3 Reasons Why You Can’t Get Free

Between my own journey with my eating disorder and past trauma and my work with my clients, Celebrate Recovery and church members, I have compiled a list of the main reasons why we cannot get free from our hurts, habits and hangups. See if you can find yourself in these.

  1. You don’t want to be free.  This is a tricky one that affects all of us. We have hidden behind our coping mechanisms for so long, we cannot imagine life without them.
    – If we have been isolating, then being healed means we will have to mix and mingle with other people, the one thing we have been avoiding the most.
    – If we have always used substances (food, alcohol, drugs) as a way to soothe, comfort and bring pleasure to ourselves, then giving that up can be very frightening and stressful.
    – Then there is the stress that comes from the responsibilities you will be expected to take back on now that you are “healthy”. That can make you shrink back as well.
    People say with their mouths that they want to be free, but the reality is that they would rather live in the uncomfortable misery they have known for this long than try to start over in an unknown way.
    ***THE SOLUTION:  Ask yourself what will happen if you are healed? How will your life change in a practical way?  Are there any areas of change that might be causing you fear and resistance to being set free?  Then talk through what frightens you and see if it is really worth continuing to live in misery.
  2. You haven’t learned your last lesson.  Precept upon precept, line upon line – that is normally how God teaches us. Yes, He can provide us with astounding revelation, but the way He usually works is to teach us foundational truths upon which we can build additional truths.  If you are stuck in a loop, not applying whatever God told you to do last time, don’t expect Him to suddenly give you advanced knowledge of how to handle the situation.  He needs you to experientially understand and apply His last instructions so you will have the capacity to understand and apply the next step.
    ***THE SOLUTION: Ask yourself what God’s last instructions to you were.  What did you do with those instructions?  If nothing, why didn’t you follow them? What were you afraid would happen? What stopped you?  Were you afraid of failing and feeling shame from that perceived failure? Or does this relate to #1 – you didn’t do what He instructed because you were afraid of the changes it would bring.
  3. You really don’t know what to do, and won’t ask for help from someone who does I meet countless women who know they have problems, but do not value themselves enough to spend the time, energy and money to get the help they need.   They think it will just eventually go away on its own, but it never really does. People who have experienced trauma rarely break free from the consequences until that trauma is dealt with and healed.
    ***THE SOLUTION There are countless affordable ways of getting help, including contacting your church’s pastoral staff, bibliotherapy (reading about how to deal with your issues) ,  and free groups such as Celebrate Recovery.  If you can’t afford individual counseling, you can join small counseling groups (on site or virtually) for $20 – $25 a session and still receive the personalized assistance you need.  Some counselors even offer sliding scales, so always ask.

If you would like a taste of affordable Bibliotherapy combined with counseling through messaging, you can join the Courses Only membership for $4.61/wk. Learn where hopelessness, disappointment, depression, codependency and more come from and how to deal with them through  ebooks, text courses and videos.  Then contact me for help directly through messaging in groups and forums.  If you need help figuring out why you are fighting against your desires to be healed, or getting past the fears that are holding you back, let me help you move forward in your healing.

Renewing My Struggle Against My Eating Disorder

  •  Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover. (Step 2)
Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

 

This season of my eating disorder started 4 years ago when I finally dealt with the physical trauma from my past. I was finally able to deal with my eating disorder. For two years, I faced it, and clinging to the blue chip I had taken at Celebrate Recovery, I faced down donuts and birthday cake at work, family birthday dinners, and going Vegan without oil, salt and sugar.  I’ve mastered Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Juice fasts – I’ve tried every type of diet there is. And they work for a while, while its new and I have something to achieve, and I’m excited about a goal.

But what happens when you’ve tried them all and then the excitement wears off?  Or you reach one of your goals, as I did, and your world didn’t change as you thought it would, and disappointment sets in? Or stress overwhelms you and you fall back onto your knee-jerk reactions?  Then it gets harder.

All my life, I have yo-yo dieted, never being able to keep it off for more than 2 – 3 years. It truly is the thorn in my flesh.  I have asked the Lord why can’t I conquer this once and for all?  His answer was, “You’ve been doing this for 40+ years – it doesn’t go away overnight and without remaining diligent.”  And I obviously have a problem with the “diligent” part.

