how to keep fighting

There are days when it feels futile. When our dogged efforts to persevere leave us exhausted and wanting more results. Hopeless. There is no immediate gratification for our daily battles. Only baby steps; an easier morning, an authentic laugh, a number that doesn’t matter anymore. But, those things aren’t tangible enough sometimes to power through the pain and anxiety, signing up for more challenges when the current ones haven’t been overcome.

We yearn for time to freeze just long enough to rest, and breathe, and heal. To pop our brains right off for a day of clarity and emancipation. They haven’t invented this type of procedure yet.

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A wise woman once asked me – is this something that you are, or something that you do? I have a feeling it’s the latter, and I am grateful for that.

It’s true, some people stop pushing forward. Maybe they believe they have reached the end. Maybe they have grown too tired keep fighting. Either way, they live chronically, with one foot in this world and one in another. Fear keeps me moving.

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There will always be a tomorrow. We need to stay hungry for it.

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Alex

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19 thoughts on “how to keep fighting

  1. There are many things in life which shape us but do not define us. That sounds simple and like a platitude, but in practical application can be one of the most challenging things we face in this life.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever read Henri J.M.Nouwen, but he’s written a lot of fantastic stuff. I don’t remember the year or how long it was before he died, but he was actually hit by a vsn one winter’s day and sustained critical injuries and was miraculously redeemed from death. His writing changed a bit after that, related to the acvident and also to his work with the mentally handicapped. Toward the end of his life his message became distilled from his esrlier works more passionately than ever: embracing our identity as a beloved child of God.

    I’ve written on this, I struggle with this. This one thing is at the root of every other mental/emotional/spiritual problem I have. Long ago, Carl Jung cited that most of his patients’problems were — at their root — a spiritual problem.

    I am only too sorry to say that I do not have a wonderful *magic bullet* solution to fix my broken brain, but what I know of myself is that I do not see myself as God sees me. I wonder how many of us truly can or do…

    • I find it striking and special that this point is what you took from the post. The way you phrased it is perfect; things can shape us and things can define us, but the two can be mutually exclusive. It does seem an easy concept, but not from the inside looking out. Not when we are searching desperately for our authentic selves and clinging to the rejection of who that may be.
      Some days I cannot tell where it ends and I begin. But I believe it is separate, somehow. Making the decision to not let this define me and be a part of my sense of self has been the most important step in my recovery. It’s essential. Instead, what defines us is how well we rise after falling.
      We are only burdened because we are strong enough to bear it. And it makes us better and more whole.
      I’m going to look into Henri JM Nouwan, thanks! And thanks for the comment. It truly means a lot. Keep fighting

      • Well it was the line about something you are vs. something you do that so very much fit in alignment with something I’ve been writing about for years. In many things in life people fall into that trap, recovery not least of all. But the trouble is, in so many cases — especially with respect to recovery — falling into that trap can be a one-way trip that ends in death.

        And maybe this — I have a friend sho has been battling with ana. for years and is really so often in a very real fight for her life. I’ve used various metaphors, but one is that there is no way she can have an accurate perspective of what her life looks like at ground-level when she is stuck below-ground in a foxhole…can she trust those who love her and are outside the hole, can she trust God who sees the best perspective on everything to help her find the way out that she herself cannot see? Even now — crazy off-the-chart smart as I am about so many things, I still remain my own biggest blind spot. I have a good sense of self in some things, but I know I don’t see myself as God sees me, and that’s retarding the sanctification process somewhat. To blame it on PTSD would be a cop-out, though I won’t deny that drinking so much emotional poison for so many years left deep scars and broke my brain in some ways. I can’t fix this, but God can; still, I keep good counselors (i.e., dear friends) around and close to help me keep perspective.

        It is separate.

        My mother’s background is psychology, and I often read the gospel accounts and the acts of the apostles looking at it from the perspective that — in some cases — “mental illness” and “demon possession” seem to overlap. The bottom line is the healing. Still, the part about EDs I don’t always feel especially comfortable talking about are the voices. It’s impossible to explain without sounding crazy. What really set me free

      • What really set me free was realizing that all that mess was really a lot of dark stuff pirating the signal of God’s frequency. I’m very spiritually sensitive and a bit of a mystic (a dangerous thing to be, as it’s oft misundrstood). Learning to listen for the true frequency was key.

