The Pain that No One Sees: A Refining Fire

Every person goes through there own trials. That’s just life.

Every person feels worthless. That’s just self-discrimination.

Every person fails. That’s just being human.

 

There are days when it feels like you are not worthy; not worthy to be wherever you are, to receive the second chance you’ve been given, to continue on in the work that is set before you. But eventually you suck it up and take that second chance, and continue on with your work, wherever you’re at.

But what about the days you can’t suck it up? The days you don’t feel able to continue smiling and say, “I’m doing good” to every, “How are you?”

Those days you wake up and you just know the kind of day it’s going to be. You get out your optimism to paint on your smile, hoping that it will be more than just paint on a seemingly lifeless canvas. If you can just make it through the day, you say to yourself, you know the paint will last if you can hold it together. But in the back of your mind, you know that as soon as you are alone the flood gates will open, washing away your masterpiece, but leaving the scarred canvas exactly as it was before.

Unfortunately, the best paint remover is Failure. Feeling as though you didn’t make it, you’re never good enough. There are just some days when no amount of encouraging words are gonna make you feel any better. Yet sometimes all it takes is someone to hold you while you cry, expelling the pain from your body in a violent torrent, for at least some of the pain to ease.

But vulnerability is one of the scariest things there is in this world. No haunted house can compare to the horror you feel when you open up, and then are mocked or even just misunderstood. You say that it’s fine, and even ok, but those moments are more hurtful that words can express, no matter what they say to make up for it, if they can even see your pain through your perfectly painted smile.

In the end, to grow is to feel pain, and growth is often gained through trials by fire. The fire is hot and the pain is real, both physically and emotionally, but it’s necessary. In order to make Gold (one of, if not THE most precious substances on Earth) pure, it must first be heated until it liquifies and the imperfections rise to the top. The dross is then scraped off the top, leaving the pure Gold below. Likewise, Diamonds start out as a lump of dirty coal, but through fire become the purest of stones.

Each and every person starts off as a Diamond in the Rough. Every person carries a pain that is unseen, because their fire is real. We each go through it at different times and in different way, but every single person does go through it, make no mistake. No person is spared from the refining fire that is Life, dealing with each part of our humanity, separating the good from the bad like dross from gold. Because we are flawed human beings, no piece of Gold is entirely pure, just like the largest Diamond isn’t without it’s faults. Yet still people pine after these things, despite their imperfections.

One thing I’ve learned is that just because someone’s your friend, it doesn’t necessarily make them worthy to hear your pain. There are different levels of friendship, and not everyone is on the same level, nor should they be. There are some people who you laugh with, some who you go on adventures with, some who you just hang out with, and some who never seem to remember you’re there outside of their needs; but there are a few who get to hear all your thoughts and see every side of you. Finding these people can be difficult, and often comes through a lot of trial, error, and often disgrace. Once you find these people, the ones who will cry with you while also sharing with you their own struggles, realize that you have found a precious treasure: a gold-embossed diamond given to you to guard with your heart and your mind. These treasures are not to be guarded lightly, and while the task may seem daunting, it can have the richest rewards.

Know that those who love you value you for who you are as a whole, faults and all. Know that those who love you desire to know all of you, not just the painted smile you want everyone to see. Know that those who love you cherish you for your friendship and care, even when it seems like you’re not worthy to give or receive it.

Every person is imperfect. That leaves room for growth.

Every person is cherished. That’s having family and true friends.

Every person is loved. That’s being human.

 

~Beth Grey❤️

(Psalm 19:7-14)(1 Peter 1:3-9)

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Love is Patient, Love is Kind…

Love is a funny thing. It is both a feeling and an action; noun, verb, adjective and adverb. It is something that effects most decisions we face in our day to day lives, from the various foods we eat to the kind of clothes we wear. It is most commonly used, however, when describing other humans; “Oh, I just love her!” or “My husband is the love of my life,” and so on and so forth. Romantic love is one of the most common in our society today, but there are also other kinds of love: agape love, familial love, sacrificial love.

