By the Root

I’m not much of a gardener, but I try to keep things looking nice. I also live in a rent house and try to be careful with how much money I invest into a property that isn’t mine (I try…). With funding and time, the back yard of our house looks about halfway disastrous and halfway cute year round. There’s always something to work on, which is nice for one who finds working in the dirt to be therapeutic.

While working on this one section called, “the island” (see picture below), I very, very often run into these horrendous plants that are rumored to produce dewberries. I haven’t seen any berries yet.

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As nice as dewberries may sound, their little plant bodies are fiendish. From the surface of the soil, up their stem, and stretching out to their full leaves are thorns. Sharp, sticky thorns. Say your prayers if you ever get stuck in the middle of a dewberry patch.

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This past weekend, I battled these plants and got every single one of them (hopefully) off of the island. Why? So we can walk without fear to our lovely swing, look at the flowers, and get to gardening. To do all that, the weeds must go.

And how, you may ask, does one pull up the dewberry plants covered in thorns from stem base to leaves? By the roots!

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When I spot one of these plants, I dig around the base of the stem, go underground, and pull the plant up in entirety by the roots. There are no thorns down there!

How does this relate to codependency? Codependency is unknowingly living a life of comfortable misery. We don’t know we’re miserable because we’ve been living the same pattern most of our lives. Our ego does not want us to realize there are things we don’t like about ourselves, so it protects us by giving us coping mechanisms so we don’t commit suicide (because if we discovered we disliked ourselves, our first instinct would be to self-destruct). Therefore, we function in life doing the best we know how and we don’t realize we’re wearing thorns that hurt us and people around us.

Coping mechanisms in and of themselves are not bad. It’s good to have strategies for dealing with life. The problem starts when our coping mechanisms are formed in an unhealthy manner and steer us away from God instead of to Him. When we seek after God, He takes us through a gentle healing process. We can process life with Him and have more good days than bad days. We bring our stuff into His light and receive relief. He takes our burdens and He transforms us to be more like Him.

When we revert to our unhealthy coping mechanisms, we take on life’s burdens. We shove them inward and carry the weight of our issues and other’s issues everywhere we go. Anxiety, shame, stress, fear, and perfectionism hang on us like dead weight. It’s exhausting and darkness haunts us. And the sad truth is that we begin to subconsciously develop symptoms of a disease called, self-hatred. The disease grows as life continues. Our ego hides the truth of our disease, therefore, causing us to live in a fantasy and miss out on reality. Our ego means well!

That’s why I believe it’s important to have surprising pain. Something that shakes us out of our normal, familiar misery.

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Surprise leads to curiosity. Ouch! What did that?!

Curiosity leads to discovery. Discovery leads to healing.

When your feelings steer towards chaotic, when life around you shoots out of control, when you begin to inch dangerously beyond your capacity… cheer up! God is about to do a work in you. He drives us to the point of breaking because that is where we stop and realize, yet again, that we are not well and we need God.

Once we can see the thorns we’re wearing, we can begin to deal with the root issues. Our coping mechanisms can change and we can develop healthy habits. It does take vulnerability and it is necessary to dig down into the dirt where there are no thorns. This is a scary undertaking but it must be done to live a healthy life. Under the surface is where we find the life of our dysfunction. God will take us underground in His timing and with His gentleness.

The best part about this whole process is experiencing the active and stable presence of God.

Under God, we are this:

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Not this:

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Did Somebody Paint That?

I was walking into church yesterday, and as I was walking through the children’s ministry section of church, a girl looked at a mural painted on the wall, pointed, and asked her mom, “Did somebody paint that?”

I looked at the mural and was like, wow, what a stupid question. It’s obvious someone did that. The brush strokes were evident and the paint layers on the wall were painfully visible. My mind held on to the girl’s initial question, though. Did somebody paint that? 

I started thinking, Isn’t that what everyone is asking? Dying to know? They look at nature, people, emotions, gender and ask, “Did somebody create that?”

The answer is innately known: YES!

Without a creator, this world really is too good to be true. It is increasingly evident that more faith has to go into the solution of time to explain what’s around and in us than the solution of God the Creator. God who has made Himself known through creation, His word, and His Son, Jesus Christ.

