I am my biggest critic. While I am a huge advocate of self care and practicing lovingkindness towards oneself, somehow grace is not in my toolkit.
This year I have been intentional in my commitment to my recovery from anxiety, control, emotional reactiveness and people pleasing (and a long list of other things but here I will practice grace and keep the list to four!)
Until now, I have believed the lie that my anxiety is just apart of how God made me. Anxiety has been my companion since childhood. Psychology would attribute parental divorce, abuse, an absent parent, conflict, disapointment, continuious grief loss and traumatic events to what I have been diganosed with as Generalized anxiety disorder.
GAD and I know each other quite well.
The life the Lord has given me is one of one thing after another; a constant struggle (which in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing) however, my reactions and my emotional state can be.
After a trying 2014, 2015 and 2016 full of loss, grief, major health diagnoses, cross country moves, breakups and brokenness leading up to a large transistion this past December; enough was enough.
Enough of the anxiety …
of the need to plan and have timelines and the endless desire to want this to be acomplished by x time and then this and then that etc.
of the reactiveness …
I am an emotional person. I am an empath. I am a highly sensitive person (an HSP — look it up its an actual thing); my spiritual gifts are all intertwined with these traits as well. All of this is a blessing and a curse.
Hence my need to heal, to learn the root causes of my responses and to learn new strategies for my toolbox.
One example that I struggle with has become one of balance.
When I was first diagnosed with several chronic health issues in 2014 it was reallydifficult for me. I was so sick at the time and it was hard for me to acomplish daily tasks, work, masters program etc.
My illness took over when it was untreated. Once I knew what was wrong and there was a name to all of this; I was bound and determined to
- Never let my illness control my life — sure I can not do everything that I used to “before” but I can have a normal life
- Live life to the fullest — not be bound by the limitations but to thrive in them
This is a tall order on a good day!
A constant example is my need to control having a normal life and not letting my illnesses keep me from working, going to bible study, serving in church and going to recovery group. I have learnes my body’s limitations yet, I push them all the time — usually leading to a flare up.
As previously stated, I am my own worst critic. I rarely cut myself slack.
When I have to miss something in the evening afterwork I typically beat myself up about it.
This is kind of ironic as I typically am very good about self care on my days off of work and free of commitments! A few years ago I started implementing an actual Sabbath day, a legit day of rest.
Saturdays are my favorite day of the week and I have no guilt over affording myself the need of a full rest.
The last few weeks the Lord has been teaching me more and more about grace and extending grace to myself, as part of lovingkindness towards myself.
This will be a lesson the Lord will be teaching me for awhile; maybe even for the rest of my time on earth. But what a joy it is! Thank you Jesus for grace! Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your love despite my sins and flaws.