What have I learned?

February is my favorite month. I have a running blog saved to document all the things I did over the past month-long birthday celebration. But February 2012 has probably also been one of the most tumultuous times in my life on a spiritual and emotional level.

What happened? I had to get to a place of absolute brokenness, complete desparation and desolation, to be 100% abandoned and alone, broken-hearted and crushed in spirit, so that I might soley and only look to God for healing. A life lesson I don't want to have to repeat!

As I close out this month and reflect on all that's happened - mostly internally - I am still reeling from the emotional roller coaster that has jolted me back and forth. I'm still trying to get my bearings and gain my balance, not quite sure if I'm ready to rise and walk. This purging process seems to have only just begun, especially when trying to peel back layers and layers of damage, scars and baggage.

God has had to take me through a process of stripping away every single piece of ME, forcing me to take a long, hard and painful look in the mirror and face myself, my own worst enemy.

My journey started many many years ago but when I packed my bags to head home from California at the first of this month, I left some serious baggage behind. I left behind the guilt I was bearing for hurting people and making wrong choices. I intentionally left the emotional heartache I was lugging around that left me feeling like less of a person. I said goodbye to the lies I had believed that I was unworthy, unlovely, and unloved. Oh how the enemy has used these to taunt and test me. Time after time he's slaughtered me with attacks and in my brokendown state, I was too weak to take on my opponent and too stubborn to let God fight him for me.

I've had to set boundaries in my life and in my relationships, taking another good long look at the fact that codependent themes run throughout my life. Most of these have lead to extremely unhealthy realities that have all contributed to more emotional baggage. (No, I'm not blaming anyone. I am accepting responsibility.) As I began to tear down walls that separated the closed-off places of my heart from realizing true exposure, but also real healing, I started to construct areas called "boundaries" to help me prioritize and regain emotional control.

There's a Hillsong praise chorus that I first heard in college called, "I will never be the same again." The verse says, of my life:

I will never be the same again
I can never return,
I've closed the door

When you go through this purging and healing process, you come to the understanding that - as painful as it can be - there are things that ultimately must be permanently removed. There are places you have forsaken that require attention so that FULL restoration can come. There are emotions that may never truly subside but they must be kept under lock and key so they don't overtake you.

One of the most painful lessons - especially for a control freak - is realizing you cannot make someone else's decisions for them. No matter how much that person and their choices influence you and your life, this forever impact is ultimately a result of the other person's choice. And try as you might, you cannot choose for them. I've been both the recipient and giver of this lesson.

Even as I understand my role in the relationships around me and how my choices have had their own impact on others, I also know I can't bear the full weight of the responsibility. These are some of the other bags I left behind. I can't undo the past. I can't change my choices. I can't redo my circumstances. I don't get a "do-over." But I do get one thing...  The opportunity to sit back, process and ask myself, "What have I learned?"

If I'm really honest, I will admit that I am still learning. And like I said, some lessons I don't want to repeat, but all lessons are shaping my life and who I am becoming. Oh yes, I will still make mistakes. I will still choose unwisely. I will still hurt others, or impact them by my choices. But each time I will take the lesson with its accompaniment of pain, heartache, discipline, or whatever else may come, and accept the "me" it's helping me become.


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