Are overachievers just trying to prove to themselves and others that they are worthy of love, life, and value in this world by their achievements? Is being an overachiever a gift from God that allows a person to push beyond limits and adversity in order to gain success in this world? I believe that it is a combination of both.

Growing up and then into adulthood I was always an overachiever. I was self motivated and self disciplined, and I always pushed myself beyond normal limits. For example no one ever had to tell me to do my homework. No one ever checked my backpack or my work at home. No one pushed me to sign up for the most advanced classes offered. I just did it on my own.

I studied in my room for hours at a time. I had other students calling me for help in Chemistry and Trigonometry and English. I even decided on my own to get special permission to take Chemistry and Physics at the same time my junior year of high school so that I would have more time in my schedule to take even higher level advanced placement classes my senior year.

When I started college my Freshman year I did not have to take Freshman English and I started out the semester taking Calculus instead of Algebra like most people because of all the work that I had done in high school. I did all of this just to “see if I could do it.” I pushed myself. I was a perfectionist.

I also pushed myself in dancing, athletics and in basically anything that I did. I would not wonder if my body could do something or not. I would just make my body do it no matter how painful it was.

I was constantly proving to myself and the world that I could do anything that I set my mind to do, that I was as intelligent as anyone, and that I had great skills.

I believe that this is a God-given gift. There is a reason that I am hard-wired to be this way. I am a limit pusher. I am a person created to break out of the box and reach beyond what the world may tell me that I can or cannot do, and that is a gift. I can use that to do something great for the world.

However I also believe that this gift can also be used to feed a deep down longing to feel worthy and valuable. I believe that for other over achievers and for myself this drive to do more and more than is expected or even believed possible can come from a deep inner feeling of unworthiness.

We have to continuously prove our worth by showing that we can be successful and that we can do more than others believe that we can do.

I remember having thoughts like “I may be tiny and I may be a girl, but I can beat this guy in a race and I can score higher than him on the Calculus exam.” And I would do it.

That is competitiveness that comes from feeling that others underestimated me and my potential. I do not know where these messages came from. Somewhere I got the message deep down that I was not seen as valuable or good enough in this world. For some reason subconsciously I felt unworthy. It was never a thought in the forefront of my mind. I never thought, “I have to prove my worth because I feel unworthy.” My actions were just showing that I carried this belief. And many times it was tied up in my being female.

There seems to be at the core of many people and especially at the core of girls and women around the world that we are not as good. We are not as valuable, as capable, as intelligent, etc, and I spent much of my life pushing myself to prove that wrong over and over.

And I did.

I do not want to lose the gift of being a person who can push beyond limits. That is at the core of who I am, but somehow I do want to lose the deep core belief that I am never good enough. I want to help other over achievers to see that we are worthy of love, respect, value, and everything good in life even if we never achieve another thing in life.

I am especially passionate about this for women because it is such a rampant disease among women world wide…..the disease of feeling “less than” no matter how much we achieve and how confidently we portray ourselves.

Girls are constantly getting subtle and sometimes blatant messages from our culture, other cultures, and even our own homes that we are at least a little lower on the totem pole than boys. Sometimes the message is more severe in that we are downright second or third class citizens or that we are property in a way or that we need men to guide us and direct us in the world.

I remember being in high school and being floored when I heard my good girl friends saying that they would trust a man gynecologist more than a woman even though I pointed out that a woman should know more about women’s issues than men. They said that men were smarter. And one of these girls had the highest GPA in our class! When I asked her to explain this to me she said that it was just because the boys were not trying! These kind and highly intelligent girls really believed these negative things about themselves! My blood boiled, and it still does as I see evidence of these negative self images in girls and women everywhere…..even in myself as I constantly feel the need to prove myself and my worth.

We are constantly bombarded with these negative images and ideas of ourselves from both men and women, and frankly, it hurts.

I have come to the understanding in life that when I am passionate about an issue so much that my blood boils then it means that I have a purpose surrounding that issue. There is something that God created me to do and hard-wired me to do to address this issue because I am extremely passionate about it. I do not know yet exactly how it is to play out, but I do know that it begins with me learning and truly believing in my deepest self that I am worthy, valuable, lovable and as good as anyone in this world male or female.

As I do the hard work to come to that truth within myself  I will then be able to spread it to others more effectively, and that is an exciting prospect. I will use my God-given gift of limit pushing to push beyond these horrible lies about female unworthiness and to spread the truth of who we really are.

Feelings of compassion are probably no strangers to most loving people, but I can still remember the exact moment when I came to the realization that compassion is profoundly painful. Sometimes true moments of compassion can be so unbearable that I think that many of us close our hearts just a little bit in order to bear it.

