In Your Language

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The torture of inconsistency and some hope

 Photo Credit: russian-untouchables.com

I remember always questioning my relationships due to inconsistency. Let's be real- being abandoned makes a person ever so sensitive to inconsistencies. The things and people we cannot count on bring us to that vulnerable place of horror over the idea of that separation happening all over again- different cast, so to speak.

Inconsistency tells our primal selves that life is not secure and that we cannot count on things or people. It's not even a conscious choice that we have decided not to trust. It is a primal switch that takes many repetitions for things to feel "right" again. I can honestly say that I would not wish this type of feeling on my worst enemies. Nothing is more terrifying than feeling alone in the world.

Inconsistencies have a pain attached to them connected to disconnection. Disconnection is what we are left to feel when our actions are not reciprocated. The excruciating feeling of not knowing the rules KNOWING that the "social contract" is null and void. Knowing that despite our intrinsic value and our behavior, relational rewards are withheld.

Inconsistencies lead us to turn away our hearts from each other... and on the severe end, from people in general. I have seen too many broken and hurting hearts not to write about this topic. I've felt it. In some cultures they call this a one sided torturous relationship. And if we enable and allow these types of relationships it becomes something we seek out of familiarity.

There is hope. There is a promise to grasp. There is a perfect love out there. If your heart cries due to interpersonal inconsistencies and disappointments, this Perfect Love is for all of us. This "perfect love" puts in perspective the shortcomings of any human heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says that our hearts deceive us...

Seek refuge in God. Place all of those relational longings on him so that HE may fulfill them for us. God sees us all for our eternal value. He hurts for our pain and he wants our hearts to break for what breaks his.
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After my weekend experience at the Easter Seals camp, my eyes opened to how much people are hurting. Some of the most caring people are also the most hurt. They hurt because they have neglected themselves first off. They put off their own self care needs in the hopes that their sacrifices will pay off before they accumulate a spiritual debt that will be insurmountable. Perhaps the reason why we get burnt out caring for others is that we haven't cared enough for ourselves to keep our ministering motors running.

God does not condone self neglect especially if it endangers the care and ministry to other people. I sat next to couples, siblings, families that looked just as disconnected with each other as they were with the strangers that joined in on the camp. I saw sunken eyes and faces aged beyond their time. People thought that they could take a personal debt that was not benefiting anyone involved. Somehow, people tricked themselves into putting 100% of their energy on 20% of their family. And you wonder why families are imploding.

Special needs families are the most likely to get divorced... it seems right up there with 2nd marriages (the sources are aplenty). We all matter and we need to start behaving as if we do. Needs are equal even if "special ones" are present. How can we care for others without maintaining our personal reservoir for that care? The more imbalanced and inconsistent a household, the more dysfunction we will experience.

Sometimes we are so in the thick of it that we cannot see it for lack of perspective. I had a complete stranger, single mother, cry to me that she was wanting a man in her life. I had another mother cry out to me as if she hasn't been heard in YEARS. I heard people say that they struggle to keep their family present and in the moment with each other. This is NORMAL for these families, but it's not what God ordained.

We set out to have this family EXperience with EXcitement and EXpectations of shared synchronous joy. And despite the fact that that is very unlikely to happen-- EVER, we have to decide to do the right thing for our families DESPITE the consensus and be willing to fake positive energy to beget more positive energy.

For the people who want the right things WILL attain it as long as they own THEIR experience and not make it contingent on others. My husband and I made the best of it. I took a human inventory and decided that people are even more precious and worthy than I did before the weekend. I had time with my Heavenly God in a higher elevation (of the mountains). I rejoiced that we have stayed steadfast, with HIM strengthening us.

This weekend symbolizes another stamp on our relational passport. I've also referred to it to my counselor as our "relational resume."I keep a special binder will all of the family and marriage enriching activities we've participated in. They are the bricks that keep our family strong despite our fleeting and conflicting feelings.

This cognitive moment reminds me of a story I heard off of Facebook of a lesbian couple. Their adopted son was worried that they were going to announce a divorce. But instead, his mothers called him to take a special ride in their RV. To his relief and joy, they were celebrating hitting 100,000 miles on the odometer as a family. There was no divorce on the horizon, just many more miles to share in this imperfect life.

And that's how I feel about every time we pile in our car (whichever one is working at the moment, tongue in cheek) to go to a special event. We know they are all milestones and testaments to our family story. We choose to forget the bitter moments and we proudly display the ones that show our strength.

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So I pray:

God, I ask that you anoint all of these family moments to shape our families into your ideal for relationship and love. May all of our imperfections just remind us that we need you to fill in those gaps so that we have an overflow with which to care and minister to ourselves and others. Let us dedicate specific moments to you as we attempt to align with your Word and bring a bit of your Heavenly love on Earth. In your Great Name I humbly pray. Amen.

God bless you~

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