Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Freedom Journey

My journey really started 30 years ago.  Born a very needy, emotional child, I lived trusting that everything thing my tender and extreme heart felt, was out and out truth.

When I made my cross country move with my family in January of 2009, I had a fanciful vision of what it would be like.  A close knit family support system, a stable job, friends who could meet my every need...and perfect life. A girl can dream right?  And boy did I.

The family situation was different that I had dreamed up in my head.  My friends had lives of their own (duh).  And the job situation was not nearly as easy and secure as we had thought it would be.  So much of this was exaggerated by my insatiable nature and my extreme trust in my emotions.

Anyone who even kind of knows me, knows of my struggles with my little girl.  She is the sweetest, most beautiful little stubborn soul that I've ever met.  My struggles with her started during pregnancy.  My fear of having a daughter, quickly turned into my fear of her in general, when she just became the most difficult baby that I have ever encountered.  That, coupled with the fact that I averaged 2 hours of broken sleep per every 24 hours, and severe postpartum depression, I really didn't see a way out of my very very very dark tunnel.  I tried so hard to build relationships, masking my own passions and dreams and beliefs in order to get people to like hopes that I would have a huge support system.  I didn't want to express who I was or what I thought because I quickly saw that that was a reason for me to be rejected.  I sort of weaved this web of lots of "friends" who really knew nothing about me.  I was internally dying, angry, sad, lonely and quite honestly, beyond miserable...just ask my poor sweet husband.

In Oct of 2010, things started shifting.  We moved.  My sister was living with us.  Her and Will decided that we would make, what I was certain would be, another failed attempt of finding a church that would be a fit for our family.  I was DREADING that Sunday morning with the worst attitude one could imagine.  But we got there, and shockingly enough, I didn't despise it.  So that was a good start.  The people we met that day sparked something in me.  Something that spoke of hope...

That helped me to start looking around at the people I called "friends."  People who I could not be myself in front of.  People who talked about me behind my back, just like they did about everyone else.  People who I knew weren't my true friends...people who were just making this void larger and larger...

It also helped me see the things I was trying to numb my pain with.  It brought me to a place where I wanted to make some changes in the way I was valuing myself.  I started getting serious about eating better and exercising, which did wonders for my state of mind.

I did some gardening, so to speak.  Got rid of some weeds.  But it wasn't enough...every time the "rains would fall" those weeds would spring back up.  My anxiety would paralyze me, depression would suck the life out of wasn't a permanent solution.

I really started to get serious about my relationships.  I also started to see that it wasn't my job to internalize everyone elses pain.  It wasn't my job to make everyone like me.  It was NO way to live at all to feel guilt for things that no one should ever feel guilt for...

I kept trying and trying and trying to do all the right things....but I'd get into a slump, and Id be back to feeling so much anxiety and so much loneliness and so much fear and worthlessness and guilt...that I would be paralyzed, yet again.

Doesn't it all seem SO SO SO effective??? All it takes is less than perfect circumstances, and suddenly, I can't function.  I have been that way my entire life.  Believing in all the lies....I am worthless.  I am alone.  My anxiety needs to rule my life because I have no control over it.  I am fat.  I am unacceptable.  I am a bad mom and terrible wife.  Etc etc.

I was at small group bible study with some of the most amazing people, blubbering my eyes out, which, again, if you know me at all, oatmeal heart, Im ALWAYS crying haha.  Its my "thing."  As clear as day, like a punch in the stomach, I was looked square in the eyes and told, "Emotions ARE NOT TRUTH."


Emotion: A mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes.

Truth: Constancy. sincerity, the state of being the case, real things, events, and facts, being in accord with fact or reality

I really started to study, observe and drive home this amazing truth.  I was living in a wallpapered prison cell that told me that I HAVE to listen to and believe every emotion, because even though it was a spontaneous, unconscious mental state, I believed it like it were the rock solid truth about every single area of my life.

