I’m a 50 year old female who is an entrepreneur, a successful writer, a recovery advocate…and an all around bad-ass person.
I have purpose.
I am valuable.
God says so.
I also am a 50 year old female who wakes up almost every single morning of my life with the words, “Who the hell do you think you are?” playing in my inner narrative.
I don’t know why it’s there.
Sometimes I feel like a terrible bully is following me around 24/7.
Sometimes the bully is silent. He waits. He watches.
Is she feeling weak?
Is she unsure of herself?
He always looks for the right moment to present an unhealthy thought.
“Go ahead, just eat another piece of pizza. It’s not that big of a deal.”
“No…It’s not really gossip. We’re just stating the facts about this person.”
“Go ahead. Check your ex out on Facebook. Aren’t you curious?”
These things seem harmless in themselves. Why stress over them?
I used to believe that too, until I tried with everything in me to stop myself from doing one of these things in that weird, almost surreal moment when the inner demon is trying to strong arm me for control.
The Voice of Control
I don’t drink anymore.
I don’t turn to drugs.
I don’t even smoke cigarettes.
One by one I have pried the claws of addiction off of my life. Or I should say, I stood and watched God do it, because I sure didn’t do it.
I am a person who has seen the ugliness of full blown addiction and have been pulled around by my nose to the edge of suicide.
I am a person who has seen what it is to come unraveled, to teeter with insanity, to feel at odds with my own soul…
I have faced a lot of shit.
And I have found my way out.
The thing about finding your way out of this kind of hell is that you become hyper aware of the enemy’s tools.
They’re never new.
It’s never anything surprising.
His game is always the same.
It’s a question, “Is this wrong?….Is this so bad?….Will it really harm anyone?”
If you ever ask yourself that question before embarking on the next stupid decision you’re about to make, I’m here to tell you, “YES. It is wrong. It is so bad, and it really will take you all the way back to bondage.”
Oh, maybe you won’t be shooting heroin, but you’ll be a slave non-the-less.
[Tweet “If there is anything you can’t say no to, you need to get it out. You need to put it down.”]
I have played with an eating disorder for over 30 years. I’ve also been known to talk about people I don’t like. Sure, I ask for forgiveness later, most of the time…but it always leads to guilt and shame over who I’m allowing myself to become.
I’m called to freedom.
You’re called to freedom.
There’s an actual place of safety and abundant freedom, and we can live there. We can actually live free.
Who Are These Free People?
I don’t know many people who are truly free. I probably can say that I don’t know ANYONE who is truly free.
Compromise…compromise. A little bit here, a little bit there, and suddenly we’re holding ourselves to the lowest standard possible.
No, I’m not pointing fingers. I’m talking about myself and I’m just putting this article out in the universe to see if there is anyone out there who feels like I do.
Is there anyone who hears the whispers of God when you’re about to do something stupid, and instead of listening…instead of relying on His strength, you cave? Again and again and again?
Well I have. I have caved, and caved, and caved, and caved.
And I know there’s grace, and I know I’m not perfect. I know nothing is based on my own righteousness…It’s all based on what Jesus has already done for me…
BUT I’VE GOTTEN REALLY TIRED OF CAVING.
And Then This Morning Happened
This morning I wanted to friend request someone on Facebook, and I couldn’t because I’m at 5000 friends. So, as usual, I hopped over to my friends list to unfriend a few people who I don’t really engage with. Oh, I know, I know…”unfriend” sounds so harsh. But I just need to make some room, so I try to pick people who I don’t actually talk to, who won’t notice my departure. I was doing that this morning and I happened upon a guy I used to work with in the printing industry over ten years ago. “I can unfriend him,” I thought, “We hardly know each other.” Except I popped open his Facebook and there was my ex-husband on his header photo…It was a bunch of people (and my ex) standing in front of Wrigley Field, enjoying a Cubs game.
Yes, that was my first thought.
Not about the Cubs. About my ex. I really can’t stand him.
I know what you’re thinking.
“Robin, You’re a hypocrite.”
Yes, I know. I face those moments….I do.
Those “in your face…hypocritical moments” when you have to ask yourself the question, “Who am I and what kind of life do I want to live?”
Well, I don’t want to be hateful and I don’t want my inner world to be full of contradictions.
