Archive for category: Recovery Room

Recovery Room: From Gumption to Inner-Sobriety

Over the last year, I’ve received my fair share of me-too emails, emails in which the writer has reached out to say, “you’ve wrestled with addiction? Me too.” These emails take various shapes and forms–advice from someone ten years ahead of me on this recovery journey, confessions from other addicts on the other side of the screen.  This is the beauty of confession–it both invites the wisdom and grace of age, and encourages the lame to take their own first step.

Yesterday, I received an email from a reader who shared his pain. He’d come to the conclusion of Coming Clean and decided to stretch back into the possibility of God. He wrote, “my life hasn’t changed at all yet… I still ache all the time… I am still trying to take it in, trying to really believe it all… trying to get up the gumption to believe in Jesus again, maybe just a little….”

Trying to get the gumption–what a line.

These are the confessions that are difficult to field, especially in a relational vacuum, but I did my best. As I closed my response, I typed,

“‘trying to get up the gumption to believe in Jesus again…’ Maybe this is the trick. Maybe it’s intestinal fortitude, and intuition, and a bit of wonder that keeps us holding on, or reaching out (depending on our posture). I think God sees that. I think God is okay with that. In fact, I think God smiles on it.”

I clicked send, sat in the silence, and considered my bald assertion.

***

You may not be a twelve-step disciple, may not attend Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or a Sex Addicts Anonymous. (To put all cards on the table, you should know I’m not a regular attender.) But even if you’ve never stepped into a meeting, if you have no disordered attachments or disruptive addictions, even if you’ve only had passing conversations with true addicts (whatever that might mean to you), don’t you have some familiarity with the twelve steps of the Anonymous programs? Don’t you at least know the first two?

Step 1: admit you are powerless over your addiction, and that life has become unmanageable in that addition.

Step 2: admit that only a Power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity.

These are the foundational principals of the twelve-step programs designed to beat addiction. And herein lies the problem: even if one believes his life unmanageable, even if addiction, or pain, or our spiritual condition has rendered him powerless, what if he can’t quite admit that there is a Power greater than himself? What if belief in God is a struggle at best, and impossible at worst? Is recovery possible?

I’m not here to give you the twelve-step answer to the struggle, or to chide your disbelief. I’m also not here to provide resources for atheist and agnostic twelve-steppers (though they exist). Today I’m writing for a far different purpose; I’m writing to inspire your imagination.

Ask yourself this question: What if I don’t believe in a Power great enough to save me from addiction? Consider yesterday’s emailer; he was onto something.

There’s no such thing as perfect belief this side of the veil. So what if we admitted our doubts, the weakness of our faith, and responded, I’m trying to get up the gumption to believe in Jesus again…? What if that response–imperfect as it might seem–was good enough for our communities of recovery? What if our communities (both twelve-step communities and church communities) made space for doubt, faith, and the gumption in the liminal space between? Wouldn’t that be a community of honesty and authenticity? Are there any better weapons against addiction and disordered attachments than honesty and authenticity?

***

In these recovery conversations, let’s make space for the doubt and disbelief. Let’s make space for unresolved pain and questions. And instead of giving all the right answers, let’s inspire those around us to gumption. Perhaps their gumption is God’s gift for the recovery of their faith, for the recovery of their inner-sobriety.

Can you imagine it?

***TINY LETTER***

CC Austin OuttakesThanks for stopping in! If you enjoy reading here, sign up to receive my bi-monthly Tiny Letter. If you sign up, you’ll receive my free eBook, Coming Clean|Austin Outtakes. The Outtakes share the story behind my latest release from Zondervan, Coming Clean|A Story of Faith.

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Recovery Room: My Favorite Fantasy (a Guest Post by Rebecca Reynolds)

I met a few good people in 2015, but among my favorites is Rebecca Reynolds. With a sharp wit, an uncanny knack for logic, and a voice as unique as any fingerprint, Rebecca is one of the writers I follow with regularity. You can (and should) follow her work at www.thistleandtoad.com

Rebecca has agreed to step into the Recovery Room today to share a bit of her story her. Let’s welcome her.

***

When Seth asked me to write something about addiction recovery I laughed, because I don’t have a lot of experience in this area. Don’t get me wrong. I understand addiction, it’s just that the word “recovery” makes it sound like all the trouble has passed, and I still mess up quite a bit.

My problem is wanting stuff I don’t have. I want impossible opportunities, second chances at old choices, leisure, margin, travel, and youth. I want room to stretch out and play. I want good stuff from other people’s lives.

