Clean House

I don’t know if what I’m about to say is true. Just sharing my experience.

But yesterday morning I had a humorous realization of how far I’ve come over the past few years. As the story goes, I started a new house/pet sitting gig two days ago. And this pet is a cat who is EXTREMELY fearful. I’ve only seen him once. I was warned he might not interact with me at all.

Now, in times past, when I was still under the influence of the religion that said it was my job to save the entire world, I know exactly what I would have done. It would have consumed me that this cat didn’t want any social interaction. And I would have made it my mission to get him to accept me and interact with me. You know, for his benefit. Right?

Or was it really just because I didn’t feel comfortable?

In any event, I found it really funny this morning when I realized how much I have changed. Of course I care, but I had a little conversation with myself before I left the house. It went something like this: “This cat is not going to die. He ate some food last night. If he gets hungry enough, he’ll come out again and eat. My job is to do my best. And chiefly to keep him alive. I’ll monitor to make sure he eats, but otherwise it’s on him if he wants to interact. I’m not going to try to change him at all. I’m a good person and I haven’t hurt him. So I have nothing to feel sorry about.”

I know, it sounds like common sense. But coming from the codependent background I was raised to walk in, this is revolutionary! I am officially in recovery! 😊

All to say, I’ve been thinking lately about how I don’t think we have a political problem as much as we have a mental, emotion, social, and maybe more than all – a spiritual problem. People are searching for identity in everything and everywhere. And I’m not condemning that. Certainly I’ve done decades of my share. But if there is one thing the past almost six years have done is strip EVERYTHING away from me! And I literally mean almost EVERYTHING. Every single last thing I was basing my identity on. Not necessarily because any of it was so-called “bad”. Or good for that matter. But just that the bedrock had to be reclaimed. Truth. In such a way that I could then add everything back in the future without needing to hold onto any of it so much. Especially at the expense of relationship with God, myself, and others.

What I’m really trying to say is that from my perspective, collectively and individually I think we are driving ourselves head-on into a deep season of healing. If my experience is any indicator.

And we know we need it. Everywhere I go, people are sick of how things are. Not just irritated; on the verge of losing it. So I think eventually, as in my own life, things will crescendo to a point where people, and I think many already are, start taking a big step back and relooking at EVERYTHING.

And I don’t think the change in this country is going to come from the top down. I think we’ve beat that horse to death. To expect the change to come from the State house, the Court house, the board room, or even the Church house – good freaking luck with that. I’m not waiting on any of those people anymore.

I think the real change is going to happen when we all quit looking outward. And instead step all the way back and clean up our own houses. Start with ourselves first. Surely you’re not perfect? Surely there is something you could be working on right now?

And I’m saying those things so directly because I have earned the right to do so. I have been through the hell of letting everything go that I was focused on outside of myself. And when I stepped back and looked around, I was shocked to see that somehow little by little over the decades, I let one thing go, then another, then another. To the point right now where almost everything is a complete disaster. And I am NOT proud of that. Or happy about it. At all.

Acknowledging the problem is the first step to fixing it, right? It’s overwhelming. It’s depressing. But it is what it is. And I’m tired of it. Absolutely sick of it. This is not at all the life I thought I’d be living. The life I wanted. I kept thinking I had time. And then I looked up and realized WAY TOO MUCH has passed by.

So every day I have to be my own cheerleader now. Over and over I go through what used to be a typical thing for me every day: feeling sorry for myself. For what I’ve lost. And to be sure, there is a lot of legitimate grief. Whether the losses were caused by me or otherwise. But I literally have to tell myself almost every day: if I’m waiting on someone, anyone to come through for me in order to feel happy again, I’m going to be waiting forever. That’s how I lost the last decade of my life. Ugh. Yeah, that one hurts to speak as it settles in. But unfortunately it’s true. And denying the fact isn’t going to magically make the problem or the feelings go away.

The good news? I finally figured out what the fix is. What is helping me get my joy and happiness back: ACTION! Making the changes I need to make to have a life I’m genuinely feeling better about. And nobody can define that for me. Or for you. I had to go through a long, long process of figuring out what I even wanted. As I work to get more clarity in that regard, the work required to proceed accordingly seems comparatively even sometimes effortless. At least as it pertains to the relief in my heart that ensues when I finally have peace after making up my mind.

If I try to continue to outsource self-love, then I’m going to stay stuck in my sadness. The only way out is through. Each paper I file, each piece of trash I throw out, each decision that I stop avoiding about a particular path or person… they don’t always bring instant gratification. But as I keep racking up the wins, I see my hope and happiness return. I’ll have moments where I can see that I WILL get through all of this. And back to myself. To the me that I at one time liked a lot more.

Maybe it matters how I got here. On some level. That’s the business of long-term healing that I’m sure I’ll work through at some point. But when it comes to improving my mood today? That is coming directly from immediate action.

Is it painful? Hell, yeah. EVERY SINGLE LAST SACRED COW I thought I could hold onto. EVERY SINGLE LAST ONE has been impacted by this healing. And usually not with the immediate outcome I dearly desired. (Letting go only by knowing that God will restore and redeem where it is best for all.)

But think of the gym. How do you get gains in your muscles? You work them out. And that’s the other part that keeps my head above water. When I face yet another “workout” that I feel like I can’t get through: I have to remind myself that if God is letting me go through it then They know I am strong enough to do it. Even if I don’t know how. I just have to stay in minute-by-minute prayer sometimes. To push through to the other side. And not prayer as in some formal thing. Just very simply and honestly, “I hate this, God. What the hell? Please help me see the hope in this situation. Please help me see how You Love me through and in this.” And Trinity never fails.

We prayed for these things. That’s why it starts with us first. The others will follow eventually. When they have us to look up to. Or otherwise they’d lose all hope.

When we do this courageously. And show them they can also. That it’s worth the fight. That all they want is on the other side. The healing will accelerate as people follow suit.

You don’t have to be afraid of judgement. All it is is God setting things right. Kinda like what you do for spring cleaning. Pruning. For the best. For health. Not for destruction or punishment. But I will say in my experience, God definitely will incrementally start turning up the heat as long as it takes to get my attention. As life taught me to set the bar so disastrously low that I am almost always prone to settle for so sometimes embarrassingly little compared to all the best Trinity knows is ready and possible for me.

And maybe also you for that matter. So don’t be surprised if roadblock after roadblock starts interrupting the life you may have been trying so hard to put on auto-pilot. For your heart. To just get a break. Totally understandable. And I assure you Trinity welcomes your total raw honesty throughout this healing journey. That always seems to be the key to major breakthroughs and expediting the process for me.

But no other human can walk the road for you. So, God help us all, eh?

Just ask for the next step.

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