Quiet Independence

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To be independent is a gift. There’s a peace that comes in knowing you can take care of yourself and even help other people at the same time.

Independence can be quiet. I like quiet. I am quiet. I’m sitting in a beautiful apartment with my two dogs sleeping quietly at my feet.

My to-do list is fairly completed. My laundry is put away (except for one load in the dryer) and I even vacuumed this morning. My bed is made and my place is presentable enough to have a guest stop by. I’m even days ahead in my quest to read the Bible this year.

Sure, I have some dishes to do, I need to grocery shop and meal prep, and I could deep clean. There’s a pile of books I’m reading on the cute new mirrored coffee table I recently bought.

But right now I’m just sitting enjoying the quiet. The dogs sat out on the porch for a while, so I turned off the AC and turned on the fan. We sat and listened to the birds chirp. They are still going at it.

My life is peaceful. I go to the gym five times a week. I listen to podcasts. I work 40+ hours at a job I love. I have a business that is slow right now, but I still have it. I’m about to spend the next couple of hours working on that business. I get to shape it into what it needs to be for the next season.

Independence is quiet and beautiful. My mind is at peace today. There’s plenty enough that I find to worry about, but not today. I like my life. I like the quiet.

But sometimes it gets too quiet.

I’m starting to surround myself with life. I bought a new plant and spent some time nurturing the plants I have. Of course, my little dogs always have my attention. We’ve found a good routine. I volunteer once a week teaching English to international people. I just signed up to be a “Big Sister” and was assigned to a sweet six-year-old. We are going swimming tomorrow.

I have a desire to get a fish. When I was in Bible College, I had a fish named Jonah. I will name my next fish Obadiah. I’ve been thinking about him for the past few weeks. I can tell he’s out there and ready for me to go get him.

There’s another someone out there too. I can sense it. He’s out there, but we haven’t found each other. I’ve looked, for sure, but he hasn’t materialized yet.

Quiet independence. I will enjoy it at the moment, but I’m looking forward to new life.

“We need to help people discover the true meaning of love. Love is generally confused with dependence. those of us who have grown in true love know that we can love only in proportion to our capacit for independence.” -Fred Rogers

 

 

 

 

Not Yet

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Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?
~Proverbs 20:6 ESV

Did you consider trying to win her?
Or even being her friend?
Where is the consideration, the acts of kindness?
Even saying, “Hello. I was just thinking about you today?”

Where is the admiration?
The time spent?
The building of friendship?
Do any of these acts even exist anymore?

Where is the foundation of commonality?
Shared interests?
Shared vision, passion, or purpose?
Who can find a faithful man?

All I know is, I have not found him yet.

You Messaged Me Today 

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You Messaged Me Today
By Rachael Hartman
July 13, 2019

You messaged me today
Just to say you were thinking of me
It made me feel important for a moment
Like I was not completely forgotten

You messaged me today
With nothing special in what you said
It made me feel connected for a moment
Like I was not completely alone today

I went out and looked around a store
A woman spoke to me and I realized
She was my first human contact all day
Except for your message
And my sister’s phone call

I cried today after you messaged me
Not because you hurt me at all but
Because I remembered I was alive
And that there was hope for me

I looked at myself in the mirror and said
“I love you” sixteen times to myself
I told myself I had what it takes
That I was still alive and attractive after all
And that if you remembered me I should too

 

Disentangled Thoughts

“Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips.” -Dawson Trotman

I heard this quote for the first time two nights ago and haven’t been able to shake it since. It accurately describes why I love writing so very much. I’ve said it many times before, writing is my best form of communication. I wish I could accurately convey my heart the way “normal” people do. I’ve come a long way in my social skills, but it’s still an area of struggle for me.

This past year, I have not written much, though in the past few months I’ve made more of an effort to blog at least. It is true, my thoughts have been very tangled up since I haven’t been writing as much.

