Tag Archives: Christ

Death to EGO

IMG_8376We are taught in this culture to strive, to push hard against people and obstacles that stand in the way of our desired outcome. The end game is our only game anymore.

This wrung-ladder goal oriented life promises success manifested in material goods we accumulate. We then spend our time maintaining our accumulated material goods, because when our cars are waxed, our counters are marble, our plastic lawns stay green … we reek of success, our egos are filled.

We hand over our children to others to raise, we gracefully hand over our peace to hours of freeway traffic, we hand over our time of fellowship and worship on Sundays to our children’s sports so they so they can begin their own competitive striving, we spend little to no time around dining room tables talking, we resent our spouse because we don’t have time to nurture our promise. We are hurried through life.

Fulfilling Ego costs us, and instead of stopping to see this, instead of recognizing that our nervous system has had enough, we pop a yellow oval into our mouths and we silently become the Xanax nation. We quiet our truth with pharmaceuticals, and become a nation with the highest pill addiction because we do not want to slow down enough to face our own and others frailty, we do not want to feel pain emotionally or physically. Sadly, truth does not change because we don’t want to see it.

We are a culture that is dying on the inside despite the fact that we look better externally. We glamorize our professional athletes, that are propped up on pain killers and steroids and when we’re done with them and they no longer perform to our artificial expectations, we retire them to their broken bodies and minds. We glamorize our celebrities until they age and then we continue to employ them after they cling to silicone, fillers and surgeries. We’re reconstructing the ego, one anti anxiety med, one procedure at a time and we don’t even see it.

Instead, i profess it is time to die to Ego. It is time for our culture to take inventory of who we are and who we want to be, it is time we listen to our own bodies, our children, our spouses and those around us. It is time to embrace the beauty in the quiet stillness of our lives and the lives of those around us. It is time we acknowledge our pain AND begin to take care of ourselves, others and our earth. It is time for us to stop talking and start listening.

The process of dying to ego can be painful but on the other side I promise you, life will hold meaning in a way you have never known or experienced. When you begin to lose EGO, you will truly begin to live and love.

When I stopped being all that I was not, when I stopped propping myself up and let myself fall my eyes were opened.
I began to truly see others, and to accept people; their beauty, their raw emotion. I began to feel with them their glimpses of joy and grief. I began to feel my mother’s embrace of nature and my father’s sacrificial love for me. And because I was not hurried with Ego I found the time to listen, to see, and feel and I feel in love with life again.

If you are hurried, pained, exhausted let Ego go and nurture yourself, your loved ones. Make peace with your creator and love what he has made, find your place in it as nurturer, lover, admirer, he will show you if you allow him. It is a simpler, quieter way to live and be, to find love and life in the details. TRUTH & GRACE my friends ❤️

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Truth & Grace

Christ died for ME last Easter. Every Easter Christ’s resurrection has meaning but March of 2016, I had the notion through my mental illness fogged thinking that THIS Easter I was going to die and rise along with Christ. In this deep depression and hopeless I somehow thought this symbolism would bring less pain to my children and husband.

March 2016, I lay in bed and helped with the Easter church preparation; my daughter’s dress, hair bows, all in place. As my family prepared to go to church I prepared for my death and what I hoped would be my resurrection. Revolver or glock? I was going to free us all from this misery that was me, I was going to lay next Christ that very day WHOLE finally. I prayed that Christ would provide a beautiful woman to cherish my husband and children in ways that I could not.

I share with you the thoughts of suicide so you can see the lack of clarity and rationale that can be stripped away by an organ that is not functioning as it should, whether it be because of genetic neurological wiring and or life circumstances. Doctors can amputate an appendage that no longer works, organs can be transplanted, skin can be grafted but when the brain is damaged or not functioning we are left with much less remedy.

We are left with pills, therapy, hospitalization (which consists of more pills and therapy) and if you’re brave/desperate enough you can do shock therapy. When you’ve done this pill and therapy process for years to no avail it is difficult to accept that what’s being offered isn’t working or is no longer working.

The true reality of this manifests itself in the fact that many commit suicide by shooting themselves in the head …they are taking out the source of pain, the part of them that betrays their sense of reality and robs them of peace. This was my desperate intent that Easter Day, a new beginning for all of us, free of illness.

That Easter Day WAS a new beginning for me and my family and it did come through death … but not my own. That Easter Day I became keenly aware of the fact that blood had already been shed, I just had to mentally reconcile that it was shed for ME. the blood that ran from Christ’s hands and down his wrists covered those that felt the need to cut, that the blood that ran from his head covered those that felt the need to take their own life … i was spared … I was aware of the pain that day that Christ felt both physically and mentally, the isolation. I committed that day to either end my life or try to live again a new way. I chose the latter and began rebuilding my life.

