Sunday, April 19, 2015

Wrestling Against Oneself

by Cherry Moriones- Doromal

“I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” This verse in Romans 7:15 bares an ironic truth about human nature.

How much do you know yourself?

Over and over again, we tend to do things we don’t mean to do. Agreed? Blame it to life stressors, or midlife crisis, postpartum period, or perhaps, to menopausal or andropausal stage, mood swings, upbringing, temptations etcetera--  the list just gets longer and we are likely to deal with the same experience of struggling to do what is right.

Apostle Paul, the author of Romans was not exculpated from this experience and admitted that he, too, did not understand himself during his time. With this in mind, and as I share my personal testimony, I am optimistic that we would understand our personalities better and be heedful of the following realities:

1.      You cannot lie to yourself. One day, my son Zecheriah  (Strong) approached me and said: “Mom, my brother and I know how to determine whether a person is lying or not.”  Then I asked him how, where he said:  “When a person is telling a lie, his pupils will grow big as he talks and the voice pitch of the person gets higher”. He even demonstrated it by asking his brother Zekie to tell anything fallacious. As observed, Zekie’s pupils grew big as he talked.  A moment later, Zecheriah approached me again and said: “Mom, I looked at the mirror and told a lie to see if my pupils would grow big. I was surprised that it didn’t work. So, it only means, we cannot lie to ourselves.” 

L-R Husband Wilson, Zecheriah "Strong", Ezekiel "Zekie"
Yes, we can use all types of facades to project a certain image or emotion to the world, or even to deceive others, but we cannot lie to ourselves because we know the truth.

2.      Area Unknown. Social media and blogging, more than a hobby, have turned out to be my personal ministry where I would share my thoughts, works and life experiences, on the hope to inspire others. Along the course, it is common that Facebook followers especially from other countries whom I am not personally acquainted with would always PM me to ask my age and often, whether I am single with kids or married with kids.  Not to mention that most followers would send me inspiring messages telling me that they look up to me as a role model or that they love my writings or posts, and so forth.

Undeniably, people perceive each of us in different ways based on impressions. People, no matter how close to us, may see a certain part of us, but not all of us as a person.

At this stage of my life, I would occasionally and scrupulously ask myself whether I’m doing the right thing or not, or whether my thoughts and feelings towards different things are normal. The truth is I don’t have 100% complete understanding of myself irrespective of my age, social status and profession. Fortunately, however, I was given a very tolerant husband who does not get tired of listening to me and understanding my concerns. Nevertheless, it does not guarantee that he will have an exact grasp of how I think or feel at all times, simply because we are two different individuals.

And that reminds me of Johari Window back in my AB Psychology years, where basically (1) there is that part of ourselves that we see and others see, (2) there are aspects that others see in us but we are not aware of (3) and there is our private/ secret space in ourselves, which we know but others do not know (4) and there is the most mysterious area in our own self which neither ourselves nor others see. It resides in the unconscious or subconscious part of us-- an area that only God knows.

3.      When the Struggle Gets Tough, Be True. Now, we are settled to the fact that there are aspects in ourselves that we, too, do not know nor understand. Therefore, it is normal for each person to have some problematic ways and behavior that he might want to deal with, but in reality he is incapable of. Who, then, can deal with them?

Believe it or not, even King David with all his power, valor, riches, achievements and fame had the same challenging area in his person which he surrendered under God’s command allowing God Himself to deal with it. In Psalm 139 David wrote:

v 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
v24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

The key to doing the good that we want to do and avoiding the fight against our own self is to change the way we think. The key to changing the way we think is by feeding our thoughts with holiness. And the key to holiness is through God’s work alone. There’s no other channel. If you would try to be holy by yourself, forget it! Lest you will definitely fail.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

Ref: PSALM 139
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
    O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
    your enemies take your name in vain.[b]
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
    And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
    I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

4.      Tears is a Language the Lord Understands. Close family and friends have a strong impression that I am a very tough person as that’s what they tell me. Without them knowing, behind this strength, many times in my life, I was also attacked by uncertainties, guilt, trauma, confusion, weakness, questions, and qualms where I sensed I couldn’t even utter the right words to pray for. Looking back, I was actually numb during those times and the only armament I had were my tears, transparently defending my case through my frailty. Like a helpless baby who couldn’t talk, waiting for the mother to cuddle her.

In all those occasions, I felt how the power of God worked most, enabling me to overcome everything that came my way; and with each circumstance, I witnessed miracles before my very eyes as I reap blessings after blessings. [Details will be in my books “PROOF (beyond reasonable doubt)” and “POWER OF GRATEFULNESS” to be published soon].

In the New Testament, we would recall Mary the sister of Lazarus who knelt at Jesus’ feet. She was crying and began to wash the back of the Lord’s feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Then she kissed our Lord’s feet over and over again, anointing them constantly with perfume.

Nobody knew what exactly the woman was thinking. But she caught the Lord’s attention that He turned towards her.

 Luke 7:44 says:
“Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.”

Shedding tears is not a male or a female thing, nor is a sign of cowardice. When we cry to the Lord, we humble down ourselves before Him, acknowledging our need of Him and allowing Him to take control of the situation we are into.

5.      Let Go and Let God. As a final word, in times that we wrestle against ourselves and our very nature, relax and give the battle to God. Remember:

God knows you and you are beautiful in His eyes.

 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:13-14

God’s thoughts are higher than your thoughts. Stop the brain strain!

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah  55:9

God is able to carry our burdens and promises to give us rest.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. this publicly just now. It's been ready...
Posted by Tales of Kumander Misis, Ang Wifey ni Tsip on Monday, 22 June 2015