I’m going to start this blog off by apologizing because I know people will get pissed off reading it & my goal certainly isn’t to offend. However, I’m learning that to be free from secrets and bondage sometimes that means you piss a few people off in the process.
I don’t deal well in the art of secrets anymore. I used too. But I’ve learned that by secret-keeping all you’re really doing is empowering the secret while your integrity, dignity & character suffer. You become someone different from who you’re meant to be, who God has meant you to be.
A small group from my church have been chosen to study Beth Moore’s Bible Study, “Breaking Free”, with the hope that we will be leaders when the study opens up to the whole church in the fall. I am so blessed and honored to have been picked to lead, but equally as frustrated because of the intensity behind the study. A few years of counseling has never brought up such hard issues & made me think & re-evaluate so many memories & decisions as the past 4 weeks of this study has (with 6 more weeks to go! Lord, give me strength :). The Bible Study is about breaking free from bondage, chains, anything that is holding you back from being all that God has intended you to be in Him.
Without giving away too much, because I know several of you will take this study in the fall (which I highly & immensely recommend!), we just finished the week on recognizing & starting to re-build generational ruins (bondage); meaning some of your “issues” might be “issues” that first started long before you even placed a baby foot on this planet. It required you to trace back traits, both positive & negative, from your parents & grandparents and recognize how they’re affecting you now.
In some ways the negatives rolled out quicker than the positives, in other ways, the opposite. I come from a direct line of stubborn, strong, opinionated, hard-headed women. But in that line you can also see we all possess major control issues & we all struggle with food addiction. While it’s no secret that all us woman, genetically, are built with thicker frames & hips, none of us can turn down a doughnut either (well, let’s face it…apple fritters are pretty impossible to say “no” too!). I don’t know the type of person my great-grandparents were (they passed before I was born), from what little I’ve been told my great-grandfather was abusive & my great-grandmother struggled with her weight, as well as, her nerves (as my grandmother once told me, “my mom was crazy”). It comes as no surprise to me that my grandma, her sisters (and many of her brothers) also struggle with the same issues of weight. In turn, my mom, myself & many of my extended cousins also struggle too. And while I won’t speak for anyone but myself on the craziness issues, but I certainly struggle with having high-strung, hot-tempered nerves.
I recognize that this isn’t an excuse, but it does give me some validity on understanding “why” some of my baggage seems so heavy…they’ve been carry-on’s for generations!
I’ve dealt (dealing) with some childhood abuse. It’s something that I kept secret & quiet about for so long that at times I even questioned whether or not it had really happened. I know now with absolute certainty (thanks to a Christian counselor, my family & close friends to discuss things through with) that the events locked hidden for so long did, in fact, really happen. I’ve come to the point where I can freely talking about this without feeling the guilt or shame that I associated with it for so long. This was not an easy process to get to the point where I would admit it happened, let alone talk about it with others. I’ve come to recognize that I cannot change the past (nor in some ways do I want too), but my future can be different & I can feel the chains I’ve carried around for so long dissolving. You’ve heard the saying, “Life isn’t always fair, but God is always good” well that’s true, even though this event happened to me I’m so thankful that my mom bought me my first “diary” at 5yrs old & I’ve been a diligent journaler ever since. Looking back through those journals, at my own words, have been so instrumental at understanding & healing from some behavior that I didn’t recognize or understand where it evolved from.
You don’t have to hold a psychology degree to look at my life & realize there’s some “junk” there. I have the world’s greatest examples of men in my life; I have the type of grandfathers, uncles, a dad & brothers that all girls should have-loving, trustworthy, hard-working, Godly men. But outside of my family I have a distrust of men. I’m 32 & I’ve never had a “normal” relationship. If things got to serious…I bailed. Or my relationships were “safe”; long-distance, built on lies, manipulations, false promises & unfaithfulness. I was never one for commitments & friends/family used to tease me that I ended things around the 1-month mark. My family has met very, very few of the guys I was involved with & I was always protective of keeping those two things separate. It was personal space I didn’t want invaded. Not anything against my family, I have the best family EVER, but because I knew the relationship wouldn’t last. Weird, off-the-wall stuff that doesn’t make sense to anyone unless you’ve had some sort of dysfunction.
