Recently I have started meeting with three best friends on Monday nights. It has been such a God thing. We really all three need each other and I am feeling so thankful for their friendships. I have been surprised at the way these women have challenged me. I have been thinking differently. I have been asking myself some tough questions. They give me every right to be human and broken, and I do the same for them. But at the same time, they hold up a mirror. That is tough. I have noticed myself describing people as "sick" when they are emotionally unhealthy. One of the girls asked me why I use that word. In doing that, I suppose I take away some of the responsibility they have in getting healthy. Really, it is self-serving. If I can say someone is "sick" than I can believe that they would never choose to hurt me the way they did. It wasn't my fault nor was it theirs, there was some external thing, like a virus you catch, that caused what happened. This is perhaps my number one coping mechanism. This is what allows me to love, and keep the relationships that have been so crucial to me throughout my life. The thing is, it's not working anymore.
When you take away the responsibility that a person has in decisions, or worse, you blame yourself for their choices, you become incapable of true forgiveness. Your heart holds true to the sick theory, your head knows better. Your head gets angry. And angrier. And right below the very calm surface is this tormenting pain. It mostly stays in it's place. Nobody else seems to know it is there, but it becomes impossible to ignore. No amount of pretending does the trick. No geographical change alleviates the pain. You can go on a road trip all by yourself, it will still be there. You can stuff your face, buy a car, clean your house, get promoted, have sex, buy new clothes, contemplate suicide, have an affair, earn a degree, win the lottery, get drunk, get married, leave your wife/husband, get a boob job, get high, go to Europe, loose weight, pop pills, build your dream home, take a bath, and it will not go away. God created us to need Him. And this, I believe, is part of the plan. It is the human sickness that only God can cure. It kills us, if left untreated. It just kills the spirit, and leaves the body- a shell where there once was a vibrant spirit.
The good thing is, as long as we are alive, God can heal. He can, with our willingness, make beauty from ashes, strength from fear, gladness from mourning, peace from despair. The tough part is that it almost always requires sacrifice or change. Give up on the temporary pain relievers that get so many of us by- sex, drugs, pills, spending, status, appearance, money, etc. and cling to a God that requires complete trust and faith, that asks us to live according to His will, study scripture that often doesn't make sense, strive to be what we can't possibly be, and then watch our spirits soar. Watch and they will come alive. Others will be drawn to us. Wait, and before you know it, the pain will subside completely. With enough time, God will have us bubbling over with a joy that only He gives. It will spill out all over the people we see and the lives we touch. God will make us new. He heals. I know it. I am just not feeling it. (head/heart thing again...)
So, deductively, I must ask myself that question. What am I still holding on to? What is filling the space meant for God?
I know what it is. I have been fighting God on this for such a long time. It feels impossible to let go of, because it is a key piece to what I have always believed would make me happy. That's not the way this works. The silly part is, if I could just let go, give it up to God, and let Him work, I know He would bless me beyond what I can imagine. He would take what is and give me so much more. He would make me new in a way that no earthly man could shake. I would be healed from what ails me, and be the best I could be for my girls. And ultimately, I will know a true and lasting peace that wherever I am, there I will be...at peace... in a crowded room or on a road trip all by myself.