I don’t want to look good on the outside but be this walking bag of bullshit on the inside.
But how do we get there?
How do we KNOW we’re on the right path and we’re actually NOT a walking bag of bullshit?
I never knew that I was really free from the struggle of alcohol addiction until I was sitting at a party with my family and friends and many of them were drinking…and I didn’t mind.
I’ve reached that point.
One day, the obsession lifted and I just didn’t care about alcohol anymore. There’s actually a bottle or two of beer in my refrigerator right now. I think it’s my son’s…but whoever it belongs to, it makes me smile when I notice that it’s there and realize it means nothing more to me than the ketchup or the salad dressing. It doesn’t stand out like a neon flashing sign every time I open the fridge…but I wouldn’t be aware of that freedom if I never walked through these things…if I sheltered myself or hid from the alcohol aisle in the grocery store.
But I digress.
What’s my point?
Addiction and unhealthy behavior patterns are always recognizable if we’re listening.
We can clearly see when we’re walking up on a “moment.” I call them tiny crossroads, because they seem so small and insignificant, but in reality they add up to who we are and which direction we’re going.
And this morning, there I was, at a moment of truth, a tiny crossroad. I was staring at my ex’s picture on this guy’s Facebook header and everything in me wanted to click over to his Facebook.
“Just type his name in. Just do it. Just type his name in.”
And then I heard the question:
“Is this wrong?….Is this so bad?….Will it really harm anyone?” And in an instant, I recognized the ground I was standing on. It was like some weird movie scene where the backdrop and the set dissolves and you look down and you’re like, “Oh shit. I’ve stood here before. I recognize this trap.”
And I clicked away…far away.
I have not looked up my ex or wondered what he was doing for longer than I can remember. I don’t type his name into Google (or any search anywhere) trying to find him. So, why was this weird moment this morning so strong? Why did I have this almost overwhelming desire to do something out of character?
The Voice of The Bully
Because the enemy wants to own you. He know he can’t do it all at once. He doesn’t have that kind of authority. He can’t just come up to you with shackles and say, “Okay sweets, get in these chains.” He only has what we willingly give him…so he has to slice and dice it up. It has to come in slowly, so we don’t notice. Just a little yes here and a little yes there, and pretty soon he stamps us with the label and says, “I OWN YOU.”
When we try to break away or resist, he just folds his arms and laughs, because we already gave him control.
Last week I found out that my good friend Anthony passed away from a heroin overdose. He was special and wonderful. Anthony was funny and silly and childlike and good…and he died. And it’s not fair. It hurt my heart.
I was sitting home alone when I found out. I sat there and cried…for a really long time. I started out crying about Anthony, and then I went on and cried about other friends and situations. Before long, I realized I felt lost…and the first thing I wanted was a cigarette.
Don’t ask me why.
I don’t have the answer to that…but I wanted it.
I thought about how no one was home and it didn’t really matter. I asked myself those questions, “Is it wrong? Is it that bad? Will it harm anyone?”
I actually pictured myself driving to the store, getting the cigarettes and thought about how I’d feel smoking them, listening to sad music and letting all my cares drift away.
That was my next thought.
Who the hell was this girl that appeared on the scene? This smoker who was weak and weird, and thought a pack of cigarettes would somehow make the pain go away?
I know exactly who this person was….
It was the same person who asked me who the hell I thought I was every single morning.
The same accusing voice who tells me I’ll never amount to anything, I’ll never make it and I’m doomed to fail.
It is the voice of the enemy.
The voice of addiction.
The voice of control.
And I will tell you something about this voice.
The minute you take a stand and say no, like I did about the cigarettes, and like I did about looking up my ex on Facebook….the strength you thought it had gets much weaker.
Bottom line….because I have to end this article even though I have so much to say,
You own you.
No one else owns you.
No one else determines your worth.
No one else’s voice (real or imagined) gets to tell you who you are, what you’ll fall for, or how weak you are.
Because you’re not.
You have the Creator of the universe living inside you and you are stronger than ANYTHING.
Jesus came. He conquered the enemy of our soul, and He gave us the authority.
It’s time to stand. Even if you’re the only one who is living vice free….
At least you will die knowing there was one.
I love you. God loves you more.
Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10)