Tonight I went to church and heard a message about God’s preparation in our lives for His purpose. The pastor made a statement that stuck out to me. He said if you don’t know who you are in God, and you don’t know God’s purpose for your life, you will constantly move around trying to find a place where you fit, but you’ll never fill that emptiness inside.

That idea resonated with me. I felt it. To be honest, lately, I’ve been struggling with the idea of moving and trying to find a new place to “belong.” I’m four months away from being where I am at for two years. It’s accurate timing for me to start feeling the “itch” placed in me growing up in the military’s mobile lifestyle.

A friend once told me that when I feel that “itch” to move that I should NOT scratch it. She said the itch means I’m healing, but if I scratch it, I will delay my healing. What she said made sense to me. I knew the day would come when the itch would begin again, but I really haven’t focused my mind on what I should do to keep myself occupied and not “scratching.”

I feel a little sad tonight. I feel passed over and forgotten. When I’m the new person, it is exciting. There are “places to go and people to see . . .” But right now, I just feel here. I feel unsure of what is next. I feel unsure even of what I’m doing right now. I feel unsure of who I am and what God’s purpose for me is . . . I want to “go” to find it, but as the preacher said tonight, I will keep trying to fill the hole in my heart, but I’ll never be able to fill it outside of God’s purpose and plan.

As I type, my thoughts are disentangling themselves a bit. I feel the need to quiet my mind and meditate on the Word of God. Who does God say that I am?

I remember a paper I once taped to the back of my apartment door. It was scripture-based affirmations of who I am in Christ. Anytime I felt down, unsure, low, etc. I would read those affirmations aloud. Whichever one pierced my heart is the one I knew I needed to be reminded of.

I searched for the affirmations online and found a couple of versions of it. Here is the one I had originally taped to my door. The version I read tonight had several additional affirmations. These are the ones that pierced my heart tonight.

I am a temple…a dwelling place…of God. His Spirit and His life dwell in me. (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19)

I am united to the Lord and am one spirit with Him. (1 Corinthians 6:17)

I am bought with a price; I am not my own; I belong to God. (1 Corinthians 6:19,20; 7:23)

I am called. (1 Corinthians 7:17)

I am a member of Christ’s Body. (1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 5:30)

I am victorious through Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)

I have been established, anointed and sealed by God in Christ, and I have been given to the Holy Spirit as a pledge guaranteeing my inheritance to come. (2 Corinthians 1:21; Ephesians 1:13,14)

I thank God that I am healed (Isaiah 53:5). I thank God that I have been redeemed (Revelation 5:9).

God does have a purpose for my life. He isn’t finished with me. He has a plan and a place for me to belong. I am not forgotten. He has provided for me. He is preparing me for His plan for the future. I don’t understand it all today, but in the future, I will be able to look back on this time and thank God for it.

 

What do you have to lose?

I read a poem by Elizabeth Bishop titled One Art. In the poem (shared below), Bishop wrote about an art that isn’t hard to master – the art of losing. She talks about losing door keys, time, places, names, hopes, houses, cities, and even a continent.

It’s easy to lose things: our tempers, our hearts, our heads. Even sadder, it’s easy to lose friends or potential friendships. These things that are easy to lose are the things that matter the most in life.

It’s more difficult to lose other things that we want to lose: weight, debt, guilt, grudges. These things seem to cling to us (or some of us), and sometimes feel impossible to dump. There may be even more difficult things that are clinging to us: addictions, unhealthy relationships, apathy or a lack of compassion.

I thank God that He has made a way for us to be free from sin, and free from the weight of life. The Word says Truth sets us free (John 8:32); Jesus sets us free (John 8:36); where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17).

The Lord is also a keeper. He keeps His promises and His covenant with us (Deuteronomy 7:9). He keeps us from harm (Psalm 121:7). He keeps us from falling (Jude 1:24). It is our job to keep ourselves in His love (Jude 1:21).