Since March 2016 I have run/walked 1,200 miles, lost 80 pounds, changed my diet, been sober a year, given up pharmaceuticals for Natural/ alternative meds, began studying MINDFULNESS, meditation and began accepting the fact that my family already had a beautiful woman to cherish them and with Christ filling in the gaps … she’s enough. Each one of these changes required commitment, discipline, TRUTH  and GRACE for myself. It required a complete reset of my mind, it was not easy and remains work, but I’m grateful for the opportunity for recovery .. not complete healing, I will always bare this cross but I don’t bare it alone.

I don’t share this for praise, or to solicit any kind of response, it’s really not about me in the end … Anyone can accomplish any of these goals .. I share it to give hope, to those that quietly suffer, to those that want more than to be numb, for those that feel that their burden is too heavy, to those with a chronic illness to which there is no end date … YOU can do this, there is hope, there is peace, there is love for you. Find it in Christ, find it in nature, find it in your family, and find it within yourself … it’s there I promise ❤️

Control Freak

I have to read whole books on how to let go. Then I have to read them again, and again and again and again. They sit on dust filled shelves, until I’m at the end of my tear-stricken rope all because I can’t control the finite details in my life. I read my Bible to be reassured that while I’m not in control, God is. I know this … because I’ve read it over and over and over … and I get out my, Stop Being A Control Freak book and start the process of letting go all over again.

I have to let go and let God to maintain some sort of life semblance and sanity and I say that in the loosest meaning of the word sanity… it’s more like a bloody shred of existence some days.

Letting go means I have to be done with it and not try to manipulate and control the outcomes based on my fear, lack of faith, with my crocodile tears, with my over- controlling, over-bearing personally that loudly, takes charge of things and people without permission. Without any sort of forethought I charge ahead, because to be still, to be stagnant was never allowed in my family growing up. We physically and mentally moved, my Father stood still for no one. He was always marching two hundred yards ahead, with only the end in sight and a family trailing behind him. He came to be lovingly known as Captain Ron. We sailed, hiked, biked, swam, ran, camped, kayaked, skied, played tennis, Frisbee, football, baseball and often all in one vacation. We didn’t stop to let things be, to let things go, to see and feel a moment, we moved. If things weren’t as we desired, if people weren’t as they should be … we bore the responsibility of making them what they should be or we thought they could be, as his girls we moved mountains with our small, thick calves and spirited naive. Captain Ron out-walked my Mom, after twenty-one years of marriage she hung up her hiking boots.

I am my Father’s daughter, I move …. In a desired direction, dragging bystanders with me, despite resistance, because I cannot be still even after 40 years.

I have to let go. It means I have to accept that God may do or not do as I see fit. It means I have to stop … I have to be still, even within my own racing, reorganizing, prioritizing, mind. I need to be still and not feel guilty about it. It means I need to be grateful for what I have received despite what I deserved and grieve for what I didn’t deserve but received.

Letting go for this guilt-ridden Midwestern, German girl, means giving back to God that which was never really mine by fleshly name or birth. Their ties with God began long before me, they are his lineage.

Letting go hurts … it means I see dirty grout, dirty souls on my tiles. It means accepting mildew-lined shower curtains, teenage-boy shoe odors, late night Science projects, un-matching socks, over flowing trash cans, incomplete homework, unmet needs, unshaven legs, and frozen pizzas and I can’t fix it all.

These things exist, I can’t hide them …. Despite my downstairs closest. I can’t by my own fruition change them, I only have two hands.

Letting go means that my best effort isn’t pretty, it’s damn embarrassing at times. Letting go means accepting that. It means my life isn’t orderly, my marriage isn’t always harmonious, my language isn’t always holy, my kids aren’t always respectful, it’s an all-out, unorganized, mess at times, in fact if I’m honest, a lot of the time. It means that I’m too tired for anything but honesty anymore before God and Man and at times if I want complete honestly and humility from another human being I go to an AA meeting instead of Bible Study.

Letting go means we don’t have to be the neighborhood picture-perfect Christian family. It means, I don’t put Christian Easter signs on my lawn, it’s under watered and our gardener is underpaid. I don’t hang Christian platitudes on my front door, it’s smudged with finger prints and the path way is littered with bikes, scooters and half drank juice boxes. I certainly don’t put the Christian bumper stickers on my minivan, because I will pray for your soul only after I’ve driven you off the road and then for my own forgiveness.

Letting go means, I no longer have the short or long list of well-meaning, but over-simplified answers and their attached Bible verses. Especially when it comes to marriage and raising children.

Letting go means, accepting that some of my children have diagnosis beyond my control and because of that others don’t get enough attention. It means knowing the neighbors can hear loud, spirited language floating up from the trampoline in my backyard. It means my six year old daughter spits like her brothers. It means that fish have been laid to rest in my backyard because of miscalculated PH balances, accompanied by hamsters that were over loved and underfed. Letting go, means honesty with my children and no pretenses, saying I’m sorry to them and accepting their apologies. It means trying to parent them with the same grace I’ve been shown by Christ.

