My whole life I have struggled with anxiety. Unknown environments always meant fear; control was safety. I was definitely a rule-follower, wanting to do everything right. My mentality was that the more perfect I could become and the more things I could control, the more I could be set up for success. This easily morphed into a sense of self-righteousness and judgment of others.
When I first came to Recovery, I had been living in Florida for about a year. I am blessed to work with a great community of people, and I had started building relationships and getting to know people there. However, I was still feeling the pressure of trying to present myself as perfect, as someone others would want to befriend. I was trying to fit in, rather than just being myself. I continued the habit of overthinking everything I said and fearing judgment. I felt I couldn’t truly be at ease around those I called my friends.
My first night at Recovery, I quickly knew this was a place I wanted to be. During worship, we began singing about God’s promises, peace, and the freedom He offers. I thought to myself, that’s exactly what I want and have been striving for this whole time! I started tearing up. It’s unusual for me to cry, or really show much emotion at all. So when I cry in situations like this, I know it’s the Holy Spirit at work. I took this salty sign to mean I was in the right place.
I thought about getting a Genesis stone that night but held back, still worried about doing things “the right way.” I was, I admit, a bit weirded out by all the procedure. But I felt so welcomed into the Recovery community and was excited that the people here aren’t afraid to get below the surface and talk about the deep stuff. I could be myself, mistakes and all.
I’ve learned how to express my feelings to others, to admit my insecurities and ask for help. I became more willing to admit my own sinfulness or wrong thinking, acknowledging that it’s not something that can be ignored away or resolved in isolation. Being in this Recovery community has given me the courage to admit my faults and my needs, knowing that it doesn’t reflect on my inherent value in Christ. When I’m hurt, I can now bring it to the light and resolve it rather than isolating or blaming myself. Risking pain yields the greatest joy, experienced through, ultimately, grace. It’s what love is built on - knowing we can be who we are and that we are valued and embraced in spite of all our sharp edges.