Past reflection

This morning I was trying to remember some wisdom that a friend once gave to me, and I just happened to have the journal with me that I wrote it down in. Below is the journal entry which includes that bit of wisdom.  I’ve edited some irrelevant information, left out a few details, but you’ll get the basic idea. I hope you are encouraged.

I sent a prayer update yesterday. I received (so far) one positive feedback from someone at church, and a negative email from M. As I read the note from M, I thought a couple of things. One – that she made a good point, I haven’t written much about ___. Two – that she said I make a lot of ‘I’ and ‘me’ comments, which made me…angry, hurt, and confused. For about 40 minutes, I just took in what she said while I ran errands. Then, I sent an email to 3 friends to ask for feedback. I wanted to know what their response was to M’s comments, if they were appropriate and valid. Then, I became angry while attempting to pray and work.  Then, I played piano. Then back to work and listening to my favorite CD. During the last couple of hours, I allowed myself to yell at and make angry comments to M in my mind. That portion really only lasted about 15 minutes until I began to change my accusations. “When you only give negative feedback into my life, I feel unloved and uncared for, in addition to not wanting a relationship with you.” I now am not angry with M. I appreciate the feedback and can take it with the realization that we are both sinners in need of a savior. I’m not going to act on or respond to the comments until I hear back from the 3 friends, who I trust; because not only do I not know how to respond, but I am not sure about the selfish factor. I know that as a human being, I’m selfish, but to have only M comment makes me wary – I don’t have a positive relationship with M to start with. What I just realized, the reason for journaling in such detail, is that this entire process took me 4 hours. In the past, that would have taken days or weeks. I am growing. I still hurt, but my worth doesn’t depend on M, a person who has never given me positive, caring feedback. I don’t have to think I’m better than M for loving unconditionally – since that wouldn’t exactly be unconditional. But I can love M. I certainly don’t want to be friends, but I don’t have to hate M, be angry at M, or hurt by M. Nice.  Freedom.

Four days later…

Man, last week was awful for much of it. That whole thing with M felt to me to blow up by Thursday. I meant what I wrote on Tuesday, and truly felt/believed it. Wed, my friends responded to the email with constructive thoughts. One not only encouraged me to write better prayer updates, but gave me ideas on how to do so. After much thought (there isn’t much I do without thinking about it a lot) I replied to M. Of course, I thought my reply was good. I thanked M, briefly addressed my hurt, and told M more about the work. The response was, “I’m sorry I hurt you. My email was kind and tactful. Although I fell you missed the point so forget I said anything”. So I should have addressed the issue of my selfishness more directly. And Thursday was horrible. The entire day I felt small, and like a terrible person, selfish Christian and just plain not good enough. I was sad, angry, and could not focus on anything. When I finally talked to the program director about it, I felt a release of carrying the burden on my own. She encouraged and spoke truth to me. I know she has been praying for me. God didn’t want me to carry that on my own. For two days I second guessed every single action. I was selfish if I did something one way, selfish for doing it another. And I couldn’t find the freedom on my own, even though I knew it was there. After talking to the director, I sat in the garden and read all of Galatians. Paul is awesome. He spoke truth to the Galatians by telling them lovingly where they were wrong. He wasn’t afraid of conflict – he was bold and humble. By Friday afternoon I was feeling a littler better, but not much. That is, until A, a pastor, spoke further truth to me. He said “The Holy Spirit convicts. The enemy condemns.” Freedom.

Skipping irrelevant paragraph….

Now I’m in Solitude. And know with no doubt that God loves me. Really loves me, the person I am, the things I enjoy. He chases after me with them.  I am staying at a Christian retreat center for the weekend. It’s called Solitude, and I never want to leave. I’m sitting on a rustic sofa, looking out the double doors to a pond surrounded by green. Hills, trees, bushes, plants, and an occasional flower. It’s beautiful. After eating a delicious homemade meal, I could not doubt that God loves and wants me. This place, I think, was built just for me. Oh, sweet, beautiful open space in solitude. God rests here.


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