So why am I able to do it for a few years and then I lose the desire? This is what I realized yesterday.  I’m a PROJECT person. I need something that has a beginning, middle, and END.  Eating in a healthy and weight-protecting way is unfortunately a LIFELONG  endeavor – a PROJECT WITHOUT END.  That prospect makes me feel sick to my stomach and very hopeless. Very, very, very, very hopeless. I mean REALLY, really, really hopeless.  (You get the picture?)

For me, food is a REWARD, it is a COMFORT, it is a PLEASURE.  Eating has also become a HABIT, to have something in my hand to put into my mouth.  But as I stop and FEEL in my body and my emotions my reactions to the thought of NOT eating as I do, I feel sick to my stomach, and I feel FEAR.  The thought that comes to mind is “How will I comfort myself now? Where will my pleasure come from now? How will I reward myself now?”

I wish I had a simple 5-step plan to deal with my addiction to food. I have to always be wary of my dangerous alter ego who becomes obsessed with every calorie digested, is afraid of food, tries to exercise every calorie away and generally uses health threatening techniques in the midst of panic over my weight.  I’ve overcome that part of my disorder and I’m afraid to re-awaken her in an attempt to undo what I consider to be the “damage” I have done to myself.

Instead, I am pushed back to the realization that there is only one answer – the 1-step program for every addiction, every hurt, habit, and hangup.  Trust in God’s love for me and power in me to help me overcome each and every struggle – moment by moment FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. I have to acknowledge that this will be a lifelong project that I will NEVER be able to claim is finished.  But knowing it and LIVING IT are two different things.

It is no different than our struggle against sin. We are saved by His grace (His supernatural divine empowerment to obey Him) and we continue to be sanctified by His grace, moment by moment being changed into the image of Christ.  We surrender, listen and obey. It is the same way with our addictions and recovering from our hurts and hangups.

So here is to changing my mindset from project to lifelong. Here is to doing it simply because it is the healthy thing to do and not because it will finally make my earthly father proud of what I look like, or because I believe the fallacy that any other people will finally like me for my appearance. Here is to feeling better about how I look without obsessing over everything.  And here is doing it by God’s grace moment by moment.

How To Be Effective and Productive In Christ

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV
2 Peter 1:5-8 really challenges me. I want to be effective and productive for the Lord, but I struggle with what it takes to do that. What does it mean to be effective and productive for the Lord? And what does it take?
 
It means working OUT the salvation He has worked IN me so that my faith is expressed in love toward God, toward others, and yes, even toward myself. The goal? That I become more like Christ every day, and that others are reconciled to (are made one with) God in Christ.
 
How do I slip into being ineffective and unproductive in Christ?
 
-If I believe in the Lord, but think ugly, critical or mean thoughts toward others (1 Cor 13:2 – if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing);
– If I do not continue to spend time with God getting to know Him through His Word and His Spirit;
– If I do not surrender to the Holy Spirit so the fruit of self-control blossoms in my life;
– If I do not continue to obey and pursue God during hard times;
– If I do not allow God’s love for people to flow through me toward others (1 Cor 13:3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing).
 
I thought my biggest problem is self-control, but when I looked at it closer, I easily slip into a critical mindset, finding fault with people. I fit God into my schedule instead of building my schedule around God. I have a problem with feeding my flesh more than my spirit. I get spiritually lazy and self-protective during hard times. I do not get close enough to people to let God love them through me.
 
How do I make a change? Remember that every day of my life is not about me but about Christ. A good day should not be one that brings me intellectual, emotional or physical pleasure, but one that helps someone else personally experience the never-failing love of God – through me or directly through the Spirit of God.
 
My prayer for all of us is that we may possess all these qualities in increasing measure that we may be effective and productive in our knowledge of the Lord.

What God Thinks About Your Screwups

A lot of people really struggle with making mistakes, messing up. It can plunge them into despair, make them feel hopeless of ever getting things right, and  anxious about the repercussions on their life. These reactions to failures can come from our own perfectionistic temperament, or from an upbringing where being perfect was the way to get acceptance, or a misunderstanding of what God means about being perfect like He is perfect.

But God showed me a few things that have transformed how I view mistakes.

  1. God knew I was going to do that BEFORE He even let me be born. He knew all my days before I was born. So He took that into account in His plan for me, and it didn’t take Him by surprise. He is not shocked that I did it, nor does He look down on me for it.
    Psalm 139:16 – You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
     
  2. He is NEVER disappointed in ME, as His beloved daughter. He may be disappointed in my actions or thoughts, but no matter what I do and think, He still loves me simply because I am His daughter. (I think of how I feel about my children when they do things that disappoint me, and how that doesn’t change my love for them.)
    Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
    He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
        but will rejoice over you with singing.”
     
