It has been a FULL 3 years. I realized that in the deep part of my heart as I read over my journals the last couple of weeks. That will be another blog post. I need some more time to marinate on it.
As I was reading through my journals, this fell out…
Probably written in 2005 it says…
In 2005, I was living in Virginia Beach. I was in a Doctoral program for Clinical Psychology. I had spent the year before at Boston College in a Master’s program and then transferred. During the year in Boston, a man broke my heart so badly that I wasn’t sure I would recover. The years of grad school were my emotional bottom. It wasn’t pretty. In that time, however, I started the journey of healing. I wish I had known then that healing and dismantling are like joy and pain…they don’t separate.
Though this may seem like a silly list…and perhaps a bit over-zealous…it is an important piece of my history.
This is where I started.
This is the list I wrote as I realized that I wanted my life and heart to be different. When my heart cried out from the rubble of my life….”ENOUGH!!!!”
As I moved more into my studies and my heart began to beat again, I took my first steps on the journey of doing my own work. People often ask me what I mean when I say that. “Doing my work,” means when I started to fight to become myself, to understand my feelings and thoughts, to tell the truth. For me, that process needed a good therapist. I didn’t find him until March 2012. However, I did a lot of groundwork between 2005 and 2012. That groundwork is crucial. I could not have done the work I have over the last 3 years without it. This list is the beginning of that groundwork.
I realize there are a lot of points in this list. Lots to do…I was really good at DO-ING. I hadn’t yet learned to art of BE-ING. That is different now. As I look at this list, I notice a couple of things…
One is; be careful what you pray for. I now sit in seasons of Psalm 46:10. God brings me back to it often. He continues to prune me and bring me back to the place where I am at the end of myself and what I can accomplish.
Be still and know that I am God.
Still is the most active posture there is. Just hold a yoga pose for 5-7 breaths and you will agree. Still is not me waiting on the Lord to do that which I need to be doing myself. Still is Him reminding me that I can only do what I can do, and that I am NOT in fact God. I am not in charge of the universe and the weight of the world does not belong on my shoulders. It is a lesson I will learn over and over again until I draw my last breath. It is where He and I commune. Maybe some of you don’t have to be continually pruned and dismantled. Maybe you sit still with Him naturally…that is just not my wheel house.
Two is; I live a lot of these now. What used to be a hope or a chore is now a way that I live. They have morphed into combinations of a few as I have matured. But, they are part of me now, as opposed to something that I need to put on a list. I feel so much joy when I see that I no longer live a life of taking responsibility for the emotions of others and that I work really hard to not give them responsibility for mine. There is peace and life there. I am so deeply grateful for that. Freedom.
Three is; I have work to continue to do. I still want to deepen my intentionality in my life, presence and relationships. And, to be honest, that seems more difficult now that I am married. So many of you told me that would happen. Listening may need to be added as well… I also have life-long, and deep, work to do on forgiveness. I have to fight to forgive. When I am deeply hurt or fearful, I want to rage, not forgive. I think I am right a lot. Pride. That doesn’t pair well with forgiveness. That is difficult to even type… I also want to continue to invite God’s presence into all things. He’s already there but I think my heart needs the practice of acknowledging him. The work is never done…the stillness needs to be re-visited.
I don’t know how many of you are on the journey of doing your work. We all do it differently. I believe it can be deepened by the help of a good therapist. However, God uses all that is within his realm. Whatever is around you that aids you in connecting with Him, yourself and safe people around you…do those things. Stillness, reading, writing, meditating, praying, time in community…you might even want to start where I started…
With a list.
If you would like, write you own list and post it here or on Facebook. I will respond and encourage you. Or, if the whole list is too much, write one or two places where your work can begin or be deepened. I truly believe that you will look back on it years down the road and smile. God is faithful. Life is both tragic and beautiful. Don’t miss the view. Mark your path. Take note of where His hand and presence are. Raise an Ebenezer.
This journey of authenticity is rocky, steep, painful and tiring. However, the views continue to be more than my heart could ever dream of. I pray the same for each of you.