All of us being human have probably experienced compassion many times throughout our lives. I can think of many times that I have felt compassion for my fellow humans or even an animal. We have all felt that ache in our hearts when we see people suffering. That ache becomes stronger and harder to bear when it is a loved one such as our child, a sibling, a parent, a spouse, or a good friend.

Sometimes it is easier to work really hard at cheering the person up, to try to solve their problem, or to try to change the subject and stop thinking about it than to allow ourselves to really feel the gravity of the pain that they are suffering.

I have found though that when we do allow ourselves to experience compassion in its fullness we connect to something more true and more real in our hearts. We learn something instantly in that moment about ourselves and about humanity. When we allow ourselves to actually feel someone else’s pain even for a moment we connect to the truth about their soul and our own. We connect to our very connectedness.

This is very different from feeling sympathy. I am talking about having a moment of actually experiencing someone else’s pain in its entirety, and this is not easy or fun to do.

I remember a time when I was about 17, and my mother had recently found out that my step father had been having an affair. She had decided to try to work out the marriage which did not work out in the end, but she was trying. Things were very uncertain during this time. Our lives were shaken.

My step father had been the source of extreme misery for our family. He was abusive, highly critical, negative, oppressive and wallowed in his own misery. He was messed up, broken, full of self-hatred, angry, bitter, and sick in many ways. And he took it all out on us.

But he had been the step father that I lived with the majority of my childhood. I lived with him from the time that I was 4 until I was about 18, and there were some good moments. There were some times that we laughed together, and there were a few moments that he surprised me with gestures of love, true affection, or kindness. This is a very confusing thing for a child. There is love for and even from an abusive parent in some strange way.

Well my mother told me that she was trying to work out her marriage with him, and she asked me to be kind to him (which was a strange thing for her to say I think.) Since I always tried to help my mother in any way that I could and had spent my life doing things to try to show her the love that I subconsciously saw that she never received from her husband…. like buying her tons of Christmas gifts, defending her in arguments with him, making sure she was okay, watching her back…etc….I got on board with her for this too.

I don’t know why I felt compelled to do this, but I got my step father a sweet card, and I wrote a pages long heart-felt letter to him. I do not even remember what it said, but it was something from a part of myself that is more loving than any other part of me because remember….he had abused and hurt me and my dearest loved ones repetitively. I left the letter for him to find.

I did not stick around to watch him read it, but later I heard him closed up in the bathroom sobbing loudly and uncontrollably. He was wailing, and I had NEVER heard this from him in my life.

At that moment I felt his pain in my heart in a way that I had never felt before. I felt his brokeness and all of the pain that caused him to treat us the way that he did. I felt his humanity, and I actually felt connected to him in a true way for the first and last time. The pain that I felt coming from his true self into my heart was one of the most unbearable feelings I have ever felt, and I could not even sit with it for very long. I had to consciously close my heart a little bit to it after a few minutes because it was so horribly painful.

It was in that moment when I felt true indescribable heartbreaking compassion for my abuser that I realized what compassion really is and the gravity of it.

I have never forgotten that moment because of the impact that it had on me and the immense lesson that I learned in that brief moment. Since then I have understood the reality of compassion in its truest form and the reality of its heavy burden. I have seen how I and others have to close ourselves from the fullness of it at times in order to protect ourselves from the extreme heaviness of it. I have realized that many times we mistake sympathy for compassion and that they are very different.

I have also realized that when we have the courage to keep our hearts open even for a brief moment to compassion in its entirety even with and especially with those who hurt us and perpetrate against us we learn lessons about the human spirit that we would never completely understand any other way.

I have been awakened to the fact that compassion is not about butterflies and rainbows like we sometimes like to think. It is hard. It hurts. It involves suffering, and it teaches us more about the purest and greatest form of love than most other things can teach us. And it is worth it.

I have found that in order to experience the freedom that we all long for whether we realize it or not we have to come face to face with our fears and walk right through them. We have to face our demons so to speak. We have to look at those demons straight in the eyes and growl.

That is the reason that fear is so paralyzing. Sometimes we will do anything to avoid facing our fears. Fear holds us back from our highest potential and our highest joy. Sometimes we are even afraid of our highest potential so we continuously sabotage ourselves out of…fear.

Fear is a force in this world. It is almost the opposite of love. “There is no fear in love.” It tries to oppose us at every point of growth. It binds us so that we cannot be free.

When we limit ourselves it is usually out of fear. Sometimes we would rather remain miserable than face our fears in order to be free.

Fear has been an enormous part of my life. I feared for my life on a regular basis as a child. When I grew up I had different fears. I even feared adulthood. I remember collapsing on my mother’s bedroom floor one night when I was about 20 and saying, “I don’t want to grow up. I am not ready. I cannot stop being sad.”

