Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Relationship’

The Power of Addiction

I watched a special last night on Oprah Prime.  The topic was substance addition, prescription drug usage and street heroin.  I had no idea that heroin addiction has doubled in the last 5 years!  The statistics are alarming.  Drug addiction doesn’t look like it used to.  Addicts can look like your next door neighbor, the clerk at the store, a middle aged homemaker, a nurse at a hospital.  Sometimes it starts with a medical procedure and prescription pain relievers and then when that is no longer affordable or available (depending upon insurance and refills) there can be problems.  One alternative:  Buying drugs on the street where they are cheap and available.

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There is a problem in our community with addition – all kinds, from alcohol to meth.  It is so sad to see what it does to families.  The addiction takes over – nothing is more important.  All common sense and reasoning goes out the window.  Simple things like grocery shopping and paying rent become second only to the drug of choice.

What I found interesting in all the stories told from last nights episode was this:  All have an emptiness that needs to be filled.  Some expressed that it is a spiritual emptiness.  And by “spiritual” they don’t necessarily mean a relationship with God (although I believe that is what would help the addiction problem) but an emotional/relationship emptiness and void that needs filling.

We often enjoy watching Hoarders and have remarked that all these people with this condition of “hoarding” seem to also have an emptiness or void that they try to fill through shopping and accumulations of “things”.  It is a very real and growing problem in our world today.  And every one of them – almost without exception,  had something traumatic happen to them at a young or impressionable age.  Sometimes it was even something later, like the death of a child or loved one – a financial reversal or loss of job.  Whatever the reason, there are common elements to addiction and disorders such as hoarding.

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Self loathing, hatred, feelings of helplessness and unworthiness are also a common theme.  Last night in the interview, Russell Brand confessed to his years of struggle with drug addiction.  Now more than 10 years sober – he says every day is still a struggle.  As he explained how the drugs – particularly heroin makes you feel – it is no wonder that it can pull people in and set them up to fail.  It is an unending cycle of dependency and abuse.  He has seen many senseless deaths of friends caught in the trap of addiction and understands all too well how it happens.  But I was struck most by his comment, “There was a voice in my head that wanted me dead”  That made me sit up and take notice.  Do I believe that voice is demonic in nature?  Yes.  Absolutely.  It’s just like Satan.

” The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

Crazy scary stuff!  But it also makes sense.  People lose themselves in the feeling that takes over their lives and nothing else matters.  It is a form of suicide, just like anorexia.  A self loathing of immense proportions.  And I recognize that this is evil and demonic.  Satan wants us all dead.  That’s his agenda, and he’s not good at hiding it.

This makes me very sad.

As a Christian I can see another side to addiction.  I can see life, health, purpose, prosperity of the soul, forgiveness, common sense, kindness, honesty, giving, graciousness and most of all…love.

Darkness-collage

Christianity is not just a crutch – like so many out there looking for something to fill that empty void.   Christ is the filling.  The freedom He gives us is not just a temporary “fix” – it is a way of living.  It lasts.  It endures.  It lengthens life and relationships.  Not just in this lifetime – but the next one too.  It does not rob.  It gives.  When we don’t have to just depend on ourselves for “things” to fix us or fulfill us, but instead can give ourselves over to a loving God who not only created us – but has a plan for us – it changes things.  It takes the pressure off.  Gives purpose.  Gives life, a clear and sober mind, health of body and most of all – fills the void inside.  Because He loves us – it doesn’t matter what others may have done to us – His plan and purpose for us is always healthy, always reassuring and always builds us up rather than tearing us down.  When we are full of love from Him – we are free to love others and give to others out of that love.  It is a release from the prison that others find themselves in.

light-vs-dark

Those of us who find ourselves free from addiction are very fortunate.  But being fortunate does not give license to be judgmental or critical to those who are.  Instead of looking at people with addictions as weak, stupid, or even hardened criminals – we need to look on them with compassion and the love of Christ.  As a Christian this can be the hardest thing of all.  The “I’m OK – you’re NOT OK” seems to fit most of us with a healthy lifestyle.  The “how stupid” or “what a weak person” comments are never far from our thoughts.  If only “they” were just like me.  If only they had real resolve and will power they wouldn’t be in this fix or lifestyle.  We say these senseless things without having any idea the journey others are on.

Dear Jesus – soften our hearts to accept others with their addictions and problems – just as they are.  Help us to see them as you see them – broken but wonderful creations loved by you.  Help us live in such a way that those that are bound by things here on earth will see YOU in US.  And by seeing YOU – they will want what you offer – hope, freedom, peace, forgiveness, love, acceptance, purpose and health.  Help us live in such a way that you are attractive.  That You would be a real solution to a huge unsolvable way of life.  I pray that the inner void would be filled by something that will last – a relationship with you.  And that I would be aware and take an active part in bringing about real change.  This is my prayer. Help us. Humble us.  Teach us.  Break our hearts.   Amen.

