Giving In Is Not Giving Up

acceptance

There’s a big difference between giving in and giving up. Giving in is about accepting reality. Giving up is throwing in the towel on reality. When reality is too much to bare, we tend to switch over to denial or fight modes. We look for anything that helps us deny what we don’t want to face. Anything from regrets to betrayal to rejection. All extremely painful.

Giving in is accepting a relationship for what it is and what it is not. Giving up would be blaming, shaming, and criticizing the other party without owning our part in the dissolution. Giving up is also assuming we must be unlovable because it didn’t work out or that it was all our fault.

Giving in is accepting a diagnosis, whether God physically heals or not. His will be done. Yes, He has the power to physically heal, but the “healing of acceptance” is just as potent to the patient and those looking on. Giving up is blaming, shaming, and criticizing God for an outcome that hurts His heart even more than our own.

Giving in is accepting our strengths and weaknesses as a child of God. Leaning into our strengths and gifts with humility and honor while asking and receiving His sufficient grace for our weaknesses. Giving up is bragging and flaunting what we have and can do while “hiding” our weaknesses from others and God.

Giving in is watching the news today and focusing on the fact that there are still good people in this world and an All Mighty God who sees every single injustice. Giving in is leaving retribution in His capable hands, and praying for all including our enemies. Giving up is cowering in fear at the rampant evil invading our world just like the Bible has already clearly told us it will.

Giving in is having our eyes wide open to what was and what is. And, accepting that. Giving up is closing our eyes tight to what we don’t want to know, see, or feel.

I’ve done both. I’ve given in and I’ve given up in different situations and circumstances in my life, but I want to do better. I want to give in and accept what is without ever forgetting God’s love for me. I want to give in to what God has for me today and cherish it without ever forgetting that He’s actively aware of my concerns. I want to give in to His Spirit’s movements within me and step outside my comfort zone without ever forgetting the price He paid for me and how special I must be to Him because of it.

What is on your plate today? Who is in front of you right now? What is the very next step? Just do that….in reality with prayer.

The “healing of acceptance” is a beautiful thing.

  • Accepting the past for what it was
  • Learning from it
  • Moving forward from it
  • Forgiving yourself and others
  • Taking courageous leaps of faith
  • Trying rather than retreating
  • Running your own race
  • Hurdling obstacles
  • Helping others along the way
  • Growing aware of the enemy’s schemes

There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. Matthew 6:26 (MSG)

I started writing this entry close to a year ago and didn’t have the words to finish it. I knew I was struggling with giving in vrs. giving up and wanted clarity on the two. Letting go vrs. holding on. I write when concepts become clear in my mind and I’m so thankful these words flowed out today. For myself and for others, I hope it helps you like it does me. Now, I have a personal reference to look back on when I question myself and the decisions that we all deal with on the daily.

Giving in is not giving up. Giving in is accepting what is and what is not. Faith is being open to what’s to come. And, hope is looking forward to it!

There is a specific pace and a very special grace for your personal journey. Cherish this. You are loved……no matter what.

 

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Truth in Tears

man tears

“Crying doesn’t indicate you’re weak. Since birth, it’s been a sign that you’re ALIVE”. I ran across this quote yesterday and it got me thinking. There is immense joy in the delivery room when babies let out their first cries. Not only does it mean they are alive, but more than likely healthy. It’s such a relieving and beautiful moment!

My heart is heavy for those of us who have been taught that it’s best to stuff our emotions and just “get it together”. If you’re like me, there is a lot more pain in holding back the tears than just letting them flow. It’s in trying to suppress our feelings, that the real damage is done and the most pain is endured. Telling ourselves we don’t or shouldn’t hurt, when we clearly do, doesn’t help the healing process. While we may need to think twice before acting on emotion alone, feeling it is extremely healthy and the best way to process it. I believe that’s why we feel such relief after a good cry. Something about letting the tears come helps our hearts to heal.

For the men who were told that “real men don’t cry”, your naysayers must have missed the scripture that clearly says Jesus wept. John 11:35. Jesus cried even when He already knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He cried out of compassion for his friends. He cried because of overwhelming grief. He cried because He was human. I love that He wept and displayed this emotion. Jesus is the manliest of all men and He wept……for us. Then, He moved forward, overcame, and brought tears of pure joy by raising his friend back to life!

