Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Taking Control of Your Personal Fault Lines

from Jen

As a native of Southern California, I've been through my share of earthquakes. The largest was the 1971 Sylmar quake when I was seven years old. At the time, my family lived above the mortuary near Hollywood and Vine, so we were fairly close to the epicenter.

I woke that morning, not because of the quake, but because my mother had grabbed me out of my bed and thrown me into hers. I remember being disoriented, unable to understand why the bed was jerking around or where the roaring noise was coming from. The quake, which started at 6:02 AM and measured 6.5 on the Richter scale, lasted one minute. When it was over, it left 14 people dead and millions of dollars worth of damage.

We lived in a city that was built on fault lines. Everybody knew it was only a matter of time before the pressure got so great that the ground had to shake. And when it did, we cleaned up the mess. And what a mess.

It's hard enough to pick up the physical pieces of a geographical earthquake. But what happens when you go through an emotional shaking? What happens when the pressure gets so great that your personal fault lines just can't take it anymore?

In her book, Having a Mary Spirit: Allowing God to Change Us from the Inside Out, Joanna Weaver talks about our fault lines. Just like geographical fault lines are hidden under the earth, so our personal fault lines usually stay buried until something triggers some spiritual seismic activity within us. When that happens, the aftermath can leave not only us, but those around us, in shambles.

This piece of the book spoke to me in a personal way. Not just because of my history with the physical shake, rattle and roll... but because I've experienced that devastating shaking at the core of my spirit. I've lashed out at the people I love, not because of something that was their fault, but because I was in pain and they were available. The Lord dealt with me on that some time ago, but to read about it in a book was pretty amazing. To be able to put a label on what had gone on inside me was a pretty incredible "AH HA!" experience.

It all comes down to this. The pain and injustice of life, our wrongdoing or the wrongdoing of others, may twist and distort us, creating fault lines and weak areas. But it's our response to these issues that makes the real difference. It's what we do--and what we let God do.
Having a Mary Spirit, page 68

Remember, friends, no one can make you do anything. The devil can't make you do anything. No matter how bad things are, you control your reaction. We all have pain and hurt lying under the surface of our skins, making us want to react in certain ways. But unlike the earth we live on, we can control our fault lines.
Be blessed, my friends! I leave you with Psalm 62:5-7

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

To enter today's giveaway...

Because we're talking about fault lines, I'm giving away a book about two sisters with major fault lines of their own: The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow by Joyce Magnin. If you’d like to be entered to win a copy, just leave a comment on this blog. Please leave an email address so we can contact you if you're the winner (include spaces or brackets around the "@" sign so Net spiders, etc, can't phish your address). We'll pick a winner at random on September 12th. Remember, all comments left today will also be entered in our grand prize drawing on November 1st.


  1. Great post! We are responsible for how we act, something that's easy to forget sometimes. :-) Thanks for the post!

  2. I love this subject, thanks Jen.

    A few years ago my husband and I went through some Christian marriage counseling that focused on finding and dealing with those emotional "triggers." It's amazing how our past can effect our present. A spouse or a friend can do something seemingly innocent, and because of something in your own past, it can trigger an emotion and turn into a huge mess.

    Once the old wounds were identified, the counselor would pray with us, ask God to show us the truth about the situation, pray through forgiving those involved, ect...

    The counseling was very effective. It actually changed the way I felt about things. Talk about changing from the inside out. I guess it's like digging out those old roots of bitterness.

    It was so weird when my emotions and responses were just different, and I didn't have to make myself miserable trying to control everything on my own.


  3. Good morning Jen. Thanks for the post and for reminding us that we choose how we respond. For someone who scarcely reads non-fiction, I'm sure adding a lot of non-fiction books to my must read list.

    I love the scripture you quoted. Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful day.

  4. Beautiful webpage. I'll be interested to follow you and cozy up.

  5. Great post, Jen! So often today the emphasis is on being a victim of circumstance. It's refreshing to hear talk of personal responsibility. No, we can't control everything, but we have both the right and responsibility to control how we respond.

  6. Thanks Jen,
    Another interesting subject and one that is never too far away. These are the things we kick ourselves over, and like Dina said, we don't always realize where the root of the problem is. We just beat ourselves up for it.

