Have you ever been in a situation where you felt stuck? Paralysed? Unable to move forward or backward? Fear finding its way deep inside of you.
For years after my sin my husband held power over me, 10 years to be exact. A power that made me feel so petrified that I stayed far longer than I should have. The fear of everyone knowing kept me quiet, frozen, and determined. Determined to serve him to make a penitence for what I had done.
Powerlessness consumed me…. until somewhere deep inside of me I would become angry for his treatment. A spark would start and I would be determined to get out of the prison. I would find a tiny ounce of courage and tell him it wasn’t okay…. until he played his trump card and threatened to tell everyone. I would slip back into the oblivion that had become home. A home where I was powerless, lost, and broken. I could not see a way out. It felt safe there.
People who knew me would have never believed the sin, but it was me who could not allow them to think I was the innocent person in all of it. My deep sense of ethics and truth would not allow me to lie if someone asked. It became my life to keep that secret hidden deep and dark so no one would know what I really was.
The hole was so deep, the fear was so real, I believed that I would be lost forever.
Yet somehow that spark kept coming back, it extended deep within below the surface of my consciousness, at a soul level. It would not give in even when every part of me thought all was doomed. I’m sure there are many ways out of that low and dark place, all humans are so individual and we all have a part that refuses to give in.
How I found my way out
The way out was painful, hard, and long. However…….
If you can feel a spark buried deep in the recess of your soul, you can find your way out to light and love, you are not lost. -Norma Zaugg
That spark made me determined. I started my quest, I knew there had to be more to this life. I started reaching and hoping for something I could not see. These were my steps:
Step 1: Learning how to care for myself
“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort. ” – Deborah Day
My first step was self-care. My church teaches that we should serve others and I was good at taking care of everyone else. I was horrible at taking care of myself. My excuse was that I didn’t have time. The truth….. I had time, and taking care of myself would be the most important thing I would ever do. The day I started caring for myself was the day I had the energy to actually start taking care of others. I was feeding my kids, I was existing with my kids, but I was so numb and in so much pain that I was not a light to them. By taking care of myself I was able to become a light in the darkness.
Self-care = Self-love
Self-love led to Self-Worth
Self Worth led to me becoming who God always wanted me to be. Both for myself and for those that I love and care about.
I can tell you it is important, but I want to explain how I did it. At first, it was really hard. Every part of me told me that I was being selfish, that I had responsibilities and that it was not okay. I had to fight against those internal voices that told me it was stupid and that I hadn’t earned it. There are rules too, and at first, I didn’t follow the rules but improved over time. Rule 1: The event has to be planned a minimum of 24 hours in advance. Rule 2: I had to plan self-care 2x a week. In all honesty week one and week two I flunked. It was too hard for me to leave, I spent all the time fighting that I didn’t deserve the time. Finally, on week 3 I was abe to do something for myself, and by week 6 I had energy that I hadn’t had in forever. I was so refreshed that I was outside playing games with my boys. I started to see how important it actually was.
Step 2: Staring Shame in the face
Shame is an intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection. -Brene Brown
Do you feel shame? Do you feel that if only you were more perfect this would not be happening to you? Do you put yourself down for not being more beautiful, more kind, more loving, more generous— the list goes on and on?
If you feel this, you are wrapped in chains that will keep you stuck. I was intent on changing, so I held my breath and pushed into learning a skill, hoping that it would actually work. This was not a fast process, but as I practiced I got better and better at staying shame resilient. If you want to regain your power, find youself, and own your brokenness this is
Everyone is going to experience feelings of shame, yet we can become more “shame resilient,” says researcher Brené Brown. She observed that some people have higher levels of what she calls shame resilience, and that this characteristic can lead to deeper connections with themselves and others. There were four traits that she found shame-resilient people had in common, and she shares them with us here:
Know what shame is. “They talk about the feelings, they ask for what they need,” says Brown. “And they don’t call it embarrassment, they don’t call it guilt, they don’t call it self-esteem—they call it shame.”
Understand what activates your feelings of shame. “For example, I can expect to be triggered as soon as I feel like I have disappointed someone or let them down,” she says. “I am going to hear a mental tape playing ‘You are not enough.’ Because I am expecting it, I can greet it and say, ‘I get it, but not this time.’ ”
Practice critical awareness. Brown might, for example, ask herself, Is it really true that my worth hinges on making someone else happy?
Reach out. “I might call a good friend and say, ‘Hey, this guy has been asking me to speak at a conference, but it’s on Charlie’s birthday. I said no and he got upset. I know I did the right thing, yet I am feeling like I am not good enough.’” Shame can’t survive being spoken, says Brown. “Talking cuts shame off at its knees.”
Step 3: Open your eyes and see who stands in front of you
The last step was hard because it required me to really see my husband. For years I had placed him on a pedestal. I thought he was amazing. I had taken all his wrongs and with his help had convinced myself that all his bad choices were because I wasn;t good enough. I had to lower my perfect view of him and see him as a man who had used me and abused me. He had played upon my kind and loving heart, he had played upon my ethics, he had played upon my codependent tendencies and had me convinced I was the problem. When I started to really see him I started to really see myself. I was good, clear to my core. I was loving and had loved him despite the affairs and the abuse. I was not the mean, unkind, disconnected woman he had convinced me that I was.
My journey continues…
I am far from the end of my story. I have many areas that I need to work on including my self-care, but I promise you if I can find a spark that would get me where I m today….you can find a spark too. You are not powerless, you are not lost, and you will discover that we are all broken and that it what makes us amazing and worthy of God.
If you feel like you need help with your spark, I am here….I offer life coaching sessions. The first session is free so you can see if it is something that could help you. You are not alone!