Did Somebody Paint That?

Did Somebody Paint That?

I was walking into church yesterday, and as I was walking through the children’s ministry section of church, a girl looked at a mural painted on the wall, pointed, and asked her mom, “Did somebody paint that?”

I looked at the mural and was like, wow, what a stupid question. It’s obvious someone did that. The brush strokes were evident and the paint layers on the wall were painfully visible. My mind held on to the girl’s initial question, though. Did somebody paint that? 

I started thinking, Isn’t that what everyone is asking? Dying to know? They look at nature, people, emotions, gender and ask, “Did somebody create that?”

The answer is innately known: YES!

Without a creator, this world really is too good to be true. It is increasingly evident that more faith has to go into the solution of time to explain what’s around and in us than the solution of God the Creator. God who has made Himself known through creation, His word, and His Son, Jesus Christ.

This is an important realization for a recovering codependent such as myself, because knowing that this world was created, knowing the creator is Yahweh God, believing in His Son, Jesus, and reading the life-breathed word of God, I can know some important things:

I was made. And not by any amateur artist. I was made by the Master Creator. The One whose creation peaked the inspiration of our history’s greats. All art is an imitation of what God has made. The human body is a fascinating, intricate, and beautiful structure. Not only that, we, unlike the rest of creation, have the life of God in us. It says in Genesis that God breathed into Adam the breath of life (also translated souls). God filled man with a life unlike anything else given to creation.

Knowing from our very beginning that we were given such value, we also know the following because God told us so in His word and in His actions:

We have a purpose
We have a future
We will never be abandoned
And for you love addicts out there: your love story is already happening.

And when I say that, I mean: wouldn’t it be nice if a person could give us love, affection, affirmation, protection, provide for all our needs, show up at just the right time, and be completely head over heels for us? In my short life span that has been packed with dating, I can say I’ve never met someone who has met these qualifications. I don’t believe I ever will either. I think what we’re looking for is God. He has put His life into us and until we acknowledge we come from a Creator who loves us and surrender our lives to His will and His calling, we will never ever be satisfied or reach our fairy tale happy ending.

God is the absolute best fairy tale ending and better than that: He is in reality.

Wow, I got off on a tangent there. Anyways, the question! Did somebody paint that? Of course! Did somebody create this? The evidence is undeniable. True, effective healing from codependency starts with surrender to the Creator of it all: Yahweh God.

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” John 12:44-

 

Reality – Don’t Be Afraid

Reality – Don’t Be Afraid

I find that when I wake up in the morning, it’s a lot easier to get up when I feel good about the potential of the day. If there is something I’m dreading or unsure about, I am compelled to not get up.

What this does is set me back in the morning to make my day worse than I’d planned. This invariably will get me to pouting about how I want a different life where I can do what I want and get up whenever I darn well please. I’ll think about how people at work are suffocating me and I’ll lean on God to get me through the day. Get me through.

There’s the problem. Were we created to get through a day or live it to the full? If I know my scripture, I’d say no day is an accident. No day is a waste. And we have been given the gift of life, the Holy Spirit, purpose, and time.

Hitting snooze, getting through, fantasizing of escape – these are all forms of running. How tempting it is to run from a reality that we are not sure of. That we just know we are incapable of. That we believe we will be a disaster in!

But wait! There’s God. The One who gives us strength in our weakness to prove to us His existence. The One who created you with an adventure in mind. God doesn’t do boring. God doesn’t do mundane. He places freedom, opportunity, and wow into the daily.

When we run from reality and distract ourselves from the present, we do more than make it through the day. We let our lives fly past us while missing the presence of God. Know that God’s sovereignty lies in the past and in the future, but His presence is with you right here. He’s created this day for you. There is a purpose for it and you have no clue what it is yet! You may meet someone that really needs a listening ear, something may need to be organized, maybe a coworker, family member, or friends needs a silent prayer from you, or maybe God is going to throw a surprise your way that causes you to feel undeservedly blessed. Who knows, but God!

The events in our schedule, the conflicts we may potentially face, or the baffling subjects we can’t seem to master will not be faced alone. God will walk us through each minute of the day. He will give us exactly what we need to accomplish what we need to.

It’s a delight to live in the presence of God and that is what we were made for. I definitely needed this reminder because today was a snooze day for me. I have an intimidating week at work. I’ve been given responsibility for something I’ve never done before and I’m really nervous about it. However, God is in the present. I don’t have to accomplish every task in this moment (even though that’s what it feels like). I will take on this project one step at a time. One day at a time. And it will get done. By the power and grace of God it will. And I will learn new skills, tuck some experience into my resume, and get to reflect at the end of the week on how amazing God is.

What a fun time!

Moral of the story: see the presence of God in your day. Enjoy the adventure He has set up for you and take things one moment at a time. God didn’t create the world in a day. He set a pattern up for us to follow. One day at a time and rest. 🙂

Have a great day today!