Jesus will also help us lose things out of our lives that are not good for us. What will you lose today? Will you lose bitterness, hatred, judgment, or hurt feelings? Will you lose pain or low self-esteem? Will you lose the need to be right, or the need to defend yourself?

Today, my prayer is that I would lose the things I need to lose (hurt, bitterness, unforgiveness), and keep the things I need to keep (God’s love, mercy, grace, and kindness). I pray that for you all today as well.

One Art, by ELIZABETH BISHOP

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

When You Unintentionally Hurt Others

I experienced a really difficult situation tonight. You know that saying “hurt people hurt people” . . . ? Yeah, I lived that tonight. And the knowledge that I hurt someone else made me hurt really, really badly. It also made me think about the people who have hurt me in the past, mostly unintentionally, and how I pushed them away and clung to my pain.

To be honest, this past week has been a terrible week. I experienced some personal pain that resulted in the worst panic attack I’ve had in a long time. Other friends also had difficult weeks, seemingly all around the same timeframes. Our nation also experienced severe tragedy. Everyone is hurting.

When I hurt, it doesn’t take much to trigger me into deep pain. I’ve tried to heal the wounds, but they are too big for me. I’ve called out to God, and honestly, it doesn’t seem like He has done much about it. That complicates faith quite a bit. It certainly makes faith a choice when you aren’t feeling it.

Earlier this week, I saw something that ripped open the wound of rejection in my heart. After that, it seemed like I was facing rejection everywhere.

Someone stole my Open House signs on my first day hosting an open house as a Realtor. That small thing shouldn’t have made me feel as rejected and violated as it did, but it did.

Then, I tried to purchase an item from a person I know on Facebook but was ignored. It really wasn’t the ignoring that got me. It was that I had tried to purchase items from this person before, and also been ignored. And it wasn’t just her, but I experienced severe rejection from multiple people at the church she attends (that I also attended for a couple of years until I finally left), after going through some of the worst things in my life (i.e. when my brother was sentenced to 10 years in prison, I was stood up by the prayer “leader” and other leaders I set up appointments to try to meet with).

This girl sort of embodied all I thought was good in that church. The rejection I perceived to get from her via Facebook poured salt into the old wounds from the people I had once admired at that church and then been extremely burned and rejected by.

Being ignored on Facebook shouldn’t have bothered me so much, but it did. I was sick of being rejected and ignored, especially by people at THAT church. I had already unfriended most of the people who triggered my pain, but I didn’t want to unfriend her because I thought she was different from them.

So I contacted her instead. I told her I was frustrated about being ignored. Ironically, our last message from several years ago was me asking her if I had offended her, and if that was that why she was ignoring my request to place an order from her.

Back then, she responded that she was busy and missed the message and how sorry she was. Still, she never followed through with the order. I didn’t pursue it.

This time, she responded in a similar way. She said she was busy and that she’s sorry I felt that way, but that she missed the message.

I was talking to someone else at the time and didn’t read her full message. I responded with a curt explanation that I understood she was busy, but that this was the third time I had tried to order from her and been ignored, and that I wouldn’t be trying to order from her again in the future.

She responded that she understood and that someone else had wanted that item before I did, but that she understood.

I responded again that I probably shouldn’t have said anything, but that I respected her and her work, and that I felt if she continued to treat customers the way she had treated me that people were going to start going away from her. I told her that I hoped her the best in her endeavors.

Then I read the rest of her email response. And my heart dropped.

She said her reason for not responding and being busy was that her mother was diagnosed with cancer last week. Last week. That terrible week. That same day I had had the horrible panic attack that sent me into depression for the weekend.

And my response to her vulnerability was that I understood things get busy, but this was the third time I had been ignored and I wasn’t going to try again.

Wow. What a coldhearted, jerky thing to say to someone who just told you their mother was diagnosed with cancer. I felt like the most terrible person in the world, and I am sure she thought I was. I didn’t mean to be, but that is what it appeared I was.

