“Do you want to ruin everything?”
It was a phrase that I had grown quite familiar with hearing. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, there were simply too many things I needed to do. How can I do everything with no help? The answer. Figure it out.
The pang of fear hit as the sound of text on my phone dinged. I was so tired of failing. So tired of being worthless. It wasn’t for a lack of natural talent, or an ability to lead. So then what was the problem? Well if you asked anyone else, they could probably give you a list.
“You are terrible at managing your time.”
“You don’t have a degree.”
“You are letting distraction disrupt your day.”
“You need to lose weight, you have to be skinny to represent us properly.”
Anyone who has undergone any amount of emotional abuse in their lives from someone who sees them as a hinderance and not a blessing knows that most days you are just running to catch up. The praise is few and far between for your accomplishments and the admonishing is freely given. No feedback sandwiches here. I believed every word. Maybe if I just read more self help books, prayed more, studied more and tried harder I could do a better job. I loved all that I was doing, I just couldn’t seem to efficiently do it all.
The effects of this type of abuse are long-lasting and take time to undo. Have you ever felt a pang of fear when a certain text tone popped up? Or someone’s name in the “from” on an email. This PTSD response to the stimulus that once caused stress can be the hardest to find relief from. The saying, “Hurt people, hurt people.” It is true, and the rescuer in me thought I could help. It turns out that you are more likely to be pulled from the ship into the waters that to pull out the person who is intent on drowning but is more than willing to bring you along.
Have you ever felt beaten down? Abandoned? Made to feel incompetent or worthless? Each of us at some point will go through some form of these feelings. Whether we inflict them on ourselves or they are inflicted by someone else.
Most days, I would stare blankly at my computer screen, my home office deadly still and quiet, just waiting for a moment where I felt like I could try to conquer the day. Then it happened.
One day, while tirelessly working on a project, God poured out His grace and peace. It was as if I could hear Him say, “My daughter, you are so much more than this. It is time for you to break free from lies and seek my truth.”
The first day of peace in several years. There is an amazing thing about peace. Once you have it, you are unwilling to lose the feeling. It is tangible and it fills a thirst and a hunger nothing else in life can give. I began drawing boundary lines, creating space in my life for my God who belonged there. No more false idols, no more hoping and praying that God would help me and then not making time for Him or listening to His instruction.
Peace is priceless. Now peace doesn’t come without pain. It isn’t the absence of conflict. It is the understanding that we are not in our own hands but in His.
To find my way back to who God created me to be meant burning the bridge I was standing on and walking through the fires. It would hurt, and it would be a long journey, but I had the promise that if I let God take me by the hand, He would not let the flames singe me. I would not smell of smoke and the most important of all of these is that He would not let me walk alone.
Sometimes our enemy isn’t a person. Sometimes it is our own self-talk that drags us into self-loathing and self-deprecation. Those moments are when we can stop ourselves and work to create better habits for ourselves. We are so much more than the world, or our inner monologue tells us. And when we realize that truth, we will know that everything negative that was spoken against us was all a lie.