Light in the Tunnel

You know how it is when you have done the same thing for years, and you are trying so hard to stop and do better, but you have setbacks?  It can be disheartening.  Let’s look at 2 verses, and then I have a few things to share to keep us desiring to move forward even with a tough road in recovery or really, in life. “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”(Psalm 27:4-5)

I’ve been memorizing these 2 verses. My mind has been giving me more trouble than usual, and Scripture memory is the only way I can escape when my mind feels so full. Thinking about God keeping me safe and protecting me, at times from myself, is more than encouraging…it’s amazing, and so is He.

Learning to cope with the mind God has given me …without self-harm…has been more difficult than I could have ever imagined and a few days ago, God reminded me of a funny memory. When our youngest daughter, Rylee, was in middle school, one of her good friends, who had a boyfriend, became “so over him.” She just wanted to be friends.  After much thought, I’m sure, she went to break up with him.  He was surprised she wanted this split, and he asked her why.  She, in her quick defense and confidence said, “it’s not me, it’s you,” and that was it.  Now… I don’t know the particulars of the situation, but I heard both recovered rather quickly.  I have heard people say, “it’s not you, it’s me,” but this was too funny.

I so often want to tell my mind, “it’s not me…it’s you!”  I am grateful to have the mind God has given me, but it is too much for me and sometimes even for my doctors.  I’ve been so tired of the journey lately, and I know I have written mostly from past experiences, but this, this post is about the present. My mind and heart seem to heal more and more when I focus on bringing you and me encouragement which can only come from the Lord, so let’s continue to strive to get better and look to the only One who can heal us physically and spiritually.

Growing up, when I reacted wrong or messed something up,  verbal and or physical abuse came quickly. So when home left me, I continued the cycle. Now, when I am frustrated or upset with myself…those learned responses (now self-inflicted) can no longer be a “go to drug” for me, and I can feel lost. Letting God love on me when I do the wrong thing? So foreign. So gracious.

God doesn’t react to me like I react to me, and I don’t react to others like I do to myself. I don’t know…I guess the best way for me to describe my mind would be that it’s like I’m looking down a long tunnel. My mind…the way it works and shows me a situation….it’s tricky.  But some days the tunnel has light streaming through it, and some days it’s pitch black. I don’t want it to stay black. I never win when it does.

When my sister and I were little, we would take empty paper towel rolls and poke holes in them and look through one end of the roll outside.  We would cup our hand over the open end of the roll. The light couldn’t help but push its way through the holes, and it would look so cool, especially if we poked holes to make a certain design.  If we wouldn’t have poked the holes in the tubes, what would the point have been?  On the days my mind and heart start out hopeless, the tunnel is dark and without holes. There is light all around me, but until I surrender and let God “put the holes” in the tube or tunnel, I can’t see anything hopeful. The enemy wants me to believe there is no way to have hope and see light coming through because of the way my mind works.  He wants me to cut, or give up writing to you, or see only the path of destruction I have left behind.  In order to bring light into my mind so that I can see hope, I have to cope differently, and it’s extremely hard. It requires doing something that at the time seems weak and powerless when I am used to feeling empowered by restricting my food for a few days so that I can’t remember.  Or it may mean repeating the action of surrendering to God and asking Him to take away my strong desire to punish myself physically so that I won’t repeat my mistakes again. It’s new for me and I am not all that awesome at it…yet. But I’m not giving up.

It’s a waste of life to believe the lies that the world yells at you and me. It’s a waste of life to live as if the enemy is suddenly going to help us and not hurt us. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and life requires obedience to God who will only guide us to a fulfilling life on earth in order to get better. Although my brain is whole, my mind is also divided, and the same brain that fights to get better is the same brain which can hear the enemy … which can have endless flashes of vivid memories - both good and bad, and which can believe God is carrying me from the front lines of this battle. But because it’s the same brain, it  holds out mercy for you as you fight and fail and fight and triumph.  Please know that everyone doesn’t have to validate the reality of the difficulty of this journey you are on. Don’t wait to fight until everyone is on board and supportive.   When I wake up and can only see darkness, God is  ever-present to help.  This fight is real so yes…I do get down and that’s just me being honest with you. I do experience setbacks with my anorexia recovery and my mental health issues, but God is so big that if I will let Him poke a hole in the darkness of the tunnel, He will fill it with light that can only come from Him.

What does this look like for me? It looks like reading a verse from His Word,  the Bible. Then, it looks like letting Jesus give me the courage to let Him help me get my clothes on one piece at a time and get ready to go out and meet a friend who may need encouragement, or get things done at home which help  my family.  Do not compare yourself to me or anyone else.  Comparison can kill us.  Learning new ways to survive and live without doing harmful things (including ones I may not have even mentioned) is hard, and God has a personal track for each of us who desire healing.   But one step at a time God pokes light into my day, and I never regret venturing out with His help. It’s the only way to let go of the behaviors that have worked so hard to kill me…and you.  This road, for me, has been 20 years, and if it keeps me close to Jesus and if the battle reminds me to have mercy for those around me, those God has placed in my life to walk this out with - like you…I’m in. I’m all in friend.

“Blessed is he who has regard for the weak: the Lord delivers him in the times of trouble. The Lord will protect him and preserve his life; he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to his foes. The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed and restore him from his bed of illness.” (Psalm 41:1-3) I love you and feel the joys and pains of getting better right along with you. You are precious to me, but most important, to Jesus who has given His very life to spare yours and mine. Right now…wherever you might be, please let God know you need His help in this fight to stop using the same harmful coping mechanisms and to separate yourself  from addictive behaviors. Maybe you need help dealing with the discouragement which can come from setbacks in sickness and struggle.  I encourage you and me to say to the enemy… “It’s not ME…It’s YOU. Now GO in Jesus name,” and let God show us His light today.

Love to You!

Stacee