Saturday, February 25, 2017

"I Wish, I Wish..."


To spotlight the 2017 National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (February 26th- March 4th, 2017), let’s take a look at the power of wishes. They can, all too often, become something toxic, if left unchecked.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Bifurcation: Addiction’s Jeckle and Hyde


 

“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

James 1:8

The word bifurcation means “the division of something into two branches or parts.” It may not be a widely known and used word within our vocabulary. Yet its prevalence abounds.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are two figures which describe a person who is radically, even morally different, depending upon the circumstance.

Indeed, Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella appears to capture the chaotic struggle, as an individual wars in the battle between good and evil.

It’s an excellent portrait of addiction.

For, according to the literary classic, Dr. Jekyll, endeavoring to win that battle, creates a potion. Doing this spurs the persona of Mr. Hyde, who increasingly gains more power.

And, we see how the regular consumption of this potion becomes destructive. Eventually, the personality of Hyde becomes so strong, the person of Jekyll grows dependent upon the potion to simply function.

Again, this Jekyll and Hyde schism mirrors addiction. How many times have we heard, witnessed or behaved in a manner which is diametrically opposite of our “normal” selves? We encounter examples of “the angry drunk” or “the happy drunk.” We see the introvert who, because of various substances, becomes the life of the party.

Personality is altered. And, frequently, that alteration has adverse results.

Concerning our addiction experiences, it would, therefore, be beneficial to examine the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde within each of us.

Willingness

“…‘Do you want to get well?’"

John 5:6

First, we have to face our attitude about willingness. There is no neutrality here. We veer toward yes or no: to face our truth and to admit we need help.

Dr. Jekyll in us may, indeed, be cooperative. But, let’s be real, even if that is the case, at best, we are often clueless, even if we are agreeable.

“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice: but what I hate, that I do.”

Romans 7:15

That’s where the recovery programs come in, touting “trust the process” and “surrender.”

“For now we see through a glass, darkly...”

1 Corinthians 13:12

We need to admit we are not capable of objectivity and of successfully running our own lives when it comes to our addictions, disorders and vices. Clearly, we cannot.

If we could effectively do that, we wouldn’t be where we are in our assorted messes.

We may be well intentioned, like Dr. Jekyll, not wanting to cause harm, believing we have things under control. Yet, we are unsupervised with our personal solution potions; and a door to someone-and something- else opens.

“...the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:41

So, most of the time, our “no response” to both matters of willingness and wellness, ushers in Mr. Hyde.

 “Where there is no vision, the people perish...”

Proverbs 29:18

There’s another translation to this powerful scripture:

“Where there is no vision, people cast off restraint.”

I believe that particular translation speaks more accurately of us. Here exists our dangerous addiction alter ego, Mr. Hyde. We are confronted by self-sabotage. Many of us are wrestling with various demons, compelling our passions. We possess psyches which, already broken and bruised, operate from negative assertions, things like...

I am worthless.

I am pointless.

I am joyless.

Indeed, what drove Dr. Jekyll to look for something outside of himself? Deep insecurity? Some form of “less than?”

We certainly don’t see this character as content with himself and with his life. He believed he needed something extra, something more, to enhance things.

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...”

Proverbs 23:7

He, in essence, believed the hype of his Hyde; he believed that persona was his answer.

And that makes the next reality even more challenging.

The Tricky Heart:

“…‘Do you want to get well?’"

John 5:6

Before Mr. Hyde, exists Dr. Jekyll. Before behavior, comes the issue-laden heart.

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34

Failure to know, to acknowledge and to deal with that truth leave us even more vulnerable to Matthew 26:41’s point.

“...the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

But, if Dr. Jekyll is oblivious or hardened to that perspective, inevitably, Mr. Hyde surfaces. He is the attitude which refuses to accept and deal with individual, flawed humanity.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Jeremiah 17:9

He is that direct defiance of addiction as ugly truth.

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

1 John 1:8

And, once we allow that to be our “normal,” we cross into another dangerous level. We are emboldened to believe our actions will never catch up with us.

 “He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.”

Psalms 10:6

Mr. Hyde, sooner or later, will kill and destroy. My Hyde rages against our lives.

And that affects the rubber meets the road truth of active recovery.

Doing the Life’s Work:

 “…‘Do you want to get well?’"

John 5:6

The recovery phrase, “doing the work” not only addresses the healthier action of sobriety, but to an improved life overall.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

Proverbs 4:23

And again, our baseline is Dr. Jekyll. He is our vulnerability and our potential for destruction.

“...the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:41

“One day at a time,” therefore, is the necessary, daily commitment we make. When we recognize both our need for willingness and our fragile humanity, we, in essence, say “yes” to John 5:6’s question. We engage in our work and welcome the Divine intervention which oversees the entire process.

