Tag Archives: anxiety

For Everything That Can’t Be Bought…

We are all attached to something.  Through our own ambition, we can become attached to more things than is necessary.  Family… friends… work… play… things… media… substances… ‘God’ stuff… and on, and on, and on…

The idea is to find a way to attach to what is absolutely necessary for us to stay centered on only the bare necessities.

Too much clutter in our lives at all levels… whether it be material, emotional, psychological, mental or spiritual… will leave us exhausted and lost.  Prime candidates for a sense of separation from what is important all the way through our life.

We must dedicate intention to the discipline of detachment.  We must ask ourselves on a continual basis: what can I let go of?  It feels like a risk to detach from all of the ‘stuff’ that is tempting our attention… There is an element of trust that comes into play that if I say goodbye to ‘this’… then the space that is left will be filled with what matters most.

At the core, we need to be willing to let go of the consumerist values of our culture, to embrace the intimacy of being content with less.  Consumerist values come in all shapes and sizes.  The easiest items that need to be relinquished typically take the form of material things.  Just look around your home… I’m sure there is plenty that can go that you haven’t used in a while.

Identifying the emotional, mental, psychological and spiritual items that have been shaped by consumerist values are a bit trickier to see.  All to often, these items are unseen, because they take root from within.

If you find yourself constantly on the go… (even immersed in the busyness of church life)

If you find yourself constantly ‘doing’… (even when the one you love would be content to just snuggle on the couch)

Then you are a candidate to pause and evaluate whether or not you just need to relinquish some’thing’ in your life.  Clutter… at any level, in any dimension… will erode the fabric of intimacy in your life.  Clutter… at any level, in any dimension… will prevent you from knowing and being know by the ones who are most dear to you.

Unfortunately, we are often blind to the things we find our lives attached to unnecessarily to… and then time goes on… and the erosion leads to decay.

Find practical ways to let go of the ‘things’ you don’t need… and you will find yourself the proud owner… of everything that can’t be bought… consumed… or controlled.  You will find yourself living as someone who can’t be bought… consumed… or controlled.

You will be free to simply… belong.

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Restoring Broken Relationships

While confession can be good for the soul… it is often one of the most difficult things to do.  None of us likes to expose the fact that we are the cause for a break in the separation of any type of relationship.  Maintaining an appearance that ‘all is well’ can become a full time job for us.  Most people haven’t committed a murder, or held up a bank… so it is easy to find ways to ‘smooth it over’.  How much energy does that take?

In truth, we are all guilty of breaking relationships from time to time.  Fortunately, Jesus is pretty realistic when it comes to his understanding of our broken relationships.  He experienced them daily.  He carried them to the cross.  Fortunately, his message to us is that broken relationships are not the end of the road in our experience as human beings.

Broken relationships can be confessed.

Broken relationships can be forgiven.

Broken relationships can be restored, and the people involved can be set free.

At least a third of his teachings involved forgiveness at some level.  His life was a model for living a life of forgiveness.  Again and again, he taught to bless those who  persecute you… to forgive, even when it is not deserved.  When he taught us to pray, he said, ‘Keep us forgiven… while we forgive others.’

To turn our hearts in such a way that allows us to do our part in the restoring of a broken relationship, we need to be able to open the bad in us, as well as the good.  We need to refuse attempting to hide behind a ‘moral’ lifestyle as a way to save face with others.  We need to stop pretending to be anyone other than who… we… are…

Tell it like it is… not just about the person who is in a broken relationship with you… but also about  yourself.  Let go of image management.  Let go of manipulation.  Let go of being obsessed with yourself.

Jesus laid down the power over his own life.

Jesus suffered.

Jesus took on the broken relationships of the whole world, so that we would not miss out on the ability to see past our shame, and get to a place where we could be who we are… no more… no less.

Confess your shame.

Forgive and be forgiven.

And move on…

Thoughts on Dealing with Shame

 

Shame is the one part of reality that must be examined if you are to begin to uproot that which keeps you from experiencing intimacy with your self, others and the rest of the world. Feelings of shame will inhibit you from being able to live life from a place of simplicity because it will undermine your sense that who you are and what you have is more than enough.

