Love and Support


How
Did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its
Beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its
Being.
Otherwise,
We all remain
Too
Frightened
          ~Hafiz

I think everyone is afraid of something. It’s what makes us human. I know people who are afraid of public speaking, love, intimacy, spiders, bees, death, and interviews. The important thing to remember is to never make fun of someone’s fear or discount it in any way. Fear is real to the person experiencing it, and it can be paralyzing in its effect.

The quote above was sent to me in an email today. It made me realize how much I have needed the support and encouragement of someone at times in my life for difficulties I have been experiencing, but the person I reached out to couldn’t give it. We can’t give what we ourselves don’t have.

Sometimes we’re unable to give to others what they need because we are too stressed ourselves. Sometimes we’ve never experienced the quality another is looking for from us; therefore we cannot relate to what is needed. In the process, feelings get hurt, misunderstandings occur, relationships end, and communication breaks down.

To me, that is incredibly heartbreaking. We are all hurting human beings in some way, shape, or form; and we need to be an encouragement to one another. We need to reach out in love and be kind even when we don’t know how to provide what the other person needs. Sometimes just being honest can do wonders. We aren’t always capable of walking in another’s shoes and experiencing life as they have, but we can sit down and listen as they attempt to explain what they are going through. Sometimes they just need to know that someone cares.

When all else fails, a hug speaks volumes. Acknowledging a person’s feelings is sometimes all that is needed. Giving them a sense that they are loved and valued is priceless. When I know I’m loved and valued, I open up like the rose in the poem. I perform better, my outlook on life is brighter, and I feel invigorated.

If reading this post has brought someone to your mind today, send them a quick note to let them know you appreciate them. It may just be the very thing they need to brighten their day.

Come on now … let’s spread some sunshine together!
Lori Lynn

Fear … Is It Holding You Back?


Fight your fears and you’ll be in battle forever; face your fears and you’ll be free forever. — Lucas Jonkman

Everything you want is on the other side of fear. — Jack Canfield

We stopped checking for monsters under the bed when we realized they were inside of us. — Charles Darwin

Fear is only temporary. Regret lasts forever!

Fear is the brain’s way of saying that there is something important for you to overcome. — Rachel Huber

What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fear is a powerful thing. Depending upon how we view it, it can paralyze us or spur us on to greater things.

I have a dear friend who is terrified of intimacy in relationships. He wasn’t always this way. He met a girl once whom he fell head-over-heels in love with, so much so that it scared him. He had been in love before but never to such a degree that he felt out of control, and it was that lack of emotional control he couldn’t handle. The relationship lasted for about four years, until the girl finally got tired of his shenanigans of pulling away and saying they needed to see other people. She decided that could go on forever and decided it was time to let go.

Now, 25 years later, the girl is back. She contacted my friend, whom she never stopped loving, in an attempt to restore the relationship they could have had if both of them hadn’t messed it up so badly. He wants nothing to do with her, not because he doesn’t still love her, but because he went through hell the first time he lost her and doesn’t want to experience that feeling again. He also doesn’t want to go back to having no control over his emotions.  The thought terrifies him.

I find their whole situation so sad. They both care deeply for each other, but he is so paralyzed by his fear that he won’t even communicate with the girl anymore. Think of what they are both missing out on … perhaps the greatest joy either one of them has ever known.

My problem is public speaking. The thought of getting up in front of people and speaking brings back fresh memories of 7th-grade speech class, when my voice shook so uncontrollably that everyone watching me was embarrassed for me. They were probably just as uncomfortable watching me as I was standing up there in front of them. My fear of public speaking is unfortunate, especially because I’m fairly certain my future dream job will require me to have this skill. I’ve spent my whole life avoiding it, but it’s time to stop running. It’s time to turn around and face this thing once and for all.

I’ve gone back to grad school after 30 years. I absolutely love it! The problem is, I have to do a YouTube interview with a classmate where we each take turns pretending to be a journalist and a PR professional discussing a crisis situation. Doesn’t sound too bad, unless you have an extreme aversion to being on camera. My first thought was, “I’ve got to drop this class.” I immediately rejected that idea because, as I said, I love the class.  My second thought was, “I’m going to contact the professor and tell her I’ll take an F on this assignment.” Unfortunately, that idea seems pretty stupid even to me. I finally came to the conclusion that as much as I hate the thought of actually doing this assignment, I want to get past the brick wall my fear has succeeded in putting in front of me for so many years.  It’s time to break through that wall. I may not like the process, and it may hurt; but I am doing this thing.  It’s time.

How about you? Is fear holding you back from something you want more than anything? What are you going to do about it? I would encourage you to not let it define you. Get help. Move past your fear. Your greatest accomplishment/love relationship/purpose may be on the other side. Don’t miss out! As Joyce Meyer says a friend of hers once said to her, “Why don’t you do it afraid?”

