I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place right now. I've been in an emotional battle with myself for quite some time...28 years to be exact. The good news is...I've made some real progress over the last three years! Progress that is changing my life-my relationship with my husband and my children, my thoughts about myself, the way I react in situations I don't want to be in, etc. God has really been working on me now for three long years. To grow is painful. I don't take pain easily. I'm a baby when it comes to pain; physical, emotional, psychological. I was born into this world wanting to have it easy in every area of my life...unfortunately, God didn't see it my way. I've experienced a lot of pain...a lot.
Isn't it amazing, how when you think you've finally got yourself figured out, life pushes you face down in the mud and calls you a 'wiener'? You're flying high, feeling good, got your ducks in a row, and suddenly...the bottom drops out. To put it mildly...I'm a work in progress. I've battled with addictions my whole life: obsessive cleaning, compulsive thoughts, my battle with food, spending money when I'm emotional, amongst other unmentionable addictions. I know some of you might be thinking I'm being dramatic, but honestly, I do struggle.
I was watching Oprah today-I know, I know! How typical of a housewife to get advice from Oprah, but I swear, God has spoken to me through many an "Oprah Winfrey" show before! She had a guest on her show speaking about a book she wrote about women and their addictions to food. Isn't it interesting how men don't struggle with food as an emotional issue quite like women? But as I was watching this she was talking about addictive behavior and how we choose a behavior to avoid feeling the emotions we have instead. I'm eating when you aren't really hungry. I'm obsessively cleaning when my house is spotless, I'm telling myself things that I know, logically, aren't true, I'm shopping for something when I don't know what exactly I'm looking for nor do I need anything. The cycle is repetitive...I do the same behaviors over and over, expecting different results than the last time.
I've lived since I was four years old, believing that I'm not enough...I'm not enough and I'm too much, all at the same time. If I do it differently...better, then...then they will be happy...I will be happy. If I look good on the outside, they won't notice how painful it is on the inside. I've failed. What if they leave me?
I relate all things in my life to motherhood. Seriously...who needs high school, or college, or a doctorate? The most important thing in our life comes down to relationships, and you don't learn that by earning a degree, it comes from life experience. My children have taught me so much...so much. I see my faults in ways I've taught them. But, I'm also seeing my strengths in what I've taught them. There is no better feeling than to watch your child doing something great and to have the satisfaction of knowing that you are responsible for that. No amount of money, drugs, alcohol, or sex will satisfy you like this will.
My "lightbulb" moment is to be aware from now on. When I face a stressful moment, instead of reacting prematurely, I'm going to think...What am I feeling right now? What am I "hungry" for? Will I feel better after I do my "drug of choice", or will it leave me still feeling empty? What can I learn from this experience?
I will stop telling myself that I'm not good enough. I will stop dwelling on my failures. I will remind myself that "it" wasn't about me. I will stop pursuing perfection, and remember that practice does not make perfection, but progress. I will include God in my decisions about even the simple things....food, time management, feelings, etc. I will forgive myself. I will ask myself my favorite Dr. Phil question...How's this workin' for me? I will remember that the difference between prayer and worry is to whom you direct your thoughts. I will stop punishing myself for what is in the past and out of my control. I will stop thinking about the "what-if's". I will stop measuring my self-worth on what the world says is successful. I will embrace my body at every stage of my life and be thankful at how it has taken care of me. I will take the word "but", out of my vocabulary. I will dwell on what I'm thankful for and blessed with instead of my shortcomings. I won't resist change. I will end each day with telling myself, "Good job, Steph...and we'll try again tomorrow".
Be patient...God isn't finished with me, yet.