Vessel vs. Vending Machine - a Spiritual Word Picture About Love, and Dissociative Identity Disorder
Being Poured Out in Love
Disillusioned, But Not Defeated; Emotional Cages
It's Hard to Hug Shards
"Dealing with you is like trying to herd ten squirrels up the same tree" - a quote on Fractured Personality Disorder.
One of the problems which brought this Love issue to the surface - and kept it there - was the fact that I had begun in the last several weeks to exhibit actual symptoms of having "multiple personalities". I had recognized for over a year that I had leanings this way, but so far, had not experienced any great, visible upheavals due to the "fragments" or fractures. (There are at least ten of these, seven of which are in some stage of recovery and healing, as of May 5th, 2011.) These various "fragments" had suppressed or denied more friendships and relationships than I could shake a stick at. They had not even acknowledged each other, until I prayerfully forced them to, and even now, one, who goes by Dee-Dee, denies being related to my children. (Try being a homeschooling mother when the only urge you have is to run from any room in which your children happen to be, because you can't emotionally recognize or even want them.)
So when my friend challenged me to prove his love for my sharp-slashing, fragmented soul, he was making a serious commitment. So far, we have both gone through the process of getting to know each other no fewer than seven times, as every time I encounter a "new" fragment, I emotionally forget who he is and what he's been in my life. I even forget his name, and wind up calling him things that make me wonder where my mind's gone, and when will it be back? (Leave a note.)
Still, like Christ, he's embraced each fragment and shard, and taught my heart for the first time what true love is capable of mending.
Giving and Receiving Love
April 23rd, 2011 - Problem: “Can't” Give or Receive Love
Recently, a friend and I were talking about relationships. Not gender-based, romantic ones, neither ones based on "connections" or goals of some kind. Just relationships - having people in your life, and enjoying having them there.
It turns out I have a problem with this kind of relationship - letting people in, and also, knowing how to approach the doors to their own lives, no matter how badly I want in. Yet, I can be stubborn and impulsive, which means I am great at starting relationships - running up, as it were, and pounding on their doors, yelling, "Open up, or I'll blow the house down" - and then later disappearing, leaving them wondering what happened. I am great at running for my life, the moment people start asking to be let in, and I feel the torment of claustrophobia set in.
This particular friend with whom I discussed these things wanted to be let "in". He'd been asking for months, in fact...since last September. I had at first opened my inner door wide, thinking it was probably someone non-personal...a package delivery man, say. Well, it wasn't. He announced that he'd been thinking about striking up a friendship for several years, and had decided the time was right. I let him "in", making my home his, not bothering to hide the clutter and even some of the trash. He didn't seem to mind.
He began bringing friends over. I liked his friends. It turned out we had some mutual friends. We all went places, did things together. It was great. I revived some old interests, at his encouragement, and began filling my life with things I really loved, rather than just with things I had to get done. Everything went well...until the day he started asking, How could he really help me become even more the person God wanted me to be? How could he help me deal with the dark parts of my soul? How could he be the kind of friend I'd been looking for, had searched for again and again, but had always run from in the end?
Immediately, I ran for the door and slammed it. Too late. He'd braced himself against the doorframe, and was more deterined than I. The door wouldn't close. After a long struggle, he convinced me to let him stay, making me promise not to lock the door against him. Next I tried ignoring him. He wouldn't be ignored. He kept dropping by at the regular times, saying and doing the kindest things. It felt like having Jesus come by, bringing lunch. He was also like Jesus in that he absolutely wouldn't let me forget that he wanted in. I kept thinking, Dude, how more in can you get? I've long ago let you past the point where I throw most people out. You are in.
But he insisted there was more. And furthermore, I wasn't allowing him to bring me into his life the way he wanted. This puzzled me, as I'd felt I'd done a very reasonable job of being interested in him as a person, and of praying with and for him...of being "friends". Yet he said there was more. I needed to learn to be OK with asking him for things, for help. I needed to be able to accept his love for my soul.
He swore to me that he loved me in a way that I neither could stave off nor be rid of. He loved me with a forever love. I knew this to be true - with my head. Hadn't he shown me more times than I could count that my issues, my mistakes, my harsh words, etc. - meant nothing to him besides that I needed this kind of love? He challenged me to try to break his love - to make him stop giving it; to make him go away. He warned me it couldn't be done. After offering many opportunities for him to stumble - to offer a harsh word in return, say, or lose his patience with my inexhaustable store of questions, challenges, and friendship-misdemeanors - I found myself absolutely defeated. He wouldn't say unecessarily unkind things; he wouldn't lose his patience with my insecurities, depression, or unmanaged hostility.
He just kept loving. And he said that all he asked in return was that I, "Treat him good."
"Treat him good." What did that mean? The only way I knew to treat people good was to make sure that they stayed as happy as I could keep them. But my friend shook his head and said that's not what he meant. He said, "Don't worry about trying to please me. That's not what I'm after. Trying to please others just puts you in an emotional cage. And somebody else gets to keep the key."
What then could he mean? After pondering his phrase for almost a week, and concluding that I didn't have the right kind of mental software to translate it, I asked for an explanation. He said, "'All' I ask, is that you act like you want me in your life - permanently. Can you do that?"
Could I do that? Hm-m...could I do that? Had I ever done that before, for anyone? I wasn't sure. But I determined to figure out how to go about it. This was one person I definitely wanted in my life.
