The Hurt & The Healer

I have listened to this song by MercyMe several times today and decided I would put it out there for you guys to enjoy. 🙂

Why?
The question that is never far away
But healing doesn’t come from the explained
Jesus please don’t let this go in vain
You’re all I have
All that remains

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

(Chorus)
I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Breathe
Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

(Chorus)
I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It’s the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all the scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of weakness we must bow
And hear You say “It’s over now”

(Chorus)
I’m alive
And even though a part of me has died
You take this heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When The hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here

Blessings,

Lynnea

The Blind See

I was given Anthony de Mello’s book “The Way to Love” for Christmas and LOVE it. He was a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist who lived in Bombay, India. His writing completely challenges conventional thoughts about love, relationships, addictions and freedom. This is a passage I read recently that really struck me. It’s a little long but absolutely worth it…(the bold, italics and definitions are mine)

The Blind See

“For judgement I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” John 9:39

It is said that love is blind. But is it? Actually nothing on this earth is as clearsighted as love. The thing that is blind is not love but attachment. An attachment is a state of clinging that comes from a false belief that something or someone is necessary for your happiness. Do you have any attachments – people or things that you falsely believe you could not be happy without? Make a list of them right now before we go on to study how exactly they blind you.

Think of a politician who has convinced himself he will not be happy unless he gets political power. His quest for power coarsens his sensitivity to the rest of life. He barely has time for his family and friends. Suddenly all human beings are perceived and reacted to in terms of the support or threat that they are to his ambition. And those who can neither threaten nor support he does not even notice. If in addition to his craving for power he has an attachment to other things like sex or money, the poor man has become so selective in his perceptions that he could almost be said to be blind. Everyone sees this except the man himself. This is the condition that leads to the rejection of truth and beauty and goodness, because one has come to be blind to perceive them.

Now think of yourself listening to an orchestra in which the sound of the drum is so loud that nothing else can be heard. To enjoy the symphony you must be responsive to every instrument in the orchestra. To be in the state called love you must be sensitive to the uniqueness and beauty of every single thing and person around you. You can hardly be said to love what you do not even notice; and if you notice only a few beings to the exclusion of others, that is not love at all, for love excludes no one at all; it embraces the whole of life; it listens to the symphony as a whole, not just one or the other of the musical instruments.

Stop for a while now to see how your attachments drain life’s symphony no less than the politician’s attachment to power and the businessman’s attachment to money have hardened them to the melody of life. Or look at the matter in another way: There is an enormous amount of information that is continuously flowing in from the world through the senses, the tissues of the organs of your body. Only a small part of this information reaches your conscious mind. It is like the infinite amount of feedback that is sent to the President of a nation: Only a tiny fraction finally makes its way to him. Somebody does the screening and the processing at the President’s office. Who decides what will finally make its way to your conscious mind from all the material that is pouring in from the world? Three decisive filters: First your attachments, second your beliefs, and third your fears.

Your attachments: You will inevitably look for what fosters or threatens them and turn a blind eye to the rest. You won’t be interested in the rest anymore than the avaricious (greedy/covetous) businessman is interested in anything that does not involve the making of money.

Your beliefs: Just take a look at a fanatic who only notices what confirms his/her belief and blocks out whatever threatens it and you will understand what your beliefs are doing to you.

Your fears: If you knew you were to be executed in a week’s time it would wonderfully concentrate your mind to the exclusion of everything else. That is what fears do; they irresistibly rivet your attention on to some things to the exclusion of others.

You falsely think that your fears protect you, your beliefs have made you what you are and your attachments make your life exciting and secure. You fail to see that they are actually a screen between you and life’s symphony.

It is quite impossible, of course, to be fully conscious of every note in life’s symphony. But if your spirit becomes unclogged and your senses open you will begin to perceive things as they really are and to interact with reality and you will be entranced by the harmonies of the universe. Then you will understand what God is, for you will at last know what love is.

Look at it this way: You see persons and things not as they are but as you are. If you wish to see them as they are you must attend to your attachments and the fears that your attachments generate. Because when you look at life it is these attachments and fears that will decide what you notice and what you block out. Whatever you notice then commands your attention. And since your looking has been selective you have an illusory (deceptive, misleading) version of the things and people around you. The more you live with this distorted version the more you become convinced that it is the only true picture of the world because your attachments and fears continue to process incoming data in a way that will reinforce your picture. This is what gives origin to your beliefs: fixed, unchanging ways of looking at a reality which is not fixed and unchanging at all but in movement and change. So it is no longer the real world that you interact with and love but a world created by your head. It is only when you drop your beliefs, your fears and the attachments that breed them that you will be freed from the insensitivity that makes you so deaf and blind to yourself and the world.