I still carry way too much fear….much of my own…but much of it is shared family fear. I have realized in my adulthood that I carry the fears of my father and mother. I also share the fears of my siblings. I am carrying generational fear.

And it has bound me and paralyzed me and made me miserable in many ways. I see it all around me in my family.

I always said that I would be the one to break free not only for myself  but for my entire family. Why did I say that? I must have had a period of fearlessness, which I have had from time to time, when I announced that mission to myself and God.

That is scary! I am not that strong. But I know that there is a greater strength that I can draw from because I have drawn from it before.

And I have to get free. I long for freedom like a caged bird! That is the reason that I am Grounded Angel. I am meant to fly and soar freely, but I am broken and bound to this earth.

So slowly ….slowly…only as I can handle it… I am facing my fears. I have done it before. I can do it again.  I have done it so many times actually that I am tired. Sometimes I feel there is no fight left in me, but I am going to find my fighting spirit again.

And I am going to surrender to a power greater than myself which is also frightening! But I am! I just have to keep telling myself that I am.

I will face these dark demons that are woven all through out the roots of my family like thick diseased vines. I will face them, and they will break. I will be free. I have to be free. There is no other way to live.

I think I can. …I think I can. ….I think I can.

As I travel in time revisiting the past and glimpsing into the future in order to live better in the present there is certain music that bubbles up just like the memories do. There is some melodic poetry that speaks truth about the souls of some people. The people who connect with this music all share some kind of bond because of the lives that we have lived and the ways that our souls were created. It is like you just get it or you don’t, and if you do then you know that you have an instant connection with one another. I suddenly remembered these two songs at about midnight after spending a wonderful evening with some of my siblings and my mom, daughter and niece.

I used to listen to the Indigo Girls with my friends at summer camp of all places. It is funny because it was church camp, and the Indigo Girls are lesbians! Ha! That was not what it was about for us though. Camp was some of the best times in my life as a child. I went every summer all the way through high school and even met one of the great loves of my life there.

Camp was a safe place for me. I remember feeling safe even at night in the dorm on my bunk bed as I shared a room with about 14 other girls. There were no locks on the doors. We just had screened doors actually, but when the horror movie thoughts would run through my mind I would just think, “No! I am safe here. This is Honey Creek, and God is here. Nothing bad can happen here.”

We were surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Honey Creek….. big trees with spanish moss hanging from them….. porch swings, hammocks, and decks in various natural hideaways dispersed around the grounds….. a little chapel with one wall totally made of glass that faced the water……sounds of laughter, singing, and music…..a piece of heaven….My dream was to get married there. If God could be felt anywhere it was there, and one of my friends came with my mom to pick me up one year and said, ” I see why you love this place. I could feel it as soon as we drove in.”

We sang a lot to acoustic guitars. We went to chapel every morning and right before bed, and we were incredibly free at high school camp. We were even allowed to smoke cigarettes there because back then the law allowed smoking for 17 year olds! I know that’s kind of crazy! The place was a beautiful oxymoron…freedom at church camp….imagine that! But feeling safe, free, and surrounded by loving peers was truly like a vacation from life for me. It was a refuge like no other. I always grieved heavily when it was over. It never lasted long enough.

Well we used to listen to a lot of music there, and as I said the Indigo Girls were a favorite. I guess it is because of the raw acoustic beauty of the truth that they sing about. There were two songs that especially stood out to me and resonated with me in my teen years. I suddenly remembered those songs tonight around midnight after not hearing them or thinking of them for years. As I listen to them again they still resonate with me and actually bring tears to my eyes. Yes….there is a little bit of hippy in the music, but I would be lying if I said that there was not a little bit of hippy in me. Tee hee….There is something about my life in the words of these songs. There is something about me in them.

So I will share them with you for another musical interlude of melodic poetry. I believe that the music speaks for itself. It carries me back in time to my childhood, and it speaks to me again in the present. So here are the two songs….a brief look into my soul.

Prince of Darkness  ~ Don’t let the title scare you 😉

Kid Fears ~

When I was younger I ran from the mundane. I actually rebelled against the idea of just surviving life….just getting up and going to work to pay the bills then coming home. I lived simply in a shack with literally  four rooms total and no hallway…just four adjoining rooms in the ghetto. I drove an old car that was already paid off, and I still do that out of necessity. I did not tie myself down with marriage or children. Most of my 20’s I lived outside of the limits and expectations of society. I was spontaneous. I traveled. I played a lot! I spent much of my time at the beach. I stayed up all night and saw many sunrises as well as sunsets. I got really in tune with nature. I had many encounters with dolphins, and it was almost as if I could call them in, and they would come. There was something magical about that time. I worked jobs and went to school somewhere in there, but that was not even my priority.

