Maria Yeager

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Heavenly Mourning Doves Bring Peace

“I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.” John 1:32-34

What a wonderful passage from the gospel of John! Today, the dove is widely regarded as a symbol of peace and reminds us of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When I see a dove, either in a picture or in nature, it always brings me comfort.

Red cardinals also bring me comfort. I have written a blog about these birds as they are widely believed to represent a loved one who visits us from heaven. Victoria McGovern says it perfectly in her quote:

“May you come to find comfort in and remember cardinals appear when angels are near. So go now, sit outside and drink your tea. Keep a look out for the little red bird – it is there, your loved one will be.”

If you want to read about my experiences with red cardinals, just read my post, The Red Cardinal – Love From Heaven.

A couple of weeks ago, I posed a question on my Facebook page regarding Christianity and the hypocrisy that I have been noticing regarding Donald Trump. Here is the actual post:

OK, after thinking about this, I want to put this out there. I am asking for help from my Christian friends. For several months, I haven’t been attending church (except when I am with my mom – we attend Catholic church together). There is a reason for this that I haven’t shared with anyone until today. I have chosen to spend time with God on Sundays by myself. Here’s why – this whole thing with Trump has caused me to have bad feelings toward going to church. You see, I have seen hypocrisy like I’ve never seen before in my lifetime. I’ve seen Christians who post something religious every day but then support Trump unconditionally. I cannot understand how a Christian can support him after all the lies, the remarks about women, the lack of compassion, making fun of the disabled reporter, his constant attacks on anyone who disagrees with him, the name-calling, etc. I don’t get it. It is causing major depression, frustration, and incredible disappointment in those who are Christian yet still support Trump. I have had many long talks with God about this and how I am feeling, many times bringing me to tears. I don’t want to be part of any church right now. I just want to spend time alone with God. I feel alone. I know there are good people in the church who don’t support what Trump has done, and I keep telling myself that. But I have this strong urge to stay away right now. I have just seen so much hypocrisy. Who can help me out on this?

I did receive replies, some of them more helpful than others. I decided to continue with my alone time with God on Sundays, but a family member also gave me the idea to attend church during the week when there were fewer people there. She had done this, and she found it to be a source of Christian “nourishment”. I liked this idea, so I decided attend Catholic Mass during the week. She was right. I am also finding this to be a source of Christian “nourishment”.

During my first visit to Catholic Mass during the week, I prayed hard. I begged God for direction. I told Him once again of my concern over Christian hypocrisy and how it seems like some in the faith are being led in the wrong direction. I prayed for Donald Trump and his administration even though I don’t like what they are doing. I told God that I wanted to write with His direction, not my own. I begged Him to save our country and told Him that there were good people “down here”. I asked for His divine mercy on us, and by the end of the prayer, tears were filling me eyes. I looked up at the crucifix at the front of the church as a tear streamed down my face.

I struggled to go to Mass because one of the problems that I see currently, mostly in the Catholic church, is the pro-life issue. In politics, many Catholics are focusing solely on this one issue without thinking about anything else. I have heard people say that they MUST vote Republican because they are pro-life. There is even a priest out in California who has stated that it was a mortal sin to vote for anyone but Trump. However, these same people support cuts to disability that is in Trump’s current budget proposal. So here is something to think about: A child is born disabled, and according to these pro-lifers, this is a good thing. The child wasn’t terminated. OK, fine…but what now? He/she will need medical care for the rest of his/her life, but he/she can’t get that help because disability benefits are cut. That makes absolutely no sense. Pro-life should mean pro-life for everyone, not just the unborn.

Back to the Mass…when the prayers were said for others, I was really encouraged as they prayed for “all life, from the unborn to the elderly”. I smiled and thanked God for this small but very important change in this particular Catholic church. I hope that this change will take place in all Catholic churches.

