Happy Codependent Mother’s Day

“Oh Julie, you have rug burns on your heart.” Eight months after boarding a homebound plane in Ukraine with my Honey and our newly adopted teenagers, I’m crying on the phone to my friend, searching for ways to describe the festering ache in my soul. I wince as her words trigger the memory of oozing rug burns sticking to my pantyhose. I was an athlete thirty years ago, but my knees still carry the scars.

Our high school gymnasium doubled as a multi-purpose building for many student activities, including church services, so the “Lady Tartans” played basketball and volleyball on carpet. Yes, CARPET! Visiting teams eyed our court in disbelief during pre-game warm-ups. I’m certain the Tartans wielded slightly more than a home game advantage. We were used to our unusual turf’s effect on bouncing balls and the teenage knees of scrappy girls who played to win.

Rug burns rake off a person’s protective skin, creating wounds that seep blood or pinkish semi-clear liquid. Time eventually creates a thin crust over each burn’s surface. When my team played two home games in a row, there was no time for our rug burns to heal before we again sacrificed knobby teen knees for rebounds or game points. I learned the hard way what happens when rug burns get layered—yellow white pus forms under the scab and oozes out when pressure is applied to the wound. Double rug burns are painfully slow to heal.

“Yes. Yes, I do have rug burns on my heart,” I reply. My friend understands rug burns. She was a Lady Tartan, too. She’s also lived a life story similar to mine.

After we stop talking, I turn off the bedside lamp and lay awake long into the night. I’m alone. My family is home. I’m traveling—sharing my testimony of redemption and restoration, sowing hope in hearts wounded by addiction.small plane

Do you even believe your own message? I’m stunned by the thought, as it strikes deep in my core.

Of course I do. But, I’m hurting and I don’t know how to fix this, God. How did we get here? What could I have done differently? What do we do now? Why don’t they let me love them anymore?

I toss questions toward heaven with the fervency of a baseball-pitching machine, not expecting Anyone to really answer.

I’m still sore from the sting of the H-word my son spewed just days before I left for this trip. “He doesn’t mean it,” the well-meaning people say. “Don’t take it personally.” Not helpful.

He felt hatred towards me. That’s why he said it. Of course he meant it. He also means it when he says he doesn’t want me to hug him or touch him. When he forbids me to say, “I love you” or to demonstrate any connection or affection at all. He means it. And it’s mean. And it burns my heart raw.

Maybe I could blow it off, recognize that it’s coming from a place of deep pain and trauma-triggered fear. Maybe it wouldn’t fester so bad if that were the only wound. But it’s not. There’s more. There’s my other boy-turned-man-overnight. Trying his wings, testing his limits, telling Honey and me all kinds of things we never wanted to hear. Building a wall a mile high and six feet thick to keep us distanced from his heart.

Here you are, talking on TV about recovery from codependency like you’ve got all the answers, when just yesterday you relapsed into fear-based control and tried to be somebody’s Holy Spirit. Again. Multitude of Counselors

The enemy taunts me with half-truths. Tries to silence me with guilt and shame. I cringe. It’s true. I project my pain from the past onto my kids when their rejection triggers old wounds that still ooze pus and blood. Wounds that stick to my emotional Spanx and rip the skin right off my soul, leaving me tender and vulnerable.

I am not healed yet!

There. I’ve said it. I’m not a perfect pastor’s wife, mother, daughter, friend or person. I’m painfully aware of my shortcomings, especially when pointed out by those who know me best. When I am afraid, I try to control circumstances or people. When angry, I punish with silence. When I am rejected, I tend to withhold affection for fear of further rejection. Sometimes I isolate. Or use guilt to manipulate. When I don’t know what else to do, I work, work, work. I am a mess. I need Jesus. Every moment. Of every day. I cannot do this on my own.

