Friday, August 6, 2010

It's Been a Good Journey Thus Far

A light-hearted game with some mama friends reminded me of just how much I've grown emotionally and spiritually.  Smooth sailing doesn't usually stimulate growth and, I have to say, my journey is still taking place on a road that is littered with bumps and pits.  But I've continued traveling on this road because I've come to love the journey.  It's what makes me who I am today.  Years from now, when I'm at my final destination, I want to look back on this bumpy road with fondness and appreciation.  You see, this journey is my life. 

It might be the understatement of the century to say that my very early childhood wasn't all that great.  I believe that a lot of personality is shaped in the first few years of a child's life.  I think that it definitely shaped the course of my life.

I used to be so tightly wound and my emotions were so repressed that I would periodically explode in fury.  I was impossibly uptight about my body and it's natural functions.  I was painfully shy around all but the closest of friends.  My secrets were a constant and gritty irritation to my soul. Instead of creating a pearl, keeping secrets created a weeping wound that would not, could not, heal.  I never felt comfortable being who I was.  Ever.  I was a young woman who desperately needed to be set free.

I tried many things to turn myself loose.  Plenty of hard living, thousands upon thousands of dollars in therapy, countless prescription medications.  Nothing worked for very long.  I went to bed many nights longing to not wake come morning.  My life didn't feel like a gift, it felt like a curse.  I was young, but I was old. . .jaded.  I was miserable and, though I stayed busy, I wasn't truly living.

I wasn't raised in a religious household and, as I aged, I dabbled in a variety of different religions and philosophical thought.  I delighted in learning because I was seeking.  Indeed, the tattoo that I got was related to one lengthy phase I went through with a particular group.  That foolishness cost me over $1,000 and one year of laser treatments to remove.  I hope you'll never know the horrible smell of your own flesh burning and that's to say nothing of the pain.  I found it far more painful to remove a tattoo than to get one in the first place.

I belonged to organizations that believe in "God," but they weren't Christian organizations.  I guess my parents probably think they raised me in a Christian household, but all I knew about Jesus is that he was why we celebrate Christmas.  I knew nothing about the main point of the Bible:  Man's Redemption and God's Agape Love, both through Christ.

I was antagonistic toward Christianity for many years, but I converted in my mid-20s.  My best friend, rest her beautiful soul, was very instrumental in bringing me to Christ.  I expect that I'll make a post about my conversion one day, but it involves an extraordinarily painful event that I generally can't bring myself to put into words.

Accepting Christ in my heart didn't make my problems disappear overnight, but I was finally freed.  Guilt, shame, and anger were lifted from my heart.  Even hate, and I had a burning hate, was removed.  My spirit was bathed with the Living Water and made white as snow.  I'm not saying that I've never suffered with depressive periods since my conversion, but I am saying that I have never been alone as I've struggled.

I'd guess that the transition to adulthood is hard for anyone, but my late teens and early-20s were a strange and difficult time.  I was spiritually adrift and I think that made my emotional wounds fester unchecked.  Being anchored to God is what ultimately healed me more than any other course of action.

I've learned to like myself, just as I am.  I'm not saying that I'm so great, far from it, but I am saying that I'm comfortable in my own skin these days.  Some might say that I'm altogether too comfortable in my own skin - ha. 

My journey has included unexpected turns and a lot of road work, but I am sure enjoying this trip!  I'm eager to see what lies beyond this upcoming bend. . .

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