You are not your content
Updated: Nov 8, 2020
Content: Topics or matter treated in a written work. Merriam-Webster
Content: Something contained- Merriam-Webster
I'd like to share a quote from a show that turned my entire life inside out. The perspective I acquired after hearing this was one of the most positive experiences I've had in quite some time. This should be received in the posture of self-preservation.
From the show "We Hunt Together" -Showtime
Once he found the key, my anger and frustration evaporated. What people know about the brain you could fit into a postage stamp. I've had some great emotional and financial advantages in life, and I think I'm a very secure and rational human being. And yet one tiny setback and I will completely lose control. I was amazed at the effect and impact one moment of frustration caused me. Now imagine 50 setbacks a day, or 1000 since the day you were born and combine that with a brain you did not choose and a start in life you had no control over. We are a combination of both nature and nurture. And that is all we are. No, you or I.
No decisions or choices. Just chemicals and geography. I do not get angry because I don't believe the person who did it had any control over their actions. WHY? Because they are human beings because every decision we make is preceded by thousands of tiny factors that are completely beyond our control. And when we do finally arrive at a moment of decision. Our actual conscious role in the process it pales into mathematical insignificance."
I want to walk you through my journey to the most compassionate mantra I've inherited from experience. We are not our content. I first heard this while in meditation and listening to Sidha Guru, who is one of my favorite speakers. The simplicity in the way he views life and the level of self-accountability in which he speaks is astounding. What I've noticed is this about accountability and content is this. God is not deliverance focused (deliverance is for slaves). He's been a content manager. Over time, God has significantly shifted my perspective on the uncomfortable things I've experienced in life. Growing up I was taught that vengeance was mine, sayeth the Lord.
This caused me to walk through life believing that everyone who hurt me or did me wrong would be punished. But this was to my detriment and that I cannot afford vengeance. This expense is too great, THAT'S why it belongs to the Lord. What also helped me later in life was the movie The Shack. That movie is amazing. When Mack (the father) confronted Wisdom (an actual character in the story), I could feel the intensity and passion in his voice. Wisdom asked him what the verdict should be for the man who killed his daughter. Mack responded as any of us would, DEATH. Wisdom then proceeded to show Mack his own children. They'd also done bad things as well that were punishable, and Wisdom asked Mack, "so which child should I choose?" Mack immediately began describing all their good qualities and he pleaded and begged Wisdom to take him instead of his children even though they'd been found guilty. Wisdom then took Mack into the childhood of the man who killed his daughter and displayed the abuse his daughter's killer had endured. And his father's fathers’ abuse and his father’s fathers’ abuse.
Most of the time, when things happen to us, we retreat into a space of entitlement, and we don’t even know it. But what we’ve been taught and what we’ve experienced are among the thousands of tiny factors that we had no control over. And the reason Luke 6:36 says, Be merciful, just as your father is merciful.” God knew that it would take some effort on our part, thus the commandment. An act of mercy makes us free of expectation. Suppose we know that the human experience is mostly an emotional, mental, spiritual, holistic journey that mirrors the process of a baby learning how to put one leg in front of the other. This provides a complete formula for compassion towards all people. I gave up my right to be angry at anyone with this awareness. And what's so important to recognize is this. Just because you are aware of a thing, it won’t take away from the weight of carrying that knowledge. These ideals brought me to the story of Jesus when He was crucified. He said, Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do. Jesus understood the weight of the human experience and that knowledge created the opportunity to carry the weight of humanity with open arms. Jesus embraced all of our pain, our disappointments, trauma and everything else that comes with ME…Michelle. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 ESV Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. What do we need to rest from?
The effect from the many tiny factors that we had no control over.
2. What happens if we become our content? If you’ve experienced any type of trauma, you’d understand that memories are like a hard drive. Whatever happens inside that hard drive is stored? When new software updates our systems, sometimes we have to clear some things in our hard drive to experience better performance. Our souls are the same way. When we constantly feed and nurture traumatic memories, we become the event in more than one way.
We can also become our content when we define right and wrong for an entire other human beings with different experiences, character, purpose and so much more than you could ever imagine. Here are some examples of what happened to folks who became their content. Cain killed Abel because God enjoyed his sacrifice better than Cain’s sacrifice. Cain became his content when he killed his brother because he chose not to do better the next time. Envy, if unchecked, becomes a rage that turns into hate if you’re constantly comparing your life to another content. David and his son Absalom is another example. Amnon, Absalom brother, raped his sister Tamar. Absalom decided to take his brother Amnon’s life because he re-defined the punishment from his father David as not good enough. He reacted to what was happening to and around him instead of allowing the events to pass him by. Grant it, this is easier said than done, but we have to recognize that God doesn’t want to lose your trust. Know that God will work things out.
The Force of Friction is energy exerted onto a surface with an object in an effort to move across the surface. Your situation is trying to pass by briefly, but when we resist standing still, this is when we create friction as opposed to watching it scene by scene. Now, the impact is so great; we get stuck trying to figure things out when God was almost at the point of providing revelation for the content. All along, the Lord was always in the boat with us at the bottom sound asleep saying, hey, if I am with you and you are in this space with me, why are you afraid? If I am carrying you and I am in you, would I ever allow anyone or anything to destroy myself? I am God; I cannot be destroyed. Therefore, you will never be destroyed. We’ve got to ask God to anoint our perspective into alignment within context to the content we experience. God will preserve us in all things, always because you are the expression of God.