In preparation for taping this televised program, I reviewed the first Step of the Twelve Steps of Codependents Anonymous: “I am powerless over other people.” Once more, I am humbly reminded that I cannot make “minding other people’s business” my way of life, (even if those other people are my own family). I cannot put off my own good by determining to control, advise or guide others. I must surrender my compulsive drive to “fix the unfixable.” I am not anyone’s Jesus. By God’s grace, I will choose (once again) to ask myself two questions before jumping into control or rescue mode:

  1. Did this person ask me for this help?
  2. What does this have to do with God’s will for me?

Father in heaven, I choose to release my sons and the time frame for their emotional healing and spiritual growth to Your care. I choose to focus on my own spiritual progress and maintain healthy boundaries in all my relationships. I will not sacrifice my personal needs to meet the needs of another person, nor will I resort to unhealthy giving or serving from a place of fear or manipulation. I will allow You, God to be God in my life and in the lives of my sons. Thank You for your grace and your mercy, which is beautifully new every morning. Thank you for Your ability to heal the layered rug burns on all of our hearts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

codependency lovingonpurpose

What about you, dear Friend? Are you expending valuable emotional, financial and physical energy rescuing, enabling or persecuting someone whose life is out of control because of a chemical or other addictive dependency? Are you allowing fear to drive your actions as you try to save a drowning loved one? Have you lost your sense of self by allowing your boundaries to be pushed back or knocked down completely? Do you need to take CODA’s Step 1 and admit that you are powerless over another person and that your life has become unmanageable? If so, it’s not too late to come out of denial. Take that Step. Admit it to yourself. Tell Jesus. Confide in a friend. Begin your journey to wholeness today. You are worth it! You are so totally worth it.

Painkiller Addiction – The Problem I Never Knew I Had

I‘d like to introduce today’s guest blogger, Mel Harbin, to our community. Mel reached out to me via email a few weeks ago and shared her story. I invited her to share it with you. Sometimes it’s easy to point fingers at the “hardcore” addictions and to downplay the ones that affect soccer moms, educators and clergy. If we have a God-shaped void in our lives, it can easily get filled by things that will drag us down. Thank you, Mel, for your vulnerability.

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My name is Mel, and I’m a drug addict. But I don’t fit the picture you’ve probably formed in your mind. I’m one of the silent majority – a perfectly presentable addict with a job, a family, and a house in the leafy suburbs. I work in an office, I get coffee with my friends, I exchange polite small talk with other moms at the school gates – but I’m an addict nonetheless.

I’m a painkiller addict, you see.woman and drugs Society prefers to think of addiction as something which only affects a stereotyped few – addicts, we imagine, are insane, wild-eyed, filthy creatures who live beneath bridges. It couldn’t happen to nice, middle-class people like us, could it? In fact, the majority of drug addicts within this nation are ‘people like us’. Prescription drug abuse is an enormous problem – death by prescription drug overdose kills more people per year than heroin and cocaine combined, yet still society is unwilling to change its very fixed ideas about substance abusers. It’s this which led to my downfall. I simply didn’t think that a mom of two like me could be an addict – I didn’t fit the pattern!

Slippery Slope

My descent into addiction began very simply. I had strained my back during my first pregnancy, and my second pregnancy messed it up for good. This was my own fault. Rather than relaxing while pregnant, I took pride in powering on with my work right up until I went into labor. This is not an uncommon trait within painkiller addicts – often we start taking them in the first place because we’re simply too driven. Rather than slow down when ill, we pop a pill. After my son was born, I was prescribed Vicodin to ease my excruciating back pain. I was given strict dosage instructions, to which I didn’t give a whole amount of thought, if I’m honest. I just kind of assumed that I would stick roughly to the dosage, and all would be well.

Addiction Sets In

Vicodin was great. Not only did it numb my back pain, it seemed to fill something of an existential void. I’d pop a Vicodin and my pain would disappear, taking with it a previously unregistered issue which had been gnawing at the back of my mind. In retrospect I can see that this ‘void’ was a spiritual one – my soul’s yearning for God. At the time I just dismissed it as stress. Without really noticing it, I began to rely on Vicodin for both pain and ‘stress relief’. I was just as driven as ever, determined to overachieve in everything, despite having a lot on my plate. I was trying to be the perfect wife to my husband, trying to care for my two young sons, and trying to advance my career at the same time. Vicodin – for a while – facilitated my unhealthy perfectionism. It masked the stress, masked the pain, masked everything. It wasn’t long before I began to gradually up my dosage  – telling myself that my back was bad today and I needed the extra help, or that I could use a boost to get myself through this or that meeting.

The End And The Beginning

DSC_9489Warning bells should have rung when I began to feel sick after missing Vicodin doses, or when I took to visiting different doctors to supplement my prescription, or when I spent my mornings driving for miles to collect prescriptions at different pharmacies. But it took my youngest son – by then aged three – to reveal the extent of my problem. My husband found him in the process of trying to get the ‘candy’ out of a pot of hidden Vicodin – unsuccessfully (praise be to God).

