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December 17, 2007


I am so conditioned. Molded by years passed. It can have it’s advantages I suppose. When I was 4 and darted out into the middle of a busy street downtown my Mom had to jolt me back to safety by my wrist. It hurt so bad. But not near as much as the lashing I received right there on the sidewalk! Yes, this was well over 30 years ago when you could still spank a child without receiving the death sentence or being taken to court by your own child! Oops, bunny trail there…

This afternoon I was waiting in a very long and slow department store check out line. The first few minutes I did the usual. Eaves dropped on the conversation behind me. Sway back and forth. Squeeze my buns 10 times quickly for 5 repetitions ( I had a long coat on). Then something on an aisle end cap caught my attention. It was about 4 feet to my right and I wanted to see it real bad. I thought, “If I move out of line, even that short distance, I’m gonna lose my place. These wicked shoppers are gonna take my spot!” So, I turn to the nice old couple behind me, give them a sweet smile as if to say, “Hey! I am here. In front of you. Got here first. I’m just gonna scootch over there a couple steps and check out that item. I’ll be right back. To my spot.” I begin to inch over and started getting a little nervous. I step back in line. Turn and smile to Gramps and Grammies and try again. But I couldn’t. I needed to protect my place in line! “Tam, where is this coming from?! Seriously now. By the time Grams gets her walker out of lock position you’d be back in line.” Then it came to me. Jr. Stinkin’ High did this to me! I curse the days of Jr. High! Acne. Greasy hair. Boys who thought sweat smell was cool and manly. Uneven breast growth. And greedy little spawns of Satan in the lunch line! They did this to me! I went without so many lunches because the rowdy bunch and “popular” kids called the shots…for everybody! And they were still calling them today.

How many innocent things do I do are a result of others impressions on or perceived control over me? I had a conversation with a friend this afternoon and she asked herself what defines her. I think that is a great question. Does success at your job define you? The amount of money you make? How well your kids do in school? How much you weigh? I think another question is as good if not more important though…What motivates you? The questions I asked above fit well here too. But what causes our motivation?

Motivation: The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. Interesting isn’t it? I got angry with the sweet little old people behind me cause I knew they weren’t gonna let me back in my place. I feared Gramps pointing his little arthritic finger at me telling me to get to the back of the line. What was my reason for those thoughts? I had let the bully’s of my youth dictate my behavior today. And I didn’t even realize it until I challenged myself. I know this sounds petty and silly, but I think it goes much deeper. I cannot let other people dictate my behavior. Their opinions of me. Their expectations of me. Injustices. People and our past have as much control and power over us as we allow them.

Do you ever feel like something has a foothold over you and you just can put a finger on why? Do some searching. Are there times you catch yourself acting out of character? Do you ever set your own convictions aside as to not offend someone else…even if harmless? Why? What is your motivation?

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Momma Jen permalink
    December 17, 2007 10:11 pm

    You pose such thought provoking questions… I’m not sure anyone else makes me stop and ponder more than you do!! 🙂
    I was friends w/ everyone (all 120 in my class). Hung out w/ the “popular” crowd, always was having a great time, and never had a zit to speak of. I also had a REALLY crappy home life. BUT, no one knew… I always appeared as “having it all together.” I always had a smile on my face and was known for making people laugh. Unfortunatley, not much has changed. I still (out of habit) put on that smile and try and “appear” like I “have it all together.” For goodness sakes, what would people think of me if they knew the truth!? 🙂
    It’s a lesson the Lord is currently schooling me on… I’m not sure I’m passing at this point, but I’m working on it.
    As always, thanks for sharing!

  2. December 18, 2007 3:05 am

    I think we do this more than we realize..react to things instead of respond. The constant renewing of our minds, still inprocess, and not completely together…But how awesome when we see HIM face to face and we do!

    I catch myself reacting too, to things that happened 20 plus years ago…and I choose to look at as Jesus saying “Baby, I just brought that to the light, how about you and I work on that?” I love that HE only makes me deal and work through one thing at a time. LOL HE knows how my mind works 🙂

  3. December 18, 2007 4:28 am

    I hate that something like jr high even has the power to set things in our minds. It certainly did to me. Such a hard and awkward time and I still find myself with certain beliefs that came from that 2-5 years of influence in my life. It really stinks. But how to avoid it?

    I don’t think you can. But God can certainly help to change how you see yourself and others. I know he has done this with me. To some degree. Not all the way.

