Saturday, September 21, 2019

Here We Go Again

When I was prompted to start this blog (almost nine years ago?!), it was because I'd had a major revelation about my life and why I was practicing harmful, destructive, compulsive behaviours. I was unknowingly trying to kill myself with food because I hated myself.

That initial blog post (you can check it out here if you've joined me more recently) was the first brave, terrifying step down a path of self-discovery, self-disclosure, healing and growth. I'm so grateful for the journey.

One reason I'm particularly grateful is that I'm able to identify more readily now when something's not quite right in my life. Blogging has a proven track record of providing me with a bit of clarity - quite often, I don't know how I feel about something until I write it out.

The past few months have been rough - unsettled. Uncertain. Ever since last March, when the possibility arose that my dream job might become available. I quit my (not-dream) job at the end of June so that I'd be available should the opportunity arise to pursue this dream. I did everything I could to be ready - I prayed, I studied, I read, I researched, I connected, I engaged... I wanted it so much; I felt so sure that everything in my life had been preparing me for this; it was exactly the right time and place; it would solve so many problems; it would be satisfying, meaningful work that I was made to do...

On the one hand, I knew I had what was required to do this job well; on the other hand, I knew it was a long shot, that there was a high probability, based on my resume and qualifications, that I wouldn't be considered. But I believed in my heart that this was it.

Long story short, it wasn't. I received a very kind message that they had decided not to pursue my application. I thought I was sufficiently prepared for a "no", but no. I was devastated. Heartbroken. I felt rejected, worthless, invalidated. I felt as though the rug had been pulled out from under me.

For months, I had been dreaming of what this new life would look like. How I would deal with the challenges. How I would help bring improvements and growth. I hadn't seriously considered any other scenario. I was left floundering.

It's been a couple of weeks since I received the news. I went through a real crisis of faith, wondering if I'd ever really heard from God at all or had I just been mistaking my will for His all this time. My relationship with food relapsed into something that looked much more like an addiction again. (I gained back ten pounds by eating for comfort in the uncertain months between March and August; five more in the last few weeks).

The cause of those most recent five pounds was not only emotional/comfort eating, however. I'd begun to self-sabotage again; I was eating to hurt myself. I was sabotaging myself in other ways, too - setting myself up for failure in my home business, isolating myself from my family and friends...

But thanks to this blog (and a highly insightful lesson at CR the other night), I was able to recognize the patterns before they spiraled completely out of control. I was able to look back at my past for clues about my current behaviour, and to recall that I self-sabotaged because of self-hatred and shame...

...which caused me to examine my current situation for shame and its roots. And what I discovered has been immensely useful in unraveling my current mess: now, like in the past, my shame was rooted in my perceived identity. I hadn't realized I'd banked so much of my worth on this job. Digging a little deeper, I uncovered the real roots - my identity is firmly tied to my ability/inability to make money. For so many years, I was unable to keep a job due to my mental illness. My inability to consistently contribute to our family's financial stability constantly ate away at my self-worth.

And then I was healed from bipolar disorder (see this post for all the wonderfulness!) and could finally work! There were many other issues that needed to be dealt with over those past couple of years, but finances were no longer a heavy burden - and it was wonderful!!!

Then I quit my steady-income, not-dream job to work from home, and all of a sudden, financial worries were haunting us again. I guess it's no wonder I reverted to my previous self-harm practices - it triggered the same shameful feelings and misguided beliefs in me.

Phew... I get it now! I still don't know what to do with my life now, and I still hesitate to believe that I'm hearing from God at all, but now I know what I need to do. I thought I had settled my identity issues once and for all, but it looks like I get to go deeper and uproot these false ideas. Oh goody 😊

I really am grateful. I have a choice - I don't have to continue these patterns. I don't have to be a slave to my feelings and fears. I can step into the light that God is shining on my issues and work with him to make changes, both in my thoughts and my actions. I am not alone ❤

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