I just want to hide from the world! Sound familiar? Do you run from pain? Where do you find comfort? Have you lost control? Please let me encourage you with my own tale.
Hello, dear ones! Happy New Year! Okay, so I know I’m a little late. I hope you are well. This week I’ve read about three mama friends struggling to juggle home life. I keep hearing the same thing…they want to hide. I am so there! It makes me think about my awful New Year’s Eve. I spent a chunk of it hiding and crying in my literal closet. So I haven’t talked much about my closet habit on this blog. But ever since I was a little girl I would hide in my closet or some other small place, whenever my feelings were hurt. I’m almost 32 and I still do this on occasion!
Anywho, my expectations with my family and my marriage were blown and so I decided to freeze to death in the closet. It’s very drafty in our old house. Somehow the thought of torturing myself seemed like a solution. I also contemplated quitting everything...no more homeschooling, marriage, blog, or living. I was just going to curl up and die in that closet unless someone came to get me. Well, a good bit later I realized no one was coming to get me and I didn’t really want to quit and freeze to death.
I had already wrapped myself in a sweater when it hit me. I’ve tied my happiness and life purpose to the emotions of others. My whole life I’ve been a people pleaser and I haven’t changed much in thirty years. I didn’t want to spend another New Years thinking about suicide or blaming others for my discontent. I didn’t want somebody else’s bad mood to cripple me. I prayed for God to help me change.
Galatians 1:10Amplified Bible (AMP)
“10 Am I now trying to win the favor and approval of men, or of God? Or am I seeking to please someone? If I were still trying to be popular with men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
You see, I can be rather successful for a bit, but so many times I’m paralyzed by my strong emotions. When my husband came home from war and had PTSD, I took that on myself by trying to control his happiness. I still struggle with this. I’ve realized that I take on my preteen’s angst…my toddler’s tantrums. I absorb it all and I stop being productive until THEY are better. And when they really struggle, my whole worlds seems to crash around me. It is a life crisis when all of my guys are having issues. Oh, and don’t get me started about the WORLD! Drama in the news…my friends having a rough time…Christians being persecuted overseas. I take it all in and I bleed with everybody…like a martyr. But I’m not a martyr, and I’m not doing anyone any favors.
“You’ve got to get your joy and hope from God,” my Pastor’s wife reminded me. “Let God be” their “judge.” I hugged her and cried…a lot. The night before, God was already showing me my inward battle, and now he confirmed it through this Godly woman. “I don’t know why you’re going through this, but I know God is already in your tomorrow.” I wrote that last bit on an index card and taped it up in my living room. 2016 had several low points and though 2017 looks scary, God is there. He’s waiting for me in how many tomorrows HE chooses to let me live. The unknown just got a bit brighter.
Matthew 6:27Amplified Bible (AMP)
“27 And who of you by worrying can add one hour to [the length of] his life?”
I did come out of my literal closet. I wiped off my snot and tears and plopped in front of the heater for a bit. I noticed my eldest son was in his room instead of at the dinner table. He was struggling because our family was struggling. I realized that my people pleasing was setting a bad example. Our negative outlook had become HIS negative outlook. You see, trying to take on the world’s pain and making everyone happy hasn’t made me a good role model. I haven’t saved anyone. I’ve just passed on poison, a way of living that I wouldn’t wish on my enemy. I can’t help others if I am soul sick with them. I can’t teach my children to control their anger if I adopt the anger myself. God’s joy will flow through me when I am all about pleasing HIM, not the world. Only then can I be of help to the world. I’ve experienced this is small ways here and there. I’ve yet to live in that Truth completely. I’m ready to begin again.
My Counterfeit Comforts
So you’ve noticed my featured picture says “Amber’s Counterfeit Comforts”. I made that for my prayer journal because I’ve been reading Counterfeit Comforts by Robia Scott. You may be wondering what “hiding” and “people pleasing” have to do with counterfeit comforts. Well, I’m learning that I have sought comfort in both ways. Instead of facing my pain, I run away. I drown it in chocolate and Star Trek…McDonalds fries…mmmmm. Okay, those things aren’t drugs and I’m committing no crime. I’m not saying chocolate is bad. Seeking comfort in chocolate is bad, because chocolate can’t hug me. It can’t save the day. Only one person can save the day. You guessed who, Jesus!
My people pleasing is harder to spot. I seem like a super mom and wife by how I try to make my family happy. That can seem very Godly, but it is also a counterfeit comfort. Being busy all the time is a counterfeit comfort. Busyness is great for avoiding pain, but it doesn’t make life better. It’s like spinning tires in the mud. You go nowhere although you’re spending all your energy spinning! In the end, you’re drained and not much good to the world. Oh, burn out, I know you so well! Again, having a busy life doesn’t mean you are wicked. It is only when you use busyness to run away that it becomes an idol.
