Dec
17

My Hungry Heart ~ Part 3 of 3

By

I grew up striving to find proof outside of myself that I truly was okay. This was my addiction. It was 2 fold: one part of it was constantly trying to figure out what other people thought of me, and the other part involved modifying my “outsides,” morphing myself, to try and fulfill what I believed other people’s expectations of me were. Like all addictions, it was extremely burdensome, but I did it to help myself survive.

My family life created the vacuum, let the big question “am I okay?” go unanswered. The church that I grew up in contributed to my dis-ease, creating bars that held me back from finding the answer. Church introduced me to self-examination. I fully value being self-aware, but the purpose of this examination was to create guilt and shame.“Examine your heart before doing this or that… Make sure your motives are right… Man looks at the outside, but God looks at the inside [so make sure your insides are good]…” Constant, heavy, suspicious examination. This became one of my biggest slave masters and I became a master at doing it. I was striving desperately for the answer to my question, but if an answer felt “too good to be true” I doubted it. I doubted myself all the time, because how could I know whether my “insides” were good or bad, whether I was on the right track? This self-doubt was the root of my depression and angst.

At age 26 I was so weary. A friend recommended a counsellor to me and I was willing to try whatever it took to find relief. This counsellor was able to help me discover the real truth about myself, for myself. He was a light, already fired up, someone I could spend some time with to get my own light burning again. He was a master not at “fixing me”, but at fanning into flame the truth that was still burning deep down inside myself. The truth he helped me to discover was that my heart is good. Fully and completely good. No questions asked, no proof required, in all its ramifications and outward actions, uniquely beautiful and good intentioned. It was the kind of truth-discovering that’s hard to explain. It just feels really good, like Christmas morning… Deep down, unabashed, grinning ear to ear truth. For someone like me, it was easy to doubt at first, to be suspicious of. But after awhile, my hungry heart couldn’t get enough. For a time, I needed this source outside of myself and outside of the church to tell me this truth, over and over again. Now that my own light is burning brighter, I’m getting the hang of it for myself. I’m rebuilding my foundation, setting myself up for a life of living as my true self, fulfilled and excited to be alive.160

Categories : Depression

5 Comments

1

Carla,
I love the way that you describe your process of recovery here. The imagery is beautiful and the negative messages that you accepted as ‘right and true’ were so much like the same one’s that I had.

I was so far off the right track when I fell apart in my life, it is amazing that I ever got it sorted out! I let so many people define me before I emerged into wholeness that sometimes I wonder how the heck I ever got out from under that mess!

Great post Carla! It’s great to be on the journey with you!
Darlene

2

Carla,
The journey you describe is one I still travel:You capture the soul of always wondering exquisitely.
Every time I’ve tried a “new” type of “good news”I have found more expectations ,does and don’ts; I’ve given up trying to please other people.
My place now is to be as honest as I can before God;I’m almost ready to quit speaking for the voiceless..at lest for a while. I am tired…unless it’s a face to face setting, I must stop trying to prove my worth or the worth of my life.
It is what it is, and that is OK.
I’ve been good Conservative Baptist;good little (MK) missionary child: Good witnesser,Good Christian: Good charismatic: Good Word-of-Faith-er Good messianic: Good in-betweener:
Now it’s time to stop.
When my 3rd child met with a fatal accident in 1994,just 3 months after he had an encounter with Jesus that literally saved is life from suicide,he was killed..just before his 18th birthday.
Emptiness, bottomless pit of grief..all the good religion of that time could not save my sons life.
So..if God wants to do something with this f****life of mine..he’d best do it on his own..
I can’t go on that merry-go-round of “must-dos”anymore.
***
I appreciate your testimony and story..thank you!
hugs, Viv Palmer Harvey

3

Darlene~ when you say, “sometimes I wonder how the heck I ever got out from under that mess!”, I can relate to that. Your wholeness is a beautiful evidence of the desire and persistence of the human spirit to keep searching and trying until we find that peace and freedom we were created for. As always, it is great to be on the journey with you too.

Viv~ “I’ve given up trying to please other people… I must stop trying to prove my worth or the worth of my life.” I think that’s a powerful place to be… Your “being” is enough- it truly is. I visited your website and read some of your excerpts from your book. Wow. I wasn’t raised an MK, but I went to Prairie Bible College for 4 years, so have this familiar sense of what you describe. You have shared a powerful message… Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and your journey here too. Hugs to you as well! I hope you will visit again, as you are always welcome, just as you are. 😉

4

It is a sad, but common story, that the Church often makes our lives more miserable. Very often that is because we never really “get” that God loves us. How often we have heard it said! But we don’t really get that “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” I didn’t grow up in the Church, but I experienced my greatest depression AFTER becoming a Christian as I too sought to do all the right things to show that I was the right kind of person.

It took years for me to realize the truths of Romans and Galatians about “walking in the Spirit.” The doing must always follow the being. When I forget about the doing and concentrate on just being who God called me to be (His beloved child), I am at peace; I know joy, and I end up doing the things that bless Him anyway but without the guilt and pressure. There really isn’t a lot of work involved in receiving God’s love by faith! 🙂

5

Hi Brian! Thanks so much for visiting and leaving your thoughts. I really like how you say that the truth is we can “be” first and that our “doing” flows out of that. Similar to yourself, I don’t think the roots of my depression began in the church… For me, they began in my home life (which I’m in the process of writing about in current posts!) It was because I learned lies about myself in my earliest years that I was vulnerable to put myself down even more through spiritual “punishment”, to try and “prove” that I wasn’t as bad as I believed (deep down) that I was. The church (or maybe I should say ‘religion’) just gave me another way to work, exactly like you say at the end of your comment. The key to freedom for me was to figure out why is was so difficult for me to believe the truth about myself, that I was truly loved. Figuring out how that happened is opening the doors to belief for me.

Thanks Brian!
Carla

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