A Journey to Freedom

freedom

My whole life I have pushed and fought for wholeness. For freedom: a sense that I am enough. Acceptable. Loveable as is. The belief that even if I am a little broken and fragile that I can still do this thing called life. I so clearly remember the day I realized I couldn’t try to kill myself again.

I would have to find a way to live.

But there have been many times since then that if someone had offered me a little blue pill to help me escape, I may just have taken them up on the offer. I hate admitting that. I hate it for my family’s sake and because it feels so weak and shameful and scary to admit. But I don’t think I am alone. So I share this FOR THE SAKE OF MY FAMILY – my children and my siblings and anyone else reading who looks around and thinks everyone else but them seems to have mastered this whole joyful living business.

And there is hope – I have slowly learned that I have the ability to face scary emotions and fear head-on without falling deep and permanently into that abyss. I have learned to love myself – all of me, not just the glossier bits that are ‘holy and sanctified’. I have learned to offer myself kindness and respect and have developed practices that help keep me steady and sane. And I am learning that one of the ways I heal and fight for wellness for myself and others is through the power of words. Talking and writing about things more comfortably swept under the rug.

I choose to use my voice to call others to freedom even as I hear a voice calling me. Wooing me. 

I bounced from addiction to addiction to help manage my pain and sense of inadequacy. Not addiction as in heroin – but things that would temporarily numb the pain (binge eating, alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, television) or provide a sense of control (not eating, obsessive exercise, perfectionism, forsaking sleep to stay on top of homeschool plans or housework, keeping suitcases packed with essentials for the next emergency).

I loved lists and rules that attempted to distill the ‘how-to of life’ into 7 Simple Steps. I read all the books, gleaning wisdom from those who had gone before me, those who had studied, built healthy families, healed themselves and called themselves experts – on religion, homeschooling, finances, personal-growth, whatever.

And honestly, all the books and learning did help. Bit by bit. And I still love lists. And faith anchored me – I do not think I would be alive today if it weren’t for my faith; a belief in something bigger than myself and that all life, my life, has purpose. And I continue to study in the realm of Holistic Health because it provides a lifeline. It helps me advocate for myself and keeps me taking the next step and the next. And it gives me opportunity to teach that which I need myself. It provides release for the fire in my belly that screams YOU ARE ENOUGH!

You do not have to be prettier, smarter, or less emotional, stronger, take up less space, or be less of a hot-mess than you currently are to deserve love. To deserve life. To be treated with kindness. To treat yourself with kindness.

Yet all of the learning and the church stuff also contributed to my bondage. I learned how to perform. How to be a good girl and follow rules and jump through hoops and not rock the boat. How to say yes to another volunteer opportunity even though it would deplete me and I was crumbling inside and might just come home and spill rage all over my family. I learned to hide my wounds and my struggle because someone might tell me it was the devil telling me lies instead of crying with me and telling me they had been there. That it would be ok. Or it might not. But that they would stand with me anyways.

I needed fewer pat answers and more compassion. I needed safe space to ask hard questions and wrestle with things and admit that I doubt and fear and sometimes want to run away from it all.

And I am learning to trust others more. To not judge them too quickly. To forgive and understand that we are all doing our best- aware that I fail others all the time; I don’t know the right thing to say or I don’t have the patience for them. But also to peel off the layers of self-protection, painful strip by painful strip, and let the chips fall where they may. And above all, to keep moving forward on my journey to freedom, taking as many with me as I possibly can but also realizing that everyone must choose for themselves. Letting go of everything that shackles me.

And then sometimes running right back to the safety of a crutch for a time. A glass of wine. Some dark chocolate. A day to hide behind pulled blinds and locked door to cry and hurt or just breathe.

Finally understanding that every one of my cracks and jagged edges allow light to spill out and over. To water another parched or barren human being.

There are seasons where I feel weary and battered and take refuge for a while to get patched up. Nourished and restored. Sometimes I linger long. Then I pick myself up and continue the rugged journey, hungry to finally, one day, arrive at the land of freedom.

