I have an amazing therapist. (I’m not just saying that because she reads this either. Hahaha!) I met her through my church & I loved her well before I ever needed her on a professional level. She specializes in PTSD in women & her end goal is to heal us right out her door. I often think of what an overwhelming amount of trauma she is subjected to on a daily basis, followed with my mind boggling “does that actually happen, will we ever be healed?” I love & respect this woman as a therapist, a friend & a sister in Christ. I know my best is in her mind when we meet.
I have been seeing Josie on average every other week for about 2 1/2 years. In my appointment Tuesday, she issued me a challenge. Basically, I am to spend the next 40 days, for lack of better phrasing, being the opposite of myself. Don’t get all defensive of the super cute self you all know & love. Keep Reading…
We all have our pasts: lies & experiences that cause our reactions & trigger our emotions in our current lives-good & bad. In my life, this past involves abandonment issues, distrust, insecurity, thick walls, a lot of emotional scar tissue & unbeknownst to me, some unforgiveness. Ok, so truthfully, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to find that one on the list but it was wrapped up in pretty paper labeled “I’m totally good, I’ve got this.”
Since my “normal” self would never want to share this gross journey with anyone, especially publicly, I asked Josie if she minded if I blog it. You know, as my opposite self would likely do. She encouraged me to do so & now I get to torture you poor readers with it. The challenge for me is to do the following three things:
- Cease from self. Do not engage my protective strategies to keep my heart safe.
- Trust in God’s goodness & His desire to provide me with my every need.
- Forgive. All the people.
Starting with number one. Not engaging in my protective strategies literally brings me to tears just thinking about it. We all have things we do at times to keep unsafe people from wounding us. Welllllllllllll……….I may have a teensy issue with this happening in every. single. relationship in my life. There. I said it. I admitted the most awkward thing I can think of to you. That means if you know me personally, I may be very open with you, but you will never know the millions of wounds, thoughts, feelings or emotions running through me at any given moment. Even if I share, it’s going to be very guarded. I am always waiting for you to quit me. Quit loving me, quit supporting me, quit wanting to hang out with me, quit being my friend, spouse, son, mother, father… It’s actually a very lonely way to live. Ugh. That was certainly more truth than I expected to come out. OH, & on your way to quitting me, I’m waiting for you to hurt me. I will never have a confrontation with you because that would mean I may hurt you. Your feelings matter more than mine, so I will “eat my emotions” as Josie says, in an effort to protect yours & prolong the relationship. Because if we squabble, you will certainly quit me. So during the next 40 days, I’m supposed to have the confrontation. I’m supposed to tear down the walls I have so carefully erected, allowing myself to be vulnerable.
This. Is. Gross.
And it hurts. Already.
Number Two. Trust in God’s goodness & His desire to provide me with my every need? WHAT?!?! Aren’t we supposed to work for what we need? And how does one go about trusting when one has never been able to trust others? That is a foundational flaw in me that is quite difficult to wrap my head around. Yes, I know. I am a Christian. I love Jesus. But that doesn’t make me perfect or mean I have everything in life all tidy on a shelf. I am pretty sure God knew I didn’t trust Him well before I typed the words on this page. I’m just being vulnerable (see #1). This part of the challenge is still perplexing me. I’m going to pray about it & get back to you.
Oh Number Three…the old wolf in sheeps clothing. I would love to say this will be an easy one. My pride wants me to say I have no problems forgiving others. Often times that is entirely true. The unforgiveness I have is towards the people in my life that did not hold up their end of the relationships, causing most of the other items on that list way up above. There are some seriously deep wounds from some seriously important people. They are no longer part of my life so why am I allowing unforgiveness towards them to cause their wounds to continue seeping negativity into my life??? Good question. Plus the angry side of me asks myself why I would let them have any headspace or win by continuing to cause me pain. Harboring unforgiveness will not only continue to cause me pain though, it effects my relationship with God. The Bible mentions forgiving over 140 times. I’d say it’s a fairly important concept we are to practice. Even taking Jesus out of the equation, studies show it has physical, often serious, impacts on our bodies, such as heart conditions (hmmm… ironic? I think not), high blood pressure, auto immune disorders & in one study of cancer patients, 60% had high levels of unforgiveness.
So I have had 3 full days of this challenge. I have struggled with all three things. I have “conversations” that need to be held, people to forgive and trust that needs created. I neglected to allow myself to be vulnerable by sharing my ideas during a meeting. I didn’t voice my opinion on a project that was removed from my hands, I have truly cried at being so grossly real about where I am.
I have no real update except this post. Putting the whole thing out there for everyone. Hopefully, my 7 readers will help hold me accountable in this journey.
Today, forgive the uglies! Forgive yourself. Forgive God. Ask for forgiveness-from God and others.