Living Freely

Living Freely

I want to be free. Truly free. I don’t want to be caught up constantly in my own thoughts and feelings. I no longer want to carry around the same feelings, frustrations, and pain that I have carried with me for years. I am sure that there are so many of us who want the same thing. At times, we can feel like we are in a cage-emotionally and mentally bound and no matter how hard we try we just can’t break through. I can see freedom but I don’t feel like I can obtain it. But I do know that this is not how God intended for me to live.

I recently started going to therapy and on my second session my therapist said “I’m going to say this and you may say no but I want you to look it up and think about it-Codependency.” And I said “Yes, that’s me.” See at my church we have a group called Celebrate Recovery. So many times people have shared their testimony and how being apart of this group of people all trying to break free of something has really helped them. I didn’t really think too much of it until one Sunday morning, some of the people from Celebrate Recovery shared their testimony on how God had healed them from certain things. As I listened one testimony stood out to me, and it was from someone talking about how God had delivered them from codependency. From that moment on that phrase just stuck with me. I had so many moments when I thought I should have been attending Celebrate Recovery but I talked myself out of it!

But now being in therapy I am ready to face it because I am tired of living this way. I yearn to walk into what God has prepared for me. I know that until I start addressing some of the things that I am dealing with and allowing to hold me back that I will continue to live in the same vicious cycle. For the next few blogs I want to talk about what co-dependency is in hopes that some of the symptoms and how they affect me will help someone recognize these symptoms in themselves and search for freedom. I know that God can heal us and free us of anything but we have to be willing and open to address these issues and the pain we are harboring in order to reach freedom. We can’t want to be free and then not do anything to, well, get free!

The symptoms of codependency are shame and low self-esteem, people pleasing, poor boundaries, reactivity, care taking, control, dysfunctional communication, obsessions, dependency, denial, problems with intimacy and lead to painful emotions. I want to touch on shame and low self esteem which is summarized as “Not feeling that you’re good enough or comparing yourself to others is a sign of low self esteem. The tricky thing about self esteem is that some people think highly of themselves, but it’s only camouflage for feeling unlovable and inadequate. Underneath, usually hidden from consciousness, are feelings of shame. Some of the things that go along with low self esteem are guilt feelings and perfectionism. If everything is perfect, you don’t feel bad about yourself” (whatiscodependency.com).

What stood out most to me in this summary was people thinking highly of themselves but it’s camouflage for feeling unlovable and inadequate- and the statement about perfectionism. I think that I am a great person. I think that I am intelligent, funny, caring, and understanding. I don’t think I’m perfect but often times find myself feeling like I don’t meet the standards of those around me. I feel inadequate. Often times these standards are things I’ve made up! Let’s be real-have you ever found yourself forgetting to do something or making a mistake and then convinced yourself that your husband or coworker or friend is upset with you but they haven’t said anything to you at all? They haven’t even given off the indication that they’re upset?! I convince myself frequently that my husband will be upset with me about something and he’s like “Nope. I think you’re doing great!” I think this goes along with perfectionism. I want to do everything right. Although I know I’m not perfect, I want to do everything perfectly to my or someone else’s expectations. Of course, realistically, I can’t always do things perfectly.

So……listen. I am going to put this as simply as it has come to me…..You can make a mistake, you can disappoint someone, you can unintentionally hurt people, you can do things but not do them perfectly and you are still a great person. You are still intelligent, funny, caring, and understanding. Your mistakes don’t take away from who you are. You can’t make a mistake and then God goes ok subtract the smart or caring characteristic from this person. There is no one sitting around subtracting from your greatness because you aren’t operating in perfect order. If you are struggling with your self esteem I challenge you (and I am going to do this too!) to start leaving notes for yourself. Write down confirmations like I am smart, I am loved, I am successful, etc. And together we can witness to and encourage each other on the growth and change we will see from speaking life over ourselves. Let’s get healed together. Let’s be free!

