Last night I was reading over a blog I wrote last year (Every Day Resolutions) to re-write it for a blog on another site I do some writing for. I wrote the Every Day Resolutions blog this time last year and reading it last night gave me a lot of feelings. A lot of thoughts.
Such as…what am I taking with me from 2019 into 2020? What have I learned in 2019? What have I accomplished this year and where is all of the writing and weight loss that I was so focused on before? How have I drifted so far from who I was a year ago to who I am today? How have I let myself keep slowly sliding into complacency and what am I going to do about it now?
Moving from the chaos of the storm to the peace of surrender…
When I think about the last couple of months, in my mind it looks like a tornado. Not just a tornado on the horizon or a funnel cloud barreling towards me but a tornado swirling all around me. Flinging me around and around. I feel like I’ve mostly just been keeping my eyes closed tight and waiting for the winds to die down. I’m just hanging on until the storm passes and every time I open my eyes I see bits and pieces flying around with me caught up in all the dust and debris being kicked up by the storm. I can’t grab onto anything as it’s flying by me and if I manage to snag something, it’s immediately ripped from my hands by the force of the wind. Snatched away and lost in the mix of all that’s wildly surrounding me.
I can’t control the wind. I can’t stop a storm. I can’t force the winds to be still.
And the winds are still blowing. And I am still spinning.
I ask myself, “Do I just keep trying to survive? Is there more you can be doing? Something different? Something more effective? More productive?”
Sitting here pondering these questions and trying to honestly assess where I’m at but my mind can’t land on anything solid. I can always go to the checklist of what to do more of or less of and there’s a discipline to be found in that. But is that what I need right now? Will a checklist help me feel grounded? It honestly feels like more rules to follow and I just want to be free.
In the midst of all the spinning, and the dust, and the debris, my mind stops on my go-to image of comfort. I see me leaning into my Father’s embrace, laying my head on His chest and His arms come around me.
I am held. I am safe. I am secure. I am protected from the storm. For however long it rages around me.
It occurs to me that the image of God holding me no longer is needed to answer my worn out question of my enough-ness or if I’m wanted. At least for today and I’m grateful for that. Today the image of being held answers the question:
How do I keep facing all that’s happening around me when everything within me is tired and ready to give up? Can I just lay down and let the blow me where ever it goes?
Sitting in the stillness of this moment, protected from whatever’s stirring outside of me, a feeling surfaces from inside. I am feeling scared about my weight loss and the lack of it and my unwillingness to be more disciplined right now. Especially as we move into the holidays and the winter months.
This feels so random but is it really?
I’ve been praying for clarity all day and I think I needed the reminder of where I’m at in this storm, where I need to be and who is in control to give me the clarity I’m looking for. When my focus is on the storm and I’m overwhelmed with the spinning and my eyes can’t track what’s flying all around me, I can turn back into the safe embrace of my Father. And I can turn my focus back to what I can control. Me and my choices.
I’m not responsible for freeing myself from anything but I am responsible for making choices that support the freedom I’ve been given. I haven’t been making very supportive choices lately for myself. This feels like it could either send back into compulsive overeating or give me new resolve to keep trudging on.
I’m reminded that it all comes back to surrender and I feel like I’ve been letting go but the storm is holding on so tight and will not let me go.
I’m reminded that this is a lie from the enemy. To be gripped by something that is stronger than Jesus is a lie.
Earlier this morning, my mind wandered back to 2 blogs I had written previously about working through my anxiety: Duck & Cover and Step Out of the Waves. Duck and Cover being about just having to ride out the storm at times and Step Out of the Waves is about knowing when it’s time to get up and get moving. To step out of the waves that keep knocking you to the ground because you aren’t chained to the spot you stand.
I’ve been doing the duck and cover survival method for the last 5 months but now it’s time to move. I couldn’t see that this morning. When I thought about me just riding out the recent storms, my mind immediately went to: “But how I do I step out of these waves?” And this morning it felt like I was frozen in that place. Immobile. Unable to move.
I had forgotten I am free.
Just as I stated in the Step Out of the Waves blog, God had to remind me this morning that I am not chained. I am free.
Realistically, I can’t walk out on most of the things causing me anxiety today but what can I walk away from in my mind today? The list building in my head sounds a lot like things I’ve had to surrender before:
pursuit of perfection
unrealistic expectations of myself and others
working myself into a frenzy trying to create order in the midst of chaos
self-pity, inflated self importance and selfish motives
Whether the storm is real or imagined, I can keep turning back to find safety and security in God’s embrace. In my mind, I see Him put His arm around my shoulder and He turns me 180 degrees. We’re not looking at the tornado anymore. We’re standing at the top of a hill and we’re looking down into a valley with green grass. Sunlight shining on everything it touches.
He leans down and whispers into my ear, “This is where we’re walking today.”
We start out down the hill. Sun shining on my face, leaving the darkness of the storm behind. Today I choose to look for sunlight and follow where it leads.
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Old Truth. It was new at one time but it’s been so long I can’t remember when. I don’t know when it went from new to old but I’ve reached the edge of this truth. Thin and brittle, crumbling. No longer a stable place to stand or live. I need to find what is true. True for me and true about me. I won’t find it by standing in this spot staring at Old Truth and all that it’s lacking. I see a road up ahead. This looks like my only option.
The process of becoming something different to be re-made into something new…
I’ve been thinking all week about the term”meltdown” and all the different scenarios we use this word. I’ve used it several times this week in reference to myself having a meltdown or that I was “melting down” – the visual popped into my mind of a candle melting down into a liquid puddle of wax.
Saying farewell to fear and following where God leads…
I attended a 3 day retreat this past weekend. On the first night of the retreat, I felt God asking me to look at my fear of what other people think of me. Specifically regarding the anxiety and fear that has been holding back in sharing in my group recovery meetings. It has been weighing on me for many months and I’m ready to be done with the struggle.
On Friday night, I was discussing this issue with a friend. Trying to get to the heart of the matter. I started to see that this fear of what other people think of me is really a form of pride. Being overly concerned with how I come across to other people, wanting to appear as if I have it all together, worried about what they will think about what I say or if they’ll understand what I’m trying to say.
I can’t control any of that. I can’t control what people think or feel about what I say or how I come across. In discussing this, I decided that I might not be able to do anything with the fear but I could still choose to take action in spite of the fear.
I can be nervous and scared but still share in the group. I can be nervous and scared but also have courage.
Earlier this week I woke up to the lyrics from Bethel’s song “Have It All” running through my mind. As I was getting ready for work, the first four lines of the song kept playing on repeat in my head:
“You can have it all, Lord Every part of my world
Take this life and breathe on
This heart that is now Yours”
The video for this song is one of my absolute favorites. (Highly recommend you watch it!) Every time I watch it I’m blown away with the artistry and symbolism. Watching it again this week, I was reminded of how tedious and time-consuming the transformation process is.