Removing the Bandaid
For the longest time, I've covered a bullet hole with a bandaid. Any quick fix would do. I was never taught to ride out the storm, but to only shelter from it. If I cried, I was begged not to cry. I was only encouraged to laugh, and to also make other people laugh. As I got older, it was encouraged to numb the emotional pain or trauma by self-medicating. Of course, no one threw a cold one at me and screamed out, "Here---this'll help get the 'feel bads' outta ya!" Everyone around me drank to ease the pain. I thought that this was the norm---this was what you were supposed to do. Trust me, I didn't mind the liquid courage, but after some time, it affected my health, mentally and physically. The closer I drew to God, the less I needed the 'fruit of the vine' or the 'potato juice.' But once I put the drink down, that's when the soul wounds needed tending to.
For years, the only way to mask the anxiety was either to drink through it or take a pill for it. I wasn't told to try and go through it. It wasn't until recently when I truly learned the message of, 'if God brought you to it---He'll get you through it.' God isn't going to just remove a difficult season in your life. He will teach you how to fish and how to walk on water like He did with Peter. He isn't going to make life too easy on us...but for good reason.
The Story of Peter Walking On Water
Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.
When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.
“Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed. ---Matthew 14:24-33
Faith Without Works Is Dead
I used to be confused about what that meant. When you truly want to recover from past trauma, anxiety or depression, you have to be willing to do the work, not just say that you have faith. If there is no action taken to back up your claim of faith, then it was all meaningless. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, going around the same mountain again and again. I needed to approach this differently.
Healing Is Possible, Left With a Few Scars
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us---they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation." ---Romans 5:3-4
If we never lost loved ones or went through trials of sickness in our lives, then we wouldn't be able to appreciate the people in our lives as well as our health. Many would just take it for granted. The hole in my heart that still mourns over the loss of my mom and dad are scars that prove that I loved someone so much. I sometimes get asked by my atheist friends, "If God was real, then why would he have taken both your parents away?" I always respond with, "Are we all supposed to live forever?" I also let them know how grateful I am that my parents didn't outlive me. To lose a child is much worse. Losing parents is to be expected, and I'm grateful to have had them till they were almost 80 years old! I could've lost them at a young age. But thankfully, God had different plans.
Some people call it "shadow work" --- but I call it "self-discovery." Every single emotion amplified when I got sober. I had to jump right into those frightening memories that I tried drowning out. I had to work out why I was grieving so hard and why I couldn't let go. Self-medicating kept me in a state of "complicated grief." It wouldn't allow me to mourn properly and thoroughly. This goes for any mind-altering substance. It takes you away from your grief momentarily, and sometimes completely if you do it 24/7, to only find out that you never actually healed. You were just putting a bandaid on a bullet hole. Like that saying goes, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. I chose not to suffer anymore, but trust me, I still feel the pain of the loss I had to experience.