A good portion of my life has been spent in victim mode, accepting responsibility for the wrong choices of others, reacting instead of living. Personal freedom has come as I have developed boundaries. I now understand where my responsibility ends. I no longer allow the bad choices others make to oppress my life. Taking on the emotional baggage someone else is choosing to carry is not an act of kindness for either of us. I have learned to listen, offer my best advice, and then leave the emotional baggage behind. Personal freedom allows me to say, “This is not my problem. I care about you, but I am not your personal dumping ground.” It is impossible to share our gifts with the world if we allow those we meet to dump their emotional junk all over us.
Know thyself. Exploring the depths of our inner world is the most important journey we can take. The study of myself has been the most important I have ever pursued. I have gotten to know myself as I have processed through the early experiences in my life, reconciling the emotional fallout. An understanding of the damage done to the child I was has allowed me to let go of some long held misunderstandings about my responsibility for the abuse I endured. The contempt and shame I held toward myself has been replaced with knowledge and forgiveness. Throughout the years, as my teachers have passed through my life, they have each endeavored to lift me above my shame. Each was holding a piece of my personal puzzle and answers to questions I had not even known to ask.
Now, as I leaf through the pages of my past, I have discovered I am holding the combined wisdom of all my teachers. They freely gave their gifts to me, and now it is my privilege to pass them on. They had eyes to see what was real in me, ears to hear what I was really saying, and hearts to truly love the confused soul standing before them. They were not supermen or angels, just people with understanding hearts. This is each of us; we all have gifts to give, things we know that someone else is just now ready to hear. We hold the missing pieces for each other. — Taken From Chapter 11; Entitled: “Forgiveness”
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I have always felt that when God puts you in a seat of authority over other people, you have a responsibility to do right by them. I believe God will hold accountable anyone in a position of authority who is derelict in their duty or willfully harms or causes pain to those over whom they have authority.
I noticed some caseworkers degraded their clients. When I considered the sad cases that passed through our office, I often thought, “but for the grace of God there go I.” In our lives, most of us will have our circumstances turned around many times. The downturns may be beyond our control and independent of our personal actions. Life’s lessons must be learned. If we fail to learn them during the good times, the Father will take us over the same track again and again, until we learn what He is trying to teach us.
The first time He tries to press a lesson home to our hearts, it can be in the quiet of our room as we meditate. A thought is pressed on our minds that we may dismiss as inconsequential, something we don’t wish to deal with at that moment, if ever. Time goes along, and soon you’ll hear that very thought spoken aloud by a trusted friend or authority figure. God is raising His voice in your life, trying to get your attention and tell you that now is the time to deal with this issue. But your pride is hurt and you decide to blow off the opinion of this person. What do they know anyway? It’s your life and it’s been going along just fine.
Nope, wrong answer. This issue is not going to go away. Jesus, the Father, God, Providence, the Powers That Be, whatever you wish to call it, has decided that this is the time, right here and right now, for you to deal with yourself. The next time, and there will be a next time, it will surface as a full blown, most likely, public trial guaranteed to get your attention. The Father will take us round and round an issue until we surrender the idol He is asking for, along with our pride. Those who refuse to be taught by any means will eventually make a shipwreck of their lives, with the loss of all they hold dear.
Working on ourselves can be the toughest job of all, so be kind to those who are going down the hard roads. Learn from the example of others. Pray that when the Lord deals with you, that you will listen quickly, and if you fail to notice His quiet calls to reform your life, that as you travel down the hard road, you will be rewarded for the kindnesses you have shown. –Read From Chapter Six, Entitled: “Mrs. Michael Dietz”
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Once, during a weekend intensive on personal empowerment, I participated in a guided meditation on my past experiences. During the meditation, I watch myself walk up a grassy knoll toward a castle. Approaching the strong stonewalls, I see a massive door standing ajar. The bright morning sun lights my way as I pass through the vestibule and into a large dimly lit room. As my eyes adjust to the changing light, I began to make my way toward what appears to be piles of discarded stuff.
Approaching the first pile, I see a bunch of mismatched shoes and socks lying among little coats and sweaters. I’m about to pass on when I recognize a favorite sweater I once owned. How strange to find it here, I think to myself. My attention is drawn to another pile of small boxes a few steps away. I pick up a small, pink box from the top of the pile and slowly open the lid. Softly, music begins to play as the ballerina with the broken arm twirls round and round. I pull open the little drawer the way I had a thousand times before. How did my old broken music box end up here? Putting it back down, I quickly pass on, determined to explore the rest of the piles. On the top of each I discover a single article from my past. I explore the memory each item revives as the early morning sun descends into late afternoon shadows. Time to go; I will leave my memories here, safely stored in my castle on the hill. Its stone walls are strong and sure. Here it had been safe to touch and feel, safe to remember.
As I turn to leave, the fading light beams down on one last pile lying just inside the archway. I lean over, wondering what memory it will hold for me. My heart leaps within me as my arms instinctively reach out for the small discarded bundle. There, lying motionless and silent, is a baby girl. She had been tossed aside, discarded. I knew this child instinctively. I had seen those eyes before, wide open and full of fear. My heart had heard her silent cries for help–cries long ignored by those entrusted to listen. As I gather her safely into my arms, we melt into one. I feel her snuggle in beside my heart as I step through the open archway.
During another guided meditation that same weekend, the baby girl appeared again, but this time she was about seven years old. She sat outside the house of the old man who raped us. This was not the first time she visited me in my dreams. In the past, I felt such contempt toward this little girl. I had not cared for her, and she had not trusted me. Something was different this time. As I saw her sitting there all alone with no one to share her horrible secret with, my heart filled with compassion for her. I finally understood why she had gone back to the old man’s house–she craved love and attention. She was just a little girl; it was not her fault. As I looked into those empty eyes, my heart finally heard her soft cry. She needed my love and protection. I reached out for her hand as I had many times before, and for the first time, she took my hand and walked away with me.
These images represent the child in me. The baby and the young girl still live inside me, despite all. The girl-child now lives in safety–sheltered, protected, understood, and cherished. I am perfectly capable now of being a good mother to her. We have a lot of catching up to do. We can begin to explore what being a child is really all about. Now, it is safe to play. — — Taken From Chapter 11; Entitled: “Forgiveness”