Full Expression of Love

6 Human Needs
6 Human Needs

I believe when you are being your unique and full expression of you, it encourages others to do the same.  Imagine a place where you are fully acceptable.  There is harmony and encouragement, certainty and safety, variety and significance, connection and love, growth, and contribution.  A friend of mine shared a theory with me, that humans have six needs.  As I wrote them down on an electronic sticky note, I defined what each means to me.  If you define them for yourself, your descriptions may be different than mine. How beautiful a place when we get curious about each other’s definitions and live lovingly.

When we get to the identity of our core, we find who we “say” we are.  With that clarity, our true desires unfold like a rose opening itself up in the sun. Its fragrance is blissful on a warm sunny day if you happen to be downwind.  Or, you need to lean over and place your nose up-close and personal.  By exploring your own identity, you may produce a metaphor of what fragrance you are.

A rose opening itself up in the sun.
A rose opening itself up in the sun

Diving into your own identity is a remarkable experience.  Learning to value who I am, get curious about other people’s identity, and be the person I was created to be is freedom. Freedom prevails when I am living out my full expression of love.  And living out my full expression of love hopefully encourages you to do the same!  What is “living out your full expression of love” like for you?

Honor Your Feelings

Love

Your feelings can help you navigate boundaries. When you are feeling violated, your throat may get tight and may be signaling to you of a boundary issue. Spend time searching for answers about your feelings. Find answers when you are unsure of what to do. This is my discovery of a situation.

I turned to friends asking them about my character. I searched in my Bible, read a book by Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud. Boundaries: Updated and Expanded Edition. One idea struck me of how the Bible commands us to humble ourselves. They write that “If you do what you are able – confess, believe, and ask for help – God will do what you are unable to do – bring about change. (1 John 1:9; James 4:7-10; Matt.5:3, 6).”

My heart has been heavy with a situation I know needs changed. After a few days of processing how to deal with this situation, I heard the words in my mind, “Die to sin.” Initially I was thinking it related to jealousy. That didn’t feel quite right but it was the only thing I could come up with at the time that made sense. Later, after much more reading about boundaries I came up with my truth that I wasn’t jealous; I had exercised poor boundaries. When we are not equipping ourselves with knowledge around how to navigate this world, we fail ourselves and others. Natural instincts and learned behavior regarding boundaries can only take you so far in your growth and maturity for Christ-like character and holy living.

I am rejecting a place where I feel so much animosity. I am searching to find out how to protect myself in these kinds of experiences. I want to learn more about my character development. I acknowledge my intentions are not to hurt. And I am praying that God will reveal to me what I need to know and do, so that I honor my values. I do not want to hurt anyone and somehow I feel like I am. We can’t expect our character or other’s to be like Christ’s but we can strive for it to be, forgiving ourselves and others of our shortfalls.

Much of what I am reading relates to what I am experiencing. I am uncomfortable thinking that I was judging someone and confirm that it is rather discernment and is so crucial to our well-being so that we are not lead to sin. What I discovered in 2 Peter 3:18 “….they lure back those into sin, those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception.” This struck a chord with me. As I strive to be without sin, I need to have places I am learning in to be nurturing. We can all be sinners and you can choose to be with groups that are respectful. If they are not, it is okay to leave.

I discovered that in this environment I was feeling enmity. That was the first word that came to mind. I looked it up and enmity which in the dictionary I used says it is a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism. Animosity is what actually describes how I was feeling in this situation. Animosity is a feeling of strong dislike, ill will, or enmity that tends to display itself in action: a deep-seated animosity between two sisters; animosity against one’s neighbor.”

Well, I don’t want to have that feeling or do I like that feeling! So what I learned in boundaries is that you have to remove yourself from it. I was not comfortable talking with this person. I don’t trust them and I fear that they would try and twist my truth or tell me they are sorry and continue with the behavior. I had removed myself for a few years in this situation and felt discord thinking I would never go back.

I went back. When I did, I felt the same way again. 2 Peter 2 also tells us that you are a slave to whatever controls you. I won’t be controlled by feelings that leave me distraught. I can’t change the person causing me this pain, so I leave. I feel like I have the skills now to carry forward in this type of situation. This is where one can feel joy except in this case, I don’t yet because I have another lesson to learn. I am joyful in that I have learned how to confront the issue next time I have this experience with someone. But in this situation I have no trust. That is the part that I need God to reveal to me next. I now need to know how to leave someone without ever feeling guilty because I didn’t give them a chance to hear how and why what they did caused me animosity. But….I do believe in my heart that they do know. And I will never be sure. But I do know that God will reveal to me what I need to do. Forgiveness has always been there and much love for this person. I just can’t take this hardship any more. There were many times they crossed boundaries. Had I had the skills and knowledge to exercise my boundaries in a constructive way I would have. But frankly, I felt like I was already up against a defiant person.

