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

How Clean is My Energy?

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I was thinking about what happened and feeling so much turmoil when the words: clean energy captured my attention.  I even said it out loud to myself, “Clean Energy”.  It was in that very moment that I wondered, “How clean is my energy?”  There was this publication, North American CleanEnergy setting on the coffee table and it had nothing to do with how I was feeling, but the words on the publication diverted my focus to the thought, that somehow, I have disturbed someone and toxic energy could be the culprit.

I wrestled with my soul in trying to identify where I must have gone wrong in this encounter. I went over in my mind what was said and how it was said.  “What did I want to know and how did I ask that set this person off – again!?  When I realized how I asked the question, I figured the way I asked could be what struck a chord with the other person and perhaps sent them to a toxic place. With clean energy in the headlines before our eyes every day as it applies to our environments, it occurred to me today; what about personal energy environments?

With the notion that I strive to come from a place of love, I thought, “I wonder how many people don’t perceive me that way?  Do they think I am challenging them personally when I try to understand something for myself? Do my actions offend them?” Perhaps my energy is toxic! I set out to explore that for myself.  With the understanding that not everyone is going to like me.

With the notion that my energy is toxic, I would conclude that my impact on others would be pretty messy. Emotions tell all. Figuring out what to do in a situation is not always easy if you are not trained to know what to do.

On the contrary, “What is clean energy?” To me, clean energy is when someone is authentic and genuine. Their energy comes from love. They strive to experience life the way they are wired and be true to who they are.  They try to live their lives out on Earth as if they are in Heaven.

What happens when clean energy is misconstrued? I believe that when we are not received in the way that we intend to be received, discord prevails. What do you do when you feel discord? How do you overcome?

In the renewable energy space, clean energy is revealed as: sunlight, rain, tides, wind, waves, and heat. Using these words as examples, here are my antonyms:

Sunlight – Dark
Rain – Dry
Tides – Stagnate
Wind – Still
Waves – No wind
Heat – Cold

The opposite of clean energy (my definition) is a place that still has energy but if you stay there long enough, you may crave clean energy.

I like to think that I am clean energy in the way that I have defined it.  Ontologically speaking, it is the way in which I hope to conduct myself wherever I go.  I ask myself, “How is my being?” I ask that often to check in with myself so that I can get clear on where I may be off.  When I am feeling toxic, I like to get understanding around why I am feeling that way.  The results are satisfying in that I usually find out that I have not dealt with something in my heart.

When you are faced with a situation that feels uneasy. Consider what may be going on for the other person. Do they have something going on that they need help with? Do you perhaps need to consider how you may be coming across? Examine your heart.  Are you truly engaging in conversation to create conflict for the sake of it or are you being you and offending someone?  If you are coming from toxic energy then recognize that and go talk to that person.  Apologize! But if you are not coming from toxic energy then perhaps that person needs to come to you.  My tendency in these situations is to ask the person I feel conflict with what is bothering them.  In this case, with the history I have with them and the witnessing I’ve seen with many others, I don’t feel like I would be well-received.  I believe it is best to remain true to who I am and allow them to discover what it is that ails them.  It is also best for me to acknowledge that I need to remove myself from the situation.

Feeling that your energy may not be clean and is affecting others can drive someone like me absolutely nuts.  I’ve moved with caution for years always putting my best foot forward to be me.  I like to think of myself as someone always intrigued with anyone I see.  A seed that started that was from observing my dad as a young girl.  I always noticed how he greeted people in our community. He always had a smile and energy that engaged people and in hopes of brightening their day.  I can honestly say, that is my image that I go forth with.  I was also inspired by a woman at a retreat I was at just after my parent’s divorce when I was in the 6th grade.  She asked me where my smile was as she smiled at me.  I noticed I smiled back to her.  She then said with such a delightful smile at me, “Smiling is contagious, do you see how that works?”  (makes my heart sing still to this day!) She inspired me to try it with the next person I saw.  So I did.  I smiled at the next person and they smiled back.  From then on, I always tried to do that and now it is just a part of who I am.

When I moved to Seattle as a young lady I learned with “street smarts” you should walk purposefully and not engage in people’s eyes.  Then later in life I decided that I could catch people’s eyes with love in my heart to simply greet them with a smile as I am walking down the street and moving along.

So I say, go about your business and continue to be clean energy that moves through time.  Pray for peace in circumstances.  Pray for the person you witness is having a hard time.  Pray that they will overcome.  Pray that your soul reveals any sort of truth that you may be trying to harm them.  And if you are, be very clear about why.  Then schedule a meeting and apologize for the discord you found in your heart that has shook them up so much.  And if you are overwhelmed with the feeling like I have experienced over and over throughout the years, move on.  It’s time.  No sense in feeling like you have done wrong to someone when you never, ever, had a toxic motive in your heart.