After church, I went home and continued on with my daily chores. A few hours later, as I walked in my kitchen, movement outside caught my eye. I looked through my patio door only to see two beautiful mourning doves, one of which was digging in my flower-pot that hung off the side of my patio railing. As I walked closer, I watched as one of the doves stepped on the back of the other one who was digging between my begonia and verbena. I realized at that point that they were making a nest. I couldn’t believe it!! I thought back on my visit to church and my prayer. Was this a sign from God?

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I felt so comforted. What are the chances that two mourning doves would nest just outside my patio door right after I begged God for help and mercy at Mass?

In the Bible, there are passages where doves are mentioned when people are in despair:

“My heart is in anguish within me, the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelm me. And I say, “O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; truly, I would flee far away, I would lodge in the wilderness.” Psalms 55:4-7

“I cry for help until morning, like a lion he breaks all my bones; from day to night you bring me to an end. Like a swallow or a crane I clamor, I moan like a dove. My eyes are weary with looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed, be my security!” Isaiah 38:13-14

“We all growl like bears; like doves we moan mournfully. We wait for justice, but there is none; for salvation,, but it is far from us.” Isaiah 59:11

I again thought back on my tearful prayer that day. I knew God was telling me that he had heard my prayer. As I watched the doves work, I once again remembered how the Spirit came upon Jesus like a dove when he was baptized:

“And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were  opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved with whom I am well pleased.'” Matthew 3:16-17

“And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on Him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.'” Mark 1:10-11

“Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized, and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.'” Luke 3:21-22

I continued to watch the doves work as I felt a sense of peace come over me. At one point, they saw both me and my cat, and I was afraid that they would abandon the nest since we were probably about 4 feet away from them.

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But they didn’t. They stopped and looked for a minute, but then kept working. Several times, I saw one of them with a bunch of debris hanging out of its mouth. I was mesmerized as I watched them prepare the nest for their young.

I did some research on the behavior of mourning doves. The male will get twigs and debris for the nest, and when he brings it to the female, he will stand on her back and give it to her as she makes the nest. I saw this exact behavior. It was so much fun to watch. Next, I learned how to tell the difference between the male and female as it is quite subtle. The male is larger, and he has a little bit of blue on his head with some pink on his throat. Each time I checked on the dove that was sitting on the nest, she was all brown so I assumed it was the female. Then one day, I realized that the male was sitting on the nest. He had a very light blue on his head and very light pink on his throat, just as described in my research.

I also noticed that these birds have a beautiful teal color that surround their eyes. I can’t seem to get a good picture that actually shows how gorgeous this color is around their eyes, but it can be seen on other pictures of these birds on the internet. When I saw the male close up, I realized that I could now tell the difference between the two birds just by their eyes. The female has the teal color that surrounds the entire eye, whereas the male has the teal under his eye while his upper eyelid covers the rest of the teal color.

Later that night, I slowly went over to the patio door to close the shades, hoping once again that I wouldn’t scare them off. Amazingly, they stayed.

The next morning, I slowly opened the shades, and both doves were there – mama on the nest and papa with debris in his mouth.

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A few seconds later, two other birds flew up and landed on the patio rail right next to the two doves. I immediately recognized them as cardinals – one of them (the male) had a bright red chest. I could not believe it! Two mourning doves and two red cardinals standing just feet from me, doves signifying peace and the cardinals signifying a visitor from heaven!

The next day, as I worked in the house, I noticed that the dove was not on the nest. I walked to the door and looked out to see one big white egg. I was so excited! The mama bird came back to the nest within about ten minutes and sat on her egg for the rest of the day.

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Still so happy about the one big white egg, I went to my mailbox to pick up my mail. I was so happy to receive a card from my aunt as she knew I was struggling with Christian hypocrisy. Inside the card, there was a bookmark with a quote by Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky:

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this, You will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.”  Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

This added to my sense of peace. The statement, “I believe the desire to please You does in fact please You” gave me great comfort. I realized that for me, I was doing the right thing by going to church during the week when it was quieter and spending alone time with God on Sunday. I knew that since I desire to please Him and only Him, that is enough. I believe that God sent those doves to me as a sign of peace and as His way of telling me that He will lead me down the right road.

