Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Confessions II. Nail My Glory

A message from the Lord on co-dependency

For many months already I have struggled to understand just what in the heck is wrong with me. And I have always felt so confused in my thinking and rationale about situations that I end up feeling stuck, trapped, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Lately, I have noticed an increase in my emotional response to these frustrations where I felt I was just hanging there with Jesus on the cross while various animals came to feed on me. My perception of people were that they were leeches just out to feed off of me and I felt I never got anything from anyone else. The moment I told God this, I realized what a lie from hell that was just consuming my mind and He spoke a really cool message into my spirit.

He said a variation of the following:

1. Stop trying to fix other people's neediness
2. Stop rationalizing in your own understanding why you should or shouldn't do something in response to someone's neediness
3. Everything you do is for Me, not for anyone else, but only Me. Fix your eyes on me and give only to Me.
4. I have carved your life in the palm of My hand. I know everything you have gone through. I have seen those who have cowered from Me because of your dedication to me. I have heard all the complaints against you from people that you don't even know of. 
5. I have ordered your steps
6. I love you. I have loved you from the foundation of the earth.
7. Rest in Me because in Me you will find joy, peace, and restoration. Rest in Me.
8. I did not intend for you to suffer in this way
9. Rest.

Somehow suddenly I realized I suffer from the following. I didn't even hear God's voice, nor did I seek to find it, but the realization was just there. I have been suffering from codependency. 

'''Codependency''' (or '''codependence''', '''interdependency''' ) is defined as a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as in an addiction to alcohol or heroin); and in broader terms, it refers to the dependence on the needs of or control of another. It also often involves placing a lower priority on one's own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. Patterns and Characteristics: Codependency can occur in any type of relationship, including family, work, friendship, and also romantic, peer or community relationships. Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self esteem, excessive compliance, or control patterns.

People who are codependent often take on the role as a martyr; they constantly put others' needs before their own and in doing so forget to take care of themselves.  This creates a sense that they are "needed"; they cannot stand the thought of being alone and no one needing them.  Codependent people are constantly in search of acceptance.  When it comes to arguments, codependent people also tend to set themselves up as the "victim".  When they do stand up for themselves, they feel guilty.

As I looked into this, I saw more and more how my behavioral patterns matched up too nicely with the definition of codependency. I also realized that the months of agitation towards people's neediness was just a prelude to my recovery from these mindsets. Below is a list of characteristics I pulled from wikipedia. I posted the ones I believe apply to me. Most of the ones listed on wikipedia do, except for all the compliance and control ones.

'''Denial patterns:''' * I have difficulty |identifying what I am feeling.
* I minimize, alter or deny how I truly feel.
* I lack empathy for the feelings and needs of others.
* I label others with my negative traits.
* I can take care of myself without any help from others.
* I mask my pain in various ways such as anger, humor, or isolation.
* I express negativity or aggression in indirect and passive ways.
* I do not recognize the unavailability of those people to whom I am attracted.

'''Low self-esteem patterns:'''
* I have difficulty making decisions.
* I judge everything I think, say or do harshly, as never "good enough."
* I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires.
* I value others' approval of my thinking, feelings and behavior over my own.
* I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.
* I constantly seek recognition that I think I deserve.( in this case I want it over actually seeking it)
* I am jealous of the relationships between others I would like to have as my own.
* I need to appear to be right in the eyes of others
* I perceive myself as superior to others.
* I look to others to provide my sense of safety.
* I have difficulty getting started, meeting deadlines, and completing projects.
* I have trouble setting healthy priorities.

'''Avoidance patterns:'''
* I judge harshly what others think, say, or do.
* I avoid emotional intimacy as a means of maintaining distance.
* I allow my addictions to people, places, and things to distract me from achieving intimacy in relationships.
* I use indirect and evasive communication to avoid conflict or confrontation.
* I diminish my capacity to have healthy relationships by declining to use all the tools of recovery.(not all...but some. Mainly the ones that involve opening up to someone to reveal my insecurities)
* I suppress my feelings or needs to avoid feeling vulnerable.
* I pull people toward me, but when they get close, I push them away.
* I refuse to give up my self-will to avoid surrendering to a power that is greater than myself.
* I believe displays of emotion are a sign of weakness.( haha cuz I'm highly emotional)

'''Compliance patterns:'''
* I value others' opinions and feelings more than my own and am afraid to express differing opinions and feelings of my own.