  3. God doesn’t expect behavioral perfection from us. He knows we do not have it in us. That’s why Christ had to die for our sins, past, present and future. Plus, our attempts to be perfect stink to high heaven (literally) to Him, because He doesn’t want our fleshly attempts at being righteous apart from His grace. He wants us to offer Him our failures, to be vulnerable and honest, so He can have intimate fellowship with us, forgive us for our sins, and then EMPOWER US to get it right by His Spirit, not our flesh.  In other words, what He wants is a broken spirit and a contrite heart – that He will never despise – because it causes us to depend upon Him and His strength instead of ourselves and our own strength.

    Psalm 51:1Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love.
    Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.
    2Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.
    3For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.
    4Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.a
    5For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.

    6But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there.
    7Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
    8Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice.
    9Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt.
    10Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
    11Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spiritd from me.
    12Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
    13Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you.
    14Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
    15Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you.
    16You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering.
    17The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

  4. We LEARN from our failures. There is no shame in getting things wrong. It is the method by which we mature – facing problems, failing, trying something new. He doesn’t despise our failures like we or others do, but desires us to become wiser because of them through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
    Proverbs 4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.
    Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.
    The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom. Though it cost all you have,[b] get understanding.
    Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.
    She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.”

When you replace the lies and misunderstandings with these truths, your failures will hurt less, and you can find mercy and wisdom from God to endure and benefit from any mistakes. You don’t have to listen to the other voices that try to condemn you, from within and without, because God’s word on the subject is the LAST word. If He is not ashamed of your mistakes, you don’t have to be either.

How You Completely Misunderstood Jesus When He Said To Be Perfect

Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect. What does that mean? Most people think it means never making a mistake or never sinning. But that’s not what it means at all.

That verse comes from the same chapter as the Beattitudes in Matthew 5. Jesus states that you are not to hate your enemies, but love your enemies. Even tax collectors love those who love them back.

But we are called to love those people who do not love us – that is what makes us different from the world, the absolutely inexplicable way we can love those who hurt us and persecute us. It is impossible to do that in the flesh, so when we do that, it sticks out like a sore thumb to the rest of the world and they will marvel at it.  But love doesn’t necessarily look like what you think it does.

Loving others does NOT mean forcing yourself to be nice and kind to them, ACTING lovingly to them. Forcing yourself to be nice to someone you despise only causes you to despise them that much more. You resent having to be kind to someone who is unkind and who, by all rights, doesn’t deserve kindness. In the end, your fake love will show itself for what it is – stinking acts of fleshly attempts to manufacture our own version of God’s love.

Loving others means admitting that we absolutely cannot do it in our own strength and that we don’t have it within us to do that. God’s love, agape, is OTHER worldly – it ONLY comes from God. And the only way you can access it and pour it out on others is to literally be ONE with Him, so He flows through you, like a water sprinkler can showers flowers with water. The water is not a part of the sprinkler – it has to be connected to the flow of the source of the water.

That brings us back to being perfect. When Jesus made that comment, it was part of His teaching on love, and that if we love others as God loves them, we will be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect. 1 John 4:12 says “If we love one another, God remains in us, and his love has been perfected in us.” 1 John 4:17 says, “In this love has been made perfect among us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgement, because as he is, even so are we in this world.”

The next verse says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. He who fears is not made perfect in love.” And verse 19 says “We love Him, because he first loved us.”

What is the fear that is cast out with perfect love? The fear of being rejected. When you have God’s love flowing through you, which is a love that gives of itself for the benefit of another without expectation of getting anything in return, you can boldly love others because it doesn’t matter if they love you back. Human love fears not being loved back. God’s love is fearless because He is not afraid of rejection – He just keeps on loving us.

If we are truly loving with His love, we will be like Him and love others BEFORE they first love us. We love God because He first loved us, even when we were rebellious and either ignored or hated God. We are called to love others first, before they become “lovable” to us and whether or not they respond lovingly to us.

So being perfect does not mean doing everything right and forcing yourself to be nice to mean people. It means repenting of your sin of trying to fake love in your own strength, admitting to God you just don’t have that kind of love in you, and surrendering to the Holy Spirit and asking Him to give you His love for that person. It is the ONLY way to be made perfect in love.