I always used to say, “I watched my parents live their lives going to work and coming home doing things that they really didn’t even care much about just to get by, and they did not seem happy. I will not do that!”

Like most people in their 20’s I was very idealistic. I was very positive, and I just knew that I could change the world.

Towards the end of my 20’s life slowly began to lasso me in and tie me down. And by our 30’s my husband and I somehow got sucked into the machine, and we ended up working and coming home too tired to do anything else. We just had to do what we had to do to pay our bills, and we had to be “responsible” like society demands. We succumbed to the very thing that we had been running from and refusing to conform to for so long. It seemed like we didn’t really have a choice.

Why do so many of us as adults just end up in this daily grind. It is like we just fall asleep, and life becomes this routine of working, paying bills, taking care of business, and doing the “right” thing so that we can “get by.” Sure, we have some fun in there sometimes. We have some laughs and some good times. We do some great things for others, but most of the time many of us seem to be just sleep walking through life in this daily grind. It seems like we escape it for a moment only to get sucked right back into the black hole of surviving life in a sleepy haze of “have to’s.”

I fought it tooth and nail, and it still happened to me! There is something not right about this.

I need to wake up again. I crave a richer more exotic experience in this life. This life is so short, but on this physical plane it seems like we are so slowed down. It is as if our spirits have to slow their vibrations way down in order to remain with our heavy physical bodies so life just seems heavy at times.

That rebelliousness against conforming to the mundane machine is still flickering inside me. There has got to be a better way to live. The more we have the heavier we get and the more we get tied to the ground.

I do not think that I was made to be tied to the ground. I feel like I was made to fly because there is a restlessness inside me that just keeps whispering, “This is not all there is. There is more.”

As I align myself with the flow of God and get more in harmony with God’s song I feel the weight of this more. I feel the need to throw off more and more of the heaviness that keeps me bound to what is “expected” of me as an adult. I do not want being responsible to become my new bondage. Yes….I want to be responsible but not bound by it.

I want to wake up now. I want to be awake and alive now. I do not want to sleep through this short life only to wake up when I die and say, “Oh my word! I missed the whole thing, and it’s already over!”

God…..move me. Open my heart. Fill me up, and wake me up to the beauty and the fullness of life that is here now. Pour your light into me. Lighten me, and lift me up on the wind of your breath. Let me fly again.

As a very small child I had horrible nightmares. I remember a few vivid nightmares even as far back as my babyhood. As long as I can remember I was flooded with intense fear that escalated as night fell. I never slept. I would stay up all night and keep watch because I always had this feeling that someone was coming at any moment to brutally murder me in some gruesome way.

I am not talking about being afraid of the dark. I was afraid of something heinous happening, and I would not let myself sleep because I wanted to be ready to run or fight when this horrible event occurred. I always had an instinct inside me that said, “I will not be an easy target!” I was a little girl when this began….as young as four or five or younger.

I did not know why I had such horrible fear and such gory obsessive thoughts. When asked what I was afraid of  I would always say, “I don’t know.” But I was terrified, and my sleeplessness began in early childhood. I remember telling my mom when I was around nine years old that I just could not take it anymore….that the fear and the sleeplessness was too much for me to handle….that it was ruining my life. It seemed as if no one could or would help me though.

I still have a sleep disorder. My body is well-trained to be awake at night. I no longer have the graphic thoughts that scare me, but I just do not sleep well or sometimes at all.

I have no idea where a tiny girl would get such graphic thoughts of being  violently brutalized. I never watched horror movies. I still do not watch them. They are not good for my soul, and I do not get any joy from being frightened in that way. I do not need a horror movie to add excitement or suspense to my life. I have had enough of that.

Somehow in my subconscious I just had a horrible feeling that there was a predator in my midst and that my life was going to end in some gruesome way.

And I have a waking memory that haunts me sometimes.

I was probably about 5 years old and my sister was about 9. We were sitting at the breakfast table in the kitchen, and my step-father was cooking omelets before school. I don’t think that my mother was home because we had just moved to another town when she married my step father, and she was still working an hour and a half away in our previous town. She was not there in the mornings, and she came home at night.

My older sister was sitting at the table across from me sobbing hysterically. She was yelling, “I want my dad!” through her sobs and her attempts to catch her breath. She was inconsolable, but actually no one was trying to console her at all.

I was very little, and I just remember staring helplessly at her across the table. My step father was banging around at the stove.