My husband was already concerned about me. Due entirely to the effects of the Vicodin I was taking, I was suffering from wild mood swings, and behaving increasingly irrationally. I was falling to pieces, and both my family and my career were suffering. Upon seeing our son shaking the Vicodin bottle, things began to add up for my husband. He searched the house, and found that I’d stashed Vicodin in several hiding places. When I got home from work, he confronted me. It was an ugly scene. While he was reasonable and calm, my Vicodin-addicted brain would rather that I broke up with my husband than that I broke up with Vicodin.

So I went into meltdown. I screamed, I cried, I threatened to leave him. “You’re an addict,” my husband responded. “You need help.” I denied it hysterically. But, as the now familiar withdrawal symptoms began to make themselves felt, his words began to sink in.

An Ongoing Process

I am now ‘clean’ of Vicodin, and have been for some years. With the love and support of my husband and sons I’ve been able to ride out the rough times and get my life back on track. To this day I don’t know how much I was taking – I just know that that I’d pop a pill whenever I began to feel even slightly off color. This is not a healthy way to deal with one’s problems.

Finding God was a major help. Learning to rely on the unswerving, unconditional love of God rather than constantly having to prove myself through perfectionism was a huge relief, and caused me to make major changes to my life. I now ‘let go and let God’ when I feel pressured, rather than reaching for a chemical solution. I am happier, and our family is rock solid. I do have some concerns about the future of my boys – they say that addiction runs in the family – but I’m determined to do everything in my power to keep them safe from the scourge that nearly destroyed me.  I will certainly try to ensure that they never experience that same spiritual ‘void’ which proved so influential in my own descent into Vicodin hell.

~~~

The journey to relative wellness has been a long one for Mel Harbin. She’s in long term recovery from a painkiller addiction and taking each day as it comes. She now writes for a living and is concentrating on helping others who have ended up on the same path as she has.

He Knows Them By Heart

I fell off the wagon today. I worked for nine hours at school. It’s Sunday.classroom

Yes, work is often my drug of choice. Some numb with food. Some with drugs, or media. I numb with work. As a teacher, it’s easy to do. The job is never quite finished. I could have stayed longer this evening, but I noticed darkness creeping onto the campus, sending shadows down the long, silent hallway as I hung my sixteen second graders’ writing samples in preparation for Open House on Tuesday.

I didn’t want to come home. It’s too quiet here. I can hear the clock ticking in the other room. I can see the boys’ shoes lined up underneath the sideboard near the front door. Even though they are naughty for leaving them there, I smile. They must have unloaded those when I wasn’t looking and replaced that space in their suitcases with Nerf guns or remote control cars.

Squatting to reach under the antique cabinet, I gather four pairs of well-worn, outdated shoes. Shoes my Summer Boys brought with them from their Ukrainian orphanages to America. Shoes that were too small the day they arrived. Shoes they were supposed to take back so other kids could still get some use from them. We had packed those shoes. I didn’t want them to get in trouble for not returning the things they arrived with. It’s too late now.

Taking the shoes into the tiny bedroom that used to be my office, I line them up against the closet door. I’ve barely been in here since they left last weekend. The room is a disaster. And it smells like teenage boys. But, that’s not what keeps me away.clothing on floorWhat keeps me away is the raw emotion I experience when I think of the two boys who shared this space for two months. What keeps me away is the longing to come in here and say, “Goodnight,” when I know their bunks are empty. What keeps me away is the ache I experience when I sit here, in my office chair, (the one they swiveled around and around, loftily demanding payment from Honey or me if we dared cross unbidden into “their” territory), trying to imagine what they are doing tonight. Only it’s not tonight. It’s tomorrow in Ukraine. It’s Monday – a school day.

God, I just want to talk to them. I want to hear their voices, even if I won’t understand their language. I want to look into their eyes and see if they are really okay, regardless of what their mouths say. I know them by heart. If I can just see them, I will know if they are afraid or alone or upset or content with their circumstances.

But, I can’t speak with them. I can’t see them. I can’t really know anything except that they landed safely and that they are back in their orphanages and back in their schools and back in their normal routines. And that they are (according to the chaperone), “okay.”

Are they really okay, Lord? Or are they “okay” like I was “fine” last week? “Okay…” with a nameless gnawing ache that does not go away, no matter what I’m doing. “Okay…” with the drumbeat of everyone’s busy life moving quickly all around me as I feel like blackstrap molasses in winter, s-l-o-w and dark and heavy with the bitter aftertaste that comes once the sweetness is gone. “Okay…” as I numb the ache with work and avoidance and grumpiness with my Honey who doesn’t understand where all this unusual emotion is erupting from. Are they okay, like me?

