What is an Illusion? And My Chirping Bird….

bird 2The chirping came from directly above my head.  I was in the dining room working on a bible study and there he was, loudly chirping happily from my attic.   I thought it odd that he was in my attic and figured he would find his way out eventually.  He stayed in that one place for a while but eventually he moved to different places in the attic…over my bedroom, the living room, and then kind of landed in my office.  He was so loud that my granddaughter and I spent some time looking for him thinking that he had somehow gotten into the house.  

Then we realized his chirping was coming from the heater vent in my office.  He knew where I was.  I started considering him my pet.   I would worry how he would find his way out and how he was finding food .  

My husband even decided one day to get a ladder and go into the attic and find him to shoo him out, but I wouldn’t let him.  Because I kind of liked hearing his chirping.  It made me happy.  I figured he was eating bugs in the attic.

stock-illustration-18468144-bird-singingOver the time of a few months he became a familiar friend that made me smile when he let his presence known.  

Then we discovered we had termites.   We had to have the house tented and fumigated.   I was so sad that my pet bird may die.   I expressed my dismay to close friends and family and they all sympathized with me.  

And I prayed.

I prayed that Jesus would somehow help my friend survive the onslaught of poison that was about to transcend his home in the attic. 

We had to leave the house for a couple of days and when we returned I waited to see if I would hear his poor little feeble chirping once again, as I knew he would be at least sick from the poison. 

And then I heard him!   He made it through and there he was again, in my office, chirping away. 

And I thanked God.

Such a small thing.

One night as I was showing the ladies of my bible study a You Tube video on a used computer book that had been gifted to us from a friend, the bird chirped.

BirdI was so excited and I said to the ladies,  “Hear my little bird?   He has been living in my attic and even survived the tenting.”

They were looking at me with that “deer in the head lights look”.   I said, “What?”….they said, “you are kidding right?”   I said, “No, he really is up there…listen!”

At that point they literally fell out of their chairs laughing.  Especially when I told them about praying for him.   They then gently told me my little chirping bird was coming from the computer that had been given to us…someone had programmed it to chirp when there were updates.

Stunned!

I was in shock and embarrassed,

and somehow sad…

like I had lost a friend…

sadand when my husband took it out of the computer, I had to say good bye to my friend.  

I was disillusioned.

The moral of this true story?

When you are disillusioned with life it is because you have been living in an illusion.   You created your own scenario and wanted to believe it, even though many times you already know in your spirit it is not real. 

Oswald Chambers said in his book, “My Utmost for His Highest”, 

” Disillusionment means having no more misconceptions, false impressions, and false judgments in life; it means being free from these deceptions. However, though no longer deceived, our experience of disillusionment may actually leave us cynical and overly critical in our judgment of others. But the disillusionment that comes from God brings us to the point where we see people as they really are, yet without any cynicism or any stinging and bitter criticism. Many of the things in life that inflict the greatest injury, grief, or pain, stem from the fact that we suffer from illusions. We are not true to one another as facts, seeing each other as we really are; we are only true to our misconceived ideas of one another. According to our thinking, everything is either delightful and good, or it is evil, malicious, and cowardly.”

“Illusions are a false way of looking  at whatever  mindset we are in.”

Disillusionment means a loss of false belief.

sb_passiveagressive2To be disillusioned is to be disappointed by destroyed illusions.

Illusions are untrue ideas and beliefs that we acquire along the way. 

My bird was an illusion.  

But on a more serious note, my unreal expectations, or illusion,  that people will never fail me will undoubtedly lead to my disillusionment.

The more illusions we can be rid of along the way  the better.  It is sometimes so hard to have our illusions challenged, that we prefer not to grow any further, and to keep our illusions intact.

We don’t want to accept that people are not perfect.  We don’t want to believe that the world is so opposed to God.   We think we will never know doubt, sadness, or any kind of lack.   If that were so how would we ever  have the fruit of His spirit developed in us and strength of character?

These  illusions can rob us of the fruit which the Holy Spirit wishes to produce in our lives.

Illusions are a false way of seeing things.  Revelation is the true way to allow God to reveal truth to us.

Unhappy-PersonChoosing to live in an illusion is the same as choosing to live in denial. 

If you are DIS-illusioned right now it is because you were living in an illusion over something in your life.