“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

A couple of days later, I noticed once again that the dove had left the nest, so I went to look at it. This time there were two eggs! It is just so amazing to watch. I learned through research that mourning doves typically lay two eggs.

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Each day, I walk up to the patio door and talk to the doves, telling them that they are safe here. When I talk to them (not sure they can hear me…haha!), they just look at me, but they don’t seem to get upset at all that I am so close to the nest. I’m pretty sure they know now that I won’t hurt them. I don’t go out on my patio because I think I may scare them off. I don’t want them to abandon the nest.

I have since looked up many passages in the Bible that mention doves. As I read the following passage, I remembered when, in my prayer at church, I asked God to direct my writing:

“See I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves…When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matthew 10:16-20

I knew that God would help me in my writing. I want to write what is true according to His word. I know he heard my request.

The dove as a sign of the Holy Spirit is so incredibly comforting. These birds are so peaceful, and they bring a great sense of serenity. God tells us in the Bible to live by the Spirit, not by the flesh:

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:13-14

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:5-6

“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control….If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25

As I read more passages about doves in the Bible, I realize that they are also a great sign of hope:

“For the palace will be forsaken, the populous city deserted, the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, the joy of wild asses, a pasture for flocks, until a spirit from on high is poured out on us, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.” Isaiah 32:14-15

“For now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” Song of Solomon 2:11-14

This brings to mind another great quote from St. Teresa of Avila:

“Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things are passing. God only is changeless. Patience obtains all things. One who has God wants nothing. God alone suffices.”

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Even though it is tough to do, God tells us not to worry. There are terrible things going on in this world, and it is so hard to not get mad or irritated. It is also incredibly difficult, at least for me, to see all this Christian hypocrisy. I believe that these doves are a way of telling all of us that only God is necessary for peace and that things will eventually change for the better. In the Catholic church that I attend, it appears that things are already changing. The things that happen in this world are passing, but God never changes. Hold on to Him and stay in His Word. As he sent those doves to me, he will also send peace to those who truly believe in Him and who ask Him for it. So I will leave you with this:

“Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21

 

The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Red Cardinal – Love From Heaven

Since the beginning of the year, it seems like I have been bombarded with quotes and pictures about red cardinals.

The first quote I saw was in January on my Facebook page. This quote, by Victoria McGovern, gave me great comfort:

“May you come to find comfort in and remember cardinals appear when angels are near. So go now, sit outside and drink your tea. Keep a look out for the little red bird – it is there, your loved one will be.”

This quote was accompanied by a picture of a beautiful male red cardinal in the snow. I immediately thought of my dad since he passed away in 2014, but I doubted that I would see any red cardinal since it was the middle of winter. At my home, I usually see finches or sparrows, but only in the spring/summer. It was a nice, fleeting thought, but I didn’t think much more about it.

About a week later, a friend of mine who is also an excellent writer and photographer posted a picture that he had taken that day. It was snowing, and two red cardinals, one male and one female, sat in the branches of a tree outside his window. I was stunned! I knew that this was a sign that angels were near. Again, I thought about my dad, and I told my mom what had happened which gave her great comfort.

A few weeks later, another post came across my Facebook page. Again, it was a picture of a male red cardinal. The quote read as follows:

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, loves leaves a memory no one can steal.”

Once again, I thought about my dad and how no one can take away the memories I have of him. I remembered how he sat me on his lap and let me act like I was driving the car. I remembered how me held on to the back of my bicycle as I learned to ride while promising to not let go of the bike (even though he eventually did). I remembered how he taught me to calculate complex math problems for my school homework. I remembered how he wrestled with me and my brother and sister on the living room floor and had us laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. I thought about how none of these memories could ever be taken from me. I smiled.

A few days later, as I worked in my office, I looked up at my bookcase as I took a small break. My eyes immediately were drawn to a book that I had read last year – “The Gift of the Red Bird” by Paula D’Arcy. I thought about the red cardinal once again, and joy filled my heart.

Just about three weeks ago, I saw yet another post on my Facebook page. Again, it was a male red cardinal in the snow, and the quote was as follows:

“When a red cardinal appears in your yard, it’s a visitor from heaven.”

Well, I don’t have a “yard” since I live in a townhouse. But, my mom has a nice big yard, and she loves to watch the birds in her backyard. She has a bird feeder that she keeps filled all the time, and the birds come often…that is if the squirrels don’t get to the feeder first. I called her and told her what I had just seen on Facebook and told her to keep an eye out for red cardinals in her yard.

A couple of days later, I again was surprised when I saw that another one of my good friends posted a picture that she had taken of a red cardinal in some tree branches. I didn’t have a yard, but that red cardinal somehow still managed to show up. Again, I smiled and thought of my dad.

That same day, I called my mom, and her first words were “You aren’t going to believe this!” As she sat on her deck that morning, she thought to herself, “I wonder if I will see a red cardinal today.” Not long after that, a female cardinal showed up in some bushes followed by a beautiful male red cardinal. She just couldn’t believe it, but she was so comforted. I was just shocked!

About two weeks ago, I went to visit my mom, and I stayed overnight. While we ate breakfast, we talked and looked outside through the bay window in her kitchen. Suddenly, a male and female red cardinal appeared near her bird feeder. It was probably the same pair that she saw just days earlier. The first thing that I noticed is that the male was such a bright red color and was absolutely gorgeous – probably the brightest red cardinal I had ever seen. We were both quite sure they were visitors from heaven – angels that had come to tell us that we were loved.

My mom’s birthday was March 1. On that morning, as she prepared her breakfast, she looked out the window only to see that gorgeous male red cardinal. But this time, he was sitting in the crape myrtle tree next to the house. This was my dad’s favorite tree. The cardinal looked directly at her and didn’t fly away. He just sat in the branches of my dad’s favorite tree and stared at her. It was a moment that she will never forget and is one of the best birthday gifts she has ever received. This was most certainly my dad sending his love from heaven.

Always be on the lookout for these “angels” from heaven. Love is being sent our way all the time, sometimes through the most simple and innocent of ways – we just have to slow down and look for it!

 

The Lesson From the Finches

A few months ago, as I was writing at my computer, I heard a bunch of noise at my front door. I went to the door and looked out my peephole, and to my delight, a small bird was constructing a nest in my wreath. The wreath was just the right size that I could watch her closely through the peephole. Now, I know some people might not like a bird making a nest on a wreath on a front door because of the mess the birds would leave behind, but not me. I love all kinds of animals, and I was so happy that she chose her nest location on my wreath.

As the days went by, I heard constant singing and chirping. I decided to look up information on birds as I know very little about them. I was able to match the singing to a house finch. When she finally laid the eggs and I saw them through the peephole, I was completely convinced that this was a house finch. The eggs appeared light blue with dark specks on them, and this is what a house finch eggs looks like.

Apparently, it takes 12-14 days for finch eggs to hatch, so when they hadn’t hatched at about day 15, I became a little worried. Mom was still sitting on them, but they weren’t hatching. I said a prayer and specifically asked God to help the little finches. I was so excited to see that a couple of the eggs had hatched the very next day. I watched as mom brought food to the nest and fed the little mouths that I saw through the peephole.

A couple of days later, dad must have been visiting the nest as I saw a beautiful red-chested bird facing toward the peephole, and he looked exactly like the house finches I had seen on the computer. He was beautiful, and I watched as he fed the babies. Amazing!

