (yes, I know it sounds crazy), that the life I was leading was not what was intended for me. It was not even really living. He wanted abundance and I chose absence.

Prior to this experience and really for a multitude of my life, I have not enjoyed crowds. I really don’t like parties. I don’t even like dinner parties with people that I don’t know real well. After this leap, I felt like I had to give it another try. It was OK. I certainly didn’t feel the need to run away. However, I was always longing to be back home. I continued to feel the anxiety days before the party. I was just a little better at talking to God about it. After forcing myself to do that for a few years, I became less and less willing to do it. The difference is that I don’t make excuses, I just say I don’t want to go. Really, I just don’t want to worry about it 3 days in advance, and spend the time with my skin crawling.

The problem for me is that I had a family that loves socializing. They get fed by interactions with people, where I get starved. They are rejuvenated, where I am exhausted. The quandary: is there a fair balance? Does everyone’s cowbell have to sound the same? Should I make my gong ring like those around me? Should they have to work around my peccadilloes? Why are there locks on 7/11, they are open 24 hours?

And God spoke, “I need more cowbell.” The humbling, tear-jerking reality for me is that while God speaks, He also whispers, “I need your cowbell.” I feel softly touched and held. Who I am is important to Our Creator. God wants me for me. He wants me to live abundantly as ME. What a beautiful noise.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2014 in journey, Uncategorized

 

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the secret of life

I think I have found the secret of life. I think I was given this insight because I am a special son of God. Or maybe it was because He was tired of watching me run around in the dark bumping into things. Or maybe it was just because I have tried so hard to pick up the pieces of my imploded life. It doesn’t matter, I was given the keys.

“The secret of life is one thing.” Curly from ‘City Slickers’
“oh yeah, what’s that?”
“That’s for you to figure out.”

“Let Joy and Innocence prevail.” Elephant epitath from ‘Toys’.

That’s it. That’s the secret for me. I was confronted with the reality that I have had a tendency to not be content or happy with my situation for many years. I had everything, a good career, a business, a marriage, great kids, etc. However, I was always in pursuit of the next thing. I wanted a busier business. I wanted to be the best at my career. I wanted a marriage that was passionate, growing, fun. I wanted my kids to be perfect. I wanted a newer car, more money, more prestige. I was in a dead sprint to acquire. None of it made me happy, and even if I achieved it, I would not enjoy it.

I had built up the walls of Jericho around me. For years, I accumulated but did not appreciate. The walls got thicker and taller. I felt safe, but secretly miserable. However, I couldn’t even be honest about that. I put on a happy face for all to see. I lied. Friends and family circled the walls and warned me of the illusion and delusion I was living. The walls began to crumble 7 years ago. Slowly, I could see what living was like. I could see what it meant to not just exist. There were cries and horror as I tried to leave the walls. There were those around me who needed and wanted me to stay in the walls and wear the fake mask I wore. My torment racked the walls. My nails dug in, my fingers bled as I climbed. I tried and tried to free myself. MY life became desperate. The lie suffocated me. I asked for help. That was it. I simply said, “Help Me.” The walls came tumbling down.

Even as they did, I did not appreciate the freedom. I did not rejoice. I worried that my life was forever changed. I was afraid of it all, and lamented my fate. I let guilt, shame, and remorse shroud me. I suffered.

Last week in church, the worship music was introducing the sermon. I am not a fan of worship bands and really don’t get inspired by the music. However, I have been praying that God work on my unbelief and touch my heart. I have asked the prayer, “Help me,” once again. I have said that even though I am unable to really trust, I am willing to try and do what I am to do. I just want to not be afraid. The music played and I felt the tears coming. I cant tell you what the song was or the words, because I don’t remember. I looked for a way out. I bit my lip and got ready to “man up.” I began to cry. I sat down and wept. The pain and embarrassment began to surge. Instead of shutting off the wimpy water works and escaping the pain. I asked God to pummel me. I asked Him to really dig out the crevices. I wanted to be free of it.

He showed me that I have buried my gift of Joy and Innocence. I have not let it thrive. It wasn’t a wish…ie “May Joy and Innocence prevail”, but rather a proper use of the will, “Let it prevail.” I needed to get out of the way of it. I have the opportunity to rejoice over the silly things again. I get to thrive on the adventure of life, relationships, growth, again. I can stop trying to be perfect and just be me.

What’s your one thing?

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2013 in divorce, faith, journey

 

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whats in a name

NO

That is NOT true.

That is NOT who I am.

When did you develop the skills to say who you were? When were you named? Not the name people have always called you. The named as in the identifier of who you are, what potential you have. The named as in the name you would shout from the mountain top. The named as in what you would scream like Spartacus, “I AM SPARTACUS.”

Who named you?

Do you still call yourself that name? Are you living your Spartacus?

