Peace with Pain: Going Through Process

While meditating with God today He said something very striking. We spoke about the concept of choice. 

I reasoned that I feel like in certain things I don’t have an actual choice because choosing them means choosing a lack of peace. In which case, obviously I will not choose the option that doesn’t give me peace. Who would? He argued back that I technically have. I have chosen the unpeaceful route over and over again and I may choose it again tomorrow. 

Hmmmm….that is true. But I rebutted with thats because choosing God doesn’t give me peace either. And He responded with, “no, you have peace, you just also have pain.” 

I expect that Gods route means Him taking away all that is unpleasant. Process is process. There is no shortcut around the fire. God never said there wouldn’t be pain. 

Can you stand in pain, having peace that He who said He loves you, still loves you even though it still hurts? 

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Running

I wish I ran track as hard as I run from myself. At first I never really know I’m running from me until ironically I began to feel those clear oxygen deficient symptoms. I’m laughing because I never really realized that i was experiencing similar mental “out of breathness” till now. I start feeling like im suffocating, so I run harder. And almost as if  have deprived my brain for oxygen too long, I began to experience a mental lightheadness characterized by pure delirium. My thoughts start racing a mile a minute, probably hoping that the harder it pumps them out the greater the chance coherence and sanity will return. Then just like that everything fades to black and numbness slips over me comfortingly.

 I ran so hard but in the end I wasn’t fast enough. I collapse on my bed and she catches me and accosts me. “Why are you running from me?!” I try with all my might to roll over but my body just lays there for my brain is too depleted, too deprived of oxygen to direct my body to flee, even if just to face the west wall. “I hate you, I hate you, LOOK AT MEE!!” I stare. I think about those good ole sleeping pills and the prospect of just slipping away for a few. She cries. I stare. She’s tired. I stare. She throws her hands up and turns from me, broken. 

I sit up. I can feel myself breathe again. I see her, dressed in rags, hallow eyes, emaciated, cold. I begin to feel for her. Tears fall. 

I now have a choice. Care for her, bathe her, clothe her, feed her. Stroke her face tenderly, lovingly. Love her. Or Run. 

I choose the worst. I stand over her and cry. She looks up at me and cries too. She knows I care, but she cries because she knows that regardless I am going to abandon her. I turn. She cries out barely above a whisper, “wait.” And I run. 

I Thank God

I have been thinking a lot about how I want to approach all of the emotions that have been bubbling inside of me over the last couple of days. As I rode the bus this morning, I realized that I just want to thank God. 
I have been in a lot of emotional pain. It hurts so much all the time, and I will be honest in saying that it is pain that I am use too. However, I think sometimes I just want to be pain free and so desiring that, makes me more aware of my emotions and thus causes me more suffering. 

It has been hard for me to get up. So I get to work an hour early because I know I need time to mentally prepare myself and create a game plan on how I am going to get through the day. Jupiter, my co worker, is an immense trigger. Just by her existing, and by me having this hunger for someone to fill my void, and the little girl inside of me now having chose her, makes her a trigger. So because I am around her all the time, I am hyperaware of the hunger inside of me, and am extra vigilant about controlling myself. And we have an awesome friendship, and I will give myself credit that I am doing amazing. I love our friendship, and so am mindful that even if apart of me feels like it’s not enough, nothing will ever be enough for that part, and to always be aware of not allowing that part to be in control.

So I get to work an hour early, sometimes I cry, sometimes I find creative ways to get out my anger. And once I have my emotions at bay, I check myself. I check my desires, my mannerisms, my unspoken attitude and gestures, ensuring that I am in no way protruding a sense of discontentment or need towards her. I do not talk to her either for this hour because I know I am not yet in a place where the adult me is in full control and if I speak from a child place then I may not be able to reel it in. 
I do this everyday. 

But here is the thing….

I DO IT everyday. It is getting done. I am slowly but assuredly coming to the acceptance that this is me. I have an emotional disorder, I am intense, I feel either everything too much, or everything too little. I hyper-attach to people in very unhealthy and enmeshed ways. But I am living with me, and I am even beginning to like and one day love certain parts of me. 