        I will respectfully disagree with you on the “how well we rise after falling.” I fell out of life, there was no possible place to rise…at least not by my own self. You can’t “undead” yourself. People see me as strong, but I am quick to deflect that — my only strength is what is made available to me in Christ. I would say that the only thing that matters for what defines me is who I am in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 is the main verse to succinctly describe sanctification. As God’s creatures, we were made in his image, but it is an image corrupted and warped by sin — image of God is not to be equated with reflection of Christ. But it is by the work of the Holy Spirit through the grace of sanctification that the Spirit reforms us and reshapes us so that the image of God within becomes more and more aligned with a reflection of Christ.

        That is a far greater thing — who I am in-Christ and as a child of God — than any pitiful attempts I may myself make at rising above that which seeks to destroy me. How high God can lift me out of it is much higher than I myself can hope to rise.

        Nouwen is great “Return of the Prodigal Son” or “Life in the Beloved” would be a good place to start, though definitely read “The Wounded Healer.”

        Blessings to you.

        • Thank you for taking the time to craft such a thoughtful reply. Reading your comments has left me pensive and grateful.

          17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

          I couldn’t agree more with you on so many accounts.

          It’s really no wonder why so many people fall into this trap while striving to piece together who they are and what that means. It is especially easy to fall into when one’s identity is nearly assassinated by illness.

          I too have considered the voice and the compulsion to be parallel to a demon. Understanding the gospel, it’s hard not to draw this comparison. It scares me because I feel this means I am being attacked by an external force that I can’t control. I also look to faith in times like this, because I know that evil preys on those who are purest at heart.

          I like the foxhole description. I like it because it reminds me how fearful I am of anything I cannot see, or understand, or predict, which is practically everything that matters. The foxhole feels safe, but it sucks you deeper the longer you stay motionless in it. This is when I’m thankful to put my fate and trust in God because, you’re right, we were made in his image but are poor representation of His greatness. I’ve written about this plenty of times too (http://wildheartgirl.com/2013/04/09/i-look-up-to-keep-myself-sane-baby/). My measly efforts to control my parameters are what keep me sick and vulnerable to demons, it’s truly no match for the beauty that God has planned for me.

          I feel like I am preaching and it kinda feels great. Thanks for your captivating and refreshing thoughts before bed. I am a big fan of you.

          I feel stronger.

      • Soli Deo Gloria

        I do these neat needlepoint bible and book covers; my “bible bible” (like the main one I love) is a butterfly. The spine is the body, and the wings open onto the covers; the text of 2 Corinthians 5:17 is stitched onto the front cover. I did a matching one for my “Book of Confession” (the liturgical creeds and confessions of the Presbyterian Church). The main “Presbyterian” confession is the The Westminster Confession of Faith; there are two catechisms associated with that confession (shorter snd longer). In The Shorter Catechism, Q. 35 is: “What is sanctification?” Most of the answer is the text on the cover for my BOC:

        “Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin and live unto righteousness.”

        True that. Butterflies are a favorite — they basically dissolve down to the amino acid level and are reformed. Nothing is wasted. Totally amazing. This is our God.

        People fall into the trap because it is in alignment with natural theology — how I perceive the world with my senses = reality. If that perception is somehow altered by abuse, lack of nurture, lack of compassion, absence of the knowledge of God when it comes to self-perception, that’s where the trap exists because it is one’s own mind providing the false information, thus an unreliable source is a failure as a fail-safe.

        I’ve written on Mary Magdalene variously. Her gospel account gives me real pause. In most cases in the gospels when someobe is healed, we get the history of the condition and the healing. Not with Mary Magdalene. We are told — almost as an aside — that she was healed from seven demons. Everything anout her story and the three incidental mentions in the gospel speak to her gratitude response — again, different, because rarely in the healing stories do we find out how things turned out. We are told that she was healed from seven demons in the passage where it mentions that she was part of the team of women bankrolling Team Jesus. We are told she followed him all the way to the tomb. She was the first one to see the resurrected Christ. That’s huge to me. That inspires me

        One of the questions for discussion as part of the small group study on Romans 12 we did for Lent at my church was: “What is your response to the idea that you are accepted by God?” I was the only one without a non-self-actualizing answer: it makes me want to fall on my face at the foot of the cross. No one knew what to say to that answer. Look up the tag on Mary Magdalene on a search over on my blog and you’ll find the posts.

        That inspires me — a person in the Bible about whom we know nothing but that her life demonstrated a gratitude response to Christ in action and service. That’s beautiful to me.