I grew up hiding from myself. I wasn’t sure that I trusted myself to be who I was. I remember a time as a teenager. My Dad and I were going to the mechanic. He said he was glad he was taking me, because I could blend in with anyone. I was a chameleon, he said. I enjoyed thinking of myself as everything rather than nothing. Unfortunately, I got lost in the lie.

I wanted so desperately to shout my name from the mountain tops. I wanted to scream like Braveheart. I wanted to risk everything to cling to my name. But I was afraid. What if I wasn’t liked? What if I failed?

I walked down the 13 steps into a church basement. I was scared to death. I knew I had hit rock bottom. I couldn’t speak in sentences. I was shaky. MY stomach churned constantly. I had a headache all the time. I was 40 pounds overweight.

That’s not me. I screamed in my head. Please let me live.

In that basement, I began the process of shedding the chameleon skin. I peeled the face first and began to breath, gasping for air. I swallowed in gulps of life. I felt the cool air and knew I wanted more. I peeled the legs and began to walk on my own feet. I begged for direction and strength. I peeled the hands and began to work and tool the gifts I was given. I peeled the head and thought for myself. I had original thoughts and knew that they weren’t perfect, and didn’t need to be. I peeled the chest. I felt emotions.

I began to hear my name. “Story-teller” “Care-er” “Explainer” “Word smith” “Encourager” “Silas”. I found that I was motivated and optimistic. I found I had insight, wisdom, and humor. I began to like my imperfection.

Some around me didn’t like it. They struggled with the change. They didn’t like the imperfection. They didn’t like me being honest about strengths and weaknesses. Subtly, they demanded I return to the pre-basement guy. IT wasn’t mean or even deliberate, but I got reminders frequently about “That’s how you are.” or “I assumed you would say/feel/do that because that’s how you always did before.”

NO, THATS NOT ME. I want to grow. I want to learn. I want to change. I want to soar. I want to yell from the mountain top. And I will.

I am named

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in journey, life

 

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Go Deep!

I had a God day. I said it the right way. I don’t mean good day, I mean God day.

It has been a long time in the making. Let me review, briefly. I was living a life of plastic and facades. I hid behind what I wanted you to see. I was scared. I was dishonest in my opinions and actions. I behaved in a way that I thought “you” wanted me to. I lied to myself too. I told myself that it is good business. I told myself that is the way to get ahead, get better grades, get girls, whatever. I built an empire on the lie. I was married. She is a great person. She is intelligent, attractive, determined. However, our ability to live a lie to each other was unparalleled. We said the right words. We looked very happy to everyone else. I had a business and career. It looked very satisfying. The thing about being a business owner is that everyone assumes you have lots of money and lots of free time. Neither is true. I felt trapped. The foundation was built on a lie. The lie of perfect.

Almost 7 years ago, I stopped believing my own lie. I started to want to live the truth. I wanted just to live. I woke up slowly. I took deliberate steps to become alive. I was newly reborn and scarred to death. I pushed hard on myself to recover. I did all the right things. I said the right things. I excelled, on the outside. Inside, I kept hearing the same messages, “You are worthless,” “I am just waiting for the other shoe to fall,” “you have to pretend you are the best or they will see the real you.” I spent so much time trying to do it right, I forgot to really do it. I wanted it so bad, I forced it. It wasn’t following God’s will. It was a foundation of sand, no strength, no substance.

MY life imploded.

I went to see a counselor. He challenged me. He asked what I needed to learn in my down time. I haven’t been able to restart a career or find a new one. IT has been a long and painful time. I have been humiliated and humbled. He asked what I needed to learn. I said, “Trust.” I needed to learn how to trust God, others, and myself.

At a meeting this morning talking about, “It could have been worse.” We spoke of our past and that perhaps it wasn’t as catastrophic as we say. I suggested it was just as bad as it needed to be to get my attention.

I really just wanted to go home or to the gym. Something said I needed to go to church. I decided I would go to one close and then go work out. I found myself driving to the church about 20 minutes away. Something said I needed to be there. I kinda grumbled to myself. The praise band played 4 really long and silly songs. I am not a fan of 7-11 songs (7 words sang 11 times). I grumbled. The sermon started off with standing and listening to the Bible verse. I grumbled.

He told of his story. The story of losing everything and then meeting a friend. The friend said, “Isn’t God’s grace wonderful.” He talked about wanting to slug him. I would have. His friends point is that if a life is built on a shaky foundation, isn’t it loving to tear it down? I still would have slugged him.

The sermon went on. I heard that I have a do-over. He talked of going deep. He told of Jesus telling Simon to take his nets into the deep waters to cast. He talked about needing to go deep into our faith and love. What I heard is that I need to take the love and support that I have gotten. I need to take the successes and failures. I need to take the whole of me as a beloved child of Christ and let it through my head into my heart, deep inside. I need to feel as well as know. God wants to bless me so that I get to be a blessing to others. I get to be the blessing that others were to me. I get to stand up again and lean into life, others, and God.