So I thank God because He is allowing me to be able to do it. By Thursday I am so emotionally worn that I tell myself that I am going to put on a movie for my students because I do not have the energy or mental capacity to teach. But then I see my kids, and God and ONLY GOD restores me and touches my heart in a deep place. I walk in thinking I am going to put on a movie, and staring at their expectant faces, I teach, and I teach with all of me. I give them all of me from places I did not even know I had. To my advanced kids, I check in on them and stand back in amazement as I beam in pride knowing that it was together that we did that. Together we pushed their minds further and they are excelling. To my struggling kids, I stoop down and take deep breaths as I patiently, with a patience that surprises me, come up with different ways to possibly help them understand what they have been trying so hard to get. Never giving up, even when I joke and say I will. 

I thank God for my favorite students who give the best hugs I could ever ask for on some of my worst days. 

I thank God for Jupiter who so lovingly lets me be me. I thank God that Jupiter is not afraid of me, that she knows how to set good boundaries, and how to keep us safe without even knowing that she is doing so.

I thank God for my therapist who helps me decode all of these interactions, and helps me understand boundaries. How “normal” people pace their relationships, and how when I feel I hit a boundary, it is not meant for me to push, or feel rejected by, but to respect and love that I am loved enough to not be treated with caution gloves but to be believed in and treat me normally. 

And I thank God for the chance to know Artemis, to experience love from such a deep place. There was a time when loving her hurt. But loving her now makes me always aware of my capacity to love. I love her so deeply and I pray for her earnestly to thrive, and grow, and experience love and friendship, and wholeness. 

There are a lot of things that I don’t like and that I regret but I thank God for the strength, support, and opportunities to change. 

Word of the Year

I stopped making new year resolutions a while ago. Instead, I have taken to finding a word that I want to committ myself to for the year. The goal is that throughout the year the word will help keep me oriented and centered. When I begin to lose direction, or a sense of purpose I will think about my word and it will redirect me.

First year my word was endurance. It was the beginning of my mental health journey. I had not started treatment until about 9 months into the year. So whilst I was still unaware of my depression and my BPD, all I knew was that I was weak and that I needed  that word to keep me going. I had no idea what was plaguing me, but I knew I just needed to endure.

The second year my word was study. After finally being diagnosed the year before. I wanted to study myself, study my actions, and study my bible. That year was a year of self awareness for me. 

Last year….well….. 2016 started off with anger like I have never experienced before. 2015 ended with me storming out of one of my sisters house, walking the 2 hr walk from her house home, in the winter, with no coat. Then wanting to die of hypothermia, so sitting on the roof of my building while people called me worried about where I was. Then 2016 started with me telling my other sister about how I felt and her hanging up on me. And me smashing my practically mew phone against the wall. Then texting her from my moms phone that I hate her and that I hope she dies. So the first half of 2016 was characterized by so much anger and just lostness that a word of the year slipped my mind. And if it didn’t, well I sure don’t remember it so it doesn’t matter. 

My word for 2017 is Love. No one will ever reach a point of perfect love, the way we define perfect. But I hope to strive for a mature love. Love for myself, love for my friends, and love for my family. May Love shine through me this year. 

“You must love in such a way that the other person feels free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

A closer look into my break with my past attachment figure

If you have been following me then you have read my many posts about my last attachment figure, who I have taken to calling Artemis.

After many failed attempts to making our friendship work once she decided that she could be a friend but could no longer be in my life as an attachment figure, I asked her for a year long break back in March.

In March, the extent of my understanding was that I was too attached to her and behaved very unhealthily towards her. I figured that in a year apart from her, I should be able to lessen my attachment and thus be able to accept the new setup of our relationship.

About two weeks ago, I gained new understanding of what this break means, and I wanted to meditate on it before writing about it.

 

Shout out to my friends’ patience because they have been saying this since March, but it took me 8 months to understand and see.

In my mind, the goal of the break was that I would get healthy, that way when she comes back I will be able to emotionally handle our relationship without having the bad reactions that I use to have. After thinking about it two weeks ago, I realized that my goal was to essentially pick up where we left off, except I would be handling it better outwardly, even though inwardly I would still feel as hurt, abandoned, and alone as before.

Why would I want that.

Instead, the goal of the break should be to give myself the chance to find happiness outside of her and learn to live without her. The honest truth behind why this goal is hard for me hurts me, but I will say it nonetheless.