I don’t want to relapse into workaholism. But it helped to just be in a sterile space today: organizing and arranging and sorting and grading and planning and hanging student work on the walls. It helped to be away from home where the bananas are turning spotty and brown before my very eyes. This would never happen if the boys were here. Away from home where I know I need to wash their sheets and clean their room. unmade bedBut if I wash everything I might forget the scent of their space in our home. That almost-good smell of Axe body spray and antiperspirant barely masking the unmistakable musty sock stench emanating from underneath the bed. If I clean and tidy every evidence of them away, will they disappear from my memory, too?

I have a friend whose children are in foster care. I also have a friend who fosters children… who come and go and come again into her home. And I have a friend who mourns her choice to abort her unborn baby all those years ago. They each understand this ache, this longing to hold the child who holds your heart; this wondering that cannot be answered, either because of their own choices, or those of a system that controls the destinies of children who cannot control their own lives.

Rarely does a child not mourn the loss of their mother when extraordinary circumstances separate families. Frightened young kids don’t beg to be shuffled from temporary home to temporary home until the powers that be can finally decide what permanent living arrangements are in the child’s best interest. And nobody asks to be removed from their mother’s womb prematurely. Yet these tragedies happen multiple times every minute of every single day on planet Earth.

Refugees, homeless, orphans, aborted babies by the billions – What an ache God must have in His heart as He looks at the planet He created. How He must long to bring His children home. Our Father knows each little one by heart. He knows our scent, our secrets, the very number of hairs on our heads. He says He knew our names before we were born (Jeremiah 1:5). He knows our pasts and our futures. He knows the plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11).

He knows these kiddos, too. The ones we long to hold in our arms. The ones we beg to come home. The ones strung out on drugs. The prodigal ones who seem to be running farther and farther from us and from Him. And He knows the names of the ones we wish we could turn back time and resurrect. He knows them all. He loves them all. And He never ever forgets any of them.

When we connect with Him, we connect with them. When we commit them to Him, we can trust that they are in better hands than our own. When we pray over them, we can KNOW that we are heard and that heavenly beings are immediately dispatched to minister to their tender hearts.

Lord God, I’m sorry I worked too much today. I’m sorry I avoided the pain of my reality. I’m sorry I tried to numb the ache with busyness, just like I used to do when my whole life was chaos. Forgive me for turning to my drug of choice instead of turning to You. Help me to deal with my newly empty nest in healthy ways. Help me to trust Your plans for our future. Love on those boys for me today, okay? In Jesus’ name, Amen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you want to pray a powerful prayer over your loved one(s), just plug his/her name into this Psalm wherever it says “me” or “I.”

1You have searched me, Lord,

and you know me.

2You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3You discern my going out and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways.

4Before a word is on my tongue

you, Lord, know it completely.

5You hem me in behind and before,

and you lay your hand upon me.

6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

too lofty for me to attain.

7Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

8If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

11If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

and the light become night around me,”

12even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,

for darkness is as light to you.

13For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

15My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place,

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16Your eyes saw my unformed body;

all the days ordained for me were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

17How precious to me are your thoughts,a God!

How vast is the sum of them!

18Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand—

when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalm 139:1-18 (NIV)

Juggling and Grace

Step 11

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out”

Amid the hubbub of Mallory Dock, with its eclectic mix of tourists, part-time locals, and street entertainers, I wedge myself between a fence and a row of camera-wielding sunset-watchers to celebrate the daily ritual of watching Earth’s nearest star disappear on the western horizon. As yellow-orange light spreads across the water and a silhouetted sailboat poses against the fiery ball that keeps our planet alive, I hear “Amazing Grace” behind me._DSC3976

