The Next Step

Somehow, I thought I would get to a point where doing a full inventory would be easy. I’m in my fourth step study now, and I am beginning to realize how much my previous studies have just scratched the surface of my pain. I know, because I’ve done this a few times now, that I needed to deal with the more surface-level stuff in order to build capacity to process through the deeper things. A lot has been gained from working through those hurts. In finding freedom from those, I have realized that freedom is possible, that Father is more than willing to meet me here in my pain and heal it, and I have found Him to be utterly trustworthy. There is not a pain He has taken me through the process of healing that He has not given abundant freedom and wholeness through the journey. And yet, here I stand at the brink of digging a little deeper into my pain and realizing I am still balking at taking the next step. I know from past experience that I won’t go through it alone. I know that there is abundant healing on the other side. I know that once I take a look at it, it will cease to hold the same fear it holds right now. And yet…I still hesitate.

My life looks very different now than those first days of recovery back in 2018. At that time, I could barely make myself get off my couch to wash a load of clothes or cook dinner. The weight of my pain was so burdensome, I could barely function. But I was desperate, so I took those first few steps. I opened up the heart I had shut long ago to avoid the pain and started letting it out, little by little. What I found was freedom. I was afraid I would drown in pain, but I actually experienced a lightening of the load. I have felt that buoyancy two other times since then. When I started my previous step study, I stood at the brink of inventory with the same fear, that I would drown. I didn’t. Three times now I have done this. So, why am I struggling again to embrace the process, knowing what the end result will be? Part of it IS the change in my life. When I worked my first two step studies, that was all I had to do. I had no other work but me. I have often said I do not know how people go through recovery and work a full-time job at the same time. The emotional work is exhausting. I guess that sounds discouraging, doesn’t it? I don’t mean it to. I’m just committed to being honest. Recovery takes WORK! It is hard! But it is so worth it because the benefits are innumerable. During my last step study I was a leader in CR and in the step study, so there was a little more responsibility. I made it through then, so there is no reason to think I won’t this time, even though my responsibilities have magnified. I am realizing there is still a huge part of me that feels unequal to what I feel called to do. There are still some core beliefs down deep that believe that I am worthless and that I can’t possibly think that God has called ME to do any of this. The fear of failure still has a foothold, even though I’ve won some skirmishes against it.

I am also finding little pockets of pride this time of which I was unaware. As my codependency has become my main focus of recovery the past few months, I have realized how deeply entrenched these traits, these “character defects”, are. The more out of control I feel over what’s going on around me, the more I am noticing the tendency to try to control others. I guess the fact that I can see it now should be seen as a positive, and I should celebrate the awareness. No more denial! However, the more I notice it popping up, the more frustrated I get with myself. It’s like I feel I should be past this by now, as if there is a part of me that feels I should have arrived at some recovery checkpoint where I don’t need to keep working this thing. And shame follows, because here I am facing my perfectionism, and my awareness of the fact that I am struggling with this codependency like I’m a newbie. But Jesus doesn’t condemn me (Romans 8:1). He just keeps inviting me to acknowledge that I am powerless over this, that it is unmanageable, and to trust that He loves me and cares enough to help me recover. Again, I find myself at steps 1 and 2, and I remember, this will be a lifelong process. I did not get to this state overnight. It has taken a lifetime of hurts to get here, and I have a choice to continue on the path that wasn’t working for me, that was hurting me and those I love, or I can choose again to embrace the process, work the steps, and allow Jesus to be who He is in my life: my Healer, my Redeemer, my Restorer, my Safe Refuge.

Just take the next step…

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