Letting go means that while I can’t leave my children with a legacy of unstained-righteous choices and holy living, I can leave them the example Christ has made in my life. I can leave them with the example God gave with his 12 disciples, who had a letting go/sin spread sheet longer than mine, and he worked through them. And right here, right now, despite my/your/their mistakes, sin, pain, he can work, let him.

I want my children to learn that their thick calves are not meant to move mountains, instead they’re meant to bend so they can rightfully let go and give it to Christ, because he’s the one true mountain mover.

The Church’s Struggle with Mental Illness

Before moving forward with this blog, I would like to clarify that there is a distinction between the church and Christ, the latter of which my faith is in. And that currently I am in a church that does their best to embrace me even if they don’t fully understand my affliction.

Some churches still struggle to view mental illness as anything but an existential thought of one’s moral/spiritual compass.

At sixteen, I experienced this first hand in an evangelical church, it was the beginning of my first bout with severe depression. I tried to be happy … I went to church and followed their rules ….I prayed for their joy, their fruits of the spirit and I believed. I tried their prescription for me:

  • pray more, differently, with scripture in it, on my knees
  • stop sinning
  • volunteer my time
  • take communion, tithe
  • repent, confess
  • just put on a happy face,
  • have more faith, read my Bible more,
  • accept Christ’s healing

I NEEDED to believe. Nobody needs to believe more than the broken, nobody knows belief until their broken.

And while well intentioned church leaders questioned my faith, the quantity and quality of prayer and self –sacrifice, I was in ever, increasing deep despair. They seemed to reason that my depression was a result of non-repentant sin, thus I was causing my own depression. Now, at forty I have enough life experience to reason my way out of that box, but at sixteen I wasn’t equipped to handle this sort of bad theology.

It caused me years of continued and unneeded struggle, within myself and in my approach to wellness. Counseling was considered a last ditch option, and if it was to be done by a pastor on staff, not a licensed therapist. I value pastors for their theological knowledge and their pastor care, however I believe without the proper training/education they can do more damage than good.

Medication was also frowned upon, and so I spent years trying nutraceutials; 5HTP, St.John’s Wort, the range of B Vitamins, all to no avail. Finally after six years of this journey, that had more to do with my brain chemistry than my spiritual life, I met a Christian therapist that helped change this wrong perspective and put me on the right path. I am eternally thankful for her and others that do exist within Christianity and the walls of the church that understand.

So, what plagues some of our churches when it comes to mental illness? I would say, causation and stigma … old concepts that for much of the world have been distinguished but are still lagging somewhat behind in some churches.

Causation is an ugly road to travel, it leaves a lot of carnage in its path, and it casts blame. The church does exhibit leeway for causation for that which it comprehends. Obesity causes heart disease, but we never hear, please remove yourself from the potluck line or the church will not be able to visit you while hospitalized from your quadruple bypass surgery. Any smokers here? Sorry, there will be no offering taken to assist you with your medical bills for COPD. Alcoholics … when you have cirrhosis of the liver we will not pray for you, sorry. The church can relate to those struggles, we’ve all had too many doughnuts, toked up during college, sipped from a boisterous Cabernet and then found ourselves embracing the cold, hard porcelain truth. But there is a lack of understanding of mental health issues often in many churches.

In mental illness, there is causation, but it needs to be assigned responsibly; it’s brain chemistry, neurotransmitters, genetics, and circumstances … causes that are not sinful in nature.

Dear Church,

Why must we with mental health issues hide out? Despite the fact that it’s not just your congregations that suffer from this illness, it’s not just you’re laymen who are somewhat less theologically astute. In fact some of your pastors, theological professors, Vicars, elders, are bumping into each other in the pew with shit grins on their faces because they can’t admit they struggle with mental illness, because they cannot let you see them. They don’t want to be fired, held spiritual hostage, have their faith questioned, they don’t want their families embarrassed.

This illness is different in that it affects our cognition and ability to see ourselves as we are. We are already struggling from an eternal perspective. We question our salvation, God, our desire for life, it’s a heartfelt existential crisis … and we can’t think our way out of it, any more than someone with cancer can think their way out of cancer and into remission.

Please Church understand, we’re not stupid, we don’t want this, our neurotransmitters are functionally incorrectly at the current moment and we could use your help. We desire to live, we desire to have our paradise lost renewed, we want to find comfort within your arms, we want to evangelize with you for Christ … and some of us will do it in ugly sick places you don’t want to go. Please embrace us, accept us, send us out in faith knowing that Christ can work through our brokenness, some of our wrists have bled like Christ’s … we get it .. We’ve almost died to our illnesses, please let us live in peace … not just God’s peace, but yours.