Wednesday, May 26, 2010

repeat after me: This Is For My Growth

I’m happy to be writing again. More so, I’m writing because I’m happy, which makes me really happy and therefore very writable. Okay, now I’m just playing with words but on a serious note, I am feeling much better.

I had a weekend of isolation. And not isolation due to the fact I am no longer with my fiancé and most of my friends were his friends, and not because I never was supposed to live in this town to begin with. No, we are a couple years past that kind of isolation. This kind of isolation was all because of my own insecurities, fears, and confusion.

I was invited to lay out by the pool by two different people, and I had plans with a new friend to go to the shooting range, something I have always wanted to do. I said “no thanks” to the pool invites and I cancelled on the shooting outing, for the second time. Why did I cancel the first time? Pretty much the same reason. Oh, and there was an all-day work function complete with bbq, fishing, and good conversation but I didn’t go.

So I found myself alone on Saturday night wondering what in the world I was thinking turning down one fun event after another. I did the only thing I could think of to help me find some sort of answer – I emailed my counselor. The email went a little something like this:

“I’ve been invited to do a few things lately, and I’ll say yes at first, but then in the day and hours leading up to the event, I start feeling anxious about leaving my house and going out and cancel my plans. I do feel a bit sad about not going, but I would rather just stay home. Even things like going to the grocery store and to work are such chores, and I just want to stay at home. Do you have any suggestions on what might help?”

I sent my counselor this email from my phone, while laying in bed, thinking to myself “poor pitiful me” for wanting to be alone, and loathing in all of the feelings that were weighing me down. I thought about listening to a Joyce Meyer podcast because her “pull you up by the boot straps, no nonsense” messages always stir up my spirit. Instead, I just rolled over into more self-pity and fell asleep. I awoke to this email from my counselor:

“I remember a time when you told me you were invited to a Mary Kay party and you didn’t want to go, almost canceled, but went and ended up having a lovely evening. Maybe pick one outing (not trying to do it all – giving yourself some permission to turn down some invites). I think it’s the depression talking. Maybe invite someone over to your place instead so that you won’t totally isolate. Some of it is also habit/personality and some of it is that you aren’t hanging out with people who are close friends so it continually remains a chore. Unfortunately, you have to do a lot of those things to make the closer friends. When you choose to go and it feels hard and you start to cancel, think: this is for my growth. This is taking steps towards where I want to be. I’ll pray for you.”

That last part really stuck with me – this is for my growth. Everything I am doing right now is for my growth. When I don’t feel like doing something, when I start to get anxious and thinking I don’t want to go somewhere or do something, the phrase “this is for your growth” will flash through my mind. Of course I’m going to want to cancel plans, stay at home, and isolate – this is what my mind tells me I want. But my mind is still toxic and in need of healing; my mind is still orchestrating old habits and a smaller way of living. For the time being, I need not listen to my mind. I need to listen to my soul, to God’s spirit that is within me. For the time being, I cannot count on myself to tell me what is best for myself, because I simply don’t know. Kristin-Right-Now wants what is easiest, what is comfortable, what doesn’t challenge her or require her to let down some barriers. But those things, well they aren’t the stepping stones to the Kristin-To-Be, the Kristin that is at peace with her past and enthusiastic about every day she is given, the Kristin that holds no grudges and embraces everyone she meets, the Kristin that is excited about her life and energetic about serving others.

Finding my way to that Kristin is the most important thing to me--it’s my journey. If the focus of my life right now is growth, then I need to do things that will help me grow. Painful, uncomfortable, uneasy – whatever my mind tells me that I feel about what I am to do, if it’s for my growth, then I do it.

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