Denial will lead you around Mt. Sinai a few times, until you accept truth.mt sinai

Just Shoot Me Now! 2 Ways to Heal Shame Wounds

hidingYears ago I was at Santa Barbara City College to witness my friend’s graduation as an X-ray Technician.  The campus was teaming with people that day for there were many students getting various degrees and licenses in their particular fields.  The event was outside and I sat down on the cold metal chair and then realized I had a while to wait so ventured off across campus to find the restrooms.  

I wore a long skirt that day.  After using the restroom hurriedly, I started the long walk back to my chair.  The whole way there people were staring at me weird.

Some had smirks on their faces and some looked away in disgust.  I couldn’t figure out what their problem was and one time I even shot a dirty look back at some guy, like he had a problem or something.  I passed many people on the way back to my chair and they all looked away when I would smile at them. 

When I finally sat down I felt intensely cold metal on my back side and glanced back.  My skirt in the back was completely tucked inside my underwear and my entire back side was exposed to all the ‘millions’ of people that I passed on the way back.  No one had the nerve to tell me! 

Just shoot me now!

I find it very funny now.  Add it to my list of escapades that have provided many chuckles in my story telling on myself. 

But back then I wasn’t as healthy, and had not dealt with much of my denial and secrets of years past born out of being a victim of childhood sexual abuse.  I sat there the whole event cloaked in shame and embarrassment.  I felt exposed and uncovered the whole day and I felt like a child inside with no self esteem who just wanted to run. 

64658_465671946828692_1306119874_nShame is an emotion in which the self is perceived as defective, unacceptable, or fundamentally damaged.  Shame is often confused with guilt, which is a related but distinct emotion in which a specific behavior is viewed as unacceptable or wrong, rather than the entire self.

Brene Brown says, “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.  Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.  Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” 

Shame is darkness to our soul.  We need to learn to recognize it and then let it go into the light of His presence in us.

People who experience traumatic events, mostly in childhood, are prone to shame, particularly if they blame themselves for the event.

Shame gives you a desire to hide, disappear, or even die.

Have you ever done anything you’re not proud of, like feigning a headache to get out of a dinner or snapping at your partner in a heated moment?  You mess up, like we all do, and when it happens, you probably feel guilty and convicted to make it right.

Guilt is a normal emotion that people experience when they believe they have caused harm or actually done something wrong.  We all make mistakes and those mistakes often affect other people, therefore we feel guilt. 

Or there is unfounded guilt, the worst kind.  We could come from a family that used guilt to manipulate us all of our lives.  Such as, “Okay go the movies son, but if I am dead in my chair when you get back, just bury me out back.”

Now that evokes guilt.  Any dutiful son would cancel his plans so that he won’t be responsible for causing Dad to die.  The motivation is guilt.  But that son will carry anger in his heart, and left undealt with, will be with him through adulthood.

Or how about going to see an elderly parent.  The first thing they say to you is “Where have you been?  Why haven’t you come to see me?”  More guilt, instead of rejoicing that you are there now.  The guilt can be so horrible it makes you not want to visit them at all.

But, If your feelings of guilt cause daily anxiety or are out of proportion to the actual mistakes you have made, you might be suffering from an even more toxic emotion:

Shame.

Shame is what I felt that day I was exposed to the world.

Shame is commonly confused with guilt.  People who experience shame often feel bad for every little error they make, and are in a constant state of fear of making more.  For this reason, they feel fear around authority figures, judge themselves harshly, and have a low sense of self esteem.

Guilt says I have done something wrong.

Shame says I AM something wrong.

553486_415888875110718_1880467937_nShame is toxic.

Shame can strip away the joy and freedom that you deserve to experience in your walk.

Shame most often stems from a wounded part of you that was convinced in childhood that you weren’t enough.  Though this is not the truth, it may feel that way, as beliefs that you carry for decades become your reality.

Shame can play a very powerful and negative role in your life, but it doesn’t have to.  God can heal your feelings of shame and you can start living a happier and more empowered life. 

One of the most powerful techniques to healing shame is to practice self compassion.  We need to love ourselves.  How do we do that?

  1. We begin to treat ourselves and talk to ourselves with the same kindness, caring and compassion we would show a good friend or a beloved child.  We find out what God says about us as His precious children and begin to confess that over ourselves in spite of what we feel.  We will eventually begin to believe it.  It will sink into your mind and renew your mind to truth rather than what you have believed all of your life.