I wrote back, telling her I had just fully read her message, and that I was sorry I hurt her and added to her stress. She had already un-friended me from Facebook.

To be honest, if I were her, I would have totally blasted me. I would have definitely told me off and been very hateful about it.

But she responded with “I understand . . .” and putting up the seemingly well-deserved boundary of unfriending–just like I had with all those “hateful” people from that church she represented who hurt me so much.

In the middle of complaining that she wasn’t listening to me, I failed to listen to her. I was so caught up in my hurt and my being tired of being rejected and ignored over and over and over again that I put up a boundary that said NO MORE. I was so selfishly caught up in my hurt, I hurt her.

I hate hurting others. I never mean to, but when it happens I have a very real knowledge that I cannot I stop the hurt I’ve caused. I know it because I’ve been hurt and no matter how much the other person is sorry (or maybe didn’t even mean to hurt me) it doesn’t stop the pain.

I felt so guilty for what I had done, I immediately wrote the girl a letter and bought her something simple. The package is on the table and ready to be mailed.

But something else happened in the middle of all of this processing. My pain from the past became too much again and I started spewing out hatred all over my apartment. I resentfully looked at the package and thought of all the people who had hurt me and how they had never done anything to try to fix it. I started cursing the people who had hurt me from that girl’s church, expressing my feelings of hate for them.

I started crying and asking God why He left me here in this pain. I asked God if anyone even cared in the whole world.

Immediately, I heard HIM silently answer, “I will not leave you comfortless . . .” 

Right there in the middle of the worst of my brokenness, in the middle of love that had grown very cold, was a still small whisper. God wasn’t angry at my anger, my resentment, or my ocean of hurt. He was just there.

To be honest, it took me a while to calm down, but then I knew I had to write about this somewhere because writing is really the only thing that makes anything make sense to me.

This whole world is full of pain, hurt, misunderstanding, rejection, and all sorts of misjudgments and broken relationships. People are facing far worse realities than I have ever had. They will never have the answer to their question, “Why me?”

Tonight, my blunder and self-defense cost me the acquaintance of a person I admire. We were never close friends, though I wished I could have been friends with her and her friends. I was never accepted into their group, no matter how much I tried. I’m sure it’s for the best that she and I are no longer connected on social media, but it is sad it has to be that way.

Who knows what kind of hurts she and her friends and her church experienced that caused them to be so rejecting of others in the first place. Their hurts turned into my hurts, which turned into more hurt for them and me.

Is it possible that somehow this entire situation can be turned around for the good? Not just this situation, but also the situation I had last week that left me reeling from the heartbreak and pain of a previous great loss?

I honestly can’t see it at the moment. How can any separation between people be a good thing? How can any brokenness be a good thing?

I looked up the words that came to me in the midst of my hateful rage. “I will not leave you comfortless . . .”  It came from a passage in John, chapter 14, verses 18-23.

I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall.” John 14:18-23

Yes, the world is broken and so am I. But Jesus is coming back to redeem His people from all of this hurt and brokenness. As the love in the world grows cold, sometimes it feels as if we sense God’s presence less and less. It shakes us to the core. The disconnection between Believers makes it worse. We hold onto hurt, pain, and unforgiveness and we let go of people.

Somehow I don’t think it was meant to be that way. If only we would love each other enough to not cut each other off to protect ourselves. Maybe we would see that we never meant to hurt each other in the first place.

I don’t understand why the hurts I’ve experienced happened. But I do know I do not want to hold onto them. I don’t want to go through life in pain. I don’t want to reject people because they reject me. I don’t want to be filled with hurt, bitterness, or resentment.

God, have mercy on my heart. Please heal me. I can’t fix these things myself. I can’t fix myself. I am at Your mercy.

I will send the package and the card to the girl. I will not try to be her friend or purchase items from her. I won’t try to comfort her because of her mother’s situation; that is for her real friends to do. But I will remember her. I will remember that she didn’t respond to me with hatred, perhaps indifference, but not hatred. She simply put up a boundary to protect herself. And I totally understand that, because I do it too.


