Irritating People Are Healthy People

Ugh!  Not that person again?!  Really, God?  Why am I encountering that personality-type in my face for the 1000th time?  Extra grace required? I’m about out of grace with that person…

Now, don’t start judging…you know you have these thoughts, too. You know, when you see that *one* person walking your way and you want to run?  Or, you avoid eye contact because you just hope they won’t say, “hey”?  We all have those people in our lives.  The ones that trigger me and make me work my program.  They make me think to myself, “how can I really get past this moment without slapping someone right now?”.  Yes, as sweet as I seem on the outside, I’m normal, too.  I have those thoughts.

It’s about Growth.

I try my hardest to look at them with a lens of growth. It’s not easy…trust me.  Many times, I have really harsh words for them, but I keep smiling and just be sweet…not easy but I pray…a lot!

I’m supposed to pray for my enemies?!?!  Yup?!  Ah man…that’s hard, too.  What if I can’t stand the thought of that person occupying space in my brain?!  I have to pray for them anyway.

What if they bring out the worst in me?  I have to deal with them anyway and figure out a way to keep the ugly side of me from emerging.  I’ve learned  I’ve got to look deeper within to find out exactly what it is that’s irritating me.

I ask myself, “What do I see in the mirror when I look at this person?”  Tough stuff, huh?  I agree. I inspect deep inside…what trait, what habit, what sound, what memory, what sensation does this person bring up for me.  Most of the time there is something else that is connected to this situation or personality that is bringing up something deeper.  I’ve learned to apply the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time it’s my stuff and 20% of it is how they show up.  Both have a part, but my severe irritation is all in my ‘stuff’ and it’s up to me to figure exactly what is triggering me.

Once I identify it and deal with it, I can typically find the truth and process it on my end.  Once I do my work, I’m no longer irritated by the mere sight of “said” person.

It really takes putting on the “big girl panties” to deal with such deep work.  It’s about rising above the drama and praying hard.  It’s about avoiding the urge to pick a fight, smart off to them, be sarcastic, or give in to the temptation to roll my eyes.  It’s about welcoming opportunities to be uncomfortable, sitting in it and experiencing it,  so I can do my own discovery work.

Irritating People are Healthy for Me

In summary, irritating people are healthy people, for me, because they make me do my work.  Irritating people help me stay (or get) healthy because:

1.  They remind me to pray for my enemies. (Matthew 5:44)
2.  They remind me to work on myself.
3.  They remind me to look in the mirror.
4.  They remind me that God sees each of us as his own child (flaws and all).
5.  They remind me of the true meaning of “grace”.
6.  They remind me I’m not perfect.
7.  They remind me to face the ‘truth’ behind my ‘stuff’.
8.  They remind me to seek out accountability partners who can speak “truth in love” to me.
9.  They remind me to be grateful for what I have in my life.
10.  They remind me to pray without ceasing.

Whew!  None of that is easy. It’s a constant struggle.  It’s hard work and some days, I don’t want to do the deep work.  Some days, I just want to fight.  Some days it feels good to be in the middle of the crud so I can feed my angry soul, but then I’m reminded that if I give in, the Crazy Trish comes out…she’s not pretty.  So, I guess I’ll keep working on me.  I’ll welcome those irritating people and keep working to learn the deeper lessons until I get it deep down in my heart.

Oh, the joys of working on becoming a healthy-minded person.  How do you work through the drama of dealing with difficult personalities in your life?

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The Rest of the Serenity Prayer

Did you know there was another part to the serenity prayer?  I didn’t!  I had always recited,  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” That was it!   (NOTE:  I’ve since learned that’s not even the original interpretation.)

Once I started going to Celebrate Recovery, I learned there was a second (and more important) part to the prayer. I didn’t even know, until recently, that the Serenity Prayer was something that was used in lots of recovery programs across the nation (apparently, that’s what made it so famous). I assumed that everyone used the whole prayer.  To my surprise, I’ve come to realize the other recovery programs aren’t using the second half the prayer.  I think they’re missing out on the most pivotal part of the prayer.

The rest of the prayer goes like this:

“…Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.”

Awesome words!  Some programs that do use the rest of the Serenity prayer substitute “He” for “Jesus”.  No matter, I love the thought behind this prayer.  On another curious note, I did some research and it’s interesting to trace back the history on who wrote it, when it was picked up by Bill W. for the AA programs and the interesting perspectives on how it evolved.

