Which wings do you have?

There is nothing more breakable than the wings of a butterfly. The slightest touch can break these little fragile wings. In life we often feel like these butterfly wings. We feel as if the least bit of hurt can break us. This state of anxiety does not necessarily have to be noticeably present, it often lingers underneath the surface. Of course we are aware that we can stand a little bit of hurt, as long as it is not too much.

We live our life, trying to avoid as much problems as possible. When problems occur we analyze them until we are certain that it wasn’t our fault. This way we keep ourselves up right, because we know that when it was our faults, our Wings may break. So as long as we keep ourselves out of the wind, we are fine.

Unfortunately life does not always agree with this.  Neither does our heart and mind by the way. The other day I released my poem ‘Mind Game’. Because that is what life really is. It is all a mind game. We trick our minds to feel well, even if our hearts disagree because we hope that somehow our hearts will catch up with it. Which it most often does! But how long can we trick ourselves this way? How long can we fool ourselves. ‘Mind Game’ was inspired by something Jesus told me. Having a generalized anxiety disorder is not easy and it often brings me in trouble. For a long time this mind game has worked out fine, until last year.

Losing my mom pulled me over the edge. I started to doubt myself immensely. To the point where I pleaded with God to help me out, and this is what I learned. Jesus said, “Tell yourself that I love you. I know your heart will not believe it now, because you are in so much pain, but in time your heart will catch up with your mind”. The love of Jesus is actually all we need. We don’t need to trick our minds by telling ourselves things that we don’t yet believe in, in the hope that one day the fearful or hateful thoughts about ourselves go away. All we need is the love of Jesus. It is all we need to set ourselves free. Regardless of what you have done in life (or failed to do), regardless of what you do and how good or bad you are at doing it, Jesus loves you, end of discussion.

We are trying so hard to be perfect, to look perfect and to be a certain way that we forget the love of Jesus so easily. Of course we fool ourselves that we don’t  but that is merely lying to ourselves. You see, Jesus could have said, “Honey, just tell yourself that you are not afraid, and one day your heart will catch up with your mind”. But that would not have fixed my anxiety disorder. Whether or not I will ever heal of this disorder is beside the point. The point is that it is easier for me to remain calm if I simply focus on the mere fact that Jesus loves me. I can prevent freaking out over petty little fears by knowing that Jesus loves me. The love of Jesus allows me to say, “It didn’t work out today, but maybe tomorrow it will”. The love of Jesus does not necessarily heal me, but it takes me a lot further than playing tricks on my mind does.

Sometimes it takes us to embrace our problems, so we can deal with them or overcome them. Fighting is not the solution, love is. You cannot control your life, problems, people around you or the world, but you can control your faith in the simple fact that Jesus loves you.

The beauty is also that as we focus on our fragile butterfly wings that can break so easily, God is focussing on our massive eagle wings instead. Mother Theresa said it so beautifully, “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle, I just wish He didn’t trust me so much”. God has an entirely different view on us as we do. Where we see problems, God see solutions, Where we see ugly, God sees beauty, where we see hate, God finds love in the midst of all evil. God us smarter than us, so why don’t we give it a try. Why don’t we start seeing things from His perspective a little more. Fun fact is, that whenever I fuss over the way I look, Jesus tells me (He Always does this!!!), “Stop doing that, you are beautiful just as you are.” Jesus thinks that I am beautiful without make up, dressed in a turtle neck and just a little bit fat (or a lot, that depends on perspective) Where I see my little, fragile butterfly wings, Jesus points out my massive eagle wings.

The end of the story….Life is a mind game, life is a matter of perspective. Which do you choose?

Mind Game

Mind Game

Life on display,
asks you who you are,
where you come from,
and where you go.

Life is a war,
where beauty fights ugly,
where truth fights lies,
where realism fights surrealism,
where rich fights poverty,
where success fights failure,
but it is up to you,
to decide,
where you stand.

Life is a stage,
where judges define,
who we are.
Where a mask hides our identity,
so we remain inside a fiction,
for the rest of our lives.

Life on display,
asks us to have courage.
It asks us to break the masks of lies,
in order to live inside the truth,
of who were are.

Life is a mind game,
where we tell ourselves,
who we are,
and where the whole world,
remains silent!

 

 

 

Between the lines

For the past seven years, I have dedicated my life to writing poetry (and every other word that God gives me). Though I write mostly for myself, I have always had my focus on the reader. What would the reader need most? What would God want the reader to know? And even though this is not a bad concept, I have learned something more valuable over the years.

Over the years I have written over 250 English-languaged poems (and a handful of Dutch ones), give or take. Poems that contain a piece of God and a piece of myself. Whether God quoted it or I wrote it. It has always been a partnership where God receives all the credit. And for me, it works! For me it is the most functional way of working and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

During the years I have been through a lot. Not just the past seven years but ever since childhood. All of these struggles have found a way into my poetry. Don’t misinterpret these words though, because my poetry is not a summery of misery. With the struggles, God always handed me the solutions whether I was ready for it or not. I know the solution can sometimes overwhelm you and make you feel as if you will never be able to accomplish it. Therefore God often gives long-term solutions. Solution you can grow into as time passes by. Every day is a learning process. We are not expected to succeed in a day, week or year. God knows how long we need and that is the exact time he gives us.