When we practice this, it helps us to feel less isolated and alienated from others.  The more shame we feel, the more deficient we feel and in turn, the more separate we feel from others.

  1. Now say those words out loud to yourself.  Take a deep breath and really take in those words.  How does hearing yourself say those words out loud make you feel?  Can you feel your faith grow in your own value in the Kingdom of God.  

The more you practice this the more you will believe it.  Oh, there will be triggers, (like my skirt incident), that will bring back those old familiar feelings, but pay them no attention…pull out those scriptures and start saying them over yourself again.  Sing them over yourself if you feel inclined.  Get them into your spirit and renew your mind!

brokenchainsYou deserve to be free to allow God to lead you into a life of freedom you truly love and to feel worthy of having it.

dixie1For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Eph 2:10 NLT)

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!   Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.”  NLT(Psalm 139:13-15).

For help with shame issues I would be honored to coach you into freedom.  You can contact me on this web site from the home page.

When Feelings Lose Their Power

 

 

waterfall I lost life as I knew it over the course of one year a while back. Of course it was a slow build up to that year, but denial has a funny way of making you blind to what is coming.

(The complete story of this trip into the wasteland of my soul is recorded in my last book, Climbing Out of the Box.)

Through years of denial, spiritual abuse, and unresolved childhood abuse issues, my life broke apart in huge chunks and floated away on a sea of despair.  I lost my marriage, my home, myself, my church, and my children moved out…and did I mention I lost myself?

…all within a few months of each other.

Then I entered the wasteland of devastation and loss and an overload of “feelings”.

How can I describe the feelings?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was like being on a huge merry go round, holding on for dear life, trying to look like I had a grip but my vise gripped fingers were sliding off with every whirl.  It twirled faster and faster until my hands did lose their grip and I was flung off into space with magnitude force into nothingness with no idea where I would finally land.  When I did land I felt like I was smothering in feelings and couldn’t breathe; Kind of like being buried alive.

  • Grief

  • Despair

  • Fear

  • Anxiety

  • Sorrow

  • Emptiness

  • Anger

In the years that followed I was alone with myself and thought I would never recover from the empty shell that was me.

My feelings became my faithful companions until I finally started talking to God.  Boy did I have the questions.

The most fascinating thing to me was that He never left.  He stepped back, though, to give me time to come to the place of realizing all my answers were in Him.  He is always so patient with us.

As I called upon Him in my solitary place, He began to heal my frayed and broken heart.  I was ruled by my feelings at the point of quiet desperation and had been since the beginning of the dirge into blackness.

PeaceHe held me and let me weep when I finally pushed my arms up to my “Abba, Daddy”, in brokenness.

And then the healing began.  I learned so much in the next few years of exile.

One of the things I learned was that my feelings didn’t have to rule me or dictate to me how to act for the rest of my life.

When we call upon Him in our feelings of abandonment and reach deep into our still, quiet heart, where He dwells,

  • Our fears lose their power to control us;

  • Our “out of control” anger loses its power to devastate anyone lying in its wake….and

  • Our depression loses its power to consume us.

Our feelings lose their control over us.

That still, quiet center of us, where He resides, is where we are aware of His presence the most.  Learn how to quiet yourself and find that spot of uninterruption and you will find His voice.

  • He centers us.

  • He is our anchor.

When we call upon Him, we find the power to let go of our resentment and ask for forgiveness.  We can also forgive ourselves and be free.  We can let go of the past and move into the stillness of living large in the here and now.

And then we learn to trade in our profound shame for vulnerability with others, for in Him we are safe; and we trade in our fear of being embarrassed, to finally being transparent.

Our feelings provide the fertile ground of captivity for us.

If we listen to them they will kill our creativity that God wants to use.  They will squelch our love for others and undermine our knowledge of redemption and grace.

What if we just decided to stop listening to our feelings, and started listening to what God says about us; and start focusing in on His still whispers of direction and love?  What if we make a conscious decision to believe we are really hearing His voice and just do it…by faith?

And accepting our feelings as real, for they are very real, but not necessarily true if they become our dictating force and despair.  They can betray us in portraying Gods words as not trust worthy.

It is like a drop of soothing, healing water to accept that our feelings are real, but can be deceptive outside of God’s truth about us.

1510543_680314828697735_1831250127_nI think our shame would dry up and our love would explode and the world would never be the same  again if we can get to this place of truth and freedom.