I just remember being frozen, staring, feeling helpless and hopeless. And I remember my sister not having a child’s tantrum but sobbing desperately, uncontrollably, helplessly…..hopelessly. And no one was there to comfort either of us.

My step father was getting more and more annoyed as the banging around the stove became more intense.

He walked up and dropped an omelet on my plate. I looked at it. I picked around at it with one hand while my head rested on my other hand. I listened to my sister’s cries and screams. My stomach turned. I got up and threw my food in the trash.

Suddenly to my dismay my step father stomped up to my sister and yelled, “Now look what you have done! You have ruined your sister’s breakfast!.”

I remember being shocked. I remember thinking, “No!”

I remember thinking, “How did I just get roped into being on his side. She did not ruin my breakfast. That is not what I was saying. Something ruined my breakfast, but it was not her!”

As a tiny five-year old girl I never said a word. I remained silent. I guess I went to kindergarten shortly after that.

I still do not know exactly what happened with my sister. I do not know what  happened to trigger her desperate cries although I have some good ideas. I cannot remember if this was an isolated incident or a regular occurrence. I know that this is a piece of a puzzle for me though because in spite of all that I blocked out for some reason this dark memory has remained with me and comes to my mind sometimes. It is like a dark shadow coming up behind me and tapping me on the shoulder and whispering in my ear, “remember.”

I believe that deep inside a part of me knew that something heinous was going on and that there was a predator in my midst. I never felt totally safe. I just cannot remember details often, and in my baby mind there was a horror movie constantly playing. I could not understand or make sense of or accept what was happening. All I knew was that there was something nightmarish going on, and I was terrified for my life.

I have been totally sucked in to the Casey Anthony trial this week. I have had emotional reactions that are different from most people that I hear talking about it. I have learned that when I have a strong emotional pull to some drama that really has nothing to do with my own life that it is because it is pointing me to something emotional about my own life that needs dealing with.

Of course the loss of a two year old girl is too much for me to imagine because my daughter is two, but strangely my heart is broken for the young mother accused of murder, Casey, also. Most people seem to want to see her as the heartless cold blooded murderer of her own precious child, but because of my own experiences I can see it differently.

So far every single witness from her ex-boyfriends to her friends and family have stated that they saw her being a very good and loving mother to her child. They said that her daughter was always with her when she spent the night out. They said that she did not spend the night out often or drink much before this because she did not want to leave the child with her parents. Was she protecting her from something? They said that she taught her a lot and interacted with her in sincere and loving ways. They said that the love between the mother and child was obvious and genuine. So why do many think that she is the murderer?

It is because of her inappropriate behavior after the child’s death. It is because she says that the child died by accidental drowning in the pool and that she hid the death and pretended as if everything was normal, along with her dad, out of fear and desperation……basically an insane response to a tragedy.

She says that she learned this kind of extreme behavior from being a victim of sexual abuse by her father. Her defense is that she was raised in extreme trauma and dysfunction and so when a tragedy occurred with her own baby she and her father made horrible decisions and continued the cycle of hiding things and moving on as if nothing happened because she was afraid of the consequences. This snowballed out of control because she had to keep lying to hide it and to remain in the extreme denial that she was living in.

Now I have no idea what really happened in this case, but unlike many my heart tells me that there is something very wrong with this family and that it does not make sense for her as a loving mother to suddenly decide to murder her daughter so that she can go party. Even a very troubled lying young woman who likes to party and has learned to live life in denial and to hide crisis behind the mask of  a happy social butterfly does not a cold-blooded murderer make.

Why is my heart so stirred for this young woman’s story?

Because it takes a person who has come from a dysfunctional background filled with family members in deep denial….filled with smiling happy faces hiding trauma….filled with inappropriate responses to crisis to understand that this really could happen to a very young woman who is hardly even an adult.

When I was growing up I was known by my friends as a social butterfly. I was the life of the party. I was the captain of the cheerleaders and full of life and energy. I even heard one of my classmates describe me as “always happy.” And not one friend ever knew what I was really dealing with at home. I was not purposely trying to be this way. I was not putting on a show. That is just the way that I was. Somehow that is just how I learned to be.

I hid things very very well. And I had a strong drive to create happiness wherever I could.

When I became a very young adult of 20, 21 years old my life started going off the rails on a crazy train. I made some very bad decisions that had traumatic consequences and once again I hid them not only from the outside world but even from my own family and kept going as if nothing happened. It was not until years and years later that I ever even began grieving over those things. And I still have the tendency to stay weirdly okay during trauma as I have written about before. I can also still keep a secret and carry it to my grave if need be. If you want someone to confide in….I’m your woman!