I don’t generally sit around wringing my hands and seething about not having these things. I do tend to daydream though, whipping up imaginary realities that give me a quick adrenaline rush but leave me grumpy and critical about the life I have actually been given. Just like anything we try to use to replace God, this tendency to escape only carves my insecurity and fear out deeper. A false world turns the real world into a vacuum.

My story is that I’m firstborn and determined to be “good,” determined to be responsible and to make upright choices, determined to “save the world.” Technically I believe in the idea of grace, but I hate myself–really hate myself–when I see how much I need it. I tend to expect better of myself than to run on God’s forgiveness.

On top of this, the past ten years have been very hard for our family, and some deep bruises have been left on my heart. I’m afraid sometimes, lonely sometimes, and often hesitant to trust other people. So, it’s the perfect storm, really. I’m a combo of self-reliance, pride, perfectionism, messiah complex, fear, pain, and isolation.

Instead of letting this tension drive me to Jesus, I tend to grit my teeth together and focus on being good for as long as I can. And that seems to work sometimes.

But underneath the surface, the trouble builds. Finally a hard day hits, and I don’t have enough sleep, or I’m stressed out, or something painful happens and I just give up. I let my mind wander wherever it wants. I stare straight into what God hasn’t given me. I take emotional risks in the privacy of my heart, imagining how my life could be different. I reject the life God has given me and escape into another one.

It hurts too much to see the ugly truth sometimes, so there are days when I scramble around for a pretty lie to replace it.

Now here’s where this gets tricky. Some people wouldn’t even call what I do a sin, because it’s not the traditional extramarital affair or substance binge. But Jesus was right about the dangers of mental wrongs. This is where it all starts, in the secret places of a person’s thought life. Whatever happens on the outside first happens here.

So it doesn’t matter if my body is “obedient” if my mind is doing the work of discontentment: wanting, stealing, escaping, locking God out so that I can rule my own life for a while. And as I continue to wrestle with this weakness, I’m starting to think that coveting is so dangerous because it keeps us focused on impossibilities instead of focused on what we can learn from the hurt, failure, and weakness, and even the monotony we already have.

Do you remember that scene in The Lord of The Rings where Bilbo reaches for Frodo’s ring and morphs into a greedy monster in a flash of desire? It’s one of the most painful things I’ve ever watched. Probably because it’s too familiar.

Moderns challenge the justice of any sort of hell, but when I get a good look at my worst tendencies, it makes so much sense to me that a soul that refuses to submit to growth, a soul that is adamant about twisting joy into something distorted, would finally be released into what she has already chosen over the call of love a hundred million times.

The trajectory of autonomy is so ugly it makes my throat hurt to see where my escapism leads. I don’t want to be a consumer, a runaway, a liar. And it’s not just that I want to avoid an eternal hell; I also want to avoid the present hell of, “Leave me alone for a while, God, because I’m hurting, and I want to make some of my own answers until the pain stops.”

When I make the choice to trust myself instead of the God who loves me, it makes loneliness lonelier. It makes fear more fearful. It makes shame more shameful. It never fixes what’s broken and it makes what is broken worse.

Sure, grace is waiting for me when I fail, because God’s love is relentless. He doesn’t need my firstborn determination to win His love, and when my pride cranks out another failure, He’s waiting to pick me up. But I’ll be honest, I’m tired of this struggle. I wish I could slam a big red button and make it go away forever.

How I yearn for that time in the future when I see God so clearly that the struggle of wanting anything else will be gone forever. Until then, I am asking God to use this mess somehow despite me. Maybe it is just going to take this sort of battle for me to finally realize that I really am weak, and that He really is strong, and that yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.

***

Rebecca Reynolds teaches rhetoric, literature, and philosophy at a classical school in eastern Tennessee. She also writes for Rabbit Room, Story Warren, and is the lyricist for Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station. You can read her blog at www.thistleandtoad.com

***TINY LETTER***

CC Austin OuttakesThanks for stopping in! If you enjoy reading here, sign up to receive my bi-monthly Tiny Letter. If you sign up, you’ll receive my free eBook, Coming Clean|Austin Outtakes. The Outtakes share the story behind my latest release from Zondervan, Coming Clean|A Story of Faith.

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Recovery Room: The Path Through Fear (And a Giveaway)

Welcome to the Recovery Room.