Congratulations if you made it to the end, hopefully you found it worthwhile. There are many ways that we become blind to the world around us but I came up with some examples of things that can be our filter to life’s symphony:

Attachments (Things I think I need to me happy): success, perfectionism, sex, money, control, substances, affirmation, relationships

Beliefs: I’m not good enough, I can do it on my own, If they really knew me they wouldn’t love me, I’m always right, I’m always wrong

Fears: loneliness, vulnerability, judgement, being hurt, rejection, insecurity

Here’s to fully experiencing life’s symphony without a filter.

Blessings,

Lynnea

Letting go

Letting go…easy to say…very difficult to do (for me 🙂 ). There are a lot of nice Christian sayings…”Let go and let God” or “Surrender everything to God”…I heard those and honestly wanted to follow them. But I realized this year I had absolutely no idea what that really meant. My words were saying “Yes God I am letting go…I trust you, your timing and your provision.” My actions were saying “You know God, I realize you are very busy and I want to make sure my life turns out this particular way…soooo let me help you out. You can have the things I don’t really care about but the ones I do…I’ll hold onto those.” Living life this way is exhausting and then you realize that control is actually an illusion to begin with. I love this artwork by Alisa Holland.

Artwork by Alisa Holland at www.myconcretesky.com

Artwork by Alisa Holland at www.myconcretesky.com or Pinterest

Letting go and not pushing for a particular outcome…standing in the unknown can be terrifying…but I have actually found so much freedom this year when I loosened my grip on things I couldn’t control anyway.

Blessings,

Lynnea

The hidden beauty of pain

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

Khalil Gibran (1883-1931)

I have heard a lot of painful stories in the past week and as much as I want people I love to not be hurting…there is nothing I can do to take it away. So I just sit with them in spirit.

I have no evidence or academic understanding for what I’m about to say, it is purely observational, so please take it for what it’s worth. But after walking through this past year I am convinced that the depth we allow our hearts to plunge into the pain and sorrow of life we have the same depth and capacity to experience joy. Meaning if you really face the full force of the emotions as they are swirling around you…no escaping…no numbing…maybe curling up in the fetal position and praying for the day that life does not hurt this much…but standing face into the wind waiting for the storm to subside. Eventually it will and when the storm does calm and the sun does rise you will have the capacity to experience joy to the same depth you felt the pain. Your emotional bandwidth increases (Just in case you forgot I’m an engineer. 🙂 )

But this is the place where people can make a mis step. Facing and experiencing the pain is scary and it hurts…both physical and emotional. Most people don’t like it and would rather avoid it…this is the birthplace of addictions and unhealthy ways of coping. Because if you choose to numb the pain I am convinced you also numb the joy…and then ultimately just become numb. Your emotional bandwidth decreases.

I have a bit of a visual picture for this. Imagine standing alone in a field. Just you amongst the grass. There are no trees for protection. It is flat. A storm kicks up. It’s wicked. Crazy winds. Rain blowing sideways. And you fight with all your might to keep from being blown away. You aren’t sure how long it will last or whether you can keep up the fight…but somehow you manage. You dig deep and eventually…eventually the wind calms and the rain stops. You aren’t fighting as hard to keep upright and slowly the sun begins to rise. It’s the most beautiful sight not only because of the rays between the clouds and the rainbow of colors but because you know how bad it could be. Man, are you excited to be in the sun!! You close your eyes, take a deep breath and let it warm your face…soaking it in.

Now imagine you are back at the beginning of this little story…alone in the field. But this time when the storm kicks up you build a shelter to protect you from the wind and the rain. It makes it a lot easier to live through the storm without being blasted and soaked…you don’t have to fight as hard to survive. But when you’re in the shelter you can’t tell when the storm calms and the sun is rising. You wont see the beauty after the storm…you are just stuck with the 4 blank walls inside. Sure, you weathered the storm alright but you just traded that for the sunrise and warming rays on your face.

I, for one, would rather face my storms to then feel the sun on my face.

These are just my Wednesday evening musings. Take them for what they are worth. 🙂

Blessings,

Lynnea

 

Survival in the Desert

On Friday I completed my 3.5 week desert walk about and made my way back to the cold, cold Netherlands. Seriously, it snowed today…talk about a temperature adjustment. And even though I enjoyed my time in Jordan, Bahrain and Dubai it is not a region I would want to make a permanent residence. I am built for moderate rainy climates.

892_w

Location of Bahrain on the Persian Gulf

The last stop on my desert tour was back in Bahrain for several days at the end of November. This is not a country I would normally choose (I actually had no clue where it was) but was drawn towards it as I began to learn more and more about the “Tree of Life” surviving in the desert. If you’ve been following my journey you’ll know that this tree has been my talisman this year (Click here for a link to my blog post describing it). A mental image that I would meditate on. I loved the thought of stubborn life thriving in such a harsh desert with no known water source. Bad ass. So, of course I had to see it and God opened the doors to make it happen.

