first, a little over a month ago i started attending a christian based group therapy called celebrate recovery. i have found it very soothing to my soul and have enjoyed sharing my challenges with a group of women who listen and support. there is no back and forth talking, no advice or recommendations on books or scriptures to read. i get to talk for 5 minutes about whatever i want. my nick name for this is 'the dump truck session' cause i back my dump truck into there, dump all my stuff, and leave. it's really quite refreshing.
the sessions are conducted differently each week. sometimes they have a speaker who talks about his/her journey and other times they have a teacher go over one of the 12 recovery steps. two weeks ago it was a speaker who talked about his journey. i didn't relate to much of what he said, but one sentence really impacted me.
he said, "because of the way god has consoled me through my challenges i am able to console others who are going through experiences similar to mine."
the gears in my brain started spinning. it was so brilliant in its simplicity.
i can console the way i've been consoled.
if you haven't noticed, i really enjoy writing. i love words. i love how with one word you can so often sum up a feeling and give it to another so they understand. words are power.
and the word console is one i have never used before but when he said it, it spoke to my soul. synonyms for console are comfort, solace, soothe. my favorite of which is soothe. so often i feel like a three year old child, throwing a tantrum, because i don't understand what's going on in my life.
my face is blotchy red, stained with tears. my hair is swimming around my face in wispy disarray. my voice is hoarse from hours of crying and screaming. my eyes are watery and blurry. and all i really want is to be soothed. to have god lift me into his mighty arms and hold me tight. to comfort and calm my heart.
so often he has done this for me when i allow him in. and because i have felt his mercy, grace, and love in my life, i am better able to share that with others.
do i love the challenges i face in life? no. i really don't. but i can't deny that because of what i have gone through my eyes can more easily see those struggling. my heart is softer towards those hurting. i see the shame and grief of anxiety so clearly in others and i can reach them because with no hesitation i can say, 'i know exactly how you feel.' and they know it's true because they see the pain in my eyes, the scars on my arms, the hope in my steps.
what a lovely word
second, this same man who spoke at the meeting said god expects progress not perfection. for all of my teenage years i struggled with the idea of perfection. i never achieved it, so i beat myself up for my failures. in truth, each moment i lived and breathed i was progressing which was a success. i look back on that scared, timid, shy, anxiety ridden girl with eyes of love and understanding. i was doing my best but was too hard on myself. instead of crying myself to sleep each night over the things i didn't do well enough and the things i had to do the next day, i wish i could've slept in peace, knowing i had done my best and that was enough.
part of the problem was i was literally off balance chemically and didn't have the complete ability to calm down on my own. with the right medication perhaps i could've started on my progressive journey earlier - but my life is on god's time so i will trust that all has happened for a reason.
progress not perfection.
that i can do.
third and finally my counselor created 'customized affirmations for miss standing ovation aka rachel' and gave them to me at our last session. seriously, that's the title he gave it :)
i want to share them.
1 - i take self-care seriously and know when self-harm thoughts crowd in this is a warning sign that pain is overflowing from within. i will reach out for connection to off load pain through friends, family or god. i will not isolate when depressed; i will muster the strength to reach out and connect.
2 - i am enjoying more peace and purpose in my life as i accept god's plan for me.
3 - i am shifting from angry and powerless as i accept the serenity prayer message of accepting things i cannot change and having the courage to change the things i can.
4 - my sadness and loneliness is point me towards taking steps of sharing my self with more people. i envision my social circle expanding as i let others see my authentic self and feel others accept me with my hurts and hang-ups. i am taking risks by practicing self-disclosure gradually and safely.
now, because i am progressing, i am not doing/feeling/working on all of these right now. i told him that. my favorite one is the second one. i am enjoying more peace and purpose in my life as i accept god's plan for me. that's where i am. and i will work on the others in time.
what affirmations would you write for yourself?