Turning my camera from the beauty before me, I focus on the source of the song: barefoot and ponytailed, he hunches over a guitar, singing of the One who holds each star in place. With simple chords and timeless lyrics, a reveling crowd is stilled by one unassuming street musician, reminding us of the Beauty Maker, who paints the skies each evening with an invitation to join Him for eternity. I sing along, losing myself in the beauty of the moment. After the sun and the song disappear, I close my eyes, savoring the scene.

That was a month ago. Now I’m juggling.

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I’m an all-eggs-in-one-basket girl. I’m challenged by juggling… eggs, apples, bowling pins… you name it – I can’t keep it in the air! When Honey and I were recently in Key West for vacation I was amazed by those guys who entertain tourists by juggling flaming torches, swallowing swords, and commanding cats through fiery hoops. We “ooohed” and “aahhhed,” clapped and tipped our way down Mallory Dock until the sun began kissing the water with orange, pink and yellow light. I didn’t think any more about the jugglers until last week, when I started my new teaching job.

Two and a half years have passed since I’ve been queen of my own classroom. It was quite a learning curve to come home from vacation on a Sunday and walk into a classroom on Monday, knowing that I was the teacher, and nobody had mapped out my day or week in a neat little stack with a Post-it that said, “Substitute.”

I was on my own. Sink…or swim! (I’ve been “swimming.” That’s why you haven’t seen me here, writing about Step 11.) Swimming, like juggling, is exhausting.

My personal juggling act consists of trying to keep a classroom full of multi-age students functioning and on-task, learning a new school’s system of doing things, effectively teaching an unfamiliar grade level, grading papers, making lesson plans, meeting a deadline for my book, keeping up with my blogging (I’m three or four weeks late!), posting regularly on my Facebook page (another fail!) and being a good spouse, daughter, sister, auntie, godmom, friend, pastor’s wife, and neighbor. Oh, and keeping groceries in the house and gas in the car that takes me back and forth to work and church. Sound familiar? I’m sure you each have your own flaming torches to juggle every single day! How do we stay sane on our Western World hamster wheels?

Did you notice that something, or rather Someone is omitted from the above list? Yes, I failed to mention spending quality time with the ONE who keeps me sane and on the right track; the ONE who holds me together when I want to cry on the way home from school because my nerves are shot and my to-do list is still too long; He who gives me the words to write, the thoughts to think, the heart to love and the patience to work with His little ones. It is only He who sustains me, you…the whole wide world in His big, holy hands. And THAT’s what Step 11 is all about – Getting to know Him by spending time with Him.

Step 11 reminds me to do three things:

  • Seek to improve my conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation,
  • Pray for the knowledge of His will,
  • And pray for the power to carry out His will in my life.

By incorporating these three things into my daily juggling act, everything else becomes easier to manage. When I consciously invite God into my little world, taking the time to talk with Him and to listen to the counsel in His Word, I am a more organized, disciplined, compassionate teacher, a wiser, more dedicated writer, and a better friend, neighbor and lover.

When I pray for His will to be done and His Spirit to dwell in me, I can say, “yes” to the things that are most important on God’s to-do list and let go of the things He’s not asking me to do right now. I don’t have to juggle the world. Jesus died for the world. I don’t have to be miss perfect-teacher-pastor’s wife-friend. Jesus in me can perfectly love those He places in my path. I can rest in Him, believing that I can do all these things through Christ, who gives me strength (Philippians 4:19). If I just juggle Jesus – keeping my eye on Him, making Him the focus of my life, the rest will fall into place and I will not fall flat on my face.

I don’t need to be amazing. I just need His amazing grace._DSC4057

Father in heaven – remind me to be still and focus on You amid the chaos of daily life. Let me be more like that barefoot guitarist, just sitting still among the throng and worshiping the One who made it all. Help me to seek more and speak less, to pray more and strive less. Amen & Amen

Dear Reader – How to YOU do it? How do YOU juggle life? When and where to you find time to pray and meditate? Please share in the comment section so we can learn from one another. I’d love to hear from you!

Overwhelmed with Yesses? Just Say No

This post is part of Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers.  To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE. (http://goo.gl/bQVJW0)

“When a woman lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule, she’ll ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.”  (Taken from The Best Yes Chapter 3: “Overwhelmed Schedule, Underwhelmed Soul” by Lysa TerKeurst)

