There is not a single piece of me that believes I have progressed on my own, or that I have been in control over my recovery in any real way. I can honestly say that Jesus has stood for me, fought for me, spoken for me, and everything in between that has allowed me to stand where I am today.
One thing that I have wrestled with during this time, however, is that while all this has been going on, it takes so much energy, so much work, for me to make sure my thoughts don’t get carried away, to ensure that the “me that I want to be” is the one making decisions. The hang-up about this is that, if Jesus is in control, and I have let Him take the reins down this road, then why on earth do I have to work SO DAMN HARD?!
I think the problem with the way I’ve been expecting things to go is related to the stories in the bible where Jesus steps up and touches the man, and he is healed right then and there. Which, let’s be real, is the coolest. He gives us these stories and documented events of what He did here on earth, so we can know who He is and what He is capable of in our own lives, even though our stories are OUR stories, and He has no obligation to follow what happened then, or even how we want it to happen.
I have to remember that this is a process, and that, as badly as I want it to, it’s not something that will be gone in a split second. Gosh, that used to be my prayer. Watching my friends be free and happy, I begged Him to let me be part of that life. I didn’t trust his timing or his plan, and it led to jealousy of those around me and anger at my life and my struggle, and sometimes anger at Him for allowing my life to go like that.
I’ve also taken a scan of what is actually happening in the process of cleaning out the mess within me, and that indicates another scenario that explains why it just can’t end instantly. I’ll paint a little analogy of what I have learned. (You: Another analogy?! Me: Let’s be real, I have used sharks as a metaphor on this blog, so let’s not act like you’re surprised.)
Let’s say there is a house. It started out pretty normal and vulnerable, as houses sometimes do. Various moments, events, and lies created tiny, radioactive seeds that landed on the roof and slid down into the foundation. They began to grow roots and stems and branches that broke into each room and affected the way it was designed, how it connected to the other rooms, and began to produce poisonous fruit throughout. The homeowner, seeing that this is affecting the structural integrity of the house, begins to add reinforcements to walls and pours concrete down around the roots into the foundation to prevent it from crumbling.
Building thicker walls and support beams, she turned the flimsy house into a more solid, stable structure. This works for a while, and then the trees grow some more, and the patching and building continues. Somewhere along the way, she realizes that a storm or high wind could potentially damage her house, so she begins to build a large wall around her property, very strong, and very tall, with a single gate that she barricaded with beams and padlocks on padlocks.
Okay so that’s the set up that exists; now let’s get into the solution, and how it could potentially be difficult.
Say one day she realizes that this house, although it stands, is not the way a house should be, so she decides to let the city come in and gut it, rebuild, tear up the roots, break down the walls, and restore it. The problem is that she has protected it so well, that she has to use all her strength to break open the locks, and hold open the gate so they have a chance to get in. Then, when they reach a room, she has to be there to unblock the door, to let them in, and tear down all the structures that have been built to secure the walls.
She knows it needs to be fixed, and is more than willing to let people in to help fix it, but years of fixing a house the wrong way has made it to where she has to work the entire time to allow them entry so they can do their job.
Sure, the city could have stopped her at any point, but they gave her the choice to do it herself or to ask for help, to allow them to come in and dig up the plants when they were just sprouting, but she didn’t see the need for help, everything was working great, so why did it matter?
Just because she opened the gate enough for them to come in, doesn’t mean that they are able to do what they need to do in each area until she lets them. And even when she does, she has to prepare herself to watch her hard work and the way that things have been fall away before her eyes. Making the decision to fix it doesn’t actually do much until she puts in the hard work that allows the professionals do their work.
So hopefully you have been able to follow that story in a real life sense, and why I think it helps me understand what is actually happening. God let me choose my way, to choose the ways of the world. He’s not going to force me to love Him or let Him into my life, but he is waiting, and He is ready. I have guarded so many areas of my life so aggressively, that each area requires focus and work to let him in.
In a similar way, I have also, in recent months chosen a specific way of thinking and feeling that has gone against how I have historically done so. In the past, my heart has been very fragile and sensitive to the words and actions of others, so I decided to protect it, to put it in a steel box where it would be safe. Then after a while, I would get comfortable, take it out of the box, and it would wind up bruised and bleeding again, so back in the box it would go. This was a pattern that lasted for most of my life, of trusting, and then almost instantly regretting it.
What has changed now is that I leave it out of the box. Not only that, but sometimes I let it fall a little bit, or see something coming for it, and let it come, let it hit. When I allow the hard moments to exist and don’t rush to protect my vulnerable heart, it gets tougher. Living with it locked away does not allow you to really reach people, or to invest in the lives of others. When you let your heart experience hard things, and even put it though some of your own on purpose, the skin gets thicker, stronger, callused if you will. When it gets treated like this, it’s a living, breathing, feeling, piece of flesh, but one that can take the pain as it comes. It’s not going to bruise and bleed every time it faces rejection or the truth of its own mistakes.
I used to think that avoiding the pain was the best choice, but that just makes it so much harder to face life’s chaos. I much prefer having tougher skin and feeling the life as it comes, even when it hurts. Scratch that. ESPECIALLY when it hurts.
Eventually, He and I will be able to pull out the last of the roots and redesign the whole house interior, this time with an open floor plan, a skylight, and a wall of windows. Just to let the light in.
Love from a callused heart,