Saturday, October 2, 2010

You NEVER Let Go!

When I began this blog my initial purpose was to record my weight loss. I wanted to be accountable. I also admit that I wanted the praise and words of encouragement. I had no idea that this journey would take me so much further than I ever wanted to go!

For many months, maybe even years, I have felt sick, forgotten and lost. I seriously contemplated checking into a hospital because I felt like I was losing my mind. I was identifying with social and leadership positions. Finding my hope and worth in the roles I had in MOPS, church and at the girls' school. As long as someone admired me then I felt I had some value. I didn't serve in those areas because God called me to do it. I served because I wanted people to notice me. I was addicted to their compliments. It was my main reason for cheerfully serving in as many areas as I could find. It truly didn't matter at what cost! I willingly served in order to silence the self hate I've carried around since I was a child.

God has taken most of the positions away for a variety of reasons. Although I am realizing the main purpose is for me to come face to face with Him. Just Him and I and nothing else. Am I willing and able to look at Him even if nothing or nobody else stand with me? Up until a few hours ago the answer would be "NO!!". If I let God truly see me then I will have to give up control. Now I realize that God sees all of me anyway but I deceive myself into thinking I can run away whenever I want to.

As the leadership roles I fulfilled were gone, I focused on physical changes I could make. I knew people would notice and encourage me. Unfortunately I became addicted to that instead. It is almost like a drug for me. Craving and desiring the attention above all else. Whenever my husband, Michael, wouldn't satisfy that desire I would turn to anyone and everyone else. Never once asking God what He thought. Actually, it never even crossed my mind or heart to ask Him.

So what is the result of living like this for so long? Complete and total misery! Feeling no real emotions. Functioning out of duty. Surviving but not thriving in any area or relationship. Hearing women try to speak God's truth into my life but not being able to process the meaning. It is almost as if they were speaking a foreign language. Nodding my head in agreement but feeling vacant on the inside. Going to church and trying to listen to the sermon but walking out feeling empty and more confused. Reading the Bible with no passion. Praying but not actively pursuing Him. It is an exhausting lifestyle!

Yet, God answered a lame prayer I said earlier this afternoon after a counseling session. As I sat in the car and started driving home I said "God are you still there? I want to feel something again". At that time there was no expectation that He would answer. Thankfully I was wrong it was just a matter of timing. I'm reading Gary Smalley and Karen Kingsbury's book "Redemption". I have identified in some way with most of the characters and their sinful choices hit me hard. One quote says "The more bad choices you make, the less bad your choices seem." I have chosen to avoid Christian music. I have chosen to skip a church service here and there. I have chosen to not read my Bible diligently and with passion. I have chosen to become cold towards my husband. I have chosen to live more and more isolated each and every day. I have chosen to stay in the pit of despair and "woe is me".

The other night I had a dream that the Lord and I were talking and I was half covered in black tar. He was gently trying to remove it and I wouldn't let Him. It terrified me to let it go! Even though it was hot, sticky and smelled. I wouldn't give it to Him. Why? Because even though it is painful it is a pain I am used to. It has become an idol in my life and heart. All day long I'm bombarded with thoughts of hopelessness and discouragement. What if I let go and that brings me to a place of vulnerability and true transparency. Are people going to be disappointed? Are they going to abandon me? Or worse am I going to be expected to be strong all the time? Besides, being in the pit causes people to tell me they are praying for me. It soothes my twisted ego. I finally get some attention again! So what if now people are feeling sorry for me or aching for me to return to the Lord? I also give myself the license to remain inactive. Why pray for myself when others are doing it for me? I allow myself to be lazy and convince myself that everything will be ok.

So what changed? I was reading in bed and decided the book was too good to put down so I went to the living room. Reading is one of the few things I have not become complacent about because I can avoid my life for a while. What I read hit me like a bulldozer!

"She (Kari) glanced at the wall in the entryway and saw the framed piece of needlepoint her grandmother had done decades earlier. The words stitched in a delicate faded lilac thread were a paraphrase of Philippians 3:13- "Forget what is behind. Press on to what is ahead." The words ran over and over in her heart, and Kari knew they held within them her only hope for surviving."

Those words pierced my heart and caused years of heart ache to burst open. Forget what is behind. It is true that I hold on to a lot of hurt, sin, mistakes, bad choices and disappointments. I can choose to forget it. Press on to what is ahead. I can choose to press on. I can choose to press on to Him! I get to decide. Even though I was still so scared I knelt down by the couch and cried and cried! Typically kneeling for me is excruciating because of my knee replacements. During that sweet time nothing in my body hurt. I haven't cried like that in a LONG time. I hadn't felt the presence of God so sweetly and tangibly like that in years! Even now I can barely hold back the tears. I opened my Bible for the first time in months actually wanting to read His word. I couldn't read anything because of the tears and the repentance that was flowing out of me. When I was finally able to read it seemed like each Scripture I "randomly" turned to was about putting on His strength, putting on His garment of salvation, putting on His joy. I have been given a choice. I can go through these circumstances feeling and acting like a victim and therefore naked. Or I can go through these circumstances with Him and through Him and therefore clothed in Him. The circumstances may not change but my attitude can and has. I haven't felt love for the Lord like this in so long I had forgotten what it was like. I know that emotions are deceiving and can disappear or change quickly but, honestly, it is amazing to feel alive again!! It is wonderful to cry and FEEL again! I can wholeheartedly say "Praise God!".

Thank you so much for reading this and for praying for me. As you can see it has penetrated through an extremely stubborn and spoiled heart. For those that read this and have no idea what it means to have a relationship with God. I ask that you'd be willing to seek Him. Be open to whatever He has for you. It may seem weird or scary but know that He is worth it and so are YOU!