However, a few days later, I noticed that there wasn’t much activity in the nest. I couldn’t see the babies, and I again started to worry. After a full day of no activity, I decided to open my front door (I had been entering and exiting my house through my garage as to not disturb the nest). To my utter disappointment, I found a dead baby lying in front of my door. I could not locate the second baby. I looked in the nest, and there were two unhatched eggs still in it, but I knew the parents abandoned the nest. I moved the dead baby bird into the grass. My heart was broken. I spoke to God and told him that I didn’t understand why the babies died. I didn’t understand why I prayed for them, then they hatched only to die several days later. I was depressed and frustrated; however, deep inside I knew that all things happen for a reason. I tried to hang onto that, but it was hard.

About a week later, again as I was writing, a bird flew straight into my window. It didn’t die – it just flew off and landed on a nearby railing. I was able to get a good look at it, and it looked like a female finch. About a month later, I attended a family reunion. After checking into the hotel room, I opened the curtains to the balcony only to find a dead goldfinch lying on a chair. At that point, all I could do was laugh. I told my family members, and all I could think was, “What is it with all the dead or injured birds? I don’t get it!”

I think my questions were answered this morning. When I first woke up, I checked facebook (as I always do). I saw a post from one of my friends that quoted Isaiah 52:7:

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who bring good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.””

The word “publishes” stuck out to me since I am a writer. Was God telling me to write an inspirational blog today? I wasn’t sure, but it was intriguing.

I walked down the steps and into my kitchen. After making sure my cat had enough food and water, I opened the blinds to my patio. Right at that moment, two finches flew up, landed on my railing, and looked directly at me. One was a female (all brown) and the other was a gorgeous male (bright red on his chest and on his tail). Almost immediately, two more female finches showed up and landed on the railing next to the other two. They just looked at me and didn’t seem scared at all. It was almost as if they were telling me that everything is OK with them. Even though bad things happened, they are all OK. I couldn’t believe how close they were and how they didn’t seem scared at all when I moved the blinds. Even my cat came up and looked out, and they didn’t move. They just cocked their heads from side to side and looked at us. After a few minutes, they all flew away.

When my mom heard about this, she reminded me of the following verse in the Bible:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” Matthew 10:29

I believe that today, we need to remember that we should not worry and always remember that God is holding us in the palm of His hand. He is in control. I know that in recent days, there has been much suffering in light of the police shootings and the event in Dallas, but we must remember that God is the source of peace. We need to turn to Him and lean on Him during this time. God teaches us to be loving and compassionate, and we, as onlookers to this event, need to help out others who are hurting during this time and bring them some sense of peace. This is a very rough time for a lot of people, but happy days will return, just as it did for the finches.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 5:13

 

Easter Gifts From God

 

If you have read any of my previous blog posts, you know that I notice signs from God in everyday life.

Last Wednesday, a line of very strong thunderstorms came through this area. A line of severe weather began to develop around 4:00, and I watched as this line grew closer and closer to my neighborhood. However, as I watched, I began to notice that the really bad storms were just north and south of where I lived. Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued to my north, and tornado warnings were issued to the south.

At around 5:30 or so, it began to thunder outside of my home, but the storm was small and only lasted about 15 minutes. I was so thankful that this area had dodged the worst of the storm; however, I later heard of some deaths associated with this line of storms due to tornadoes. Although I was happy this area dodged the worst of it, I was deeply saddened by the loss of life.

A few hours later, I saw reports of rainbows in the area. Not only was it a rainbow…it was a beautiful double rainbow! I remembered the time when I saw a rainbow during one of the worst times in my life (see previous blog post, “God’s Rainbow”). When I saw the picture of the double rainbow, I immediately felt a sense of peace as I knew God was sending another sign of His love.

That night, as I climbed into bed, I noticed that my rosary was once again glowing. Even though this rosary glows in the dark, I rarely notice it for some reason (see previous blog post, “A Christmas Miracle”). On this night, I did notice it, and it just happened to be the same day that the double rainbow appeared in the sky. I felt like God had His arms wrapped around me. I felt so loved and protected.