LIVETH

My Unspoken Thoughts

Psalm 19:14

Living Bible (TLB)

14 May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.

I recently ran across a Bible app for my iPhone and iPad that is called “one verse a day”.  Every morning without fail, I get a notice of another encouraging verse to meditate on.  Sometimes in my crazy business, reading the Bible through from one end to another in “several easy steps” – is just not an option.  I get bogged down with words and language that don’t mean anything to me personally.  Stories and situations that are interesting the first time I read them, but not so much any more.

I remember years ago hearing a message concerning this thought.  The speaker was convinced that it is not the amount of scripture that is read on a daily, weekly or even yearly basis – but that it is the content of what we read, absorbed and meditated on – that is of the real importance.  Scripture that can come alive by simply allowing those words to inspire and change.  Finding a fresh new way of applying two or three thoughts – one simple passage.

If you are like me – you aren’t concerned about winning any contests when it comes to Bible reading and prayer.  I want what I meditate on and what I pray about to be simple and straight forward.  A conversation with a trusted friend.  One that keeps confidences and assures with tender love and attention.  I am not always wanting everything that I think about to be out in the open.  It is private.  I have private things I ponder and reflect on.  I have worries and insecurities.  I don’t often share these – even with God.  But even though I do not – He still knows and understands.  It is because of His great love demonstrated to me, that I trust Him with those unspoken things.

Words spoken carry weight.  Especially those things I wish I could take back.  Things in emails or in letters over the years.  Once they are written or spoken – they are out there.  It’s too late.  Often times things written in the heat of anger or emotion that had no business being written down or said.  Can you relate?  I am so glad that the unspoken thoughts are just that.  Unspoken.  Private.  Safe.  And still – I am held accountable for them too.  I can look really pious on the outside.  I mean – really spiritual, and yet have a dark unspoken side.  You probably know what I’m talking about.  Or you’ve seen too many times when a seemingly “spiritual” person has a little heat applied to them.  The real them comes to the surface.  It can be disheartening and even crushing – until we remember that we are all about two decisions away from sin.  We are all human and capable of great darkness if left up to ourselves.  Lord help us!

I heard a great quote today.

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.   Maya Angelou

May we ever strive to make our unspoken and spoken things match.  The way we think be the truthful way we live and speak.

Amen

 

God Bless

 

 

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How Do I Fit Into The Cosmos?

All of my life I’ve been fascinated by space, time and the cosmos.  When I was very young we lived in a city that had a planetarium and we would visit about once a year.  I remember reclining in the chair as the room would go black and the ceiling would become the sky above – lit up by a million stars.  It was dazzling.  And mind boggling.universe

Lately there have been a couple of programs on TV, “The Universe” and “The Cosmos” – both of which concentrate and attempt to explain some of the mind boggling science that is so fascinating.  It really is interesting to learn the origins and brilliant minds who took the first steps toward the future – glimpsing a world beyond our own planet and then setting about to prove the existence of other planets, stars and galaxies. Things that we know today, were hardly believed possible several hundred years ago.

Like anything where information is proved, it brings about more questions.  And even more awe.  Tiny little me.  On an obscure planet, in a tiny solar system – one of trillions in the known universe.  Am I unique?  How can this even be possible?  And yet, try as hard as they might – even with all the sophisticated equipment to measure, calculate and speculate – they still cannot find life on any other planet.  We are unique.  We are special.  Created by a loving heavenly father – who fashioned our earth to sustain very specific conditions – not found on any other planet.  Specific conditions to have living breathing human beings, animals and plant life as well as all kinds of fish in the oceans and birds in the air.

Am I special?  Do I matter in the larger scheme of things?  With swirling galaxies, shooting stars and incredible heat and cold, things WAY bigger, faster and much more intimidating than me.  Why does God care about me when I’m so small and insignificant?  In Isaiah we read:

Look up into the heavens! Who created all these stars? As a shepherd leads his sheep,calling each by its pet name, and counts them to see that none are lost or strayed, so God does with stars and planets!  (Living Bible)

Do you know how many stars there are?  Scientists are always discovering new galaxies and stars – even millions of light years away.  And yet God knows each of them by name?  And yet I know from what the Bible tells me, that He takes a personal interest in me.  Size and strength don’t mean anything to God.  He creates at will, possesses incredible strength and artistry not to mention attention to the smallest detail of creation.  Here in Luke 12 we read:

“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? “If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.…

If God cares so much about naming the stars and clothing the lilies in beautiful colors – plants and flowers that are here for a few days and then gone, many of which are never seen, then He surely cares about me.  In fact the Bible tells that he not only created mankind to have a special relationship with Him with choice to love Him – but that He also came to earth Himself in the form of His son Jesus.  He did this because of our poor choices and rebellion against God putting us on a dangerous and deadly road destined to an eternity separated from Him.  In Romans 5:8 we read:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Amazing.  Mind-blowing. Love.