Rachael

Rachael Hartman is a 30-something with two dogs, and a passion for writing. She owns Our Written Lives, LLC an independent Christian publishing company.

Dreams

And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams . . .

Acts 2:17 ESV

The Bible mentions dreams and visions as a mode of communication between God and man multiple times throughout the Old and New Testaments.

I don’t know about you, but I can say that most of the dreams I have had in my life have not had much spiritual significance. But there have been a few I felt were from the LORD. In fact, some of the most significant times in my life that I sensed God leading me, or warning me, have come through dreams.

I recently heard someone say that dreams are the way our mind tries to figure out our lives. As well, there is quite a bit of research on the rapid eye movement that occurs during sleep and how it is beneficial in therapy such as EMDR to ease PTSD. There is certainly something special about dreams, especially when they stick with us long after we have woken up.

Throughout my life, I have had a few different series of dreams that became a progression of sorts. The dreams come out of nowhere and carry similar themes. This week, I had another progressive dream, and I’m thankful to say it shows that I have progressed in my life. Before I share it with you, let me share the previous dreams I had that belong to this same series of dreams.

I had the first dream two or three times. In the dream, I was a college graduate, but I was stuck in high school! I would talk to the administration, trying to convince them I didn’t belong in high school and that I had already graduated. I would suggest that I take the GED and test out, but each time they would tell me I had to stay in high school for two more years, and that I had to sit through the classes.

Those dreams were very frustrating to say the least, and mirrored what I felt in my life–stuck. The accomplishments I had made in my education and experience didn’t seem to matter to anyone at work. I couldn’t seem to “graduate” to the next phase of my life no matter how much I knew I was beyond where I was stuck.

This week I had a new dream in the progression of this series of school-dreams. In my dream, I was in college! Yea, no more high school! At least I moved on from there. In the dream, I forgot I had registered for a history class. I made it through the semester when I realized I hadn’t gone to history class for weeks!

I was determined I would get to the class, but it started in 10 minutes, and I was waiting on my parents to give me a ride to class. I kept telling them I needed to go, or I would be late. Finally, I climbed in the backseat of their vehicle and we were on our way.

It was a silly dream, and one that doesn’t make sense at all on the surface. I graduated college years ago, and have no desire to formally further my education. And riding with my parents? I haven’t depended on them for a ride since I’ve had my driver’s license.

Despite the silliness of the dream, it stuck with me. I couldn’t shake it when I woke up. What was it about this dream that I needed to remember? In a moment, a flash of meaning entered my mind. In the dream, if I didn’t get my life straightened out, I was going to have to repeat history–something I desperately did not want to do!

I’ve been facing some pretty large life lessons over the past two years. They haven’t been easy, and I desperately want to move forward beyond them. With this simple dream, I felt the Lord was getting my attention. I can’t blame anyone else for my problems–not teachers or my parents or just being forgetful. I have to take responsibility and learn the lesson, or history will repeat itself.

Have you had any significant dreams lately? Is God trying to speak a word into your life through the dreams you have? Please share. I would love to know how God is speaking into your life.


Rachael

Rachael Hartman is a 30-something with two dogs, and a passion for writing. She owns Our Written Lives, LLC an independent Christian publishing company.

A Lovely Day

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YOU ARE LOVED

It’s that time of year again. The stores are sprinkled with red helium balloons, chocolate candy, and the smell of fresh flowers. I almost bought myself some flowers today, until I noticed they had quadrupled the price for Valentine’s Day . . .

When I realized my blog for the week was due on Valentine’s Day, I thought about writing about God’s love for us. But that kind of felt like avoiding the reality of what many people in my age and stage of life (the mid-20s through 30s and single) are experiencing right now.