“Though in ourselves we are unable to break the bondage, there is a way in God. As we learn to lean on Him–and stand back and take our hands off our lives somewhat–the true Comforter will meet our needs and fill our emptiness…Using television to avoid feelings does not work. Using food to avoid feelings does not work. Turning to God and dealing with feelings is what works. We have to feel and deal in order to heal.”
– Counterfeit Comforts by Robia Scott (Pgs 29-30)
I have not attained some great enlightenment. I think I’ve only accepted a teaspoon of what God wants me to see. It’s crazy how a teaspoon from God, FEELS like 2 tons! It’s only January 12th. I’m still struggling with running to my counterfeit comforts. My gut instinct is to hide when I feel threatened. But I know there is hope for me, just as there is hope for you. His name is Jesus.
I had a lovely dream several months back. It began as a normal haze of scattered thoughts and silly purposes, but halfway through, the dream changed. All of a sudden I was in the woods and I heard Jesus call my name. I turned towards Him. His hand was out beckoning me. I forgot all of my scattered purposes and I just ran to His arms. I woke up shaken and amazed. I’m working on a mixed media painting of this scene. I may share it with you when I’m done. Anywho, that dream reminded me that my GOD is Jesus, NOT my family or even myself.
One day the Lord will call me home. I won’t be taking anything or anyone with me. I will stand alone before Jesus. I can’t secure my husband’s or children’s salvation. I can’t force the world to believe in Jesus. I can’t end all evil. Only Jesus can do these things. I’m not really in control of anything. It’s funny how sometimes I put more faith in the illusion of my control than God’s actual control. I’ve yet to send lightnings or breathe stars. I’ve never once made a planet. How silly of me to think my worry, my people pleasing does ANYTHING.
God questioning Job
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you know and have understanding.” Job 38:4 AMP
“Since your days began, have you ever commanded the morning,
And caused the dawn to know its place?” Job 38:12 AMP
What I can do is Trust. I can run TO instead of AWAY. Tonight I was reminded how easily things fall apart. My little blog means a great deal to me, but computers and websites fail all the time. I went to my blog address and a screen popped up saying my blog was suspended. I freaked out and did all I could to figure this conundrum out. I was getting nowhere when all of a sudden my blog starting working again. I guess the internet had brain fog! This little piece of virtual space can crumble in an instant or…it can be used mightily by God if He chooses to do so. Again, I have no control. I can’t make the internet behave. I can’t make people read or care. All I can do is trust.
So, I wasn’t sure what my first post of the New Year should be. Usually, I do a bucket-list but I just wasn’t feeling it. You know, God gifted me with creativity. Crafts and parties are great, but none of it matters if I don’t share with you my greatest gift…friendship with Jesus. I can’t do this life without HIM and neither can you. We were made to glorify God. We find our greatest joy when we live for HIM. When we live for ourselves or other people, we are like a hamster in a wheel. We may feel like we are getting somewhere but really we aren’t truly living. I’ve experienced the greatest moments of my life when I was completely trusting God for my next step.
Here are a few examples. I was blown away by God’s power when I gave birth to Leeland without pain medication. I was so scared and I could only pray and trust God’s mercy. HE didn’t let me down.
I remember being asked to preach to a group of kids in Belize, on the spot. I wasn’t prepared. People generally scare me. I’m actually a bit of a loner. I spoke words that could have only come from the Holy Spirit. I couldn’t muster them up after. I couldn’t even remember how I had begun. I just know that Jesus helped me share the gospel with those kids.
When my Dad died I was faced with my greatest childhood fear. I used to imagine that I’d crawl inside his coffin when he died…that they’d have to pry me away as I screamed. So when I got the call I felt dread. As I walked to his Hospice room, I felt like I was being dragged against my will. Then I faced his death. It was shocking and I spent more time with a dead body than I had ever before.
I was in deep pain, but by God’s grace, I spoke at Dad’s funeral. I shared about his life and even read a poem I had written about him. People were moved. I was full of peace as I shook people’s hands. I may have seemed like a rock, but the TRUTH is that it was Jesus who was MY ROCK. On the way home I broke and depression overcame me. It was definitely not MY strength that got me through the funeral. I was a weak and broken vessel. God shone through my cracks.
I could go on and on about God’s faithfulness, but you get the point. I pray that you experience the true comfort and joy of living in the moment with Jesus. May you trust God for every breath…every step. May you let go of the illusion of control. Stop hiding. Come out. God is waiting for you. Feel free to cry, shout, or holler. God can take it. He wants to. One more thing…please pray for me to do the same. Please remind me when I want to quit, that God is already in my tomorrow. (Thank you, Katie!)
I love you dear ones! Happy new year! God bless and remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover