Back-out Barbie Battles Princess Barb

Identity_crisis

My back went out.

That four-word sentence contains much meaning and significance.

I struggled with chronic back pain for nine years. Then in March 2011 I underwent back surgery. Until recently I would have said (and might still say) I was miraculously healed. I was the poster child for this type of surgery.

So three weeks ago, when I felt a familiar painful pull in my lower back, old emotions and fears rushed back as reality soaked in. Hence, my original statement that much meaning and significance are wrapped up in the short sentence, “My back went out.”

I am uncertain how this will play out. I could be back to “normal” in a month or two.

Or not.

My mind is reeling with questions, my body has a life of its own, and my emotions are out of control. In the midst of this roller coaster, it has been difficult to pinpoint what is so bothersome—maybe because there are so many layers to unravel.

However, I managed to identify one worry: I don’t want to be “that person.” You know, the person who always talks about some issue or ailment he/she has.

“Nice to meet you. I’m Back-out Barbie. I have back problems.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t pick that up. I’m Back-out Barbie, and I have back issues.”

“Could you hand that to me? I’m Back-out Barbie, and my back isn’t cooperating today.”

“My children are unloading my grocery cart for me because I’m Back-out Barbie, and I can’t bend over.”

I don’t want people to whisper, “There goes Back-out Barbie. She’s got a bad back, and her husband and children take care of her.”

Back-out Barbie feels guilt, self-pity, and disappointment.

On the contrary, Princess Barb walks in her identity as a child of God. She knows her hope is in Christ and this world is not her home. Princess Barb immerses herself in her Father’s love and acceptance and, consequently, reflects His love and acceptance to others. They say, “There goes Princess Barb. She looks so much like her heavenly Father. Even in times of distress she smiles and radiates His love.”

The vigorous battle between Back-out Barbie and Princess Barb continues. I don’t know who will emerge moment to moment.

But I’m certain who wins in the end.

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Phil. 3:20-21

Are you having an identity crisis?

What false identity are you battling?

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Unwholesome Talk and Our Need for Filters

We watched God’s Not Dead last night. Part way through the movie a boyfriend (Schmuck, as Don called him) and girlfriend are dressed up and eating at a fancy restaurant. The man tells the woman he got a promotion at work. The woman looks at the man with fear in her eyes and says, “I have cancer.” There is a slight pause before the man says, “You couldn’t have waited until tomorrow to tell me this?” (Schmuck!)

It was at this point in the movie Kenneth spoke up, “You know how we all have a filter from our brains to our mouths? You know, something that stops you from saying things out loud? Well I think this guy has a giant hole in his filter.” I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.

I picture this brain-to-mouth filter as a screen. A properly functioning screen looks like this:

screen

 

 

 

Some of us have a screen in need of repair.

screen with tear

Just like the screen in my illustration allows unwanted wasps or bees into our home, the broken filter in our brains may allow inappropriate thoughts out of our mouths.

I think our uncaring boyfriend (who obviously has a hole in his heart as big as the hole in his filter) has a screen that looks like this:

screen with big hole

Only bigger animals and objects are going to be stopped by that thing. A rock could sail right through without slowing down. And those hurt! Almost as much as unfiltered thoughts sailing past our lips.

What does your filter look like?

Is it in need of repair?

Does it need a gigantic patch?

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Eph 4:29