To be honest, I’ve felt a little sad over the past week. I think it has more to do with the weather than Valentine’s Day, but maybe the idea of what life is “supposed to be like” has affected my non-conscious self.

I remember several years ago, I was purposeful to make sure I spent Valentine’s Day doing nice things for other people. I didn’t want to be the kind of girl that just moped around all week, wishing for some kind of fanciful romance. I wanted to be an active part of making the day special for someone else. I honestly forgot about that initiative until now as I am writing. I somehow let my purposefulness slip away over the past few years, but it’s not too late for me to pick it back up this week.

The truth is, I’m not the only one who feels a little sad this week. Many people all around me are going to be hurting on Valentine’s Day. People will feel lonely, sad, rejected, unsettled, anxious, fearful, etc. I’ll be interacting with people who have been through break-ups, divorce, death, and all other sorts of transitions and losses that can make the day more difficult to face alone. Some may even be in the middle of a relationship full of turmoil, strife, and confusion, wishing they didn’t have to deal with that kind of hurtful, living and present grief.

If I could send a message out to anyone who is hurting on Valentine’s Day, it would be that you are not alone. There are many people in your same situation. I challenge you to look around and listen to other’s stories. Realize how much we have in common. Connect to someone.

The world is an unsure place. Life gives us more than we can handle at times. We need each other now more than ever before. Reach out to help someone else. Don’t wait for someone to reach out to you. Give compassion and care to someone else, and you will find your heart overflowing with love.

You are loved. God loves you, and there are people in your life who love you. Acknowledge and accept that love.

Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the solitary in families . . .”

I am so thankful God has placed me in a great group of friends like I’ve never had before. I have somewhere to go on Friday nights to hang out with friends, people to eat with on Sunday afternoon, and all sorts of meaningful and fun events to participate in throughout the week.

If you are in the San Antonio area, in your 20s or 30s, and looking for a group to join, check out the CBC Young Professionals. We meet on Sundays at 11:30 a.m. in Room C-136 at Community Bible Church located at 2477 North Loop 1604 East, San Antonio, TX 78232. We would love to meet you and make you a part of our community.

“Celebrating life change in Jesus’ Name.” -CBC


Rachael

Rachael Hartman is a 30-something with two dogs, and a passion for writing. She owns Our Written Lives, LLC an independent Christian publishing company.

She wrote this piece to share with the San Antonio CBC Young Professionals class, of which she is a part. It is also featured on her personal blog, http://www.RachaelKathleenHartman.com

OK in the middle of brOKen

IM-OKI’m currently attending a class at church called Hiding From Love. Tonight we talked about the splits in our lives–the areas where we are broken–and how that brokenness keeps us from loving God and others.

 

We started to share the ways we try to hide our brokenness–putting up facades, rejecting others, turning to addictions or pornography, isolating . . . and the list went on. People started talking about how they wanted healthy relationships, and some talked about past relationships that failed and why they failed, and why they are better off now without the person they used to be with.

I stayed quiet for the most part throughout the first part of the class. I didn’t have anything to say for a while. There was only one thought in my mind, and it was about the relationships I have and have had–the broken relationships, with broken people, and a broken me. Finally, I shared my thoughts.

14-14-1-15-19-56-48m.jpgI can’t cut off my family just because they aren’t perfect. I can’t stop all relationships because they aren’t healthy. So what if I love someone who isn’t the best for me? If I love them, I love them; there’s no turning it off.

The goal isn’t for me to get better so I can be in a perfectly healthy relationship. The goal is to love, to stay, to be present, and to be active in the midst of the brokenness. There’s going to be brokenness in every person and relationship; we can’t let that stop us from living and loving now.

I have friends who are committed to their marriage even though one person has an addiction. I have friends who stay even though their loved one is fighting cancer and it is painful to watch. I have a friend who keeps living life to the fullest, even though he was in a terrible accident that cost him the use of his legs. I personally have anxiety, bouts of crying and panic attacks, but I’m still taking risks and living my life.

love-quotes-22I have come to the place where I know I’m going to have times where I cry and am angry and feel hurt, and that is okay. I’m going to face difficult times, and I’m going to be able to live through it and love through it, even though it hurts.