On the occasional Thursday, I invite guest writers, pastors, therapists, and practitioners to step in and discuss their process of recovery–recovery from any old thing. Today, welcome Deidra Riggs, writer, speaker, and author of the new book Every Little Thing. Deira is powerful voice, a beautiful soul, and an all-around good person. When she’s not skydiving solo, you can find her Jumping Tandem (her blog). Follow her on Twitter. You’ll be glad you did.

And if you’d like to win a copy of Every Little Thing, leave a comment below. We’ll choose two lucky winners on Friday!

Without any further adieux, welcome Deidra to the Recovery Room.

*****

Finding the Pathway Through Fear

A note before beginning: I still get tripped up by fear. I don’t share these words with you as a fear-conquering expert. I am far from that. In truth, I envision myself sitting right in the trenches with the rest of my brothers and sisters who sometimes get startled when things go bump in the night. Sometimes, fear gets the best of us, doesn’t it? And sometimes, we find our way through it, to the other side.

The best way to get through fear (and I say “through” on purpose, because I suspect many of us will never really get over or even out of it; fear will always rise up to meet us as we make our way on the journey) is to press yourself right up to the very edge of the drop-off and then go one very small step further—right out into what looks like absolute nothingness from your current vantage point.

Trust is the pathway through fear.

If trust is the pathway through fear, what is the pathway to trust? Trust is not a passive activity. It is not a spectator sport.

We build up our trust in God over days and weeks and months and years, by following him through one small event after another, after another. We have done this trust-building thing with family members and with friendships and with our spouses and our bosses and employees. Over time, in all of these relationships, the trustworthiness of each of the significant people in our lives has been tested, through different situations and circumstances.

It happens quite naturally. We get sick and we learn that we can trust our spouse to care for us in the darkest hours of the night, without complaint and with hands that offer tender consolation. We are assigned a new project at work, and we learn that we can trust our employer to provide the needed resources and to mentor us through the parts of the project that lead us into uncovered territory. We purchase a new house, and we learn that we can trust our friends to show up with their strong backs and their pickup trucks and their extraordinary packing and organizing skills.

Our friendships and our marriage and the confidence with which we navigate our roles in the workplace are built, over time and through various experiences together, on the trust we find in one another. One small exchange after another helps us know where we can find our footing. We craft a history together, and it tells a tale of faithfulness and love and trustworthiness.

However, in these relationships with other human beings, the reverse is also true. Not every relationship is strong on trust. We learn where we can lean the heaviest, and we learn where to back off or step up to fill in the gap. We figure out exactly where we need to take the lead, and we discover when we need to look for help in other places. Sometimes, we even realize it’s time to walk away.

It’s easy to look at God and navigate your relationship with him in the same way you navigate those relationships where trust is hard to find: bracing against disappointment, keeping track of who did what to whom, or feeling like the only person you can really trust in this relationship is you.

One year, in the midst of a particularly dark season of life, I felt compelled to somehow commemorate each occasion where it was clear to me that God was at work in my life or in the world around me. Through a series of events I no longer remember, a small garden planter filled with stones appeared on our front porch. When I decided to mark the moments where God had come through for me, I thought I would take one of the stones from that planter and place it on a tree stump just outside our back door. I didn’t have high hopes for this particular project. I thought the moments of God’s goodness in my life were nonexistent, so I had no aspirations of any noteworthy results taking place from this particular project. In retrospect, I can tell you I was underestimating things. Indeed, I was underestimating God.

Before the sun went down that day, I’d made two or three trips from the front porch to retrieve a stone and then through the house and out the back door to deposit that stone on the tree stump, marking a specific moment in time where it had been made clear to me that God was at work in the world, and that God is at work in the world, and that God will be at work in the world, and that I can trust him. Over days and weeks and months and seasons, I continued to mark the moments of God’s faithfulness, and before I knew it, I had a growing pile of stones on the tree trunk. Visitors to our home began to ask about the pile of stones because they were clearly there for a reason. And when I washed the dishes or walked out the back door to water the tomato plants, there it was: proof to me that God can be trusted. God is at work, even when all seems lost and hope is hanging on by a thread.

We build trust in God by putting matters back into his hands, one small moment at a time. We build trust in God by taking one small step in his direction and finding out he will always be there to catch us.

One step is all that’s needed, and you can trust God to take it with you. Before you know it, you’ll have your own pile of smooth stones, piled up in remembrance and inviting you to trust that God goes with you into all things, and the waters will not pass over you.*

 

*Don’t forget to leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy of Deidra’s book, Every Little Thing.

