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Several years ago when I first started out at my work as a substitute, I was called to work at numerous places.  Most I thoroughly enjoyed and a couple I didn’t really like much, but only one I refused to return to after the initial assignment.  It didn’t have so much to do with the work involved as it did with a particular person who, maybe unknowingly but maybe not, tripped my PTSD trigger.  And she did it not just once but twice.  This person seemed to enjoy letting me know that I wasn’t up to her standards, and when she came up behind me and whispered in my ear “You’re nooot wooorrrkkkinng faassst ennnnooougghh” (I can still hear her), the hairs on the back of my neck raised up and with it, that old fight or flight feeling.

 There was also a piece of equipment that kept shifting out of place while I worked and she would slam it back into place with a smirk.  Finally, another kind employee actually took the piece completely out so I could work without dislodging it.  I told myself I would never go back there again and I never told my supervisor why I wouldn’t go back even when she asked. 

Eight years later, I was sent back to that location under a new training program and she was still there. I don’t think she remembered me but I remembered her and stayed as far away as possible until lunch time when it was unavoidable.  She noticed the sticker I had on my water bottle which was from my church and proceeded, unprovoked, to criticize the church I attend.  On and on she went.  I just said no one church is for everybody, which is true, and continued to eat my lunch.

So many lessons!

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First of all, always be kind.

We never know what another person has been through in their life, what triggers they may have, and how certain words and behaviors might negatively affect them.  Sometimes it’s not so much the actual words but the tone of voice and delivery.  If we are not sure, it’s best to remain silent or let the person in charge handle it. 

Second, be honest.

I regret not having told my supervisor the reason I didn’t want to work at that place.  Perhaps this person could have been retrained to be more sensitive to others.  There have been others who have shared about this problem and while I know it’s frustrating when staff is short and we have to teach each new helper over and over again, that doesn’t justify a communication style that is curt or could even be interpreted as menacing. 

Third, don’t forget to look at your own behavior.

A few years ago, I found myself in almost the same situation but the tables were turned.  I was the permanent employee, my manager was absent for several days, and my coworker was a sweet man in his mid 70’s who was meticulous but very slow.  I loved him, but the pressure made me less than professional and I was remorseful later.  The next day I apologized to him and asked for forgiveness and he smiled and said “Of course.  We all have bad days”.  The next year, Bill died of cancer and I wrote a tribute to him which detailed how we worked well together despite having some difficult moments. I try to remember his example as I continue to work as if God is watching, because He is. 

Finally, realize that we all have bad days but most can be corrected.

The important thing is to be responsible and accountable. Pick yourself up and make things right again. And if you are the victim of someone else’s bad day? If you feel safe, speak to them about it. If you have to, go to a person in charge. If there is another open door, walk through it. Just do your part and let God do the rest. He has your back.

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We are all in this together.

T.

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We enjoy a lot of freedom in this world.

 

It is our choices... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. - J. K. Rowling

 

We can choose how we live by making choices that set the ball rolling to achieve our goals…or not.  That “or not” is also a choice.

We can choose our emotions and how we will react to the things that happen in life; the words said that sting and hurt, the seeming unfairness of the way life has a habit of going its own way…God’s way instead of our way, the actions of others who will not acquiesce to our plans, and the injustice of those who get away with far more than they should without consequence.

We can choose our mate and when to let them into our heart forever.

We can choose our words, or whether to say anything in any given situation.

We can choose how we treat people. We can treat them with respect, forgiveness, compassion and decency, like Jesus, or we can treat them with disdain, distrust, abuse and hatred, like the world would have us.  God gives us the choice.

 

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When we first believe, God changes us from the inside out but if we do not make the choice to act upon those changes, we will stagnate right where we are and wonder why nothing is happening.  We pray for years for God to change our hearts so we can see people as He does and love them as He does, not realizing that He already has, but we haven’t made the choice to put that change into action!

Making a choice is as simple as a prayer seeking God’s will and the willingness to put ourselves out there to be His hands, feet, and heart in service to our fellow man with a reverence for God that honors His Will over our rights.  Even then, it takes time.

I’m so thankful for God’s patience.

 

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 And He said to him, “‘You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  Matthew 22:37-39

 

We should always take our pain to the Lord.

Have you ever seen a person who had so much pain in their heart that they were grasping for whatever help they could find and they said some things they shouldn’t have? They just wanted the pain to stop.

More than likely, the people who love them understood and tried to help them. They knew how that kind of pain can dull a person’s ability to make rational and appropriate choices and words. They knew this wasn’t a reflection of a hard heart; this was a reflection of a hurting heart.

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Later, when the pain lessened from the passage of time or the situation that caused it was resolved, it should have been better but it wasn’t, because not everyone loved the person in pain and not everyone understood. Some people judged and held resentment, spread gossip, and blamed the very person who was hurting in the first place.

What is the answer is in this situation?

Is it to be distrustful even of those who seem to care? Should we lock ourselves in a closet when we are distraught so we won’t say anything that is inappropriate or others can’t handle? What happens when the after-effects of this weakness seem to linger far longer than the unfortunate event that caused them, even after the necessary amends have been made, and the person now sees things from a higher perspective, but is unable to move forward as if being held back by invisible hands of condemnation?

Sometimes it’s not invisible.  It shows: on their faces, in their eyes, disapproving looks, intentional disregard and rejection.

It shouldn’t be so.

The answer is…

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Not everyone has the ability to empathize, comfort, and overlook an offense. It’s okay because that’s between them and God.  But it’s a sad day when unbelievers love people better than believers do.  That’s a hard-core reality to accept at times.  Not all the time  Just sometimes.

The answer is…

Image result for For if we love God most, we will love others best.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  Colossians 3:12-14

May I do Thy Will always.

 

 

 

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When I see an exclamation point, I think of my Grandma Ferne who used them freely in her letter writing. Many sentences, even the mundane (sorry, Grandma) were punctuated with three or four exclamation points. She must have been excited telling about her life. The thing is, Grandma was not a very expressive person in real-time, and I can’t imagine her life being all that exciting in her later years.

Grandma kept diaries of her daily activities for over 40 years, and when she died in 1999 those diaries were found and a company was hired to transfer them onto CDs to distribute to the family. What a thrill to see notations made when I was a baby, or to have memories jogged of times long ago. She used exclamation points freely in her diaries but sometimes she did not. Those must have been her ‘period’ days.

Grandma wrote about being tired a LOT. She was a lunch lady and I, being a lunch lady too, in addition to working in our custom framing business, can empathize and feel her pain!!!! It’s a very physical, non-stop job where being on your feet all day is required.

I like exclamation point days. They add excitement and enthusiasm to life!!!! They are usually happy days, filled with good things, funny experiences, and happenings. Sometimes an exclamation point is used to convey urgency and you had better heed the warning. Occasionally, an exclamation point is used to stress negative emotions or experiences but somehow, using it means the bad part is over and there is a sense of relief.

Like all good or bad things, a steady diet of either one can cause complacency so both kinds of days are there for a reason. I’m having a ‘period’ week now for reasons I can’t disclose. Stress is coming from several directions, and a cloudy, rainy, cold day tops it all off. The thing is, I know exclamation point days will be here again. It’s God’s promise, and He never breaks His promise!!!!!

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