“I’m just not used to not running…”
This is what I said to my spiritual director/counselor the last time we met. Unfortunately, through many tears and the last vestiges of an anxiety attack.
Because I fell. Hard. I am dealing with addictions in my life that seem stronger and more potent and immobilizing now that I am actually dealing them and recognizing God’s will to eradicate them from my life. What irony.
“Totally expected. I’m not surprised,” my counselor said.
I told my counselor the whole story. About The memory of pain from earlier in my life. The thought of it reoccurring. The fear that pain was once again just around the corner. The need for escape. The escape into things that just lead me into numbness and forgetfulness. Then the memory again… The thought of it reoccurring…
And here we go again. The addict’s vicious cycle.
I think I live in perpetual fear of pain inflicted on me out of nowhere. Sudden and unforeseen. It has happened before. The shock and surprise of it all is sometimes the most debilitating. It has come in many forms: physical, mental, and emotional. And the fear of that pain and the anxiety that comes with it leads to a perpetual exploration and seeking after pleasure, which in essence is nothing but a quick distraction which brings with a whole bag full of shame and guilt.
But I still run.
As fast as I can.
To more hurt and pain and numbness.
I grow sullen and withdrawn, anxious and uncommunicative. I don’t write (hence the silence on this blog for a while).
So I’m relating this story to my counselor, and as I relate it, the memory of pain is there, and I stand up, my heart racing, sudden panic constricting my chest.
Full fledged panic attack.
“What’s going through your head right now?”
“I n-n-n-need to g-g-g-go. Got. To get. Out.
“Where are you going to go?”
I realized, through the panic, I had nowhere to go. I couldn’t escape anymore. And the umpteenth time, I realized I needed to rest in the arms of my Savior. That is the only place for me, to face the things I need to face. Not as a pat-on-the-shoulder, everything-gonna-be-alright comfort fix, but as a real placement of anguish at the foot of the cross, where my Savior Jesus cups my face in his nail-scarred hands and rides through the pain with me and brings me once again out of the depths and darkness into newness and light.
Just to stay in His presence, at that moment, was what was needed.
That realization brought a wave of exhaustion, tears, and more realization. Because I still struggled. In between gasps of breath and coughs, I admitted this is in the small room, as my counselor tenderly prayed over me…
“I-I-I’m just not used to it. To not running.”
But I was there, in that chair, at least, facing things. I am beginning that long process of running only to God, and to recognizing that only He is there with the consistency of unconditional Love. For even though Peter said “Go away from me Lord; I am sinful man” (Luke 5:8), Jesus still said “Come, follow me.”
At this point of my healing, this means to lie down in green pastures.
Beside quiet waters.
For the restoration of my soul.
A restoration that will stay. Forever and ever, amen.