How do I fit into the cosmos?

Bottom line:  I am a creation of vast importance to God.  So much so that the God of the universe creating things so far away, I will never even see or know they are there actually came to earth on my behalf.  He came in human form to relate with me.  He demonstrated His love toward me by teaching me how to live and then dying for me so that I can live. 

I am unique.  And special.  And so are you.

 

God Bless

 

 

32 Things I’ve Learned

This Thursday marks 32 years of marriage for Greg and me.  Many don’t know this – but we were 20 and 21 when we got married – still in College and had no job, prospects or money.  We just went for it!  And it kinda worked out  😉  And although I don’t recommend or even advocate people getting married as young as we were – there is something to be said for growing up together.  We were too poor and stupid to know any better – so we just plodded along and most of the time it worked out okay.  This is not to say that our marriage did not have any bumps and bruises along the way.  I think it’s a given just from living that long with another person!  If someone says their marriage doesn’t ever have any friction or difference of opinion – they are lying – or someone is stuffing their personality and opinions down deep.  This can happen sometimes to save conflict, or to keep up appearances – but is not very real or truthful.

Besides sharing the same faith, belief system and values – there are some other things I’ve learned about our relationship through the years and what has made it work.  We are far from perfect and sometimes I think I am hopelessly flawed.  But somehow it has worked out anyway.  For those of you interested in what makes a long-term marriage work  – Here is my list…

 

1.  A sense of humor is a must

2. Money doesn’t bring happiness – but it sure can help

3. You don’t marry the other person’s family – despite what others will tell you.  You marry the man.

4. No one knows you as well as someone you sleep with.

5. Your partner cannot fill you up.  That’s God’s job.

6. Friendships come and go – your spouse is your only reliable best friend.

7. Always be kind

8. Learn to look beyond the flaws

9. Keep forgiveness in your back pocket

10. Always stick up for each other

11. Don’t take yourself too seriously

12. Appreciate the little things

13. Have children – the only real expression of your love in human form.

14. Appreciate your differences

15. Don’t be needy

16. Don’t be jealous

17. Enjoy music

18. Take a walk everyday

19. Adopt a puppy or two

20. Be happy and content in your own company

21. Love your neighbors

22. Make a difference

23. Learn to communicate and dream together

24. Laugh a lot

25. Walk away from unhealthy people

26. Be totally honest

27. Love those who marry into your family like your own

28. Be friends with your grownup children

29. Leave a ministry job if it is affecting your marriage

30. Be ready to reinvent yourself

31. Talk about everything everyday

and last but not least…

32. Be the person he would fall in love with all over again.

 

wedding picture

When Others Wrong You

“Living well is the best revenge.” 

George Herbert English clergyman & metaphysical poet (1593 – 1633) 

Asking For Forgiveness

Asking For Forgiveness (Photo credit: hang_in_there)

 

