Sliver in Eternity

I used to be unnerved by some of the the violent and negative impulses that I could see rising up out of myself, until I realized that the very fact that I could see those things in myself was evidence that God, Himself, was addressing them, turning up the heat so that they would boil to the surface and was skimming them off as waste. That is how a purification process works, much like the way they make silver shine. It is black in its natural state. It is not until it is liquified and refined, that it becomes a precious metal that can be made shiny. I have noted that for every time I have ever made a monumental personal breakthrough, people come out of the woodwork to judge, criticize and throw their self-righteous darts. I have wondered for years what that was all about because there was dead silence when I was really guilty of those accusations. It wasn’t until I started taking responsibility for the pain and consequences that I was causing others, that people started trying to pick me apart. I was so appalled by some of the stuff that God was digging up out of me after I asked Him to, that I asked Him one day, “Lord, why did I become so immoral all of sudden?” He said, “You have always been this way. You have just become spiritually and emotionally aware of it.” This would explain why the religious never seem to be able to see that what they justify in the name of God, is just as bad, if not worse than what they are trying to crucify others for. This has terrified me so completely, that a few years ago, I asked God to snap a knot in my tail if I ever started going in the direction of the person that falsely accused me of a crime I didn’t commit, and then sued me for damages, while professing to be a Christian, knowing that it was a frivolous lawsuit the whole time. They even bragged to others about lying, because they thought they would win by default judgment, to get revenge for issues they had intentionally created to hurt me for not letting them control my life. God has been faithful in answering that prayer because what I was really asking Him for was to humble me BEFORE I got that full of myself. I knew that I was just as capable of that bullcrap as the other person, and I was afraid of myself. Discipline hurts sometimes, and every time God had to reel me back in, I was reminded of that prayer. He showed me the vision of the silver refinement when I started to blame Him for causing me so much pain. He assured me that it wasn’t for nothing and that He wasn’t going to share His glory by letting my idols of comfort destroy me. That was the most comforting thing He could have said to me, in that moment, because I was worn out and feeling defeated by what I couldn’t overcome that I thought I should. Some things remain because we would lose the value of that experience if we never had to deal with the temptation again.

I came up with the most amazing vision that explains everything that I have felt for years. Every time the spirit of God would quicken in my spirit, my flesh would rise up in such painfully frustrating ways, that I would quickly find a distraction to escape into. I am intrigued by the fact that fire produces heat AND light. And Hebrews says that “Our God is a consuming fire.” That is why lust feels like it is consuming our flesh. It is a spiritual counterfeit of what the spirit can lead us into. That is why carnal knowledge can masquerade as wisdom. And when spiritual conviction starts exposing what is hidden in the dark corners, it is going to drive us to the brink of insanity, because we don’t want to see the monster in the mirror that everyone else sees. This is true, even of those that we view as Godly. As long you have to live life in the fallen nature of the flesh, you are going to have problems with it, no matter how holy you try to be. That is why people become religious. It is an attempt to reach God by their own efforts. The day you stop recognizing your need for grace is the day you have lost a spiritual revelation of the character of God. “Truth should hurt and offend you until there is nothing left to hurt and offend.” BUT, at the same time, grace is what allows the truth to be accepted at all. We would spiritually and emotionally “bleed” to death, if not for the grace of God that controls the bleeding, while He is convicting us with His truth.

I didn’t realize how much this would really mean to me until I got to my current state of mind. I have been thinking about much, because I have become reflective in my world, rather than just transparent. This is an interesting parallel because I have been treated like my presence is just an irritation to others, when my reality crosses the streams with theirs. About 2 years ago, I was told that I was a pearl. That may sound like a compliment, but if you think about it, it really translates into something, that could be hurtful, if taken personally. That means that I was initially viewed as an intrusion into the world of someone that stayed inside of their shell, and just tried to buffer themselves from any outside issues, that really were inevitable. Life happens, and you lack an understanding of the meaning and purpose of grace, if you treat normal, everyday encounters as something to be avoided, or denied away. We invite others into intimate spaces because we are lonely in what we thought would make us happy. But since we are still treating our own comfort like an idol, or a prize to be won, we will be very evasive with anyone that actually cares enough to want to know us. We want what we see, but don’t trust anyone enough to receive it fully. That’s where we lose the value of the experience when we don’t accept that what was an annoyance to us, may become a rare treasure, that others are seeking, as well. And when we become the pearl, instead of the oyster, we find that the world looks like a completely different place, when it is not being filtered through the fear, anger, and pain, that has defined our previous experiences with relationship. This is why I named my whole website after how I see the ever-changing nature of perspective. It flows and looks different, depending on where you stand.

I was sitting in my van, one morning last week, and seemingly for the first time, I noticed some letters on my right side-view mirror, that are commonly on vehicles. “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” That just struck me, because I made an immediate and direct parallel to everything that I have been making peace within my own life. A rearview mirror, as well as, a side-view mirror, does serve its own purpose, just like any mirror does. It shows us what to be aware of, when we are navigating through places, that others are traveling through, as well. It is not just about avoiding a collision, but about ensuring the safety of others, including ourselves, when we are just doing our thing, too. When we refuse to look behind us, out of fear of remembering pain, we rob ourselves of perspective, because some things only make sense, and bring context, in reverse. That’s how I see eternity. It is not something that I just see clearly in front of me, but what has always been surrounding me in every moment, even when I was unaware of all the little details that would come together when I least expected it. There can be so much joy in that, if we aren’t ducking and dodging, to avoid confrontation.

