It’s been almost 3 years since the thought of freedom from my past strongly came to my mind. Like many regular working women out there, I was busy being a mom to a two year old, a wife, a full-time employee, a servant in the Lord’s house and many more hats. I developed serious body image issues postpartum, so in the midst of juggling these hats I was also trying to lose the baby weight, get my sexy back, find myself attractive so my husband could find me attractive (so I thought). I was often an emotional wreck on the inside; on the outside, what family and friends witnessed was ‘happy’ woman. But I didn’t want to be ‘happy’ – that lasted only a few moments, I wanted to be filled with that after-a-good-run-unexplainable-feeling-of-satisfaction kind of ‘happy’. I searched high and low – read books, watched inspirational videos, teachings…you name it…I tried it. Finally, I found it right in my home, on my bedside table…dusty Bible. Yes dusty! I always used the Bible app on my phone and that book on my bedside hadn’t been touched in a while! As I felt something calling me to give attention, I obeyed and the result is what you see today – a Faithfully Renewed Encouraged Exceptional (FREE) woman after God’s own heart! I have friends and people I’ve shared my story with asking ‘how did you do it? And how do I get there too?’ Well, let me share my personal journey with you; maybe you will find in it something to apply and begin your own journey to becoming FREE indeed.
Make the decision to begin the process of Godly letting go of the pain. Godly because I believe there are two types of ‘letting go’ – there is the worldly way which encourages surface level deflection of hurts, pains and emotions into an instant gratification state. Instead of confronting the emotions being felt from within, you mask it with a bunch of tapes. Typically people do this through pretense – pretending everything is all right when the heart still aches and at the mention of that sore subject, all hell breaks loose – if not privately, publicly. Then there is the Godly way of letting go of the pain; this requires that you develop a personal relationship with God and obediently allow Him control of your life giving you guidance through the Holy Spirit to deal with the pain and release it – permanently. So, which one would you rather have? The road less traveled but leads to permanent peace and joy or the road paved with the finest gold but underneath the surface is a bunch of cracks and craters ready to burst into sink holes? You choose…
Self-reflection leads to self-awareness. Once I made the decision to take the road less traveled, I had to take inventory of me. Not the physical me, but the spirit and soul me. I’m talking about behaviors, attitudes, personality and connect these to the statuses of my relationships – marriage, parenting, friendships, family members, coworkers etc. What I found out was pretty astonishing! While I had all these relationships, I wasn’t FULLY connected to any of them! It was like a part of my heart (soul) was closed off from them which understandably stems from my past and my need to protect my heart from getting hurt. So while I had these relationships, I didn’t fully open up for fear of being let down, being hurt, being neglected, being disrespected, being judged, being unworthy, not measuring up…!!! This step is very critical because this is where you know you are imperfect, you know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). You will never be perfect BUT you are OK with the revelation because you are on a journey to eternal peace.
Develop an intimate relationship with God. I began with Romans 8 – I needed to understand the spirit, I needed to understand love. This chapter in Romans became my anthem daily because I needed to renew my spirit and learn who God is from the point of His love for me despite my stinking behaviors and attitudes. If I was able to wake up and make it to the gym on time to work out, I knew I had it in me to give God the time and I needed that time with Him. So my wake up time got pushed back a bit; and I began spending my morning with Him first. Listening to christian music was another tool I used to develop intimacy with God. It was all around me…I changed my listening habits on my drive to and from work, my workouts, even when taking a walk in my neighborhood. If I was going to do this, I couldn’t still hold on to things that didn’t build my soul – and music definitely can weaken or strengthen your soul. Slowly God revealed the healthy way to open up my heart and to above all else guard my heart His way because everything I do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23). Get close to God through the scriptures, get close to a church and build a healthy network of believers. Dive into spiritual inspirational resources. Develop a doer attitude when you read the bible.
Grab a book and make it your journal. This is just one outlet that I employed as a way for me to let out all the emotions, thoughts I felt. On most days, they were as raw as uncooked rice but I knew by writing down my thoughts, emotions, it would help me understand myself better. It also served as a ‘tongue checker’, a ‘filter’ because not everything that came to mind had to be spoken or shared immediately. Write down your interpretations of your quiet time; if you are a sharer like me, post it on your social media. You never know who you might be helping.
Work on your physical state. Your body, mind and soul when aligned is a beautiful thing. I worked out 5-6 days a week and developed a very active lifestyle all year round. Since my body had completely changed during and after pregnancy, I had developed body image issues, with added to my postpartum depressive state. When I started working on my mind and soul, naturally my body also craved for some attention. I found that working out was my time to focus on just me without any labels or hats; and I enjoyed it very much. The types of foods I ate also got a makeover – I started to meal prep, cook wholesome meals. We (my family) aren’t the eating out type so it was easy to have home cooked meals 7 days a week and not be bored. Plus I enjoy cooking so that helps too. The key here is to be active and eat good healthy wholesome foods. You have to take care of your body as much as your work on your spirit and soul – all three are connected.
Align your mind, body and soul. I released my pain by doing a deep dive with the Holy Spirit as my memory recollector. I was in a very high emotional state most days because the memories would flood my mind and I would need an outlet. That’s when the journal became very useful! As memories came, there was one key action I needed to take – FORGIVE. I learned all about forgiveness – not necessarily for the person who wronged me but for me to be able to move forward. Also, if God forgives me 77 times over, who am I not to forgive? Connect the woes of your past to the woes of your present. Then pray on the connections God reveals to you. Begin to release the pain to God; this means opening your heart completely and allowing God to come in and take reign…surrender control…healing begins when forgiveness becomes an action.
Begin a daily activity of positive affirmations. I changed negative thoughts, judgmental thoughts, unworthy thoughts by employing a daily activity of positively affirming myself. I knew my weaknesses from the self-reflection and self-awareness activity I’d done at the beginning so all I needed to do was find scriptures that affirmed and countered the lies that the enemy told me. Eventually, I spoke more of God’s word into my life and silenced the voice of the enemy. This doesn’t mean I never got tempted, or triggered; it means that when a negative thought came to my mind, I was able to quickly dismiss it without giving it time to fester and grow. You must develop this behavior to move past ‘talking without thinking’, ‘diarrhea mouthing’, or ‘emotional charged insensitive out bursting’. This type of behavior kills relationships and distances you from experiencing an incredible thing called love. If you get stuck here, go back to the beginning of step 1 and review, repeat BUT don’t give up.
At the end of these steps, is a life filled with peace, joy, contentment and freedom for if the Son has set me free, then I am FREE indeed (John 8:36). I am faithfully renewed encouraged exceptional woman because I put in the work for myself and no one else. However, the fruits of this hard labor walking the road less traveled are endless to all the relationships around me. I definitely have my moments but those moments don’t stick, they don’t define me because guess what, I now have the tools to quickly get to the other side of mind, body, soul alignment where there is pure joy; and the joy of the Lord will forever be my strength. I hope by sharing my process, you are encouraged to begin your own emotional healing journey and become FREE indeed.
If you have questions or need help getting started feel free to contact me.
Be Blessed, Kate