 

Perfectly Imperfect – Time Change

Perfectly Imperfect – Time Change

Morning! Unless you’re in the greater area of Arizona, you are struggling with the rest of us to adjust to the time change. Now, don’t get me wrong when I use the word “struggle.” I am in love with this new hour. When I get home from work, IT’S STILL DAYLIGHT! I can take my dog for a walk and feel like we’re not walking at midnight when it’s only 7:30pm. I love the longer day. I wish it would stay this way forever… America? Please? Can this be it?

However, with my love for more daylight in the afternoon, I also “struggle” in the mornings to wake up. This is frustrating to me because finally, FINALLYYYYYY, I have been getting up between 6:00-6:10am. And I mean, it’s on the daily. It’s been wonderful. I exercise, feed the dogs, make my coffee, and have time to settle down to read and write before getting ready for work. It’s phenomenal. It’s what I’ve wanted for years and never ever been able to accomplish. I can’t tell you all just how long I’ve worked, strategized, and prayed to be able to get up at 6am. It’s been since my high school days, so we’re looking at about 15 years of attempts and failures. The last half of 2016 and the first part of 2017 have been life changers for me and waking up. I’ve been living it up in the mornings. The feeling of organization, productivity, and calm before I go to work is absolutely lovely.

Now that the time change came on Sunday, I’ve been lurched back to my old issue: I can’t get up at six! Technically, in my brain, it’s 5am! Who gets up that early? I wish I could, honestly. That wish aside, I’ve been tempted the past couple of days to focus on my failures in the morning and get discouraged. You may be dealing with the same disappointment in yourself this week. A rough morning seems to light the pathway for a rough day. It’s hard to calm down from a frantic drive to work after running around the house like a mad person to get out the door.

This morning, instead of bashing myself for waking up an hour later than intended, I had to remind myself of one truth: I am perfectly imperfect.

And so are you.

God knows we are not perfect. That’s why He sent Jesus to live a perfect life for us. If Jesus were physically here in our world, He would’ve felt the fatigue of daylight savings time, but He would’ve turned off the alarm at 6:00:00 am and got out of bed. Because He’s Jesus! But you and I are not.

Sunday, I woke up at 8:00am. Two hours late. Yikes. Monday, I got up at 7:20am. Not as bad as Sunday, but still a rush to get ready for work and out the door. Today, I got up at 7:02am. Hey, progress. And hopefully tomorrow it will be earlier. I’ve missed working out the past few days and that makes me sad, but I have to allow myself a transition period. And you need to give yourself the same grace.

Be patient with yourself and don’t beat yourself up. I’ll practice too. Together, we can get back to routine! (If you have one… and if you don’t, I highly recommend one.) 😛

If you have any suggestions for waking up on time, I would love to hear them! I’m always looking for a new strategy.

Let’s Talk About Shame, Bay-bee

I’m going to get Christian for a second, because I am a Christian, and Christians do that. Read this amazing part of Ephesians about shame:

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'”

So, first off, we have all taken part in things we shouldn’t have. It’s part of being human. If you’re like me, there are stories of things you’ve done from kindergarten up that you’d prefer be left between you and God. There are also stories of things that have been done to you by others that you would prefer to keep hidden. Why? Because it’s embarrassing! It’s shameful! And we’ve all been working pretty hard at forming a perception we’d like people to hold us in. If anyone found out about the bad stuff, well, they wouldn’t think of us the same anymore. If we begin to process the bad stuff in our lives, it might be hard to keep moving through life afterwards.

However, carrying around our shameful stories is a burden. It hinders us from truly being ourselves and liking ourselves. It holds us back from really being alive.

When we uncover and process WITH SOMEONE WE TRUST the things we have kept hidden in the dark, they become visible. You’re not the only one who knows. That thing has now officially been revealed and can no longer fester and plague you. It has gone from darkness to the light of day.

Paul wrote in Ephesians, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Christ shining on you, is you receiving life and freedom! One shameful story at a time. You were not created to walk around carrying a burden of shame. You were created to experience the joy of a life with God.

Most people choose to live in shame because it’s comfortable. Misery can become a nice companion, but it will hold you in darkness and lead you through a life of confusion and discontentment. Until we ask God for the courage to bring our stuff to light, we are walking through life dead. That’s an eery thought. I can say from experience on both sides that it’s true.

Bringing my shameful stories to light is scary and painful, but the feeling of freedom and a fresh start afterwards, is beyond expression. If there is something in your life plaguing you and holding you in darkness, bring it to the light. When it’s brought to the light, Christ will shine on you and you will be changed forever.

Fear of Success

Fear of Success

This year, my goals consist of some health things, some emotional recoveries I’d like to process, and some tangible, deadline-kind-of goals. One of my tangible goals is to get published. I’ve focused in on a family-geared book and this past weekend I handed my first draft over to someone whose opinion really matters to me. He could possibly even help me move this project forward.

When I first wrote out this goal and my first step towards making it a reality, it seemed like an awesome, bold idea. Halfway towards the weekend, it started seeming like an exhaustive project with no end. One day away from presenting my first draft to someone important… I was terrified.

Usually, I’ve sabotaged myself by then. Since I didn’t quit, a daily inner discussion with myself began about when the proper time for sabotage will be.

