Graze: To feed on growing grasses.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

-Ps. 23:1-6

Growing up on a farm, I used to watch the cows, sheep & horses graze in the pasture. Each morning we would open the gate to the barnyard and they knew there was freedom from that small pen they were in. They also knew there was nice green grass beyond the barnyard. Once the gate was open, look out because those animals wanted to get where the tall, green grass grew – the pasture! They would take off sometimes even running up the old fenced lane that went up over the hill through the cornfield to the lush green pasture on the other side of the farm. There they would graze for a while then lay down and rest for a while then graze some more. They did this all day long. Come evening we would go over to the pasture’s edge and call the cows – 'come boss, 'come boss. They would gather at the pasture gate. Sometimes we would have to go round up a few stragglers and when all were accounted for, we’d open the lane gate and back over the hill they would go to the barnyard for the night. The next morning was the same routine, day after day.
What a life, huh?!

Oh that we could just graze and rest in shady green pastures all day long! But we can rest and graze in God’s green pastures and restore our souls . . . The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. (Ps. 23:1) I believe God wants us to slow down and “rest” and “graze” and “feed” on His Word. Life throws so many things our way and we are so busy – busy doing good things. But are we running on empty a good share of the time? Are we feeling stretched to extreme? Are we content with who we are in God’s divine providence? Slow down and take some time to just leisurely graze, rest a while, then graze and feed on the good things God has provided for you. Graze, rest, and enjoy the “shady green pastures” of God’s abundant love, grace, and mercy.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Blaming Game

Have you ever heard someone say to you, "if you hadn't made me so mad I would not have done that!" or "you just made me so mad, I totally lost it"?

If you have experienced this or are experiencing this repeatedly in your life or your relationship, stop and take note. To blame someone else for our problems, our anger, our actions, our past . . . is wrong! It is easy to blame someone else and never take responsibility for our own actions. Blaming is unhealthy. Yes, it is harder to look at ourselves, our words, our actions, our responses, our abuse, our inner motives and realize that it was really all about me - what I wanted or demanded or even how I thought it should be - sometimes even at the expense of others, at the expense of those we love that are closest to us. Maybe it is a spouse. Maybe it is the children. All in all, it is an unhealthy trait that unless dealt with, will put down, belittle, eat away and destroy those around you.

To blame is:  "to charge, condemn, denounce, disparage."  This type of behavior when experienced day in and day out, year after year, everytime something doesn't go the way a person thinks it should go can tear down any and all self-esteem in a child and often in an adult. When everything that happens is someone elses fault - beware - especially if you are always the one being blamed!

The blame game takes the guilt, the act of anger, the actions involved off of the blamer and puts them on the other person, whether they are to blame or not. The blamer relinquishes his/her responsibility for the outcome of the situation. The blamer passes off any part of the cause or outcome and blames someone else, many times injustly. The blamer usually will not listen and hear the defense of the person being blamed and you will no doubt find that you cannot even reason with the blamer. You cannot "reason" with the "unreasonable"! You will usually hear them say things like this, "if you hadn't or if you would have, it is because of you and what you said or what you did - that is why I yelled at you, that is why I hit you, that is why I threw that, that is why I got rid of it, that is why I broke it . . . because YOU made me so mad!!! I would not have said or done that if YOU hadn't gotten me so upset - it's your fault we are in this mess! If you hadn't . . . !

If you are living with this kind treatment, stop and take a look around you. This really is a form of abuse - whether you want to face up to it or not.  It is emotional / mental abuse and it will tear you apart!  It will tear your children apart!  Anytime you are put down, blamed, belittled, and made to believe that YOU are the cause of everything wrong or bad that happens, take a look at that "red flag" and beware!  YOU are not to blame for everything around you. Decide what is your fault, take responsibility for that, ask forgiveness, apologize, make the restitution needed and when you have done all you know to do to make things right - put it in God's hands. Determine to leave it there and seek His guidance and direction. Be strong, set your boundaries and hold to them - don't be afraid to stand up for "you".  If you are not guilty of what "the blamer" has accused you of - stand up and tell them - even if it is tough to do.  See this blame/mind game for what it really is and search your heart and soul and find out who you really are. 

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what YOU think; whatever you want, be sure it is what YOU want; whatever you feel, be sure that is is what YOU feel." -T.S. Eliot.

Don't let  someone else in their anger tell you what you think or want or feel. Trust your own heart and trust God to strengthen you to take a stand against emotional abuse like this.

We have all been mad or angry at some time. But it is how we handle that anger that counts. It is how we take responsiblity for our own actions and our own words that makes all the difference in the world. Being able to admit and be responsible and not blame those closest to us for the situation we are in is the first step toward the healing process.  One must first admit there is a problem before it can be fully dealt with. If you are "the blamer" or if you are the one being "blamed", stop and take responsibility for your own actions, your own thoughts, your own feelings. Confide in someone, get help if necessary, but most of all - stop the cycle!

Paul Hegstrom says this, "EMOTIONAL ABUSE:  Any communication, admonition, reprimand or reproof that does not uplift, edify, or bring conflict resolution. Are you aware that there are 19 forms of abuse. Abuse is not just physical. All forms of abuse are devastating and destroy the individuals and the relationships. Some forms of abuse are so subtle that people accept them as a part of their every day life."

What is going on in your life or in the life of someone you know?  Are there subtle "little things" that you just accept as a part of life?  Are there some "red flags" flying in your life or in someone close to you?  See these "red flags" for what they are and help stop this cycle of verbal and emotional abuse! Pray unceasingly, stand beside, encourage, uplift, and listen to both the abuser and the abused. Help direct them to a God who understands what triggers these outburst, a God who can give understanding, a God who can send wise counsel to address this and begin the healing process . . . and a God who can stop this cycle of verbal and emotional abuse.

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