Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Listening, and Thoughts on A Terrace


in 2011 i learned to listen a lot more. 
i am always so consumed with prayer that i don't think i give myself 
a break and the time to listen. 
once i started listening i started to grow a lot more.
i think we can grow, i know we can grow when we are not in a season of listening too,
like when we are in a season of reading, writing, searching, but when we listen,
we hear things we never would if we weren't listening. 
and by listening i mean listening to God and to others more. I just all around
didn't speak as much. I refined my lips so to speak.

in all that listening, here are some growing pains i went through, b/c growth and change usually don't feel good on the soul, and it takes a toll on our mental, emotional, and spiritual state.

1.~ Don't cling too tightly to this world or the things in it. My daughter is at the age or phase right now where she takes everything so seriously. I know it's because she's an over-achiever and she puts her heart into all she does, but it gets to a point where she is gripped so tightly that she is unable to see that it's not that serious or that big of a deal, and that it's ok,  it's typically manageable whatever it is. 
what is it that i have been clung too tightly to in this world this year:
--trying to get loved a certain way
--my blog and the worries that come with it
--my husband (you heard me right)
--my daughters faith walk
what have you clung too tightly to this year? 

you might remember when i posted this post.

 a terrace is a building or an outside area that is not enclosed. it has pathways, and walkways.
this is an old old old one in Crete, Greece. it's dated back to the 1600's. I can just see Mr. Darcey making his way through the path, can't you?
 i have listened and learned many a things this past year, and it would take all week to write it all out and share (plus you probs wouldn't want to read all of that)!
but the #2~ thing i learned is to let others love me freely.
in all my history with myself, i have never done that. i have tried and manipulated to get people to love me the way i wanted or needed them to. and it never happened. i shouldn't say never, there have been several beyond precious moments that my loved ones and others not as close to me have loved me, don't get me wrong. 
but in our own minds, in my mind, we have this way of how we hoped to be loved.
meaning this: 
a way we want people to respond
a way we want people to do things around the house
a way we want people to listen
a way we want people to talk to us
a way we want affection or no affection
a way we want someone to word things
a way we want someone to behave
a way we think people should behave

the list goes on quite frankly.
basically we are all looking to be loved. but in that search we come up defeated a lot of the time because we have our own idea on how that love should look. and maybe in some circumstances the way someone is behaving is flat out wrong. and maybe you can't deal with it or live with it. 
but if you can, if there are those friendships or relationships that you want in your life, 
can you learn to let them love you freely? can we learn together to allow the other person to love you the way they know how?
Henri Nouwen says it best:
This strain placed on relationships- indeed strains of all kinds-seems to proliferate in a time like ours, when people seem especially interested in friendship, companionship, and community. At the very time when books and magazine articles tout solutions to our relational difficulties, more families than ever fracture and scatter. we live amid great dislocation and anguished loneliness. And for all the insights of popularized psychology, all the programs on relationships, all the seminars and conferences on healthy relationships, we still often are not happy. And because of our culture's emphasis on psychology and interpersonal relationships, we import a consumer mentality to our intimacies. We expect more of our friends and partners than they can {or want} to give. A fair amount of our suffering comes from our loneliness, a loneliness intensified by our high needs. The psychologist Thomas Hora compares our culture's emphasis on the interpersonal with the interlocking fingers of two hands. The fingers can intertwine only to the point that a stalemate is reached. Then the only movement possible is backward, causing friction and even pain among the tightly woven fingers.

 I suggest another image: two hands resting together, parallel, in a prayerful gesture, pointing beyond themselves and moving freely in relation to one another. Only in this way can a relationship be truly lasting, because only in this way is mutual love experienced, love that participates in the great and prior love to which it points. In this way we become persons to one another in the literal sense of the word's roots: "sounding through"  (per means "through" and sonare suggest the idea of sound). So we "sound through" a love greater than ourselves and one that we can pass along but not clutch. We become people who reveal to each other the divine love that embraces us and keeps us together while offering ample space to move freely.
Our needs keep us from acting and loving freely. {thanks henri, you're amazing}
We can move in the freedom to live in expectancy rather than expectation of another. 
That means we don't have the outcome planned of how someone might respond or react or behave.
We live in expectancy, letting, allowing them to love us freely in their own way, in their own time,
and wait and see how they will do that. 
This doesn't mean we can't speak up for ourselves if we are being treated poorly or disrespected. It just means we lay off the expectations, because a lot of the ways that we want to be loved or shown love, just isn't going to happen. But you will be surprised at how you can be loved when you loosen your grip!