“And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”

Jeremiah 24:7

However, if we say “no,” Mr. Hyde rears his destructive head again. He comes with toxic defiance.

 “He hath said in his heart, ‘I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.’”

Psalms 10:6

“...‘God hath forgotten... he will never see it.’”

 Psalms 10:11

Mr. Hyde’s lifeblood is denial. And this mocks our need to do the recovery work, to change, to heal.

Our Creator knows us: every thought, motivation, delusion and sickness. He knows. He knows if we are Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde right now, right this second.

“The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.”

Proverbs 21:1-2

This is comprehensive knowledge of our entire health. And that health must extend beyond ourselves.

Being Mindful of Others:

“…‘Do you want to get well?’"

John 5:6

Dr. Jekyll has enough common sense and decency to realize he is not an island unto himself. There is a sphere of influence close to him. Impressionable souls are watching.

“Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.”

Romans 14:13

This stumbling block factor amplifies where we stand on health and recovery. For, if we truly have embraced the tenets of sobriety, we take ownership of our influence on others. In our addictions, we have caused pain; in our addictions, we have caused others to stumble.

 “...the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:41

But, again, refusal to face that invites Mr. Hyde to do what he does best: destroy.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish...”

Proverbs 29:18

Again, we’re back to casting off restraint.

Addiction, much like our dear Mr. Hyde has, at its core, rampant, potentially murderous, selfishness. All we chase is our high. How much was laid waste because we let it rip?

Recovery unflinchingly challenges the addict to face his/her personally executed desolation. And, part of that healing addresses our role as destructive influencer, luring others into disease.

Again, no person is an island unto himself/herself. The ripple effect, unfortunately, can drown anyone in its undercurrent.

Let’s face it: Mr. Hyde would rather have his potion than anything else. Nothing bothers him in the throes of his passion. A relationship or even a person could die and it would not matter. He has his beloved. Everything and everyone else is expendable, save his cherished addiction.

“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

James 1:8

This Jekyll and Hyde factor, to a certain degree, affects all of us by its precarious duality.

But those of us prone to addiction have an even more intense vulnerability.

Bifurcation’s definition, indeed, is “the division of something into two branches or parts.”

If we refuse to acknowledge and deal with that, we convey we are agreeable to any misfortune which inevitably follows our self-destructive decision; it is synonymous with our potion/addiction and its madness for which we see no reason to quell.

Right now, we have a decision to make: we can choose the single or double minded path. We can confront our Dr. Jekyll, our Mr. Hyde and our disease.

We can choose to stop or continue the division. We can choose.

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Insulting Me...


Just breathe and look at this...


Yes, She is...


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Success isn't about...


It Ain’t What They Call You...



“But now thus says the LORD that created you...‘Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are mine.’”

Isaiah 43:1

What’s in a name?

We cannot get around that question. From the start, we are named. As life continues, we bestow more names to children, pets, toys, places, projects, et cetera.

This naming business is far from insignificant. Consequently, it can often subject to negative, extremely personal and abusive behavior. It can challenge the recovery from our individual hurts, histories and obstacles.

I’ve personally encountered this toxicity. I have had people call me derogatory names; profanity and misogyny have often been at the center of those names.

It’s startling, infuriating and potentially harmful to my health and recovery. Often reeling from these encounters, my only recourse is to run to God in prayer.

Recently, I came across a social media post about name calling. And it shed some insight regarding personal attacks.

Here are these reasons behind negative name calling revealed...

Bully

Cover up mistakes

Cause confusion

Deceive observers

Discredit or invalidate opponent

Disarm opponent

Distract or divert attention

Draw attention

Encourage criticism

Instigate reaction

Manipulate you into compliance

Manipulate perception or mislead

Manipulate your beliefs and values

Project blame onto others

Ranting

Reinforce social stigma

Personal Agenda: A Huge “Why”

“For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”

James 3:16

As we look at this list of “reasons,” it doesn’t take long to see how a personal agenda is behind it all.

And it can become overwhelming to discern and deal with that often destructive personal agenda. Indeed, envy and self-seeking behaviors are often found there. Both share unrealistic expectation, entitlement and, yes, selfishness. Possessing these attributes is human. Like it or not, each of us is subject to falling into this humanity.

With that said, however, it still is not an excuse to eviscerate someone’s character, feelings or circumstances.

Misunderstanding is frequently at the root of negative name calling. We don’t see and know the entirety of a person, their history and their situations. So, in our uninformed perspective, we somehow justify, with unchallenged conviction, the determination they “deserve” said name attached to them.

Someone gets called a profanity, a slur or any other variation of an unflattering, hurtful word.

And here’s where we are confronted with a choice. In that unpleasant, real moment, how do we respond to a derogatory name hurled at us?