I am afraid that if I give myself the chance to experience life without her at the center of my actions and thoughts, then I will realize at the end of the break that I will be ok if we don’t resume a relationship. For as long as I love her like an object then I get to want her, need her, desire her, so strongly, with a passion that helps touch the always present emptiness inside of me. When she becomes a person, then I gain the freedom to say that despite the love that burns in my heart for her, our season of relationship is over.

I feel like I have a definition of love, colored with dependency. In order for me to feel loved, I need to feel like someone holds me in their thoughts and needs me. Similarly, I express love in that very stifling way, where I try to always be present and around.

So what do I do now?

I decided to start by actually following her on instagram. I visit her page all the time, the only difference is that now she knows that I am looking. I didn’t want her to know because I was trying to show her that I am less dependent so she could take me back. But now I know thats not the goal anymore. In the beginning, I needed to stay away from her page because seeing her with certain people, moving on, hurt me. Now it doesn’t. I literally just visit her page out of the compulsive need to feel close to her. Visiting the page is just a symptom of another deep problem. The symptom will always arise. Even when I stayed off for two months, at two months and a day I was back to obsessively visiting it. Therefore, I wanted to follow her, so I did. Whether secretly visiting, or visiting on and off, I still have to fix the underlying problem either way.

I will end this post by saying that I know that dependent love is not love. If I only feel ok about someone pursuing something for as long as it does not hurt me then that is not love. If I want someone to be somewhere, where they are not experiencing their full potential, but them leaving means I get inconvenienced, than it is not love if I don’t encourage them to leave.

I need to love myself by encouraging myself to go, to move on, to soar. I need to love myself by giving myself the chance to learn to love like God. It’s not about Artemis, it’s about me. It’s my fears, my needs, my issues. I will love Artemis, and every other “Artemis” that was or will be, as people, and not objects, when I love myself.

Unanswered Texts

I don’t think you will meet anyone in the world who will say “I love it when someone does not respond to my texts.” Yea probably not. Everyone would love a response, and probably feels a bit ticked off when their messages go unresponded to. 

However, if you struggle with borderline personality disorder, then I am sure that you have found yourself in many a frenzys over an ignored text. Where most people get annoyed, we blow a lid and escalate a situation beyond what was necessary. 

Jupiter, my new attachment person, (read my past blogs to learn about that) is a horrible texter like Artemis. However, with growth comes new adjustments. I understand more and more how BPD is a disorder more than it is a sickness. Left untreated one can be very mentally ill as a result of the other mental illnesses that can arise as a result. However, when under control having BPD is essentially having a disordered personality. And if you ever studied psychology then you know after a certain point your personality is mostly fixed and few changes can occur. BUT again, like I have written about, the way your body naturally responds to something is your personality, that will take time to alter, but how you conciously choose to respond to your body’s feelings is under your control. That was the beauty of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).

I wrote about how well I have been handling Jupiter’s poor texting habits. However, it’s been getting harder on an internal level. But for me I recognize the internal challenge as an opportunity to stretch myself and grow. 

Like with Artemis, waiting for the response was what did me over. The response would come, but i’d be so emotionally taxed that I’d still feel like she ignored me and I’d feel horribly rejected. So as I continue on with my relationship with Jupiter (which is a real and healthy friendship may I add) This morning I recognized depression signs in me related to her texting. But unlike with Artemis, I am not going to let my hypersensitivity ruin her trust in me, the comfort she finds in me, and her ability to see what she means to me. I love Artemis so much, and because of my bad reactions, I may have lost her forever. But I learned a lot about myself through my relationship with Artemis, and the least I can do to honor our relationship is by using what I learned to not hurt and scare another person out of my life. So I have been practicing holding both of my realities inside of me. Yes I feel all of these negative things, but continuously reminding myself that she did eventually respond, that she’s busy with a husband and two kids, that she has shown nothing but love and kindness to me so the chances of her secretly thinking bad stuff about me and responding late to make me suffer are slim to none, especially since she does not know I have BPD, or that her poor texting affects me. To her I am just a friend that she likes, and I like it that way. I’ve learned from Artemis, that someone in her position knowing about my BPD, will cause me to have unfair expectations of her, and wanting her to treat me more special, and take care of me in a way. It’s kind of like, “well now you know the affect you have on me, so fix your actions.” Yea, thats not ok. I respect and care about her too much to make that mistake. With Artemis I didn’t know better but now I do. 

