Winning the War Inside
Sometimes, my mind feels like a playground with land mines. I am enjoying the peace of the merry-go-round, the excitement of the balance beam, the challenge of monkey bars. And then KABOOM, something explodes. My brain feels like it can’t be sorted, calmed or stopped. I can usually identify the thought that dropped the bomb; other days, I am standing in a hole in the ground, smoke and ashes fluttering, staring at the sky wondering what in the heck just happened to me.
Can you relate?
I don’t pretend to know the horror of war time. Thus far in my life, my birthplace has prevented it. What I do know, is the war in my mind: Thoughts that run unfiltered, worries that threaten peace, pain coercing my identity, judgements determining my perspective, problems impacting my relationships.
I believe we are a product of what we think. I also believe what we think influences the world we live in, the habits we keep, the words we speak, the convictions we anchor our souls to. (Yes, I know you should never end a sentence with “to”.)
Personally, I find transition most difficult in keeping my mind at rest. Moving from where we are to an unknown future is as exciting as it is frightening. I thrive when I have information and context. Currently, there are a few areas of my life in which I have neither. I wish I could tell you my response has been complete trust and carefree happiness, but the truth is, there has been more than one day of crazy.
I don’t know how you thrive, but without information and context, I am completely out of control. For a strategic, analytic, pragmatic (AKA anal crazy person) to be missing details and historical records from which to project accuracy and effectiveness is just North of “why in the world would you do that?!” This is exactly why we are on the “no plan, plan” for our first birth experience. We have no details, no history to draw from, and absolutely no idea how we will respond to the whole situation. According to every former pregnant lady in my life, nothing goes according to plan.
Three things I am holding on to in this season:
I am only responsible for myself. I have zero control over anyone or anything. Do you know how hard that is for a control freak? But with 12 years of recovery under my belt, let me save you more than a decade, this is the truth. Systemic injustice makes me mad. Real mad. Because I feel powerless to change anything. It makes me want to quit, to give up, to do something else. It makes me mad because I can’t call the shots and waiting for a seat at the table of change is frustrating, to say the least. I believe its why so many people walk away from their dreams. But you know what? If we never get a seat at the table, we can still do our part. I can avoid blame, practice forgiveness, learn humility, listen to wisdom, love when it seems impossible, and do the best I can with what I have. That is all I am actually responsible for.
Friends and family are a saving grace. When your mind is ashes and smoke, friends and family make you laugh when you cry, force you to tell the whole truth, and don’t judge you when you’re having a moment. They offer encouragement, advice on how to be where you are, bring chocolate (wine before pregnancy), and the beautiful gift of presence. Sometimes that’s all I need. Often, there are no pain free answers to our life. Now and again, there are no answers at all. If we’re honest, none of us do “grey” very well. Black and white answers falsely make us feel we have more control. Since we don’t, let’s be the kind of friends who resolve to just “be there”.
God is a sovereign God. He is at work even when it doesn’t feel like He is. The biggest rejection in our life could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to us. Our failures can prove to be our future. What if I had married some of the fools I wanted to? What if I had “made it” in the career I used to want desperately? What if I had not failed miserably in college? I probably wouldn’t be in Los Angeles, or married to Cody. I definitely wouldn’t have discovered my deepest passion was actually just to help people. (Because really, who goes to school for that?!) Trust is hard when life is out of control, especially when the out of control part of our lives has nothing to do with us. Trust in a sovereign God who is able to make all things work together for our good helps us trust each other more. I love the Psalms these days. Psalm 138:8 says that He will perfect that which concerns me. He will not forsake the work of His hands – He will fulfill his purpose for me. Perfect, when it is used in the Bible, is not the same as how we use the word today. It doesn’t mean everything will line up perfectly the way we want it to; it means what is broken will be made whole. Not perfect. Whole. The situation may not turn out how I hoped, people may not do what I hope, but God will make what’s broken in me whole in through the process. I’m taking that to the bank.
Do you also struggle with a mind at war? What environmental factors do you need to thrive? What things are you holding on to in this season? Share them with me so I can hold on too!