“It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.”

 W. C. Fields

 This tests everything: our faith, our character and our triggers. Over the years, I have tried various tactics concerning the name calling issue.

I have...

...ignored it, doing my best to not dignify it with a response...

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth...”

Isaiah 53:7

(Yeah, this Jesus kind of response was definitely not easy)...

...just walked away...

“Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.”

Proverbs 14:7

 (Again, it’s NOT easy).

...attempted to reason with the person, offering a plea for understanding and civility...

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

Matthew 5:9

(Oh, don’t get me started here)...

...responded to verbal attack by stating, “Stop it!”

“Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

Matthew 5:37

(This, I’ve found, can shut all communication down)...

...put the particular name through my questioning filter, attempting to assess if there was anything “valid” to the incident...

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalms 139:23-24

(As if I’m not enough of a masochist already)...

And here’s where I run into a gigantic sticking point: negative name calling is DESTRUCTIVE, not CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.

“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”

James 3:5-6

Unfortunately, when a person is in this reactionary mode, they are often not the least bit interested in resolving, understanding or being peaceful. They, because of fear, hurt or frustration, disguised as personal offense, often only want to retaliate.

Again, no one is immune from being in this place.

Nevertheless, it still targets a pointy question for the name caller:

Why are you saying what you are saying?

It comes back to personal human agenda.

But Thank God, God is different...

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

And because of our unflattering agenda portrait, we need to return to God on this issue.

When imperfect human beings make the choice to hurt with untrue, but painful verbal attacks, how much more do we need to reaffirm God’s position on the name calling topic?

Called By MY NAME...

“Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."

Isaiah 43:7

We need to learn, apply and bandage ourselves with how God sees us and how He names us.

(Once again, this is not easy).

When painful verbal abuse is launched our way, we need to keep first things first.

Our First Love: That Settles It...

 “We love him, because he first loved us.”

1 John 4:19

Our inherent value and lovability are secure and decided upon long before we were ever in a circumstance which challenged us to believe a harmful lie of a degrading name.

We were specifically, intentionally, created in His Image and called good...

“And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good...”

Genesis 1:31

 And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Genesis 1:26-27

And after our creation, God celebrates us...

 “The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

That’s an important thing to keep in mind whenever we’re in a name calling moment.

 I mean, let’s face it, in that uncomfortable scenario, there is nothing celebratory going on.

Why HIS Name Calling?

“Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…”

Isaiah 43:4

So, whenever we feel diminished in a negative context, we need God’s affirming naming process. It comes from an agenda of love.

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.’”

Jeremiah 31:3

At surface level, this feels like a no brainer.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know- God loves us.

Yet, when we are bombarded with vicious, degrading and hurtful words, words which often convince us of our worthlessness, this important love thing can be incredibly difficult to accept.

Free To Transform Because God is Decided...        

“I have chosen you and have not cast you away.”

Isaiah 41:9

Therefore, knowing God is already decided about His love and decision to choose us can, however slightly, make it easier for us to absorb.

And maybe this absorption can facilitate our trust inthe grace-infused process of transformation, even in spite of our wounds and issues.

 “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 3:18

One of the reasons I frequently refer to 2 Corinthians 3:18 and an entire slew of unconditional love scriptures as  I write, speak and mentor, is because life, without any sugarcoating, is brutal. I’ve encountered many along the way who are walking wounded from someone else’s fiery tongue.

Therefore, part of the ongoing healing process is to frequently remind ourselves of these love and value scriptures.

I wish I could say I am completely finished and healed. I would love to say it’s all resolved.

But I would be lying if I said that.

 My struggle, to this day, resides in not just the memories of days and words gone by, but also in the current biting experiences from people, especially when they are family, I experience to this day.

This, unfortunately, is a common reality for many of us out there. From what name, insult or slur are you trying to process and heal? Who said it? Do you take over where they leave off, calling yourself this horrible name for yourself?

While the recovery journey of truth, acquiring tools and forgiveness unfolds for each of us, there’s one more thing which needs to also be mentioned: Matthew 12:36.

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”

Do I offer this scripture because of the “get ‘em” promise of vengeance on our enemies?

No.

Rather, it is to remind us all, myself included, of the reality of individual accountability. Even on our best day, we still can only control our own actions. That does not guarantee self-control and appropriate behavior will spread to anyone else. So, yes, there is the risk of someone else’s choice for bad and hurtful behavior to be aimed at us- and name calling is included in that.

It’s important to believe God’s love and value estimation concerning us is more powerful than any person’s opinion and the toxic results emanating from it.

Again, to quote W.C. Fields...

“It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.”

 

Let’s commit to the challenge of accepting ourselves, called by our true names!

“...‘I have called you by your name; you are mine.’”

Isaiah 43:1

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse