Thursday, November 12, 2009


If I had to describe myself in ten words or less, it would surely make the list. In reality, it would probably even land in the top three. It might even be number one. It's who I am, I am extremely straight forward and will almost always tell you not only what I think, but also why I think it. Sometimes I do it, even when I'd rather not, it's just how I'm geared up.

I can say the Lord has done a lot to help me work on my delivery but the sentiment behind it has remained somewhat unchanged. It's sort of like mixing a little sugar in the elixir, it doesn't really make it taste any better, but it makes it a little easier to swallow.

I don't mean to be harsh, but sometimes I am. The different responses I get from people for being so direct are often fascinating. As one might imagine, it sends a lot of people running. What interests me is the people who almost seem to crave it. They're drawn to it. Maybe because there don't seem to be a lot of "straight shooters" in these days of political correctness and the "all about me" driven generation. I'm always fascinated by the people who express admiration for my directness until it's turned towards them in a way they don't want to hear. It makes me wonder why they thought I wouldn't shoot straight towards them too.

One thing for certain, people know where I stand, and if they're willing to come close enough, they know where we stand with each other. I don't do it in an unloving way, necessarily, I just don't have the time or energy to play games. If there is something between us, let's talk about it, let's hash it out. Let's figure it out so we can either get through it or get past it, even if we have to agree to disagree.

Although it has at times gotten me into some uncomfortable situations, I would rather be this way than not. I would rather not be one of those people who is unwilling to own their words. I don't want to be someone who would say something behind your back that I would never say to your face. It's not fair to you, and it's not the person I want to be.

Maybe it's why I am really struggling with recent revelation about someone I know who has been badmouthing me and my family for 20 years, and never once has had the nerve to say it to my face. I think the thing that really ticks me off is that I knew what was thought and what was being said. It might have been even worse than what I thought, but it wasn't surprising, but having the confirmation has really made me angry. Angry, and battling against being true to my very direct self, for the sake of someone else... an innocent of sorts, maybe even a couple of unrelated bystanders, but it is a challenge.

I have a bird's eye view of a few other situations around me where directness is lacking. Someone shared with me about one situation and how they had advised a friend to just avoid the conflict and the person related. My thought was, how do you know the truth if you don't address the situation? How do you know there isn't misinformation or a misunderstanding if you don't address the situation head on. She told me she thought that was a more "mature" approach. I don't know if that's necessarily true, but I do know, I can't stand to be left wallowing in wonder and assumptions.

I guess this is just really a venting/ rambling post. I don't have some great insight or biblical principal that I am trying to apply here, though when I think of Jesus in the temple flipping tables - He was pretty direct. And when He sat with the woman at the well, He didn't avoid the issue at hand so as not to hurt her feelings, He spoke honestly to her about the sin in her life. So I guess I could make the argument that Jesus would be pro-directness. He certainly valued truth. I probably could use a lot of work towards His delivery, and surely the sincerity of His heart behind it, but the clarity behind it remains.

I know in all likelihood when this person and I cross paths the truth will come out, and I will directly confront the things that have been said, but for the sake of others I won't seek the opportunity out. It's difficult, but I won't.

Can I just say, in all honesty, that I would prefer more people be direct. I would rather know what you're thinking, and where we stand with one another than tried to read signs or go on intuition, although my intuition often proves to be good, as clearly reflected by the situation I currently face.

Funny, I am usually so transparent here (I know, almost to a fault) and now I find myself being vague as I talk about being direct, but let me assure you it is for the purpose of keeping someone else safe, not me. I would rather be rejected for who I am than be admired for who I'm not.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Today I have been overwhelmed with emotion, I don't care for the feeling. I woke up first thing this morning and before I was even fully aware of my surroundings, I was all too aware of the urgent sense of fear that was gripping my heart. It was an anxiety attack, or panic attack, whichever phrase you prefer. I have battled them for about five years.

In 2004 after we finally finalized Ethan's adoption after over 3 years of an emotional roller coaster, things had finally settled down in our lives and suddenly I started having these horrible bouts of anxiety and fear. I remember one day in particular that I was at our women's Bible study and I was sitting in a corner at a table and it felt like everything I could do not to crawl right out of my skin. I felt so completely cornered and vulnerable. I could barely breathe, and I was battling to keep the expression of my overwhelming emotions inside, because I was also embarrassed. I have always had this odd quirk about having to sit where I could see more of the room than not, or have the exit in clear view (random view into my faulted psyche) but this was different, all my rules were being followed, and yet I thought I was going to lose it right there in the middle, or rather corner, of our church cafe.

I did a lot of research and found out that panic attacks can be common after prolonged periods of stress. Ethan's 3 year adoption certainly qualified as such. Apparently what happens is when you live on a heightened sense of adrenaline for a long period, your adrenal gland will afterwards just misfire. You'll be sitting quietly and all of a sudden the trigger is pulled and you are overwhelmed with the "fight or flight" response. The problem back then was I just didn't know what it was, so first came the anxiety attack and then came the actual anxiety. It's highly stressful.

So here we are five year later, and my nemesis still raises his ugly head from time to time. It's sort of a relief when there is an actual stress going on so you know what the trigger is. A few months back when we were trying to refinance I was anxious about the money we paid in hope of of qualifying. I was having a lot of attacks those days, but today, I honestly can't put my finger on a trigger, but it doesn't matter, because someone else shot off the gun.

I don't know why they seem to come in the morning. It's very strange to wake up in your own bed from a good night's sleep and to suddenly feel what seems like a stranglehold on your heart. Like waves on the shore, it ebbed and flowed in and out throughout the day. At times I felt like the waves were beating me down, my heart in my throat feeling the fear but not knowing its source.

Unfortunately, no matter how well I may describe the feelings to you, if you have never experienced a panic attack, you cannot fully comprehend what I am describing. People who don't know treat you like you are weak, or there is something wrong with you. The "suck it up" attitude just doesn't work here. I know, I've tried. It's not fully emotional, and it's not the emotions alone that plague you. It's the physiological response that stands like the dragon needing to be slain.

Anxiety. I know the Bible says "be anxious for nothing," and when I know what my worries are, I do my best to give them to the Lord, but when it has no source, the battle against them is more difficult. Today I turned up the worship in my office, trying to fill my mind with truth. I tried to focus. The Bible says, "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You." So I do my best to stay my focus. When I am unsure, God is sure. When I am overwhelmed, God remains in control. When I am lost, God stands.

Jesus is the one thing... the one need, the one constant, the one hope, the one truth, the one life... He is the answer to the anxiety... And I pray I see the fullness of it soon, in Jesus' name.