So I have been taking a woman's bible study class at my church. It's called, “Jonah, Navigating a Life Interrupted” and as you can see from my posts, the last few months of my life have been interrupted! I knew all the right answers the first few days, but I wanted to find the answers I didn't already know. I looked and read, I studied my bible and the study guide, and I looked into myself to see what I was missing. I even continued to work my way through Experiencing God bible study hoping that between the 2, I would find the answers I was seeking.
What answers, you ask.... I wanted to know why the troubled times seem to bother me more this time than any of the past events.
Some of you know me and my family well enough to know what I'm talking about. Through my son's short life, he has racked up 14 surgeries and over 20 hospital stays. We were told he would never walk, or that he would have trouble walking even with assistance devices such as walkers or crutches, he walks and most folks don't realize there is anything wrong with him. Through most of these “events” I have never seemed to loose my cool. I have handled everything very calmly.
This time around, it has been different. During the hospital stay and first few weeks after, I didn't have any problems. But as the weeks went on, I seem to have my agitation grow. Yes, this time around it wasn't my son but my husband who's health had been the instigator. I still had faith that God was in control and knew that He was going to get us thru it all. But there was still a nagging feeling in the back of my mind, a bit of confusion and probably a bit of depression. I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do about all the bills, about the job, how to take care of it all and meet the obligations. I didn't know how to talk to Marty about my feelings, for fear that would make him feel guilty. I felt a disconnect from him as his health had kept him from even being able to share our bed for over 2 months. On top of that I had to make sure my children didn't see anything but a strong parent so they wouldn't have any fears over everything.
“Never let them see you sweat! I have a hard time letting others see me down. I have been trying to trust and lean on others. To give them the blessing of being helpful. It feels like a backfire. It feels like people see me as a “Needy, Whiner.” Before I was a “Strong woman,” “Nothing ever gets her down!” But maybe it was more of, “She's cold heart-ed. It Doesn't bother her!”
Confused is what I am and questioning my self worth, my self view and wondering if what I thought I was showing to everyone was what everyone was seeing.
“I can't say that I ran. I can only say I have been confused lately. I am having trouble “hearing” God's directions. Somewhere I probably have “not obeyed” and maybe that's why my confusion continues.”
“I feel like I am missing something. I don't know what directive I am missing/ not following.”
“I question/ OVER-question my every decision.”
This last week, in the middle of the week I made a new discovery about myself. Maybe the direction I was looking for wasn't an directive of “Go” but a directive of “Stop!” See I have a control problem. I have been in control of everything around me, partly by my doing and partly by circumstance. With our traveling lifestyle, Marty left most things up to me to be in charge of. From that I took control of so much that it became a joke that all Marty had to do was the phone interviews for the jobs and show up to work when I told him to. But that “joke” should have been my clue. I was in control of too much.
I find myself now looking back and realizing that there is negative response that comes with control. I now can look and see the times that it bothered me when Marty wouldn't or couldn't tell me every detail of conversations or events of his day. Bad right? It wasn't born out of a want to control him, but a want to control the world around him. I'll say it again, I wanted to control the world around him. Now yes, that would control him to a point as well, if he didn't have access to sinful environment then I was controlling the chances of him sinning. But on the flip side, I began to need to control him and out of that became a mistrust of him. I began to look at everything he did, look for ways that he might be hiding something from me. See, I had lost control over the everyday things, so I needed to fill in that gap with another thing to control. I even began to think he was hiding something from me when he would get out of bed before me, like he's doing much between 6:30am and 7:30am when I got up!
Through the last few months the ability to control the finances have gone out the window. I lost that “fix” that became my addiction over the years. That addiction has turned me into an ugly person some days. I know that most people wouldn't call it an addiction, but to me it seems to be one.
You see if you look back to that 1st note, “Never let them see you sweat!” well that's a control as well. I had to control what everyone saw of me. I had to control my actions so that no one would know I hurt inside. That part of my control comes back to childhood pain. If I was strong enough, if no one could ever see me cry or break, then they maybe they would still be my friend in-spite of my fat and ugly body. Yes, my head says that is crazy.... but my heart has always felt it. My mom used to say to me, “You have to loose weight or no one will want to be your friend.” “It hurts me more than it hurts you to hear the kids call you names, so you have to loose weight.” And then at the dinner table my father would say, “You don't need to eat, you have enough fat to live off of for at least a week.” And my brother would join in. Eventually my brother and I had a discussion where he admitted that he thought I would loose the weight to shut them up. He knows that doesn't work. As for my folks, well I know they are never going to change, they are never going to apologize or even admit they ever said anything like that, so why bother even bringing it up. I let their hurts go a long time ago, it's the peers that I can't seem to let go of. You see, I never did have any friends that stuck around as a friend for very long. They only came around me when they needed something from me, so I never needed anything from them.
Wow, that's it. I never needed anything from them! I never let them see a need. I never let anyone see a need. I have only 1 person that I call best friend, she has been the only one to ever get close enough to knowing me that she knew, KNEW, when I was hurting. I didn't have to say anything, I didn't have to ask for anything, she knew the tricks I used to cover my feelings. And I feel so guilty for calling her, for dumping on her all my trouble. I feel guilty for letting her “see me sweat.” She was my friend in-spite of my hiding me.
So, the bible study has opened the door for me to look at myself more than my circumstance's. I think that's a big part of what it is supposed to be doing. Of course we still have a few more weeks and who knows how many more things I will learn about myself during that time.