 

*****

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 5.36.01 AMDeidra Riggs is the author of Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are (Baker Books). She is managing editor at The High Calling, and a monthly contributor to (in)courage. As founder of JumpingTandem, an online community providing grace for the journey, Deidra inspires individuals to join God in the adventure he has uniquely designed for them. Deidra and her husband live in Lincoln, Nebraska. They are the proud parents of two adult children, and happy inhabitants of an empty nest.

***TINY LETTER***

Cover.FrancisThanks for stopping in! If you enjoy reading here, sign up to receive my bi-monthly Tiny Letter. In my most recent edition, I’m discussing the discovery of “The Quiet Sober.” Sign up and receive access to my serial eBook, Dear Little Brothers.

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Recovery Room: Like Me, Like Me, Like Me (Confessions of a Social Media Addict)

Welcome to the Recovery Room.

On the occasional Thursday, I invite guest writers, pastors, therapists, and practitioners to step in and discuss their process of recovery–recovery from any old thing.

Today, welcome Tanya Marlow, theologian, writer, and colourful Brit (hence the across-the-pond spellings below). Tanya is the author of Coming Back to God When You Feel Empty, and writes honestly about God, suffering and the messy edges of life at Thorns and Gold. Find her on Twitter @Tanya_Marlow or Facebook, and get her book for FREE here.

Follow her. You’ll thank me.

And now, without further introduction, welcome Tanya to the Recovery Room.

*****

It began as a lifeline at a moment of crisis.

I gave birth, and woke up the next day unable to walk more than a few metres. I have an autoimmune illness, and going through labour was too much for my body. As a new mother, I was also newly disabled, needing to rest in bed for 22 hours a day.

For the first eighteen months, I was excruciatingly lonely. I had no activity, no achievements, and very little contact with friends.

My concentration was drastically limited. No extended chatting time. No books. The magazine-style feed of Facebook was the only thing I could do to fill the beige hours. Lying in bed, desperate for some sort of interaction, I would refresh my Facebook feed every few seconds.

When crisis hits, you grab whatever lifeline you can in order to survive. Facebook and Twitter saved me from loneliness at the most difficult time of my life.

But if you’re not careful, the rope that once saved you can become a noose around your neck.

***

Four years on, and my relationship with social media is not straightforward.

I am still ill. I am still housebound. I can see friends, but only in tiny rations–four friends per week, for 2 hours each time. That’s the limit of my socialising. I’m an extrovert; it never feels enough.

When I am tired, I ought to be resting, doing nothing, but then I am back there, in those early days after the birth, staring at the ceiling, wondering if I will ever be well enough to leave the house again.

So I reach for my iPhone, and pretend it’s like resting. Social media is an escape from the excruciating pain of loneliness, and the tyranny of boredom. What I really want is to be healthy, and to be back in my ministry job or hanging out with friends in a coffee shop. But I can’t have that, so social media is my displacement activity of choice.

Scroll, like, scroll, like, scroll, like.

***

They say that 5-10% of people can’t control their social media usage. Why is it so addictive? Dopamine – the more-more-more brain chemical, is triggered by the ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ system of social media. Dopamine makes us feel good, but it also makes us crave more.

When I have more energy, my approach to social media is healthier: I love to read and celebrate other people’s blog posts, or cheer on others’ campaigns for social justice, or catch up with friends’ news.

When I am feeling tired, lonely or powerless, it’s another story.

Suddenly, I hate every other writer in the planet, because they are more successful, more talented, more photogenic, or, at the very least, more prolific than me. I invent magnificent, outraged speeches to anyone who disagrees with me on Twitter. I want to delete every cute, super-hilarious cat video in the universe and put them into an everlasting internet bonfire where the flame is never quenched.

Ironically, when I am tired is when I most need to step away from social media, but that’s also the time I feel its pull most strongly.

Scroll, like, scroll, like, scroll, like.

***

There are some who want to decry all social media as a modern evil, but I think that is to miss the point. It’s about using it well.

More than most people, I have to constantly examine how (and why) I am using social media. Because I am still housebound and severely ill, social media is necessarily my gateway to the wider world – it’s all my limited concentration can cope with. Unlike most people, I don’t have the option of going for a walk or having a coffee with a friend if I’m feeling lonely or vulnerable.

My compulsion for social media is more like binge-eating than a drug addiction. A drug addict has to abstain from all drugs. A binge-eater can’t abstain from food – they need to learn to eat in a healthy way.

