Sunday, March 31, 2013

From Injured to Abundant

Late last summer I began having severe heel pain.  Basically, the condition has gotten worse over the course of the past 8 months.  I struggled through my workouts in a fair amount of pain and thought many times my foot would feel better if it would just snap.  I apparently have plantar fasciitis, you know...the condition that you see ads for in Skymall?  Yip...have it.  The plantar fascia is the thick connective tissue that supports the arch on the bottom of the foot.  Because it has stayed pulled so tight, as if the pain from the condition was not bad enough...a spur has formed.  It is almost unbearable in the mornings when I get out of bed but I have been determined to get back into the gym pain or not.  Despite my focus on presence in the gym, I have only been able to give about 50% effort due to the pain.  My mental focus while there has also been lacking because of the pain. All in all, I usually walked out of the gym angry and disappointed.  This is going somewhere I assure you.

A little over a week ago, my husband suggested I use the muscle stimulator that we have.  Since he is a body competitor, he has to lift massive weights and therefore has suffered several injuries adding to our arsenal of rehab tools. Desperate for relief, I tried the little gadget.  To my surprise, the next morning at the gym my foot did not hurt..well it did a little, but compared to previous days I was basically pain free.  My mind was more focused and I was excited to feel the burn in my lungs because I was able to go full force.  I had to stop a few times, which was nothing new...only this time I was stopping because of my intensity level and not due to pain.  Then God revealed something to me deep in my spirit.

Due to my injury, I was only able to perform minimally during my workouts.  My mind would become overwhelmed with the pain, then the anger set in because I felt like I was wasting my time, and my body simply struggled to get through the workout. My injury was holding me back.  If you've read my blog in the last month, you know that I have also been struggling with a dependency on Lexapro.  I took the meds for years because I was injured...deep different ways.  As of January I have leaned on Christ and not taken the drug and I have finally reached days where I see and feel healing in Him.  Scripture states in John 10:10 that Jesus came so that we would have life...and that we would have ABUNDANT life.  Unpacking what exactly abundant life means could take a while, but I am just going to be very frank.  In most has NOTHING to do with finances even though the verse has been misused in many cases to support a drive for obtaining wealth. 

 No, my friends, the abundant life is more than riches.  We have EVERYTHING we need in Christ. He is our healer, our protector, our Prince of Peace, our counselor, our Deliverer (thank you Jesus), our portion...He is the Great I Am.  Our Abundance. He is the beginning and the end...satan knows this and you better believe that he will fight for you to stay injured.  Although John 10:10 speaks of abundant life, it also speaks of the enemy and his desire to steal, kill, and destroy.  Living injured, I was not performing optimally in Christ.  Just like my workouts, I was hindered...focused on the pain and held back.  The drug helped to hide the injuries, but they were there. Now, they are no longer demanding my energy.  Christ has taken His rightful place and ushered me into healing and life abundant.  I see it, I feel it...I am living it. Christ has more planned for me, but whatever it is I needed healing first. I could not do it injured and only 50%. He wants my lungs to burn with abundance, and he wants all of me.  This road just keeps getting better!!  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My Golden Calf

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, traveling way back when I first started it, you know that I went through a lengthy description of seeing Jesus in the midst of financial and marital struggles.  I wrote the entries AFTER I had survived the season, so it was drenched in understanding and completion.  I feel like I am being led to share my current struggle, and to swallow some pride as I do so. O.k. ... maybe a LOT of pride.

I am praying for two different friends right now who are struggling through addiction.  While I love both of these girls dearly, one of them has been a lifelong friend and I have seen her fight and struggle her entire adult life with this thorn.  I realized a few weeks ago, that I myself was in bondage and while I am shelling out advice such as "be strong", "you can do this", "pray that God will change your thought process", and so on...I was not taking my own advice and was really being a hypocrite if you get right down to the nitty gritty.

Slavery comes disguised in many different packages and I assure you satan has carefully wrapped each and every one of them and finished them off with a bow in our favorite colors.  Some of the obvious ones that are more frowned upon by society is alcoholism and drug addiction, pornography, homosexuality, thievery, are just to name a few.  But are these any worse than someone who cannot give up smoking?  What about the man who turns to food as his comfort or the woman who shops to cover a deep seeded depression.  What about the mom who was put on medication for postpartum depression and has never gotten off for fear of the way she really feels?

I am that mom.  Let's back it up a bit and let yet another skeleton slide from the bottom of my closet.  During my early 20's I found myself in a full blown struggle with an eating that I was nearly hospitalized that even today tries to rear it's ugly head but thanks to the grace of God I am no longer a captive of the disease.  That is another blog entry, or complete blog, all in itself.  I share this because I have long struggled with who I am, what others think of me, low self-worth and almost self hatred at times.  Stress doesn't fair well on top of these other issues.  Fast forward to the birth of my second "baby" almost 10 years ago.  I suffered pretty severe postpartum depression, and was put on the lowest possible dosage of Lexapro.  Because the medicine made me feel better than I had felt in YEARS, I continued to take it until we decided to have another baby 3 years later.  During that pregnancy my oldest sister passed away and all of the marriage and financial stress I referred to in the Mostly Fingerprints series was actively battering my life.  So, after the birth my doctor once again put me on the drug...and I have taken it ever since.  Well, up until a couple of months ago.

A couple of months ago.  My pastor and leader of our home group shared with us that we would be reading and discussing the book Radical Together.  The book suggests "putting everything out on the table" and determining what can be done away with in order to better serve him and live out his commands for us.  Whether that was the way we were spending our time, our money, our thoughts...where could we make changes?  Every month I relinquished $160 for the bottle of my golden calf.  Let's be might of well had been.  At the time, I was being radical in order to free up the money to be better spent and was honestly thinking naively that I would just lean on Jesus and it would all be o.k.  Honestly, I guess I didn't give it a ton of thought.  But then, a few days hit me.  I had turned to that bottle of pills everyday for YEARS and depended upon it's contents in order to keep myself sane and avoid feeling all of the things I hated to feel.  I had made that tiny little, low dose morsel of pharmaceutical a god in my life.  OUCH!  It was no different than either of my friends turning to their addictions to escape their feelings.  I was no different, my vice was simply better accepted by society and one that was easily hidden.

So I am in the throws of the battle.  Satan is determined to scream his lies at me...I'll never feel good unless I take the medicine again, this withdrawal will never end, this isn't fair to my kids to see their mom just surviving, blah blah blah.  I am not going to sugar coat stinks!  I have wanted to refill that prescription SO many days, but PRAISE GOD I have a husband who supports me and I have been blessed way beyond I deserve with him.  I also have a God who is bigger than my need for a fix, a God who loves me fiercely and wants my freedom in Him and is waiting patiently to release me into that freedom.  But first, I must suffer so that I know exactly what He is freeing me from because only then will I be truly grateful.  And maybe someday I will be worthy of helping another to walk through letting go of their addiction, whatever that may look like...because I, too, have traveled This Road.