Hidden Hurts

Hidden Hurts

“You never know what goes on behind closed doors.”

“You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

“You’d never know by looking at him.”

“But she always seemed so put-together and happy.”

Hidden Hurts

How many times have we heard–or spoken–phrases like these about people? People who we assume are doing ok, until we find out…they’re not. People who surprise us with sudden outbursts or breakdowns. People who decide they’re tired of the facade and become very open about what they’ve been facing. People who suddenly disappear from the normal activities where we see them.

In the last several months my husband and I both have been confronted anew with the depth and breadth of hurting, damaged relationships and people. It has brought home the fact that in so many ways we are fragile entities desperately in need of a Healer and Savior.

All of us, to a certain degree, have things we “hide” from others. These are the things which (rightly) shouldn’t be shared in particular groups or settings, things we’re working through and aren’t ready yet to share, or any number of other reasons.

What I’ve been contemplating are those (including myself sometimes!) who pretend everything is fine and then suddenly it comes out that it is so NOT fine.

Speaking of fine, do you know what it stands for (at least according to a certain movie)? F.I.N.E: Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional! Think about that the next time someone asks how you are and you’re tempted to answer with the word. But I digress.

I’m not going to delve into all the reasons people hide their hurts–it’s too deep and wide a subject. What I’d like to do is share a few thoughts on how you and I can possibly alleviate some of the hiding.

  • When asking someone how they are, let’s specifically ask, “How are you doing–really?” and then be willing to take the time and emotional attention to listen to the answer.
  • Speaking of listening, when others are sharing with us let’s truly focus attention on them. We can do things like make direct eye contact, refrain from looking at our phones, when in a crowd we can refrain from looking around for other people to talk to, and let the person know through our body language that we’re not anxious to move on to the next person, place, or thing.
  • Be the “safe” friend. So many are unwilling to share their hearts and hurts because in the past they have done so and been burned when the one they trusted turned out to be untrustworthy. Let’s be the ones who are known for keeping information entrusted to us to ourselves.
  • We can be people who pay attention. I know it sounds elementary, but we get so busy “doing” that we miss signs others show that they are in need of attention and help. When we pay attention, we are better able to discern hurting hearts.
  • When someone mentions a prayer need, let’s take the time right then and there to stop and pray with them. There is a difference between saying, “I’ll pray for you” and “Let me pray for you now.”

Do you have other thoughts about how we can be helpful to those who feel they must hide what is truly going on in their heads and hearts?

 

Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Suck It Up, Girlie!”

Where You Are Supposed to Be
 

“Suck it up, girlie, this is your life now!”

That, at certain times in my life, may have made me a little (a lot!) annoyed. But, this time when it was spoken by a dear older, wiser friend of mine, it just made me laugh.

I had been outlining all of the upcoming changes regarding our move to Texas and was (maybe) complaining just a little about how unnerved I was feeling. Somehow, I was able to take her comment in stride though, and for some strange reason it was actually encouraging.

There is wisdom in the idea of trying to make the best of your circumstances, but as I was contemplating her comment again yesterday, my thoughts went a slightly different direction.

“Suck it up, girlie!” could also be an invitation. An invitation to suck up everything I can in this new life we’re embarking on. Remember Dead Poet’s Society and the whole carpe diem and “suck the marrow out of life” thing? That’s kind of what I’m thinking.

I know that pretty much everything between now and about 2 months from now is going to be new, different, strange, unfamiliar, and an opportunity to be stressed and nervous. OR–I can look at it like it’s an adventure and pull as much fun, laughter, and goodness as possible from it. That’s pretty much my choice. Pretty much seems obvious which one is better, too.

I just wish it were easier to make that choice.

 

 

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Liminality–That In-Between Place

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I am thrilled to introduce my sister to you today! (I wrote about her a while back in this post.) She graciously allowed me to talk her into writing something for October’s theme of Uncertainty and Unsettledness. You see, she is currently working on her dissertation. (Very cool, right?!) AND, this dissertation is all about liminality. Don’t know what that means? Neither did I at first!

Please–read on to find out!

 

I recently found myself waiting at the DMV to renew my driver’s license.  With my number next to be called, an announcement came over the intercom that their computers were shut down for an indefinite amount of time and those of us waiting were welcome to continue to wait or to reschedule our appointments.

I found myself in a dilemma.

I had to either wait in the waiting room without much to do and with no guarantee of getting my turn that day, or I had to reschedule my appointment for a date at least two weeks away, with no guarantee that the computers wouldn’t happen to have the same problems then as well (and in the meantime driving with an expired license).

I chose to stay and wait, holding on to hope that someone, somewhere was working hard on my behalf to solve the computer problems that were completely out of my control.  I found myself contemplating what a fitting metaphor this was for what I had been facing for a while.  For the past few years I have been seeking to understand a part of the human experience called liminality.

Liminality is a state of being caught in between two places, that which we’ve left behind and that which is yet to be.

The term comes from a similar word for threshold.  It is a passageway of sorts, but very often we experience it without clear entry or exit points, therefore it is accompanied by uncertainty, insecurity, and disequilibration.

We may be facing the deployment of a spouse, or it may look like a time period between jobs.  We may be waiting to hear a diagnosis or seeking to understand the purpose in the death of someone we love.

The experience of waiting is typically one that we run from, choosing as often as we can to reschedule that appointment!  We attempt to control the situation, sometimes trying almost anything to change our circumstances and move more quickly through the next doorway.

But what I have discovered, both in seeking to understand my own experience of liminality and learning how others have walked through it, is that liminality can be a beautiful time for receiving depth, truth, renewal, maturity, and faith.  Instead of running from it, if we were to fully embrace the gifts offered in these in-between times, then uncertainty becomes an adventure and unsettledness becomes revelation.

So as I sat in the waiting area at the DMV, instead of obsessing about all of the things I wished I were doing instead of sitting there, I sought to engage fully in the moment.  I observed the people around me.  I prayed for each of them.  I listened to the voice of God speak to my spirit about some unhealthy attitudes.  I wrote some thoughts down on a piece of scratch paper to put in my journal and discovered that having to sit there was truly filling my soul.

And when the announcement finally came that the computers were fixed and my number lit up on the reader board, I actually experienced a little disappointment that my liminal time was being so rudely interrupted.

 

What might God want to teach you through a time of waiting?

 

 

Lori is a wife, mom, mentor, wilderness enthusiast, amateur theologian and a dreamer.  She currently works as an adjunct professor for Warner University.  She has a passion for seeing people discover an ever-deepening love relationship with God and is committed to helping them develop their own God-given passions in life.  Lori enjoys the outdoors, playing sports, studying cultural trends, teaching, and having adventures with her family (husband, Chip, and two kids, Caleb-10 and Leah-11).  Her big dream is to one day develop an outdoor adventure company.