Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dear Perfectionists, Just Learn to Be Still:

Psalm 46:10
Be still and know that I am God.

I wrote an article last week for Relevant Magazine titled "When You Can't Pray the Pain Away".  

I'm rather surprised by the response I got from readers, very passionate about the subject matter, advocating the importance of getting one's emotional and psychological world together through the process of therapy.  I got emails from all over the country and even from different parts of the world from men and women who felt that they were validated in their pursuits of professional healing, rather than not feeling "Christian" enough for seeking help. 

But more than anything, the great response and emails reminded me of the truth that people all over are hurting.  Pain and suffering are universal.

One interaction in particular was from a dear friend of mine who is going through a seriously hard time in her life.  She asked me some difficult questions in a public manner, in hopes that the public interaction would be a instrument in helping others.

Even in her pain, she hoped that someone out there might benefit from her struggles and her questions.  Now, that's legit.  To me, that is actually the very indicator of true healing and maturity.  So, dear friend, this post is in honor of you.

S: Debbie: this article is extremely true, factual, and hopefully effective if the individuals you are targeting with this message heed your advice. I can attest to the validity of what you have offered here. Therapy saved my life. Self examination has been the only thing that has helped me change my behavior. Self awareness is often our of my grasp. 

It's only been by friends laying out the realities of my actions and emotions that I've seen what's really wrong with me. Debbie you have personally done this from time to time directly through phone calls and one on one time or through your writings. Lately I've given in to giving up. I honestly have done the opposite. Haven't prayed but just relied on venting all the time to cope. It's less effective... this article is somewhat of a wake up call. 

Genuine question and I expect a practical answer from you: How can you continue to improve when momentum is gone? When friends fail you? When circumstances are too overwhelming? When you become lazy or use excuses? How do you get out of that pattern? I'll call you guys out if your answer is unsatisfactory! 

My Response:  Dear S, First of all, what is up with you asking the most difficult earth shattering questions? That's how you roll, though, isn't it? It's a good question, to be sure...and a hard one. How does one go on in the face of disappointment, disillusionment, pain, and a lack of motivation. This could be an entire article on it's own.

Your question was how do you keep improving, and I want to stop you there...because in my opinion, sometimes staying the same in such difficult times is just as good as improving. Letting the waves crash without causing you to topple over, much less thinking about trying to take steps forward through them. I think we all know when we have reached that most difficult place, and have to be careful not to put too many expectations upon ourselves through such hard times.

On the other hand, there are times when the storm lets up...and we can't use the pain of the past to keep us in the same place. For me personally, I have a hard time moving through such times alone, and I find that surrounding myself with people who help move me forward- friends, family, mentors, counselors- is sometimes what I need to draw upon their strength just so that I can get back on my own two feet and move forward.

Only you know where you are at right now...and how far you can push yourself. Strive to do what you can in the day to day, and to make the best choices in the current hour you are living through, rather than putting so many expectations on yourself for what is to come.

There is always a time for growth and moving forward...but for you, maybe that time isn't now. Maybe it's a time to be still and steady, and keep yourself from moving backwards. Hope that gives some perspective.


Thanks S, for always having such insight into your life...I think right now, this is a season for you just to be still...and know that He is God.  That's actually sometimes the hardest part.  I think sometimes we put more on ourselves than He ever would.  Praying for you, and thankful that you have a heart to help others even in the midst of your own struggles.  To me, that is true healing.  Give yourself some credit for that.  

Love you, homegirl.