Friday: Welcoming the Weekend

 Hello dear friends,

I present to you a hefty hash of experiential wisdom. Today was a day of cranial injury, by this I mean I had a bad headache.  If you know me personally, then you know I suffer from chronic headaches which make computer work and florescent lighting as aggravating as a dog slowly gnawing on your ankles.  It hurts.  But, if you've ever had a physical ailment that doesn't manifest itself on the outside, its really easy (especially for me) to feel like you have no right to complain - enter "the guilt".  Even in telling you now, there's a little voice in my head saying, "buck up! its just headaches, push through it, if you speak about your pain people will think you're a burden, irresponsible, a whiny portrayal of human character".  But, I don't take things lightly...obviously.

And I have to tell you, this headache thing causes me to leave parties early, go to bed before its dark, they've kept me from finishing homework, make me leave meetings early, disrupt hanging out with friends, and ultimately drop on me burdens of guilt delivered by internal messages from before my headaches ever began.  It's funny how God uses the most random things in our lives to dig up the most painful secrets of our souls.  If you think I'm being overly dramatic or have no idea what I mean, then I respectfully say you might want to ask God to use some proverbial Windex on your heart.

Dear friends today I learned that the emotional pain caused by my headaches has to do with a fear of rejection.  I want the approval of others so badly I suffer intense headaches just so I don't "upset" my betters by leaving a meeting early to take care of my body. Isn't that messed up? And then I won't leave until I'm sure everyone's okay with it.  I so desperately need to feel validated by other people, I am (quite wrongfully) willing to hurt myself so they'll approve of me.  Let me be honest, this is not self-sacrifice - I believe there are many instances where enduring pain is needed for the benefit of others, for their good - the sort of self-sacrifice God endured when He committed himself to an excruciating death for us.  But 9 times out of 10 my twisted headache guilt haunts me because I'm not being self-sacrificial, I'm being self-seeking. I just don't want to look bad by leaving or retiring.  I'm not being honest with myself or those around me.

This fear of rejection is no small thing and it certainly doesn't end its manifestation with my headaches.  Sometimes I'm even afraid of rejection from my dearest friends.  True, sometimes I don't take care of myself because I'm afraid of what others might think, but if I continue to find my self worth in anyone's opinion by God's, then my life will be an endless empty quest.  Its a search for significance and I'm headed in the wrong direction.

I found out that a new friend of mine has Crohn's disease and I've known for awhile that another dear friend has an illness called Endometriosis - both of which cause intense pain in the abdomen - and I've seen them desperately struggle for the validation of their pain.  No one can see it, its not like their legs were hacked off, so I've witnessed people equate their symptoms to puffs of smoke or the emotional exaggerations of an unhappy woman.  I can't imagine what that feels like.

Yet, it challenges me to take a critical look at my own emotional need to be approved and it brings me to immense joy to know there is someone who never grows weary, never fails, and unconditionally approves of everything He made me to be.  Your worth is a gift from God - it should not be earned or achieved, it cannot be earned or achieved. We are His Beloved.

God’s Truth:  Reconciliation
                And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him.
Colossians 1:21-22

So, thank you, God, for the headaches.  For, though they give me great pain, they are worth every single bit of inconvenience if it means dealing with deteriorated parts of my soul, and knowing you more.
images here and here

Oh! And I do have good news - after 8 years of headaches, the optometrist says its 'cause I'm severely far-sighted and I need glasses...finally!