Since my poetry has always treasured the solutions, they have always been my greatest comfort in times of need. Whenever I felt sad, lonely, frustrated or confused, the Holy Spirit would most often lead me to my own poetry. Between the lines I fely comfort, answers, peace and the love of my Heavenly Father. Reading these poems and feeling the great comfort they bring me, even though I wrote them myself, installed a greater understanding deep within my soul.

‘When the work you do for God heals you more than others, you’ve done something right!’

Isn’t it true that when God calls us to work in His Kingdom, we are so extremely focused on others. We need to save the world, heal mankind and bring them safe and sound into the arms of Jesus. But what if Jesus has a greater message for us than for others through the work we do? Aren’t we missing out on something?

I see so many of us make that mistake. We are so focussed on teaching that we forget to be taught. We are so focused on helping that we forget to be helped. We are so focussed on loving that we forvet to be loved. We so easily forget ourselves. How wonderful it is to know that even though we forget ourselves, God does not. He sees us and loves us. And through His everlasting love He wants to teach us every day, face to face, in the most personal way. And sometimes we don’t need to cross oceans to find it. The greatest lessons we learn are in our own handwriting. All we need is to be reminded of it.

How I deal with anxiety and stress.

This time of year is a busy one. We hardly have any time to relax because we are simply too occupied with too many things. Work, Christmas preparations, children (if you have them) and more. There is no time to breath. I don’t know about you but this is my reality. For the record, I do not have children but I do feel very busy. So busy in fact that I feel something, or rather someone, inside of me plea for a break. A moment to relax. Some peaceful time. And I would truly love to give myself a minute but too many things are asking for my attention. But do they really? Or is it my own desire to show the world a perfect picture of myself?

This is the question that has been going through my mind in the last couple of weeks. The reason why I started pondering about this subject is because a month ago I felt the Holy Spirit ask me to cancel something from church. I felt miserable, especially since I do go very often. I hardly ever skip. It bothered me so much that I felt anxiety attacks coming up. Something inside of me was whispering that I had to go. What if I miss something important? What if they will stop liking me because I didn’t go? Seriously the craziest ideas came to mind. Ideas that forced me to stop myself and think very carefully!

In my early twenties I was diagnosed with a General Anxiety Disorder. Even though I haven’t noticed it for at least five years, I gradually recognised that it is back. A year ago I had to have a wisdom tooth pulled out and it was such a traumatizing experience that my anxiety disorder came back in full force. My mistake was that I ignored it for too long. I know the signs and symptoms but I stuck my head in the sand. Until I was in it so deep that I couldn’t ignore it any longer. A stupid act on my part, especially since I have the skills to deal with it. (skills I learned in therapy) If I would have applied these skills early on, it would not have gone this far.

The skills I learned are easy. Whenever I become afraid I ask myself questions. Why am I afraid? What happens when my fair becomes a reality? And what is so bad about that? After asking myself these questions, I search for ways to turn my thinking around. By slowly changing the thoughts in my mind, I change my perception also. For example; I am afraid to cancel a get-together from church because I am afraid that people will stop liking me. The first question I ask myself is, what will happen if people indeed stop liking me? Well I would feel pretty bad about myself. I would also feel very alone.
Okay, next question. What happens if you feel bad about yourself? What happens if you feel alone? Nothing. Nothing would happen.
Another question. Is it rational to be feeling these feelings? No because in reality I am not alone. If some people won’t like me, I still have plenty of other people left who will. People like my mom and dad, brothers, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, grandmother, my good friend. On top of that I will always have God. God will never stop liking me. So my feelings aren’t rational.
By repeating these questions, I can slowly change my perception. In the end, the fear will become smaller and smaller, and often even disappear.

What also helps me is to reduce stress by planning moments of rest. It can be tricky at times but it is so valuable. Our bodies and minds need rest from time to time in order to recharge. Without rest, we would be developing a burn-out in seconds rather than minutes. I am learning therefore that it is good to say, “No” at times. In this case, I said no to church, to give my mind a moment of rest. You know what the point is? Our bodies may be able to handle a lot of stress but that doesn’t mean that our minds are the same! Sometimes we can physically deal with a lot of work, while we mentally feel tired and weak. We have to try and find a balance in our life, where we can be meaningful and stress-free at the same time. A balance between duties (work, activities, family etc.) and rest.

I started my blog with a question. Am I really so busy or is it my own desire to show a perfect picture? I say yes. I am trying to show a perfect picture. I am trying to prove myself to everyone. I am trying to prove that I am worth it. But is this a rational thought? No because I am worthful for God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I do not need to prove myself in order to be loved. God the Father said it Himself two months ago, “I love you regardless of what you do”. I do not have to earn His love. I receive it for free.
And you know what! My parents also love me. And so do my brothers, even if they forget to show me sometimes. I have God (three-in-one) and a loving family. What more do I need? The only person I need to convince that I am worthy is myself. It doesn’t matter what other people think of me. What is most important, is what I think about myself! If I keep on finding my own inner happiness, I will be just fine.

“I see the sunflower in you. And all I ask, is for you to see it to”. (From the poem ‘The Sunflower, spoken to me by God the Father)