    Both your non-fiction and your give-away book sound interesting.

    Readers- remember to leave your email address if you'd like Joyce Magnin's book AND our Grand Opening giveaways to be announced on Nov. 1st.

  7. Thank you Jen for this post.
    While reading your post I remembered the example that compared sailing with God is like sailing on a submarine. If we are on the surface the waves will toss it and shake it. The deeper we go the less current and tossing and the less noise.
    Your post is good reminder to look within first.
    Now I have to stop blaming Dina for everything. Maybe just for most of it :)
    God Bless,

  8. Here's something I LOVE about the Mary and Martha story.

    It's at the heart, to me, of everything about faith.

    It's not that Martha was cooking for Jesus, it was what was in her heart.

    Here in Luke 4:38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

    So, for what he scolded Martha about in one place he gladly accepted in another. If we remember that Jesus is interested in our SOULS and what's in our heart and intent, the Bible reads very differently.

    Thus ends today's preaching. :)

  9. Hi Jen,
    Fantastic post about an interesting book I haven't read yet. Fault lines, ouchie, ouchie.:)
    My visual take on this was that my body turned into nothing but fault lines like in some of the old cartoons. You know what happens then: all those pieces just crumble into a pile on the ground. Thank God for Jesus glue.

    I loved hearing about your earthquake experience. Scary for those of us who have only felt a tremor now and then in the midwest.
    Thanks for Psalm 62:5-7. I needed that.

  10. Good morning, ladies. Glad to see you all here :+}

    Personal responsibility is a big thing for me. Not because it puts more pressure on us, but because it is so liberating!

    There's a pattern in my family to play the martyr. This is a terrible way to live because someone is always out to get you, and you can never win. It wasn't until I was an adult and had been married a year or two that I recognized I was living in the same trap of always being a victim. When God showed me that I have control over my actions, my reactions, and my emotions... wow, talk about an epiphany!

    Not to say that I always get it right. But life's a lot better now that I saw the light. Blessings to you all!

  11. Welcome, Kat. We like to cozy on up here. Hmm. I have noticed no one brings any cyber food, but I just grabbed some munchies that the Seekerville ladies were serving, so I'd have to pass if we did have food avaiable.

    Good preachin', Mary, about our hearts and their intent.

    With all this talk we've been doing about non-fiction books that have inspired us, our families, faith, and/or fiction, I decided to find a new one to read.

    STRONG WOMEN, SOFT HEARTS by Paula Rinehart

    My sis-in-law gave it to me for my b-day one year and it took me another year or two to get to reading it. Fabulous book. The opening line is...

    This book began to write itself a few years back, when I first washed up on the shores of midlife and wondered how I could feel so empty."

  12. Lovely post, Jen. It spoke right to my heart. My deep fault lines are sending tremors to the surface these days. Handling them appropriately is a serious struggle with the Lord. I'd not heard of this book, but I'm going to have to search for it now, along with that one Gina mentioned... It is a danger to unleash me at the bookstore, or on Amazon. Let's hope my husband isn't reading this ;)

  13. great post, jen. i lived in northern cali for 4 years. we had minor tremors when i was there...nothing to get all in a tizzy about. but my husband and i didn't know what happened after one of those minor tremors. we thought there might be a tsunami (since there had been a tsunami warning for eureka only a week before we moved in 05). so we headed to the hills inland! we laugh about it now...but they can be very scary when you don't know what's going on.

    please enter me in the drawing!
    charactertherapist (at) hotmail (dot) com
    Where Romance Meets Therapy

  14. Hi, Jen:

    I've experienced both types of shaking, rattling and rolling. The '71 quake, where our two dogs mysteriously woke us up minutes before the jolt, and the personal upheaveal you wish you could snatch back. God is always there. Thanks for the beautiful and uplifting post.


  15. Oh, goodness, if I'd had all your experience with "fault lines," I might crumble to pieces.

    Good things we believers build the houses that count on the rocks!

    Thanks for a delightful post, Jen!

  16. Wow, I really got behind! Sorry about that, folks.

    So great to see all of you who commented. The winner of The Prayer's of Agnes Sparrow is Jeannie Campbell. Congrats!


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We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.