Who are you trying to force yourself to love? You will know it because it is exhausting and you end up feeling resentful and empty.  Instead, it’s time to directly ask God to love them through you. Be ready for a supernatural experience, because that’s what loving with His love is.

How Would You Change If You Knew What Your Future Held?

If you knew you were going to die in 4 years 5 months 3 days and 2 hours and 1 minute, how would you change your life? What would you do differently than you presently do? What if you could see your future 20 years from now – what you would be doing, what you would look like – what would you change in your life now?

I had an epiphany that slowly crept up on me this week. I was unexplicably happy, despite my weight gain. I was dancing a little, smiling and joking. I felt freer and more at peace.  I didn’t realize it was because I had given up all hope – on being “thin and pretty”, my previous life goal.

That meant I could enjoy food and not feel like I was ruining my life.  It meant I didn’t have to kill myself with anxiety over what size clothes I wear and whether the scale went up or down.  I could stop agonizing over what other people may say about me. Why?  Because I had given up all hope on achieving my very carnal dream, and it was like setting a prisoner free from a cage.

It’s hard to give up on a dream, although we have all had to do that throughout our lives. Some of our dreams change, some remain the same, but some dreams simply have to be released, especially if they are not healthy for us. If those dreams keep us in anxiety and emotional stress, they are not God’s dream for us.  They are our own dream for us, or maybe a family member’s dream for us that we have accepted as our own.

Most of our dreams are attached to needs to be loved, accepted and approved of by others. It is an elusive desire for many of us, since the ones who raised us didn’t receive it from their parents so couldn’t give it to us, and neither could the broken partners we chose for ourselves.   But if our dream includes earning others’ love and acceptance by our actions or our appearance, there is a very good chance God will NOT help you achieve that dream.  Unhealthy dreams lead us to chase ghosts that don’t exist instead of seeking the Lord.

Furthermore, if these dreams do not make us more like Jesus, but more like the world, we are doing ourselves a disservice.  We are setting ourselves up for more disappointment and hurt, because the world will never meet our needs. We will be like dogs chasing our tails.

But when we accept God’s will and God’s plan for us where we are, and even for the future, there is peace and joy unending.  God can sovereignly bring us love, joy and peace apart from our dream, so we don’t have to cling to dreams that will never come true. Then, we can cling to him instead.

So what unhealthy dream are you holding on to that is not of God? What desire of your heart makes you chase after the world, the people and the things in it instead of the things of the Lord? Ask God to reveal them to you and ask Him to help you see why it is your dream, and what God wants you to do instead of chasing that dream. He will give you the desires of your heart (love, joy, peace and righteousness) if you will let Him do it His way and not yours.

How To Help Yourself When You Are Hurting (And Kill Off Old Roots)

I have been asking God why this one root from my past just WILL NOT GO. It will not move. I have pulled on it and pulled on it and thought it was gone, but then it rises above the dirt and shows its ugly head again and again. The root seems to become tougher and thicker, almost impenetrable when I hack at it with all my might.

I get exhausted from trying to pull it up – I’m just not strong enough to do it in my own power. And hearing “just turn to the Lord for your strength and He will do it” just doesn’t cut it. I’m ready to pull my hair out – I just want it GONE. Is this simply going to be a thorn in my flesh for the rest of my life?

That thought scares me, even though I know that His grace, His supernatural empowerment in my life, will carry me through the times I can’t carry myself. That means I will be REQUIRED to rely on the Lord to get through those times. I will have to CONTINUE TO WORK toward my earthly healing until my complete heavenly healing occurs.  Is it just my laziness that hates that thought?  Or do I simply want to be free of the need of God so I can just go about doing my own thing?

In either case, this lingering, crippling phantom pain that has carried over from my youth MUST be addressed, over and over and over again.  I must accept the fact that our most deeply ingrained hurts and scars go so deep that it will take a lifetime of vigilence to keep our learned coping mechanisms at bay as we obtain our healing.  The good news is that the hurts will become less and less painful and burdensome if we minister to ourselves every time we feel the pain instead of swatting it away like an annoying fly and trying to stuff down emotions and thoughts.

Perseverence in allowing the thoughts and emotions to surface, even if they cannot be resolved, is only helpful if we stop and minister to ourselves the way that no one else on earth ever has, or probably ever will.  We need to listen to ourselves with the compassion that only we can have, because we understand what happened and how badly it hurts.  We need to speak those loving and kind words we have been longing to hear and nurture ourselves as we’ve always longed to be cared for.