I have seen all of my family members engaged in some strange coping behaviors. I have seen a family member acting like a clepto from the time of his/her toddler hood. I have seen family members become compulsive liars so that they were lying about things for no reason, and so when it came to telling the truth about the abuse they had genuinely suffered people did not believe them. I have seen family members behaving violently and being committed or just having it brushed under the rug. I have seen severe addictions in many. I have seen most of  us hiding something major in our lives, and it was either kept in the family or hidden from even the family. I have seen two family members involved in cover ups together….sometimes siblings….sometimes involving a parent or even a grandparent.

So this is the reason that her defense seems possibly believable to me when others who are not used to this type of dysfunction cannot possibly believe that life could be this way.

This is the reason that my heart hurts for the young mother who acted insanely “just fine” after her little girl died.  This is the reason that instead of  strongly desiring to burn her at the stake… my heart longs to see redemption for her life.

I know from experience that a child does not grow up to be as messed up as Casey Anthony for no reason. A young woman’s life does not snowball into this horrible situation where her child is dead and she is in prison facing the death penalty just out of the blue. This kind of nightmare is exactly what it looks like when an extremely dysfunctional family just continues riding down the wrong side of the road at 100 miles an hour, and no one knows how to put on the brakes. This young girl did not happen in a vacuum. She is the product of something horrible, and that is obvious to me.

Now I am not writing this to plead her case. I could be wrong about her. I am just working on understanding myself. I am figuring out why I feel so angry when I hear people say that she is definitely lying through her teeth about the abuse that she claims she suffered. I have seen this in my own family.

I am working out the reasons that instead of hating her and wanting her dead my heart bleeds with compassion for her…..I see traces of my family members in her.

Thank God nothing ever got as far for us as it has for her.

My heart longs to see a tragic story of a tragic life filled with death, lies, pain, and soul sickness…… healed, redeemed, and restored.

That it what I am working towards for myself and my loved ones. That is what I want for all of us humans who share this kind of story.

Chaos comes before order. There is confusion right before understanding. This happens in nature, in the forming of the universe, in life, and in our own learning and development.

As a teacher I learned this in college and later saw it in students as I taught them new things. When a student is presented with brand new material and ideas the brain goes into a state of disequilibrium for a period. That disequilibrium or confusion can be frustrating for a time, but it is necessary for the brain to go through this in order to reorganize with the new information integrated into its files.

So in learning and growing we all go through this, just as the creation of the universe began with chaos and then moved to order we go through a period of chaos before we come to a deeper understanding and are back in order and equilibrium.

I am going through this now. I am in a period of wrestling with a deepening of my faith. I am not wrestling with whether or not I have faith because I have already reached order in that area. I have faith, but I am in a moment of confusion about some deeper ideas. I am growing, and I am in a stage right before understanding something more, and so I am in a bit of momentary chaos in my mind and heart.

This can be frustrating so I pray. I pray for clarity and understanding, and I pray for truth no matter what the truth is. I want the truth even if it throws me off for a moment. I want the truth even if others around me do not understand it. I just want THE TRUTH.

I, like most people, have never been satisfied with understanding things just because someone else thinks that they understand it and tells me their ideas. That may suffice for a period, but eventually questions begin to beat at the doors of my mind, and I have to find the answers for myself. These are never really new questions. They are questions that have always been in my heart, but the time has come to let them surface. Sometimes I come to understand what I was told by another, and sometimes I come to a new and deeper revelation than that.

Not only is this frustrating and confusing, but it is exciting. I know that I am standing on the precipice of something larger. I am in a moment of expanding rather than stagnation. It is only a matter of time before something new clicks and I experience that wonderful “Aha!” moment again, and I am again in awe of my loving creator.

I welcome it. I do not know where it might take me. I do not know if it will allow me to stay right where I am or if it will force me to move on to something new. I embrace the growth though wherever I end up going. I have always longed for and enjoyed the expansion of my mind and the opening of my heart wider. I have never been a person comfortable in a box or happy with a limited God.

My tendency to question authority, to be a little rebellious, and to be a risk taker has gotten me in some trouble at times, but it has also pushed me passed the confines of limitations at times. When channeled well it serves me well and pushes me out of the shallow end into the deep.

The chaos and confusion are not comfortable, but just as the universe is slowly expanding….. so am I. And for that I am grateful.

Sometimes in life I can feel a shift occurring, and it is hard to describe in words. I can feel things or even see hints of things happening in a spiritual dimension before things happen in the material world. It is weird, but that is how things work. You hear phrases that describe this phenomenon like “mind over matter,” but I have noticed on a strange intuitive level that things happen or are formed on some kind of energetic dimension before they manifest physically.

This is one way that faith works. You “call things that are not as though they are. ” You speak things into being.