Photo3

Kendall in the Grand Mosque

I had an old friend who just moved to Bahrain with her husband and I invited myself over to stay with them…fortunately for me they were so lovely and accommodating and made me feel like they even LIKED having me around for a week. 😉 Since they were also new to the area we did a lot of exploring together…cafes, the National Museum, The Grand Mosque, a camel farm and of course the tree. There was some political tension in the country but we didn’t feel much of the effects and I never felt unsafe as we were out and about. Apparently the protests kicked into high gear the day after I flew out because Kim Kardashian flew in to open a milk shake store and people were upset about her bad reputation. (side note: why is she famous again?)

Photo1(1)

Bahrain desert

I was asked a few times what brought me to Bahrain and I had a variety of answers but I laughed every time I told someone that a big reason was to see the “Tree of Life”…their face would scrunch up and they would say “Really?? It’s pretty underwhelming.” I wanted to reply “You have no idea…I just need that sucker to be there and alive in the desert.” And it was. The first thing I noticed on the drive is that the desert in Bahrain is desolate. I was blown away by the beauty of the desert in Jordan…this was NOT the case in Bahrain. It was rocky. It was flat. It was stark. Once you leave the capital of Manama in the north there isn’t much civilization the further south you drive. Some oil refineries and military bases but in general a lot of nothing…except the tree. 🙂

Photo2

Me and the Tree of Life 🙂

The thing I noticed about the tree is that it was not underwhelming at all!! It was quite big and green and very much ALIVE. It was isolated and exposed to the elements on all sides which made its survival that much more impressive. The Bahrain government has plans to make a visitors center around the tree but I’m glad I got to see it before they do that…it seems like that might ruin the experience a bit.

There isn’t much more to say except: I am that tree in the desert…thriving and surviving…tapped into my living water source Jesus Christ.

Blessings,

Lynnea

 

 

Construction in the Desert

Me at breakfast in front of the towering Burj Khalifa

I spent 3 days this past weekend in the bustling cosmopolitan city of Dubai. It is a city that has built its identity using superlatives…biggest, fastest, longest, tallest (Fun Fact: It holds 102 world records and Guinness has even opened its own Dubai office to handle all the applications.) From man made islands to the towering 828m Burj Khalifa to the indoor ski hill and the never ending malls the propensity towards extravagant construction was immediately apparent. It had been a long time since I was in a city with a skyline as impressive as Dubai’s and I spent most of my time wandering around with wide eyes soaking it all in.

Much like Las Vegas, Dubai transforms itself from a dusty steel desert city during the day to a dazzling light show at night. It is beautiful. And as an engineer I can appreciate the complexities of the design and

The Dubai Mall and Fountain

construction. It is a city that is built from many people asking the question “We can build this, Why not?” rather than “We can build this, should we?” It might feel like a small difference but it is the difference between taking a selfish self promoting perspective and recognizing the global impact of those decisions.

The environmental effects of Dubai’s rapid growth and luxury lifestyle are significant. Structures are built without adequately considering the availability of water and electricity…and with limited resources the UAE has one of the highest water consumption rates in the world. To support the demand for fresh water the UAE (and other gulf countries) rely heavily on desalinized water from the Persian Gulf. They pump the water in, remove the salt and then pump the excess sludge back into the ocean. In 2010 the Gulf’s salinity level had already increased by over 50% from the levels 30 years prior which is enough to threaten ocean life and plants. The desalination process is energy intensive and coupled with the power required to run the lavish city pushes the demand beyond what even this energy rich region can support. The UAE has turned to nuclear power plants to close the gap between energy supply and demand which will create its own environmental problems. This construction/consumption model is not sustainable on many levels…but it sure is pretty to look at.

It made me think of the ways we choose to construct our lives. Are they lives we build out of choosing our self and getting our own way. Or are they lives we build by choosing Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to do the construction…or selfish vs. supporting life. Paul cautions us about the difference between these 2 construction techniques in Galatians:

“It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex, a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness, trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants, a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community.” Galatians 5:19-21 (The Message)

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard — things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” Galatians 5:22-23 (The Message)

It all boils down to choices and focus…I for one will choose life and sustainability.

Blessings,

Lynnea

Burj Khalifa at night

View from the observation deck. Notice the edge of the city and the start of the desert.

Indoor ski hill at the Emirates Mall

The Power of Vulnerability

I am not going to add many words to this post. I thought this was a great video to follow my post yesterday on wounds. Our wounds prevent us from embracing vulnerability.

Vulnerability is scary and uncertain BUT it is the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging and love.

Please take the 20 minutes to watch until the end. If you’re reading this in an e-mail you will need to click over to the blog to watch.

Blessings,

Lynnea