We can’t undo the past, or even the consequences of our coping mechanisms, but we CAN change our FUTURE. We do it by  providing the comfort, acceptance and love we so desperately need to feel whole, worthy, valuable and lovable.  We can do it by paying attention to our thoughts, feeling the attached emotions, and then speaking to ourselves gently and kindly the truth that we, as adult Christian women, know.

However, we must first compassionately cry with our hurt inner parts that have never gotten over the traumas of the past. We can honestly acknowledge truths such as the fact that we are not everyone’s cup of tea, we HAVE made mistakes that have affected our relationships and our lives, but that we have also been unfairly hurt by others. The world is not fair, and society and the media give us impossible standards to live up to, as have some of our parents.

Then we must reaffirm that God loves us and remember those people that we know DO truly love us (to the best of their broken ability).  We can remember that God’s standard is never outward but always a matter of the heart and the spirit. He doesn’t judge us by our outer appearance, and He knows that our nature is bent toward sin and that we will never get it perfectly right on earth.  Yet, He knowing everything that we would ever do before we were born, He still created us and made us a part of His perfect plan, adopting us as His children when we turned to Him and cried, “Abba Father, save me!”

This is what we must do over and over, until the pain starts to subside and the Holy Truth takes its place.  Don’t give up because the root is still there showing a crop above the surface.  As a matter of fact, stop trying to pull it up. 

Did you know that, in order to kill a root, you don’t have to dig it up?  There are other ways to kill a tree because the root is connected to the entire plant.  If you starve the soil, or block its sunlight, or compact its soil, or harm the trunk or leaves. the root will die. So if you want to get rid of that root, stop tugging and start watering and feeding the OTHER seed that God has planted within us – the Tree of Life.

We nourish that tree by loving God, loving others AND loving ourselves. This tree of love will grow so strong and deep, its branches and leaves will overshadow the other root’s plant and choke it out, leaving it to die of malnourishment all by itself. Literally focusing on loving yourself, God and others will bring you the healing you have been struggling to achieve by pulling out a root.

 

The Little Voice That Says I Can’t Handle It

I have discovered that there is a voice in my head, a part of myself, that continually makes me panic at the thought of having too much to do.  It thinks I won’t be able to handle it.  It tells me that, as if it is a truth, and paralyzes me. At least it used to.  I also discovered I do not have to agree with it or act as if it is true.

When I look at my office, the smallest room in the house which also doubles as a “catch-all” for all of the junk in the house, I literally feel a sense of panic pass through my body. It is a body-wide shudder that makes me want to run away, but instead, as my body prefers, I freeze.  So I ignore it, walk straight to my desk and face my computer screen so I don’t see it.  If I don’t see it, out of mind.

I have lived this way for so incredibly long, I just thought this was a natural response to what I have always perceived as a source of overwhelm.  It never crossed my mind to challenge the thought – just to accept it as truth and succumb to it. But as I have been learning about and listening to the different voices in my head, the different parts of my soul, the different me’s from my past, I’m realizing that it is a lie, a bold-faced (albeit protective) lie from a part of me.

First of all, if it is true that our many parts are constantly trying to protect us, especially from overwhelm stemming from our suppressed emotions, then this makes total sense. When I feel uncomfortable, or feel a disturbing emotion, my Manager gets to distracting me from it, and the Firefighter has me ready to run from it (or eat a bag of caramel corn while I distract myself from it).  A part of me believes I will absolutely fall apart if faced with uncomfortable feelings and emotions, and it tells me so.

Another point of interest I learned in a TED talk about the Pleasure Trap is that there is a part of our brain that freaks out, panics, when we attempt to change the pathways in our brains by new and different behavior.  It resists us and even evokes fear in us to stop us from changing.  That is because doing things the same way without thinking is easier and supposedly safer to our mind’s way of thinking. Change is risky.

So if you combine these two factors – your soul screaming at you that you are a fragile flower who will fall apart if your emotions surface and you experience uncomfortable feelings, plus your brain trying to scare you into falling back into line and following the same pathways (even if they are unhealthy and unproductive) – you can understand why you have trouble modifying your thoughts and your actions.  You are discouraged by your thoughts, emotions and flesh from changing anything.

