As I sit curled up in a ball in my living room, wrapped snugly in a plush yellow blanket, Anthem Isaiah, my four-month-old pup is snoozing on my lap. I’ve set down my book to write for a bit, cherishing an evening that has been filled with wisdom from Elizabeth Elliot, in her book titled, “Let Me Be A Woman.” It’s a Friday night, my roommate is at a Halloween Party, and the house is still, aside from the quiet snores escaping Anthem, and the occasional bark that Cleo, my roommate’s dog, will let out. Rain has steadily been falling since early this morning, and having only a half-day at work today, I’ve found myself on this couch since about noon. The sun has fallen and my mind keeps drifting to a time in my life where Friday nights were what I anticipated. A time when I couldn’t wait to get dressed up and go out-aching for “another crazy story” or maybe hopeful to stumble across some chaos, something risky, something edgy. I can tell you right now though, that through this afternoon and evening, as I’ve read from different books and talked to God quite a bit, my mind is on an adventure far greater than anything I would experience tonight if I had gone out. I’ll always remember what my sister told me a couple of years back. “Amy, it’s okay to be happy with a calm life.” Tonight more than ever before, I feel that to be so true. No, my life isn’t calm. I work in Child and Family Protection Services. Nothing calm about that. But evenings spent at home, reading books that enhance my mind and cuddling with my baby? Yes. This is calm and this makes me happy.
Lately, I’ve been battling a lot of different insecurities. As I continue to fight this battle with my eating disorder, I must daily shut down the lies that try to tell me I don’t need to eat lunch. Or dinner. I try my best to rebuttal these lies with affirmations. For this one, “I deserve to give my body the nutrients it requires to thrive.” As one of the only white females in my place of employment, working within a heavily dominated American-American county, I question whether I’ll be able to be as effective as the social workers to my left and to my right. “God designed me like this and placed me in this specific place for a purpose.” As I try to balance recovery, work, church, school, and so on, I’ve found it very easy to get overwhelmed. Many nights I’ve gone to bed stressed and woken up even more stressed because I am never able to complete my checklist. “I am not expected to do everything perfectly. I am only expected to do my best with the time I have.” And you know what? Sometimes in order to do my best, I have to take a day-like I’ve done so on this rainy Friday, and just rest. I’ve been working at learning how to manage my time better so that stress doesn’t develop permanency in my spirit. It takes a lot of intentionality. Some days I don’t want to be intentional. I feel it on those days.
One of the bigger insecurities I’ve been up against the past several weeks is the fear of being fully myself to different people in my life. “What if he doesn’t like what he sees? What if he decides ‘I’m too much’ OR ‘not enough’?” That’s a hard one to admit because I used to always pride myself in my individuality. But the worst move I could make in this situation is shaming myself for my insecurities. I try using different affirmations to combat these thoughts, two of them being “I have nothing to prove.” and “I am my own beautiful blaze.” With an identity rooted in Christ, the answers to those “what if” questions stop mattering. My heart’s deepest desire is to be so lost in Christ, so confident in who He says I am, and so confident in the woman He has created me to be, that I am fearlessly that woman.
It’s human to have insecurities. I think what makes the difference is how we fight them.
Last year at this time I was visiting home for the first time since being in recovery. I was about six months sober, had just acquired my Mississipi Driver’s License, and I thought I had it all together. I didn’t. Two years ago at this time I still lived in Nashville and I was beginning a new job taking care of a precious girl with Cerebral Palsy. I just moved in with a new family (who has become a second family to me) and I wasn’t convinced I wanted to be sober. Three years ago at this time I was experiencing my first Fall in Nashville, embracing the internship I was at, and loving all of the “new” in my life. Time can be a funny thing. It can also be a beautiful way to gain perspective. I have no clue where I’ll be in the Fall of 2020. I assume my settings won’t have changed much. Mississippi will probably still be my home. I’ll still be in graduate school. I assume I’ll still be a CPS worker. Anthem will be bigger and maybe I’ll have gotten another pup. I don’t know. What I do know is this:
My blog is called Grace and Recovery not for the mere fact that I’m a recovering addict, but for the fact that every single day-addiction or no addiction, we have the opportunity to wake up, cast off the grime from yesterday, and spend another day recovering who we were created to be. This world throws so much at us and it’s easy to just put on whatever is cast our direction. But not all of that is meant for us. Not all of that fits in with the intricate design of how God made each of us.
Grace? Because the only reason I have breath in my lungs today is because Jesus looked at me and said my story wasn’t over. He looked at me and my choices and my humanness and He overpowered it all with love.
Recovery? Because I don’t want to spend a single day not working to become the woman Christ intended for me to be. That looks like peeling back layers. Healing from past hurts. Taking off masks. Starving the flesh and feeding the soul. To seek after Christ isn’t to abandon myself more than it is to FIND myself.
A year from now I’ll probably have other insecurities that I’m battling, but a year from now I hope I can look back on this season and know that I fought for myself. Because to fight for myself means to fight to know Christ more, no matter how many distractions pop up in my life. To fight for myself means to fight to believe all that Christ says I am, not what the world says I am.
So as I sit here, still curled up in my yellow blanket, I’m resting in the stillness of this Friday night. Being alone isn’t uncomfortable for me anymore. That certainly isn’t something I could have told you last Fall. But I cherish these nights now where I can reflect on the goodness of my faithful Father, and breathe in the sweet aroma of peace that can transcend every moment, every fear, and every insecurity I might ever have.