Also sometimes illness can begin on an emotional or soul level . A person can have severe emotional trauma that they never deal with or a wounded soul that eventually manifests itself in the physical body as sickness, addiction, or pain.

I know this sounds like mumbo jumbo, but all I can say is that I have experienced this enough in my life to be able to vouch for the fact that there is something bigger going on, and I can intuitively feel something sometimes before I see it materialize in reality.

The funny thing is that I do not know what is about to happen or materialize. I can just feel that something is about to change or shift. I even felt it right before I got pregnant with my daughter.

Well I feel that now. And there has been some interesting synchronicity lately that affirms my feelings. I do not believe in coincidences.

Lately, for a while now actually, I have been praying differently. Every day I have been praying about the breath of  God. I have prayed that I would sail in the wind of God’s breath and that He would breath into me more and more. I wrote a blog about it a while back.

I have also been praying another strange and different prayer. I have been praying that I would vibrate in tune with God, and that I would vibrate in a tone that harmonizes with God’s song. I know that is different, but that is what I have been lead to pray, and I wrote a blog about the “music of the ethers” recently because this prayer brought a dream back to mind that I had about this harmonic music.

Well, a couple of nights ago I was looking up videos on you tube. I decided to look up Rob Bell. He is a very controversial church pastor that I honestly had never heard of until he came out with a very controversial book this year. I really don’t keep up with all of the different pastors and Christian writers that much, but all of the controversy surrounding his new book as well as the topic of the book caught my attention. So the point is that I have not read any of his other books or watched many of his videos. I really have not  even known about him before until this latest book.

Well, I went on You Tube a couple of nights ago on a whim to see some of his videos. I have not even thought about watching these videos until this week when I saw the DVD’s at a friend’s house on her shelf. Out of at least 30 videos I happened to pick a video called, “Breathe.” I was blown away when I saw him talking about the breath of God in a very similar way as I have been thinking and talking about it lately! And it is a very different way of thinking. It is kind of a strange way of thinking.  Ha! It was a serendipitous moment of affirmation for me I guess.

Then I wanted to see more so I clicked on another video. This one was called, “Rhythm.” And it was talking about being in tune or out of tune with the song that is God! Wow! How strange that an actual pastor is talking about the odd things that I have been thinking and praying about, and I honestly had never heard this before! I thought, “Is he reading my blog? ” But I was only being silly because his videos are older than my blog. More synchronicity!

And of course I am having this moment of affirmation and serendipity with a highly controversial pastor who many are calling a heretic! Oh well! I trust God, and this is where God is leading me, and things are aligning.

And like I said before, nothing has changed yet. Things are still the same right now, but I can feel a shift happening in the spirit that I have felt before, and I know that things are about to happen. I do not know what they are, and that is a little unnerving.

My husband has been feeling squeezed tightly in all areas lately as have I. It seems as if everything is going wrong and things are really difficult right now. It feels like we are at our breaking point in every area, but I know from my past experience that even this is  a sign of the shift.

It is just like childbirth. When a woman is in labor and she feels squeezed in every area….when everything gets really hard and painful….when she has reached the limit and cannot take it anymore…..something is about to break through. She is about to give birth to something new. A baby is about to join the outside physical reality that we are living in now.

I have noticed that this is a pattern in life…all over life. When you feel like you are over the limit and are in such a tight place that everything feels like it is being squeezed….when you feel like you are at your breaking point and you cannot take anymore….when the pains of life get harder and closer together….you are on the threshold of  breaking through to something new. Things are about to change. Nothing is permanent on earth….even hard things. It is in the darkest places that you can eventually begin to see the light breaking through.

This is the pattern even in nature such as when the sun rises after a dark night or when rays of light begin to burst through dark clouds, or when a baby comes out of the dark womb into the light of life.  So much can be learned by watching nature’s patterns because they run parallel with the patterns of life and spirit.

Well I feel it, and I cannot deny it. I know it sounds spooky wooky, but I have been in this place enough times to recognize it. I am excited to see where it takes us.

I have felt for a long time that the whole concept of male and female has been completely skewed and twisted by society, culture, and honestly maybe the devil himself.  And so the whole point of sex has been warped , and we have lost our ability to connect with God in one of the highest ways possible while in these fleshly bodies on earth. I have had an inner knowing of this since before I even got married, but because I have such severe issues with intimacy on many levels I still have not been able to get it all right yet. But now that I know in my heart and spirit what is supposed to be happening and what is possible I am unhappy and at times actually disgusted with anything less.

Man……I hate writing about this! But I am following my inner nudging……Why must I be nudged to write about this delicate subject? Lord help me! Why? Why?…….The only comfort that I can get is that writing this may just be one of the steps that brings me or maybe someone else closer to a wholeness in this area that I honestly do not think that many people enjoy fully.

