The timing of walking into the “Journey Within” has been the result of a perfect storm, so to speak.
I had been on a slow journey over several years that got ramped up when, 18 months ago, I was loving confronted with my weight being a result of a food addiction.
Ouch!! My favorite source of numbing myself was now the source of pain.
The next week I had thoughts like, “Wine would be good with that meal.” or “A margarita sounds nice.” You should know that post my senior year in high school, alcohol has not been a regular part of my life style. These were unusual thoughts, but exposed my addiction’s drive to land somewhere if not food. Yuck. Uncomfortable. Set it aside.
Seven months pass and I knew I had to begin to address this drive that is damaging me physically, spiritually and relationally. In January, I started attending Celebrate Recovery (CR) meetings. I heard the testimonies regularly and kept waiting for someone to tell me how to walk out sobriety for a food addiction. I was told no one would, it is up to me to discern from God. I kept attending the meetings, waiting for a Women’s Step Study (SS) to start again- that didn’t happen until May. (BTW a year from the addiction confrontation. AND I won’t complete the SS it until December… I went in thinking, “Twelve Steps, twelve weeks. Right?” LOL)
In between times, I heard about and began attending a small group study called Mending the Soul (MTS). In this study the emotions that had laid dormant for so long began to be called back to life. I learned that feeling my own pain instead of numbing it allows for true healing to begin. As a result my emotional capacity expanded and allowed me to empathize to a greater level with those I love as they express pain. I learned that the numbing techniques used to get through a given situation had been held on to as a solution to each time I felt pain or thought I would feel pain. These very techniques that where needed to help me in a season where now hurting me and others around me. I ended this powerful experience of MTS the end of June with my heart more open and alive than it had been in years.
Early July had our family enjoying the beauty and cooler temps of Colorado. While driving from Creed to Lake City, I had a picture of myself in my current physical condition when another me stepped out of that body in my natural God given shape. The me in that stepped out looked at the me in my current state and instead of all the negative, judgmental, and condemning thoughts that usually occur, I saw a woman in pain and hurting and my heart broke for her. My heart broke for myself. For maybe the first time, I had compassion for myself and my heart wept.
Shortly after getting back in town, I get an email from a friend telling me of a book/ 30 day study* she is doing that she thought I would really enjoy. Trusting her I ordered the book. Two weeks later I took the time to begin to read it. Oh. My. Gosh. My world completely changed! Between the intro and the first day, I encounter grace and left behind law. At the time I thought I was leaving behind the trappings of diet rules, but it was so much more.
In the same way an oil spill is not easily contained to one area, I have found the grace I found in “freedom from food rules” was not going to be contained to just how I ate, thought and interacted with food. I spilled all over my heart. I saw myself with out condemning thoughts. I interacted with others without being defensive. I saw my sin in its full on ugliness and came to a deep gratitude for the price paid for me to walk in forgiveness. It was and is humbling. It brought and brings up an emotional depth of love and appreciation for Jesus I never knew before. This is were He meet me and surrounded me with grace to let go of being the source of my own answers and turn to Him as my source to guide and walk out each day- many times each moment of each day. What I had been doing wasn’t working and wasn’t ever going to work. But His ways are perfect and there for the taking when my heart was clear to hear.
A few days into walking in grace and no longer self-sourcing, I was driving to a CR meeting and asking about when I would know what my sobriety was going to be defined for me (food is not as “simple” as stopping a substance or habit, as it is needed to live), when I heard, “You are already walking in it and have been for 10 days.” I was walking in sobriety!!! For me sobriety is not over eating while no longer being bound to the law of diets. It is the grace of letting my perfectly designed body operate in its intended ways.
I have continued to walk in this sobriety and grace. It is not that character issues have not risen to meet me square in the face, but that God has prepared me to cooperate the best I can and better than I ever thought I would be able to. I have to look at things about myself that are humiliating. But that is were I meet Jesus again and he continues to sustain me. (James 4:5-6) There is nothing that I am now seeing in myself that He didn’t already know. He not only knows it but has a plan that overcomes it (Psalm 139:1-6).
Since June 27, 2013 nothing has been the same for me. Chains where broken. My mind renewed. True healing started. Promises are rising and being not only sustained but fulfilled. This is not a plan just for me, but anyone who reaches out. God’s love called me and when I was at a point where the relief of no longer doing it myself was greater than striving to get it right on my own strength, I walked into the “Journey Within” not knowing it was the freedom and grace I had been hungering for all along.
I am not sure how to close this, except to say my heart sings with gratitude of all that has been done for me and all am walking in… I desire the same for you. Each path will be different. Thanks for reading about mine.
*Thin Within by Judy & Arthur Halliday- available through Amazon and through Passages Bookstore on the Gateway Church Southlake Campus.