Archive for October, 2014

Comforted

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“I want to speak yet nothing comes
I find no words to express the depths of darkness
Sometimes I feel the pain is so great that everything will break
The smile is a big cloak that covers a multitude of pains”

Do you know who wrote these words??
I was listening to a TEDx talk on Hope and Hopelessness by Murray Watts and he read this quote. And then he turned to the audience and asked us (I’m saying us like I was there–but I watched the talk from the comfort of my bedroom. Definitely felt like I was part of the audience though).. He asked us, “Which famous 20th century figure penned these words?” And guess who it was?? MOTHER TERESA.

Yes, the same Mother Teresa who won the 1979 Nobel peace prize, who was referred to as the “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta,” and who is admired by both the religious and non-religious for her lifetime dedication to helping others. The very same Mother Teresa who said “peace begins with a smile,” “let no one come to you without leaving happier,” and that “the smile is the beginning of love.”

The truth is Mother Teresa was human, just like us. After hearing this talk I searched for more of her writings in which she shares:

“There is so much contradiction in my soul, no faith, no love, no zeal. . . I find no words to express the depths of the darkness. . . My heart is so empty. . . so full of darkness. . . I don’t pray any longer. The work holds no joy, no attraction, no zeal. . . I have no faith, I don’t believe. . . my cheerfulness is a cloak by which I cover the emptiness and misery. . . . I deceive people with this weapon.”

It’s kinda sad. That someone could be so outwardly amazing, but so inwardly broken. I think though that how she felt describes many people today. People who are so busy keeping up pretenses that they don’t have time to fall apart at Jesus’ feet. It is possible to have a genuine smile that crinkles your skin when it reaches your eyes. It is possible for you to be truly cheerful and be positive about life, even when circumstances are bleak. It is possible for the emptiness to go away, and to swim in faith and love.

I wanted to tell you about Mother Teresa, because in case you’ve ever felt hopeless, you’re in good company: You’re sitting next to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Job in the land of Uz, Paul in Macedonia (where he was “harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within” – 2 Corinthians 7:5). But in the next verse, Paul shares with us an assurance that still applies to us today: “But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us.” (2 Corinthians 7:6)

May God comfort you.

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Heal me, and I will be healed

“Pain is inevitable. But suffering is optional.”

Life is full of so much pain and hurt. Whether we are on the giving or the receiving end. And sometimes, it is the inner pain, rather than any physical pain, that hurts the most.

But pain is inevitable. It’s an unavoidable consequence of being alive. The moment we no longer feel anything, we have passed from this life, awaiting the next.

Whether you have inflicted pain on others or are subject to the pain others have inflicted on you, you must not let that pain control you. The most powerful weapon we have in this life is our mind.

Our minds control our feelings of sadness, inadequacy, fear, worry, hopelessness, and guilt. If we learn to control our mind, instead of letting it control us, we can overcome anything.

It’s easier to deal with pain that we feel is undeserved. Because then we can blame someone else. Or we can blame God. But on occasion we will find ourselves in pain that we have caused to come upon ourselves. Pain we feel we deserve.

We can choose to wallow in self-pity, or even self hate. But imagine if we could grasp on to the fact that God does not only heal the pain others inflict on us. But that he also heals the pain we inflict on ourselves.

Healing is a journey. It is not something that happens overnight—even if we want it to. Sometimes we need to sit back and not wallow in tears but rather actively seek God. Actively dwell on things that lift us up, instead of dragging us down.

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:4-5

“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.” – Psalms 103:2-4

“Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” – Jeremiah 17:14

Chasing after the wind

Recently I have been struggling with feelings of low self worth. I don’t understand why God made me, why I am necessary in this world, or what I can really offer.

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I wonder if other people can see me the way I see my self. Sinful, empty, and broken.

I go through each day exhausted no matter how much I sleep. I’m not only tired in body, but in soul, and in mind.

I try to turn to God, but the world seems grab more of my attention. I remember that God is love, but I am confronted with the fact that though God is love, there is so much real suffering in the world. I don’t blame God for this. But I just wonder when enough will be enough. When will there be enough rape, murder, hate, gossip, and unfairness. Why do children have to experience a hunger that eats away at their insides? Why do women have to walk around in fear of their sexual freedom? Why does the dark skinned 4 year old girl at my church look longingly at the light skinned girl who comes to visit and say she wishes she had her skin?

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Why are families broken, why does love hurt, why does friendship fade, why is loneliness and hopelessness a disease that takes away so many lives.

Our world is so messed up. Yes, there is so much beauty, and there are so many people with amazing souls that bring light to those around them. But never have I been so aware that this world is not my home. Never have I so longed for a place in heaven. Not that I could fathom that I’d ever deserve to be there. But simply because I’m tired of being here.

I long for the place where peace, hope, and love is not just a mental construct that you use as a bridge to find your happy place, but it rather an actually reality.

I would try to end this post with something positive, but I rather be honest. God gave us the book of Psalms, but He also gave of the book of Ecclesiastes and Job. As Christians I think we have convinced ourselves that if we follow God, we should constantly be happy, joyful, at peace, and one with God. But the simple truth is God did not promise we wouldn’t face this hardship, and this emptiness.

“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”- Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

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