Friday, August 1, 2014
Personal Inventory: Things that make you go "Ugh"
Since returning from leading our last missions trip 8 days ago, I have slept more in a week than I have since my adolescent years. I have experienced three different forms of sickness, one swollen and painful-ish, one violent and mid-night-runs-to-the-bathroom-ish, and one just plain ugly.
I have had to rely on superbly fabulous friends and family to help care for our girls, since a mom who must tend to herself can't always tend to others. (THANK GOD for each of you! Words cannot express how much I needed you this week!)
But most of all, it's forced me to take inventory. You know...take stock of what's going on physically with my body, what's going on emotionally in my heart, and what kind of thoughts am I having. Since it's all connected, I knew these illnesses weren't random or separate... they were a reflection of the state of being I had placed myself in.
I was exhausted. And I had not been caring for myself. My inside SELF. So, I began to.
The best thing I did this week was to write a Forgiveness List. On this list I put the name of every person I could remember ever having a negative feeling toward. Even the slightest negative interaction or thought that I could still remember having. Even if I still felt justified about that thought or interaction. (Their part in this was unimportant...it was my action, thought, or response that mattered.) God, myself, and my immediate family members were all on there multiple times. Some of the people I had apologized to face-to-face in the past... but for some reason, there was still a memory... still a (nose-scrunch) "ugh" feeling there in my belly.
It was a long list.
Then I took the first name on the list and pretended I, this spirit-person, was sitting face-to-face with this other person's spirit. And I spelled out the moment that I remembered. And I asked for forgiveness. Silence ensued. But deep in me, I finally heard a "yes." Then something occurred to me... I turned to myself and apologized for carrying the shame of that interaction for so many years. And that's when I began to weep.
I had no idea I had been carrying shame! ...Shame over interactions or thoughts that I thought had "mostly" already been addressed, or had "only" been internal stuttering, or had been justified, or had just been swept under the rug years ago (because who asks forgiveness for EVERYthing??)? As I continued to move down the list, there was more crying, but the asking of forgiveness came easier and easier, and the release of shame from my gut became more and more tangible. Sometimes I didn't hear an answer, but at least I asked. It took me days to get through the list.
I had no idea that little bits of shame could build up in you over the years--until a packed-in pile of it finds a way to send a screaming alarm signal out of your body through illness, vomit, and ugliness.
Thank God He lives and reigns in us. Thank God He made us miraculous and powerful. And THANK GOD He placed within us the creative ability to change, heal, restore, and thrive. We just have to step into it... we just have to OWN IT.
(And P.S., I'm much better. Mending, moving slowly, breathing deeply, and smiling more.) :)