Thursday, July 12, 2012

Further Notes on My Journey Toward Christ

In the past months, I’ve gained some ground on dealing with my issues and have felt a reprieve from their negative effects on my life. My family, blessedly, has also experienced the change in me. This recent transformation I have attributed mostly to the fact that I am fed up with the idea of being stuck – of being... possessed almost by demons of fear and guilt and regret and shame and the absolute inability to do anything for fear that it would be wrong. It kept me completely paralyzed and made me into a quivering ball, a quivering lead mass of inertia and anxiety and stress and… 

The catalyst for the change I believe was a conversation with Lowell where he said that he had finally had enough,;where he said it had been 16 years and it was time to move on. That was really an eye opener for me and while not an instantaneous change, it was the impetus that I needed to get on my knees and tell God that I was done too. It had been long enough. And I was ready to move on. 

Week after week at church there would be these songs of freedom, that in Christ we have the ability to live freely because all that has already been taken care of. When God looks at those who believe in Him, at least in terms of redemption and sinfulness, He doesn’t see us – He sees Christ – we are completely spotless. One of the mysteries of God though is that He also sees me – inherently worthy, important and created for a purpose. And therefore, I need to be the person that He created me to be in order to fulfill that purpose or in order to have any hopes of making a meaningful difference or have an impact on the world.

I can’t sit in the corner and be afraid of every creak and groan and pop and noise and expect to change the world, – that’s impossible. I can't live that way and be a good mother or wife.

So when I took the perspective of these thoughts, these feelings, these behavior patterns had “possessed me” – not that I ever believed I was possessed by anything – when I took that approach to it, I could banish them from my mind knowing that they were already conquered by Christ; that there was no reason that I needed to give them any power in my life whatsoever. They were already overcome. The battle had already been fought and I had already been declared victorious so any affect they had on my life what I was giving them – what I was allowing them to.

And that hasn’t meant that I have succeeded every time. But I have succeeded more than I’ve failed – by a long shot. I have been able to stand my ground and begin putting on this persona of someone who is forgiven and loved and worthy.
I have noticed a huge change; Lowell has noticed a huge change and I am thankful. Unbelievably thankful.
As a side note, comically, one of the things that has happened on this journey is that I have been able to become more authentic in my relationship with Christ. I cuss at Him. Not in a disrespectful way that I am trying to belittle him – I guess its not at Him, its to Him. Because there just comes a time where “ow” doesn’t cut it, its more like “holy shit, this f**king hurts like hell”. And I know that not everyone is going to take that path in their walk with Christ but this has become part of my journey. For so long everything was stifled within me for fear that it was wrong. Or bad. Or imperfect. Or unChristian. And I’m letting go of that. They’re words. And they do have potential to do harm but in a safe relationship like what I have with Christ, I’m okay with using them – and I think He is too. That’s not to say that I will always talk to God this way. You know I may process my anger, process my pain and then revert to the way I was before but the ability to just be authentically angry without having to censor myself has been a freeing revelation.

While I have grown in my ability to control these feelings within me, they do still rear their ugly head now and then. Recently, for example, I was visited by Fear… A couple weeks ago my issues got more, well, issue-y and have tried to reassert their hold on both my emotions and my ability to cope. When I am in the throes of fear, anxiety, panic, helplessness and hopelessness it is very difficult to breathe much less to find perspective and calm within the madness.

During this most recent foray into the pressurized hell that accompanies any descent into fear and anxiety, I have been able to mostly keep my head above water. I have been able to keep the forces at bay and to retain much of joy and peace recently reintroduced into my life. That isn’t to say there haven’t been bad times. I have felt so overcome with internal pressure that I thought I would physically explode if I didn’t find some sort of release valve. I have been so enervated that I craved deep sleep from which I would never awake. Blessedly however, these times have been temporary and I have not succumbed completely to them.
I still haven’t found a proper release valve for when the pressure is that bad. I’ve tried some very unhealthy coping strategies that only complicated an already difficult situation. I have acknowledged that exercise is a good option that has proven effective in the past but it is so difficult to motivate myself to exercise when I can barely get myself to the bathroom.

These completely undesirable emotions are not without their silver lining, of course. I have learned empathy in an even greater breadth of experiences – I can now relate personally to even more facets of pain and loss. Of course, during these times I wasn’t thrilled about this revelation. In fact, I think I used all the four letter words I could think of and told God that I was not interested in being introduced to every major source of loss and pain simply to make me a better therapist. I didn’t care enough about being intimately familiarized with pain, loss, betrayal and trauma to go through my more … crappiness. I’ve been through my fair share of crappiness - I told God that I’ve done my time, earned my stripes, and can certainly empathize with people from enough backgrounds at this point.
Once the panic, the fear and the depression lifted my return to "healthy" was much quicker than it has been in the past. I am able to view life with joy and to use patience and mercy in my relationships. I can even treat myself with grace and have great hope for the future. I believe this has been the dawning of a new era. I'm very thankful to God for His devotion to growing me and shaping me, to loving me and also working for my best. And to my husband for standing by me on this journey and loving me through it.

1 comment:

Stony and Brit said...

No less than, Praise be to God!