This is an important realization for a recovering codependent such as myself, because knowing that this world was created, knowing the creator is Yahweh God, believing in His Son, Jesus, and reading the life-breathed word of God, I can know some important things:

I was made. And not by any amateur artist. I was made by the Master Creator. The One whose creation peaked the inspiration of our history’s greats. All art is an imitation of what God has made. The human body is a fascinating, intricate, and beautiful structure. Not only that, we, unlike the rest of creation, have the life of God in us. It says in Genesis that God breathed into Adam the breath of life (also translated souls). God filled man with a life unlike anything else given to creation.

Knowing from our very beginning that we were given such value, we also know the following because God told us so in His word and in His actions:

We have a purpose
We have a future
We will never be abandoned
And for you love addicts out there: your love story is already happening.

And when I say that, I mean: wouldn’t it be nice if a person could give us love, affection, affirmation, protection, provide for all our needs, show up at just the right time, and be completely head over heels for us? In my short life span that has been packed with dating, I can say I’ve never met someone who has met these qualifications. I don’t believe I ever will either. I think what we’re looking for is God. He has put His life into us and until we acknowledge we come from a Creator who loves us and surrender our lives to His will and His calling, we will never ever be satisfied or reach our fairy tale happy ending.

God is the absolute best fairy tale ending and better than that: He is in reality.

Wow, I got off on a tangent there. Anyways, the question! Did somebody paint that? Of course! Did somebody create this? The evidence is undeniable. True, effective healing from codependency starts with surrender to the Creator of it all: Yahweh God.

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” John 12:44-

 

Reality – Don’t Be Afraid

I find that when I wake up in the morning, it’s a lot easier to get up when I feel good about the potential of the day. If there is something I’m dreading or unsure about, I am compelled to not get up.

What this does is set me back in the morning to make my day worse than I’d planned. This invariably will get me to pouting about how I want a different life where I can do what I want and get up whenever I darn well please. I’ll think about how people at work are suffocating me and I’ll lean on God to get me through the day. Get me through.

There’s the problem. Were we created to get through a day or live it to the full? If I know my scripture, I’d say no day is an accident. No day is a waste. And we have been given the gift of life, the Holy Spirit, purpose, and time.

Hitting snooze, getting through, fantasizing of escape – these are all forms of running. How tempting it is to run from a reality that we are not sure of. That we just know we are incapable of. That we believe we will be a disaster in!

But wait! There’s God. The One who gives us strength in our weakness to prove to us His existence. The One who created you with an adventure in mind. God doesn’t do boring. God doesn’t do mundane. He places freedom, opportunity, and wow into the daily.

When we run from reality and distract ourselves from the present, we do more than make it through the day. We let our lives fly past us while missing the presence of God. Know that God’s sovereignty lies in the past and in the future, but His presence is with you right here. He’s created this day for you. There is a purpose for it and you have no clue what it is yet! You may meet someone that really needs a listening ear, something may need to be organized, maybe a coworker, family member, or friends needs a silent prayer from you, or maybe God is going to throw a surprise your way that causes you to feel undeservedly blessed. Who knows, but God!

The events in our schedule, the conflicts we may potentially face, or the baffling subjects we can’t seem to master will not be faced alone. God will walk us through each minute of the day. He will give us exactly what we need to accomplish what we need to.

It’s a delight to live in the presence of God and that is what we were made for. I definitely needed this reminder because today was a snooze day for me. I have an intimidating week at work. I’ve been given responsibility for something I’ve never done before and I’m really nervous about it. However, God is in the present. I don’t have to accomplish every task in this moment (even though that’s what it feels like). I will take on this project one step at a time. One day at a time. And it will get done. By the power and grace of God it will. And I will learn new skills, tuck some experience into my resume, and get to reflect at the end of the week on how amazing God is.

What a fun time!

Moral of the story: see the presence of God in your day. Enjoy the adventure He has set up for you and take things one moment at a time. God didn’t create the world in a day. He set a pattern up for us to follow. One day at a time and rest. 🙂

Have a great day today!