Saturday, November 25, 2017

Facing My Monsters- Part 2: Angels and Serenity

Angels are sometimes defined as messengers from God. Many of us have been taught that they are also divine helpers for people in need.

I've read stories and watched movies about angels intervening in times of crisis. No one realized, until afterwards, that they were supernatural beings because they were disguised as normal people.

I had three tiny angels to comfort me and give me strength during some of my lowest times. My grandchildren are ages five, sixteen months and 11 months, all girls.

Young children and babies are all about innocence, sweetness, joy, wonder and laughter. My grandbabies brought those treasures to me on a regular basis. Those treasures proved to be mighty weapons too- against despair, anxiety and depression.

I don't believe that my granddaughters are literally angels, but I certainly do believe they are precious gifts from God. Mere words can never express what their presence, and their presents, meant to me this summer.

So after the exhausting battles had been fought and the monsters beaten up, then what?
My victories left me feeling relieved yet badly bruised.

I just knew that those beasts could no longer control me. But I wasn't sure how to move forward.

I found myself grieving for the dreams I'd lost and regretting all the time wasted during my life. My heart, mind and spirit were in a lot of pain from the wounds inflicted by those demons. I had old scars from the years of their abuse, and new injuries from the recent months of intense fighting.

I knew I needed to find healing and peace of mind, but how? One day when I was particularly miserable, switching back and forth from crying to temper tantrums, I finally surrendered to God.
"Please help me. I know I've resisted putting my trust in you. I don't know how much faith I have, even for this minute! But I just don't want to feel like this anymore, so I'm asking you to help me. Show me the way out of this dark pit."

I soon realized that I needed to start with the well-known Serenity Prayer. I made it my goal to sincerely pray this every morning, to start my day. Its simple message contains the most basic things  everyone needs when facing any of life's challenges.

It truly helped me! I had to humbly acknowledge that doing things my own way hadn't been working. I needed to refocus my thoughts and energy on things that I could actually change (the past isn't one of them). Confusing thoughts and emotions set on the "high" setting do not contribute to wise decision-making. Yes, I needed wisdom from a power higher than myself. I still do! Every. Single. Day.

I'm experiencing more serenity, more often, as time passes. I didn't fully appreciate peace of mind until I'd really lost it for a while. And I have even more empathy now for people who are plagued by anxiety and depression on a regular basis.

In closing, I want to acknowledge some important helpers in my life.

I want to thank my personal "demons" for making me a much stronger and wiser person. I know you're still around, but I no longer fear you because I understand you much better. You've now been subdued.

I want to thank my three special "angels" for bringing me unbelievable joy and renewal of faith in all that is precious and sweet in life.

I so appreciate a couple of very close friends who have been patient, caring confidantes during my personal crisis. You know who you are.

Finally, I want to thank God for answering my feeble plea for help when I was a total mess. Serenity, acceptance, courage and wisdom are the exact tools I needed to start repairing my broken spirit.

My sincere wish is that my story can help someone find a glimmer of hope for better days ahead. Even if that someone is a messy, broken person like me.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Facing my Monsters- Part 1: Exposure and Battles

Have you ever battled monsters? Or your "inner demons" as they are often called? I have. Recently.

There comes a time when each of us must face our monsters. That is, if you are no longer willing to allow them control of your heart, mind and soul.

You must leave the little boat that you've grown accustomed to; even though you've always despised it.

The long journey down Denial (not the river in Egypt) is finally coming to an end. It's kind of exciting to anticipate a new destination!

Oh, but Denial has served its purpose for you for a long time. So there are feelings of dread mixed with hopeful anticipation of something so much better.

It's time for the confrontation you've avoided for so long. You force the creatures out from the darkest corner of the closet. You drag the dirty beasts out from under the rug. You're scared to death, but also angry as hell! You know, from your deepest internal truth, that the risks of this fight are worth it. You are no longer willing to let those demons haunt you.

This summer was not the first time I've battled my personal demons, but the ones that challenged me this time were some of the oldest and ugliest creatures in my life. I'd only seen them partially before, because they were experts at hiding and camouflage. This time was different. I finally recognized them in their full hideousness.

Those monsters used all kinds of weapons to intimidate me. Sleepless nights, anxiety attacks, rage, crying spells, lack of appetite. Sure enough, I almost gave up the fight a few times. I was really tempted to lift that old rug and say, "Alright, Monsters. I'm too weary of all this. I'll sweep you back under here. I guess you can stay."

But I knew from experience that those beasts living under the rug just loved to taunt me and haunt me. They'd even trip me when I least expected it! I'd lose my balance and sometimes even fall on my face. It had been going on for too long!

So, I screamed at them, with even more resolve: "NO!! You can't hide anymore! You'll stay out here in the open until I defeat you!! COME ON!!

The personal demons I was battling don't need to be named specifically. I've said before that I feel compelled to write from the heart, without being obligated to reveal all my private baggage. I'm bold enough to assume that most of you have faced demons of your own. Or maybe you need to.  Just about everyone has some! True? Different fiends for different folks.

Not only do I believe in monsters, but I also believe in angels.

I'm so thankful that I didn't have to fight the scary monsters alone. My help came in the simplest and most beautiful ways. Three angels were sent to me. They would always appear at those times when I most needed rest. Their divine assistance provided renewed strength for the next hellacious fight.

To be continued...