“If you don’t identify the things that plague you, you can’t understand how they impact you and you can’t begin to heal from them and move forward in your life.”
Because shame flourishes where silence overpowers our voices, I am choosing to speak up. I am choosing to speak up and say that when my pastor spoke those words yesterday morning, I felt the wind get knocked out of me while I was sitting down in my chair. I know that I am not the most physically fit person out there, but man – to be out of breath while seated? That’s an indication of being smacked really hard by something exceedingly heavy.
I think it’s time that I acknowledge – somewhere other than while seated on my therapists couch – that I am having a pretty tough time. 2016 was a year full of mediocrity. The excitement of the unknown that accompanied 2015 had vanished and I was no longer gallivanting across the country, touring new places, meeting new people, exploring new things, etc. 2015 was a year full of focusing on the future, and while I often times found (and continue to find) that to be an overwhelming thing, the excitement of moving forward and moving on with my life was the main focus. I, as well as everyone surrounding me, was so focused on making that next step, on doing everything it took to prepare, to predict, to be ready, etc that everything else took second place. I was still healing from my past, but the future took center stage. Everything in 2015 was exciting and new. Until it wasn’t. 2016 came in with a rush and, of course, I had no idea how difficult it would be to top 2015.
As I became more comfortable with my new environment – my new city, my new state, my new school, my new friends, my new medical team, etc. the newness of it all slowly wore off and instead of looking ahead in order to predict any slight hiccup or obstacle and try to prepare for it, I grew used to my daily routine and sense of safety. This is all good and healthy. But what I didn’t know as 2016 wore on was that I still had unresolved issues with myself and with my past. The more my life began to feel comfortable and safe, the more the fear of mediocrity set in and laid its trap.
I found myself feeling less and less okay with who I am and what I had to offer. Things from my past which I didn’t even have a second to devote any thought, time, or energy too during the rush and commotion of the previous year came flooding back – particularly because I had to rehash it all what felt like 500 times over again with new medical professionals and a new treatment team. I suddenly felt as though I was no longer whole. I felt small, weak, less than, and that wretched “you’re never good enough” tape began to play again. Softly, at first, but as the year went on, it slowly became louder and louder.
I ignored all those things, at first. And that was the problem – I didn’t deal with them. I IGNORED them. I didn’t address them. I pretended like the weren’t there. I found myself second guessing all my decisions, all my life choices, etc. It was as though a mini-life-crisis was beginning to unfold. Meanwhile, I had made my way through 2 different dietitians, 2 different therapists, lost one of my very best friends, and was separated from my puppy back home, hadn’t managed to find a church yet, and was separated from everyone who I felt truly knew my heart. Don’t get me wrong – the friends I had begun to make were, and continue to be, amazing individuals. They make me smile on a daily basis and they put up with so much crap from me. But as my tape got louder and louder I slowly pulled the doors to my heart shut.
I didn’t want to be hurt.
I didn’t want to hurt others with my hurts.
And what was worse – I didn’t feel like, after everything I’d been through and “come out on the other side” from….I didn’t feel like I was ALLOWED to hurt anymore.
But, friends, the truth is that I’m hurting. I don’t say that to get pity or attention. I’m choosing to say all of this so that hopefully someone out there reading this will know that it’s OKAY to hurt. It’s okay to feel hurt, it’s okay to take a LONG time to heal, and it’s okay to admit that you’re hurting.
I am so, SO terrified of living a mediocre life. It’s the most backward, upside down, messed up thing because I’m so afraid of living a mediocre life, that I cling to the things in life that keep me the most stuck where I am. I have this irrational fear that if I surrender completely, I will no longer have an excuse to be mediocre. I truly feel like I am a mediocre human being – mediocre grades, mediocre music, mediocre friend, mediocre dog-mom, mediocre daughter/sister/family member, and the list goes on and on. There is some part of me that truly believes that if I cling to these vices – eating disorder, depression, etc that I will somehow be “excused” from being expected to be anything more than my mediocre self.
But, deep DEEP down in my heart – I don’t WANT to be mediocre. I’m just scared that I can’t be better. I’m scared that I will never measure up to what the world wants and needs from me. I am scared that I will never fall in love, have a family, have a job, amount to anything that adds joy and happiness to the world, etc. I am scared that I will always be stuck and that, in and of itself, is keeping me extremely stuck.
2017 is a new year. It’s a new year and a year where I want to CHOOSE to not be stuck anymore. It’s a year where I want to look mediocrity in the face and, instead of tearing myself down, feeding myself lies, pretending my emotions, fears, and feelings simply don’t exist, I want to speak truth.
I am slowly learning that self salvation does NOT work. Man has no way to save himself, but where man fails, God excels. We can be okay. We can be whole. We can be our own one of a kind – no matter what mediocrity or the world around us is saying. God is coming in and swinging a sledge hammer through our lives. The remodeling will be anything but pleasant. But God has higher aspirations for us than to live in fear of mediocrity.
God gives us a choice. We can choose to ignore the things from our past. We can choose to attempt to move forward, turning a blind eye towards the things that are causing us to stumble time and time again. Or, we can choose to heal. We can choose to trust. We can acknowledge our weaknesses and come to God with open arms and an open heart. We can plead for healing – for ourselves and for others.
Growing in the Christian life involves dealing with and crucifying the sin in our lives and the shame from our past. We can’t successfully move forward until we address and face our biggest fears. Our past experiences are what help to form our current beliefs about the world and about ourselves. We can’t begin to heal and move forward to a better, healthier, God-directed life until we address our pasts and acknowledge the impact they have had on us and our development.
In 2017, I want to commit to growing in Christ. I don’t know exactly what that will look like. But I know that it involves acknowledging my emotions, feelings, and my past and how they all impact me on a daily basis. I know that my healing process involves unbinding myself from the ingrained belief that I can be nothing more than mediocre. I know that I can grow this year. I know that I can see the choices laid out before me and make the right ones with confidence instead of running scared in the opposite direction. I know that I want this year to be a year filled with self exploration, growth in Christ, fellowship with others, and healing in all forms – mental, emotional, physical, spiritual.
Just because you’ve been through a lot of tough stuff in the past and “come out on the other side” doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to still struggle. It doesn’t make you less of a person or doom you to a life living in secret shame or bondage. Don’t let Satan feed you those lies. Choose to heal. Choose to become all that the Lord our God has designed you to be.
Jeremiah 1:19 “They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you, says the Lord, to deliver you!”
“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
― Brené Brown
Matthew 6:34 “God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”