Between Lysa’s The Best Yes and Dr. Henry Cloud’s Necessary Endings, (which could easily be called The Best No) I’ve recently been brought face to face with the fact that I still experience fallout from my past.

My first marriage experienced nuclear meltdown more than seven years ago. I still fall into some of the old unhealthy behaviors I adopted as coping mechanisms during the decade or so before the disintegration of that relationship. Why, Lord, is this still my default when those days are far behind me?

Here’s how it used to be: If I knew that he was on a binge again, I dreaded going home to play the waiting game. (If you’ve ever loved a chemically dependent binge-er, you can identify.) The ache of wanting him to come safely home so I could kill him myself (or at least wring his wiry little neck) always seemed worse when there was nothing to do but sit there and wait.

That all-night, all-the-next-day waiting was the worst, creating a toxic concoction of hope and dread that birthed stomach ulcers that bled and burned for days. Should I make dinner? Call the police? Stay here waiting, or go looking for him? NIGHTMARE.

I hated every minute of that desperate waiting, so I created a coping mechanism. Work. After work, I worked – staying in my classroom until long after everyone else had gone home, made dinner and watched American Idol. I made lesson plans for weeks in advance. Sharpened pencils. Alphabetized scented markers. Rearranged desks; anything to keep my hands busy and my mind semi-occupied until enough hours passed that I could go home too exhausted to lay awake and wait.

Work worked for a while. Years even. Eventually my underwhelmed soul created such an overwhelmed schedule that I became a workaholic. Even during those “clean” months between his rehabs, I continued my addiction to work. More evenings than I can count, when he was home, sitting on the sofa with the TV remote in hand, I was still at school. His sickness had infected me, infected our marriage, our lives. No, I didn’t binge on cocaine. But I did numb the drug’s side effects with busyness.

It was hard to decide what to leave undone. Difficult to have chaos anywhere in my physical world because my emotional world was out of control. I was aching for normalcy, so I created it where I could. I stayed in that groove for a long time. And grooves were formed in my brain. Pathways and patterns and habits that have not broken easily.

Lord, I have to do something differently. I cannot continue to live like this.

I prayed that prayer just before Valentine’s Day as I came out of the valley of indecision and made a decision to stay with a friend when he didn’t come come and wouldn’t answer my calls. Again.

Lysa says, “Not making a decision is actually a decision. It’s the decision to stay the same.” She’s right. For all of those years, when I couldn’t decide what to do, I was making a decision to allow the pattern to continue. I was choosing insanity – continuing to do the same thing, expecting different results. Maybe this time, he won’t use. Maybe this time he’ll stay clean. Maybe…

overwhelmedscheduleSo, what about now? Now, when I’m happily married to a loving, emotionally attentive husband. Now when I no longer have the pressures of a full-time teaching job? Now when I have a flexible schedule and the ability to sleep until ten on a Monday morning? (I don’t.)

I still work. Still say, “Yes” to time consuming projects that don’t fit my long-term goals. I still over organize and over analyze and over do. If tendrils of painful emotions need to be numbed – I work. If I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring, I overwork tonight. I’m a binge-worker. My overwhelmed schedule is often created by none other than moi, me, myself!

So, thanks to Lysa, I’m prayerfully looking for my “best yes.” Thanks to Dr. Henry, I’m deciding what areas of my life need “necessary endings.” I’m positive workaholism is one. I certainly don’t need the “underwhelmed soul” that comes from overdoing it. Been there. Done that.

I have a feeling I’m not the only one who struggles with repeating patterns from the past that need to be broken in Jesus’ name. What’s going on with you? Do you need to say “no” to a few things? Do you need to say “yes” to a new way of thinking? A new way of doing?

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)

May I invite you to pray this prayer with me?

Father, I believe You deserve my best yes. You know the plans You have for me. Please direct my path, moment by moment. If I am numbing with busyness, show me where the hurt is and help me to trust You to heal it. If I am hiding in work or accomplishments, let me hide in You. If I need to end a harmful habit or a relationship, please give me the courage to let it go. I trust You. You invite me to rest, not to strive. I choose to rest in You. Amen.

New York Times Bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst has written a new book about finding your Best Yes. Many call this book “inspiring” and “fabulous.”  I call it a game-changer.  You can grab a copy at http://goo.gl/ZFUZbD

Lysa TerkeurstP.S. You are cordially invited to FOLLOW my blog. It’s a Win/Win deal: You’ll receive an email each time I make a post. I’ll receive one more awesome person to support me and pray for my journey toward publication.