Keep Asking

I’m the type of person that if I ask for something a few times and I don’t get what I’ve asked for or a resolution to the issue I’m asking for assistance on I’ll stop asking. I’ll conclude that it won’t change or I’m not going to get an answer and I’ll attempt to just deal with it or work around it.

I was talking to someone the other day and I was saying “I don’t want people to be like me. If you need help keep asking until you get it. Keep asking until your questions are answered.” And even then it didn’t sink in to me what I was saying.

If you have kids or you’ve been around kids long enough you know they are some persistent little beings! When they really want something they will hunt you down, bug you, harass you to no end! They will not stop until they get an answer. They will not give up until you’ve given them what they want or need or give them resolution to their solution. Wow! We should be more like that.

The Bible says in Luke 11: 9-13 to ask and keep asking and it will be given to you! If there is something you are needing from God- if there is something you need answers, clarity or knowledge on keep asking. Don’t stop. This applies to life in general! If you need help with a project or help with your kids-help at home, help at work keep asking. Don’t settle for no replies and silence. Don’t set your self up to keep carrying things and then they get heavier and heavier until you can’t deal.

Listen, (and I’m talking to myself here) people cannot help you with what you don’t tell them you need help with. We have to stop seeing the need to ask for help as a weakness. My husband has said to me many times that asking for help is a sign of strength. You can’t do everything on your own. We want to because we want people to think that we got it handled and we are all put together like a present with a nice red bow on it.

People are hurting inside and falling apart because they won’t say “I need help with this.” “I can’t handle all of this”. Don’t be that person. If you are asking for help and not getting it keep asking! Don’t stop making your needs or requests known. So much stress is carried that’s not necessary because we won’t ask and then keep asking. God hears you and sees where you’re at. Ask Him for help and I promise He will send it!

The Answer May Not Match

The Answer May Not Match

Have you ever asked for directions and what the person told you (or that crazy GPS) had you in an area unfamiliar to what you asked for? You’re looking around thinking “Well, I asked for direction or clarity but this isn’t what I thought it’d look like…”

I’ve had experiences where I’ve asked for or prayed for things and it looked totally different from what I visualized. Sometimes it wasn’t so much the question I asked but who I asked the question to. Other times it wasn’t what I prayed for but the lack of clarity that had me sitting back wondering why things didn’t make since.

To say I’ve had a trying few weeks would be an understatement. I’ve had an experience that even now writing this still shocks me but at the same time I’m grateful for. People like me, Type A personalities, always want to be in control and we hate failing. We want to do and get everything right. Often times we are our worst critic. We are so hard on ourselves.

I’ve said so many times that God is in control. But is He really? (Ask yourself that?). He can’t be in control if you’re in control too. He can’t do the things He needs to do in you and through you if you haven’t opened yourself up to Him and released the need to make things happen yourself. You can’t say that God’s in control and still sit around stressing over things in your life that haven’t even happened yet.

I recently lost total control and in the moment it was very scary. After the moment, it’s strange how clear things were. Everything in my mind was dumped out and blank. There was nothing up there. No lists of things to do, no sad thoughts and most importantly none of those negative thoughts were up there either. All of the things that were floating up there in my head that I had convinced myself were true (like…you’re a failure, you can’t do this, you’re always alone, no one listens to me, you’re not being a good parent) all evaporated. And the things that needed to get done without me got done one way or the other. I was sitting around one day and thought “This is what it must be like when you let God be in control.”

When we remove the worry, self doubt, self criticism, other people’s perceptions, worry over decisions, stress over things that aren’t for us to stress about anyway-when we remove our selves from the equation and let it just be God moving in our lives….well we get peace. We get thoughts that focus on His goodness and His will for our lives. We get clarity. We get a release from the one thing holding us back (which is us-we hold ourselves back).

So I’d prayed for direction. I had prayed for clarity. I had prayed for peace. I had prayed for God to guide my steps. I had prayed for freedom from myself to accept God’s will. And what happened didn’t look like any one of those prayers I asked for but they all got answered. When you seek Him and pray- your prayers will be answered at some point or another. But….expect the unexpected because they may come in a way that you think will break you but instead puts you on the road to victory.