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Monthly Archives: Mar 2015

My name is Lee

‘My name is Lee’ but that statement doesn’t actually give all that much information about me and who I am, what I can do, what I like etc etc. The more I learn about the Bible the more I learn about how important names were in those times. Something that has so clearly been lost to the point that I have absolutely no idea what my own name might mean. As far as I know it was chosen based on the initial letter being the same as my grandmothers and I guess it sounded good to my parents. It is my name but it is just a name, it aint who I am.

The whole ‘who I am’ thing is something that has taken me a very long time to discover about myself. Having spent most of my life seriously not liking myself and considering myself ‘not as good as’ has left me kinda out of touch with myself. It’s kinda hard to get to know yourself when you spend a lot of time wishing you were someone else because you aren’t happy with what you perceive yourself to be. As I am slowly learning to like myself based on a renewed understanding of the love and acceptance that God has for me, I am also learning to accept and like the way that God made me.

A fair amount of this knowledge has been pieced together over the years but a lot of it has been either squashed down or ignored because it didn’t fit with how I thought I was meant to be. It took me a long time to accept that I was not suited to evangelical work and even longer to admit that in public. I had tried knocking on doors and street work in an effort to become something I was not equipped to be mainly because I had been taught that being a ‘good Christian’ involved witnessing to unbelievers.

I hadn’t worked out that witnessing could be just plain telling other believers about how God had inspired me recently and how I was growing closer to Him. I have learnt that the excitement and joy that I feel when I am leading a small group or talking about God to friends is a God given gift and something to be cherished and exercised. Realising this truth has freed me from years of guilt and confusion and given me a stronger desire to find out more about my God. I want to know more about the Bible in part because I love seeing the wonder on my friends faces when I bubble over with a new truth that they haven’t heard about.

Some of the stuff that I am learning about myself doesn’t make me as happy but is just as important for me to accept and deal with. While I am learning to accept and enjoy the artistic abilities that He has gifted me with I am having to accept that I am never going to be the people person I always wanted to be. Whilst I can be quite confident and dare I say eloquent when I am sharing my ‘experiences, strengths and hope’ in front of a group of people, I often find myself either hiding away from meeting new people or tongue tied and flustered when I have to talk with individuals or small groups of people.

I have to admit that I am finding it much harder to work out my likes and dislikes. I am still aware that a lot of these things are centred around either what my friends like or what I think I should like in order to be accepted. I find it very hard to put my people pleasing ways behind me in this whole area and can see the journey versus the destination concept most clearly here. And I am on a journey of getting to know myself and learning to love myself because I still want to be the best signpost to God that I can be and I will be better equipped to do just that as I keep on growing in this way.

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Posted by on Mar 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Making rules

I read the news today ( oh boy, sic ) and was ready to write something to someone in a vain effort to express my dissatisfaction with certain peoples views. The article in question concerned a ‘celebrity’ who had been involved in a ‘fracas’ and had subsequently been suspended from their position. My feelings were stirred by the support shown for this particular person although when I examined my feelings I became aware that the support was not the problem. The problem was more that I had put this person into a chosen pigeonhole and was reacting according to how I had decided the relative worthiness of this person should be.

When growing up I had thought that I had accepted the ideology of the Punk movement which had put forward the idea that if you wanted to do something it shouldn’t matter who you were or what skills you had, you should be able to just go for it. As I grew in my faith and knowledge of Jesus and His teachings I was also taking on board the spiritual truth that we are all equal and that He loves us all equally. I was also learning the truth from experience that as you judge someone else so you will start to believe that everyone else is judging you.

And yet somehow I still find myself putting people into prearranged pigeonholes. I have a long list of behaviour characteristics and looks and styles that I slot people into, usually even before I have managed to find out what they might actually be like. If they act a certain way then they must be in this slot or if they wear certain clothes they must be this type of a person. I’ve got it all sorted out and logged within a twinkle of the eye.

I find a security within the whole procedure although whenever I think it through I can see that there is immature defence mechanism at work alongside a useful adult tool. I feel that it is a good thing to assess people and categorise them in the correct manner, it is when this is misused that problems occur and I hold my hand up to the fact that I misuse this in an immature way. Especially when it comes to the physical looks of a person, something that should mainly be directed at someone that I am attracted to with the aim of a romantic relationship and not everyone that I meet or even just see in the street.

In my own way I am making rules for people and then becoming judge and jury by deciding who are the rule breakers. Which is a problem that I believe we all have. We all have a long convoluted list of rules that we live by, morals and standards, and we then put that list of rules onto most other people around us. If they seem to be fitting our rules then they are Ok and safe to be vulnerable with but if not then batten down the hatches and let’s aim our big guns their way just in case we might need them.

My understanding of the new testament tells me that Jesus made a lot of suggestions about how we could maintain a healthy, loving relationship with God but only really laid down 2 rules for life. The first was to love God and the second was to love our fellow man, everyone else. If we manage to stick to those 2 rules we can enjoy a life full of love, but if we continue making rules for everyone and ourselves to live by then we will almost by definition be dividing the world into rule makers and rule breakers and it becomes harder to love the rule breakers after they have broken our chosen rules.

 
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Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Yeldall Auto

Having spent some considerable time in the rooms of the 12 step programme I have listened to many, many ‘shares’ and have shared my own story quite a few times so I was ready for the Yeldall Auto and did not find the preparation too much of a problem. The Yeldall Auto is a required part of the programme in which each resident is given the task of presenting their ‘life story’ in verbal form to their peers and chosen staff. The brief contains the requirements of :- approximately 2,500 words, to contain thoughts and feelings, to describe childhood, first use of drugs/alcohol, teenage years, enjoyable and positive characteristics of drug/alcohol use, negative examples of drug/alcohol use, adult life, impact of drug/alcohol use on those around us and examples of unmanageability.