You’ve got this. Get going! 🙂
Lori Lynn

Dear LORD … when we are too afraid to follow through on your best for us, give us a nudge. Help us to visualize what is there on the other side of our fear and to want it so badly that we’re willing to do whatever it takes to make it a reality. Give us the courage to knock down our brick walls of fear knowing that You are there with us every step of the way. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

 

 

When Love Hurts


It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone. — Anonymous

The love that lasts the longest is the love that is never returned. — William Somerset Maugham

I have spent the majority of the past 25 years trying to forget someone I loved very much.  It hasn’t worked.  I married (and tried to love) someone else, continued on with life, and really just “existed” through much of that time.  I spent many hours wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn’t forget “him”.  Many people have survived loving someone they had to say “goodbye” too without really wanting to, and they seemed to survive just fine.  Why couldn’t I do the same?

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. We can’t always choose whom our hearts are drawn to.

There is a physiological response going on that we may have no control over.  Our hearts are drawn to certain people.  If these people bring joy to our lives, give us a sense of being valued and appreciated, and/or elicit favorable memories, we may have a more difficult time letting them go.  When an event occurs in our life that creates a chasm in the relationship, it can be devastating.  If communication breaks down to the point of little to no response, the devastation can often be magnified.  Human nature is such that we want (need) to know what is causing the rift.  WHY won’t this person respond?  What have I done to warrant a lack of response?  How can I rectify the situation?  When there continues to be a lack of response to our questions, the wondering becomes unbearable. Apparently there is such a thing as lovesickness (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovesickness). Who knew?

This is where valuable lesson #2 comes in …

  1. We CAN control our thoughts.

It may be difficult to comprehend sometimes, but it is possible.  Sometimes the worst enemy we encounter in life is located right smack dab in the territory between our two ears:  our mind.  There is a fascinating world being explored out there pertaining to neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.  We can formulate new thought patterns.  We can form new neuronal pathways in our minds.  We can change our thinking.

This is a problem I have seriously struggled with for some time.  Events in my life over the past three decades have taught me learned behaviors that need to be changed.  The metamorphosis in my thinking was gradual, so gradual I didn’t realize it was happening.  Not until I moved back to the part of the country where I grew up (after having been away for 15 years), did it start to become noticeable.  I could never understand where my children came up with some of the ideas they had about my likes and dislikes until I was able to step back and see that I really hadn’t given them an opportunity to know me at all … not the real me.  The person they saw was not who I was, it was who I became.  Sounds weird, right?  However, if you’ve lived it, you know exactly what I am saying.

After wondering why I have spent the greater part of a decade feeling so extremely alone, it finally dawned on me that I was no longer allowing people to get close.  I had shut down.  I had sheltered myself from love … from giving it and from receiving it … to the point that I was no longer projecting outwardly what I (thought) I was feeling inside.  I was coming across very negatively on the outside.

My feelings of rejection weren’t coming from other people; they were coming from inside my head. I had convinced myself that I had become incapable of loving and, therefore, (in my mind) I was incapable of being loved. The interesting thing about that thought process is that the more you feel incapable of being loved, the more you isolate yourself and become self-absorbed.

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  1. We CAN choose to respond differently.

My saving grace has come in the answer to prayer. I asked God to send me a friend, and He sent me someone who is helping me to see the kind, warm, caring person I used to be … the one who disappeared many years ago, the one who has been buried under a mound of abandonment, guilt, and shame. I am learning, through my interactions with this angel from God that I am not as awful a person as I thought I was. I’m okay … quirky at times, but okay. I am worth loving. I am worth spending time with. I am worth getting to know. And those feelings have generated a rebirth within me that make me want to reach out and get to know others and let them get to know me … the REAL me, not the one they think they currently know. As I become more comfortable in my own (new) skin, I will once again let my humor shine through. I won’t care so much what people think of me, for I will find that as long as I like myself, others will like me too (and, if they don’t, they weren’t meant to be in my life anyway).

I no longer want to be a people pleaser. I want to be a God pleaser. I want to fulfill my purpose. I want to make a difference in the world. I want to matter. I want to succeed at something. I want to continue to learn new things. In order to do that, I am going to spend more time with my Father. I am going to speak affirmations over myself that remind me Whose I am and how much I am loved. I am going to be grateful for the new friends He brings into my life, and I am going to be a light to others who feel the pain of being rejected and alone.

As we say goodbye to 2015 and embark on a new year, let’s let some old mindsets go. Let’s embrace who we really are and use it to create wonder and beauty in the world around us. The future is looking brighter!

