Violence

You can handle
the violence in my spirit,
the quiet screams that sear it.
They burn fears and clear pith.
Draw me near with
arms that destroy interference.
You fight for my deliverance.
I hide in the strength
that fights my assailants,
the purity that hates
all that hates me
and kills with fire
the dross, selfish desire.
Your counter-attack
will never lack
the efficacy
to take me back.

Breathing

It was a low point. I was not proud of myself. My sister-in-law looked me in the eyes and very clear breathed deeply to elicit a deep breath from me as well. “Please don’t,” was my honest, though tactless response.

At that point, all my senses were on high alert. She was right. I needed to breathe, but it felt patronizing to be told so.

Jesus knows I needed to breathe. My inability to receive help, though understandable, has hurt a number of well intentioned people.

When I am in an irrational state of mind, appealing to the logical course of action doesn’t always work. So, to help lessen the pain I cause, I try to plan before the panic. I’ve given my friends a keyword to tell me when they see me start to spiral. And if I fight it, they can remind me that I gave them permission to tell me that.

Also, it’s helpful to practice breathing deeply when I am feeling just fine. This develops helps me 1) lessen the intensity and frequency of panic and 2) aid me in the middle of it.

Instead of practicing breathing for mental health, it’s been easier for me to do breathing exercising for other reasons – like singing or playing harmonica. It feels more productive, enjoyable, and even healing.

Right now, I am going through vocal lesson videos online through WorshipU, which has a mobile app as well. It’s been a long time since I have played the harmonica, but maybe I’ll get back into that sometime in the future. One thing at a time. 🙂

As much as I pursue prevention, when I am in the middle of it and not thinking clearly, I usually just need to leave. I need to exit the situation and pray. He never condemns me when I do. The Prince of Peace revives my lungs and floods my soul with secure hope and love. Jesus, help me remember to breathe deep.

Tumult & Ease

Tell me about the sunrise.
Heart pounding, not breathing.
Describe the colors of the skies.
Peach, pale green, indigo, steel blue.
Be amazed and let wonder soothe.
Tell me about that one time,
that story I never knew.
Where you lived,
How you loved,
and you ran.
How I’d love to see you run,
and when the day is done,
Tell me again about the colors by the sun.


A Misophonia Story

So, “Black” Friday night, like an involuntary twitch, holding myself together felt like an impossibility; if I didn’t “flight”, I was gonna fight. I was shaking inside. *slam* My hands hit the table, and I immediately wanted to take it back. Everyone looked at me in shock and maybe judgment – which I wouldn’t blame anyone for.  

I offered to leave in the calmest tone of voice I could muster.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault, really. I had just reached my limit with my sound sensitivity. My sisters and brother-in-law insisted that they would rather have me stay there and they would stop eating. Other sarcastic words were uttered by a loved one and bitterness exposed. I cried. I didn’t want to ruin their night. Shoot. Recalling this all really sucks. 

Anyway, I stayed, and they took snack breaks in the other room between game rounds. A compromise. Quieter foods were consumed at the table. And still I felt the weight of the fact they could have carried on normally if it wasn’t for me. If I wasn’t there, they might’ve had a better time. But they insisted that they wanted me there. Most of them insisted anyway. 

Phew. I need to recenter. I’m in tears as I am typing this. I don’t usually describe these scenarios here for that reason. I want to focus more on what helps. I am really fortunate to have people who willing to accommodate me in my weakness, but I really wish they didn’t have to.

Pursuing Peace Holistically

AGH! Okay. I don’t want that to happen again. So here’s the plan, ideally. 

Making consistent for prayer and meditation on the Word is necessary. I need to be okay with leaving people in order to do that. Regardless of what I think they might think.

Also, it is completely acceptable to utilize other healthy methods of managing stress. *I’ll share some things I am trying, but I have not been paid by any of these companies to do so.* During the holidays, I had forgotten to take my vitamins and supplements. I have been taking Ashwagandha (an herb), which has been helpful across the board in regards to stress. And, again, I forgot to take it over the holiday. So back on it. Gonna aim to continue faithfully.  

