In our search for true healing, there are certain truths that we must embrace if we ever wish to break free from the fear which has come to define us.
The Big Break
We cannot go back to the way things were prior to that moment. The big break, the time in history when we knew things would never be the same again. The time when we said, “I cannot take this anymore.” The time when things just seemed to fall apart. The time when we realized I need help.
Going Back to the Way Things Were
The mistake that we often make and repeat, myself included, is believing in the delusion that we can ever get back to the way things were. That point in time, the time before we fell apart. The time when others still viewed us as rational and sane. The time before we were defined by a diagnosis.
Acknowledging Our Condition
At one point in our journey, many if not all of us might have struggled with the idea that we have an illness. We reflect on ourselves, our past, we think of what has happened, we hear what the doctor says and we say, “no, not me.” We reason that might be true of other people, but not for me. We put up a fight, we kick and scream only to come to a place where we discover, we DO indeed have an illness.
For many people, the journey to acknowledging our own condition is a long one. For others, the struggle might be getting those closest to us to accept the idea that we have an illness. Regardless of who in our lives struggles with this idea of our illness, at some point in our journey, we/they learn to accept our condition and begin the path forward towards healing.
You see, if they refuse to accept our condition, it makes the whole process of healing more difficult for us. If we refuse to acknowledge our condition, we cannot make meaningful progress towards healing. We will spend countless days, weeks, months in denial before we are willing to come to grips with our story.
The Way Things Were
There was a time in my story when I grieved deeply about my story. I was not particularly sad simply about having anxiety or fear, or fearfulness. There have been many times when I did feel that way, but this was not one of them. This time my grief was different.
My Grieving Point
This time I grieved when I finally discovered that I could never go back to the way things were. Things, I, me in this particular case, would never be the same again. I saw things differently. I could no longer look at the world without seeing some form of fear. I could no longer listen to someone talk and not hear the fear in their lives. Not only could I see fear, but I could also hear it, and I could smell it. Yes, I said SMELL it!
Some might look upon my situation playfully and suggest that I have some sort of superpower. Instead of shooting webs from my wrists like Spiderman, flying like Superman, or having the coolest weapons, my superpower was sensing fear in the lives of others. Many might see this ability as a gift, but I have a hard time seeing things that way.
Stuck In A Spirit Of Fear
For me, this was and still is about something I lost. I grieve this loss. I have in the past and I still do to this very day. But what God has shown me, is that I am not meant to stay here, stuck in the past. By here, I mean stuck in this spirit of fear. Stuck, always fearing what will happen next. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Pinned between my fearfulness and who God has called me to be. God has more for me and He has more for you too!
There are times in your life when you suddenly see something that you cannot unsee. THOSE WEIRD POSTERS WITH 3D IMAGES.
One day in October, when I was cleaning up broken tree limbs was one of those days. Our community, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, had been devastated by a historic ice storm in October of all months. I was in my backyard cutting up broken tree limbs and trimming branches that had broken when it hit me.
Some of the tree limbs had been badly damaged, clearly, they had experienced tree-altering trauma. For those limbs who had not fallen to the ground, some of them were almost completely severed from the trunk of the tree. They were devastated but still attached. This left huge portions of the tree branches dangling from the trunk or other branches. These limbs were huge!
Nothing Like They Used To Be
For me, in my yard, I had seen these branches before and could tell you that they were nothing like they used to be. It was saddening! Knowing how big and beautiful they had been just the day before, to see how broken they were now devastated me. It was then that I saw it. I could begin to see what God was showing me.
Once I had finished cleaning up all of the limbs which were completely detached from the tree, just lying in my yard, I could tell I still had work to do. There were all of these limbs which were horribly damaged, yet they were still attached to some portion of the tree. I somewhat struggled with what to do. Do I leave these limbs partially attached in hopes they grow back? Or do I trim them back and allow the tree to grow in other parts of the tree?
These broken limbs would never be the same again. I could not glue them back together. The limbs would never completely heal back to their prior state. I struggled. I wanted them to grow back to the way they were just hours ago. But as much as I wanted them to return to the way things were, there was nothing I could do to make this happen. The limbs would never go back to the way things were.
Allowing My Grief To Define Me
My life, my story was much like these tree limbs. As much as I wanted things to go back to the time before my big break, it would never happen. I grieved and struggled and grieved and struggled. It was clear I could easily get caught up in this grief and allow this grief to define me for the rest of my life. God made it clear that I have a choice.
I could get stuck wishing I could go back. Get stuck talking about the way things were. I could imagine my eighty-year-old self telling over-dramatic stories about the way things were prior to my battle with fear and anxiety. I could see it and I did not like it! I could choose this path, in fact, I was heading right for it. But then God…
But then God showed me something. I heard a quote from Terri St. Cloud. I did not know who this person was or anything about Terri. But when I heard her quote it was perfectly clear what God was telling me.
“She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful.”
- Terri St. Cloud
Now at first, I had a little bit of a problem accepting the quote because it describes a girl. So the self-conscious, insecure part of me wanted to say “That’s not for me,” in my deep, manliest of voices. Terri is a painter and through this context, the quote makes complete sense. But then something happened. Then God helped me reword this a bit. Take a look/listen.
He could never go back to the ways things were. All he could do was to choose to move forward and allow God to make the whole thing beautiful.
- God’s Version For Craig
My Choice And Yours
Would I choose to get stuck in the past and continue to tell overly-dramatized stories about the way my life was prior to my big break? Would I choose to move forward and allow God to make my whole life beautiful, knowing I would never be the way I was before my break? God made it clear that the choice was mine.
One thing He made particularly clear was that God would be with me either way. God would love me the same no matter what I chose. If I chose to stay stuck in the past, God would still love me unconditionally. If I choose to move forward and allow him to make my whole thing(life) beautiful, God would still love me unconditionally.