'Control patterns:'''
* I lavish gifts and favors on those I care about.
* I have to be "needed" in order to have a relationship with others.
* I demand that my needs be met by others.
* I use charm and charisma to convince others of my capacity to be caring and compassionate.(I actually think other ppl think I'm caring and compassionate because of these things, I don't use them to convince others)
* I refuse to cooperate, compromise, or negotiate.(I try to- but God always breaks me down to cooperate)
* I adopt an attitude of indifference, helplessness, or rage to manipulate outcomes. 
* I have obsessive, compulsive thinking patterns and cannot focus on daily activities.

Wow! What a list of issues. I don't think all codependency is wrong, obviously God created relationships for His glory. But when we begin to act out in ways that attempt to manipulate people and situations for our personal advantage, I think we are not glorifying God, but we only glorify ourselves.

With that, I will forsake all that I thought was mine and nail my glory to His cross.

Nail My Glory

No more, my God, I boast no more
Of all the duties I have done;
I quit the hopes I held before,
To trust the merits of thy Son.

Now, for the love I bear his name,
What was my gain I count my loss;
My former pride I call my shame,
And nail my glory to his cross.

Yes, and I must and will esteem
All things but loss for Jesus' sake:
O may my soul be found in him,
And of his righteousness partake!

The best obedience of my hands
Dares not appear before thy throne;
But faith can answer thy demands
By pleading what my Lord has done. 

Isaac Watts

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Confessions I. Sweet, Sweet Fantasy

There's a song by Mariah Carey called Fantasy where she innocently describes her emotions about a man she sees and she is attracted to but basically her relationship goes only as far as where her mind will take it. The guy only is described as walking by every night, talking sweet and looking fine. That could be anybody. But somehow a fantasy of him and her is manifested in her mind and it goes pretty far. She is telling of how into this guy she is but implies in her lyrics that she can't even explain it to him with sincerity because she knows it's only a fantasy of them together that causes the emotions she is feeling. she also expresses the fantasy as images of rapture (her being swept away by this gentleman) and they begin to come in slowly, but as she allows the images to take her over her heart beats faster which basically implies a physical manifestation from having dwelt on this fantasy for a period of time. Then, alas, she describes her fantasy which is a picture of her in heaven with her laughing boyfriend. She puts no time to the feeling as to where it began and where it ends and states that she feels like she is dreaming but she is awake which means that she knows very well the images aren't real and neither would be the relationship she has to this guy. I would agree though that her emotions and attraction are very real.

I have on many occasions felt as though I were in love with people I had no physical connection with. I've written about it in poem or song form. I use poetry and songwriting to express my emotions and my adoration for God. I have in the past also used poetry and songwriting for the adoration of men. Which men? Men of honour and integrity? No. Male leaders? No. Family members? Not even. I went through a number of writings tonight and found that I wrote about many different persons whom I have never met in real life but shared some sort of attraction with. These men were men I sought attention from online through various types of social media including chat messengers and websites. The thing that struck me the hardest as I was reading the words I penned was that the emotion I described as love toward that person as far back as 5 years ago or more was the very same emotion I had been feeling and struggling with recently. I basically fell in awe and let God show me what it was He needed to show me. 

Sometimes being alone with God will point out the fact that the life you think you're living isn't even real. I mean, you know the real moments apart from the fake. The only real moments I have ever encountered were my moments with Christ. And for some that might sound backwards because He cannot be seen and could easily be debated as a fantasy, but everything I have ever known before Christ was fantasy. Recently I have struggled to recall memories of things learned and even as I read through my writings tonight I would only recall the memory because I wrote it down, but I tried so desperately in my writing to make the fantasy sound real. 

So I cried out to God and I told Him I was tired of living in a fantasy. I told Him I was tired of how I've hurt others due to my scary self absorption. I told Him that I was tired of treating others as though they are less than me, worse than that even. I said I was tired of blaming others for how I denied the problem being with me. You see, in Christ I am made whole. ( mark 10:52) I am quite functional in the Spirit realm for I believe in the Almighty God, however there are circumstances that arise in my life where God is directing my attention to in order that I would seek to heal from it. He has given me moments of rest and now it is time that I face my giants and make those areas of my life whole through Christ. This work, yes work, does not feel like rest but strangely enough it is through my rest in the Holy Spirit that I will overcome. I will not become whole through my own power, for I have seen what my power is. My power in the flesh is fantasy- it's lust. but in me is the greatest power and that is the power that will sustain me and teach me how to answer the call of my Saviour when I don't know how to trust and follow. That power is the Holy Spirit and praise the Lord that He has brought me this far! 