In Sept of 2011, me and a few close friends <3 started working on Beth Moore's Breaking Free study.  Our group time together ended up dissolving but I can look back now and see that it was all in Gods perfect timing. I remember reading about breaking free from chains that had been wrapped around you your whole life and having the thought that, #1 that is impossible...and #2 aren't these chains kinda comfy??

Over the past years and most recently, months, this mind renewing transformation has just been mind blowing for me.  I continued alone doing Breaking Free alone.  It was a 10 week study that took me almost 10 months...but the timing was perfect.  God has been driving me oh so slowly...because He knew that was all that I could take.  Knowing that God rejoices when I even move forward in inch, is mind blowing.  Its like with our own babies.  We freak out, rejoice, dance around like idiots, when they first smile, when they first roll over, when they take one teeny tiny step.  We don't hover over them and wish they were completely grown, knowing everything, impatiently wishing away their life...we watch, listen, guide, teach, as they slowly grown and learn.

That is what God has done with me.  Im so thankful.

I can see how effective the paralyzing fear, anxiety, lies, depression and loneliness were .  I can see that for my entire life, I missed out because I believed those lies.  What a break through...what a stronghold broken.  Now, let me tell you, this is a process that I have to work at every single day.  I have by no means. "arrived" but I can not operate any more, the way I once had, because I now know, if nothing else, that the lies are just that...LIES.  Working through things is a whole different story...but I know, that God has given me every single thing I need to receive all that He has for me, which is so much more than I could ever even imagine.

I can see now, looking back, how much pain these strongholds have caused me and people around much I have missed out on...and it is so inspiring to me because I do not want to miss out anymore.  I see the fruit of my labor.  I see God raising me up to do all the things He has always wanted me to.  I wont be robbed any more...and it is SO exciting!!!!

He is renewing my passion for children that I buried so long ago.  He is teaching me how to do things, even when I am scared.  He is teaching me how to grow and love and let go and how to take every single thought captive before I let it freely roam around in my mind.  Its just amazing!!!

I want freedom for everyone I know.  My whole entire life is changing before my eyes and I want to shout it from the rooftops. I cannot keep quiet about it.  This freedom is so completely Him in me and at the same time, so completely not me at all.  Its just, ahhh, words cannot describe it.  I want freedom for my children and my family and my amazing friends...I want it for the person I see pumping gas and the girl who is ringing up my groceries.  I just want it for the world...because each precious soul deserves it.

So much of my life was spent trying to please others...and while I still definitely want to be a great friend, a life changing mother, an amazing wife....I don't live being responsible for others feelings anymore.  I recently lost a friend...with no explanation, a person who really changed my life, chose to just walk away from me.  I still have no idea why, and I have a feeling I will never know....but the old me, would have panicked, feared, questioned myself...I know the truth now, though: I am not defined by someone else's choices or misconceptions.  Now, I can see my friends, and all the people in my life, without owning their sadness and pain...while still praying for their hurt, loving them through what I can....but giving their situation fully and completely to God, knowing that He is all powerful to heal and comfort...and also knowing that I am but a tool, who feels so honored to be used by Him.

I am blown away by His love for me.  I am completely awe struck by His pursuit of me. He is patient and loving and He doesn't get tired of all the reassurance that I need.  He will tell me of His love for me over and over and over and over.  He doesn't write me off because I am not good enough.  Man, I don't know how to react to love like that....other than to give every single ounce of who I am to Him...and pour out all off the self that I have filled my own vessel with so that it is empty and sparkling clean for God to fill, overflowing-ly so, that nothing, and I mean nothing but Him flows out of me.  Picture a vase, full of could you pour anything beautiful and wonderful into it until you first, dump all the mud out, clean it...and then wait to be filled with some incredible.  The more you allow it to be emptied, the more it is continuously filled.  Incredible, right?

I am so so thankful for such amazing friends and family...who have been so patient.  Who have loved me unconditionally, and without fail, have not turned away from me.  I am so blessed to have compassionate support...people who genuinely care.  I am so blessed to be loved so limitlessly...

And to my God that will never give up, who has a love for me will never ever run out on me,
I am empty, to filled....Yours forever.