      • Ultimately fear not on the outside force you can’t control if and only if you surrender that fear to God. Please remember that everything evil is of a rebellious creation. Whatever power evil entities have that may be greater than your own power as a mere human creature, but God is without creation — he is Elohim, creator God. His power is far grwater than even the combined power of all the evil entities that ever existed. He is holy, he is sovereign — you can anchor your own life and soul in the strength of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a beautiful thing. Fear not, Christ has truly overcome the world!!! What evil can stand to that? Further, if we are in-Christ, we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit — the very God who is I AM — within us as our helper. No evil can stand that forever.

        Ephesians 1 and 2 does a great and beautiful job of outlining our identity in-Christ. My pastor is fond to say: “We are not God’s probationary employees.” That is very true, but also where I fall down.

        The trick to pushing past getting stuck in a muddy hole is to surrender everything to God, especially when it’s scary. Control is an illusion, you never had it, it cannot be attained. Surrendering our whole lives and whole selves to God’s sovereignty is the only way out.

        Soli Deo Gloria for any apparent positive anything on my part. God is the one who makes it possible, I’m just the messenger.

        • I love, love, love your insights. I wish I were more versed on the scriptures as you are because the more I read, the more I am deeply engrossed and devoted. Please send more reading my way.
          Psalm 139: 13-4 speaks to me.

      • St. Val knits too, she loves that verse. I *may* have an unfair advantage as I’ve been teaching Sunday school for years (so exegesis for lessons was required — including a detailed study on Hebrews for the College/Career group at a former church; I threw a bone at Hebrews 6:19 in my last set of replies). I only know the bible better because I’ve spent time in it. The things which have helped are listening to scripturally sound praise and worship music (e.g., Chris Tomlin, Aaron Shust, and Matt Redman, Casting Crowns too…but NOT the “all about me” like “Trading My Sorrows” where everything is first person or the “Jesus is mt abusivve-possessive sexy boyfriend” songs like “How He Loves”). Also find yourself an old hymnal (but be wary of Methodist hymnals — I have one myself — as while there are many great Wesley hymmns within, as you will find a lot of alter call hymns reflrcting the Arminian doctrinal belief that it is possible to fall out of grace, which I view to be one of the dark sides of Arminian churches). Reading hymns for their poetry is great and can be a good memory tool. One of the most profoundly useful things I’ve found is a Nave’s Topical Bible — it’s just that, topical. That’s how I know there are three basic references to Mary Magdalene. It also helps when you can remember key words in a verse, but not the verse. Also http://www.truthforlife.org is one of the most SOLID radio ministries — solid and accessible to normal people — I’ve ever found. Begg’s teachings have profoundly blessed many I know. I didn’t grow up in church, I was just diligent about study is all.

  2. I’m like you. This post resonated greatly with me. Relaxation helps “Pop off my brain for a bit of clarity,” But it is one of those hard things to achieve when under pressure. I have been known to turn to wine, or a valium assisted sleep. This was a great post. Blessings to you!

    • Relaxation does help. What’s surprising is how difficult it can be to actually do! I just bought a book about mindfulness that I’m excited to tackle. What a tool that would be.
      I hope you continue to find strength in each day.

  3. days like this are hard.. 2 steps forward, 1 step back – or even worse, sometimes it feels like you’re drowning.
    thankfully, there are moments where it’s not like that, too.. but it’s always up and down, and a regular struggle..
    it’s not nearly as beautiful or descriptive as what you’ve written, but I’ve heard the saying “you are not your illness”.. sure, what ever the struggle may be, it HAS to be a big part of your life, but it doesn’t mean that it’s ALL of you.. and the only way to make sure that it’s NOT all of you, is to keep going, and keep living each day, and try to enjoy every moment possible.
    Love you tons, always.

  4. great dialogue, I am thinking about a book I did not get to read from the early 80’s called “The Broken Brain”. As a recovering alcoholic I prefer to think of my brain as broken, rather than as a pickle never going to feel like a cucumber again… As gods creatures we must grow and in many ways God is responsible as are we I believe. Life is a ‘cosmic war’ of choices and decisions in which the defining factors are evident within us at present and to be determined later as it were.. the inclusion of God in our lives and the abstinance from substance such as alcohol will shape us for review. I have found that we are all of us complex socially yet simple in realization. Mentally There is a time and place for every lesson, or feeling. God seems anonymous at times and rightly should. We realize our separations and make our decisions to reconnect. I love having this reality in my daily life. God Bless

  5. Pingback: “There are Two Types of People in the World.” | Tuesday2's Blog

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