I gotta admit —I never thought I’d be that person.
You know…the kind of person who is so consumed with oneself and tries to carry the illusion of perfection.
Perfect hair. Perfect skin. Outfit always on fleek. Seemingly walks in heels like it’s no big deal. Eats clean. Works out 6 days a week. Reads her bible every day…
Etc Etc….the list could go on and on….
That’s become the epitome of my life. And quite frankly, I’m so dang exhausted.
Actually, exhaustion is an understatement. More like, I’m so dang tired of subconsciously masking my bleeding heart and fighting for joy and warring my fears every morning when my entire life feels out of control.
That's the raw honest truth. My heart is grieving. I’m tired and hurt. And thats okay.
I don’t write this to throw a pity party. I actually would prefer to not post any of this on the internet. But I think it’s so important that if I’m going to have a blog, or a ministry, or do anything for God for that matter, that I exude honesty and humility. I’m not exactly interested in being led by people who don’t know how to split their hearts open before others. If they can’t split their hearts open before men, whose to say they can be honest and broken before the Lord? Just a little side note for you :)
The other day I found myself in a worship service, face down on the floor lying in a pool of snot, as I began to see the reality of my aching soul. Again and again, I’m reminded that I’m grieving. I feel out of control. I feel like God has essentially escorted me to the pit because there’s some major lessons I need to learn and I’m doing everything in my power to resist.
And although maintaining my external persona (like fashion, skin care, eating clean, working out, etc.) are not bad things, the sad reality is they’ve become my way of gaining a sense of power —when everything else in my life feels out of control.
Just a little word to the wise…If my only way of feeling powerful is by micro-managing and psychotically controlling my external world, I will inevitably DIE A SLOW DEATH.
I’ve realized over the years of learning myself (and also working with people), that humanity was created with a God-given need for power. And if we are not intentionally drawing near to God and finding our sense of power through him and the leading of his spirit, we WILL naturally seek to have our need for power met through other outlets.
I believe this is the most common root behind additions (i.e. pornagraphy, alcohol and drug abuse, shopping, hulu and netflix, working out, eating disorders, etc.).
“I feel out of control right now… therefore, I’m going to escape for a moment and go do whatever the heck I want and answer to absolutely nobody but myself.”
“My family and marriage feels out of control right now and the only relief I can find from all this chaos is when I look at porn.”
“I’m not happy with my life, but at least when I shop it makes me feel like my life is better than it actually is.”
"I can't control that relationship, but I can control the way I look."
These thought patterns are often going on within the subconscious realm. Most people do not know why they do what they do. They’re left thinking the addiction is the problem. People are left thinking they just like alcohol…or they just have an addiction to sex.
The truth is --you just felt out of control.
And now, this addiction is a learned behavior that you've trained your brain to gravitate towards in order to find temporary relief. When everything else feels in chaos, at least there’s that “one thing” that brings you pleasure.
My biggest encouragement is to get brutally honest with yourself and ask the question, “How do I cope with my life when it feels out of control?”
Many of us have coping mechanisms we’re not even remotely aware of. And although there are healthy ways of seeking our God-given needs for power and control, if we are not ultimately clinging to the presence of God (first and foremost) we will keep going back to the same pattern over and over.
Additionally, I do think as an overflow of spending time with God and leaning into HIM as our source of strength, there are still many behavioral/proactive ways we can seek a healthy sense of power every day. These skills are beneficial to helping people no longer gravitate to unhealthy behavioral patterns in order to find relief.
Heres a few of my ideas:
-Play time! Do something for you on a weekly/monthly basis. Go have some guilt-free enjoyable time for yourself (i.e. bike ride, beach, read a book, mini vacation, etc.)
-Find a discipline that helps you gain a sense of self-control in your life. Every day when I go to the gym (although I can be unhealthy with this as well and make it my idol) there is a sense of power I get when I choose to go beyond my fickle feelings and get my butt up to work out. I am reminded “Oh wait. I am capable. I’m not a victim.”)
-Set boundaries with people & circumstances you feel out of control with. I’d encourage you to read the book ‘Boundaries’ by Cloud & Townsend.
-Intentionally meditate upon the powerful decisions you make on a daily basis that you often forget (i.e. You might feel like a victim at your job but the truth is you still wake up every morning to drive to work. That's a powerful decision. You still choose that --you are much less of a victim than you think.)
Healthy lives don't just happen you guys. And your addiction is rooted in something FAR beyond the actual thing you are seeking.
I pray the Lord reveals to you why you do what you do. And then shows you healthy ways to seek your God-given need for power (even when life feels out of control). He's the best counselor there is.