The next morning as I prepared my breakfast, I couldn’t stop smiling as I remembered what had happened the previous night. I happened to look over toward my window, and I noticed my peace lily. This lily was from my dad’s funeral in March, 2014. The poor thing almost died, and I almost threw it out, but I really wanted this plant to live since it reminded me of my dad. I kept it and nurtured it, and it eventually began to put up new leaves. However, it never bloomed. On this particular morning, I was stunned to notice that it was getting ready to bloom. I walked over to it and noticed that two white blooms were getting ready to open. I couldn’t believe it!

In Christianity, the peace lily is associated with the Virgin Mary, Easter, and Christ’s resurrection. It indicates a season of rebirth and is a popular funeral plant as it symbolizes the rebirth of the soul of the departed. This beautiful plant is associated with hope, peace, purity, prosperity, and innocence.

The timing of the blooms are amazing to me. First of all, it occurred the morning after I noticed the glowing rosary and the appearance of the double rainbow. Second, it occurred during the season of Lent, just a month before Easter. Third, this plant, which reminds me of my dad, is now blooming just one month away from the date of my dad’s death. Fourth, the lily is my dad’s favorite flower. In fact, we had lilies engraved on the headstone for this reason.

What better gifts can a person get for Easter? Candy? Easter eggs? An Easter basket? Nope, this is definitely the best gift a person can get, and I thank God with all my heart for sending me these wonderful signs from heaven.

Be sure to stop and look around this Easter season…you may be missing messages of love and encouragement from God. He sends them all the time 🙂

Happy Easter!

 

 

 

 

Quote of the Day

“Humility is perfect quietness of heart, It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.”

-Andrew Murray

The Lies of Narcissism

Image at Creative Commons, http://www.lillylulu123.deviantart.com/art/Crying-Eye-315830804

Narcissism falls along the axis of what psychologists call personality disorders, one of a group that includes antisocial, dependent, histrionic, avoidant and borderline personalities. But by most measures, narcissism is one of the worst, if only because the narcissists themselves are so clueless.

It took me almost 49 years to learn the meaning of true fulfillment and true peace.  I had to go through an extended period of living in a narcissistic environment and looking for life’s meaning through materialistic goals before realizing that I was way off target.  I am currently in the process of writing a fiction book about narcissism that is based on a true story, but I wanted to share some basic facts on this blog about narcissism to help those who are having to deal with others with this personality disorder.

For many years, I was living in an environment surrounded by people with narcissism, but I didn’t realize it.  I had heard of the word “narcissism” but really didn’t know much at all about it and honestly, I didn’t care to know.  Little did I know that I was surrounded by narcissistic behavior and that I had been a victim of narcissistic abuse for quite some time.

Basically, narcissists are very selfish people.  They are known to lack empathy for others and are known for always placing the blame on others rather than taking responsibility for their own actions.  In my case, I was made to feel like I was the problem even if the issue had absolutely nothing to do with me.  This led to me questioning myself constantly which eventually led to depression.  I knew deep down inside that this thinking was twisted, but I managed to always make excuses rather than face the difficult decision to end these destructive relationships.  The best way to describe it was that my soul was restless, and I did not have true inner peace.  To satisfy the narcissist’s demands, I was continually finding that I had to turn my back on my own values.  This struck right at the core of my soul, and I was miserable.

Thankfully, these destructive relationships did come to an end through the action of the actual narcissist.  I was no longer any use to this person, so I was left as if I was a piece of garbage.  However, this was probably the best thing that ever happened to me as I it opened the door to my healing.