So then I go on to read 2 Peter 2 and it says that when we “get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, we are worse off than before. It would be better to have never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the proof of this proverb, “A dog returns to its vomit. Proverbs 26:11 and another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.” I was feeling the same feelings over again. I could not handle it! So the best thing for me to do was to leave. Clearly things had not changed.

I encourage all of us to ask for help! Understand that we are all sinners and that we all have a responsibility in our conduct. I am not perfect and I am trying to change my ways. The point here is that if ever any of you are feeling like you are being mistreated or in a situation that is causing you to sin – leave. Young readers, ask an adult to help you. Find someone you can trust and tell them!!! I am thankful that as I seek God’s instructions that he leads me in such a way that he does not want me to condemn anyone rather know the truth and follow his commands to help yourself from committing sin. That is where you can find freedom that is also referred to in 2 Peter.

There is a full reading in the Holy Bible. Anything you need to know about living out this life as a Christian is in there. We can only be perfect in our maturity level. Christ calls all of us believers to excel, rise above mediocrity and to mature in every way to become like him. I encourage you to be patient in learning what you are curious about. We can’t expect others to be perfect but we can recognize when environments are not healthy for us. Pray for God’s will on earth as it is in heaven!

May you find helpful information here and if I have misconstrued any of God’s Word, I pray that He will be your teacher in setting you straight or me straight. When we seek to understand His commands, we really do find freedom. I pray that I don’t trip anyone up from being a Christian. I confess that my behavior does not reflect that in which I strive to be like. I have much more to learn. I also know that I can walk beside this person that I have strife with and I vow that I would support them if ever they asked me to. Time does heal all wounds. I have been through many excruciating acts of forgiveness and this one is different from the others. I actually am thankful for this lesson and strife because I know it is only purifying my heart. But I encourage those with my story to be overcome with the truth so that you may at least try to live your life out according to which we are to conduct ourselves.

God will take care of us if we allow him to. I love the discipline I receive from him. I really do experience the freedom when I do. I hope that you are able to go in peace to love and serve the Lord! ~ Susan Husa

A Mother’s Influence

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Yellow Rose – Friendship

One morning I received a grief-stricken text from my daughter attending high school that a peer she was fond of is not in her classroom because he died last night.  I could hardly bear the news.  I have met the boy’s mother and the grief that overcame me for all those affected by this sad news was overwhelming. How does a friend and parent ever endure the hardship and pain of that? It seems like curling up in a ball and only isolation would ever conquer that reality.

Pardon the immediate emotional contrast, as the night before I had stumbled across a TED talk based on a study of 75 years that followed a select group of men from their teens and later included woman, some of them up into their 90’s that helped researchers understand what made these people happy. (What Makes a Good Life? Lessons From the Longest Study On Happiness; Robert Waldinger)  One of the key components from this study that struck me was connection with others and its relationship to ones happiness.  The opposite of connection would be isolation leading one to feel loneliness which caused all sorts of health problems.

In the context of a mother’s influence and her happiness having an effect on others in the situation of her son; it seems to me that isolation for a time would be good for meditation and healing as an obligation to self for grieving.  Subsequently, honoring loving relationships with those so eager to share their love and concern by connecting with them.  In this initial phase of torment for a mother, it also seems to me that receiving helping hands and communion with loved ones to grasp the sensual aspects of life would be challenging.  Yet, on the other hand, how could one ever cope without the love from others?

You and I both know that everyone experiences a life-time of “roller coaster” emotions.  And these emotions, high (happy) and low (sad) are experienced at different levels depending on circumstances.  It may be safe to say that feelings of happiness don’t lend to a feeling of “longing” for something like a feeling of sadness may.  Take a moment to imagine a happy moment.  Now compare that to a sad moment.  Notice the difference?  When we are happy we don’t have the desire so much that triggers the “longing” for something effect. That feeling of “longing,” my friend, is the feeling of desire.  Not only do you feel that, but your children do to.  When we don’t have an understanding of what that “longing” is or what the feeling of desire or perhaps a heartfelt void is, feelings of anguish or anxiety prevail. When does this reality cease?  How can we stop it and what do we do?  The first step is acknowledging its existence.

Havoc on the heart felt. Structure of the soul crushed. Grasp for peace revealed. ~Susan Husa

By acknowledging our discomfort we take the first step in overcoming our circumstances. For example, you may ask yourself questions like, “Why did my friend die?”  “Why am I so frustrated?” “Why do I even exist?” “Why?” “Why?” “Why?” When we live in this turmoil, it is hard to connect with others.  When we isolate and fixate on these questions without a way to go about getting answers, we can make ourselves ill.  And when children especially wrestle with these insecurities, they, like us need tools to overcome.  If fear is the unknown and this theory is applied to a myriad of situations, knowing that we need to acknowledge this discomfort to overcome, we can then move on to the next step of education.  This is a time to explore the answer to your question to stop the wondering.  Your research and/or counsel will help you identify what it is you don’t know or understand.  Now you know what to do and you choose to accept (or not) and take action or start the whole process over again.