Let your light shine …

Lori Lynn

 

 

 

 

Life Lesson #5: Communication is Key


“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.”  Henry Winkler

“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky

You know how they say if you assume anything, it makes an “a**” of “u” and “me”.  Well, I can attest to that; and it all could have been avoided …

For the past year or so, I have been trying to reestablish a relationship with a dear friend whom I knew years ago and with whom I had lost contact. Things started out relatively well until I started searching for answers to questions my friend was not willing to answer. Instead of leaving things lie and allowing my friend to talk to me in his own time, I became pushy in my desperation to get answers I thought I needed. In the process, I wound up pushing my friend away, and he accused me of having no respect for other people’s boundaries. My mouth dropped to the floor in righteous indignation.  “What? ME?!? No concept of other people’s boundaries?” What in the world was he talking about. I have a history of letting people walk all over me. I have a history of letting people bleed me dry … people who take and don’t give much in return. I knew I had boundary issues when it came to establishing my own boundaries, but I was taken aback by the accusation that I have no respect for the boundaries of others.

At first, I was furious.  How dare he! How dare he accuse me of being presumptuous, judgmental, and righteous to boot.  Who did he think he was? Did he not realize he was being the very things he accused me of being? To top it all off, he accused me of having a hard time understanding other people and their issues (something I happen to be very good at, which those who know me well will attest to).

It would have been so easy to lash out, but I didn’t. I realized there was some truth in what he said. I hadn’t respected his boundaries in this particular instance. He had given me fair warning but had failed to explain himself in the process (kind of like someone yelling “STOP!” as you’re driving along about to collide with a train bearing down at full speed, but you’re too busy talking to notice). Nonetheless, I knew by his tone and by his choice of words that I had crossed the line. He was hurt and feeling attacked. Defense mechanisms kicked in, shields went up, and arrows began flying.

Instead of shooting arrows back, it was time for me to apologize. As badly as I wanted answers to my questions, it was not worth the price of losing an extremely important relationship with someone I dearly cared about. The apology came easy. I meant it. I was sincere. The agony of wondering if the relationship has been irreparably damaged … not so easy to bear.

Had my friend explained a little bit about all the things going on in his life, I wouldn’t have continued to pester him with questions he simply couldn’t deal with on top of everything else. Although I’m very good at understanding the undercurrents behind people’s behavior, I’m a terrible mind reader; so if you’re unwilling to share anything, I’m afraid I will fail miserably. In this case, I hurt my friend deeply and that, in turn, hurt me.

Communication is so extremely vital. When communication breaks down, I don’t know about you, but I do start to assume. My mind kicks into overdrive, and I begin imagining all sorts of scenarios. Satan has a heyday inside my head … feeding me lies that trigger my insecurity and make me start doubting and worrying and second-guessing. It takes concentrated effort to remind myself that just because someone isn’t willing to communicate with me doesn’t mean they don’t like me; it may just mean they have to process things themselves first or they may just have a lot their plate at the moment.

Take my friend, for example.  Over the past year, he:

  1. sold his house,
  2. moved,
  3. started a new job,
  4. had his company file Chapter 11 bankruptcy,
  5. had been dealing with an ill family member.

As my former brother-in-law told me upon hearing I had lost my first baby in utero, “How can people pray for you if they don’t know what’s going on?” How can people walk alongside you as you struggle through life if they don’t know you are struggling? How can people share in your joy if they don’t know you are rejoicing?

Bottom line: Talk to one another!

In this most recent experience with my friend, yes, I was way out of line. I barreled my way past my friend’s boundaries oblivious to the consequences. My need to know something made me blind to the fact that my friend couldn’t handle my questions right now. When he screamed “STOP”, I finally could see the train in my peripheral vision. Suddenly the answers I thought I so desperately needed aren’t that important. What’s more important is that my friend is hurting, and it all could have been avoided if:

  1. my friend had just conversed with me instead of remaining silent, and
  2. I had not jumped to conclusions and made my own assumptions.

I forgive my friend for lashing out at me (stress makes us do crazy things), and I hope he will forgive me in time. In the meantime, I will pray for him … that his stress level will diminish and that lines of communication will once again open up.

Two-way communication fixes so much.  It alleviates stress, corrects misunderstandings, avoids assumptions (and the consequences that go along with them), and fosters intimacy and warmth. It may not happen immediately, but keep at it. Don’t give up. A good relationship deserves the hard work of pressing through and keeping the lines of communication open.

Talk to me …

Lori Lynn

Father … You bring people into our lives for a reason. When we mess up those relationships, may we do all we can to break through the miscommunication and hurt feelings by talking to each other openly until the issue is resolved. Life is too short to be angry and upset. It ruins our health and causes sleepless nights. Grant us grace to be more loving. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.