Better late than ugly.
Good things take time.
Call it what you want. I’m always late.
We’ve been talking about freshening up for a while now, and I’m just now starting. I have a confession. I just took my Christmas tree down. March 30th to be exact. Go ahead and judge me. I deserve it. I’m ashamed. I’m late to the “FRESH” game, but I’m finally here and coming in HOT!
In my first attempt to freshen up, I chose to reorganize a hoarder-approved craft closet. That’s when I noticed a box tucked away on the top shelf. I recognized the tacky, leopard-print fabric and gold, zippered lid that stood between today and our old life. I pulled it down and decided to go through it. [This, my friends, is called intentional distraction procrastination.] This box is the home to our wedding vows, hospital bracelets from our children’s births, photo books, and many other small, sentimental items. Inside that box, time stood still. As I sorted through the photos, I felt sorry for the girl in the pictures. She was completely unaware of the storms she’d soon go through. That pity quickly turned to envy as I looked at how in shape I was back then.
Look at those tiny thighs! I can’t believe I used to think I was fat. [Insert eye roll here.]
How did I find time to look so put together with two babies at home?
It seemed like these pictures were taken a lifetime ago. That girl wasn’t me anymore. She was someone I used to know.
The storms we go through change us. They’re supposed to.
Our exterior may or may not remain the same, but our interior will undoubtedly shift. While change is imminent, it’s the condition of our heart that determines HOW the storm changes us.
When the winds calm and the waters recede, we assess the damage. This is where our recovery starts. I classify damage into scars, scrapes and open wounds. The scars are a reminder of where we’ve been and wounds that have already healed. Scrapes are the sores that haven’t healed but are being treated. The open wounds are the deep, raw issues that still hurt too much to touch. Something that seems like a scrape or a scar can turn into an open wound if we don’t tend to it properly. And what about the injuries we don’t even know about yet that will show up years down the road? Because we live in a broken world, we’ll always need God’s healing.
Experiencing any kind of trauma is going to involve a period of recovery, whether its five minutes or five years. God will reveal the areas in our life that need forgiveness.
CHOOSE TO HEAL
Sometimes we hang on to hurts. It may be because we’re using the hurt as a weapon to manipulate whoever hurt us. It could also be because we find comfort in the hurt. It sounds crazy, but it’s really not. We get used to being hurt, especially if you have an addicted loved one, so not being hurt feels strange, kind of like being naked.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
-Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
DON’T TALK IT TO DEATH
Bringing up the same issues repeatedly needs to be avoided. It’s never going to heal if you don’t stop touching it, and it’s probably going to get infected. We can discuss a situation too much, especially when we feel like we’ve been treated unfairly. Over-talking a situation won’t make you feel better, and chances are it will bring more injuries to the surface that you aren’t ready to deal with yet. Typically, this is done when we are trying to find our healing in other people. Charles Spurgeon said, “There are many kinds of broken hearts, and Christ is good at healing them all.” When we look to anyone else, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
FORFEIT THE BLAME GAME
If your loved one had an addiction, they undoubtedly made countless poor decisions. While he may have brought addiction or some other problem into reality, those new ten pounds jiggling on your rear weren’t his doing. (Sure they were. He made me sad. When I’m sad, I eat cake.) What about the way you reacted because he didn’t make the kids lunch for the hundredth time? Nope. Sorry, sister. Your reaction is all you. During our loved ones addiction, it becomes habit to blame them for everything.
“So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land.”
-Isaiah 43:18-19 (ERV)
We can blame them all day for the way their addiction affected us, but how is that going to help? It’s not. Living in the past isn’t going to change the present.
STOP BEING A VICTIM
If you’ve been involved with someone that struggles with addiction, you’ve been hurt and treated badly. You can choose to be a victim, or you can choose to be an overcomer. Personally, I hate to know that someone feels sorry for me (probably a pride issue I need to deal with), but when it comes to someone that’s hurt us, it’s easy to use it as a weapon. It might make us feel better in the moment, but it’s a sin. The same sin we condemned our loved one for… manipulation.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
-Romans 8:37 (NIV)
The person who hurt you can’t heal you. We can’t look to someone else that is broken and expect them to make it all better. [For example, would you want a broken pacemaker? Didn’t think so.] It makes no sense, but we do it. The hurt, anger and resentment you feel towards the person that hurt you are yours. God knows the state of your heart more than anyone else ever could, and He’s the only one that can mend it.
Just like loving someone that struggles with addiction, recovery also does something to a person.
It changes us. It’s supposed to. And if we depend on God for our healing, we’re going to succeed. Some things won’t change. I’m still probably always going to be late for everything, and I’ll worry about the procrastination later. But you know what, I’m okay with that. I’ve got scars all over me that remind me to appreciate where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. Additionally, those scars symbolize a renewed, strengthened faith.
Are you traveling down your own recovery path? If so, are there any areas in your life that are blocking the way? Share them in the comments!