For just a moment, let me give you a glimpse of what I have discovered about connection and happiness.  We can be happy connected in healthy relationships and involved in different activities.  But happiness is not a constant. There is a song by Jonny Lee titled, Looking For Love In All the Wrong Places which reminds me of a major reality check I had when I discovered what true love is. The ultimate feeling of happiness that I have discovered and have come to know through experience is my personal relationship with Jesus.  I have sought counsel in many ways and my most number one “go-to” now is, The Holy Bible.  One of my resources is the Life Application Study Bible, New Living Translation (NLT).  I love finding resolve by referencing subjects in the index or simply basking in the stories told long ago for direction and leadership in living out this life for eternity.

These are some truths I have come to know and believe: Jesus is the Creator of all things and by choice we accept Him into our lives. A personal relationship with Christ is the ultimate relationship through the Holy Spirit which transforms and levels our state of mind to peace and tranquility. Through faith (belief in Christ) we assume the role of being sanctified (made Holy) for the sake of our salvation (being delivered from the power of sin; desire of the flesh) to be overcome with righteousness (morality).  Since experiencing a relationship with Christ, I have come to understand and know what it means to have transformation of the mind.

Transformation of the mind is powerful. As a mother, my influence has a tremendous impact on my children.  My values are shown by my actions.  If you are experiencing hardship and you don’t feel equipped to deal with your own issues or feel you can’t help your children with theirs, seek counsel.  Happiness is something we all experience and want.  And I agree with the study that was done, that when we engage in healthy relationships with others, we are happy.  When we question and isolate and don’t have a way to come to know our unrest, feelings of loneliness can devour our soul.  Don’t let that happen to you or anyone you know.

Over the years I slowly came to know what parenting with truth and grace meant.  I love the book shown in this picture as you can see, it had many years of use.

Raising Great Kids

Raising Great Kids John Townsend and Henry Cloud

Since I have taken the time to build a relationship with Christ and I know who he is and what he promises I am much more at peace.  Do yourself a favor and understand what the fruit of the Spirit is (read Galatians 5:22).  When we are not led by the Holy Spirit we are works of the flesh (read Galatians 5:19).

As I folded laundry that day I couldn’t help but grieve the loss of a precious young man in our community.  I was entranced in my thoughts when all of a sudden the cat swiped at the string that turns on the lamp next to me and caused it to fall onto a potted plant, turning it on it’s side spreading dirt everywhere! I caught the lamp mid-air, placed it back on the floor and resumed folding laundry.  The site of the mess was overwhelming in my state of grief and I refused to react by cleaning it up immediately.  From the actions of one, I am left to clean up the mess.

IMG_1598 (002)plant light dump

Light in the midst of havoc.

My attitude was in check here even though I was disappointed in the circumstances.  Disaster in all shapes and forms surrounds us at times.  Shielding ourselves from pain is inevitable.  Sometimes we can’t even feel ourselves breathe because the pain or reality is too much to bear.  Just stop and think about the meaning of these few words:  Grace. Serenity. Love.

What’s all this have to do with a mother’s influence?  Mothers have so much to accomplish in a day and this reality can be overwhelming.  When we do things intentionally it is because we “want” to.  “I want” to do the laundry so that we all have clean clothes to wear.  Or rather, “I want” to leave the laundry alone today so I can focus on having lunch with my spouse.  I don’t “have” to do anything.  But I do “want” to do “x” because it will serve a purpose of “y.”  These tools will guide you with purposeful and well-thought-out reasons for doing “why” you do what you do.

If you “have” to do something it will be done grudgingly and without a thankful heart.  Think of the example of the mess the cat made.  With all I had going on that day, I “wanted” to leave it until I was ready to clean it up.  Give yourself permission to leave things alone if it does not serve the purpose you need it to or it interrupts in such a way that something else will suffer because of making that the priority.  The task becomes too arduous and especially when you already have a full plate.  When I cleaned it up at a time I wasn’t stressed out, it felt way better than had I cleaned it up with angst.  Only to lead to perhaps more stress.

Chilling out on the idea that it had to be cleaned up in an instant allowed me to focus on what mattered in the moment and what I had anticipated as a plan for the day.  I was able to move on into the evening and embrace those I had planned on being with in a much more peaceful state and my choice allowed me to make preparations so my family was equipped to carry out their evening and their plans with the things they relied on me for before I left.   What you choose to do will impact the influence you have on maintaining your happiness and extending that to others.