I believe I can safely speak for most women when I say that when we see a man cry with sincerity and for good reason (especially one we love), we view it as an enormous strength. Whatever you are allowing the tears to flow for means a great deal to you and allowing us to see them speaks volumes to those who love you. We want to know that you are capable of that much emotion and secure enough to let us witness it. If it matters to you, it matters to us. Our hearts naturally go out to sincere love, joy, and grief in the form of tears because we know they are real. We all long to be real.

On a personal note, I never saw my husband shed a tear as our marriage unravelled. I’m not saying he didn’t. I’m just saying I never saw it. I was surprised and greatly moved when he cried during our wedding vows, I saw tears when our first daughter was born, and at the loss of our dog. But, I never saw him cry over the loss of our marriage or me. He had shut down emotionally. Moved on already…..Matter of fact, as tears rolled down my face explaining to our daughter together on our back porch that the split was happening, he told me to “get it together or go inside.” This brought more tears.

I share that very personal information as a reminder to us all. Don’t shut down on what matters. Don’t shut down on what should matter. Pray for the Holy Spirit to come alive and active in our hearts. Ask Him to break our heart for what breaks His. Our families are worth shedding blood, sweat, and tears over. Our families are gifts from God. He pays close attention to how we treat each other as His children. We are all worth tears because we were worth His.

I cry when I feel overwhelmed with God’s love for me. I cried when I was rebaptized. I’ll catch myself crying at church when certain songs penetrate straight to my heart. I’ve cried tears of love just watching my children sleep, I’ve cried over loss of love, and I’ve cried tears of joy over new friendships. Each time it reminds me that I’m alive and I’m grateful to have loved so much that it overflows. I also believe that Godly sorrow, true repentance, the enormity of grace, feeling truly forgiven, and feeling the warmth of God’s true love can and will bring the toughest of us to tears. He alone is worthy. Jesus cried tears of blood in anguish and determination to do His Father’s will. Raw emotion. Raw love.

The next time your brain or upbringing tells you to “pull it together” or “be strong” by holding back tears of joy, love, or sadness remind yourself that Jesus also wept. He created us to produce tears for a reason and I believe it is to help us heal and deal. To cry is proof we are alive and that we love. Let the truth run down your cheeks and may He hold you close, comfort, and continue to bless you. You are loved!

Behind the Smile

behind the smile

I was reminded today, ever so blatantly, of the brokenness in this world.  Today, the tears flowed with nowhere else to go but down. Remember, that most of us have been broken by the loss of a loved one, a marriage, a childhood, a family member, or an illness. There are countless ways we may feel broken. This great sense of loss will change a person. Behind the smiles, you may not know what people are going through or have been through. Be mindful that others may have been touched by tragedy. Think twice before you envy someone’s seemingly “perfect” life. Remember, that brokenness is a part of this life…only.

Yes, there are blessings to be found in brokenness. Yes, finding out that God has never nor will ever forsake us is the ultimate blessing we discover in our trials. But, that doesn’t mean the pain isn’t real.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

Our human race was broken in the Garden of Eden. The shame, guilt, grief, and separation from God is still evident in our brokenness today. Our souls long to be complete in Him. Cultivating a relationship with God does not guarantee we won’t be broken again, but it does show us where to turn when we are. It reminds us that He is still in control and keeps us ever homesick for heaven.

Open your eyes and hearts to others around you. Be aware that there has been pain behind their smiles. Pain is increasingly evident in this world. Today, I was at a loss for words. I couldn’t encourage, all I could do was empathize with and feel the pain and loss. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus….there are times when this simply means lending an ear and following up with a heartfelt “I’m so sorry”. Sometimes there are no words, answers, or clichés to relieve the pain. There are times we just have to feel it, let it roll down our cheeks, and pray for comfort. I do believe it’s better to feel it than deny it. To honestly feel it allows for healing and growth.