Another interesting aspect to the whole pearl analogy is that pearls are made from how an outside irritant is reacted to. Regardless of how beautiful and unique that pearl becomes, it still has a grain of sand at its core. Sand is everywhere on a beach, and gets into everything, but yet, we still enjoy going to the beach. We accept it as just part of the deal. Sand turns to glass when exposed to heat, and can be shaped and molded into different items, that serve a variety of purposes. It is also used to make mirrors.  If we just have a heart of glass, it will always be fragile, thinly veiled, and easily broken. This is part of the human condition. What makes a mirror useful is what is applied to the back of it, and makes it whole. Without the reflective layer, it is only a piece of glass, which we can see right through. It seems like common sense, but it really is a metaphor, for how we can make our souls shallow, where there is no introspection and personal growth. If you are refusing to be reflective, everyone will see through your intentions, because they haven’t been purified, through introspection.

I was having a private conversation one night with someone that I thought was my friend, at the time. In hindsight, I see that sometimes people want to be our friend but don’t really know how yet. I was talking to them about how I have become afraid to share my thoughts and ideas, because of the confusing things people say, and how inappropriate and unnecessary their reactions are. They said something to me, that inspired this whole post. “Don’t allow the reactions of others, to become a splinter in your soul.” That was thought-provoking because no one had ever said such a thing to me, because they were too busy blaming me for being hurt and angry when I should have been. I was just led to believe that I was always the problem. I did a Google search because that sounded like something, that wasn’t exactly personal or original. And sure enough, there is a book written with that title. Being the kind of thinker I am, with a photographic memory, I immediately paralleled the whole thought process with a movie scene, that helped me make sense of it all. There was a movie in the early ’90s called, “Sliver,” where a recently divorced woman, moves into an apartment building, and has an illicit affair with the owner, not knowing that he had been watching her the whole time, in ways that were predatory and voyeuristic. This is how I see it when someone is intimately observant of what I value and desire and uses that against me. They use that knowledge to gain some unfair advantage while binding me spiritually to the pain, that they cause, and then blame me for it, while they move on to what’s next for them. I have spent a lifetime, just trying to escape from this. When something gets under our skin, it causes an inflammatory response, that can lead to infection, if not treated. That’s what is intended by those that see your potential and feel threatened by what it will mean for them. I don’t want to understand this. All I know, at this point, is that these people have revealed more truth to me, than anyone that was intentional in teaching me the truth. This has been a catalyst to me, because while they were using deception to clip my wings and keep me from growing stronger, they only created a monster, that they lost control of. In their pride and madness, they overstep lines that belong to God, alone, and try to create life, in their own power, and on their own terms. While they may succeed to a certain degree, all they have really done is create a fabrication of their own ego, which is bound to failure, because it is not an accurate reflection of their own Creator. The only thing I can figure is that their own image is broken, so it is distorted to them, which is why they hide so much from others. They are ashamed of the mess they have made but aren’t willing, to be honest, enough to allow it to be rectified. In their attempts to avoid detection and correction of what they know is wrong, they make others bleed from their slivers. It is like trying to hug a porcupine because it has the same effect as trying to reach out and touch a broken soul. As painful and disappointing as this is, the fact that it is making us bleed is evidence that our hearts are still soft enough to heal. A hardened heart just spreads its own chaos, which is why it seems like a war zone around some, that are never satisfied with anything. They would find fault, with even the most ideal circumstances.

So in the aftermath of all of this, I am getting to see things that I could have never expected, that are basically evidence of God’s fingerprints in places, that I thought He didn’t care. I see that even though, some things will touch us, and even break our hearts and spirits, sometimes, His plans for our future, are never really replaced by the will of another. This is yet another thing, that seems like common sense, but when nothing makes sense, and evil is being allowed to have far too much power over things, that were never fair or appropriate, it is the leap of logic our hearts and minds are going to make. This is especially true in places where dreams have been made to crash and burn, not because they were small or wrong, but because they weren’t the best for us at the time. This is a bitter pill to swallow when there are bills to be paid, and a living that is nothing but stress, because there is never enough. One of the thoughts that always looped back around to me was that it wouldn’t be a problem, had I just been given what I prayed for, to begin with. That might sound selfish. But it really does make sense when all you see is everyone else being allowed to live their lives, have their careers, and have their futures left alone. It is particularly frustrating when they are allowed to have those things in the lack of any kind of spiritual maturity, that could have contributed to much more than comfort. This is a double-edged sword, but at the same time, it just proves to me, that our journeys are personal, and cannot be forced into a cookie cutter formula for success. It gives me more hope than I have ever had in a lifetime when I see a Creator, that is unique in His design, just like the pearls that are developed in dark, isolated places.

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