Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I've Put Down My Baggage...Can You Handle It?

It's been discussed several times this month. Yet no matter how often it gets talked about, I can't make sense of it. At all.

As soon as we leave an old way of life and start making a new, better life for ourselves there are those who want to derail you. They'll go to any length to bring you back down to the level you've always been at. Why?

Is it because the changes you've made in your life now open their eyes to the areas in their own lives that they should be focused on? They are now fully conscious of the less than desirable "things" in their life along with all the yucky feelings that go along with that new found awareness. It's so much easier to sweep habits and baggage under the rug than to turn and fully face it. So much easier to ignore they exist rather than deal with them.

Some people are just too lazy to take on the project. Many find comfort in something familiar even if it's not good for them.

I remember 12 years ago....

I had become really sick inside. An ulcer, constant aches and pains, nausea, headaches...not to mention being totally unbearable to my family and myself. My body would shake uncontrollably at the mere mention of my dad's name. I was a total mess. I didn't need to go to the doctor to find out what was wrong with me. I already knew. The hate, pain, and resentment I had towards my dad for the past 17 years was taking its toll on me. All of these feelings and fears I had lugged around secretly since the age of 10 had finally caught up with me.

We had had a ladies' retreat one weekend and, not surprisingly, the topic that came up most often was forgiveness. I remember at the prayer service on the last night of the retreat, a friend sat next to me and put her arms around me. I don't know how she knew what my struggle was because I hadn't told anyone at that time. It could only have been God speaking to her. But she sat down next to me and told me a story about her life long ago and she had been through the same thing. She told me that the hate and pain had become a stronghold in my life and I needed to somehow find a way to forgive. She said "Don't let his sin become yours."

I went home that night with a new purpose. I refused to live like this any longer. For the next several months, I poured over studies on forgiveness and strongholds. I studied my Bible and my Concordance. I fasted. I prayed. I asked God to place in me a forgiving heart and a love for my dad.

One night as I prayed, I felt a peace. I knew I had reached the place where I could honestly forgive my dad. After I called him and confronted him about the abuse and told him I forgave him, I remember getting into the car with my brother and husband. I told them it felt like an elephant had been sitting on me and had just gotten off. I was giggly and couldn't stop smiling. It was pure joy and peace.

The next day, panic set in. I looked in the mirror and had no idea who was looking back at me. I felt as though I'd been ripped away from myself and a stranger had been left in my place. The me I had been so comfortable with was gone. A new me stood there. Scared to death.

I remember saying to the mirror, "I don't know who I am without the hate. Who are you?!"

It's the same with our friends and family that suddenly realize we're no longer carrying some of our old baggage. It scares them. They don't know who we are anymore. They don't know how to act. By making ourselves better, we've taken away their comfort zone.

I've recognized this with people in the past year and a half along my healing journey. I've dealt with numerous issues and I'm not the same person at all.

I finally have a voice and I stand up for myself. I speak it even it my voice shakes.

I'm not afraid to try new things or open up my mind to new ideas.

I'm more confident in myself and possess self worth.

I still have baggage. After all, I'm still on my healing journey. Can't take a journey without some baggage. But my load is lighter. There are people out there in my life that are threatened by that fact. They are uncomfortable with my changes because it has put a mirror up to their own lives. So they come after me with attacks and lies. Lies about my character, my personal life, accusing me of thinking this way and feeling that way, putting me down for being "this" way because I've always been "that" way and I'm just putting on a show for people....I can't believe the trash that has come up. Even going as far as to attack my role as a mom and blaming all of my daughter's problems on my total lack of parenting skills.

(I'd just like to say to those 2 particular *ahem* "women", that you must have forgotten that I'm raising TWO children. Both have been raised by the SAME mother. My son gets A's, has a ton of friends and interests and talents...and is a very good child. My daughter was the same way. Until depression took control of her. It almost destroyed her life and mine. Why don't you research what depression is, how you get it and how it affects teenagers? Do some research and talk to people that have been there. I've advocated for my daughter and fought, screamed, and jumped through hoops for the last 6 years until someone heard me and helped my daughter. You have NO frickin' CLUE what I've gone through to get her life back. When you have all of that information and think you KNOW what you're talking about ~ call me a loser parent again and this time I hope you see how ignorant it makes you look.)

What people fail to realize about me (and the other women I know dealing with the same thing) is that when I dropped that baggage, I picked up something to take its place. It's called STRENGTH and it protects me from your nasty words and your ugly attacks. I have a new found confidence in who I am and what I'm doing. Nothing you say will bring me back down to where I was. Nothing you say can detour me off this road. I know where I belong and I know, without a doubt, who I am and what my purpose is. I am a Survivor and you can't change that no matter how hard you try.

It's sad when you're on your journey and you start to learn who is real and who isn't. The ones that really love you and want the best for you cheer you on no matter how much you shake up their comfort zone. They want to see you succeed. The others? Well....who needs 'em?

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