So, sorry not sorry Kermit, my mind is not winning this battle! 😎

P.S. As I wrote about, it was Artemis birthday last week and I showed my love by staying far from her and not wishing her happy bday. And I showed love for me by continuing to not go on her pages.

God’s Love

I was laying here having one of my daily bouts with God, where I’m in Him, and running away at the same time. It feels like I am in a storm of God’s love. No matter where I go, no matter what I do, I still find myself crashing about in this safe haven of God’s love. It actually feels like a storm crashing over me. 

Having that thought reminded me of a song I fell in love with about a year ago. This is why worship is so much more than a song, when you understand and internalize the words you are singing to God, it takes you to a whole other level.

I’m caught in a sea of love that I don’t know how to navigate. My own streams of confusion, guilt, anger, sadness, tiredness, all just gets washed away in His sea, when I don’t want them to. The world around me is in chaos. People are starving, dying, crying, hoping for something more, or tired of hoping altogether, and I don’t know how to process any of it. I don’t know how to navigate this sea of love when there is a broken and dying world. 

Surfing the waves of God’s grace and mercy means having the vantage point of seeing all the places in need of God. But drowning under the covering of His love does not feel comfortable for long. Eventually, I swallow so much of His heart that I can’t be content hiding when the world needs me to be whatever God has purposed me to be….for such a time as this. 

For such a time as this, God gave us some likeness of Him to be that part of Him in the world. I’m not perfect. I don’t have to be. I don’t have to have every aspect of my life perfectly aligned with God’s will before I serve. I know that now. I have to be a good steward over that which God has entrusted to me. He could’ve given it to anyone else, but He chose me. And when He comes back I want to be able to give him a multiple of the talents He gave me. 

Matthew 25:14-30English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Talents

14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.

God Sees You and He Cares

This is a very impromptu post, but this thought just came into my heart and I wanted to share it. No edits, no touchups, just writing then sharing with you all.

I am very unhappy and I am very broken. Sometimes I still struggle with self-destructive behaviors, and am actually currently struggling with it now which is why I think I felt prompted to write this post. 

I am laying in bed bleeding physically and emotionally when God reminded me that i’ve been here before. However that reminder came with this unexplainable peace. I am in this cycle, an emotional roller coaster. I soar, then halfway in flight, I lose sensation, all awareness of why I am even flying. Where am I flying to, and whats the purpose of getting there? Instantaneously, I stop flapping my wings and allow myself to fall, not really caring where I land, how it will hurt, or who I will hurt on the way down. I just fall. I land and start thinking, if all I am going to do is lay here broken and useless then why keep breathing. But I still continue to breathe. I breathe until little by little, I find myself moving and eventually on the way to flying again. 

When God whispered to me that i’ve been here before, it took on this whole new meaning. At first, I wanted to ignore him because I don’t know why He would even come to me while I am in my sin. But what if what I see as failure, as a waste of life, God sees as purpose and all part of the process?

I don’t think God is surprised by my downs, sometimes I even feel like it makes sense to Him. But what He focuses on is that I don’t stay down as long as I use to. I fly longer. I have more genuine moments of peace and happiness. I am improving. All I see is the fall, whereas He sees the whole picture. He sees I’m struggling but that I’m honestly trying. Saying i’ve been here before is not meant to patronize me or make me feel like a screw up because I mess up. But I think He sees the shame I feel, the confusion I feel, the hopelessness, and He’s saying you see a dirty life, but I see temporary process. 

But here’s the realization that really brought peace. There’s room for my brokenness in His plan. It’s like I zoomed out and saw a glimpse of the whole world, and all around there was just broken people, suffering people, everywhere. Then I saw me, and I belonged and I mattered. My brokenness wasn’t an inconvenience, it wasn’t taking up space or time. I saw everyone in need and I also saw me. 

It just felt like God was saying I see everyone but I still also see you. Don’t worry about the cycle, be patient, i’m in control. I then pictured me as a hamster on a wheel and I began running the wheel with fervor, like i feel like im not getting anywhere now, but this wheel is attached to a generator, and if I run it long enough eventually the power meter will be full then the next phase will take off. My cycle is generating power for where God wants to take me next. 