Is it when it comes time to print out my manuscript? Will I just not? Or will it be when I arrive to present my book? Will I keep it in my bag and pretend it never happened? Will I regret going forward with the whole thing if he looks at it with a tired expression or one of indifference? Maybe I don’t want to know what the reaction to my hard work will be to a person I highly respect that hardly knows me… Maybe this whole thing is a bad idea. I’m not a great writer anyways. Why would people want to read my stuff? Why would a publisher want to publish my stuff?

It’s all very frightening.

However, this time I knew I was different. I’d been in recovery for two years. I coached myself.

I will push through my fears and just do. Not everyone is meant to be famous but I know God made everyone with a purpose. He made everyone with gifts uniquely designed to glorify Him. Since I was a kid, I have loved reading, writing, and drawing. It’s how I express myself. I believe it’s how God has designed me to glorify and praise Him. I enjoy it and it’s come to my realization that using our gifts for God is not a suggestion but a must. He must be glorified.

Knowing that my goal was God’s glory made each action easier. It wasn’t about me. It was about Him.

The handoff of my manuscript was pretty anticlimactic — but it happened. The fact that I stuck to my goal was a huge victory for me. I’m not doing scary things in life for myself… it’s not worth it. I’m doing it for God. He gave me the gifts and He will orchestrate them to be used in His time to spread His truth to whoever needs to hear it. His truth. I live my life by it and for it. There’s nothing better.

Here’s to kicking fear of success out the window in 2017!

Stop Being an Avoidant

Happy New Year! It’s crazy that I’ve had this blog for a year – that I’ve been in recovery for another year. When I met my counselor at our first session two years ago, I wasn’t sure what she would tell me. I knew that family members had been seeing her and were transforming in ways I never thought possible. I thought I was a pretty balanced person and just needed a little fine tuning. After all, they were insane and I was merely a minor case.

Was I ever wrong! I learned I was a miserable, love addict searching for what I already had.

After the first two sessions with my counselor, I left with a light of renewed hope and a joy I never thought possible. This led me to realize I’d been miserable.

Next, I was also working towards a relationship that I had been putting all my hope in for the past year and a half. Over the next five or six crucial months, I would discover I was a love addict pursuing a love avoidant. I was stuck in an endless fearful cycle of intimacy and abandonment. I’d been on an emotional roller coaster for most of my dating life.

Through all of this, I discovered that my walk with God could be opened up into an unending supply of everything I could need. His attributes are lovely, divine, and freeing. His thoughts and feelings about me are overflowing with love, acceptance, affirmation, beauty… you name your need, He has already been providing since you were born. I was finally free.

Do you know the joy of being free? I needed to be free mainly of myself. My obsessive thinking and negative beliefs about myself and how God viewed me. Being healed of that, alone, has catapulted me into a new life that I never want to be free from. I know it’s only going to get better.

I am so grateful.

A lot of ground has been covered in a fast two years and 2017 is here. In the codependency daily devotional, Letting Go, a series of questions are presented for the New Year. One of them struck me in particular: What blocks or character defects would you like to have removed?

After having devoted two years to my love addiction recovery, this year, I would like to focus on removing my love avoidance. It’s a side of myself that has received very little attention due to my out of control love addiction. This year, it’s time to take on the avoidance. Socializing, here I come! It’s time to work through my fear of intimacy and connect… omg.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Recovering from codependency comes with a lot of discovery and freedom in new areas of life. Part of my recovery has involved surrendering my people pleasing and fear of failure when it comes to the talents God has given me. I love to write, sing, and illustrate but most of my life I’ve kept these to myself due to negative thinking and fear.

Slowly this has begun to change. I no longer want to keep my gifts to myself. It is through these gifts that God has granted me the joy to praise Him. My life’s goal is to honor God and glorify Him. One of my professors in seminary, described praise in this way, “In the Old Testament culture, the word used in place of thanks was praise. That is, one would tell another what God had done, rather than merely saying, ‘Thank You, Lord.'” (Allen, Ronald B., And I Will Praise Him, pg. 64.) When I keep my methods of praise to myself, it’s hard for it to actually be praise. No one gets to experience the goodness of God but me!

In honor of God, recovery, and challenging my fears, I’ll be adding a new category to my blog called, For the Positive Thinker. This category will help those who struggle with negative thinking to replace those false accusations with truth. Scripture memory is a good way to begin storing up truth in your mind and heart so that you’ll have an arsenal prepared when negativity starts creeping in. The way I memorize scripture is through song. I can never remember scriptures if I memorize them in spoken word. They never stick. If you have the same issue, I invite you to take the songs I post and use them to help you begin to treasure God’s word in your heart, and at times more crucially, in your mind when obsessive or negative thinking kicks in.

In the spirit of the holidays, I’m going to start this new category of the blog off with a Christmas Carol. Do You Hear What I Hear is one of my favorite carols and I think it holds relevancy to recovering codependents. The last verse of the song proclaims, “He will bring us goodness and light.” Jesus came to the world and became the light of men that shines in the darkness. Jesus is the Word. Every time you place God’s word in your memory, think about the light that is entering into your body and removing the darkness. Every day as you pursue God and place His word in your heart, you can see more and more how free you are in Him.

Enjoy and have a Merry Christmas!