The funny thing is that as often as we say we feel love, I don’t think we really truly understand it in it’s fullest sense. Telos is a Greek word that philosophers often use to describe something or someone’s ultimate purpose in life that they were made/born to fulfill. For example, a shoe’s ultimate purpose in life is to cover and protect a person’s foot from the various hazardous objects is may come into contact with (such as rocks or mud) as well as providing protection for the regular wear-and-tear of daily travel. A person’s telos is often much harder to identify, and can come in various forms; a person could be born to be a baker, making their telos to be the best baker they can possibly be. Some teli are vocational, but others can also be more common, such as each mother is called to be the best mommy they can be. Often vocational and relational teli overlap, such as for working mothers, but it is usually summed up as “trying to live the best life they can live” (which I slightly disagree with, but thats another post for another day).

So if objects and people can have teli, then can feelings? If that is the category we put Love under, then I would say no. Love is more than just a “feeling”; usually, Love as a feeling is connected to a romantic love and is often achieved through emotional attachment and/or sex. But Love is so much more than that: it’s an action. We all say we love our families, but when you’re little sister steals your clothes, or your older brother won’t share with you, or your parents get on your nerves for the 10th time, none of us feel that warm, fuzzy feeling inside that we get when we think of our crush or significant other. In the end, we choose to love by letting your sister wear your favorite dress, or knowing that you’re parents are probably right, even if you don’t like their decisions. In the end, weather by blood or by bond, your family is all you’ve got.

Love a beautiful thing, as long as we don’t let it define us. It is a driving force of our world, but it is a poor guide when it comes to reason and practicality. But all that to say, you can’t negate your feelings. Love is a very powerful emotion that has proven time and time again that people will do crazy things in the name of love. Watch any modern rom-com to prove that theory. It is this, well, thing that defies all reason; an emotion, an action, a theory, a choice. It’s something totally beyond all understanding, not matter how hard we try to label it, or put it in a bottle. It’s time we allow this beautiful mystery to remain just that until the proper time when everything suddenly becomes clear: Love is pure, Love is eternal. Love is never-ending.

–Beth Grey (1 Corinthians 13)

“Little Children should be Seen and not Heard.”

Have you ever been with a group of your friends and you think, “Hey, our conversation reminds me of this story!” So you speak up and begin to tell it. Your tale is going well, until about half way through when one of your other friends (who’s only been half paying attention) suddenly pipes up about something they read on the internet or something else that changes the topic entirely; but no matter the direction that is taken, you suddenly find yourself silenced by one of your more socially dominant friends who takes all the attention away from you and your story. Although they didn’t mean to “steal your thunder,” they have cut you off and left you at the climax, which pushes your story’s momentum back down the hill it was climbing, leaving you to feel foolish and a little embarrassed. You then try to listen to the new conversation while simultaneously trying to push the incident as far away from your forethought as possible.

Now, if you’re like me, your succeed in pushing away the embarrassing incident… until later that night. As you stand in the shower thinking over the events of your day, you’re reminded of how humiliating it was to be interrupted by your friend and treated like you don’t even exist. You think to yourself, I was there the whole time! Did they not see me? Were they not paying attention? You then come to the only possible explanation: no one cares. No one cared enough about you or your story, so you must not have been funny enough, or charismatic enough to hold your friends’ attention.

As someone who struggled to make friends growing up, there is nothing more dismaying or humiliating than being interrupted and subsequently ignored in a social setting. Even when you’re in a related setting, perhaps at home alone with your family or roommates, being abruptly cut off is discouraging at best and depressing at worst. Unintentionally, whoever you are with has just told you they either do not care enough about what you have to say/think, or they do not care about you as a person, so you’re not worth listening to.

Because of my upbringing, I have been in many situations where you just have to sit still, and/or smile and nod. But when I do finally have the chance to say something, it is something that I have taken a lot of time to think about, formulate, then execute exactly  how I want want my thoughts to be expressed. Being interrupted or having your thoughts dismissed is one of THE most frustrating feelings in the world. Do those I’m with not realize how long I have taken to prepare what I’m about to say or do?

I realize that sometimes I can drone on, or I pick the wrong time to tell a story; I’m only human. However, the thing that I often fail to realize as I’m agonizing over my “mistake” in the shower, is that it’s not always my fault. Sometimes, people can be rude without realizing it; their need for attention (whether conscious or subconscious) suddenly becomes so strong that they burst onto your stage and steal your limelight. While in the moment we (those interrupted) may feel badly, in hindsight you realize that this need for attention comes from a certain form of desperation: insecurity. These are the people who (usually, but not always) need to feel reassurance from others frequently, but often do so by verbally and emotionally trampling over whomever is in their path and their feelings, even those they call friend.