Have a wonderful day and as I always tell my kids, “Share your smile!”

Have you ever encountered this yourself?  How did you overcome?

No Longer Inferior

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Great place to identify with lazy.

My parents divorced when I was in the sixth grade. I remember the day vividly when my dad left. My mom was standing at the mixer licking the dough off her finger while the two had exchanged a few words and out the door he walked carrying some of his clothes on hangers. It was awful, in a flash, my life had changed. Immediately I thought about my friend crying at school one day, about a month prior, saying that her parents were going to get divorced and I told my other friend that if my parents did that, I would kill myself. Those words wrecked havoc in my mind that day and night. Resolving that I wasn’t going to do that, the pain left in my heart haunted me for many years.

As a teen I had no identity to stand on. Other than a girl that comes from a divorced family, struggling to make ends meet. A dad that was admired in the community for his profession. And my mother that felt most of the women in town talked behind her back about what an awful house cleaner she was. (I would be too, frankly, if I was handling eight kids day and night.) My mother worked graveyard in a potato factory to make ends meet after the divorce. This was my identity.

With a hundred dollars in my pocket and my first month’s rent paid,  I moved from a small farming community to a large city. I was in my early twenties, had a high school diploma and felt inferior to peers I met with a higher education. But I never stopped dreaming of being a professional of some sort. I knew that I wanted to do great things. I wasn’t sure what, but I had a desire.  I walked onto a college campus one day trembling with fear. I waited in line to speak to someone not even sure if I was in the right line. When my turn came tears flowed from my face as I explained that I wanted to go to college but didn’t know how to register. Shame fell over me like I had never felt but I wanted to somehow, some way change my life. She was kind and suggested I take a career decision-making class.  My identity: “Lost.”

Years later in my late twenties I landed a job I absolutely loved. I worked with a company that managed a University and I continued my education while working with them. I represented a group of consultants in management development as Sales and Marketing Director. The maturity, personal and professional growth I experienced was outstanding.  I participated in every aspect of starting up a company with them and thrived in my position.  With fear in my every move each day I conquered and prospered. My identity was defined by my performance.

Shortly after my career was established, I became a mom with a husband building his career and had two little ones. Life was great until a huge dark cloud loomed over me. I had accusations made against me and my truths, which triggered memories of days gone by and I didn’t feel equipped to deal with the memories of tragedies that I experienced or the relationships I had to endure. I shut down and as hard as I tried to stay positive; I couldn’t bear the struggle. There were too many memories and realities I was trying to make sense of. My identity as a mom was stricken. I didn’t have the right tools to deal with what I was experiencing in my heart and soul.  Identity: “Messed up.”

For now, at least fifteen years has passed since that time. I identify with being equal and without an inferiority complex. These are the days where I can rejoice and be thankful that I do respect and forgive the scenes of yesterday. As hard as that feels to write, I rejoice in those experiences as they are what lead me to the place I am today. I have shared what I have learned with my children and they have learned from them too.  Identity: “Loved.”

No longer inferior. I am beginning to understand what fear truly is. We can only live in this very moment.

Free With Respect

Reflecting pool of love.

Reflecting pool of love.

Free with respect? Is that what your home envelops? As “mom-in-chief” you can fill these shoes. Simply, it is our most-urgent necessity for respecting ourselves and those we nurture. How free from self-doubt, for the sake of respect, are you and how is that helping you nurture those in your home?

When you reflect love, feeling complete, freedom from condemnation, worth, acceptance, grace and truth, your interactions allow those that live with you to explore their reflection.  When you reflect control, fear, pride, comparison, competition, revenge and legalism so might those you influence. Build what you reflect, upon the strength of your Maker! He will encourage you and mold you into His most-desirable state. Submission and obedience unveils revelation and instills the core of which you were intended.

We see our kids best not with a magnifying glass, but with a mirror.

We see our kids best not with a magnifying glass, but with a mirror.

Clarity. Action. Perseverance. You are an amazing mother, with good intentions for those you are caring for. Be free from anything that takes you away from loving and caring for each other. Marvel at the fruits of your labor experiencing the maturity of growth. Both in yourself and those you are yielding to. Watch them in awe. Did you ever plant a seed and marvel at the force in which it was able to sprout out of the soil? Marvel at the strength it takes those you care for (that includes yourself) to move through their walk. Enable them to experience and discover who they are In-Christ.

With respect, truth and grace, nurture their nature. Establish the ground so that water will flow to their roots and allow them to grow free (In-Christ) with respect (to themselves and others) in their environment.

How do these words of encouragement, reflect my nature of growth, and encourage you?

With love.