I have a bad word to share with you. It’s not an ‘A’ word or a ‘D’ word, it is the ‘P’ word.
We like things finished in an instant. God does some things instantaneously, but He often likes to use process. I have shared some things recently on my journey of being a “recovering Lone Ranger” and was thinking this morning of some of the milestone markers in that process.
Some of these I have already written about, but there has been a process that has lasted for over a decade (really, a life-time). We all have markers along that way that were defining moments in our journey. I love hearing other people’s mile marker moments.
I hope to expand on each of these in the future but these are just a few condensed moments
1992 – Rescued: I made a real decision to trust Christ to rescue me from my path of self-centered living. I was convinced I needed a savior and surrendered to His leadership. I am still learning to follow and that He ALWAYS leads me to great destinations when I do.
2002 – Sonship: I briefly mention this season in the “Slavery to Sonship” post but it was a true life-altering time for me. I was at a place of burnout, frustration and anger with everything and everyone which was really a cover up for being mad at myself for being human and unable to handle life. Through that painful season, I learned that I was 100% accepted and loved by Father God completely separate from how good or bad I was because I was His child. 1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” Father God told me, “I don’t want your stuff – the things you do and offer to me – I want your heart, your love.” That was good news because I was failing at everything and it changed my life. I no longer was motivated to try to be something, I was now motivated because I already was someone. (Slavery to Sonship).
2013 – Stuffers Make Buffers: I am skipping a number of years here but, in my mind, 2013 was the next marker for me in my “Tough Guy Detox” process. In the fall of 2013, a good friend invited us to go with him and his wife to a marriage retreat. There were some things Jenn and I learned that weekend that drastically changed our marriage and me as a person.
One of a couple profound things I learned was that I was quite the “Stuffer.” I learned that over time, I decided that not feeling was a good coping mechanism when faced with pain and difficulty. “I’m good. I’m fine. Oh, no that didn’t bother me, it’s cool. I’ll get over it.” Those sound noble and strong but really they are often signs of a fearful heart afraid to risk a mess for the sake of love and connection.
Stuffers make buffers.
Concealing injury may allow me to stay in the game temporarily but it will end my career prematurely.
“Stuffing” seemed like such a good option. It kept drama and emotional messes to a minimum and meant I didn’t have to take much risk in confronting or dealing with issues in my relationships. What I didn’t understand when I decided years ago to “conceal don’t feel” was that not only was I going to keep pain out, I was going to keep love in. If you are a “stuffer”, you may feel safe but there is a good chance your loved ones are struggling to feel emotionally connected to you. To be continued in future writing… …..
2016 – Lone Ranger Lives in Danger: I won’t write much about this here, you can read more about this one at Stop Fighting Alone and The Gift of Weakness. The last few years have continued to teach me I am not super man or the Lone Ranger and it is not weak to have needs, it is human. I was designed to be in relationships that give and receive support even to the point that my connection level with others drastically affects us physiologically. I am learning to celebrate others and be celebrated. I still have a long way to go, but it has been life-giving at a whole new level.
I would love to hear your stories. Drop me a note, all you fellow De-tox’ers. Discussion/Study guide below. ….. .
- Your Happy Brain, Connection and the Science Behind It – Our emotional and mental health are greatly impacted by the level of connection in our lives.
- Lone Ranger Assessment – Are you doing life alone? Take the assessment quiz and find out.
- Covenant: In it to Win it
- Purposeful Struggles – by Travis Uptegrove from E26 Men’s Ministry
- Daily Post
BREAK IT DOWN: Process it some more with some coffee or friends!
- Do you consider yourself a patient person or do you despise “process” and waiting? Are there some things you don’t mind waiting for? Why?
- Is there something you really like or appreciate in your life, maybe a lesson learned, a relationship, a material blessing, etc., that required a process to get? If so, in a nutshell, how did it begin and how did it end up being what it is today?
- Do you relate to any of the lessons/concepts in the blog (listed a,b,c below)? If so, which ones and how so?
- a. finding value or identity in performance instead of loving and being loved
- b. stuffing or holding emotions and feelings inside because of a fear of vulnerability
- c. handling life’s problems or struggles internally and on your own).
- What is something that you are learning or working to improve in your life right now or in the near future? Is is something that you feel you could or should do on your own or do you believe it would be beneficial to have someone help you in the process? Why or why not?
- Celebrate progress not perfections! Is there something you would say you are grateful that you are not perfect in but have at least made some progress in?
- TAKE AWAY: Invite God to teach and help you with the processes you are in and the things you need to learn and grow in.