Monday, March 23, 2015

Fingernails on a Chalkboard

We've all been there. That person that gets on your nerves so badly. Every time you're thrown together with them, you just want to scream, or cry, or pull your hair out. Or pull their hair out. 

Which is, of course, frowned upon in most social settings. 

Yes. I'm going there, because the Lord is insisting on it. This may not be a very popular post, but it is one I have to do. The fact is, I have put off writing this one for a while now. It's not an easy one, but here goes.

How do you get along with a person if they are just unreasonable? Because, it's them, right?  Of course, it has to be!  It could not possibly be us

I can't tell you how many times in my life I have found myself in a social situation, such as work, church, or a volunteer group that included one person that totally rubbed me the wrong way. 

It's like everything they do or say is "fingernails on a chalkboard" to me, you know?  

A lot of this type of irritation happened early in my Christian walk, but it still happens from time to time. So what are we to do?  

It is my experience that sometimes the Lord allows us to be irritated or annoyed, maybe even mistreated some in order to mold us into the people He knows we can be. If we remove ourselves from all unpleasantness, we might just be hurting ourselves in the long run. I've found that you can run, but you can't hide. You may be able to remove yourself from this type of situation sometimes, but before you know it there is another one. Sometimes a worse one that the one you ran from.

Because, face it; the Lord knows what, or perhaps who, is needed to be "sandpaper" to us to help us become more like Him. 

It is also very possible that the person that is so offensive to us might just be hurting and in need of some kindness, even though they haven't been kind to us. Every time we react in love instead of hate we display Jesus to them. 

They may be very much in need of the love of Christ, just as we all are. Luke 6:31 says, "Treat others the same way you want them to treat you" (NASB).  

I've had to ask myself how I would want to be treated if I were the irritation to someone (because, I'm sure I have been before and may be again).

This is a challenge for me, but it is one that I am doing my best to embrace.

Monday, March 9, 2015

No Longer Needy

One of the definitions that Merriam-Webster gives for neediness is:

"needy:  marked by want of affection, attention, or emotional support"
 <emotionallyneedy> — need·i·ness noun

Yes, that would be the one that described me. For many years, I was that needy person. I'm not proud of it, but part of what I do on this blog is tell about my struggles in the hope that someone will be helped or encouraged. Sometimes, it really helps to know you're not the only one. So here goes.

I'm not going to go in to the details of why I was so needy. Let's just say that seventeen years ago I found myself newly divorced. It was certainly not what I had wanted; I believed when I got married that marriage is forever. I still believe that God intends for it to be; it just didn't turn out that way for me. 

This new-found state of singleness was overwhelming and downright scary most of the time. I had always been a nervous, easily frightened person. There was no peace in my heart; it was always in turmoil. Suddenly, I was the responsible adult in the house with custody of my youngest child, who was 15 and a sophomore in high school. I was scared out of my mind.  

Adding to this, at this point in my life my worth was reflected in the eyes of my friends. There was no one else. My dad, mom, and brother were deceased. My two eldest children were in college a whole hour away (which seems like nothing now!) and the youngest was, as I said before, in high school. I had a cousin, kind of like an older sister to me, but there was really no other family. Many times I cried myself to sleep because I felt so alone and so afraid. So the stage was set for the drama that my life was becoming.

In time, I found myself seeking the company of friends to fill the void in my heart. In my mind, at least subconsciously, if people included me in their lives I was loved and accepted. I desperately wanted to be accepted

I was a relatively new Christian, having given my heart to Jesus only about 3 years earlier. Even though I had been raised in church, it was all head knowledge. I had no concept of what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus; in fact, I did not recall when I was growing up ever hearing the phrase "personal relationship with Jesus Christ." So, I had no idea that I was already accepted and loved by Him.  

Thus began a journey toward emotional freedom that lasted for over fifteen years. 

I prayed, read the Bible, got in lots of prayer lines, and took every workshop or Bible study that came along in an attempt to be free of the pain I felt: the pain of rejection.  

God, in His infinite mercy and wisdom, gave me some solid, Bible-believing, praying friends along the way that helped guide me forward in this quest for emotional freedom. Of course, I proceeded to drive them crazy with my neediness. Oh, dear Lord, I was a mess. At the time, I had no idea just how messed up I was. I just felt empty and rejected all the time.

The turning point came in 2003 during a Beth Moore Bible study called Breaking Free.  If you are struggling with emotional issues, I highly recommend it. It started the process of turning my life around. You can read the post where I tell about that by going to this post:

You may have to copy and paste the address into your browser to open it. 

I would love to tell you that I was completely free and no longer needy immediately after that course, but I wasn't. I did start making more progress after that Bible study, but it was several years before I woke up one day and realized my worth and value are in Christ and I am accepted by Him. 

It was years in the making (mostly because I was hard-headed and did not yield to God's leading) but He has filled me with such peace! I seldom feel lonely anymore; those times are brief and happen less often. I don't feel rejected anymore, either. That chain has been broken! Anytime I am even slightly tempted to give in to that, I remind the enemy that I am accepted and loved by Christ and quote scriptures until the feeling passes. For this reason, I kept scriptures taped up everywhere for a long time until they became a part of me.

Today, I am no longer the same person.  I am a new creation in Christ! I am complete in Him! 

At times the pain was intense, but with every battle I grew a little stronger and became a little freer. If you are going through a battle with feeling needy, take heart! God has set me free, and He will do the same for you.