Monday, February 27, 2012

Why Do We Return?

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. Proverbs 26:11

Why do we do it? Why do we return to the things that hurt us; the things that so evidently bring disease and sickness to our souls.

Why do we try the same things over and over expecting a different outcome? Albert Einstein called this behavior insane. It is insanity to think that things we’ll be different this time around. But many have convinced themselves otherwise.

Don’t get me wrong, I have just as much hope as the next person (maybe more). I will always believe in the possibility of change and growth in people. I will always hope and pray for the best in those I love. But I will not pretend that I am the only one capable of bringing it out of them. I will not convince myself that they are lost without me.

I learned the hard way that you cannot be someone’s savior. As much as I wanted to be the one who brought out the good I couldn’t be. For some reason I was toxic to the person I was trying to help. Instead of pulling him up, I held his hand as we weighed each other down and plummeted. I prayed over him, cried over him, and racked my brain about ways to make things better. I tried SO hard to lift him up, but my arms weren’t strong enough.

But I loved him, so I stayed. And when he finally let me go, I realized how weak I had become by holding onto him.

It’s a tricky thing, bearing someone’s burdens. You are trying so hard to drag them out of the desert; you don’t even realize you yourself are quickly becoming thirsty and drained of strength. But when you finally stop to take a breath, and no one offers to carry you for a while, you see the situation for what it is.

It’s not hard to recognize when something/someone is bad for you. I think anyone in a toxic relationship is at least aware of the toxicity to some degree. And even if you are playing the fool and pretending not to notice, I am sure those closest to you have pointed out their concerns in one way or another.

When we finally take our hands off of our eyes and our fingers out of our ears, some of us find the strength to walk away. Something happens that turns us upside down and in that moment we make the right choice. In that moment we see things clearly. We are confident and strong in our decision. But then the time passes and the decision sets in. Nostalgia hits and our minds flood with the FEW good memories of our relationship. And because of those few things, we return.

I tell you now, from someone who has experienced this, it is a vicious cycle.

You return hoping for better. And because he lost you for a while, he pretends to have changed. For a little while you are convinced that things are different. But eventually things return to how they used to be. People get lazy, guards get let down, and you are squashed back under the weight of an unnecessary burden.

It is not yours to bear.

Ladies, we were not created to lead men. We can be a strong support system and continually point them to truth. We can walk beside them and help them stand, but we cannot carry them on our shoulders.

No man worthy of spending the rest of your life with would allow you to do so.

We were created as whole people; men and women alike. If the man you love is not complete, you need to understand that you cannot complete him. Don’t lose half of yourself trying to be the other half he needs.

Too many times we fall in love with someone’s potential, with who they could be; but are you ok with spending forever waiting for them to become it?

Married women, obviously this is a different battle. No, you should not leave him, but you cannot try to fulfill him either. His fulfillment has to come from Christ or you will squeeze the life out of each other. Pray and pray again. Call out the best in him. Challenge him to rise, but understand you cannot get him there on your own.

Single women; be brave enough to walk away and strong enough to stay away. Remember that nothing can change him like Jesus can. Be fervent in prayer for him, but mentally, physically and emotionally let him go. Things will not get better if you stay in the picture. In the same way he is distracting you, you are distracting him. You have to bow out and let God take it from there.

Remember that you are a glorious creation. You were made with a purpose. You have your own battles to fight and your own destiny to fulfill. Do not become distracted.

The right one will be whole.
And when he comes along so will a peace that cannot be explained.
Wait for him.

Me and my Caleb.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ramblings about pride and forgiveness

What if we could admit failure? What if we could all admit that in one way or another, we were in the wrong? What if today we could practice humility? What if today we could practice forgiveness? What if we could look into our hearts and own up to the fact that we are no where near, nor have we ever been anywhere near perfect? What if we could accept the fact that that is ok? Would life look differently if we didn’t try to wear the mask of perfection? Would we have more love in our life? Would we have less hate? If we let go of the things we are holding onto would we feel scared? Or would we feel free? Do you ever wonder why you are still holding onto something? Does holding onto a grudge give you meaning and purpose? Or is it just a way of saving face? Do we hold grudges because we think that we are entitled to? Do we deserve an apology? Is this whole thing about what someone owes us? Don’t we owe everything to God? Doesn’t he pardon us day after day, mistake after mistake? If so, what if we lived like him.

Forgiveness is the struggle of many, especially Christians; which is sad, because we receive it every single day of our lives. “Yes, I’ll have some of that Lord! Thank you for your sacrifice” we say to the Lord, to whom we owe our entire lives, then our brother approaches us, who owes us a couple of pennies and we say, “NO, I won’t give it away. Your sins against me have cost way too much. HIS grace is sufficient for me, but my grace is not sufficient for you.” Sometimes we even say this to ourselves. That doesn’t sound right at all does it? So why do we continue to hold onto things? Is it our perfection complex?

For me, I am trying to be ok with the fact that I am not perfect. I have huge pride issues in my life which makes it very difficult for me to admit failure. Even saying I have pride issues is hard. But it’s true. And I have realized that when I am honest with myself and others, I feel lighter. It’s like this burden of supposed perfection is lifted and I can move and walk again. It’s actually amazing. But it’s not easy. Every time I get close to admitting something about myself or my past, I find myself re-wording things and changing them to sound more like the Brittany I want to be and less like the Brittany I am. I try to create this infallible, perfect persona. I literally stress out about the fact that people might see my mistakes. As a people pleaser, I will tell people what they want to hear and I have realized that it makes me a liar. I have lied to hide truths. I have misled people to believe that I am something I am not. And I want to be done doing that. It’s a process, but I know it will be worth it.

I have seen first hand what pride can do and no amount of saving face is worth that cost.

Pride separates families. Pride destroys your character. Pride hurts the people you care about most. Pride can find anything good and ruin it. Pride steals from you. Pride becomes a habit. Pride gets stuck in your head. Ultimately, pride makes a mess only humility can clean up.

And that’s where it starts. We must come humbly before the Lord. We must come humbly before our brothers and sisters. We must forgive even when we aren’t asked to. Some people may never realize their mistakes. Or maybe their pride keeps them from repenting. But in the end, when you stand before the Lord, you will only have one person to answer for… yourself. You will be held accountable for your mistakes, not others. So make things right. Look at those things in your hands, the things you feel entitled to hold onto. Lay them down at the feet of Jesus. Look at the burdens on your back, the things you haven’t forgiven yourself for. Take them off. Lay them at the feet of Jesus. They are his. He bought and paid for them on the cross. As I head a pastor say once, “Stop stealing from Jesus.” Lay your pride down; He is the only one with the right to wear it. Lay your stones down; he is the only one with the right to throw them. Lay your burdens down; he is the only one with the right to carry them.

Find freedom in letting go.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


These lyrics popped in my head today. 
I remember being up at The Joshua Wilderness Institute, sitting around the fireplace, listening to Brent Lamb sing one of the many songs he wrote. 
That year was one of the most difficult years for me. I went to Joshua with everything in place. When I got home, literally everything in my life had changed. There was nothing I could do. I had no control. Everything was out of my reach. All I could do was trust. 
One of the most beautiful things in my life came out of all that change. She is pictured below. 
She is a picture of innocence. Something so new, so beautiful, so untouched. 
These lyrics always reminded me of the beauty of innocence. So I paired them with Journey Grace for this picture.