I can’t avoid it, so I need to control it.

I watch my motives.

If you’re feeling powerless, angry, or lonely, it’s always going to be a bad idea to scroll through your Twitter feed – but you can use Facebook for the healthier option of contacting a friend. It is an amazing gift of God that I can write, ‘I’m feeling sad today,’ on a Facebook message to someone on the other side of the world, and I can get a truth-telling reply in minutes that can help me refocus.

So here’s three questions I ask myself to test whether I am using social media in a healthy way:

1. Am I interacting, or am I consuming?
Scrolling through feeds at speed is like stuffing your face with fries till you puke. We tell ourselves we’re productive, but actually we’re bingeing, and it’s no wonder we emerge from an hour of Twitter feeling slightly sick. Better to read a few updates of interest than to try and eat the whole internet before 8am.

2. Is this interaction serving to deepen this relationship?
I can choose to see the stranger on Twitter as a whiteboard to write my opinions upon, or I can see them as a potential friend I am conversing and connecting with. The two attitudes produce very different behaviours.

3. Am I looking to social media to tell me I’m significant, loved?
Whenever I find myself incessantly refreshing the page, hoping for more Facebook likes, that’s when I know it’s time to step back.

Social media is the fast-food outlet of the communications world. To look to social media to affirm us in our achievements and our popularity is to look to Big Macs to provide our nutritional needs.

I am significant because God says I matter. I am loved because God loves me. It’s wholegrain truth, and it’s healthier. Sometimes that feels like enough. (Sometimes, however much you want it to, it doesn’t feel like enough, and you crave some easy affirmation. At such times, I recommend posting a hilarious cat video).

Over to you:

-What are the motives (good and bad) that govern your interaction with social media?

-When are the times in your life that you find yourself compulsively drawn to social media? Is there a pattern?

-Interaction versus consumption – to what extent does this distinction help determine a healthy use of social media?

 

 

*****

Tanya’s Bio:

TM.HeadshotTanya Marlow was in Christian ministry for a decade and a lecturer in Biblical Theology, until she got sick, and became a writer. She loves singing opera arias, eating dark chocolate and laughing at her own jokes. (Not at the same time). She is the author of Coming Back to God When You Feel Empty, and writes honestly about God, suffering and the messy edges of life at Thorns and Gold. Find her on Twitter @Tanya_Marlow or Facebook, and get her book for FREE here.

***TINY LETTER***

Cover.FrancisThanks for stopping in! If you enjoy reading here, sign up to receive my bi-monthly Tiny Letter. In my most recent edition, I’m discussing the discovery of “The Quiet Sober.” Sign up and receive access to my serial eBook, Dear Little Brothers.

Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

Recovery Room: Breaking the Chaos Addiction

Welcome to the Recovery Room.

On the occasional Thursday, I invite guest writers, pastors, therapists, and practitioners to step in and discuss their process of recovery–recovery from any old thing.

Today, welcome Aaron Smith of Cultural Savage. Aaron is a husband, father, nerd (self-proclaimed), and coffee chugger. He’s a great writer to boot! You can find him at Cultural Savage, Bedlam Magazine, and a smattering of other places. Follow him on Twitter; you’ll thank me.

And now, without further introduction, welcome Aaron to the Recovery Room.

*****

It can leave you in shambles.

Chaos. Crisis. When life falls apart. It can leave you devastated and wrecked. When the storm clouds roll back, when the adrenaline ebbs, when life threatens to return to normal, what do you do if you have been destroyed?

Crisis comes to us all. Sometimes it’s at a doctor’s office when the diagnosis comes in. Sometimes it’s at the office when the word “downsizing” hits home. Sometimes it’s at home when the house stops being a home. Sometimes it’s in church when a silent and stone faced God leaves you breathless and lonely in prayer. Crisis comes. It comes in death, in fire, in flood, in financial troubles and more. It breaks in wearing many faces. It looks different at different times, but it comes.

Most recently, it came to my home in the form of financial troubles. We didn’t know how to pay rent. I had lost my job due to a mental health relapse (I have bipolar and the beast rears its head often), and with no income for a month, paying rent and bills seemed like a pipe dream.

In the chaos there is pressure. In the crisis there is a push, and need, a rush to find the solutions, to fix the problem, to salve the wound. In the medical field it’s called triage. Emergency room care. We are pressed from every side and must quickly relieve the pressure to avoid the chaos eating us whole.

