Dec 5, 2021 • 31M

This is why I SHARE.

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Joel Barnes SHAREing
For now, this will be a recorded version of Share. The Newsletter. that will be made available for paid subscribers.
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Because it’s so FFffrrreakin’ hard to SHARE sometimes.

This week I threw a couple smoke bombs to distract people from seeing me. Honestly I’m great at it… I can throw almost anyone off the scent when having a hard time with something. Seriously. Even if you are reading this and think “when he’s quiet, he’s struggling” (mother), I write everyday now. So I’m never quiet, and that’s a brilliant smoke screen. I’ve been writing a daily devotional… daily. And so DAILY I have to show up, share, be present. It’s easy to make it look like I’m ok when I’m producing a lot of content. But I had an abnormally hard time this past week

I talked about it in therapy. Actually.  Not about the fact that I wasn’t SHAREing enough… but I talked about the thing that was bothering me. This is a reflective piece AFTER the therapy.

I’ll write this in 2 phases.

The Expectation.

Phrase 1 - Why was it so hard to SHARE and what was my realization during therapy? I’ll talk about how I got so spooled up in a ball in the first place.

The Situation.

Phase 2 - What was I hiding from most people about my week.

Phase 1.

I believe everything I say. No… seriously. If it comes out of my mouth, appears in a IG story, gets retweeted on twitter, gets typed out on a screen in a newsletter… I believe it. If it comes OUT of me or is perpetuated or endorsed by me, I believe it to be the truth. I don’t deal on lies or rumors or falsehoods or “maybes”. My mission is always the TRUTH. I represent it and/or endorse it, based solely on that search. For truth. If I have taken it in, digested it, processed it, compared it to other things I know to be true (like the Bible or other valid research, etc) then… I hold it (lightly) … as (my interpretation of the) truth. And the truth CAN shift if I have enough evidence to warrant that shift. Maybe a life experience adds context or character to what I thought I knew.

Truth means a lot to me. Not just facts. Not just emotions. Truth feels like a harmonious assimilation of facts and feelings. Human experience AND numbers and data. Together. Ya dig?

That was kind of a side rant, but you get it.

I believe with every fiber in my soul that God is using my season for my ultimate good. That’s sooooo deep in me that it HURTS sometimes. I told my therapist that my faith is not something “that just lives in my heart or my gut” like most people. Faith isn’t blind belief, to me. It’s been proven over and over and over in my life that it’s now factual. It lives in my brain. Heart, too. Gut, too. But it’s backed by so many supernatural occurrences that there’s no way I could not believe in God and His favor and in the blessing on my life.

Even in the worst period of my whole life. And I’ve dealt with hard shit all my life.

But I was SO anxious this week. SO. FULL. OF. ANXIETY.

Physically, I felt it. Looming in my chest. I can feel it now, actually. Because I’m mentioning it. It feels like a ghost hand the size of a basketball has my heart and lungs and esophagus in its hold. And yeah.. I know… anxiety is a legit medical thing that happens when human bodies are under a great deal of stress. Yes, I know, and have studied what prolonged stress can do to our physiological being. If you are reading this and you understand it with ample “head knowledge” around the subject and what I’m saying makes complete logical sense… that’s how confident that God is awesome. Lol. You see what I did there?

Anyway.

I hate it.

Hate. It.

Loathe it.

Why? Because I’m really really hard on myself.

(Here’s where I make it all make sense… wait for it)

Because I know God is good and He’s got a masterful and wonderful plan for everything that I’m going through, I will actually refuse to admit to myself that I am human and am made of a feeble fleshy body … that feels anxiety.

What I realized MID-sentence in therapy the other day is that my belief system, sometimes, does not make enough room for my humanity.  I know that I’m going to be ok SO deeply that I refuse to even look at the fact that I’m currently IN a traumatic and life changing life event. I’m already on the other side and expecting myself to be healthy and whole already… but… I’m IN it. You know?

Then I took a step back and looked at everything I had felt and realized and reflected on and said…. Is this what we, as Christians do to everyone else in the world?!

I mean… I can’t even give myself a break, huh? I’m sitting here looking down on myself for feeling anxious about a doctors appointment when nothing around me is actually stable right now. Would I be this harsh on someone else?! If they came to me and said, “x,y,z,l,m,n,o,p is going on in my life, Joel” I wouldn’t say, “Well why don’t you have peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7)?” Or “You aren’t believing in Jesus strong enough if you have stress or anxiety”…. But I’ll do that to ME.

Why?

I think because I want to live as an example of faith. Not just talk a big game… but REALLY walk the talk. You know?

Anxiety (in my little mind) represents doubt. And I don’t HAVE doubt.

I have humanness.

This appointment made me scared. I am weak. I have limited capacity. And I’m just spent sometimes.

The moment I SHAREd “Oh, I’m expecting myself to be stronger than I am right now because of my beliefs but I’m CURRENTLY in a traumatic experience and the worst part of my life” something clicked.

That’s not fair. Of me. To me.

I need to make sure that I’m careful AND everyone I come in contact with, knows to be careful with allowing our belief system to be unforgiving of our humanness.

We cannot have the expectation of ourselves (or ANYONE else) to have perfect or good or even decent temperament, awareness or wisdom while enduring trauma or a life difficulty.

We all fall short. You know?

We all fall.

I’m tempted to go into an “it’s the getting back up that matters” bit… but you get it. Lol

Half of it is just processing it all out. SHAREing.

