Hello, my friends! Hope you are having a great summer!
I’ve been away from my desk for the last couple of months, and I have missed being here at Lady the Fearless–but–wow, what a couple of months.
If you follow me on Facebook, you know that my friend Kimberly and I started a circus.
She Said Circus. A celebration of Kingdom arts and all the unexpected moves of the Holy Spirit.
So many great testimonies from that weekend.
Such a deposit of joy and creativity.
We saw physical and emotional healing at the Circus. We saw salvation. We saw artists released into their callings, and we saw so much joy. I think the thing we heard the most from almost everyone that came was, “I have never felt so alive! I feel so alive! For the first time in years, I feel ALIVE!”
You can find more information about the She Said Circus here.
We are planning on doing it again soon–hope you can join us! So far, we feel like it is a women’s event, but we may open it up to men at a later date.
When the Circus came to town, I was in the middle of a blog series on narcissism.
Next week, I’ll pick that series back up with the detachment post I’ve been promising!
For now, I want to say about narcissism that it is a spectrum disorder, like many mental disorders. That means that there is a spectrum of affected behaviors. And honestly, with this particular one, most of us fall somewhere on that spectrum and have tendencies to one or another expression of narcissism.
That means that it is important while we are looking at others and wondering, “Are they, or aren’t they?” that we also look at ourselves honestly and ask God, “Lord, where can I grow in this area? Where do I need to be healed so that I am not participating in the same stuff?”
It is the reasoning behind the biblical concept of “dying to self.”
Dying to ourself doesn’t mean denying ourselves every good expression of God, but it does mean accepting the fact that the flesh is selfish. And that means even our own flesh can be selfish. Even mine. Even yours. In other words, this is not a thing that only applies to “everyone else.”
We need to get healed of those things that cause the worst expressions of selfishness in our lives. We need to get healed of the things that cause us to act out in self-protective and self-preserving ways at the expense of others without us being aware of what we are doing.
In my experience with narcissistic behavior, that is generally the case.
I truly believe that many people are not aware of the ways that they hurt us, and they really don’t do most of it on purpose. It’s simply that they are so concerned with their own needs, they legitimately don’t see where their “need” encroaches on someone else. On yours, or on mine.
Think about the times you have really lost your temper. Were you intentionally focusing on bringing hurt to another person? Or were you actually just exhausted? Afraid of something? Really hurt about something else that had happened that day?
We have all done this.
We have all hurt someone else when we were focused on our own pain.
The scary thing about doing this, and particularly about allowing it to become a behavior pattern, is that people can lose touch with reality. Depending on the severity of triggers and of certain fears in relationship with you, reality can become displaced by the wounding and confusion in their minds.
For example, you may want to have a conversation with someone about how a certain issue in your relationship could be improved, but all they hear is attack, attack, attack. Many of these people have severe childhood trauma associated with abusive parental punishment or abandonment.
So, your simple, “Hey, can we talk about this?” may translate in their minds to “YOU ARE WRONG, AND YOU ARE ABOUT TO BE SEVERELY PUNISHED.”
Dealing with issues can be a trigger for them to the point that they confuse you in their mind with abusive people from the past. They may react with unreasonable fear or disproportionate emotion. They may attack you physically or verbally. They may lie about you, saying that you actually did the abusive things that they were afraid you would do or that others have done to them.
Because of a broken personality, you get caught in a crossfire of a false reality.
But in their mind, it is real.
I have such tremendous compassion for the pain that they are going through. At the same time, this situation clearly is impossible to deal with, especially one-on-one.
If the person you are trying to communicate with confuses you with past abusers or assumes that you will behave in the same way as past abusers in their mind, you will get nowhere with them in a one-on-one scenario.
Prayer is always the most powerful, and, sometimes, the only thing we can do. Learning detachment, bringing in witnesses, even using legal counsel may be needed at some point. I’ll get to that in later posts.
But for the purpose of this post, for now, it is up to us to hold ourselves to the same scrutiny. Psychology statistics suggest that relatively few people are true, full-blown narcissists. However, because narcissism is a spectrum of mild to extreme (even criminal) selfishness, most of us can relate, at least somewhat, to the challenges a full-blown narcissist might face. Rather than only looking outward and analyzing everyone else, the healthy thing to do is balance that relationship evaluation with personal evaluation. With God’s help, I am the only person I have any power to change.
We can take the time we are waiting to see change in our friends and family to ask ourselves honestly, and ask God, and even some trusted friends, “What about me? I know what my family member/my spouse/my friend/my co-worker does, but what about me? Do I ever do this? Do I ever exhibit any degree of these behaviors myself?”
If we are being honest, most of us are going to say “yes” to these questions in at least some areas, under certain conditions.
While we wait on our loved ones to get healed and change, we can take some of that time to work on ourselves. To let God have His healing way in us.
Rather than feeling condemnation, failure, hopelessness, bitterness, rage, or any number of negative shameful responses, God wants to use our vulnerability to grow us into the person He dreamed of when He built the foundations of the earth.
He will help us become the best version of ourselves if we submit to His processes.
There is a saying in some circles, “Going around the same mountain.” It means something like, “Dealing with the same issue over and over and never getting past it.” I don’t want to go around and around the same mountain all my life. Even if it hurts a little to see my faults, I want to face them, give them to God, and let Him move me past them in His time.
When I do this, I will certainly be faced with a new mountain, and I may go around it a few times.
But I don’t want to get stuck there.
I don’t want any of us to get stuck. Anywhere.
I’m praying for our mountains. That we overtake them rather than running mindlessly around them for the rest of our lives, wondering why we never seem to advance.
I’m praying for breakthrough. For healing and victory. For seeing the substance of things hoped for, manifest faith and love in our lives.
For complete and total healing, for the death of the flesh, that the new man can rise up.
Can rise up, and run.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb 11:1
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Jas 5:16
Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Rom 6:6-7
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Heb 12:1