March 12, 2010

Worrying About Tomorrow

I got up this morning, after spending a night tossing and turning, thinking about tomorrow (future tomorrows). Ugh! I really don't like it when that happens!! I am now on my second cup of coffee and feeling a little better (after munching on two Do-Si-Dos -- my favorite Girl Scout cookies!) It's a wonder, you know, how a little cookie like that could brighten up your day? Yum!

As I sat in my comfy chair, I began to revisit my night. I am visual, as I have blogged about before, so my dreams are pretty realistic. I see things often from my past. Last night's imagery was from my home in Chicago (Hazel Crest). It was funny, because it was exactly as I remember it (especially the bathroom). The doors, the towels, the flooring, the tub/shower in olive green (that horrible 1960's color). It was exactly as it was back in 1972. And, even more so, my oldest brother was there (and my third oldest too). He is now 53, but in my dreams he was in college. My younger brother, Brian, was in high school (3 years ahead of me). We were late for school, which is really odd, because Brian NEVER took me to school (yet we went to the same building). I always got a ride with my second oldest brother (Dave) or his friend (Bill). Why? I am not sure. Oh yes, I remember now. Brian only lived with us part of that year. He had some real drug (pot) troubles back then, and moved out of our house mid-year (or my Dad kicked him out). Anyway, he had moved and then graduated. We moved that following summer. (Side Note: just a little family history)

I can remember how I felt -- two emotions came up -- always the same two, so that must mean something. The first was this feeling of "overwhelm." It always comes in conjunction with a memory of school. I was late for school (truth -- I was always late), and I always felt out of sync with that school and those classes. It was like I was walking through a fog (due to my PTSD -- not knowing that then, but sleep deprivation can make you groggy all the time). My fear was that I was either: too sick to go to school or too late to get there on time.

The second emotion was of disgust. I was disgusted with myself for always being late and for feeling sick. I wanted to go to school, but I also wanted to stay at home. Weird, huh? Home, I think was simply a place of rest. I didn't sleep at night, but if I stayed home, I could sleep in the daytime. I know that now...back then, I just was sick a lot.

In looking through the past, I see some glimmer of the future. Those emotions are just the same today as they were thirty some years ago. I am still sick. I still suffer with some left over issues from PTSD. I am so much better, but I am not completely healed from the years of stress (I blogged on this a while ago). The other issue, sleep deprivation, is also a concern. I am not sleeping well, have not been for a while, so I wake up somewhat feeling like I did back then: not quite awake/not quite feeling like I had a good night.

So what does it all mean? Not sure. I think perhaps it is simply a reminder of these two things: I am not 100% well yet, and I am not getting the kind of restorative sleep I need. My response is this: what do I do about it?

The answer is always to trust the Lord. His timing is perfect. I know this now, and know this is why I haven't gotten a full-time job. I need to be healed and restored from the years of damage to my adrenal glands (these are the little glands that sit atop your kidneys.) The adrenal glands regulate adrenaline and control your feeling of "wellness. If your adrenal glands are taxed, you will suffer from a whole host of disorders and discomfort. You can take supportive therapies to help boost their functionality or you can simply rest. I am being asked to rest, constantly rest. I believe this is how the Lord has chosen to restore my glandular system (not through pills or other therapies -- though there is nothing wrong with this route). The Lord has told me over and over again -- "Rest."

When I stress and struggle to grasp something or when I start to feel that sense of overwhelm, my adrenal glands start pumping out juice. They are not fully restored, so every time this happens, I am actually keeping them from healing properly. I need to have as little stress as possible. And, we all know that some stress is inevitable. Some stress will always be with us. I need to keep man-made or "Carol-made" stress out of the picture for a while.

Lastly, as I ponder over this thought: "Rest, My Dearest," I am reminded of how Good God is to me. Sometimes we think we are free from some hurt SIMPLY because we have "moved" passed it. Sometimes we think just because we are no longer dealing with it on a day by day basis, the hurt is gone. If the hurt is gone, then the emotions surrounding that hurt are gone as well. And, furthermore, we believe that if we don't "think" about it, then it will no longer be an issue to us. However, deep inside us, often we continue to hurt for a long time. The hurt is not completely gone, it is just buried down inside. We don't have to continue to live with it, but wishing it away or simply choosing not to think about it, won't stop the pain. The only way to truly be healed from the hurt, is to allow the One who can heal us, to do it.

I am in that spot right now. My hurt has gone deep. I am not thinking about it daily, but it is still there. It is still living with me, and I with it. I don't want to hurt anymore, of course, but I also don't want to be healed from it, kwim? Sometimes a little hurt can be our friend (in a weird, sick way). God doesn't want us to hurt like this, because this kind of hurt only causes damage to ourselves. We will always experience hurt from others. Joyce Meyer always says (and I agree with her): "Hurting people hurt people." It is the truth -- we live in a world filled with hurt people. These people hurt others to try and make their hurt go away. Only Jesus can make our hurt go away and can make us stop hurting others.

In my case, I recognize that the hurt I am holding on to is a deep, deep suffering type of hurt. It is a hurt from my past, a hurt from a long, long time ago. It is a hurt that I have kept deep within me because it was easier to simply not think about it, to wish it away. This hurt has lived with me for over thirty years. It is time for that hurt to be healed. Really healed. I am ready, I am willing, I am acceptable.

Dear Lord,

Please heal my hurt. You know the source of that hurt. You know how deeply it affected me. You know how I still hang onto those old memories and how I suffer stress from them. I need them to be healed so I can finally be released from this prolonged adrenal depletion. Please heal me now. In Jesus Name.

Update:

God is so Good to me. After I finished typing this post, the Lord asked me to verbally say this prayer (I did). Upon reflection, the truth became clear to me. About 20 years ago, I went through a series of very difficult/stress-filled times. My body lived in either "flight or fight" mode. This was my coping mechanism to help me deal with the causes of my hurt from my childhood. Even though that hurt was long past, any emotion or stress, would cause me to PHYSICALLY feel the need to either fight back or flee (run away). I finally went through counseling to help me uncover the source of that hurt, deal with it, and stop the coping mechanism (actually replace it with a healthy one). What I didn't realise and what the Lord was trying to get me to see is this: even though I no longer feel the need to fight or flee (physically), my body still reacts internally to stress in this way. I may experience an emotion that causes me to feel stressed. I don't feel the need to run away from it nor do I need to act out. I can deal with it psychologically now. However, my body is still pumping out enough adrenaline "just in case" I need to flee. It is a physiological response to a stressor. In short, my internal sense of survival is still trying to protect me from harm. It still believes, erroneously, that I am under some sort of imminent attack. My adrenal glands are over-worked, over-stressed, and close to failing. I need to REST from this internal behavior.

I have been thinking that His words to me "Rest" were for me to actually rest, actually sleep. Yes, this is partly true, and I have been doing that since last August. This Word of Knowledge was for me to understand that the kind of resting I needed was internally. Not in the way of Peace -- I have His Peace. Often, I ask Him for Peace and He will say "You have my Peace." I know this to be true, but I feel like I need it. I understand now that what I needed was not Peace in my soul or spirit (for I have that -- Thank you, Holy Spirit!); but rather a cessation from the constant feeling of "fight or flight" being control and dominated by my adrenal system. I needed my adrenal system to stop "helping" me prepare for stress. My de-STRESSOR is the Lord. He is the only one who can control my reaction to stress now, and He can do it. I can not. I needed my body to simply cooperate with the Lord and not be in control anymore.

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