As I say, with my experience of sharing in 12 step meetings, I was prepared for this and took the task in my stride until the actual verbal presentation. When it came to my turn, though, I found it oh so much harder than any time I had shared my story previously. There was a new level of reality that I was not prepared for. I found that I couldn’t disconnect in the way that I used to. It was me telling my story as me. The actual story of how I felt through pain, failure and rejection. As such, the highs and lows of my life all wrapped together and spoken out whilst sitting at the head spot of a boardroom with my peers watching every move.

It was only 3 weeks after arriving at Yeldall Manor and so I wasn’t telling my story to a bunch of guys that I had spent months with and gotten to know as good friends but somehow that made it worse. Although the overpowering need to get it right and ensure my place on the programme had a certain amount to do with the pressure it was mainly the knowledge that I wasn’t playing any sort of a game here. That had stopped a few months before when my head had got locked on the idea of taking my own life as a way of stopping the perceived pain and loneliness that I felt I had lived with for far too long.

My story held very little that the staff and those residents with experience of sharing life stories had not heard before. It had the originality and the authenticity of being my very own story but overall it was nothing new. Many before me had told stories involving abortion, drug smuggling, suicide attempts, police cells, divorce and of course that insane inability to stop using even when every thing was falling apart around us. But somehow and for some reason it was all becoming very real for me. I couldn’t just separate myself from my story. Even now I find it quite easy at times to separate myself as if it all happened to some one else because although I was there when it happened I wasn’t all there. I couldn’t be. It was too much and my loving God had to take hold of me and protect me from the reality.

But in the telling of my story on that day I was in part explaining how I had paid the price of the seat I was sat in. I was telling those present the story of my inability to grasp the truth that I was loved absolutely and unconditionally by my God, the creator of the universe, and how I had sought out a weaker version of that love from any one that would offer it to me even when those people were just in the imagining of my mind. And how the spiritual sickness of my soul had brought on a need to use drugs and alcohol to try to cover the failing of my search for real love.

I am finding that knowledge of God’s wonderful love easier to grasp nowadays although it is still a battle, but I have a better knowledge of my worth thanks to the Yeldall Manor Programme and the staff there. And as I keep working on myself and my twisted world view I can only expect to get stronger and stronger as I put into practise the 2 rules that Jesus gave us, number 1 to love God and number 2 to love those around us. As I practise expressing love in my life I can only grow stronger in my understanding of His love for me. And that’s a circle of love that I can believe in with all my heart.

 
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Posted by on Mar 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Don’t believe the hype !!

As I move forward into believing that God really loves me as I am, as He made me, and accept the gifting He has given me, I am slowly learning to stop dismissing the compliments I hear from those around me. I hate to admit how superior I have been to my friends in the past when they have complimented me. How quick I have been to correct them on their opinions and explain to them just how wrong they were, in detail, usually starting with a ‘yeah but’. I have been hiding behind a false belief that I couldn’t be that good because I was a second rate person when in all actuality I was living in false pride. Rather than ‘look at me and how great I am’ it was ‘don’t look at me and how rubbish I am’. Almost the complete opposite and just as dangerous.

But as I say I am learning to accept that I am loved, fully and unreservedly, by my God and with that comes an acceptance of the wonderful way that He made me. This journey involves a movement from wanting to say ‘don’t look at me and how rubbish I am’ to a ( future ) place where I feel comfortable saying ‘look at me and how great He made me’. Although I have to emphasise that it is a journey and whilst on this particular journey I’ve gotta keep an eye out for at least a couple of side roads that will inevitably appear and reappear.

The first will be my addicts ability to jump in the blink of an eye from the lowest depths of the gutter to the heights of a mountain top. That wonderful way that we can feel and claim to be the worst, most degraded, low-down scum bag in one minute and then berate those around us for not understanding exactly who we think we are as we take flight on our own personal ego trips, pausing only to pack the oxygen tanks. Before the words ‘yeah but’ have tripped off my lips I can find my mind wondering why I would ever want any type of affirmation from someone who clearly has no idea of the massive amounts of talent lying within my little finger.

I can look at my drawings or read my writings or remember how someone’s face lit up with understanding when I said that thing that helped them grasp a truth in a new way and be blown away with how bloody fantastic I am. Or I am just as able to see plain mediocrity in nearly everything I do and say. And yet neither of these views are what my heart desires. No, my heart desires to be connected with the one true source of love that is available and when it is it can see clearly that God gave these gifts to me to help me direct those around me back to Him, back to that source of true love. To do anything else is wrong.

The other side road is when those around me start to elevate me to a higher level than the ground level that is to be found at the foot of the cross. When grandiosity is not something I am aiming at but is something thrust upon me by those around me that have bought into the hype that certain human abilities are superior to others. We have been sold that lie to the extent that people now want fame and the fortune that comes with it at any cost. I know that I can look at some skills and not only wish I could do that but also dismiss my skills because of this lie. And yet when Paul was writing about the gifts of the Spirit he pointed out this lie as he made clear that God given gifts were of equal standing.

So I need to watch out for the danger of being lifted above others and expected to be more mature spiritually than I am just because I have some knowledge and an ability to articulate this knowledge in a fairly fresh way. Just because I have knowledge does not mean I have wisdom and judging from my thoughts and actions recently I sure aint no better than anyone else. And just because I have an artistic skill does not mean that I am someone to be lauded and respected. Although sometimes I wish it did, on the whole I just want to see the look of joy on someone’s face as they realise the amount of love that I have put into drawing a special picture for them because I know where that love originated as John wrote in his first letter ‘love is from God’.

 

 

 
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Posted by on Mar 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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