A Tough Skin

Luke 8:17

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

When I was young, my Dad would always comment on how emotional I was. Someone would do something on accident and I would burst into tears. Honestly, emotions dictated who I was and how I acted in every situation. As I got older and hit puberty, it only got worse. The more I learned the harder it was for me to keep myself positive.

The world seems like a dreary place. It does. If not the physical world, then our place in it appears so dull. As I look at what I am expected to do by society and even by my family and friends, I get disappointed. No one expects you to achieve something outrageous. No one trusts that you will reach your dream. They tell you it is impractical. They tell you that “you can do whatever you want, just something that makes money.”

Let me say, to tell a dancer that the thing they love to do the most will never get them anywhere is not very heartening. Especially when you have crazy emotions.

What my Dad did to try to get me to understand that my emotions literally dictated my life, he would say, “You need to learn to have a tough skin. Not everything is intended to be taken personally. Not everything you can control. You have to let it slide off without damaging your consciousness.”

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I think he said a variation of this at least fifty times between my ages 12-15. Probably more. Either way, it made enough of an impression to stick. Today I heard a podcast that said this:

“We need to be tough-minded when it comes to prayer.” Well, what does that mean? Similar to being tough skinned about the world, the same type of thinking applies to our prayer life.

No one prays because they ‘feel like it’. We fall to our knees out of obedience. Out of our actual need to know and communicate with our Father. Everyone who has had a relationship knows that communication is everything. And intentionality comes in a close second. We cannot only speak about or to God when we ‘feel religious’, or when we are when we are around other pious Christians.

My pastor once said that, “your true character is who you are when no one is watching.” Bring to mind anything unpleasant? Perhaps we do not think about the fact that God sees us all the time. 

Proverbs 15:3

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.”

Everything we do is known. There is nothing hidden from the all-knowing God.

Shepherd

When the Lord is my Shepherd

Whom shall I fear?

When the Lord is my Shepherd

What must we do but draw near?

When the Lord is my Shepherd

None may plush me from His hand. 

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When you grow up and have wacky emotions, you learn to separate your decisions from your emotions to stop any possible repercussions. This past year, when I attended school states away from home, my older sister came to visit me. During that time, I was so stressed by the burden I had put in my own schedule that I constantly ran on empty.

I particularly remember how I had lost the paper to an assignment due the next morning, and for the life of me I could not find it. I became so upset and frazzled that eventually I had sat down and basically given up on life.

My sister, after seeing this, wrote me a note to read to myself in the morning. The purpose of the note was to help me keep up my confidence and trust God during my emotional, physical, and spiritual stress. Upon arriving home (I learned this at Christmas) my parents asked how I was doing. My sister told them about what had happened, and both my parents were very concerned.

However, when my sister heard this, she looked at them and said, “well, she may get freaked out over little things because she’s so run down. But honestly she when she makes decisions they are always as logical and analytical as Spock.”

emotions spock

I am not sure quite how to react to that. Only that I hope my prayer life will develop with the same audacity and focus and sheer ignoring of circumstances in order to follow my God.

Follow. Follow. Follow. No matter what.

Sometimes we need to do a check and know that God can take all of our problems away in a moment. But even if He doesn’t, God is still God. Though we cannot see it, God knows best. He sees all, both good and evil, before and after, now and forever.

Be blessed today.

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