Thursday, January 25, 2007

Reflections of You

Have you ever second guessed yourself? No, make that second guessed God?

You know what you are supposed to do, but someone else makes a comment that makes you wonder about something you were so sure of? This happens often to abused women. Things get twisted back to them until they no longer know what they wanted because they have no one to reflect their thoughts but the abuser.

But it can happen to anyone. It's the aspect of doubt versus trust. You no longer trust your own decisions or the leading of God because you handed that power over to someone else.

Isolation causes doubt to reverberate louder and louder until it overtakes confidence. It's like watching a skiier try to outrun an avalanche. Abusers know this. The goal is to cut off all support in order to control the input and yank all sense of solidity away. When you're flailing out of control, then you'll grab onto anything for support. And that's when you get caught under the weight of insecurity.

When trust gets eroded, where do you turn? How do you find it again?

God gave us the enormous gift of fellowship. That's why other people are so important as support networks. That's why church, Alcoholics Anonymous, Weight Watcher's all work. The spiritual law of fellowship is at work infusing security and counsel.

I felt a deep stirring toward God uses broken vessels as my tagline. (For those who aren't writers, this means it tells my readers the main theme or promise of my writing.) Then someone I respect told me it sounded negative. Was it? What would I do? I'd built my future around this-the idea that helping others learn that God uses broken vessels is a beautiful, freeing, and healing way of life. That harsh realities are what make us able to make a difference in the world. They help us to connect at the heart and reach a hand to another going through the same thing. It says that even though we aren't perfect, we are still valuable. We are able to contribute value to others because of the wisdom gained during hardship, mistakes, and overcoming evil done to us.

Difficulties are a gift from God that tenders our heart with compassion for other souls mired in the same pain that we've been through. We can help another clamber up the mountain behind us because we understand.

If you're going through abuse in any form, would you please think about the people you know? Would you consider making an effort to communicate and build friendships? The more isolated you are, the less likely you are thinking clearly. Decisions will start to be made for you, if they're not already.

If you have a friend in this situation, would you consider making a stronger effort to connect? You may not realize she isn't leaving your friendship on her own accord. Life just got so busy that you didn't notice her slowly sinking below the surface.

Fellowship allows us to bounce ideas and thoughts off another person. When they reflect back to us, we start to wake up and see that something isn't right. A mind left alone will justify the situation to create a comfort zone. The last thing you want is your friend to get comfortable with abuse. Believe it or not, it's often easier to do than to fight. She'll begin to make excuses, downplay the severity, and pull back from regular activity. She thinks it will make him stop. It won't. The cycle is deceptive.

So what did second guessing my tagline have to do with anything? I saw the vision God instilled in me begin to crumble. I doubted my ability to discern. I doubted my ability to find my way out of the confusion.

Unlike an abuser, the person who made the comment had no intent to do any of this. But it drove home to me how easy it is to sway away from God's leading without the proper support network.

How did I handle it? I sent out an all call to a bunch of gals God provided for me. They are all strong followers of the Lord. They are strong supporters through the gift of fellowship. By bouncing ideas off them, I realized that the other comment (while well-intentioned) was off base for the plan God has for me. Fellowship does that. It keeps you on track, safe, supported.

What do you need to do to find a support network? For your personal life? For your career? For your parenting? For your dreams? For your safety?

Do you know how? Stay tuned. We'll talk more about creating a support network. I had to learn to do this and you can too.

In the meantime, consider reading the Proverbs. See if you can find the verse that says, "Where there are many counselors, plans succeed." Then meditate on how this applies to fellowship.

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