A GENTLE TUG
Because I asked during my last session, my therapist was willing to share with me the story of her brokenness, and along with it, the tenderness of God she experienced when she was at her lowest place.
My response to her "Step Zero" experience (as Anne Lamott calls it) was, Do you have to be this broken to be free?
She told me everyone's path to freedom is different, so I shan't compare mine to hers.
My path, which happens to be coinciding with Lent at the moment, has involved a gentle tug from the Lord on my exercise rug. In the past, He wouldn't even have tugged because I was laying on it with all my might. But now that I've moved my metaphorical weight to one corner and even let the therapist look under the free corner, something has begun to shift. God has ever so gently, these past few days, started pulling on the rug a little, making a bit of space for Himself in a place I was keeping all to myself.
I feel like sharing too much will not be good for the place I'm in, so I'll just say that the exercise monkey is getting a little run for the money at present. Before Lent began, it was a happy monkey, getting fed every day, and coming back the next day for more. Now it's wondering where its food went, and I'm trying to figure out how to live with a hungry monkey on my back for a few days.
I don't know what I've committed to, what exactly I'm giving up or for how long. Three days has been eternity already, and life feels not nearly as good as it did when I was working out at will. That is part of what I'll need guidance for at my next therapy session. How will I know when I'm free? How will I know when exercise is in its proper place? I am trying not to jump to any conclusions or say with certainty that anything is resolved. I feel shaky and unstable and anxious, yet heard and held.
It has not been easy to enter into this form of non-exercise "suffering," but God has been good. Yesterday I felt Him more than today. Today was mostly silence and wondering and wishing.
But yesterday He showed up in a Bob Goff Instagram post, in a verse of Scripture I read to the kids for their school assignment, and in a 45-minute phone call with my friend Sarah (who talks on the phone for 45 minutes these days?!).
Today I wasn't sure if I made the wise choice or took a step back by taking the kids on a short walk. It wasn't what my preferred form of exercise (early, alone, and fast) would have been, but it was better than nothing. Or would nothing still have been better at this point? God didn't really answer me on that one today. And it didn't seem to feed the monkey much, so I think I'm still in that not-okay-but-okay place.
I don't have answers right now. I just have lots of energy that is not being used, lots of angst that is finding its way to paper, lots of feelings that I'm not used to, and lots of reminders to myself that "freedom over happiness" is what I seek.