healing from emotional dependence: [why am I so complicated? pt.2]

Let’s address the elephant in the metaphorical room, shall we? My blog title is so long. I know. Let’s move on. There’s too much going on here. I want you to know what we’re getting into.

In my last blog, I shared with you about how our complex minds and emotions are not a curse. They are truly an intentional gift from God. If you need the context, you can click here to read it: https://wordpress.com/view/rachaelrestrick.wordpress.com

The more I thought about it, I realized it wasn’t a fully complete thought or truth. Yes, God made you marvelously complex.

But the truth doesn’t end there. The reality is that there is an enemy that sees our complicated actions, our played out emotions, and he works extremely hard to trap us in our complicated thoughts. Instead of a full and complete view of our complex thoughts, most of the time, we feel like prisoners to them. They spiral. We dive further and further into darkness, and the light of growth dims.

I see so much of myself in my daughter. Some of it is good; some of it, not so much. This girl has big emotions. We’re talking bigger than her little body kind of emotions. There are times where she chooses to be disobedient and disrespectful. Honestly, though, there are times that I watch her kind of meltdown and I can feel it: she doesn’t even feel like she has a choice. Especially this year. Her little self has been through so much change. She is resilient. Kids are completely amazing. But their bodies and their emotions feel things that their brains just have a hard time catching up with. I couldn’t begin to count the times that after a long meltdown, I’ve sat down with her and explained that she has a choice. She can decide how she acts. She can decide what she decides to do with her thoughts and her big feelings.

And just about every single time, I walk away with a little gut punch. As I preach to my five-year-old about taking her thoughts captive, am I living this way?

Don’t you dare think about reading this blog with the impression that I have gotten this under control. I certainly have not. But. With my paid therapist and the Counselor who guides me, along with some really great books, I have learned that the gift of my complicated mind can take a turn.

I have a choice. And so do you.

Believe me, I know it doesn’t feel that way. I understand the crippling tidal wave of anxiety, where all reason flies out the window and fight or flight instinct yells the loudest. I understand the threats of panic, which convince you that you are crazy and/or dying. I understand the heavy drudge of depression, of an empty, nothing-ness kind of mindset.

More than sometimes, we need others on this journey of choosing. We need trusted friends or paid counselors to validate our feelings, and lovingly remind us of the truth. These tools cannot be replaced or skipped over.

But there is more. If we don’t believe that God has given us the power to choose what we do with our thoughts and emotions, it won’t make any difference what anyone else says to us. We have to believe that God created us mysteriously and complex, and at the same time, has given us power through Him to overcome.

I created a diagnosis for myself the other day. Well, technically, it is already a defined term, but God flipped it around to show me a new definition.

Ever heard of emotional dependence?

Normally, it is dependence emotionally on something or someone. If you are emotionally dependent, you rely on external circumstances or people to regulate your emotions and perceived life balance.

But as I sat down with God to ask Him to help me process some of my emotions recently, He showed me that I actually had dependence on my emotions themselves. I was controlled by them. I let them take over, manipulate me, when that was never their designed function. They led me, told me who I was and what I wasn’t. What began as a gift from God became a bully that I continued to invite into my life. I believe this is an area that He has healed me from, and it is very much a work in progress.

The very real problem here, is that instead of allowing God to be the light to our feet and lamp to our path, our emotions shove Him out of the way and assume that role. Sadness, anger, discomfort, jealousy… they are cement under our feet and they dictate where we go and when we get stuck. They are gifts from God that, unfortunately, are given more power than they were ever intended for.

The majority of us swing to one side or the other when it comes to this. Some of us allow our emotions to hold us captive; drowning in them and becoming their slave. Others of us pretend they don’t exist. We shove them in a box and never deal with them. Can I tell you something, though? Even if you pretend they aren’t there, you are still giving them too much power. Neither of these ways were God’s design.

This is why we find it so impossible to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ, like the Truth tells us. Too many of us depend on our emotions to be our leader. Our emotions are real and they are not wrong. But they are not our Savior.

Healing from emotional dependence for me has looked like this:

One very small step at a time. One step after another, every time.

It looks like a choice to worship, on my knees, hands open.

Eating a real breakfast and then also a piece of chocolate because that’s okay.

Eating meals while sitting down. Maybe even outside. Maybe even without my phone.

It looks like silence.

One foot in front of the other; a shower, more water, clean clothes, less caffeine.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Over and over and over.

I grab hold of the truth and speak it or write it as many times as it takes for it to sink in. The truth is here for you today.

Each sentence below is for you to grab hold of and make personal for yourself. We can walk this out together.

I can choose what I do with how I feel. The Spirit is in me and He produces good fruits of joy.

If I am feeling weak, I will accept that Jesus is allowing me to slow down, and I won’t fight Him if He believes that is necessary.

I won’t belittle myself for not being “stronger.”

Pause. Sip coffee.

I will remind myself that His grace is enough for me and my weaknesses. For my impatience and frustration at others. For my misguided belief that my emotions are a good leader.

What I feel is very real and it matters. But it is not everything. I am not a victim to myself.

I will depend on God. He is my friend, my safe place, the One who will tell me the Truth. He alone decides who I am – a royal priesthood and a chosen daughter.

You are not a victim to yourself.

You have a choice.

If you have found yourself drowning and it feels like you have no way out, this is your sign: find a counselor. Let someone else help show you how to deal with you.

But even more than what another person can do for you, the Holy Spirit is even more powerful. God is with you, for you, fighting for you. And He is in you.

For if you embrace the truth, it will release true freedom into your lives.” [John 8:32 TPT]

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