I realized that he was saying, "Love me. Love like Christ loves. Love like I've loved you. You've seen how. Can you reciprocate?"
The answer was a hard, resounding, "No." I set out to figure out why I felt so blocked to love, both giving and receiving.
Below is the word picture God shared with me, in order to give me the courage to allow Him to fix my Love problem.
Broken, But Still Useful
Solution: Even a Cracked and Broken Soul Vessel Can be Used to Pour From
Here is my prayer conversation, exactly as it occurred:
Me: How do You, Lord, wish to take care of this love issue?
Lord: [No answer.]
In Your words, Lord, help me express this issue, please.
“You feel like a broken vending machine. As you see it, it is your purpose to have a variety of things to give – to try to satisfy others' needs. But you feel 'out' of most items, or like you were never stocked to begin with. The Line in relationships - the point at which you feel the urge to either throw others out, or run from them - comes when you risk showing what you have, knowing it may not be – and very likely isn't – what the other person wanted that day. But you are not a vending machine, broken or otherwise. You are a vessel, designed to be filled with Me – all you have to do is allow Me to pour out of you. I've 'stocked' you with but one thing, and it is what every person you'll ever meet needs, whether they know it or not, whether they want it or not. [Unconditional Love.] The specific Gifts I've given you are like the shape and look of your vessel; it is fitted for certain purposes. You asked Me about being close to My heart.
Dear Reader: I must interrupt this a moment to clue you in on this "heart" conversation to which the Lord refers. I had asked to be shown where He'd placed me in His spiritual body. He had shown me a spot very near the heart, at the lower left. I had received no verbal confirmation at the time of exactly what this indicated, and had been waiting for full enlightenment.
Designs of Love and Serving
Jesus Answers Me About the Shape of My Life
Lord, continued: The shape of your vessel is very well suited to pour directly into others' hearts – taking My wants, Words, and wishes in a direct line from my storehouse to their lives. This is what you call 'teaching'. It is really just pouring back out what I've told you. The shape of your vessel doesn't much change – but I redesign the outside from time to time, in order to fit you for new jobs. You call these jobs “circumstances”. Sometimes you haven't appreciated the new artwork I've applied, because it doesn't look beautiful to you. But if you could see how it looks in my overall table setting, you'd love it. Can you remember this? - that circumstances are always part of a larger table setting? - and that you may not always be able to see who I've invited to partake with Me? So be content with the shape and design of your vessel, and pour out to those I've given you. You'll get scratched with use, maybe even cracked – but I can fix those things. It's not your job to be concerned with getting hurt; it's your job to pour...and to remember that you're not a vending machine.
“About the issues [your friend] brought up. The fragments [something like alter egos, being an outcome of a Fractured Personality Disorder] are part and parcel of these issues, in that they need to be dealt with, and until they are, you will continue to feel 'in pieces'. Right now, you feel much like a vessel that's been dropped, then duct-taped back together. But I can still use that. And as each fragment [alter ego] is recovered and dealt with, I will continue to heal the lines of brokenness, and you will someday function as a whole vessel. As it is, you feel you are missing a spout, and that you are likely to pour erratically, all over the laps of My guests. That's OK. A little spilled Love never hurt anyone, even if it did make them angry.
“You had a great deal of trouble writing that word. Write it again. Anger. It makes you feel like you're slipping out of my hands. But even if you were to slip, remember, I'm good at rescuing things. You won't be the first falling pot I've caught.
The Little Oil Becomes Much
Spiritual Riches; Persevering in Showing Love
Lord, coninued: “Pots. You've asked Me repeatedly, What are the pots and vessels you have in the house with you? [As in the story of the widow's oil, in II Kings 4.] Into what can you pour my miracle? [A miracle to heal my impoverished soul, which had meshed with a financially impoverished lifestyle several years in the making.] My answer is that if you're willing to be poured out of, I'll give you more pots and vessels than you know what to do with. You have several right now: your family, especially your children; your parents and other adult relationships; your sought-after friends, beginning with Friend himself, and extending to the others. When I told you that “Larry” needed your kindness more than anything else, I was saying to you, “Pour all over him, even if he doesn't at first like it.” Now do you understand? It's not your job to make sure people like what you have to give; it's simply your job to pour.
“And the fragments [alter egos and multiple personalities] will be easier to deal with, the more you are in right functioning with Me. You will be able to see them for what they are, and not feel completely and consistently overwhelmed by their demands and presence. I may even restore that spout that got knocked off, though the main thing is that you continue pouring.”
What's Happened Since This Prayer Session, Continuing to Show Love
Today is May 5th. It's been 12 days since God caused me to write about Vending Machine vs. Vessel. I have struggled each day with the urge to stop pouring, and go into a hermitage. Over and over, the Lord has given me some simple task - like writing this article - and asked, "Will you do this? This is being poured out." And each time, I realize, "Yes, Lord. What You are asking is not too much. It is within my ability to offer myself this way."
I hope He takes this pouring out and uses it in mighty ways. But if not - if only in small, unseeable ways - I will have done what He asked. And that is enough.
I am learning to be poured out.
Wish all ten of me luck, would you? I'm trying to teach them all to pour out in Love.
You're In Good Company if You're Broken (One of My Favorite Spiritual Growth Books)
Participate in a Poll About Broken Souls
Do you ever feel "broken up" this way?
© 2011 Joilene Rasmussen