Not the Boss of Me!
I've avoided this post for five days. I have no obligation to write, no timeline or deadline. I set low expectations when I started this blog. I never wanted to write because I had to. I wanted to write when I wanted to. I only post when something is feeling significant, heavy. I think and pray about it for days. Even when I finally start typing, I have no idea what will happen. If I'll even finish. I've known since Thursday I needed to post about fear. The fear of writing about fear has me paralyzed - almost to the point of nauseum.
Wednesday night was wild. Carl and I were asked to share at our church, the lessons we've learned, and the blessings that have come, from the last six months. We spoke for almost a half an hour. For 25 minutes after, we answered questions about recognizing addiction and supporting those afflicted. Neither one of us really knew what to expect. We hadn't planned our "presentation." We simply shared our hearts. The results were overwhelming. I experienced two of my worst nightmares in the same hour. I cried publicly. Then, I was asked to pray...aloud...for the whole church.
I do not recall everything I said when I prayed. I wasn't prepared. Pastor asked me on the spot. I do remember asking God to bring comfort and direction to those struggling. I asked Him to relieve the fear they undoubtedly felt in exposing such adversity. I left that night emotionally drained, but fulfilled. I was overwhelmed, but content.
Then Thursday came.
Through texts, calls and social media, Carl and I both received praise for our transparency. Affirmation of our obedience. Appreciation for our humility. Even encouragement to share more.
After all of that positive feedback, why did I begin to doubt? I'd already shared the story of my alcoholism and steps in recovery to our whole congregation back in November. Eight weeks have passed since that first confession. I've received so many compliments. Complete strangers have expressed shear disbelief that I could get up in front of that many people and expose such transgression. It didn't bother me then.
Why am I freaking out now?!
All of a sudden, I've become hypersensitive to who knows. What about all of my former co-workers? Parents of the kids' friends? Their teachers? My neighbors? Carl's co-workers? My church has embraced me, even commended my courage. I know people there who work where I use to work, live in my community. Certainly my "secret" has spread further than I know. I was aware of that before I even came forward. It didn't intimidate me then.
Why am I second guessing now?
When I started this blog, I felt so strong. So proud. I wanted to share my story with others. I wanted to give God the glory for rescuing me from all of the "yets" my disease promises. I'll never have enough ways to express how blessed I am to have experienced the rewards of recovery without former consequences overshadowing the pure joy I've discovered.
Since I've come home from Tennessee, I've felt more empowered than ever. I'm more confident. I am passionate about bringing awareness to others...especially women. I get emotional when I consider all that my children are learning through my experience. I feel, for the first time, that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Something important.
I want to teach about this disease, through my experiences.
I want to share visions of the strength that comes through battling and overcoming addiction.
But most importantly, I want to offer hope. Hope that can only be found in the God that can save, rescue, redeem and deliver. Regardless of the circumstances or environments that surround us, He can. Despite any choices we have made or tragedies that have happened, He want to.
This disease doesn't discriminate. My God doesn't either.
I don't want to self-promote. I don't need the praise or recognition. I just want these words to inspire or encourage someone else. I want to share what I've been given. I want to introduce people to the God I met a few months ago. I want to repeat the conversations we're having. I'm in the first few months of a brand new relationship and I want to talk about it all the time!
I'm scared that when sending this link to friends, they think I'm just looking for attention. I'm afraid that anyone who hears or reads my request to "follow" will only read once. I'm fearful I'll lose the excitement to keep writing if no one is reading. I worry people will judge, criticize or worse...dismiss it altogether.
I realize that I'm contradicting myself. I was originally worried about people knowing and now I'm worried enough people won't! Then I realize I'm "stuck in my own head." Here is where I forget about Him. Any issue with me and my thoughts battling at the center is too chaotic for God. He is peace and love. Comfort and support. Not worry, anxiety or stress!
I am not in control. He is.
I don't save me from myself. He does.
I can't orchestrate who knows, and thinks what, or who cares about my journey. That's His job.
All I can do is follow what I'm learning from Him through this thorn. If it wasn't for my alcoholism and the pain it's caused me, I wouldn't have learned this valuable lesson: "I am powerless over alcohol and my life had become unmanageable."
Upon willfully agreeing to the simple language of the first step in my job of recovering, I was offered a more comprehensive version. Billy Best, co-owner and founder of Mary's Place in Tennessee, shared the systemic vision for my whole company: "You can't be in charge of your life! You're driving it into spiritual bankruptcy. It's time to fire yourself and find a new General Manager!"
Let go and let God.
With that submission, that little admission of TRUST, I'm excused. What relief! I can pass it all off to management and clock out:)