So come Lord Jesus and make Yourself known in me and through me. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Worship Experiment: Take 2

I began writing blog entry entitled "Take 1" on Saturday, March 3, 2012 and decided I would continue it later, but I chose to start a new entry today on Sunday, March 4, 2012. Today, as I am worshipping in choir at WPC, Paulo speaks a word and he says he doesn’t know who it was for...but he continued and his words were exactly for me. I didn’t know that I was walking with condemnation, but I knew I wasn’t walking in freedom. So when he said “there is a difference between conviction and condemnation”, I knew the word was for me because it wasn’t like other words I’ve heard about condemnation, but he explained to the core how I have been feeling and I experienced so much freedom through the power of God that morning. Pastor Mark’s teaching about feeling overwhelmed and choosing to come to Jesus with our burdens for rest..........ahhh I  can’t even explain it, I just want to experience all over again.

I am excited about this journey with my mates because I have already gained so much understanding of my purpose and am motivated to learn and develop myself as a minister of God. What I have gained so far is the following:

  1.  The best teacher and co-labourers in this journey (haha I had to say it);
  2. I have begun to think of music differently as I am listening to it. I listen for different elements in the song and try to understand what the artist is feeling or trying to achieve;
  3. I have bought more music of artists I just heard about to broaden my musical awareness;
  4. My personal worship time has allowed God to remind me about who I am, something He kind of wasn’t able to do because I wasn’t drawing near to Him J
  5.  I feel free and pumped and ready for the journey;
  6. I am able to see direction in my current career now that I have let go of my burdens;
  7. I feel like now I have permission to speak out, whereas I didn’t feel that way before. I knew I had authority in me, just didn’t give myself permission to use it;
  8.  I am learning boundaries which is something huge to me;
  9.  Most of all, I have a clear vision of the love that surrounds me. I used to think people were bothering me...but I don’t see it that way anymore. I was bothering myself by thinking like a fool.

So here’s to a year full of experimenting, learning, leaning, taking risks and challenges, talking to more people I don’t know, talking to more people about things no one wants to talk about, and seek out the truth in Jesus according to God’s word.

The Worship Experiment: Take 1

Over the last 5 years or so of my Christian journey, I have observed many other believers around me and have had some great teaching and learning experiences about who God is and what my role is as a follower of Christ. I can honestly say that over that time, I was desperately trying to figure out how to please God through my actions. I felt as though I knew God pretty well because I had the conviction of seeing things through God’s eyes, as I am a born again believer. As my desperation in actions grew stronger and my desire to seek Jesus grew deeper, I got very tired. I felt as though over time, rather than developing more understanding of my freedom in Christ, I successfully put a barrier between myself and God. Not by sin, but by not being intimate with God.

I had my moments where I would learn from the Word of God, and had my moments where God would speak to me in a dream or through other people. Still, I always desperately tried to understand scripture on my own or through my own experiences, and tried to follow God’s voice on a best-guess basis. This means I would feel a certain way about a situation or something I prayed about and I would go about whatever it was that I felt according to my understanding. Not that I would say that my feelings should be avoided when making a decision, but I realized that my understanding was lacking, and it was lacking a lot. I want to gain understanding, but I know now that I mustn’t lean on my own understanding. I have to be able to totally depend on God in ALL circumstances.

I don’t want to be the person who desperately wants to be a warrior for God but does not yield to the process of becoming one. I am tired of being in the presence of God at all times and rarely feeling motivated to give thanks and to fellowship intimately with Him. I came to the realization in the fall 2011 that I do not have a deep understanding of who God is and that I do not have a deep understanding of how great His love is for me. The realization did not surprise me, as this is just a part of my journey. I did however recognize its perfect timing and could not be more ecstatic about the fact that God has orchestrated every single detail of my life to where it is now so that I would have the maximum benefit out of this journey to intimacy with Him.
Let’s see what God did in 2011 to force me to want to be intimate with Him ;)

1.       He took me out of a job I felt unsupported in and placed me into a job where I have been developing meaningful friendships with people and am actually learning how to do my job. The location of my job is downtown where I was more than open to moving to because the location of my former job was far from other departments and it felt very lonely all the time.

2.       Knowing that I was going to eventually lose the closeness in accessibility to my mother and my best friend/sister due to marriage in both of their lives, I had to move into my own dwelling place. This was genius God-timing because as I was looking for my place, my mom gets engaged and 3 days after my move date my sister officially moves to the USA. I chose to live alone because I felt I needed to develop my dependency on God.