We don’t have to hide from love because we are broken, or because the person we love is broken. We don’t have to wait to live until there’s a better moment or a more ideal situation. Today is the day to live and to love.

If we continue to seek something “better,” we will constantly pass up love while we wait for “the best” for our lives. Why not be content now? Why not have fun now? Why do we have to keep grasping for a better job, a better person, a better life? We have the life we have now, and it’s ours to live, with all of its brokenness.

We can seek perfection, or we can seek contentment. Perfection will cost us our relationships, and being present in the moment. But with contentment, we can live and love today, in the midst of brokenness.

We have a choice, we can harden our hearts to protect ourselves from the hurt life brings, or we can allow God to give us a heart that is full of passion, the ability to feel, and, yes, vulnerability to pain.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

Ezekiel 36:26

Lord, help us to see beyond our brokenness. So many of us seek “better” things . . .  accomplishments, jobs, a person to be in a relationship with, more money, beauty, or even a quest for emotional health . . . But all that really matters is that we love right here and right now. Thank-You for loving us in our brokenness, and for giving us the capacity to love others in the midst of theirs.’ 


Rachael

Rachael Hartman is a 30-something with two dogs, and a passion for writing. She owns Our Written Lives, LLC an independent Christian publishing company.

She wrote this piece to share with the San Antonio CBC Young Professionals class, of which she is a part.

My Journey to Emotional Sobriety

8Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:8-11

4-ways-to-turn-weaknesses-into-strengthsA wise man once explained to me that the word sober in 1 Peter 5:8 not only refers to refraining from drunkenness, but also to staying sober from anger, greed, and other emotional, and spiritual issues. There are so many things we can be drunk on. “Love” for another person being one of those things. There are so many experiences and emotions that can inhibit our ability to be “sober-minded” and avoid the lion who seeks to destroy our souls.

By God’s grace, I personally have never been drunk with alcohol. I’ve never had a desire to drink at all. But I have had problems with anger and selfishness and lost my emotional sobriety. My anger and unforgiveness turned to bitterness and brokenness. It was so bad there seemed to be no way for me to stop the rage that began to boil inside my heart and mind.

The person who was hurt the most was me. I have implosive anger… Instead of tearing a room apart, I would keep all the anger inside and it began to destroy my self-worth and peace of mind.

The only thing that began to help was, ironically, The 12 Steps. I started to attend Life’s Healing Choices and other Celebrate Recovery types of programs like Changes that Heal, Boundaries, Hiding From Love, etc. I started to apply the 12 Steps to help me seek emotional sobriety from anger, bitterness, fear, rejection, panic, anxiety, depression, and emotional highs and lows.

I’ve heard people say that deliverance can come in two different ways: instantaneously, or through a process. For me, remaining emotionally sober has been a process of deliverance, one I have to remain committed to, just as my brothers and sisters who are recovering alcoholics and addicts.

I have to always remember that I’m a sinner in need of a Savior. I find that when I think things are becoming “right” in my life, and I start to slack in knowing my need for Jesus, that’s when my emotions begin to flare up again. I find myself emotionally overpowered by depression, anxiety, fear and anger . . . and then back to the realization that I am not God, not in control, but that God loves me and cares for me. I’m learning my life is and will be a constant surrendering dependence on God.

As I release my emotions to God, He fills me with forgiveness, peace, and joy. I share this testimony of the power of Christ with you to give you hope. Whatever it is you are fighting, turn to God, turn to Christian support, and seek sobriety.


Rachael.jpg

Rachael Hartman is a 30-something with two dogs, and a passion for writing. She owns Our Written Lives, LLC an independent Christian publishing company.

She wrote this piece to share with the San Antonio CBC Young Professionals class, of which she is a part.