Again… you don’t have to SHARE with the world, like I do. And as you can read… I ain’t always great at it. Shame still wants to sneak up and play a role in my story too. This situation seemed like it brought up some abnormal and unrealistic expectations or pressures that I’ve placed on myself as a servant leader. I always say that I’m willing to go first… to lead people towards SHAREing their blessings and the bruises to spread love and empathy. Sometimes that shit sucks. lol. This was one of those times…

The Situation.

(To be continued next week)

…. Is what I want to say because I’m literally exhausted from SHAREing right now. Instead… I’m going to set this down…give myself a break… and finish this piece before my deadline. BRB.

I told the story in reverse and now it’s built up. Lol. Probably WAY smaller of a situation that you’d be anxious about. I’m sure. Lol.

Quick recap: I hurt my back and my left knee at work. Slipped 3 disc with in my upper back and tore my meniscus in my left knee. To avoid surgery of the discs in my back, we needed to get my knee healthy so I could work out, yoga, flex, rehab my back without the limitations that my knee was causing.

Plan -> simple meniscectomy of the left knee. Easy surgery. In and out.  They go into your knee with a camera and light on one side, a little shaver in the other side… they shave down the rough spots and see you up. Normally you are walking 2-7 days. Some people walk the same day. No joke.

Something went wrong. I went from 4/5 level pain after a 10 hour day of walking an 88,000 sq ft building and lifting heavy stuff all day, to my current status … 13 months later… I haven’t walked since that surgery. I had 2 more surgeries to figure it out, but they couldn’t. I stayed in such severe pain for so long that it triggered a rare pain syndrome called CRPS in my left leg. I don’t really like talking about CRPS but if you want, you can click HERE to read about what I experience in my knee, sciatic nerve, leg, foot… daily. It’s a hard read.

Yada yada yada.. it sucks. I’ve been to multiple pain doctors, Ortho doctors … endured almost a dozen really painful treatments, including recently… a spinal cord stimulator that actually caused me more pain.

I finally got a referral to see a different knee surgeon out of the circle of doctors that I’ve been bouncing back and forth between.

That’s the appointment that I got so anxious about. Because

a) it’s finally a fresh set of eyes after 13 months of the worst pain of my life

b) what if he doesn’t listen to me… I already feel like I’m crazy because of this pain

c) if he agrees with another doctor that I went to awhile back, this could mean knee replacement. Which would suck but at least I’d heal? Maybe?

d) maybe he tells me that there’s nothing he can do and I am just gonna have to suffer (ps. I had a doctor already imply this…)

So yeah… I was kinda nervous because this guy could tell me to shove off or that I’d have to start a replacement process that could take MONTHS. Months more struggling financially. Months more pain. Months more emotional strife. Months more ….. after 13 months already. After my whole life falling apart in front of my eyes.

So yeah. It’s hard to have faith sometimes and it’s hard to share the real shit you got going on in your life.

And guess what. None of those options happened. The doctor saw me, examined me, let me start to tell him my story and the procedures I’ve been through… and he stopped me. Looked at my paperwork and said, where are all your doctors notes through this whole process? I said: “they only told me to bring you my current MRIs and XRays and that was hard enough to get”.

He basically sent me back to the drawing board. To get every doctor visit, opinion, surgery/procedure note… everything. That I’ve gotten in 395 days… As a record. For him to assess. But that’s only if work comp approves HIM to do the full evaluation.

So basically I thought I thought through all the possibilities… and it was worst. Lol. Than all of them. But either way… you get it? There was NO reason for me to stress. But… I’m human. You know? And I’m limpin around in an experience that’s literally changing the trajectory of my LIFE.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When I took my break after “The Expectation” portion of this piece and before I started writing  “The Situation” portion of this piece, I closed my notes app, and just as I was about to put my phone down, this scripture popped up as the scripture of the day in my Bible app.

I had literally JUST had the thought “what instruction or suggestion could I leave with people about their stress or anxiety?” I want to be transparent about my beliefs AND about my struggles but I always want to leave people with a “what could I have done better” section.

And up pops this scripture. It’s so simple it feels complicated.

I’m also writing a devotional right now. And I’ll leave you with what I then proceeded to write immediately after I said I was taking a break from writing for the night. Lol.

The beautiful thing… I don’t have to come up with the instructions. They were hand delivered from 1 Peter 5:7.

Enjoy.

Day 18

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This was perfect. I was writing another piece about anxiety today… and this is the scripture of the day from the Bible app. Just as I took a break from writing, this scripture came across my screen. It’s not a coincidence, you know? Nothing is. I’ve seen too many “random things” to think that God does “random things.”

Anyway… let’s break it down.

Cast - to throw. God doesn’t just want us to bring our worries to Him, He wants us to throw them His direction. Imagine doing that. Picking up your troubles in a box and with both hands over your head CAST those worries in God’s direction.

Your - who’s worries are they? YOURS. Insert your name ___________

Anxieties - worries. Or matter of fact, THAT… that thing you just thought about that made your heart skip a beat. You. Cast. That. Thing…

On Him - where? On…. HIM ⬆️ The one who loves You unconditionally and wants to take your worries from you.

Because - oh wait… I need another reason other than not to HAVE my worries anymore?! There’s more???

He cares for you - yeah you. Insert your name ________ again. God.. yeah. Seems like He’d be a little busy but He’s not. He cares for YOU. Deeply.

Will You trust Him with your worries?


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