However, once we have prepared ourselves with the knowledge of the backlash we will experience, we can then steel ourselves against the ploys our body and soul will attempt, and take back our lives.  Like Toto pulling back the curtain to reveal that it’s just a little man who is controlling the very scary image of Oz, when we realize that it is just a soul and body glitch that is stopping us from moving forward, we can get past them.  Like the grown elephant who finally pulls away from the tiny string that has kept it attached to a post since it was a baby, we find that what was holding us back was simply our belief that we couldn’t move beyond where we’ve always been.

So I have started addressing my parts when they tell me I won’t be able to handle things.  When I get a text from someone who normally bears bad news, instead of getting sick to my stomach and shaking, I say, “I CAN handle this.  Whatever uncomfortable news they bring, I may feel emotions, but those emotions will NOT kill me. I CAN handle this.”

When I see my office with the piles of paper that require scanning and data entry, and I know that my assistant won’t be available for a while, instead of giving in to the gut wrenching reaction of fear of not getting everything done, I correct myself.  “I WILL be able to get this done eventually, even if it will not be enjoyable.  The fears that I will be overwhelmed by all I have to do are LIES. Having to do things I don’t like and that make me uncomfortable is a part of life, temporary times I have to push through it and just get it done. I have historically always finished everything I needed to do, so I CAN do this, and there is NOTHING TO FEAR.”

And voila – the fear passes. The panic subsides. It just becomes a room full of papers, not a torture chamber.  It is simply a text from someone, not an envelope with deadly white powder.   I have found the secret of not giving in to the terror – tell it I know the truth, and that it is lying.  And then I act accordingly.

I love the story about John Wesley (I think it was him) who was in his bed when the devil came into his room.  John Wesley sat up in bed, looked straight at the enemy and said, ‘Oh, it’s just you.’  And then he went back to sleep.

That’s what I have learned to do with these soul and body reactions that paralyze me. They mean well, they want to protect me, but they are hindering me instead.  So I am putting them on notice that, although I appreciate the intent of the message, I will have to ignore it, because it is not helpful nor true.

I CAN do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

But I Want Her To Like Me

I have been working very hard at trying to pay attention to my emotions and thoughts, and follow them down the rabbit hole. This morning, I looked in the mirror and once again had to fight off nauseating feelings about my weight gain. My goal in life is to completely de-stress, which means not trying to ignore or avoid these feelings and thoughts, but find out which part of me is causing this and try to heal it. Too often, we say, “Well, that’s just how I feel” without trying to do anything about it.

So, I asked which part of me was upset at the image in the mirror, that got so upset at what they saw that they made me feel sick to my stomach. I asked why it was not ok to be overweight. The answer came back that people won’t like me. I responded with an adult logical argument about how my husband likes and loves me, my children like and love me, the friends that know me well like and love me – all while I’m overweight. The response: that doesn’t matter. I want others to like me.

My question was “Who?” Up came a memory that I had already healed, some girls who had tried to trip me down the playground steps in 6th or 7th grade. But this memory was focused on a little blond girl with long hair who had laughed when I tripped. “I want her to like me.”

This was very new to me – dealing with a childish part of me that insisted that someone like me when they didn’t. Explaining that some people just don’t like you was not going to work on this part of me. And explaining that I wasn’t overweight back then didn’t help either. The main thing is that I connected not being liked to being ugly, and I connect being overweight with being ugly.

This is where I had to ask the Holy Spirit to help me come up with a way to resolve the problem in the memory in a realistic way, one that would satisfy the child in me who was still hurt over it. Note, she didn’t want everyone, including the bully, to like her – only this one girl for some reason. She laughed when I got tripped up – how could she be changed into a friend?

Then I remembered that my daughter once told me that she couldn’t help laughing when someone else got hurt. She knew it seemed mean, but she couldn’t help herself from laughing. It was just funny to her. She didn’t mean any ill will, it was just a natural reflex. Maybe that is what this little girl did, too.

So I asked this part of me if it was possible that this little girl couldn’t help herself from laughing, but didn’t mean it in a mean way. Could she accept that? The answer was yes. So we healed the memory by having this girl come over after I tripped and asking if I was ok, and walking with me down the rest of the steps talking to me nicely. That seemed to do the trick, and she was ok with it. The heart wants what the heart wants.

You never know what you will find down the rabbit hole of your past memories, what is causing you to feel ways that are trapping you in unhealthy downward spirals. I know there is a trove of memories still unhealed, but God will bring them up as I commit myself to paying attention to myself and being obedient to respond to what the Holy Spirit brings up in me. I encourage you to do the same thing.