3.       Closer to the end of the year, I felt I really hadn’t bathed in the word of God in my journey and didn’t make it a priority of my life. Because I felt I was distant from God, I began to seek Him out through more spiritual disciplines and reading.

I won’t go into the details of my experiences where God showed me boundaries in my relationships with others, but essentially that’s what God began doing and very quickly too. He did it and continues to do it with the most amazing love ever. He is a faithful and gentle God.

So at the end of 2011, Paulo (my friend and mentor) advises about this small group that would begin in the new year of 2012 for worship leaders and I pretty much leap for joy in my spirit because the timing was so great and perfect. At a time where I longed desperately to know God more intimately and learn more about my purpose in ministry, he calls a small group together and opens his home to a time of sharing experiences but most importantly to develop on the foundation of a follower of Christ and grow in our ministry as worship leaders.

I have learned first of all how honoured and loved I am to even be a part of something like this. Another thing I still can’t get over is how great God is that He would place me in a wonderful group at such a time as this J

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Am Troy Davis

This post is a part of Indie Ink's Weekly Writing Challenge. I was challenged by Tara Roberts with a quote from Winston Churchill “I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” I challenged runaway sentence


September 21, 2011
A night to remember
My life is now in Your hands
My life, my God, my Maker
I have been ready to see You all this time
My One, my Love, my Lord

I just wanted them to see
That justice belongs to You, God
No one can separate me from Your love
This long ordeal did not prove my innocence
Rather Your blood is the atonement for my sin

I stand in Your presence ‘Not Guilty’
In the arms of the Holy Lamb of God, Jesus Christ
Everyone is still fighting for my justice...
But here I am acquitted of my crime
From a natural born sinister life

Thank You for Your sacrifice.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Random

This post is part of Indie Ink's Weekly Writing Challenge.  I was challenged this week with "I just walked away..." from Billy Flynn. I challenged Janey.


You know it; you've been there before. You probably don't even realize what you're doing. You're there; then, you're just gone. Like a vapour.

A young black lady works around the clock to make ends meet. She has no time to spend with her children, so they're out in the streets. They grab your attention because they stand outside of your neighbourhood gas station where you buy your cigarettes, and talk to you like they know you because they see you almost everyday. You act like they aren't there; you just walk away.

A large, overweight and handicapped man comes onto the elevator while at work. You don't know that his 7 month old daughter was taken out of his care because he couldn't work enough hours to make enough money to pay for his medical expenses AND take care of her. You don't say hello; you just smile awkwardly and walk away.

Two planes fly into the twin towers causing it to explode with smoke and debris everywhere. Hundreds of people die. You watch the news and read all the newpaper stories. A survivor explains their experience on a talk show and pleads that viewers value their lives and take nothing for granted. You don't listen to her plea. You just turn the show away.

A  mother and her three young children in East Africa share a bond unlike the one you and I share with our mothers. She is the caregiver of her home and brings hope to other homes in the village. Her face is on advertisements which compel you to pity her and to give financially in order that she would have the same medical and life benefits that you do. You don't care to know her story and who she is, even if she walked by you begging for money to feed her starving children.

People walk by you everyday with a story. If we took a moment to talk to them and show them kindness and mercy, what do you think would change in your life? Many of us live our lives without purpose. We think taking care of ourselves is having purpose. That's survival. A basic instinct. Shouldn't there be MORE?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why Do I Even Try.

This post is a part of the Indie Ink Writing Challenge. I was challenged by My prompt was "Why do I even try." I challenged Aimee with "Something simple".

This incredible pain owns me.

At night I fall into deep lack of concentration
When I speak, my mind fears emancipation
Because I am alone.

I’ve walked 10 miles
And broke some bones-
The pain still recurs now that
I’ve dealt with the way life beats me up
Because the road keeps winding me down...

Long are the days I sleep awake
And these days I cry
And sometimes lose my mind-
I possibly don’t know where I am
Or how far I have come-
But one thing I do know
Is I can’t turn around
And must never look back
Because yesterdays are gone.

Why do I live in the past?
I can’t make sense of today
All I want to do is die-
My God, I can’t live this way
But I’ve tried and I’ve tried,
And Lord knows how I’ve cried...
I tried to make everything good for me
But something is not right with me

This incredible pain owns me

Unless someone can let me go.
How can I trust a stranger?

I just want to be alone