Being honest about our own pain may strengthen another to open up and receive healing in theirs. I have witnessed and personally experienced that just knowing we aren’t alone can bring the most comfort. Let us actively love each other by recognizing that we are all broken, living in a broken world, and getting by the best we can. Let us also be reminded that God is good, in the good times and in the bad. God is good, in the pain and in the pleasure. God is good, in the loss and in the gains. And let us continue to praise God from whom all blessings flow…

Yearning for heaven where our hearts and circles will be forever unbroken.

Why Brokenness is a Gift

beauty

I read somewhere “there are two types of people, the ones who know they are broken and the ones who don’t.” I firmly believe this. We are all broken. Some of us know it and willingly admit it. Some don’t know they are broken yet (like children), and some just plain refuse to admit it. Viewing ourselves and each other as broken people evens the playing field. This perspective leads to humility and grace. Admitting our brokenness and dependance on Him is when God’s strength and power as Healer and Provider can manifest it’s greatest significance in our lives.

Ultimately, whatever leads us to the foot of the cross in brokenness will be seen as a blessing in our lives. It may be parenting struggles, an illness, loss of a loved one, divorce, lack of a role model, people pleasing, a past regret, financial ruin, addiction. This is how all things work together for the good of those who love God (Romans 8:28). This is how Jesus takes the most painful experiences the evil one throws our way and turns them around for His Glory. This is how people can be touched and loved on a whole new level by admitted brokenness.  This is how He makes beauty from ashes. We are all in this thing together.

To lay our egos and hurts down at His feet and accept God’s love into the cracks is to be beautifully broken. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, God does. Wounds left untreated may fester in time and repeat themselves generation after generation if not brought before the healing power of God. He heals, renews, and restores.

I love the lyrics of the following song and want to share…..”Keep Making Me” by Sidewalk Prophets

“Make me broken
So I can be healed
‘Cause I’m so calloused
And now I can’t feel
I want to run to You
With heart wide open
Make me broken

Make me empty
So I can be filled
‘Cause I’m still holding
Onto my will
And I’m completed
When you are with me
Make me empty

[Chorus:]
‘Til You are my one desire
‘Til You are my one true love
‘Til You are my breath, my everything
Lord, please keep making me

Make me lonely
So I can be Yours
‘Til I want no one
More than You, Lord
‘Cause in the darkness
I know You will hold me
Make me lonely

[Chorus]

‘Til You are my one desire
‘Til You are my one true love
‘Til You are my breath, my everything
Lord, please keep making,
I know You’ll keep making
Lord, please keep making me”

 

Guard Your Heart

heart

I have an interesting career. I look at people’s hearts all day using ultrasound. Just like any job, it can get monotonous after 14 years, but today I’m reminded of how interesting it really is. We check the heart function of every patient by assessing their ejection fraction. A heart’s normal ejection fraction is about 65%. When we come across a patient with a 5-10% ejection fraction, their heart is barely squeezing. Sometimes their heart function is so weak, I catch myself looking over to make sure they are still breathing even though I just walked with them from the lobby to my lab to run the test. It’s truly amazing that the body can still function with a heart that is barely squeezing. But, it happens, and our doctors treat it all the time.

One thing I have noticed over the years is that my sickest patients also tend to be the most kind, gracious, and patient people. Not always, but most of the time. Maybe because they know they are sick, maybe because they are grateful for the healthcare, maybe because they have adjusted their priorities, or maybe because they’ve made peace with themselves and others. It’s very interesting to me that the people with the “broken” hearts that barely squeeze can touch our hearts and spirits in such a tender way. We listen and pay more attention when we see how poorly their hearts are functioning. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we could “see” how people’s hearts have been broken, betrayed, rejected, mended, or even revived in our daily lives? Maybe that’s why we pay more attention when we know what someone has been through and what their story is. Everyone has a story.

I can personally visualize a person’s heart function with my ultrasound machine any day. But, I can’t “see” what that heart has been through. Our hearts are physically and spiritually our most prized possessions and worthy of the utmost protection.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

I work with some extremely intelligent doctors who can treat your heart if it needs physical healing, but I know that God is the ultimate healer. He alone is the great physician and heart surgeon. Let Him hold and heal your heart. Trust Him when people come and go from your life (because they will) and remember that He’s not going anywhere (because He won’t). He created and designed our hearts, that alone makes them worthy of protection.