Psalms 41:2 The Lord will protect him and keep him alive, And he shall be called blessed upon the earth; And will not give him over to the desire of his enemies.
Psalms 66:9 Who keeps us in life, and does not allow our feet to slip?
Proverbs 2:11 Discretion will guard you; Understanding will watch over you.
3. How to experience Content without impact (Identify the Symptom and Treat it)
God told me a long time ago… “Michelle, you’ve got to find the symptom of the sickness around you and treat it. Like a cold, you won’t ever cure it or prevent it from happening. But I will always provide a balm for the symptom.” God teaches you how to manage yourself through the content you experience. If you’re in a chilly situation cover yourself; if you’re angry find a space to cool off. But whatever you do, don’t change the content of your experience. This is what finding the symptom and treating it means. Faith that God will work it out is the solution. Understand that needless suffering does not equate to holiness. Hope initiates once we realize that content changes constantly. We can then remember that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!!!! These are prescriptions to enjoy every journey, and it helps us to look forward to the big reveal.
Joseph’s brothers were jealous of the coat their father gave him so much that they sold him. Joseph reacted; he screamed and cried hysterically when his brother sold him. Let's talk about letting it out. We must release negative content in whatever way shape or form we must, through therapy, exercise, or anything healthy. However, this is what Joseph said to his brothers while in despair.
Genesis 45:5 And now do not be grieved, nor angry with yourselves that you sold me here. For God sent me before you to preserve life. 6. For these two years, the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be no plowing nor harvest. 7. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. (God manages our content to perfection so that others can be delivered by our story) 8. And know you did not send me here, but God. And He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler over all the land of Egypt. Joseph was positioned in his pain. Some of us have missed positions and callings because we continued burying ourselves in the pain of an experience. But the pain was only temporary for Joseph, and it will always be temporary for us too.
In the end, verse 9-27, the story shows us that Josephs destiny and journey wasn’t easy. Once Joseph reached his purpose, he ran into his brothers again. The first thing Joseph did when he saw them was to clothe them, gave them extra garments (covering); he sent them with livestock from a supply that was not even his own. When Joseph’s father heard he was alive, Jacob (Joseph’s father) was revived, and a nation was secured from Josephs's pain and the betrayal of his brothers.
The amazing thing is that Jacob didn’t have a very easy life either. Jacob chose not to be consumed by content regarding his father in laws deception after working seven years for his (promised) wife Rachel only to find out that his father-in-law had Jacob (Josephs's father) lay with the wrong daughter on the night of his wedding. He sent his other daughter Leah posing as Rachel. In this example, it is important to recognize that your reaction to the content happening in your life is a seed. On the opposite spectrum, David became his content when he killed Bathsheba’s husband because he desired when he saw her taking a bath. He took matters into his own hand to get the result he wanted, and so did his son Absalom. But Joseph didn’t become his content, just like his father didn’t even though he was betrayed. Joseph could’ve been bitter and angry, but Josephs's reward was the content he created by choosing compassion. When Josephs's brother betrayed him, they knew they’d hurt Joseph because of his reaction. Even when Joseph’s brothers and others were aware of the pain, they’d caused, sometimes the reason people can’t hear you or don’t understand you because they were never meant to. They weren’t given the capacity to experience all of who you are.
However, the content Joseph experienced was necessary for the survival of nations. His brothers weren’t Kings or rulers, so he was overqualified to be accepted by his own.
Oh, to be young gifted and alone only to be disregarded by the people you love the most with the weight of knowing it’s not their fault. You must persevere with the compassion that comes from the reality that we are all trying to figure life out together. Our decisions are significantly impacted by thousands of events we had no control over. If we take what others do to us personally, we run the risk of getting stuck in a never-ending pursuit of a solution inside an empty circle with no opening. Sometimes people will mislabel you negatively because their actions are necessary to provide the content you need for your destiny. Oh, how I know about being labeled unworthy of my own gifts as a lesbian.
I’ve been told how unworthy of God I was because I’m Queer. But I am worthy because God seeks after my heart every day. I can tell that He seeks my heart because He leaves me love notes to remind me that He’s there. I’ll hear a song, and I feel the presence of God. I’ll make it peacefully one more day at a time through a painful situation that isn’t fair. Or maybe I’ll get a breakthrough in my perspective releasing me from anxiety. This is where we need to identify what is of value. Is it things, or will it be peace? Is a person, a job a relationship…? This is all content, things you must experience in life. We place more value on content than we do ourselves causing an imbalanced perception of love. Let’s work on re-aligning our values with the promises and statutes of God.
Philippians 4:8 Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever thing are of good report; if there be any praise, think on these things.
Just like Joseph, you will have the opportunity to test the spaces and people whose content had a negative impact on you. It's guaranteed to happen. And you will have a choice in your association with that content or no association at all. Once he was able to assess that they’d changed, Joseph confronted his brothers. Joseph chose compassion and not the content of his experience with his brothers. Not anger or vengeance. He told his brothers not to feel guilty because it was God's plan for him to be where he was in order to preserve his family. This is the greatest example of the reward after allowing your content to pass you by. Even if folks never change, pray that Gods will be done in their lives, but don’t willingly invite negativity into your life because you’re responsible for your chosen content. Learn from the content, acknowledge the pain, and collect discernment while you’re there. But once it's over, let it go. You are not your content.