The following are some of the characteristics of someone with a narcissistic personality disorder:

1. Lack of remorse for their mistakes

2. Does not care about the consequences of his/her actions

3. Pathological lying

4. Very charming; can get emotional in public, but this is all a show to manipulate others

5. Expects victim to follow along without question.  He/she tells victim what to do rather than ask.

6. Controls spending of others, but he/she spends freely on themselves

7. He/she doesn’t listen simply because they don’t care

8. Gaslighting – manipulative behavior, takes advantage of others

9. Projects faults onto others – blaming others for their problems

10. Lack of empathy – doesn’t care about the needs or feelings of others

11. Highly contradictory

12. Breaks others down that they feel are inferior

13. Thinking he/she is better than others

14. Core of concern is power, success, attractiveness

15. Needs to be center of attention and requires constant praise

16. Appears unemotional

17. Easily hurt or rejected

Narcissists come across as being very egocentric and sure of themselves, but the root of the problem, believe it or not, is insecurity.  It has been shown that those affected by this personality disorder are actually very insecure and they use the above behaviors to feel better about themselves.

Recovering from narcissistic abuse can be a long process, but you can recover and live a truly fulfilling life.  First and foremost, you must realize that YOU ARE NOT THE PROBLEM!  The narcissist can be very cunning and manipulative.  It is important that you realize this.  If you are with someone who refuses to take responsibility for his/her actions and wants to blame everyone else for their problems, the best thing to do is to get out of that relationship if possible.  Narcissists do not want to change and they do not want to be criticized in any way, shape or form.  In fact, “narcissistic rage” is a known feature of this personality disorder, and they can become very mean and vindictive when questioned.  The narcissist has the problem, not you!

Realize that no matter what you say or do, the narcissist will not have sympathy or empathy for any of your problems, no matter what they are.  If the problems do not directly affect him/her in some way, they don’t care if you are suffering.  Remember, they are the center of their world, and the rest of the world are just puppets to be manipulated so that they can get what they want.  They truly believe “the ends justify the means” no matter who they have to run over to get there.

Next, remember that narcissists truly believe that they are always right.  It is pointless to get into an argument with them because you will never win.  They will end up making you question your own sanity because they are expert manipulators.  Additionally, narcissists believe that they don’t need any help.  Counseling a narcissist is very difficult because they will not admit to shortcomings.

Bottom line – if you feel like you are in a relationship with a narcissist, please get some help.  Leave the relationship if possible.  Be educated about how narcissists function so you can deal with them as effectively as possible.  Trust your intuition…..if you feel something is wrong, it probably is!

As for me, I am now at a place of true fulfillment and peace.  By going through the healing process, I have not only learned how to recognize this personality disorder but I have also learned how to deal with this type of person more effectively.  But the biggest lesson of all is the lesson of selfishness vs. selflessness.  Over the past several years, I have been a volunteer at a thrift shop and found immense happiness in helping those who are less fortunate.  I have also started up a website on adenomyosis (similar to endometroisis) which I suffered from for 17 years.  Women from all over the world are accessing this site, and I constantly get “thank you” messages for making this information available to them and for letting them know that they are not alone.  I am also writing this blog to help to inspire others to become the best they can be.

But the most important thing of all is putting all of my trust in God.  Without Him, I would never have been able to come as far as I have in the healing process.  He has literally carried me through some of the toughest times of my life.

Between trusting God completely, helping others, and putting other’s needs before my own, I have finally found true happiess, peace and fulfillment.  I realize now that selfishness in the form of narcissism will never bring true happiness.  Looks, finances, material objects, etc. will all vanish one day, but the selfless acts of a Christian person will never be forgotten.  God not only saved me, but he showed me the way to true happiness.  Selflessness is the key.  My soul is finally at peace.

“For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” Psalms 1:6

“The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong.  You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the Lord abhors……For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as a shield.” Psalms 5: 5-6, 12

“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.  In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

Sources:

Narcissistic Personality Disorder, http://www.mayoclinic.org

Recovering From Narcissistic Abuse, by Andrea Schneider, LCSW, http://www.goodtherapy.org

 

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