  4. December 18, 2007 5:10 am

    Thanks for your comment & bday wishes. I’m so glad to know someone else has gone through the self-discipline thing…. seems we never quit growing up, yes?

    You ask good questions here (as always). When I stop and think about it, it’s quite overwhelming how often I notice adults (myself included) choosing behavior/direction based on what other people will think about them. Sometimes I think that being in a church almost allows us to create that jr high dynamic again. Sad but true.

  5. December 18, 2007 7:38 am

    Tam, what a fantastic post. It reminds me of a comment I heard many moons ago: “I’m as much a puppet as you are. I can just see the strings”.

    I’m also reminded that, as parents, we have our children for 4 to 5 years and then they belong to their peers. A truly terrifying thought if you dwell upon it for too long.

  6. December 18, 2007 8:02 am

    Hey Hov! Thanks! That’s a great quote from YOU though…”we have our children for 4 to 5 years and then they belong to their peers.” Yikes…sobering thought 😯 But very true!

    Got your card yesterday. Thank you! It meant a lot to me!

    Darla too! Miss Princess…you are so sweet!

    So I think it comes down to a spine. Are we willing to stand on our convictions and for what is right, respectfully? Then, what determines what is “right”? That’s a whole other question now 😉

  7. December 18, 2007 8:26 am

    This made me think about trust. How things in our life have shaped our trust in others…or our lack trust in others.

  8. December 18, 2007 8:27 am

    “Baby, I just brought that to the light, how about you and I work on that?”

    I love this Darla and it is exactly how I look at it. Yes in alot of ways we are preconditioned, but since the Lord tells us that nothing gets to us that hasn’t first passed through His hands, and that He uses it all for His glory, I look at it as being allowed for a purpose.

    I tend to look at the “other person” whether in the past or present, when things are brought up to me, when really the Lord is trying to reach me. I have a tendancy to use looking at them as an excuse not to change myself. Usually when things are a little to comfortable, or I get in a rut. Everyone likes attention, including me, so why not use my physical, emotional or spiritual problems to get some? I battle it….but God is victorious if I allow Him to be….and He alone gives me the attention I need and also equips me with the ministry I’ve been called to.

  9. December 18, 2007 8:49 am

    This was hilarious and very universal as I’m sure we’ve all had those line moments.

    I try to use motivation/conditioning to my favor.

    Sometimes I like to do things at home that are just for fun and no other reason. I’m consciously aware that I’m creating memories for my kids, my wife and myself. I’m conditioning us to like being around each other.

    I know tons of Dads who are work-o-holics becuase there’s no fun going home. I have huge work-o-holic tenancies but I love coming home becuase it’s such a great place to be.

  10. December 18, 2007 9:01 am

    I agree with you Billy and Deb. That’s why I said in the beginning of the post that conditioning does have its advantages. I’m with you all the way on that. As long as it’s the right conditioning. Whatever WE determine is right for us. NOT what others impose or try to enforce into our thought life that may go against our convictions.

    Billy, I could totally see you being a Blast of a dad too! What a riot your house must be 😉

  11. December 18, 2007 9:13 am

    Yay, International Postage be praised.

  12. December 18, 2007 5:20 pm

    Rabbit trail….

    Tam, no matter what’s happened today, yesterday or what comes along tomorrow….I love you, believe in you and will always be a blog away…*click* *click*


    Just needed to tell you that!

  13. December 19, 2007 2:20 am

    I love your bunny trails! I follow them the whole way..hahaha
    my mind is conditioned to bunny trails, and its all part of the adventure. love you !!!

    what others have imposed on us for bad God makes good in us…so it is a win win as long as we are on the side of being open with God. (as I know you are)

    Is Christmas over yet?? let me know when I can breathe. Praying for you and thanks for your prayers too!

  14. December 19, 2007 7:33 pm

    I love people like you, who are self-aware….people like you, who challenge the rest of us to look within and decide who we really are or should be about. Thank you for writing this.

    We all are a result of life’s circumstances. Our core stays the same, and we build all these layers (defenses) up in result of those jr. high bullies or traumas we’ve dealt with in life.

    To be a true grown up with a peaceful heart, we’ve got to look within….ask God for help in finding our true self…and start peeling those layers off one by one. Some layers or defenses are stuck on tighter than a super glued band-aid…and it hurts coming off. But once your wound breathes and heals…you get part of you back. It’s nice to read posts like these as a reminders that — we all still have a ways to go but have so much hope to become whole. We all can learn or gain a little piece of peace if we learn to give it to God.


  1. Conditioned - Part 2 « inProgress

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