The Lady Doth Protest Too Much, Me Thinks:)

I love Shakespeare because His words tickle me. I have always loved the quote, “The lady doth protest too much, me thinks.” I thought of those words this week at a time I needed to be ticked. Powerful truth lives in the words of Queen Gertrude in Hamlet. Protest in this context isn’t what you might think. Wikipedia describes it well, “The phrase’s actual meaning implies the increasing likelihood of suppressed feelings for the contrary of that which is being argued.” 

Too much protesting is a sign that something is amiss, and the more I protest, the more likely it is that I’m guilty of what Shakespeare is describing. Unfortunately, I can relate! I protested too much and listened to far too much protesting this week. God used the line from Hamlet to teach lessons about placating and holding on. Shakespeare always gives me food for thought and chewing on his words reminds me to catch myself when I find myself protesting too much. My fear of imbalance and failing when it came to love kept my heart from being balanced. My need to lead and be who others needed for me to be kept me from being who I am.

As I begin my sixties, I plan to seek peace and be myself. Like Mylah, I’m new at navigating without holding on. We both are squealing with delight and optimistic about our new found freedom. I may fall and fail or get pushed down as little Mylah did yesterday when Lillyann got too rough with her, but I plan to shake off the dust and get right back up again just as she did.

The fifties have been a decade of finding, and I’ve found a lot. I began the decade leaving a terrible marriage, and I begin the new decade by celebrating my son’s marriage, a full circle of sorts. I see love and life in a new light and feel better about relationships than ever in my life. True love thrives on truth, and that is the best way to describe the lessons learned. Honest communion set my heart free, and I’ve finally found the courage to be myself and speak my mind honestly without worrying about what others may think. My problems with love stem from my fear of being who I am and not speaking the truth with conviction. A middle child tends to keep peace at any cost. That’s not true of this middle child any more; that’s not the kind of peace I’m pursuing:)

Truth stops the protesting that Queen Gertrude noted and enables me to find my voice and speak that truth with love. Knowing the truth about myself brings sweet stillness and peace and makes silence much simpler. I’m looking forward to seeing how this new freedom will affect my heart and my life as I let go of the baggage I’ve been carrying for six decades. I know it will help me live, as my dear friend puts it, a life worth living forever and love in a way worth loving forever too:)

Happy sixtieth birthday to me! It is a happy one indeed, and I honestly believe from the very center of my heart that the sixties are going to be the best decade yet:)

Not Holding On:)

I had one of those sweet aha! moments yesterday as I left the church after communion. I realized that my heart wasn’t holding on to anything. I thought I might just take flight! All my life, I’ve held on to one thing or another in fear of losing my balance. I lost my balance as a very young child and never found the courage to stop holding on and let my heart walk on its own. My heart walked on its own yesterday, and it was awesome. On the last day of my fiftieth decade, I finally understand what Maya Angelou meant when she said, “The fifties are what you’re meant to be.” I also know why my sweet little Mylah gets so excited about walking without holding on!

I’m not sure what all happened, but I do know that I let go of the need to be anyone other than who I am. God’s timing is always amazing, and I had to smile as I got in the car and headed to my hair appointment.  I love sharing the Lord’s Supper because I never feel as close to God as I do during communion. I suppose that’s why it’s called communion. Honest communion sets the heart free in the most beautiful way, and my heart was feeling more free than ever.

A free heart allows time with those I love and makes life worth living. I spent the afternoon and evening with Mylah and Lillyann, and there’s no place my heart would rather be than with those two sweet little girls. It was a privilege to play and then lay beside each as they drifted off to sleep. Mylah plays with my hair while drifting off, and Lillyann plays with hers. I play with my hair too, so we are kindred spirits in that regard:)

Children always have time to love and play, and that’s what makes them so amazing. It’s why they have balance while adults are always juggling, looking at watches, checking phones, and doing things. Children delight in those they love and have all the time in the world for them. Adults miss so much because they are rarely present either physically or mentally. It’s the way of the world, I suppose. Thank God for children who have no concept of time and live in the present.  Time creates imbalance when used unwisely, and holding on to the past or fretting about the future takes me away from the center.

Everyone is given the exact same number of minutes each day; how that precious gift from God is spent determines the level of peace and balance in life. That was another powerful lesson this week that went along with the one on placating.

Christ is at the heart of my heart. He gives my heart balance, and my heart gives me balance. My need to lead, to be loved, and to please are canes I’ve used for support because I didn’t trust my heart. I know Christ has always had my heart balanced in His. I’m not sure what God has in mind for my next decade, but I go into it knowing who I am and Who He is. I am not holding on to those canes any more and feel just like little Mylah as she delights in her new found freedom. Look out sixties because here I come:)

Peacemaking or Placating?

