Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Miraculous Life

This is going to be a post looking back...and to the future.  My last year at Northwestern College...Er, University of Northwestern--St. Paul, MN?  I was seeing a therapist on campus.  She had encouraged me to write down what my life would be like if everything was perfect--as if somebody waved a magical wand and my life was everything that I wanted it to be.  So I did.  I gave it the title, "A Miraculous Life."  While I was looking for a recipe from my first college roommate, I found it in a box and thought it very fitting to share parts of it, hoping that I might be able to encourage others and also that I could use this blog to process through it and my life right now.  Note that I was not yet married, but a few months away from the wedding.

The first part is too personal to share that involve people that I am still close to today.  I will tell you that the first line is,
"In a miraculous life, I would be perfect."  
 Wow.  What a standard.  Consequently, although it seems as though I started out thinking about myself, the next paragraph consists entirely of how other people would be or act differently.  Interesting how I felt as though my perfect life would consist of others changing and not myself changing.

The next paragraph starts focusing on myself, however, just focusing on very negative things that have affected me a lot.
"I would not have anger issues and I would constantly be expressing the fruits of the spirit.  I would especially know how to go through things in my past without letting it drag me down.  I would be able to have a conversation with my ex without getting anxious.  I would be able to only have compassion for [a certain person] and not twisted feeling[s about that person].  I wouldn't ever question my thoughts about others.  I wouldn't commit adultery with my thoughts, because I am so committed to Josh and so in love with him, that I simply cannot.  I would be able to get my intimacy needs met by God, Josh, and other friends and not just one person.  I won't miss [a certain person] because that tie won't be there anymore.  I won't think about those times or when I was questioned or when I laid on the table for hours in emotional and intellectual agony.  I won't remember him."
I had to change things in this paragraph, but I really wanted you to see it all the same.  This paragraph is totally and completely focusing on my past.  On key people and events and how I was still enslaved to them.  I don't know about you, but I can almost hear the agony in my own writing in remembering these things and realizing how enslaved I really was.  "I won't remember him" is a very final thing to say..And honestly not something I think that God wants for me.  I don't think that God wants me to forget what I did and how I suffered because He wants me to share it with others as a testimony of how far away from all of that He has brought me and so that I can have compassion for others who have fallen into the same trap and are lost, while others may see somebody who is beyond reason and just give up on them.  I would be far from where I am today if I didn't have at least one person who didn't give up on me in my past.

This is one of my favorite paragraphs, this next one.  In fact, after the previous one, it gets so much better, and I hope you can see why for yourself.
 "I would have a very solid relationship with God, praying to Him all throughout the day.  I would be able to hear His voice and not question whether it is Him or not, but just know.  I would be able to worship Him without words, giving Him my whole heart and not just lip service.  I'd study His Word daily and simply bask in it, learning more about Him every day.  I wouldn't let fear stand in the way of obeying Him and others would see me as a godly woman because of it.  I would be able to successfully minister to my family and they will be able to see a light in me and not just a "Christian."  I'd reach out to those who are not saved because I value their lives because God gave me His love for them.  I would speak openly about my testimony, not being ashamed ever, because the story is about God's grace and love and power--not about how sick and twisted I have been.  I would do anything for God, because He is my Beloved and my Lord."
WOOHOO!  Maybe parts of that sound like still wanting perfection, but I believe that God wants us to do all those things and that through His strength and power, someday we will attain it!  If you also see..When I start talking about God my whole attitude changes!  It doesn't really focus on what I'm lacking as much as who I want to be in a positive way.
"I would be the friend that people trusted and felt they could talk to.  I wouldn't make others feel like crap by forgetting important things or putting others before them.  I would know how to make each friend feel special and I wouldn't let laziness, selfishness, or fear get in the way of that.  I would learn how to understand others and let them know that I get it, yet let my presence be enough, instead of always trying to find words to fix things.  I would visit friends who live far away, simply because I love them enough to make that sacrifice.  I would gladly sacrifice for all my friends because I love them as I love myself."
Ah, friends.  Something really important to know about me is that I believe that if God hadn't broken into my life when He did, I probably would have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (click on the blue words to learn more about it if you don't know what it is).  A person is not diagnosed with BPD until early adulthood, the reasons are because it can look like a really out of control teenager!  However, God started getting my attention when I was 17 years old, and by this time any symptoms of BPD that I had were growing and getting more intense.  I was very impulsive, with money and sex and doing things because I felt the intense desire to, without thinking of the consequences or how I or others might feel about it later.  I had been cutting myself on and off for 3 years and had suicidal thoughts.  I struggled with depression and a constant fear of abandonment.  My emotions were a constant roller coaster and so were all of my close relationships.  As I have learned more about BPD in college, I have recognized these things in my life still, although often as very minor compared to how they were or how they would need to be in order to be diagnosed.  I also have a good friend who has BPD and her and I have discussed how if it wasn't for God stepping into my life when He did, I could have easily been in some very dark places like she was.
"In a miraculous life I wouldn't be afraid to trust people.  I wouldn't be afraid of abandonment by adults or people in general.  I would invest my time and interest in adults and let them minister to me.  I would tell my family the entire truth and it would help them see God...I would be a good role model to my sisters and they would see Christ in me and be attracted to Him.  My sisters would love me for me and not just what I can do for them or give them.  I would love my sisters with an unconditional love, calling them out, but never yelling--always being honest and gracious."
Beginning early in my walk with Christ I have had a difficult time with older Christian adults.  I would try to talk to them, desperately needing guidance and advice to work through and get out of the bondage that I was still in, but I would either be ignored or brushed off.  This cut me deeply.  I had a hard time trusting after that and would not as willingly reach out to "adults", even through college.  I presumed that my past was "too much" and that it was overwhelming and nobody wanted to deal with it...Or me.  I have felt this way, even still.  The churches I have attended have left me sometimes feeling a sense of community or friendship, but I have never sensed a permission to be myself or to openly share my testimony or to talk about it--even though it is what made me who I am today.  People are closed off to each other, preferring sarcasm and joking around, so that they don't have to open up and be vulnerable, because they think that people will judge them or think less of them.  I don't know about you, but it hurts my heart to live that way.
"I would be involved in advocacy for human/sex trafficking programs.  I would be giving of both time and money to these organizations.  I would be efficient and loving while working in these environments.  I would help these children and women work through their trauma and learn to live a normal life.  I would show them God and not let them die in sin and their pasts.  I would work in a prison and those around me would see Christ in me without me saying a word about Him."
And most importantly:
"In a miraculous life I would not struggle with my identity and I would find it solely in the Lord." 
I am praying today that I can start living my miraculous life.

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