These times can be large or small, quick or lingering. Days, weeks, months, years can be swallowed by the chaos. We learn to live with it, to live in it. We learn how to function in the chaos. We learn how to continually triage our situation as the crisis presses in on us from every angle. We get used to it. We begin to think of the chaos as our baseline, our normal. Some days we forget about it because it is just always there, always in the shadows, always at our edges, always in our lives. We become people in crisis, and the crisis becomes our lives.

Then something breaks. The flood waters recede and we begin to see olive branches budding again. There is relief. Yet we are still devastated. The chaos has passed, the crisis averted, the storm has dispersed, but the wreckage is still strewn about our lives. The pressure is gone, and maybe a weight has been lifted. How do we go on? How do we move forward without the chaos?

What I’m really asking is this: when the triage is over and the treatment needs to begin, when the time comes and we don’t have the distraction of crisis but rather must deal with the pain, how do we do this when our normal has been chaos for so long?

See, you can come to rely on the crisis. Almost like an addiction I suppose. The act of triage can become a way to distract ourselves from the pain underneath the chaos. The pain of loss. The pain of rejection. The pain of fear. These and their kin lurk under the surface of the chaos and sometimes cause the crisis.

But when the crisis is over, then we have to face the hurt, the feelings, the wreckage.

I remember when my Papa died. I didn’t cry for three days. I couldn’t. I needed to be strong for my cousin who was raised by this giant of a man, and the woman he left behind, my grandma. They needed me there so they could morn. They needed me in this chaos and crisis. So, I gave them strength and denied myself the time to morn. Three days passed. Finally I was alone, and I wept for the passing of my Papa. I was ruined in those moments. I had to face my emotions after three days of walling them off.

It hurt.

I didn’t want that pain, so after weeping for a short while I slept it off. I slept until I could once again not weep for the man. I slept until I didn’t have to face the hurt, the wound he left in my side. At the funeral, I didn’t cry. Once more, I could be strong even though I didn’t need to be.

What happens when we run from the pain after the chaos has passed? Let me tell you this: to this day I hurt when I think of my Papa’s death, but I still won’t cry about it. The tears threaten to come, but I hold them off. I still deny the grief. This is my new normal.

So maybe, just maybe I need to learn something. Maybe you need to learn it too. Maybe we need to know that in the wreckage it is okay to be broken by the hurt, to be staggered by the pain. Grief, loss, rejection, fear: it is good to be enveloped by these emotions in their proper place. It is good to pass through them, no matter how hard it is.

In crisis we are too pressed to feel these things, but crisis is not meant to be lived forever. It is not supposed to be a mask we hid behind. Chaos is not supposed to be a way around pain. The urgency of the terrible things will merely push off hurt. It will not get rid of the pain; it will not dispel the fear.

To recover from the chaos we have to feel what has been pushed off. There really is no other way to clean the aftermath of the storm. No matter how long the chaos has gone on, no matter how mundane the crisis has become to us, there will come a day when the dawn will burst through, and on that day we need to feel, not hide, the things that have been buried by the chaos.

I write these words to myself. I think I hide in chaos. See, I know how to function in a crisis. There have been enough of them over the past five years or so that I have become well versed in their ways. I have learned how to triage very well, but I’m not so good at the treatment, at going through the emotions under the chaos. The hurt, the fear, and the grief are things I would rather not feel. So, I often wait expectantly for the next crisis, remaining in the hyper vigilant mode where feelings are suppressed because of the urgency.

I am used to chaos, but not so good at feeling the hard things. I need to learn to feel the hard things well. I need to learn to recover from the crisis, not just wait for the next one.

Feeling the hard things well can break the cycle of chaos some of us find ourselves in. Instead of subconsciously waiting for the next tragedy to strike, we can begin to sit in peace and we can know we are loved deeply. Then and only then we can begin to rebuild something glorious out of the wreckage. Then and only then can we move past triage and on to treatment. Then and only then can we – can I – find wholeness and health and peace and resilience against the next storm. Then and only then can we truly recover from the chaos.

 

***TINY LETTER AND COMING CLEAN***

Cover.FrancisThanks for stopping in! If you enjoy reading here, sign up to receive my bi-monthly Tiny Letter. In it, I discuss faith, doubt, and random bits and pieces of my life. Sign up and  received access to my serial eBook, Dear Little Brothers.

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And don’t forget to keep you eyes out for my upcoming book from Zondervan, Coming Clean.

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