As I am contemplating the upcoming start of the online study, Made to Crave: written by Lysa Terkhurst, I am asking myself what do I crave most in my life? What does my heart long for? In my weakest moments, what brings the tears, the anguish, the fears?
Upon my prayerful attempts to form an answer, one thing kept coming to mind. I so want to say that my utmost desire is for a deeper relationship with God. But saying that doesn't make it true. I do desire a deeper relationship yet I realized that when I am struggling, my deepest, most profound desire is relational. I want a "best friend". I am beyond blessed by the number of people in my life that genuinely care for me and I for them. I have been blessed with the privilege of having an abundance of Godly, loving, kind people in my life. If there is a need of any sort, I've no doubt that there are those in my life and most importantly, in my heart that would "step up" and be there in more ways than I could imagine. They have done so on numerous occasions. I am filled with awe and gratitude towards these relationships.
Throughout the past several years of counseling, I've come to realize the power of grief and the ways in which my life, at times, has been saturated with some sort of loss. I don't recount these facts in a moment of self-pity or in seeking out attention. I want to 'see' it realistically and deal with it honestly.
I've learned that I had never really allowed myself to grieve and until that happened, I would most likely remain in a state of fear, sadness, and emotional limbo. I hated the label "depression" and refused to accept the truth with all sorts of honorable cliches, rationales, and excuses. But the truth was I was depressed. The simplistic explanation of depression loosened the grips of shame of such. Being depressed didn't mean I had failed at life. It didn't mean things couldn't get any better. It didn't mean I was useless and at fault.
Someone lovingly used the following analogy in regards to depression: '...if one placed heavy pressure/force of some sort upon one's skin for a lengthy amount of time, the skin would depress...it would be pushed down with the weight, and dependent how long the force stayed, the skin would still have a reaction even after the pressure had been removed. The reaction could vary from a concave dimpling of the skin, a paling or reddening irritation, a bruise or maybe damage well below the surface of the skin that only the passage of time and/or treatment could restore/heal...' I know this isn't a medical, scientific explanation but it helped loosen the shame I felt.
The feelings of significant loss began early in my life with a longing for a family connection that simply didn't seem to be present within my own family. The loss deepened when my dad was sent to prison when I was 9 years old. I learned early on to not truly depend on others nor allow others to know how you truly felt. My 1st experience with death was the loss of my beloved granddaddy when I was 13. Between the ages of 16-21, I experienced the deaths of 7 friends in 7 separate scenarios along with losing 2 significant relationships in my life due to conflict & dysfunction. Between the ages of 28 and my current age of 40, 7 more friends passed away in untimely manners, not including the deaths of 4 grandparents and my dad.
Looking at these losses in a terms of an equation equals 21 heartbreaking events within a 31 year time frame. I can see now how I allowed these situations to be my rationale for keeping most people at a distance. Doesn't make it right but it is what it is. I didn't allow God or anyone else to comfort me. Food did become an emotional crutch---some stages it was in the denial of food and in other stages it was in excessive intakes of food. Food was my friend, my comfort, my support, my hide-out.
I miss having the sort of friendships that are based on the mutual sharing of each other's lives based on common interests, etc. Relationships that aren't necessarily based upon some sort of need being met but in just simply being with one another and enjoying/experiencing all sorts of life's moments.
I crave to not live in fear of loss, hurt, and abandonment. I crave meaningful relationships that are based on authenticity and genuineness. I crave security in knowing who I am in Christ and knowing that NOTHING or NO ONE can take that away. I crave "realness" in the relationships I have. I am tired of the masks, the pretenses, the games, the guilt. I crave LIFE and life to its fullest.
This is the starting point of the journey I am on through this upcoming Bible Study. I can't wait to see what God has in store. His ways never cease to amaze me and my prayer is for an open, receptive heart to whatever He calls me to.