I hope you liked this because there is more to come if you did, well I guess there is more to come even if you didn't! Haha

Leave me a comment and ask away!!!


Day-Dreamin' Optimist said...

What a great post to reflect on, and a good question you ask: What have I clung to in 2011?
Before this post, I have always associated the new year with new years resolutions, goals, deadlines, hopes and dreams to fulfill in the upcoming year.

But I love this spin you put on the new year, instead of setting a goal, you ask a reflecting question! How cool :) I dig it. What have I clung to? My security in my job, or lack of one in my case.

It is good to see your posts again, Gina, and thank you for sharing :)

ginanorma said...

Oh thank you Aime, so good to see you...I am so touched that you liked this! You might like what I shared about resolutions on It's Just Called Spicy's blog, I wrote a post about not diggin new years resolutions LOL
thank you for reading my sweetest friend!!!

Amber Maheu said...

I absolutely loved reading this post. So awesome to hear whats been put on your heart. And I think we can all relate here. Life is crazy hectic sometimes and all we need to do once in awhile (if not all the time) is step aside to listen to what the Lord is screaming at us! Thanks so much for sharing.

Ash Louise said...

I definitely love what you said in the beginning about listening, especially in prayer. I need to do this sooooo much more, and so often I dont.
It's encouraging to read your thoughts :)

Hannah said...

Thank you for opening your heart. I've never really thought about what "loving freely" really means. I guess I've always had this figurative picture in my head of what it looked like, like a majestic bird flying over the horizon. But you point out the too-high expectations we have in love, and I certainly have those, so much that I never realized it. This has really got me thinking, so thank you for pointing it out indirectly, sort to speak.

Autumn said...

This year has been a struggle for me. We have had so much change and so much stress. This year has much more simple goals. For the first time, I am really ready for it.

Natalie said...

Such an inspiring blog post Gina! You've given me a lot of things to dwell and chew over here tonight! =D

hannah singer said...

wonderful things for me to meditate on tonight, gina. thank you for your faithfulness. praise jesus!


Tamera Beardsley said...

Ahh gina...I can so relate...I too have been struggling with expectations in relationships... I have realized I must let go of my expectations and just show up in love...

Always so good to read your thought provoking posts.

ps- congrats on opening an Etsy shop...I saw Danielle's sweet post!!

chambanachik said...

Great post!

Erin said...

OH unconditional love....how hard you are sometimes! We cannot dwell on all the mistreatings we face in our relationships....but look to treat others as Christ treats us! :)

Rolled Up Pretty said...

LOVE this post! :)

Fashion Me Chic said...


O'Melly said...

Wow! Somuch inspiration in one entry! I can relate to your daughter for feeling the need to over-achieve at times, but as always, life tendas to remind us that we're not perfect. At least not in the ridiculous standards of modern day expectations.

That terrace photos is gorgeous, and it doesn't get much better than envisioning Mr. Darcy wandering through it! :D

Thank you for your kind comment. I think it's so important to reflect, and I'm glad to see you are a self-aware person.. because I think that's where true wisdom comes from!

Happy New Year Gina!!

whitney said...

This is such a lovely post, with great pictures and so, so much nostalgia. Hope your 2012 is amazing :)

denise* paper angels said...

this is a really lovely post, gina. reminds me of the security that we have in Christ to love others. we cannot lose anything because we have Christ. and because we cannot lose anything, we can give everything, in our relationships. :) thank you for the beautiful post xx

vintch said...

i'm so glad you pointed me in the direction of this post, gina. i love everything you wrote, starting the with the idea of LISTENING to Christ, something i find myself doing less than i should, and also about learning to let others love us. it's true-even if we want to admit it or not, we enter into relationships with expectations. learning to just be in the moment and let the love of others wash over us is such a challenging, but rewarding thing. people are so unique and special and everyone brings his own personality into love--some love with hugs, others by being prayer warriors, and still others love with handwritten notes, facebook messages, or phone calls. if we let each person love as he sees fit, how much more we would understand that person! and love that person in return! you're such a fabulous writer, dear. thank you for making me dig deeper. it's impossible to comment on your posts without writing a novel, because i so agree with your words:) xoxo