Thursday, March 20, 2014

Temper Tantrums and Next Steps

Like most people I have patterns of behaviour in my life that are relatively predictable.  One of those patterns is my temper tantrums.  Every time I do something new, take another step forward or am placed in a situation that requires growth I inwardly throw a tantrum.  It goes something like this:

You can't make me.  I won't do it.  Nuh-uh this is stupid and it doesn't fit me anyway.  I'm too broken for this.  I'm further along now in my healing and I don't need this.  I don't get it.  I don't see the point.  YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!! YOU CAN'T! YOU CAN'T! YOU CAN'T!

I usually then plop down right where I am in a storm of angry tears.  See I resist because I'm afraid.  Every new step brings up all the fears.  I don't do well being pushed into things.  I sniff out unvoiced expectations like a blood hound.  Even when I know that one step comes after where I am, I still resist at first.

In my first time through the Twelve Steps, it became quickly apparent that every time we moved onto a new step my response would be "You can't make me do this."  I was blessed with leaders who were willing to stand out of the way and affirm that they weren't going to even try to make me do it.  I desperately need to know that I have a choice, one without strings attached to it.  I didn't have choices as a child and the choices that I made got me hurt even more.

The pattern is still here though.  Every time I run into something new, something that stretches me I throw myself down for a good old-fashioned tantrum.  God is so patient with me.  He's never shamed me for my tantrums.  He knows I'm scared.  He knows that I need the space to feel free to choose to take the step in front of me.

I get frustrated that this is the way that it is.  Too often I'm standing over my scared little girl-self screaming at her to grow up, stand up.  Telling her that is no way to behave and would she just do as I say because she's embarrassing me.  I'm a grown up and she doesn't get to carry on like this.  It's just not done.  I heap insults on her.  Rarely do I stoop down into her dirt and see her.  Often I grab her arm and drag her behind me, still kicking and screaming.

It doesn't work.  I always have to go back to her and make yet another amends, praying that God would please show me how to make her do what I need her to do.  It's the wrong kind of prayer though.  This time I'm asking that He would show me how to get down in the dirt with her and see her - her fears, her rage, her beauty.  She is fierce. Truth is, I need her.

Can I learn to touch her with gentleness, compassion, tenderness?  Can I learn to stop heaping judgement on her and instead wrap her in mercy?  I need to learn.  I must learn.  God help me learn.

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