It isn’t the yoke, it is what is attached to the yoke.

It isn’t the load, but the way you carry it.


Is that true??? Are either of those true???
I don’t know, but it is something I have wrestled with for years now as I tried to figure out how to do more, faster…and even better. Clearly I was doing it wrong I would tell myself not knowing exactly what IT was but convinced it held the secrets to my personal productivity and success.
Many watched me wrestle for three years through a purge of my life - possessions, yokes, pain - nothing was off limits during that season, and by nothing - I truly mean NOTHING. Then last year, thinking I had been exploded out of a giant cake into the promised land, I found myself one year ago today sitting in a pile of tears and anger dumbfounded by why my “posture” was still “off” - read that jewel of honesty HERE. Sadly, even after writing all of that (and I reread it again this morning), I would wrestle for another month before someone in my tribe said (ever so gently), “Have you thought about finding a counselor?” So started the excavation of my insides throughout 2016 (and it continues…because that is what happens when you open yourself up to healing, you find that you need more of it than you know….).
When I was a little girl….
Last night I sat at dinner staring out the window as that phrase rolled through my head in waves. That little line has been running through my head for weeks now. Out of the blue, I will hear, “When I was a little girl…” and then nothing - BLANK. What is that???? *insert shaking head* I have NO idea.
This is what disruption looks like people. It looks like crazy. Certifiable crazy. I am also hear to say, it feels like crazy too. *insert nervous laughter*
My counselor is not too fond of the words I use to describe myself. My internal narrative is definitely not PC…or as it turns out…kind…as in kind To. Me. *Ugh*
Everybody raise both hands because I am betting your internal narrative isn’t kind either. We suck. *LOL* Adding levity here…laugh or cry.
You know why our world is unkind…because we are unkind to ourselves which in some deep, dark, sick way gives us permission to be unkind to others. Then every once and awhile, we pull our head out and something truly awful pierces our heart, and we feel empathy and compassion…once again…and then we overreact out of guilt.
Just me????
The secret may just be… do we train ourselves to be truly kind…to everyone….Every. Single. Day.????
This isn’t rhetorical.
Kindness Matters.
When I was a little girl….
When you have trauma at a young age…and stuff (oh yeah the word in my head was different) happens…and coping mechanisms are shaped…and life goes on….whatever innocence you had gets buried or simply packed away on a shelf in a neatly wrapped box with a bow. One day….many years from way back when, you open the door to a room (lets call it a maze (or city dump (I will write about that visual someday)) as my room looks more like that) and as the cracked door lets in the light you see shelves for days filled with tiny wrapped packages with perfect little red bows.
counseling = cracked door into dark room full of shelves with boxes
….anybody catching on to the visual God just gave me?
Well, I did. As. I. Wrote. It.
I have been writing about “straggling items” this year/month - HERE and HERE. I am wrestling through my list, but I have completed more than I had hoped/dreamed…still so much more to do in these final few days of January.
There is freedom on the other side of that door, those boxes, and even that list of straggling items. I am realizing that I am terrified of not what is on the other side of the door, but what is on the other side of dealing with what is on the other side of the door.
Anybody still with me???
I just paused for a moment to reflect….
The truth is I am still afraid of what is on the other side of that door. I am not enjoying EMDR or what comes out of it…At. All…..but the truth is that at least I know how to be broken.
Oh. Shit.
…at least I know how to be broken.
Did I just write that?
Dear Lord.
*Deep Breath*
Being broken is like sitting on the fence….you don’t have to commit because well…you are a HOT MESS. I mean everybody knows it…they just don’t say it to your face….well some do….but those people LOVE you and pray for your healing every single day (side note - those are YOUR PEOPLE and you need to hold them dear and close and praise God for them Every Single Day Of Life). I hate the fence, but I know the fence….so remaining there looks really appealing right now. Being broken also means I don’t have to really get involved in other people’s messy…because you know I have my own hot mess so I don’t really have time for your hot mess. Anybody tracking with me? Someone raise their hand please - feeling alone out here.
My name is Heather Nelson, and part of me is terrified to get healthy.
…not because healthy isn’t appealing….oh how appealing it is….but because I don’t know or understand it. I mean I have my face pressed against the glass like a caged animal at the zoo looking at all of the people out there walking around unyoked….and I see that little girl with a sucker in her mouth waving at me wildly…loving me without knowing me….and I want to get out and play with her, but there is safety in the cage. There is safety in the cage.
…I am going to let all of that marinate for a bit. I am having a Maya Angelou awakening moment. (going to be rereading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings again tonight)
So…what have we learned today boys and girls?
How we see ourselves is the same filter with which we use to see the world? If we want people to change the way they see the world, we first have to help them change their own internal filter. {now before you rail that is NOT true of ALL people…I will concede to only this…maybe, maybe not}
I have lived scared a good deal of my life, and I have hid that fact behind a lot of bravado. In the ripping away of the bravado, I am not liking (me no likie) dealing with the source of all of that fear. Some of that fear is trauma-based due to a lot of what happened TO me, and some of that is based in what I did to myself. I need to be honest and always clarify that point (for me and for anyone looking in at my walk).
When I was a little girl…
I don’t know exactly why that phrase continues to haunt (and yes it feels haunting) my mind, but I am working to be brave to face it head on. I have come a long way these past several years, and I am proud of myself for being brave and vulnerable…and doing The. Work. I have still more work to do, but I think the counselor is right….it is time to stop looking at each week as “the hardest week ever” and find more positive words to describe myself, my days, my weeks, and my life. Growth still sucks, don’t get me wrong…..BUT it also feels like FREEDOM….scary, purposeful, beautiful, terrifying, intentional, God-infused….
When I was a little girl….
On this beautiful winter morning, be brave and peek around the door, then past the room full of your brokenness, and take a gander even further past that at the freedom that awaits you.
…and while you do, you might listen to this new song from this new album…G R A V I TY (video) by Brian and Jenn Johnson (Bethel).
Perspective is a beautiful thing.
Lake Michigan, Chicago, January 2017