A couple other things I am trying:  Monq -a personal essential oil diffuser;  Wholetones – soothing music.

On top of these, I’ve been more disciplined in diet and exercise – not quite to the point I’d like to be, but taking steps in that direction. I’ve got people holding me accountable. 

I know there is more therapy and healing that needs to happen. There may be a root issue that may be accessible and treatable with some help. In the meantime, I’ll do what I know works and gets me through to the next day. 

And, most importantly, I’ll keep praying to the One who can heal me. Jesus Christ. I’ll keep looking to Him. 

 

Four! pt3 (Passion&Fixation)

Passion: Envy / Fixation: Melancholy

Part 3 of a series of posts I am doing on my Enneagram type. Read the intro here.

That really threw me off. When I started reading type descriptions, I resonated with so much of the Four, but… Envy? I don’t consider myself to bean envious person. So to understand this passion, I had to take a step back.

Before I continue, let’s define passion and fixation briefly. The “passion” is often described as the deadly sin of the type, and the fixation is the method by which one justifies or feeds the passion. Some will contest to that terminology, but that is the general understanding. Either way, it’s cyclical. For example, envy feeds melancholy which in turn produces more envy. 

I don’t envy what people have materially so much as their confidence and ease of social interaction. Their will-power and appearance of comfort within their own skin. But even more than all that, most of my experience of “envy” is intangible. It is better encapsulated by the word “longing.” And when I focus so much on what I don’t have, that’s where the tendency towards melancholy comes in (gloomy or depressive state of mind). 

What do you do with that? Generally, I try to remember that I am not alone in my feeling of lack. A good friend of mine once told me after witnessing my desperation, “You don’t need more of Jesus than anyone else.” And that was supremely comforting. Whether my need is more or less visible, it is in the same measure that all humanity needs Jesus. 

On that note, here is a song 🙂 – All We Need is Need – Jimmy Needham. 

So instead of fighting this need, I can see it as an invitation to go deeper.

To quote The Classic Crime, “My heart’s a hole that needs to constantly be filled with love.” And that can feel debilitating, because we know that people can’t provide that constant flow of love. We are limited, finite creatures who cannot fill an infinite need. 

We were made to be filled with infinite love from an infinite Savior. This overwhelming longing and need are not signs that there is something wrong. Rather, it is supposed to be this way. God has blessed me repeatedly with the weight of my need so I turn to Him to satisfy me continually.

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity

And when I see that my human companions don’t satisfy my longing for love, I can thank God. My friends are wonderful people, but they make very poor gods. And placing them on that pedestal, asking them to fill me, will only destroy us both. They would either become crushed by the demand, or their egos would become inflated with self-importance. And I would be as desperate as ever, prone to despair; still unsatisfied, scrambling for love and acceptance when it’s already mine if I would only look into the hands of my Savior. 

Let’s go back to the passion, which I will call longing rather than envy. I can keep it from flowing into melancholy if I find it’s fulfillment/purpose in Jesus. 

I can take the weight off my friends and family, and let the Only One who can carry it do that for me. I can free those relationships to be places of peace and mutual care. And I can take the weight off of me. I don’t have to feel ashamed because of my need. I have a Savior who took that shame for me, and He doesn’t hold back His love for me when I ask. 

Beginning to Heal

As I was slipping, my internal dialogue consoled me, “You’re alright. It’s okay. It’s not that bad.” I got up, palm bruised and backside covered in mud. Standing in the chilly rain, I said, “Ouch,” to the zero people who were there. I continued around the house to locate the noise that was keeping me awake, but to no avail. It sounded like a drip drop in an empty pail. I thought I could muffle it, or move the gutter… something.

Oh well. I was already awake. Might as well at least change out of these muddy pajamas and clean myself up. Sleep would not come easily anyway, not without prescription help tonight.