God in his infinite graciousness brought me to the point, 3yrs ago, where “enough is enough” & He started weeding through some of these childhood issues; making me face things that I had kept chained & hidden for so long. It has certainly not been easy, in fact these last few years have been the hardest years that I’ve ever faced! Heavy emotional, mental, spiritual, financial, personal losses that, at times, I almost wished for my (easier) chained up life back! But He continues to keep plugging away at me, working in me, because He knows something is in my future far greater than anything I can see yet!
I can look back, generationally, and see how the woman in my family have used food as a crutch…an addiction. Now I’m not saying that all my female relatives have the same issues that I had (have) but what I am saying is that I have noticed a pattern…we are a family that turns to food to ease “issues”. Un-healthy eating habits have been passed down from generation to generation & that has become our crutch.
Although, I didn’t recognize how heavy the food-baggage was several months ago when I began living a healthier lifestyle, everything does get revealed in God’s timing. I tend to like my plate full (pun intended) & I think if this information had come to me when I first started throwing myself into a natural, clean-eating lifestyle…it would’ve overwhelmed me more than I already was! It would’ve been too much for me to process & I would’ve crashed & burned. Instead its come to me almost a year later when I’m settled into a routine & can process weeding through & changing some of this generational baggage.
I’ve been praying, for a long time, to break free from the guilt that I’ve felt over past decisions I’ve made. Even before I knew this Bible Study existed I prayed to break free from addictions, thoughts, & behaviors that felt out of my control. I’ve since lost 70#’s (so close to 80 I can almost taste it…and it tastes gooooood!). And I’ve done it without the help of surgery, pills, “diets” or starving myself. I’ve done it through prayer, remaining faithful (even when I haven’t wanted too), obedience, hard-work & by choosing to make healthier, better decisions. You can pray for willpower, strength, & “please Lord make this cookie taste awful so I don’t want to eat it” all you want, but in the end the choice is left up to you. God gave us free-will so we can choose to hold up our end of the bargain by putting that cookie down, so we can trust that He will hold up his by helping us shed those pounds & giving us healthier, longer, sexier, rock-that-bathing-suit-OUT-lives! That’s not saying you need to feel guilty about eating a bowl of ice cream for dinner, but when you feel like your train is de-railing (Norfolk Southern style…shoutout to my train-conductor little brother!), its time to alter your decisions & get back on track.
I really pray that God’s plan for my life includes marriage & a family because it is something I desire. It’s also an area that I show the least amount of faith & trust in. I’ve prayed that my unbelief turn to faith, but I struggle with the negative, “It’s never going to happen” thoughts that creep into my mind. This is something I’m working through with God. While I do recognize that God is working on some of my “stuff” before I can work through the “relationship” stuff that can lead to a white dress (okay, maybe not white), I’m only human & I want things when I want them & not on anyone else’s timetable. Fortunately I do realize that when I try to control things, this has proven to be disastrous in the past & I’m (stubbornly…kicking & screaming) taking a backseat on this journey.
It’s okay to be broken, we all are. Being broken makes you interesting. People can’t relate to those that haven’t walked down a broken path. What is not okay is to be in bondage, chained, slaved. God can use broken, He’s used it over & over again in countless ways to heal & reach out to others. What he can’t use is chained. He can’t use what is unwilling to be acknowledged. Even if it’s brought to him kicking, screaming & fighting (as was my case), once its brought before him, let him work. It sucks, sometimes it sucks more than the bondage…but hang in there.
Do you really want to carry your bondage around another day? Isn’t it great to think that you can be the one to change your generational “issues” for the thousands of descendants that will be free because of YOU & your bravery to face them!
“They will rebuild the aincent ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations” -Isaiah 61:4-