Everyone’s Journey is Different

#165 Blog Post-Everyone's Journey is Different

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

As I entered adulthood, I began to have debilitating anxiety. I would receive (unwanted) advice from people regarding anxiety. Their advice of “stop worrying so much” hurt me more than it helped.

A former co-worker of mine wanted to become an esthetician. She asked me if she could practice giving a facial. Of course, I jumped at the chance. For some reason, those intimate environments cause people to open up. I brought up the subject of anxiety and the troubles I had. She scoffed at me and said, “aren’t you a Christian? I thought your God helped you?” Her words hurt me. I wanted to melt into the table and evaporate.

My issue was this, the trauma that I experienced in my life clouded my ability to trust in the Lord. She was sort of correct, though, in a mean and condescending way.

Everyone’s journey to healing is different. Here has been my path (so far). I prayed. I cried. I had others pray for me. I read the Bible. I did Bible studies. I attended church and weekend conferences. I had years of therapy, coaching, and bodywork. I took medication. I ended toxic relationships. I kept boundaries. All of these things helped me to get on the path of healing. I did wish for God to heal me after one prayer. However, I know every hurt I experienced brought me the knowledge I have today. Neurolinguistic trainer, Al Sargent said, “There are no experts in a new experience.” In my young adult days, I wasn’t experienced yet to walk in victory. As I look back, it was okay that I didn’t have all the answers.

My name, Colette, means victorious. The enemy knows my weaknesses and wants me to forget God has already made me victorious. God doesn’t want me to suffer but to thrive. I can rest in His arms and allow Him to fight my battles for me.

Lesson Learned: My journey is different than others, but I am already victorious in Him.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you, Lord! Help me walk victoriously in you. Remind me of all the times; you have carried me. Thank you for your grace and mercy. I believe I am healed. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Making Waves

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3

Certain situations rile me up with anxiety. A visit to the dentist guarantees an anxiety attack. It would upset me that I couldn’t go to the dentist without an issue. The shame was real. I would ask myself, “why couldn’t I get past this?”

A typical visit would entail sweating through my clothes, crying, or blacking out. I remember the dentist shaking me as she yelled my name and telling me to breathe. I gasped for air and came back. It was embarrassing and scary.

I experienced trauma as a child and adult from trips to the dentist. One hygienist yelled at me when I was seven years old. She said, “I will sit on you if you don’t stop moving around.” She was a large woman, too. As an adult, one dentist told me to never come back to his practice because he couldn’t handle me. Those situations, combined with the money I spent and the pain I endured, made dental visits unbearable.

As I sought therapy for anxiety, I worked on settling my nervous system and giving myself a lot of grace when I knew I had to face a difficult situation. I have to go to the dentist every four months to get my teeth cleaned and checked. My dentist is near the beach and a beautiful Outlet Mall. I decided after a dental visit, to go to the beach and do some grounding work by stepping into the sand and water and watch the waves go back and forth for about 15 minutes. Then I would get lunch at the Outlet Mall and walk around and window shop. After a few times of doing this practice, I soon looked forward to a trip to the dentist.

Here are some pictures of going to the beach after my last dental visit.

I never took a gentle, loving approach in dealing with difficult situations. I took the advice of “suck it up, stop complaining and deal with it.” That approach hurt me instead of helping me.

My healing from anxiety has not been quick. It has been a long journey. As much as I wish God took the anxiety away, I needed to go through a process. There are three therapists who I have come to know that have helped me get through anxiety. I have also learned to eliminate a perfectionist attitude.

My road to recovery has looked like this. Seeking God first, establish boundaries, treat myself gently, learned ways to ground to keep my nervous system out of fight or flight, and know I am worthy and deserve peace.

If I can stop being anxious, you can too! Healing and restoration take determination and consistency, and it is worth it.

Lesson Learned: I am deserving of a life that has joy and peace. Victory over anxiety is worth the work.

Prayer:
“Heavenly Father, I allow you to heal me in the areas of my life that need healing. Forgive me for holding onto things I cannot control. Reset and restore my nervous system. Remind me who I am in Christ. Whenever I face scary situations, show me that you are right there beside me. Thank you for the victory over anxiety! In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Little Victories

“But thanks be to God!  He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 15:57

 

Live one day at a time.  Anxiety doesn’t let you live one day at a time.  It has me thinking of days, months and even years in the past or in the future.  In 12 step recovery programs the advice of taking “one day at a time” is given.  I have never been a part of a 12 step recovery program, but I have learned how much value there is in being present with each day and living today for today.

 

My life overall, has been less anxious than it was a year ago.  But then there are some days where anxiety camped out in my mind.  My friend started a small support group for those dealing with anxiety.  I look forward to it, but ironically I get anxiety going to group.  The anxiety is from being vulnerable in front of others and for not overcoming anxiety once and for all.

 

Last week we met and I was having the hardest time settling in after we started.  The leader put on some worship music and wanted us to breathe slowly and think about a place in our body that felt calm.  But I couldn’t.  I did not like the song.  And I felt guilty for not liking a song about Jesus.  The song had a fast rhythmic beat which made me antsy.  I could feel a surge of panic because I knew I had to be still for the next 5 minutes until this song would be over.  There seemed to be no place in my body that was calm and settled.

 

For some reason, I looked at the palm of my right hand and noticed a vein that would pulse.  I began to focus on that and felt my breath slow and relax.  The following thought crossed my mind as I observed the pulse.  Even though I felt out of control, my body’s physiology was still working.  With anxiety, I feel like a floating head, a zero connection with my body.  But this time, my mind and body connected and I relaxed.

 

We went around and shared our experience with the song.  I shared my pulse story and the leader congratulated me.  It didn’t feel like a big deal to me.  But she explained how that was a victory for me and I found something to go to any time I felt anxious.  I finally found something to quell the anxious feelings.

 

Afterward this leader encouraged me to be thankful for the little victories I have won over these past years.  She reminded me how much I have improved on relaxing and have less anxiety.  I thought of those that deal with addiction to alcohol and drugs (or other things) and how each day is a victory when they don’t succumb to their former vices.  Praise the Lord for those good days and continued strength for the daily battle to live in victory and freedom!

 

Lesson Learned:  Little victories won every day, will beat the lifelong battle.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for equipping me with what I need to win the battle everyday.  Thank you for the strength you have given me Father God.  Remind me what you have carried me through.  I thank you for the little victories you have blessed me with in conquering these issues.  Praise you and thank you Lord Jesus for the ultimate victory you won when you died for us.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”