God isn’t saying stay in sin. He’s saying recognize the pattern, and don’t be afraid to talk to me about the sin that confuses you. Don’t be afraid. You are confused. You genuinely don’t understand. Faith is doing whats right without understanding, but then there are just some core issues that won’t yield to our small faith alone. 

Mark 9:23-25, 28-29     Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

So don’t be afraid when your faith is too small; that’s an opportunity to talk with God and strengthen your relationship with Him. Understand that the truth is whether you like it or not somethings you will struggle with for a long time, so believe that God believes you, that He is validating you, and struggle through WITH Him. 

Seeing Leah in Me: Final Installment

I’m back for the last installment in the Seeing myself in Leah series. For Part 1 click here and part two here.

I ended Part one with a quote that says “Sometimes, you choose the one that doesn’t want to be chosen – the one that can’t (or won’t) choose you back.”

cant choose back

This was Leah. She was not as pretty in Jacob’s eyes and Jacob spent 14 years attempting to secure Rachel as his wife. By no fault of Jacobs, he rejected Leah as his wife because he never signed up to be her husband. Leah wanted him to choose her though he had already chosen Rachel. Genesis 29 reads:

31 When the Lord saw that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, he made it possible for Leah to have children, but not Rachel. 32 Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, because she said, “The Lord has seen my troubles. Surely now my husband will love me.”

33 Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon and said, “The Lord has heard that I am not loved, so he has given me this son.”

34 Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Leviand said, “Now, surely my husband will be close to me, because I have given him three sons.”

35 Then Leah gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, because she said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Then Leah stopped having children.

If we were to use the least amount of time possible and say that Leah were to get pregnant consecutively then 9*4=36 months about 3 years. In reality she probably had more rest time between babies so I’d say that Leah spent about 4 years hoping for Jacob to see her, be close to her, and love her. She wanted to be chosen too. The status and worth of a woman at the time  weighed heavy on their ability to find a spouse and produce children. Her father had to trick her sisters suitor into marrying her and then he still neglected her even after bearing him male sons that would carry on his name.

With each baby came the hope that Jacob would love her, until finally she came to the end of herself and praised God with no strings attached. She praised God for God and not because she felt He was bringing her closer to what her heart wanted.

I see myself in Leah because my heart yearns to be chosen too. Life brought people into my life who became for me what they never sought out to be. So they grew closer to me thinking they were going to be my brother in law, my mentor, or my friend, then woke up the next morning and realized they were my lover, my savior, and my mom and they don’t know how they got to be there. These roles become cemented and I want them to accept the role and be what they never wanted to be because I want it. I begin to give everything that I think would make them love me and want to be close to me, to only come out feeling empty and rejected. But how can you really reject what you never sought after. Jacob probably did not reject Leah as a person, he rejected her as his wife. It still hurts either way but what do you do? Pursue them endlessly or turn your attention towards the One who chose you, who hears you, and who wants you.

With the birth of Judah, Leah turned her attention to God. This was the child that she finally praised with. And this is the child that God chose to have His Son, Jesus, descend from.

What do I continue to learn from Leah? I learn how to be human. She was content with Judah for a while until Rachel began using her maids to have children. When Leah attempted to engage in this competition with her sister her womb was shut and she had to use her maids as well. God did not allow her to engage in this petty competition for a mans heart that would never be hers. To the day Jacob died we don’t hear or see any account of him ever loving Leah the way she sought. In fact, he favored Rachel’s son’s above all the children that Leah ever bore him.

Wouldn’t it be comforting to read that God eventually gave Jacob a heart to love Leah the way she desired to be loved. That doesn’t happen. Leah eventually stopped seeking love and affection and comforted herself with gaining his respect and security as the mother of his six sons. Genesis 30: 19 Then Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son for Jacob. 20 She named him Zebulun, for she said, “God has given me a good reward. Now my husband will treat me with respect, for I have given him six sons.” Jacob buried Leah in the burial place of his ancestors, the place where he requested to be buried. So did he ever love her in that way? We don’t know, but he most likely did respect her.

I am human. I desire to be chosen by people who can’t choose me. I turn my eyes to God for a moment but then lose focus on God and attempt to chase the heart of man, only to find that Gods blessings departed from me, and the peace I once had, I don’t have anymore. But I learn, and though I may still have the desires, I turn my eyes towards reality and the Truth, then serve God above my passions and one day God will reward me far above my expectations.