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No more… no less…

It is a painful experience to face the shame and brokenness in our lives… and who among us are so masochistic enough that we, with joy look at inflicting it on ourselves.  What we must come to realize is that in the current condition of life, there will be plenty of inner things to endure… so much so that we don’t need to be looking for more and more of it.  There is plenty to unearth if given time and space to see it.  Each layer that we pull back in our soul will reveal more and more of it until we can get to that place where we can see that who we are is enough… no more… no less.

On Fear…

Fear isn’t always a negative thing.  Sometimes its that instinct that kicks in when you turn the wrong way down a one way street, and you see those headlights coming straight for you.  There is a signal inside of you that says… “Hey, look out!”

Fear can become a problem though when you start feeling negative vibes about things that aren’t real, or when something is out of proportion to reality.  You can become consumed with protecting yourself at all time… and at all costs.  A perceived threat that brings into question your safety and security can overtake you to the point of paralysis.  That’s not good.

Often times, we feel a sense of anxiety that causes us to lose sleep, worry, and carry an unrelenting sense of dread.  When examined, we aren’t always able to pinpoint what is actually causing this fear.

So, we need to ask the question: Where the heck is this coming from?

Truth is, it could be any number of factors:

  • It could be something as simple as the nightly news… an external situation… or a hurried life.
  • It could be something that is happening to you physically… a sickness… or lack of sleep.
  • It could be something from your upbringing… a parent who always worried… or lack of consistency.
  • It could be something traumatizing… an event from your past… or an experience of failure.

Some of us have phobias: fear of specific things.  Spiders are a good example of this.  How many time have you been tinkering around the house, when suddenly a scream came from a different room?  You rush to the rescue to find someone standing on top of the toilet pointing frantically to the small arachnid in the corner.

Some of us have an acute sensitivity to panic.  The feeling of being out of control… or closed in on.  Heartbeat racing… breathing at a loss… and dizziness.  That sense that the floor is going to drop out, and the lack of faith that anything will catch them from the free fall.

All of us at one time or another have experienced rejection in relationships… What follows for some is the devastating sense that they will never have the knowledge of true intimacy… true knowing and being known… no sense of belonging to another.  This path toward feelings of abandonment to death is a fear that is very real if you are in the middle of it.

It’s important to pause in these moments of fear and ask a few questions:

  • What is it that is making you afraid or anxious?
  • How far back can you see this particular fear reaching into your life?
  • Are there specific situations/objects/ or persons that take you to this place?
  • Are there just certain times when this feeling overtakes you?
  • What tends to make it ‘go away’?
  • How do you cope with it all when you are in the thick of it?
  • Is your health a factor in all of this?
  • What do you think your life would be like if you could break free from the grip of fear and anxiety?

It is important to got on top of the questions listed above with knowledge and with truth.  I’m not saying that it is all ‘in your head’… but quite often, the clarity that knowledge and truth can bring can be the stepping stone to finding your way out of the this internal black hole.  It’s possible that you may adhere to a belief system about something in specific that is irrational, and drives you deeper into the darkness.  Often times, lies and deceptions are the root of many of our fears, and it is necessary to take a shovel to them and dig them out… call them what they are.

Anxiety can spread among those who are close to you.  If you look back just a bit into watching someone else deal with fear and anxiety, and you should be able to recall the ‘feeling in the room’ that was driven by someone overtaken with fear.  This is why horror movies are even scarier in the mass hysteria of a movie theater than in the comfort of your own living room.

Take the time to sort through your fears… and with a little patient, you can have the peace of mind to see things as they truly are, and not just how they are perceived.

By changing your patterns of thought about a certain issue that causes you anxiety, you should be able to see the triggers that plunge you into the darkness of dread.  By moving forward, in the company of those who care for you, there will eventually be a light at the end of the tunnel where breathing, and opening your eyes to the wonderful world around you will become the reality you long for when all hope seems lost.