Thursday, February 13, 2014

It's On My Heart

Late one summer night, in the wee hours of the morning, we were jolted awake by the sound no one wants to hear.  Our house alarm started going off.  It’s one of those sounds you think you are prepared for but in that moment, your heart literally stops.  Bo and I ran to the alarm panel and were so full of adrenaline we could not think straight.  We unarmed the alarm before the alarm company called, which was not the best idea we’ve had.  Once we got our bearings about us we figured out it was set off by the window in the garage. Bo decided to go into the garage and check it out while I ran to check on the children. I found our son hollering, “HELP, HELP, HELP” and my daughter was in bed, eyes wide open, as still as she could be. About that time Bo came back and told us the window was locked and nobody was in the house.  We hatched a plan for Bo to go outside and see if anyone was there.  Yes… I know… We had no guns so we chose the most logical weapon for him to take.  A candlestick. Yes… I know… He went out the back door in an attempt to surprise the burglars so he could perhaps… throw it at them???  Our home became the set of a Clue game in less than 3 minutes.  Professor Plum with his candlestick…  We laughed until our guts hurt when we realized how ridiculous our plan was.  Then we laughed again at our son alerting the “burglars” to his exact whereabouts with his nonstop, “HELP, HELP, HELP” and my daughter laying there as if to say, “I’m not saying a word. Maybe they will grab my brother and run.”  In the end, there was a malfunction in the sensor on the window, not a burglar. I have to say, though, my hubby was super sexy when he showed such bravery and courage trying to defend his family.  My man… Be still my heart. 

There are so many different ideas we have of what bravery and courage looks like.  Whether it be our loved ones fighting cancer, fighting for our country, firemen fighting fires, single parents raising their children, etc.  The lists go on and on.  Courage is defined as the ability to do something that frightens one.  In saying that I want to talk about what God has laid on my heart which is the courage to overcome approval addiction.  Yikes. 

Hi, my name is Christi, and I am an Approval Addict.  I am in recovery but I am one, nonetheless.  It occurred to me that I had this problem when I shared something deeply personal and no one else around me shared anything about themselves.  I felt naked and vulnerable and knew right then why I had walked around for years pretending like my life was perfect. I didn't want to be judged. I finally found the courage to share that I was hurting and I was met with what I perceived as gawking. I know, now, they were just as scared as I was. Since then, it is my purpose to live my life with authenticity.

Have you ever sat with a friend when they shared some hurt or past mistake and you immediately said, “OH MY GOSH, ME, TOO!” Close your eyes and go back to that moment.  What did you feel?  I would bet it was relief.  Relief that you were not alone in carrying that shame, burden, or hurt anymore.  Someone else understood what you were dealing with or going through.  As Christians we have a call on our lives to be the light in a dark world.  Your story, your mess, your test, your past, your present, and your imperfect lives are YOUR testimonies and YOUR messages. We were not created to do this life alone and I assure you, your home, is not the only home that is messy.  ALL OUR HOMES have some sort of mess in them. 

We simply cannot grow in our walk or heal from our past as long as we live an inauthentic life.  I don’t encourage you to share your testimonies with just anyone but I do encourage you to step out in faith and offer a story here and there to bridge the gap with someone who may be hurting.  Just do it and see how God will bless your friendship and start healing you. Watch how He WILL lavish His perfect love on you and bless you immensely.  When we stop looking to others for approval of our lives something happens inside us.  We start to find freedom.  Those handcuffs come off and we begin to breathe freely for the first time in our lives.  I also beg you to encourage anyone who shares something about themselves.  It takes great courage and bravery to step out of that fear and blindly on faith.  I can say that because I am attempting to do that very thing right now.  I can see victory in my sight and I am not going to let it go.   

In closing I will share something that happened while I was sitting in a pedicure chair.  A sweet woman that I did not know struck up a conversation with me as she was getting her toes done.  We started talking about my children and she shared with me that she had lost her son in a construction accident a few years prior.  She started crying and shared that she recently started weaning off some medication and apologized for her emotions.  I took that opportunity to share with her that I knew exactly what coming off of medications felt like because I have Bipolar Disorder II.  I had weaned off several of the same kinds three years ago.  She didn’t have to say a word, I saw it in her face.  “OH MY GOSH, ME TOO.”  It turned out that she, too, had Bipolar Disorder.  I was able to share with her that I had found victory in my illness and as of right now, I am no longer on any medications. Praise God.  When she got up to leave, she leaned down and kissed me on my cheek and said, “God brought me an angel today right when I needed you the most.  God bless you.”  We never exchanged names that day but we needed each other and God used us for His purpose. 

Fear is not God breathed… I took the first step and shared something with you.  Something I have felt ashamed of for a long while.  I am no longer allowing the enemy to hold me in bondage over it so I am choosing to use it for God's glory.  If I can do this, so can you.  My heart's desire is to see women walk free and live authentic lives, to break free from the enemy's bondage of approval addiction.  I ache for it and so does Jesus.  Be brave!   I am trying!

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

1 comment:

  1. Dear Christi,

    Forgive my stepping in to offer a bit of unasked for coaching, but I am moved to share an important distinction with you: approval addiction vs. fear of disapproval.

    They often feel the same, but if you can distinguish between them you increase your options for the sense of control that leads to healing -- an addiction is overcome one way and a fear another.

    The brain is designed to crave certainty. So putting a name to a feeling gives the brain a secure foothold that we can control. We can't control what others think or feel - sometimes it seems we can barely control what WE think or feel.

    But we can always NAME what we are feeling if we focus there in honesty. And that alone calms down the entire nervous system enough that we can think more clearly. I won't go into the science behind it here, but I assure you that there IS quite a bit of evidence to support what I just shared with you.

    Only you can say how much of either side of the distinction you feel, but I'd like to ask you to consider this: if you knew for a FACT that no one *disapproved* - that they simply took whatever you said or did at face value - would their lack of active *approval* be as important as it sometimes has felt?

    Yes, it feels wonderful to know that we are not alone - that others share our experience - but I know in my own life I often yearn for expressions of approval or agreement simply because they let me off the "fear of disapproval" hook. When I identify the FEAR, it makes it easier to take steps - to be as brave as you sound in this post. At that point what others think of me pales in comparison to my own opinion of myself when I act in ways that are congruent with my values.

    Fear of disapproval is a psychology classic - like fear of failure, fear of success, and so forth. All of us feel those human emotions at one time or another. It's perfectly normal - although the degree to which we feel them varies, along with the number of times they rear their ugly heads. They only become a problem when they stop us from living a life of authenticity. Only then do they cross the line into "addiction" territory.

    You already know who walks with you in the valley -- and you know to lean on your faith when you are afraid. From reading only a single blog post I am almost certain that you have felt fear dissolve in prayer. I find that reciting the 23rd Psalm helps at times when fear (of anything!) threatens to overcome me. Perhaps it has had that effect on you as well?

    From what I've read here, it certainly seems like you are no stranger to bravery. Trust that you have built that skill and can count on it -- continue to use it in situations where you fear disapproval.

    As Einstein said, “I want to know God's thoughts, the rest are details." It sounds like you already have a good idea of God's thoughts about the approval of man. Hold fast to that idea, and try to be as gentle with yourself as I am certain you are with others.

    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie - ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    - ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder -
    "It takes a village to transform a world!"


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