I heard this quote a while back.  I can’t remember where.  But it struck a chord with me.  All of us at one time or another have had an uncomfortable situation with another person.  A situation that leaves you feeling – well – confused, upset and sad.  Some of those same situations do much more than that – they make us ANGRY and wanting to retaliate.  Sadly, I have not always kept these feelings to myself and I have been angry and said things I should not have said.  But honestly, for me – silence or a soft answer is the best method.  It seriously will drive that person crazy!   Killing them with kindness and all that jazz 🙂
For me – I have not always been able to control what others say, think or even how they react.  If we look out through the  lens of our own uncertainty and insecurity – we at least know our own personal limitations and can anticipate an outcome.  But when it comes to guessing how others are thinking – we can expect  to get it wrong most of the time.
There was a time not long ago that a situation with another person caused me to look at things very differently.  I can no longer assume people always have my best interest in mind – or always have my back.  I’ve learned not to take things lightly.  I’ve learned not to presume that everyone who seems kind, sensitive and helpful – really is.  Sometimes things have happened and I’ve found out the very character of the person I thought was incredibly different. 
A while back it troubled me.  Really troubled me.  Now I just look at the incredible opportunity for growth and character in me.  I know that not everyone is going to react to stress and trouble in the same way that I do.  I can’t control the way people think, the way they were raised and the role models, both positive and sadly, negative that they have had.  And I’ve learned that while my heart wants to help and even rescue and change someone to be healthier and more positive – I just can’t do it.  Only God can fix the very broken and heal the heart.
When someone hurts you – it is often because they themselves are hurting.  If they are not healthy and whole, they will often lash out, retreat at the first sign of trouble or make themselves the victim.   Even those you thought you knew really well.  Even those who thought would protect and never hurt you.
It is sad but true.
One thing you can do  is come to a place of real deep forgiveness.  Even if the other person never forgives back.  Even if the other person cuts you out of their life and acts as if you are the problem.  When we forgive – it is for us.  It is a healthy place to live.  Forgiveness says, “You do not owe me anything – I freely forgive the pain and other things creating a wall between us.  I choose not to remember what you have done to me any more.  I value you above all the circumstances and pain.”  Forgiveness always gives a second chance.  Forgiveness always finds a way.  Forgiveness always reconciles.
The other thing to do is this:  Live well.  Do not allow the grievances of the past to control you.  Continue to grow as a person, to value others and not be afraid to love again.  Love is always a risk.  But a risk worth taking.  In living well – you are an example to the world of God’s love and forgiveness.  You will feel better and live longer.  That is a promise.
Try on a little forgiveness today.  Take on a ‘short-memory’ when others wrong you.  Start each day as a new day of opportunity and a find a way to bless others.  It is truly the best revenge.

Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another: merciful, forgiving one another, even as God hath forgiven you in Christ. 

God Bless

Anniversary Week

31 years ago tomorrow I walked down the aisle at 20 years old to say “I do” to Greg. One of my favorite memories from that crazy day is the song that Greg and his two brothers sang to me, “What a difference you’ve made in my life”. I found a version by B.J. Thomas – and although it is not the same as the karaoke version we used back in 1981 it is still a fun memory to hear it played today.

Marriage has its ups and downs and we certainly are not a perfect couple by any means. We are flawed human beings who have done our best to stay current and adaptable to any and all situations that life has thrown at us. There were misunderstandings and people who have come and gone in our lives. There have been weaknesses and shortcomings in both of us, but they have also been the glue and bonding that have become a key element in keeping our marriage, love and friendship alive.

I have changed much since I was 20. I’ve discovered things about myself I didn’t know or couldn’t reveal when I was younger.  I’ve experienced things along the journey that made me stronger and made me want to be a better person.  And there have been those that have planted seeds of freedom and courage in me.  Some of those people are still with me today – but most are not.  The one thing that has stayed constant is my relationship with Greg.  He has stood by me and truly been a best friend.  He has allowed me to grow and express myself.  He has given me wings to do the things I feel called to do.

Humor and laughter have remained a constant thing in our marriage.  We have always laughed and still laugh many times a day.  We have found a new-found communication in the last 4 years or so and we talk about things for hours now, instead of just brushing them aside.  We have favorite programs we like to watch in the evening – and we love to walk and talk.  We share a love for coffee and puppies.  And we both agree that our two “children” are the best looking, brightest and most adorable – EVER!

Our solid foundation has been a faith and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  This has kept us strong and in tough times has given us strength to make the right choices and do the right thing.  And we have found that God’s grace renews everyday – is fresh every morning.  So glad for this!

We look forward to 31 more years together.  Still doing life together and enjoying each new day.  Supporting and encouraging each other’s strengths – but standing by the weaknesses.  Being true to our vows and believing the best in each other – always.

God Bless

I Need To Really See

Forgiveness: The Real F-Bomb

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a nice idea

I like it so much

especially when it means I can point

and deflect blame, ownership… and such

I need to really see

In my mind I see how this should go

I ‘make nice’ – and so do you

we shake hands, admit our wrongs

become friends again – instead of foes

However, my perception is skewed

filled with selfish vision

I hold my hands over my eyes and ears so I cannot take you in

Ah – this is my fatal flaw

becoming much more than just a bad decision

I need to really see

And because the apology never comes

only silence and hiding away

I dream of how it should be

your humble repentant heart

full of remorse

your sweet contrite spirit to display

I am waiting for you to own up

and miss me enough

swallow your pride

write down every repentant thought

or bring it all to me in person

becoming something you’re not

I know now that I need to really see

God’s forgiveness is unique

it gives freely

regardless of whether I ‘own up’

casts no blame

requires nothing from me 

I want to forgive like this

without requiring you to feel the same

own up to your own ‘wrongs’

share the blame

For it is in forgiving you

that I am truly free

and when I don’t require you to feel the same

don’t expect you to forgive me

or love me back

that I learn the real lesson

it is then that I really see

 

 

 

 

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