If you have ever uttered the words, “There, but the grace of God, go I,” then you will appreciate the lessons I learned yesterday. I get blindsided so often that I’m no longer shocked when I find myself face down in the mud wondering what just happened. Unexpected hits are never easy because pride takes the worst lick. Broken pride takes longer to heal than anything else, but the humbling that comes from the healing is worth the hurt.

God reminded me yesterday that being blindsided can be a very positive thing when He is the one behind the hit. If there are bullets flying in the room, my best friend is going to blindside me and take me to the ground. God did that yesterday and even laid on top of me to make sure I didn’t get up until it was safe to leave. God has helped me dodge bullets before, and He has pulled me out of the water more than once. I am grateful for His willingness to step in and save me when I’m in trouble.

When I come through an almost accident or a situation where I didn’t go somewhere I had planned on going and later found that something terrible happened, I utter the phrase “There, but the grace of God, go I.” It humbles in a way nothing else can, and I am all ears when I hear someone telling the story of how that could have been me. God often teaches me with visual aids because He knows that’s the way I learn. He showed two vivid images yesterday that took my breath away and left me thanking Him for His grace and His patience with this stumbling disciple who doesn’t get it until face down on the ground.

I have the tendency to want to fix and do and help others, and that is not what God has in mind. It is easier to do for others than be still and draw near to Him, and that’s why I choose placating over peacemaking. Peacemakers are blessed. Placaters are not. It’s easier to placate, and it’s something I’ve learned to do very well over the course of my life. The problem with placating is that it is never enough. That was what I heard and saw clearly yesterday as I learned a lesson I needed to learn.

Making selfish people happy only makes me and the ones I’m trying to placate miserable. It’s at the heart of enabling, and I’m an expert when it comes to that, as well. Appeasing has always been appealing to me because it gets immediate gratification for the one I appease and for me. That is hard to hear as are all of God’s lessons, but it is necessary if I am to learn the important difference between peacemaking and placating.

Peacemaking isn’t possible until I am at peace with God and with myself. Peace cannot spread if I do not have it in my heart first. It isn’t something I can give to another, so it doesn’t go along with placating. There is an endless source of peace in God’s love, and He so wants me to tap into it and pass it along. Satan deals with placating, and he will convince me that giving and doing and trying to make others happy is what God wants me to do. That’s where the bullet comes in. If I continue to follow the placating path, I’ll be face up from the wounds inflicted, so I’m thankful God blindsided me yesterday.

It’s not fun being face down in the mud, but it’s better than the alternative. Mud is great for my face, and when I’m all cleaned up, I can say with all my heart, “There, but the grace of God, go I!!”

Stillness

Humility creates a stillness that stops and allows God the space and time to reveal Himself to me. Humbling comes when I see Who He is and am reminded of who I am not. The humbling God allows is very freeing. Once I get over the initial shock of those lessons which bring me to my knees, a peace comes over me that is indescribable. Like a child in awe, I am ready to be quiet, give God my attention, listen to what He has to say, and learn the lessons He has for me.

God never humiliates, but He does allow humbling when I wander away from His presence. I’m very good at taking the ball and running with it; in fact, I’m a lot like Forest Gump in that regard. I don’t know when to stop running and end up humiliated when I realize I’ve gone too far. The message yesterday was about God’s disciples being humble. It is the single greatest attribute for those serious about serving God.

The more I grasp the concept of stillness, the more aware of God I become. The more I understand the body of Christ, the more I pull away from the busyness of this world. That busyness becomes irrelevant when I experience His stillness. I’ve always been a person who had to be doing something all the time. I have come to learn that busyness keeps me from being still and comes between God and me. So often in my relationships I over do and under be. It has been at the root of my problems connecting with God and to others.

Stillness is movement that creates harmony as I allow God to direct the action. Henri Nouwen calls the sweet movement “holy leisure.” It isn’t literally being still but rather being at peace in the midst of movement designed to bring a closeness to God. I’ve always had a hard time being still, and it’s caused me great stress while making my way through life. I’ve changed as I’ve grown to understand how peace and movement are beautifully connected. I no longer feel the need to be busy or fill the empty space with my voice.

Being humble is about seeing how silly my plans are when placed next to God’s. My handiwork looks like Lillyann’s sweet little drawings I so love to watch her create. She was drawing intently the other day, and I loved it when she described her subject in the process of creating her art. When she changed directions and started asking me to guess what she was drawing, I began to panic. My best guesses were falling short! Thank goodness she only thought I was a bad guesser. I love that about kids, and God loves that about me. My intentions are wonderful, and my efforts intense when it comes to doing what I think God wants me to do.  Humbling helps me relax and let Him draw out the plans and describe them as He goes. It humbles me in a very different way when He shows me His handiwork, asks if I like it, and tells me that He made it just for me:)

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