I admire your intentional steps away from the object (or person) that is causing you pain. But maybe–just maybe our refusal to embrace what we are feeling is the reason why we have such a hard time accepting change. I learned early on that “strong” people do not talk about their problems. They give them a proper room in a cage, with three balanced meals a day. They do not talk or try to work things out, they run away. They reject uncomfortable conversations that make them call out their shame. They ignore the issue that is driving them insane. It is only after we can no longer contain the pressure that we begin to fight back against the source of our captivity. We start asking smarter questions and looking for ways to set ourselves free. After all, I did not ask for this prison. No one in their right mind chooses to be broken and subjected to exhausting cycles of anger and hostility. No one wakes up in the morning thinking about how they can create more chaos in their surroundings. Most of us just want to be free. This freedom, however, is a foreign concept. I have grown comfortable with being indirect about my needs and obsessively controlling. I have no idea where to begin to tear down these concrete walls or the iron bars that stand in between my pain and my healing. I am at once an innocent victim and the indignant warden with the only key.
And I will have to face the both of these, if I really want to be free.
“You will only prolong the pain if you run away from accepting responsibility.”
What hurts more than giving your all to someone and finding out it is still not enough? What kills a spirit faster than realizing you compromised everything in pursuit of someone else? What shatters a heart more definitively than fighting for someone who has a hard time taking care of their self? The answer is nothing. Nothing hurts more than sacrificing your self worth and valid feelings to the point where you can no longer recognize what you need. Codependency is debilitating. Instead of investing in my gifts I sat still while another promised things they would never give. At this moment however, it is not about them. It is my responsibility to address how I again abandoned my progress to follow a familiar dead end street. Same movie with the exact same ending. Me attempting to convince a heart to open up properly. Them trying to make up for the past I did not release. Me disappointing them and them disappointing me. It is all quite humbling. I thought I was well enough to redirect the dysfunctional dynamic. But I knew from the beginning my mental health was in jeopardy. So of course I am angry. Months and years of my life seemingly flushed down the drain. The love I thought would last forever is on the chopping block again.
Still, I have to be responsible. Pick myself back up and take care of my home.
Maybe if we both were healthier, neither of us would have felt so alone.
I am my own foundation. Behind closed doors and before I can support another and their additional weight; I must take care of my own needs. For so long I believed I could operate with conflicting goals. Holding onto patterns that wear on my fragile soul. The truth is you yourself cannot become whole if while broken you are trying to fit people into improper positions. Self care is always your divine responsibility. We try to make excuses for dysfunction and push it down until it does not actively hurt anymore. Throwing busyness and topical responsibilities on top of wounds that are multiplying without relief. I am a product of my history. A casual tale of a woman who did not get what she needed. From childhood to adolescence–the wait was never ending. Instead, I went out into dark spaces that seemed to know me better than I knew myself. There were desires deep in my heart that I could not release. There were nights I failed to surrender and days I wished I would never see. There were people I thought would never leave.
But healing is not about them, it is about getting better–for me.
Every morning I have to make a difficult choice as an adult who does not always make the best decisions. I do not struggle to wake up. It is like I am waiting for the alarm to remind me that I have things to do, so therefore sleep escapes me. I am in a self-reflective and stagnant limbo. Watching myself from the outside and screaming at the destructive patterns that this unrecognizable person is struggling to control. I have known dark places and people who were enticing enough that I forgot to keep my thoughts honorable. Now I am terrified that I am the very darkness that I used to think was my help. I am frozen in a lake of broken dreams, trying to muster up my apathy. The truth is I care too much and not enough about the things that should matter to me. I used to believe that if one part was in its place then the rest would manifest into a beautiful story. But I have to believe there is some beauty to be found in this brokenness even if my ideal is dying.
Real love is unreasonable. When your heart truly wants something it will go after it even after analyzing the costs. Many people have told me that I am broken. They say there are so many compound fractures that there is no way those little pieces will ever fit together again. So imagine a person with this level of damage attempting to build with another on a shattered foundation. Being so distracted by your wounds
that you reject the opportunity for healing.
I have failed at certain aspects of life that many people find easy. School, work, family, romantic and platonic relationships–all of these have been negatively impacted by a common denominator–ME. I thought being perfect meant I could hide behind my smile and a helpful nature. I believed I could pretend I was whole. But the truth is the only thing I needed was acceptance. An acceptance that could never be offered while I hid the darkest parts of my soul.
When you are hurting and try to conceal the problem, you are only pushing the issue down temporarily. Like a jack in the box, eventually it gets wound up until there is no other option but release. In those moments, pain gets forced out of its cage. There can be no conversation, no bargaining for patience. What was once a minor issue has grown into a careless monster full of rage. And angry me has no problem pushing the object of my affection away.
Do I continue to use the excuse that I am broken?
Is there ever a substantial purpose in pain?
Or is brokenness the final solution if it protects you from getting hurt again?
Too many steps forward and you will be forced to leap back to the beginning. In every instance of regression we feel slighted as if we did not have a say in whether or not we went all the way. It is fair to be weary. To have a heart weighed down by an irrepressible pain.
But the art of forgiveness requires us to change.
I have no stock in another person’s recovery steps. They can be silent and broken, refusing to ask for help. They can be recklessly happy and move forward with grace.
But the art of forgiveness means we do not stay the same.
Each time we “get back up” a piece falls off from our resiliency. After awhile, there is no more hopefulness. No more faith. No more peace. I have written bitter endings into my narrative so much so that now I do not know how to get rid of the ache.
But the art of forgiveness means we put old things away.
The dream died. If we are being honest it never had a chance to survive. You put two people in a story who both believe they are right and it is only a matter of time before they end up on different sides. Fighting for a future that neither can fully provide.
But the art of forgiveness means you move forward with the rest of your life.
Knots twist and overlap in my stomach, pushing me to confront the truth. I cannot ignore the reality that damaged interactions lead to disappointment and devastation. But despair is a choice. The longer we hold onto pain, the deeper we fall into despair. The more we resist reconciliation and forgiveness, the further recovery becomes.
I gave up on God once. I was in a terrible situation that I contributed to–and I could not see myself clearly. I rejected God’s help. I relied on the power I thought I had and began to forfeit my purpose and destiny. I knew God was calling out to me. But I could not hear him over my own hurt feelings. I just wanted it to stop. I wanted the pain to fully end. But God wanted something different.
Now, when faced with the same disappointment, I actively resolve to seek God’s face. He alone knows the desires of my heart and just how hard I have worked to be a better version than the person I used to be. The truth however, is that I am not perfect. I make mistakes and cause others grief because I am still in the process of healing. This is no easy task–but the one who has forgiven me knows that I am still hunted by my past.
History sits in our subconscious and refuses to let us go. It wants us to remember that we have failed so many times before. It wants us to think that we will always be hurting. But the truth is the more I seek God, the more I believe that He alone is the one who holds onto me. He alone is my hope and the only person I need to please.
And I will not let go of Him again.