Friday, February 3, 2012

Safe People

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

We are all un finished works
“But I will sing of Your power; 
Yes, I will sing aloud 
of Your mercy in the morning;
And refuge in the day of my trouble.”Psalm 59:16 

 This morning I seem to be struggling to find what I want to write about. The verse above it the verse of the day at Bible Gateway and seemed as good as any. I'm still kind of tired this morning and can't at this point seem to find a thread of inspiration to write about. There are some thoughts that may become things I write about but those are things that I am still processing.  Processing - Perhaps that is a topic in it self. I was thinking this morning how it is very hard for me to get to memories from the past. Things I did not know how to deal with or did not want to feel the emotions of got locked away and with them the things that would trigger those memories.  In my mind I needed to be the strong one, and encourage and support everyone else and my stuff could wait till later. There were things that needed to be done and I just kept moving forward and would sort it all out later.  So I have done that for a very long time and in some ways later has come and I am now having to sort through that stuff and try to reconcile it in someway. Given that I have not created mental pathways in my brain to those memories it is very hard for me to find them now. There are some memory paths, and from those I can sometimes get to others. A friend told me recently that it was the mercy of God that I can't remember the past clearly. Perhaps it is - but I seem to be a the mercy of God because he brings up things and then I find that I must feel them and now deal with them in some right way. In some cases I must grieve the loss of people who were dear to me, or feel the pain of the hurt caused by the choices of others. In that I must forgive. In some I see the hurt and pain my choices have caused to others - in those I must try and understand the pain I caused and I must repent. 

I was talking to my friend Mark Kenney yesterday, who is forever posting on face book little nuggets of wisdom that he some how profoundly spins out. Here's a couple just from yesterday.

Fear's job is to limit and stop you. Thus, your choice to move ahead and take action is how you resist fear's effects.
 A Religious Spirit always double accuse you of not being what you could be and the instant you start to become that it accuses you of pride. ~ Shatter it off your life by humbling yourself enough to accept 100% of the divine elevation that God has truly called you to.
The resistance is in your mind... Take personal dominion and press THRU it.. don't park and do not make choices based on it... go THRU it
Your value is not in what you look like... but the perceived value that others usually judge you by is. ~ You get one chance to make a good first impression. Those who know you well don't need that but those who don't know you yet do.
When the devil can't destroy a person or ministry, he will always fall to plan B which is to attach a word of controversy knowing most of the body walks by sight and not by Faith.
So the one that got me yesterday was...."Transparency is the seed for Intimacy ~ Some of life's greatest pleasures and rewards are based on mutual transparency. Your refusal to open up is only stopping you from God's very best. ~ Find someone and pour yourself out!"
So anyway at that time I got a chat message from Mark Kenney about some information that he had said he would get to me about one of his business endeavors.  I guess what he had just posted was still pretty fresh on both our minds so the chat drifted that way towards the topic of mutual transparency.   Let me say I've known Mark for 20 years and he's like a younger brother to me, and we have seen each other go through a lot of stuff in 20 years of walking with the Lord.  So the question was can you be open about the things from your past that you keep secret.  So Mark started our conversation with I bet you did'nt know....  and then I had to decide if I was brave enough to share. My first response was to turn the conversation to something safer. He would have been none the wiser. But then there was a pause and I had time to see my own defensive action and made a choice to share the thing I was currently struggling through.  While I am not ready broadcast that conversation, let me tell you that there were a few things I needed to talk through. Things that had just in the past day or two come to the surface for me and God was offering me a safe friend at the right moment. Would I take that opportunity or let it pass by with empty chatter. 
There is something to be said for mutual transparency in that both parties have shared a hurt, or a vulnerable thing and there is a balance of safety in knowing that what was shared is safe and that the other will not use that information in a way that will hurt the other. There is also in "safe" people a knowledge that they will not feel the need to pass along or gossip about what has been shared.  The other thing I have found to be in "safe" people is that - they don't have to have the answer, they do need to listen, they do need to not condem or judge and to try to understand, they do need to be someone who will pray and point you to Jesus. Sometimes they need to be the voice through which God speaks and impart His understanding, love, mercy, compassion, healing and grace.
For me it is very hard to trust people - and I have to really work at being open.  I have levels of trust that has grown over time with various people. Some people I trust them but they have enough of their own burdens to not need to have to shoulder mine.  Most stuff I just work out with the Lord in my quiet time but there is sometimes a need to confess a thing to break the power of it in your life. The gossip thing is a major thing that rules out this kind of sharing with most people.  I watch what people do with information and decide their level of safety. There is also a safety in friends that are far away in that they are not in the middle of your life and can't meddle or try and fix things and so they are powerless to do more than encourage and pray.  All that to say there is a powerful thing that happens when we confess our sins, our pain, our broken places to one another.  I will end with James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.  
I want my heart to heal and to be strong and healthy and I imagine that you do as well so I encourage you to find the safe people in your life, and to work on being a safe person.  I think we reap what we sow. If you sow seeds of being a safe person for others God will provide safe people for you when you need them.  Let me say lastly that God will bring the right person at the right time for the things God is having you deal with - trust him.  He wants you to be healed and to walk in greater freedom. Much freedom comes from confessing - push past the fear -it is bigger in your mind than you will find it to really be, once you have confessed it. 
Prayer: Dear Lord, help each of us to find those safe people in our life. Those people who exhibit Christian character and maturity. Help us to find the courage to confess the things that we have carried as burdens, shame, as twisted ideas and beliefs. Help us to get free. Even more so I pray that we would each become safe people, ministers of the good news of Jesus, who can rightly divide Gods word and know how to apply it to various things we and people around us are facing.  I pray Lord that you will lead us to greater freedom and wholeness and health in you.

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