I’m going to deviate from my standard blogging theme of gentle self-exploration and small quips to write what I think may be the most difficult and easiest blog yet. I strive to be as honest and raw in this public space but today I’m going to strip an extra layer of skin on my heart and be vulnerable to another level. Because I need it and I think maybe someone else out there needs it.
I want to talk about my soul.
About a year and a half ago, a counselor told me I struggle with anxiety. In his words it was at a “clinical” level, whatever that means. This comes as no surprise to anyone that is close to me, at least those close enough to see past the muted image I display and see the pointillism made up of different shards of extreme emotions. There was maybe something about giving my irrational worries an actual title that left me feeling slightly justified and weak at the same time. But, with most things, it was “okay”. I had studied how to create enough tools to rest in my tool belt to deal with this. It was, for the most part, manageable. My anxiety was manageable. Maybe like yours.
Until I had a baby.
I’ve never felt such an intense level of love and joy until I’ve had my son. My Hong Song. He puts a new melody in my heart and each day feels like a new lullaby. I’m excited, elated, ecstatic (yay for alliterations!). Yet the dark side is, I’ve never felt such an intense level of worry and fear until I’ve had my son. I find myself almost crippled at times when I’m doing the most mundane tasks pondering thoughts such as “what if”. Going in public places I sometimes freeze and quickly dart my eyes all around wondering “what if”. As I brush my teeth in the morning and get ready for the day I have a quick panic and wonder “what if”. When I put him down for bed and I snuggle under my blankets, I find myself suddenly alert for a moment as I’m awakened by the possibility of “what if”.
Because suddenly every moment matters. Suddenly everything feels like it’s on the line. Suddenly I feel like I have everything I could ever have hoped for and the “what if” plagues me because now I have too much to lose. When it comes down to it, I feel I have something to lose. I feel I could lose. Why?
Deeper self-reflection and thought and conversations with my husband have made me realize that though I’ve gone through therapy and inner healing and multiple prayer and ministry sessions, there is still a wound in my soul. A deep wound that comes up time and time again. This wound, like my fears, have been manageable. I’ve had my tools to nurture the wound and bandage the wound and even scrape out just enough dirt in the wound so it’s not so visible. It was very manageable.
Until I had a baby.
As a parent, my deepest issues and hurts come to the surface. My “stuff” gets triggered on a daily basis as I’m frantic to ensure my child feels secure and loved and approved of. To never feel abandoned or hopeless. To feel safe and respected. To never feel threatened or manipulated. Although these desires for my Hong Song are good, my motivation behind these desires are “un”good. Because my motivation are my own hurts and my own fears and my own anxiety.
What we’ve realized is that the wounded part of my soul holds on to a lie that I don’t deserve good things. I don’t deserve love. Because so much of my everyday thought process revolves around deserving and earning, I’m led to believe that if I don’t deserve it, if I haven’t earned it, it can get taken away. Like a child that steals a piece of bread, I hoard and hover and hide, afraid I’ll be seen with this good thing. Afraid that when I’m “caught” it’ll get taken away; the scales will be balanced and things will be justified and rectified. I’m afraid I could lose my good things so I live in this cage of fear and anxiety. And now that I have the best thing my heart so deeply cherishes, now that I’m so deeply crazy in love and in joy, this anxious thought of losing is triggered to a heightened level. A new level that I have not yet created the refined tools for yet.
I find myself driven almost mad with guilt and obligation. I am constantly tugged by the need to get things done. I have always struggled with finding times and ways to rest, to really rest my soul. I am struggling with this more than ever. Because I believe I don’t deserve, I must find ways to earn. I find so little time to release in my writing or art (a genuine rest for me) because I feel the need to do once again. As soon as baby boy naps, I find myself trying to organize all his clothes or rearrange the cabinets or log in to work and get some emails done. When I do allow myself to not do, I indulge in restless behavior like a mindless movie or an iphone game where I have to solve candy puzzles. I have learned (and even I myself taught) how important it is to love one self and to rest. Yet in my unhealthy doing and weight of worry and guilt, I have replaced love with entitlement. I feel entitled to do nothing and binge on the couch in my short time frame of baby naps. And when those naps are over, I feel more drained and guilty. Guilty that I didn’t get enough done. I feel more anxious. Anxious I haven’t earned his next smile. And I feel more undeserving of the love of my child.
I want to be a mother that teaches her children how to take risks and dream big and chase. I want to teach my children not only how to leap, but how to fly. I want to parent my children in a way that lets go and sends them off to the ends of the earth to where ever the Lord beckons their hearts. I so desperately want these wants because I realize these are some of my own desires. To risk to dream to leap to fly to let go. To follow.
And so it’s time to follow. It’s time to go through another level of healing, another level of soul care. Another level of allowing the Spirit of God to minister to my broken heart. Another level of following after the scarred feet of Jesus with my own dirty feet that needs to washed yet again. This is my reality and I cannot just bandage this up. I cannot put on a facade that I’m okay and my heart is okay and put on a portrait of serenity. I’ve read the books, I’ve sat through the sessions, I’ve prayed the prayers. And here I am again. And you know what? That’s okay.
If you are on this journey too, I encourage you to exhale with me. To not allow yourself to get buried in these lies but to claim truth and love and hope with me. To embark on this travel and allow the Creator to take our hands and lead us to the next destination. To not be ashamed and hide because we “should know better”, but to step out of the shadows of embarrassment that taunt us to believe it’s safer to hide our fears. To dance with our scarred, broken, battered hearts in the warmth of His light and choose to trust this next season. To enjoy what we have, to love what we have, and to love ourselves. Because it’s worth it. Our children are worth it. We are worth it.
We deserve it.
*Please feel free to message or email me if this is a journey you are on. Let’s do this together. 🙂