A fellow sojourner,

Krista xo

*photo from magdeleine.co

About alifeinprogress@outlook.com

13 comments on “A Journey to Freedom

  1. This is really beautiful Krista! I have always so appreciated your honesty & you definitely have “watered” this parched human being.
    I hope you always have the courage to say what you think, be who you are & continue on your journey. Xx

  2. Another great post! I used to sing at church….I have a nice voice, no formal training. But I always felt so insecure. It was one of those big mega churches where most of the music team have degrees in music…So when I had a solo I would practice and practice and practice. I would make recordings of myself, play them back searching for any imperfection, I was my harshest critic. I home schooled and had 3 young children at home. One time one of them interrupted me while I was practicing…I was patient…for the first and second interruption. I was singing a song about how Jesus loves us…on the third interruption I went into a rage, screaming at my 5 year old to”leave me alone!’ Cant you see Mommy is trying to sing!” My little one was visibly crushed. I realized I had some issues I needed to deal with! I don’t go to church at all now and it was my life for about 15 years. My decision to stop going to church was made for many reasons, to much to go into here. It was a healthy decision for me.

  3. Krista, thank you so much for your brave and vulnerable writing. It frequently feels like you have seen right into my brain and extracted my thoughts, both sub-conscious and conscious, and have transformed them into words, albeit much more elegant and meaningfully realized than those that seem to rattle about in my head.

    I also wanted to share with you how the addition one extra letter, an “e”, brought your post extra meaning for me. In your discussion of all the ways you strove to in control and/or numb the feelings, a very happy and inadvertent slip transformed “heroin” into “heroine”. Thinking about this in terms of a ‘heroine’ [merriam webster definition: a mythical woman of superhuman qualities and often semi divine origin] really helped me see deeper into my reflexive habits when anxious or fearful. When faced with uncomfortable feelings my default is to go into super-planner mode with the thought that if I am ‘perfect’ I can realize, plan for and avoid all of the possible ‘bad’ things that may happen. I am trying to be superhuman, a heroine.

    Which, of course, I cannot do. Nobody can and mostly certainly never single-handedly. Only superhuman can do that and they are mythical.

    As you so heart-feltly, stated, nobody is perfect, we need to see and accept imperfections in ourselves and others and we all need one another. I rationally know this, but I need to read it and repeat it to myself constantly to get it into my heart and soul. Reading your tender words is so helpful to me.

    I hope that you leave that jagged edge (the extra “e”) in the post. Thanks for watering me.

  4. Thank you so much for your comment – I was sure I had replied earlier but see somehow I did not. I did leave the “e” until August when I reposted:)

    I am so happy that my words watered you , Lucille. May you find your way to freedom in this. xo

  5. please can i share
    The beginning of the year God gave me the word ENOUGH
    HE is ENOUGH
    I am ENOUGH
    I have ENOUGH
    and ENOUGH is ENOUGH
    has been a life saver from that one word, i have just come across your site, oh what a joy to have someone say alot of what i feel and have felt, and i have just been in a grieving time not because of any physical death, but putting to death all manor of things, i couldn,t understand why i was like i was until i said to my sister i am grieving over an abusive marriage, bullying and names/labels i have called myself and others have called me, all those things i have done too, yes i am a Christian and thanks to God for His saving grace, by the grace of God go I, your words have offered me hope they have made me feel i belong , i am loved and until i let God heal me and strengthen me etc i have to rest and let him do the work otherwise i wrestle and strive and just go round and round in circles and drag those chains around, He comes to break those lies and He comes to remove those chains and its important not to believe those lies any more and to free ourselves of those chains, we sometimes put those chains on ourselves and if we do not recognise that we will continue doing so, His word says renew your mind, MY responsibility but thank God for He is slow to anger, work in progress
    with love Jacqueline

  6. I learned of your blog from Joshua Becker’s link and since then, I went back to your very first post and am working my way through. I had to stop here and say thank you. Thank you for pouring out your life in your blog. Four years ago I buried my 5 year old son, which shattered my heart and soul. Six weeks ago, my sister (my only sibling) succumbed to her alcohol addiction exactly four years after my little boy passed away. Two weeks ago I had major knee surgery and the rehabilitation is painful and lengthy. I work full time, because I am a single mom to my remaining wonderful son. I am tired, broken, and often very, very sad. But I need to be ok, to be healthy, to be fully here. This is not an easy task and so I look for encouragement and others who are also struggling to be ok. Your writing is powerful and your words are healing and affirming. Thank you. xo

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