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Perception not always reality
by Beyond The Walls by Susan Nelson
Mar 15, 2014 | 115 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In the Bible, we read about all things working together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28) and we like to toss that around in difficult times that other people experience.

When it is our turn we (not so) politely offer them (our hand in their face) a cool nod with an attempt at a smile. We are letting them know we are truly taking it in, but we wish we weren’t dealing with that particular pain or circumstance at the time.

I just passed the four-year mark this past week, so I am thinking of heartache, although I am doing rather well to be honest. Valentine’s wasn’t so hard either as I wrote out all the reasons it was better to be single – rather tongue-in-cheek, mind you – but it helped me to gain a different perspective on my situation in general.

Two people I know of lost their dads recently, one as early as the day this is written. I just received the text message and my heart goes out to them.

Loss in any form is tragic and has to be acknowledged rather than squashed. We all know it is inevitable, but handling it is as individual as we are.

Letting go is hard. For some of us, our parents give us identity and they are our “go-to” people when we struggle and “no one else” is around. Others of us grieve what we had always hoped our relationships could be.

Both of mine are gone and have been for a while and inadvertently as I hear people tell me I am strong, I struggle with allowing myself to grieve and allow the pain to process. Crying shows weakness, right? Saying I feel lost and vulnerable is bad, right? (No, no, no – it’s part of the process of redefining one’s self when life tosses change our way.)

But, the truth is, I have always been that way, even when my parents were alive. I didn’t, couldn’t or wouldn’t open up my heart to anyone. I took the “never lay your pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6) quite seriously.

Not that I think of people as swine, I just didn’t know if I could really trust people with my heart or that they would accept me if they knew “the real me.” (As if there is anyone else I put out there.)

I am both introverted and shy, for the most part, but I have my extroverted and bold moments as well. One couldn’t tell as they read these columns how hard it is for me to fumble through getting to know people.

So all of this insight is for what? I am putting myself out here on a very personal level only because you cannot see me as I am “hidden” behind my computer screen- where I am not so shy and introverted!

In opening up the column, I discussed difficulties and pain and grief and loss and how we don’t know how to handle it for ourselves. We hear too often, “If God was such a benevolent God, then why would He allow suffering?”

A book I’ve read recently told me that we don’t just experience pain then joy, but both occur concurrently in our lives. They run on parallel tracks.

Yes, we have experienced loss (pain), but we were blessed to have that person in our lives (joy).

Yes, we may have failed a test (pain), but we may know where we need to focus our attention next (joy in discovery).

Yes, we are so busy we cannot slow down (pain), but we are so busy because we are necessary, important or have a lot to offer- joy in our abilities.

When the negatives in life overwhelm, look for a positive. Although it may be difficult, finding the positive gets easier over time.

Finally, I offer this: “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold.” (1 Peter 1:7)

Now, I don’t know what your individual circumstances are, but how you see them depends largely on how you choose to see them.

And yes, you can be grumpy and withdrawn for a while, but, PLEASE, don’t stay there. The rest of us need what you can offer and what God has purposed for your life.

You are truly a joy and a blessing for someone. God bless you and yours this week.
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