Years ago I went to a counselor to try (yet again) to deal with my issues. I only went once, as the woman talked about doing “inner child” work, and, at the time, it just wasn’t something I could take seriously. Not that I looked down on it or anything, it just wasn’t for me. I did get a few books she recommended, and tried a little, but, needless to say, it never really went anywhere.
Well, while at a conference last week for Celebrate Recovery, God decided it was time.
Every year, on the last day of the Summit, right at the end, everyone is given the opportunity to examine their past, present, and future to see if anything needs to be “nailed to the cross.” As the speaker talked about what needed to be nailed to the cross from our past that would allow us to let go of any shame and guilt we carried, what immediately came to mind was the little overweight girl who got teased for how she looked, and then also the teenage “pretty” girl who not only needed to look good, but “be” good as well by doing things excellently, to receive praise and positive attention.
These girls were the flip sides of the same coin, who, I realized, God is working hard on freeing this year. As I prayed and meditated about what God had brought to my mind, I felt him impress upon me that I needed to allow Him to give those girls freedom from the shame that ruled them both, in order to be free today; The young girl for the shame about how she looked, and the teen girl for the shame she was always running away from, knowing it was right at her heels, by “looking” and “being” good.
Over the last 8 years, in my inventory work for my recovery for food addiction and codependency, I have examined the distorted beliefs that I accepted as truth and the codependent behaviors I adopted due to the negative vs. positive attention I received from my parents, friends, family, and boys, but I have never internalized the exchange of God’s freedom for the shame of those two girls. That night, I felt it happen inside of me. I’ve never been much for visualization, but I “felt” it happen in just that way. I was in touch with those girls (inner child), could see and feel them as if I were back there, and felt the exchange as it happened. It was amazing.
In the process, I also heard God’s Spirit say to me, “It’s time.” I have said this to myself a thousand times when I am feeling tired or haven’t eaten well, and it meant that it was “time” to start exercising, eating right, etc. Basically, it was time to implement the next set of “rules.” When the Holy Spirit said, “It’s time,” this time, I knew he meant it was time to get closer to Him, to trust Him more, to stop putting my faith in the rules, to put Him first, to let go of the shame associated with being “good” or “bad,” and I also knew he used those two words because they were so familiar and that what they meant from Him meant so much more than what they’ve meant from me.
I have no doubt this is all tied to my 12 step work this year that has focused on being spirit-lead rather than self-lead, and that grace is the key to it all. I worked my whole life to keep from being the “bad” me and to be the “good” me because of all the voices I listed to, instead of listening to the one who frees me from both, so that I can just be me.
For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. ~Galatians 2:19-21