It’s the season of Advent. The four weeks before Christmas are set aside for joyful preparation and waiting for the birth of love into our world in a new way. I was reminded yesterday that Jesus comes into our hearts and lives in our past, present and future. It got me thinking about how I want new love to be born in my past. The painful moments that have shaped me and left a trail of unhealthy patterns behind them.
Then I spent a moment thinking about this uncomfortable truth from my time deep in anxiety and panic attacks: Others may kind of know what I was experiencing, but at the end of the day, only I knew how it felt and how much I wanted it go away. And that I was the only one who could stop the charade and choose to get help. I still remember the day I decided enough was enough. It was time to shine a light on my fear and learn why I was so scared. The journey to become more myself started the day I was finally honest about my pain. And instead of treating the symptoms, it was time to go right to the source. But no one else could do the work for me. This was my choice alone.
If this is you lately, love is hoping you’ll make the choice to go into your pain this season. Sit with it, talk with a counselor, write it out, take long slow walks, run, share with a trusted loved one. When we arrive at Christmas, love longs to fill up a new space in your life. A space that’s been off limits before. You’re invited to do the work now, to prepare with joy, so that love has room to be born.
Who Will Stop You?
Only you know the depth The pain The reality Of the unhealthy patterns In your life
Others may think they know They can nod and care And support and love
But they don’t know
You’ve developed a lifetime Of skills to cope To numb To forget
You’re so brilliant That some days even you Forget how much it hurts
And yet Your ways of being Are so solid Consistent Automatic Unconscious That they seem Unquestionable
They are not
Question them Wonder Be curious
Could love soften even that? What if I changed? What if I stopped holding that? What if I let go of control?
Then even better questions arise
How might my life change? What would it feel like to be free? In numbing my pain, have I also numbed my joy? What could I do in life if this healed?
Then comes the choice that’s yours alone to make No one gets to make it for you
Who will stop you?
You maintain our death grip on control And secretly hope someone will stop you But they won’t really be able to Because it’s your choice
There’s no magic correct time To begin the work Of becoming more yourself It won’t feel great at first It’s painful to look at pain
But you won’t die I promise
Well, part of you might die
And I suspect you’ve been ready for that For a long Long Long Time