Last week I departed on a journey. A four day journey invested in my heart and soul. One that I hoped would lead me to clarity. My goal on this journey was to finally put to rest a haunting past and frame a future infused with purpose.
Why would I take on so much in such a short time? Because I HAD to do it. My past was haunting me more that I wanted to admit, more than I really understood it to be. Failed marriages, failed relationships, lies, infidelities, trauma. These experiences lead me to learn very early in life that I couldn’t trust anyone. Add this perceived truth to the mistakes made in a young adults life, my life, and I began to believe that not only could I not trust anyone, but I myself, was not to be trusted.
Just imagine the emotional weight that a heart will bear believing those 2 perceived truths. Keep in mind, that reality is all based on perception. Your reality differs greatly from mine just because of the lens with which we view life is different. And while I certainly did trust some people in my life, it was always a battle between my heart and my head and some underlying semi-conscience that always made me doubt, always made me second guess, always gnawed at me with worry.
I learned over the years to quiet this noise and exude a level of confidence that would pass as narcissistic in some crowds. I honed my skills of creating the facade of a confident capable strong woman who could take on the world single-handedly. And there is a part of me that believed that I could. Maybe from the aspect of being a mom or if I was in a program manger role in my career. I know that I do those things very well. But we are not speaking of the fragments of someones life. We are taking in to account the whole of the persons life. Family, career, relationships, friendships, spiritual well-being… all of the above. This was not within my grasp 100% especially if you put them all together. And yet, that is exactly what the world delivered to me – the challenge of taking it on single-handedly with toddler twins and no career or even glimpse of one. It was this situation, as I have written about before, that made me realize I had an opportunity to make the second half of my life better than the first with purpose and meaning and joy and love in ways I had never dreamed.
But a semi-confident, partially strong, kind of focused woman will not accomplish much. Could I muddle through this life? Yes. But am I just supposed to muddle? Don’t we have a greater responsibility to God, to ourselves and to our children to take on our calling with passion and joy? Yes, I believe we do. But to achieve this I had to deal with my trust issues. This is the enemy that I HAD to fight. One can not build a future filled with purpose and joy if there is always doubt and worry. They do not operate in the same arena. Self-doubt and worry stimulate fear, which drives poor decision making. This was one of my demons to face.
Why just one of the demons? Well, because just like where there is smoke there is fire, so to, where there are trust issues there is guilt, another demon. As mistakes are made, guilt racks up a balance. Guilt for my sins, my mistakes. Without forgiveness of these transgressions there can be no freedom to open up my life to new opportunity and experience.
Guilt wears on you. It weighs on your heart and your mind like an anchor pulling you down, eventually pulling you under. But as a Christian, I know I have forgiveness. Yes, intellectually, I am aware of that fact. But spiritually, emotionally this becomes a never ending circle of trusting that I am forgiven.
So, how does one deal with demons? Face them head on is the only way I know. My biggest fear is being alone. I hate it. I avoid it. I think a lot of us do. Many will say they spend plenty of time alone, they really enjoy it. But I’m speaking in the truest sense of the word. No music, no tv, no cell phone, no internet, no i-anything, no noise, no conversations, no distraction between you and your demons. Just thinking about it brings up fears and anxiety that produces complete physical reactions. My heart races. I get jumpy, nervous, and restless.
But I viewed this as I viewed running in March. I always hated running, I avoided it. Yet, I knew there were proven benefits both physically and psychologically of running. So I ran. In this case, I hated being alone in silence and solitude. I avoided it. Yet, I knew that coming out on the other side there would be benefits. Maybe I didn’t understand them today, but I would realized them in the near future.
Thus, for 4 days, that was my goal: turn off the world, go find God on a beach in Florida and find my way. And I did just that…
More to follow this week.
What are your demons? How do you face them?