Having written a blog post about the first two steps and then steps three and four, I thought I’d like to write about steps five and six for this week’s post. I just read them and promptly began brainstorming anything else I could blog about.
I mean… really…
- Step 5 – Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Step 6 – Be entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Okay then… Picture me taking a deep breath… a very very very deep breath. My eyes are squeezed shut.
Now, I admit it. Quite a bit of the anxiety I have been struggling with has little to do with my oldest son’s issues. Recently, I was explaining to my son’s therapist how I feel he scapegoats his brother. Whenever something is making him angry, annoyed, etc, my older son tends to blame my younger son, despite there being zero logical connection between the two.
Even as those words spilled from my mouth, I heard a voice whispering, “Don’t you do the same thing?”
The truth is, every time we move, I have some sort of depressive episode. I convinced myself this time would be different. This time, I already know a few people in our new location, and I have a career to focus on. This time, I am on meds that work. I am stable. I will be fine.
So, when we moved and I was not fine, I blamed it on my older son’s return from his grandparent’s house. And, to be fair, quite a bit of my anxiety did stem from the last year of managing him. However, it was completely unfair of me to scapegoat my son when history shows a pattern unrelated to him.
Moving to a new town triggers anxiety and depression in me. No meds change that. No career status changes that. No amount of friendship changes that.
When it happened this time, I hid behind something I felt would be more understandable to my husband and friends. It was even more understandable for me. A stress reaction to parenting struggles makes more sense than freaking out over a move I 100% believe God orchestrated. Admitting that moving towns triggers my depression feels like admitting I am crazy. I mean, if I know what the problem is, shouldn’t I be able to fix it?
I’ve yet to find a way to do so. Certainly, hiding the issue behind other issues hasn’t helped me tame the anxious beast.
So I am admitting the exact nature of my wrongs. Even in my attempts to be transparent, I have been opaque. I have hidden my true fears and feelings from others and from myself.
That’s step five. Step six is a whole lot harder. I’m working on it. Just admitting the issue, a return to step one, has helped. I feel more capable of moving forward since hearing that voice whisper, “What your older son does, you do too.”
It’s painful to see your worst coping mechanisms reflected in your child.
Did any of you other mothers know you were birthing a living, breathing, mirror?
Do you ever hear that voice? When the whisper of your faults susurrates your inner ear, your spirit, do you listen? And how can you attend to your faults without getting bogged down in self-loathing?
Beating myself up over my bad reaction to a move won’t make me better, and it won’t make me react more sanely the next time we move. It will only compound the problem. I suppose that is why step six is so important. Letting God remove the defects must follow my acknowledgment of their existence. Otherwise, I am just sitting here in filth, knowing how dirty I am, but not the least bit interested in taking a bath.
How silly would that be?
While we were in Disney World last week, I watched my friend’s toddler fight sleep. She was so exhausted she couldn’t stand herself. She screamed and kicked and tried to run away. It was clear to every last person watching that she needed sleep. Even she knew she was tired. She yawned. She started to doze off. She fought it.
We are baffled by kids who fight sleep when it is clearly what they need, but how are we any different?
Can you honestly tell me you know what you need and meet that need immediately?
Yeah, me either.
So here we are, together, at another virtual meeting, struggling through steps five and six but also, as usual, needing to return to step one.
I have to tell y’all…. This restoration stuff? It’s even harder than I thought it would be.
“Am I not a God near at hand”—God’s Decree—
“and not a God far off?
Can anyone hide out in a corner
where I can’t see him?”
“Am I not present everywhere,
whether seen or unseen?”
*originally published on Middle Places