So let me begin with a quote from scripture:

“So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him: male and female He created them.”    Genesis 2:27

It then goes on to say that God blessed them, told them to be fruitful and multiply and gave them dominion over every living creature on earth.

This is the first and the oldest version of the creation of mankind story in the Bible. In this story when it says that God created “man” and created “him” in His image it seems obvious to me that “man” and “him” are referring to mankind or humanity because it goes on to say….”male and female He created them.”

So I see that both man and woman are created in the image of God. It is not as if a male is created in the image of God and then some new thing is made as an after thought that happens to be a female and that this female is somehow made of something less than or outside of God’s image.

In this story they are both created by God at the same time and both are created in the image of God. Both are blessed and both are given dominion.

So when I see this I think that everything that is male and everything that is female are an image of God. We are both created in God’s image so God must contain all of it within Himself. As I see it, having only male or only female human beings would not be the image of God in its entirety. It takes both to express an image of all that God is.

In the Bible which is a book from a very patriarchal Jewish tradition and culture God is seen as very masculine and is called the father  many times, but there are amazingly a few examples where God compares himself to a mother nursing or protecting or having compassion on her young! We don’t get to hear much about those for some reason, but they are there.

In the next (yes…there are two) story of creation which is a younger version of the creation story God creates a man out of dust and then breathes life and spirit into him. (This story does not mention the image of God by the way.) He then creates everything else and then sees that this man, Adam, needs to be in a relationship with another human being so God puts Adam to sleep and basically pulls another human being out of Adam’s side.

“Then Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  Genesis 2: 23, 24

Now I have heard some ridiculously degrading interpretations of this. I have heard that a man is created in God’s image, and a woman is created in man’s image! In my opinion that is just rubbish.

First of all this second creation story where “man” was created first does not even say that he was created in the image of God (which I do believe he was by the way.) But this horrible interpretation of the second story also totally negates the first and oldest creation story that clearly says that mankind, both male and female, were created in God’s image and that both were given blessing and dominion together.

Now this may be hard for some people to take, but after much study and prayer I see the second story a little differently. To me it seems that Adam was containing the image of God all within himself as one being just as God is one. This means that he (Adam) had it all inside of him…..everything that God is…..all that is male and all that is female…..everything……everything that makes up the entire image of God. God saw that Adam needed relationship just as God needs relationship so he basically pulled another being out of Adam to make two complimentary beings. And now it is not one being but two and together they are the image of God.

This is the reason that the two complimentary beings leave their parents and come back together to become one flesh…..again. The way that I see it is that when the male and female come together as one flesh they are reuniting two parts of God’s image that were separated so that in their union they become the entire image of God again in its fullness.

This is the reason that sex is or at least is intended to be a spiritual act….maybe the closet we get to experiencing being the full image of God. And it is through sex that we are able to create new life just like God creates life. Is this when we are closest to God????

I believe that it is very possible that this is how it should be, but most of us are not experiencing this. Sex has been so horribly cheapened, degraded, abused and cut off from everything that is spiritual and so we are sexually sick as a human race.

In many cases we have made sex the farthest thing from the image of God that we can! It almost seems in many cases to have been dulled down to a fleshly animalistic act like when one big chimp chases down and mounts another chimp (male or female) in order to show dominance!

So many times sex occurs (even in marriages) when there is no emotional or spiritual intimacy involved. There is no connection of souls….only bodies. Many times it is done just to relieve a physical urge or stress while people are fantasizing about gross things or replaying pornography in their minds. Icky!

That is the reason that I say it disgusts me at times. I know that sounds harsh, but when I think of sex as two souls becoming one and connecting on every level…emotionally, spiritually, and physically….two souls coming together to create one larger more complete soul….getting back to the wholeness that is the image of God…..creating an energy that actually sparks new life….a beautiful truly ecstatic experience that God intended us to have….

And then I think about the “Who’s your daddy, kinky, degrading at times, nothing but flesh kind of sex that seems to be the norm in society or pornography that treats women like objects of pleasure to be subjugated rather than the precious image of God that they really are or the horrible abuses that take place in this world where sex can become one of the most evil acts on the planet….I literally get disgusted.

Maybe I am setting my sights too high and expecting too much out of this experience. There is probably some kind of balance somewhere. I am trying to sort it all out, but honestly I would rather set out to reach the stars and maybe get to the clouds than reach for the gutter and end up settling for the sewer. But that is just me.

If men and women start to see each other as the true reflections of God that we both are then we all would approach sex very differently….very reverantly….very deeply, and the world could be a very different place.

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