Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WH2: Coping

"You can blame yourself up to certain point, but after that it's just a coping strategy."

These were words God whispered to my heart about six or seven years ago when I was going through one of my darkest personal struggles.  The idea is more real now than it ever was.

Can I talk to you for a minute about coping?  If your life is really hard right now and people don't really understand where you're coming from.  Or, if you're so buried in circumstances that you're struggling to find where you are but know you're in the wrong place, this might be for you.

Guilt and shame are great at spending years proclaiming the message in your head over and over again that "If you were stronger, you could control this situation!"  If you're at all like me you've heard this sound bite in heavy rotation in the back of your mind.  Do me a favor and ask yourself honestly whether or not this is true.  Is it?

If it's not, why do you keep using it as a guidepost to evaluate your situation?

Through nervous energy and pent-up emotion we try to make ourselves useful by drinking the poison of blame.  And if I can't blame someone else, maybe I'll try blaming myself.

I want sooooo badly to be able to attach my pain to something.  To anything, really.  And I don't want to be a guy who lives with bitterness toward my family, fellow man, my country or even God.  So often there's only one guy left to take the full force of the attack.

If I remember correctly, it was a Jewish philosopher that once said, "If pain were water, all the world would drown."  And so many are drowning.  Not for any good reason except that they're trying to cope.

I really want to say that I have the answers to all this complexity, but I don't.  I'm writing to you from right in the middle of it.  Coping with an unresolved situation can do funny things to your mind and a lot of people turn to a lot of unhealthy things to deal with it.  I have a lot more compassion for those people today than I did a few months ago.

Here's the simple thing I've learned: You can't let your coping control your life.  It will if you let it.

Ramble over.

(Just so you know: This is not at all to give a hall pass to saints and sinners who are doing wrong and harmful things.  If it's true that you can change it and need to seize control of your life, talk to the people you've wronged, make it right and fall on your knees before God before you go to bed tonight and ask for forgiveness.  That's something we all could use.)

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