Praising God through the the pain

Public Domain license. Click on the image to see the original. I regularly FAIL at this.

I frequently interpret difficult, soul-trying circumstances as punishment. When you were raised by a sociopath you are trained to believe that when bad things happen to you it is always your fault, and you deserve it. This is a hard thought pattern to break.

I must constantly remind myself–in the wake of such a long, quick succession, of repeatedly unfortunate events, recently–that I behaved and responded with integrity, did “as much as depends upon me,” and did the very best I could, though imperfectly. When such is the case I have nearly passed the test.

But only “nearly” because the other part of the test is to hold fast, weather the storm, and remember that I am and will be OK because I am not alone–Jesus is IN THE BOAT in the midst of the storm, so to speak.

Jeremiah didn’t do any better than I am doing. God had to remind him that He is in the stillness, the suggestion being that when you’re caught in a whirlwind you don’t run or panic, you go to that still space inside yourself.

That. Is. Difficult.

The best I can hope for and expect of myself is that when I am continuously and regularly on the receiving end of so much bad stuff, despite doing “as much as depends on me,” and always getting up and trying again after an attempted knockout punch, is to be like the man who said:

“Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief.”

Life is good and I am grateful.

In the event of an emergency, place the oxygen mask on yourself first

CC0 Public Domain Free for personal and commercial use No attribution required. Click on the image to see the original. I have seen this meme pop up in dozens of places around the web lately. It has been attributed to Word Porn, Hart Ramsey, Truth Theory, Positive Energy, and Tiny Buddha. I am giving attribution to Lori Deschane at Tiny Buddha because I subscribe to Tiny Buddha’s Facebook page and derive benefit from it regularly, and honestly have no idea who originally said it (the Internet is terrible for that).

This meme resonated with me because I am an introvert with mad social skills. Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not necessarily shy. By strict definition an introvert is a person who loses energy being around other people too much, and restores her energy by spending time alone.

People often assume I am an extrovert because I am gregarious, conversant, and can hold my own in social situations. But when I’m done I’m done. There comes a point at which I can’t cope with the overstimulation of too much social interaction.

This is so important for extr0verts to understand. If you’re an introvert, it’s bad enough (we restore our energy reserves by spending time alone). But if you’re an introvert also going through any one of these things, or several, it’s only made harder when you have extrovert “friends” pressuring you to come out into the world for their benefit. You need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you try to take care of the needs of other people.

Life is good and I am grateful.