at the end of 2017 i told myself 2018 would be my year. new beginnings, letting go of things i had held on to for so long, re-evaluating what is important, and what is needed vs. wanted, but i didn’t really know what that would look like. if i was being honest, i guess i thought it was going to be an easy ride… but that’s never how life happens now is it? let’s just say the past 8 months have not gone how i would have imagined.
i’ve struggled with anxiety for the greater part of my life. even though i have always been aware of it and have tried to get rid of it, it’s something that i haven’t been able to get a handle on. sometimes i would pray and come to a place of peace, but sometimes it would be crippling and i’d go into a complete internal panic. it was like this for as long as i could remember, but life still moved forward and there was a point i just accepted that this was part of who i was. believing it would never really go away, i found ways to cope, whether that was by busying myself, spending less time alone, or building mental and emotional walls. i got into a good rhythm, and i felt like i was in a good place, but God had different plans for me.
in may, i had just finished a five month intro to discipleship program with ekko called orthopraxis where i got vulnerable with people who had previously been strangers, where i really dug deep and searched my heart, where i learned more about the characteristics of God, where the notions i had built over the years as a christian were challenged. as much as i want to say that i came out of it a new person, stronger, more in love with God, all the good things, i was actually very confused. over the five months, we covered just about everything: family, career, gifts, calling, past, future, etc. i’ve always been a very self aware person so i thought i knew where i was at in all of these categories, but as i was going through orthopraxis, God started to take me to uncomfortable places where i was forced to face some of the things that i had left buried for so long. as i started to feel this discomfort and this tug to navigate through those places, i started to resist. i didn’t know how to get myself to revisit aspects of my life that i didn’t even realize were causing such unhappiness. i constantly had so many thoughts rushing through my my mind that i didn’t have the mental capacity to identify and dissect each one. i could sense God leading me to some kind of breakthrough, but i just didn’t know how or if i would even get there. i lived life in this confused state for a while, and then on a random night a month later, i broke.
i’m a pretty emotional/easily moved person so crying is not abnormal (ask any of my friends), but this was different. i was having a full blown meltdown. i suddenly felt like i had no idea who i was. i didn’t know what was real and what was a facade. i didn’t know when i had been honest with myself and when i had convinced myself with lies to protect my heart and my well-being. i felt so much anguish, so much brokenness and as all the confidence i had feigned for years left me, i was just completely gutted. that night, i realized i had a mountain in front of me, higher than i could climb on my own. i knew God was with me, but i had a hard time truly believing that truth or experiencing his presence through the thick of everything. i couldn’t process everything i was going through, nor could i understand why it was happening, but i knew i needed help. i just couldn’t handle it on my own. i sought refuge in my closest friends and tried to talk about what i was going through, but i realized as much as i appreciated their advice, it wasn’t what was going to fix the situation. i not only needed fresh perspective from someone who was hearing my story for the first time, but i also needed to really dig and tackle the issues i had suppressed for so long. it was then that i realized i wanted to try out therapy. i’ve always approached therapy with an open mind, but it was hard to actually make the first step of getting started. it was intimidating at first, but i’m glad i took that step. during this season, i allowed myself to revisit my childhood traumas, the verbal abuse i had taken for so many years of my life, the constant mindset that no matter what i did, i wasn’t good enough. i had been riddled with scars, but i never let myself heal from it. it was like constantly trying to put a bandage on a gun shot wound.
this process was painful, uncomfortable, exhausting, but it was also liberating and such a pivotal season in my life. i realized that over the course of orthopraxis and the following months, God was really trying to shape me and mold me to be the person he intended me to be, but he wanted me to want it for myself. he was waiting on me to give that permission to work in me, to surrender my incessant need for control over my life, to stop trying to please everyone around me, and to be okay with not being okay. he could’ve used his power to make me a certain way, to alter my mind to believe what he wanted me to believe, but he gave me the freedom to choose. he was patient and persistent with me, even in times where i was too scared to trust him. he carried my fragile heart with grace as we journeyed back to all the moments i didn’t even realize had been haunting me. things didn’t change overnight, nor was i expecting them to, but just being aware and willing allowed the healing process God had so desperately wanted for me to begin. he’s been changing the lens i’ve been looking through of pain and insecurity and shifting my perspective to see myself and the world through his eyes.
this is the God i love and worship.