This is where those trodden upon need to extend a little grace. Insecurity (a more formidable companion than Loneliness) is one who’s grip can sway the mind and take captive the soul. As difficult as it may seem, giving grace is one of the most freeing and refreshing acts you could do for your soul, no matter your religion or background. On the flip side, receiving said grace is the most confounding and extraordinary gifts one can ever receive.

So the next time you feel like no one can see you or you’ve been brushed aside, take heart! You’re not the only one who cries in the shower when Loneliness and Insecurity have taken you captive. And have no fear, because your real, true friends will see that you’re hurting and send your rescuers, Grace and Love, to set the captive free. ❤️

~Beth Grey (2 Corinthians 4:15-18)

Hello Loneliness, my old friend…

Loneliness is a hallowed ghost that, unfortunately, appears and haunts everyone at some point in their lives. Don’t be fooled: everyone feels Loneliness looming, whether when you’re alone and hidden from the rest of the world, or sometimes when you’re in a crowded room, but uncertain of whom you can turn to and why you are there. It is a difficult adversary to overcome, and often can lead to depression, giving the emotional phantom a greater sway over our minds and emotions.

However, Loneliness is a liar, a deceiver who whispers in your ear and tells you that you are unloved, unpopular, and unacceptable. He lures you deeper into the dark, emotional recesses of your mind and ensnares you in a web of lies and deceit.

As a kid, I struggled to allow my mind to be in control over my emotions. It made making friends difficult, allowing Loneliness’ power to grow over me. He became an unfortunate companion; one who knew how to press all the right buttons and send me into a state of despair. I remember coming home from school day after day, wondering why I didn’t get invited to the party, or why no one wanted to play with me at recess that day. Eventually books became my escape, transporting me to far away places, where not even Loneliness could penetrate the excitement of each and every adventure I read.

I know now that Loneliness is not only a feeling, but is also a choice: we can choose to sit and listen to the lies he spins, or we can get up and walk away, ignoring his words and focusing on things we know to be true and uplifting! If nothing else, everyone has a family, whether by blood or by bond, who loves and cares for you no matter what (people we often forget when we wallow in our own misery). If nothing else, there is at least ONE person who cares for you (making the lie “no one cares” total invalid ;D).* If nothing else, we can focus on the simple blessing we have in life, like having a bed to sleep on, or clothes to keep us warm, or knowing where our next meal is going to come from. These are things that the majority of our world today doesn’t have; thinking about these often puts our situation(s) into perspective.

In the end, as strong as our feeling can be at times, WE are the Master(s) of our emotions. When push comes to shover, our minds are more powerful than any emotion we may feel. Our minds have incredible power! Through imagination, we can create, whether it be masterpieces of art or music, or a story of adventure and love. It can reason; it discerns the world around us in order for us to make decisions based of the millions of pieces of information it collects through our senses every second of every day for the rest of our lives. And with our minds, we can choose who will be the ruler: mind or emotion?

~Beth Grey (*Isaiah 41:10,13)

“If at first you don’t Succeed…”

We all struggle with things; that’s just part of life. Some are more athletic, others artsy. Some excel at Math or Science, while some devote there life writing books or composing music, thus creating beautiful masterpieces that enrich both the mind and the spirit. But we don’t all have the same gifts. If we all excelled at the same things, then how could we appreciate the beauty of each gift and the person who holds it?

Ironically, writing is not my gift; it never has been. No matter how often I sit down to write, I am always faced with the nagging question: “Why are you doing this? You’re not as eloquent as so-and-so, so your thoughts aren’t as valid. Who cares what you have to say?”

After a lot of prayer and soul searching, I have since shoved this lie into a deep corner of my mind, where it’s shouting isn’t as loud and it’s words not as stinging. Just because I am not as eloquent now doesn’t mean  I cannot improve! Besides, it’s usually where our weaknesses lie that someone else see us and finds strength.

My prayer is that these words might be an encouragement to whomever  would read the things I record here. It seems like everyone does and says the same things as I am attempting to do now, but that’s ok. If I impact one person, then it will all have been worth it.

I am clay in a Potters hands; I hope my thoughts will be shaped for His glory, no matter how messy or childlike they may seem. Here’s to getting my hands dirty!

~Beth Grey (2 Tim. 1:7)