Prescriptions. I needed to call the pharmacy to refill one of them. Regardless of my hesitation, I did promise the doctor to try it for six months. Five more months to go, and I couldn’t tell if it was helping at all yet. I never before had to refill a prescription in my life. I didn’t even know how.

I wish my internal dialogue was as automatically comforting when the slipping isn’t so tangible. When the fall isn’t rational. When feelings overwhelm logic, and I squirm to flee though no one attacks. “You’re alright. It’s okay. It’s not that bad. It’s chilly and raining and you’re muddy, but you’re just bruised and you have a warm shower and clean clothes inside.”

This pain is not forever, and whether I feel it or not, I have a change of clothes and a fresh perspective inside. This is the beginning of healing, even as slow as it comes.

Malachi 4:2

But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.

A Cloudy Day

I had to leave. I felt so alone in that crowded home. No one knew the ache in my heart. No one even asked.

“I have to go,” I told them, not mentioning where. That wasn’t necessary information. If they knew I was going for a walk, someone might offer to come with, and I wanted to be alone to talk to Jesus.

It was a cloudy day. Raining just barely. A fresh mist falling from the sky. Everything looked so beautifully green. I walked, embracing the rain, giving no thought to my lack of umbrella and, therefore, damp appearance.

And I cried. How could there be so much beauty in the world, when there is so much pain? And my thoughts drew to the ground, beneath the dirt. The seeds had to die for life to give birth. It’s the way things work. People too. I know this is an old truth, but I have to re-learn it every season. These work together – beauty and pain. One does not diminish the other.

“It makes me sad that you are sad,” were the tender words of my emotionally intelligent 7 year old nephew. And in that hurting together, there is the strength of bittersweet beauty that sends our roots deeper.

I walked back to the house to use the bathroom, and say my final goodbyes. I was going to leave, anyway, but then my friend started to play his guitar, and I stayed. We sang our praises to Jesus our King, and my spirit soared above the trees I wished I could climb. ‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. ❤

Silence, Gravity, and Serenity

Lately, I’ve not had much to say. On the phone with a friend last night, I mostly let him talk. There came that oft’ dreaded silence… “Well… I should let you go…”

I had thoughts, but none seemed important. Or they may have seemed valuable, but my voice did not have the strength to carry them. They resided in a place more honored by my silence.

Lately, I feel the same when talking to God. I don’t have much to say. He knows my troubles, and even the thought of mentioning them exhausts me. Not that they are much more than anyone else’s woes. The more I talk with people, the more I see that they are common. And maybe that’s what makes them feel heavier. A very deep and wide weight that affects us all, like gravity.

Waking up is hard. But this morning, I had somewhere to be, though I felt like I had nothing to bring. And that’s enough. It is enough to simply bring myself. As much as I want to be worthy of eternal love on my own, Christ gives this gift to me freely. He sees my weakness and loves me completely. It’s enough to be me. And this world I try to carry was carried for me.

And in that place, I felt the sweetness of His friendship. Not detached from sorrow, but more like my feet could be planted in it while my arms reached all the higher in love and hope. My Savior loves my friendship. And this is not some irreverent thing. It is entirely holy. Built on my weakness and His strength, and He carries me happily. He carries me – this happy, hurting, and growing tree. I drink freely of His love as He waters me.

Sound Health with Julian Treasure

When I first stumbled upon Julian Treasure’s TED Talks, I was so excited. I thought, “This is it. This is my cure.” And when you’ve been plagued with the “hatred of sound” for nearly 20 years, a cure is nothing short of miraculous. Thinking about sound and listening in a new way, as well as creating healthy “soundscapes,” was wonderfully therapeutic.

Well, it was helpful, but not necessarily a cure. Misophonia is such a moody beast. Even when something really helps, it’s benefit for me often has an unanticipated expiration date. But, unlike whatever I may find growing in my fridge, it’s expiration is not final. And it’s been a while, so it might be beneficial to revisit.

He never mentions Misophonia, and his talks are more geared toward the general public, so this is good for most anyone. 

Now, I need to find a TED talk on how to survive the awful music my workplace insists on. 😉

-Peace