I get to Go Deep.

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2013 in divorce, faith, journey, life

 

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a perfect poster

I just figured out I am a movie poster. I am an advertisement that comes in a new frame from Walmart. Funny story: years ago, my family had pictures at Winter Park YMCA done. My sister knew she was going to succumb to the cancer and decided to have “Christmas in July.” We took family pictures at that time as well. The photographer took pictures of my nuclear family as well. Several months later, we discovered that he used our pictures as advertisement.

Anyway, I figured out recently that I have relished the picture mentality of life. I had a glorified image of what life, marriage, parenthood, myself was to look like. I would capture the image and print it as a movie poster or framed image. I lived life trying to perpetuate that image at all times. It was important to me to be seen as that poster. Any deviation from that image was rejected and denied. It was great. The image was perfection. It was exactly what I thought it should be like.

The drawbacks are pretty obvious. I was two dimensional. I had no depth. I spent so much energy trying to print and show the image that I was worn thin. Paper thin. A poster or a picture is easy to tear. I deluded myself in thinking that since I looked strong in the poster, I must be impenetrable. I quickly taped the holes and tatters and pretended they didn’t exist.

I was stagnant. A poster can’t change or grow. The moment in time never existed. And even if it did exist, it was in the past. Regardless, the poster will fade. The poster image will be the same. It can’t be sad. It can’t be happy. IT can’t love or hate. It is a poster.

I was bigger than life. I always thought that was a good thing. It seemed like being noticed and revered was the goal of living. I needed for people to tell me I looked good, and fun, and worthy. In order to do that, I had to be huge. I laughed the loudest, I lied about being the smartest. I judged others. I was remembering a moment after I got sober. A patient wanted medical marijuana and I refused to write the script. As he was telling me how disgusted he was with me, he exclaimed that he used to think I was bigger than life. My answer was, “So did I.” He left a little confused.

I lived afraid that someone was going to look behind the poster. I was cowering behind the poster. I drank away the fear. I hid. I ran. I isolated. The worst part is that I taught my family that the image was real and needed protected. I needed the picture because I did not like the coward behind it. And I couldn’t maintain it alone.

The poster fell as the tears won out. The image fluttered to the ground, leaving me exposed and vulnerable. However, I was free of it. My ex-wife and even my kids have begun to erect another poster. I have been excluded from that and deemed not worthy. I am not worthy of a perfect picture. I am broken, fallible, imperfect. I am also redeemed, forgiven, 3 dimension, warm, safe, and loved.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in divorce, life

 

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perfect is is perfect does

It was a toga party. Men in their 20’s, wearing togas, discussing guy things. They discussed the Olympics, and the need for sacrificing. It was ancient Greece and they were philosophers. They had huge brains and thought amazing thoughts. They had the concept of zero but no name for it. All these guys were pretty content with just knowing it existed, who needs names.

Centuries later, Brahmagupta, around 650 AD, was the first to formalize arithmetic operations using zero. He had some fancy dots he would put under a letter as a place holder. Still no formal name for another 2 centuries.

Centuries dedicated to discovering the idea of nothing, the use of zero. All that work so that I can say, “I got nothing,” and other guys understand.

So how come so much time on zero and perfect seems to be accepted without question? Perhaps because they knew what I suspect, there is no such thing as perfect or 100%. Why bother with something that cant exist?

When God created the world, at the end of each day he announced, “It is good.” He did not announce, “It is perfect.” He knew it wasn’t. And good was what He was aiming for. Good was good enough. What God knew, and the Greeks might have discovered, is that perfect is completion. Perfect has no need to grow, no drive to change, no room to learn. It is perfect, it will never be better nor worse nor different in any way. There is no marveling at flowers, or birds or a rainbow. There is no giggling at a child, no jitters of anticipation. Perfect is complete. Perfect is not living, it is a death. If we aren’t growing and learning and marveling, we are dying.

I tried to live a perfect life for quite awhile. The problem is that the only way to do that is fake sincerity. As my Dad put it once, “Its like painting a turd.” Looking back, it is an odd deal to try so hard to upkeep an image that is stagnant. Perfect can’t change. The problem comes when the people that make up the perfect scenario change, it disrupts the system The false illusion of perfection begins to tear. Panic ensues as you rush around to repair the rent before prying eyes see in.

When perfect is exposed, the paint wears off the turd, or the rent wears thin, there are a few different reactions. One is to breathe a sigh of relief. It is being freed from a prison of stagnation. Another is to cringe like Frankenstein’s monster from the fire of watchful eyes. Some hide, some flee, some rejoice, some cry. IT is difficult to change, particularly after hiding from it for so long.

I think those guys in Togas had a great idea. If perfection didn’t have a name, we wouldn’t think of it as a goal. I have decided that I don’t believe in perfection in this lifetime, so I am no longer going to pursue it. When asked, I will answer, “I got nothing.”

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2013 in journey

 

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