This line from Brené Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection, has been running through my mind the last few weeks as a lot of people have been asking what made me decide to start sharing my story publicly. She sums it up well for me.
"Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we will ever do."
This definitely was not always the case. In fact, I wanted nothing to do with my story! I had written a different story. A story without the pain of addiction and all the guilt and shame that goes along with it. My story was already written as far as I was concerned and it had a happy ending. It went something like this: great marriage, perfect children, sailing through life in a bubble of perfection. Oh, and I was always skinny and wrinkle free!
My story sounds like a fairy tale (especially the skinny part!) So why own it now?
Well, I have a few reasons:
1. I was being pursued.
“Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.” - Psalm 23:6a, MSG
Oh how I felt this! Even in the midst of my lowest point of addiction, I knew God was preparing me for something more and that he was equipping me as I journeyed through darkness and into the light of his peace and love. Sometimes knowing that was enough to get me through another day sober. I would think to myself, "if you drink it will delay what God is trying to lead you into." I so badly wanted to be on the other side of this addiction.
2. The joy of living in freedom from alcohol.
"A lavish celebration awaits me!" - 2 Corinthians 4:18, MSG
I want to share that with others! It is so good to live a life free of bondage from a substance. If you've been there you know what I am talking about! No more drama, the constant negative dialogue that runs through your head and consumes you. I know that "a lavish celebration awaits me" when I get to heaven, but this verse is talking about the here and now as well. I did not expect that.
I thought a life of sobriety was going to be colorless and boring. Sometime it is (and that's just life) but many times it is so full of joy! I cannot describe how much joy I was missing in life while I was drinking. That is really when life was dull and colorless. I feel pain and have to travel through difficult things just like everyone else does without the help of a substance. That's okay because the joy I feel far outweighs the pain and gives me the strength to get through the tough times.
3. He told me to!
I have a saying, "God doesn't give you material that you are not supposed to use for good." Believe me he has given me material! He is here for us no matter what we are going through, and walks with us in the good times and the bad times. In the end, what do you do with what you've learned through your experience? You share it!
I believe that we are commissioned to go forth and share with others what we have learned and how God brought us through whatever it was. For me, it was addiction. I had no desire to share this with anybody. I wanted to keep it a secret forever and lived in so much paranoia over who would find out. Our God is amazing though, he has shown me how to hold my head high and own my story. I have no shame in this and I used to live in that shame every minute of the day. To me, that alone is a miracle.
"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So, don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work, so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." - James 1:2-4, MSG
So that pretty much sums up why I have decided to get over it and get out there! What do you struggle with today? What are you doing about it? I talk about sobriety a lot, but that's not the only drama that gets us girls! What about food, body image, motherhood, sexuality, or self- esteem, just to name a few. I encourage you today to get out the ultimate handbook to Life, (the Bible) and dive in. There is so much inspiration waiting for you there! Talk to God about your struggle, he already knows and he is waiting. Let him lead you today. Make a promise to yourself and to him that "just for today" you will do life without the drama that tries to consume you. My story still had a happy ending, I just didn't write it all by myself.
I would love to hear from you!