In many ways, I am writing to myself.
These are the words I need. The words that bring some healing and permission to my heart. My prayer is that they do the same for you.
Today might not be the day that you need these words. That’s okay. I’d just encourage you to save this post for a day when your internal world feels stormy. Bookmark it, Pin it, email it to yourself, whatever your system is.
And if today is a day where your heart is frustrated and the progress is gone and your mind is stuck? Then you’re in the right place.
A little backstory: I’ve struggled with occasional mental health challenges since I was a child. Some of it was totally on a “normal” spectrum and other seasons landed me in doctor’s offices. Coming from a family that struggles with depression and anxiety; I know that good mental health needs to be a priority in my life because it’s easy to slip into familiar self-destructive patterns.
When my parents divorced begun last fall, I was in the middle of the busiest season I’d ever experienced. There was barely room in my life to function, let alone come to terms with my emotions. In the chaos, I threw myself into helping. I started a new relationship. I grew my business.
What I didn’t do was properly grieve.
As grief always does, it caught up with me.
The pent-up pain overflowed into my tendency towards depression and anxiety. Pair that with new birth control medication and I was having near panic attacks from going to Target. This fall and early winter was full of breakdowns and overwhelm.
Just as what leads to us being unhealthy can be many things, what leads to healing tends to be many factors. I got some inner healing through HeartSync, I went off social media for a month, I spent time writing, I read books, I rested more… all I know is that for weeks, it’s felt like I’m back to a healthy and whole self.
Then yesterday hit.
I was reading a magazine of inspiring home decor and anger started to boil up in my heart in a way I’m not quite used to. I’m angry for having too much clutter and not cleaning my stupid office. I’m angry that I don’t have even ONE nice furniture staple piece. I’m angry that we are still living like broke college kids. I’m angry that I’m not making more money. I’m angry that I don’t live up to my own expectations of what a wife is like.
I was just plain pissed. Not at Caleb or anyone else around me, but at myself and at life in general. This spiraled into a crappy day with breakdowns and moments of feeling like I was just spinning out of control.
Finally, after completely losing it, Caleb requested that I lay on my bed without my phone and talk to Jesus about it. He brought me tea and a candle. I was left with my thoughts and my books. Jesus met me in my mess, lifted my chin, and reminded me that he was never afraid to be with me and walk with me through the woods.
Healing in a process. And sometimes it feels freaking long and doesn’t follow your timeline. Sometimes you’ll find deeper layers of hurt, pain, and brokenness once you deal with the surface level junk. Those layers aren’t being revealed for your destruction but your wholeness.
“Pain’s main function is to alert your focus to the real problem, or wound, betrayal, or hurt.” – Christa Black Gifford
Pain is an invitation for healing. We don’t glorify or celebrate pain, but I think it’s important that we honor the place that it has in our lives. It’s a sign that points to a problem.
There are roots and triggers to our pain that must be addressed if we don’t want to keep returning to the same place of heartbreak. We don’t need to speed through this process. There’s no need to rush. This isn’t about a quick fix. This isn’t about getting you to a place so you can function and be a good little worker bee in society.
This is about your healing and your wholeness. This is about you thriving in any situation. This is about you living out the abundant life that Jesus already purchased for you as a free gift. This is about your victory and your destiny.
I want quick results as much as the next person. I have a tendency to be a little impatient (cue Caleb laughing at the word little). But in this place, we need to lean in instead of running away.
Supernatural and sudden healing is great. Those moments are often part of the process. The problem is, if we learn to only rely on the big and the dramatic, we will miss the daily small steps that it takes to walk out our healing. Jesus loves to come in with a dramatic rescue, but Jesus also loves to walk with us.
Don’t forget the walking, dear one.
Don’t forget that in every great story about a quest, there’s a few unexpected sidesteps and obstacles along the way.
Don’t forget that the process is the promise.
That might be a fuzzy term for you so I’ll break it down: the process, the daily life and the “figuring it out” and becoming, that is actually where we learn and experience the promises of God. It’s a phrase I stole from Havilah Cunnington. It pushes me past my ambition that always wants to get somewhere and instead forces me to be somewhere.
To be in our pain is brave.
To sit in the silence and let the emotions be felt, that is brave.
To learn how to go to Jesus, to be still and let him fight for you, that is brave.
To pick yourself up when you’ve fallen apart, to consciously choose truth over lies even when it does not feel real, that is brave.
No, we aren’t staying here forever.
That’s the fear, isn’t it? That if we allow grief or pain into our heart that it’ll eat us alive and we’ll be stuck. That’s my fear.
In my life, I have this really destructive pattern that I’m trying to break. Step 1: I go way too hard, bite off more than I can chew, and am terribly overambitious with what I commit to. Step 2: I crash. Completely and entirely wind up a mess. My health, my relationships, my emotions – they burn out and I struggle to function. Step 3: I heal just enough to function again. I deal with the surface level struggles and regain energy. Step 4: repeat.
When I saw this, I realized that this is not how I want to live my life. Nope.
This is where I stand: realizing that yes, I have experienced major healing in my life over the last several months and yes, I still have more healing to come.
One of my dreams is to lead people through healing and into greater dreaming. The cry of my heart is the connection that there is between healing and dreaming. When we heal, we are freer to dream. When we dream, something in our spirit heals. Those making the biggest impacts in the world (that is sustainable) have also done some of the deepest healing in their own hearts. The two cannot be separated.
Days like yesterday remind me that I cannot lead others where I’m not willing to go myself.
How about you? Are you going to run away from the pain or are you going to face it head on?