For me, my only hope is in Jesus and His promise of everlasting life.

What makes you happy and your connections with others has a big influence.  When we identify with that statement, we are able to examine the source of happiness and the impact that has on our thoughts and our actions.  If you have a hard time grasping that explore the opposite.  Embrace the relationships you have and reach out to others in your community building relationships outside of your inner circle of friends.  Make time to visit clubs, join a class, reach out to someone you have not spoken to in six months or more.  Write a note to a friend or an acquaintance or business in your area thanking them for a special service or memory of days gone by.  Just as we inquire about the well-being of others, encourage your children to do the same.  Follow-up with them if things aren’t so well and find out if they found any resolve.  Hopefully our outreach can help those choosing to isolate mentally or physically.

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Peace

You are lovely and you give so much of yourself.  Embrace the new day by helping your kids define what they like to do.  Help them realize what they need to do in order to accomplish what they dream of doing.  Listen to them so they can hear themselves talk and sort out their thoughts.  Zip the lip and don’t give advice unless they ask.  (Hint: It will be a question.) Actively listening, you will help them learn how to figure out what they want to do by giving them the opportunity to sort out their thoughts.  This is a great way to build trust and they may ask you for help on how to take action. Whatever the case, pay attention to their cues and be thankful for the relationship you have built in helping them or a friend engage into meaningful actions.

Small achievements bring happiness just as much as larger ones do.  When you find yourself smiling and filled with joy, cherish that and embrace it.  Stop what you are doing when you are feeling insecure or agitated.  Evaluate your intention.  If your intention is to stay at peace then meditate until you are centered again.  A relationship with Christ has helped me overcome many emotions that needed leveled out over the years.  I am thankful for the security I feel.

When you’re young, pain = the absence of pleasure. When you’re old, pleasure = absence of pain. When you’re wise, you know facing pain leads to pleasure. – Dr Henry Cloud

When we acknowledge the existence of desire, it is then we can act on overcoming obstacles and identify with an outcome.  As a mother I feel a great responsibility to educate myself on a myriad of topics for the sake of my influence on myself, husband, children and in community.  What shields you from the unexpected?  How do you cope with pain and fear, loneliness and uncertainty?  Is your reaction something you want to change?  Through the years, seeking knowledge on these questions, then putting those ideas into practice has brought much peace in the midst of what seems like disaster. Happiness prevails.

As a mother, connecting with others truly is an important piece to our health, happiness and survival amid the chaos.  Not such a profound statement here but being solo does not exist – we live on a planet where each relies on the other directly or indirectly.  Think about where you are right now. Imagine what it took to develop the place you are currently.  How about the shaping of your thoughts?  The support from your friendships and family.  Without connection, where does that leave one?  In isolation.  With Jesus we are never alone and if you come to know Him, you will understand the importance on a whole different level of why connecting with others is part of our key to happiness.  Seeking out places to get acquainted, having conversation with others on any given subject can only enhance joy and especially in times of turmoil.  When you lead with joyful confidence, you will inspire those around you with your influence.  You will come to know how a mother’s influence truly contributes to more than you will ever know.

Joy in experiencing another’s thoughts and they giving yours attention, truly grounds each in a myriad of emotions. ~Susan Husa

Why I Named My Blog fiveof9

Thoughts transformed

With love in her heart, a mother tells her story.

Contemplating blogging was challenging enough.  “What is blogging,” I wondered, and “How do I do it?” After reading several blogs I realized that blogging is simply someone typing out their thoughts as they ponder them. So what can be so hard about blogging once a week or daily? Time, passion, values, commitment, choice…those are a few of the reasons one would consider, prior to answering the question, “Why I named my Blog fiveof9.” The reason I named my blog fiveof9 is because I am the fifth child of nine my mother gave birth to. I liked spelling out five and using a numeral for nine.

Using this name gave me an “identity” as a blogger.  Something fun and intriguing I figured. My true identity is simply that I am a child of God. That is my identity that grounds me in all of my decisions, actions and relationships.

The fact that I was the fifth child born gives me a “rank” that many in our culture will give much attention to. The belief that children born in between siblings tend to have certain behavioral traits that first or last child don’t. Rather than identifying myself with such mayhem, my identity in Christ is much simpler in that it encompasses one word and that word is, Love.

Love is what I move forward with and in. This side of Heaven (here on earth) I reside in my flesh and strive to be of love in all my encounters. I don’t always live up to that but it is always my goal. I allow myself the pleasure of grace as Christ has done for me.

To those of you that actually take the time to read this: May the love of Christ, by your choice of accepting Him in your heart, be the everlasting state of your heart and soul to share with others.