Anyway, I’m happy that Celebrate Recovery uses the second half because I think that part really speaks truth about how I learn from my hardships and welcome the diversity.  More importantly, I think it gives me an example to live by (“Taking as Jesus did…”), instructions on how do do just that (“If I surrender to your will.”), and a result if I do it…(“I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next.”)

I have a new appreciation about the Serenity Prayer and it has given new meaning to my life.  What has been your experience with the Serenity Prayer?

The Complete Serenity Prayer

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

    Amen.

Self Care: Taking Care of God’s Temple

As I work through some recovery issues around my weight loss, I’m forced to think about how I take care of my body or, really, how I don’t take care of it.  For the last week I’ve been doing a “cleanse” and I’m walking through it like a “fast” (which I’ve never done). It’s been amazing to see what God is doing in my life, and I’ll share more on that later.

As a new member in Celebrate Recovery I’ve connected with so many fellow believers who are working such an awesome program.  I’ve even found a sponsor and she’s challenged me to put the “fears” and “what if” away as I walk this journey…it’s scary…it’s vulnerable…but it feels so right.

My sponsor recommended I watch a few videos from Gateway Church. I’d never heard of this church, but I’ve been impressed with what I’ve learned so far.  She recommended that I listen to the sermon entitled,  Taking Care of the Temple.  WOW!  It was POWERFUL for me!!!  NOTE: There is also a “worksheet” to go along with this one– you’ll find it here:  Taking Care of the Temple (discussion guide).

This video helped me so much and I’d recommend it for anyone who has ever struggled with self-perception, for anyone who has ever looked at a body part and felt any sort of ‘dislike’, or for anyone who is going through any medical situation. Powerful stuff!

I’ve often had issues with ‘loving’ my body and realizing that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14) in Christ’s likeness. I know that in my head, but in my heart, it’s hard to ‘believe and own.  Through Christ, I’m being healed.

I discovered many of my “hangups” are from the hurts during childhood (living with an alcoholic father, living with foster families and in group homes).  Through this video I also learned  that if there is an area where I struggle and I have a way of thinking that is contrary to God’s way of thinking, I’ve left an open door for the enemy. The big lesson for me  is that my lack of self-confidence and lack of self-care is an open door for the enemy where he is able to create a stronghold in me. WOW!  I’m realizing that I’ve personally opened this door of weight struggles and allowed Satan to use them to keep me stuck in ‘victim land’.

This was powerfully moving for me and I am excited share it. I’m excited about this new way of thinking and I know it will help me grow stronger in my recovery and in trusting Christ for HIS power, strength and will!

If you want to, watch the video.  Then, will you please share your thoughts?  I’d love to hear about your experience, strength and hope.

Christ-Centered Recovery

It’s no secret that I struggle with my weight — and have all my life.  It’s no wonder with all the abandonment, abuse, and confidence issues in my life.   Even with all the healing I’ve had from therapy, I feel like I’ve reached a “stand off” and I’m stuck – I can’t seem to get to the root of why I don’t work harder to lose weight.  Many times through my therapy, it was suggested that I attend a 12-step program.  I tried it, but I always had a difficult time keeping my higher power “anonymous”.  It just didn’t feel legitimate to me if I couldn’t own Him.  After all, my faith in Christ was the main catalyst for my healing so far.

A year ago our church began a Celebrate Recovery ministry and I was curious.  I learned that it wasn’t just for addicts and alcoholics, but it was for anyone with any kind of hurt, habit or hangup.  Could this be the right avenue for me?  I hesitated.  I dragged my feet.  I wondered.  I always meant to make it to the meeting.

About a month ago, I decided to make the commitment.  I finally found “the something” I’ve been missing…a Christ-centered program based on the 12 steps.  This is a program where I’ll learn to work the steps and turn over my will to Christ.  I’ll get (and give) some true accountability, I’ll learn how to make amends and grow my personal relationship with Christ.  This last month has been one of vulnerability, realizations and connections, but I am now “unstuck” and God is moving in my life.

I’m sharing my story because I’m convinced I’m in the right place.  Right now, I’m sharing from a place of weakness, not from a place of victory.  I’ve been trying to do this work on my own without turning over my will to Christ…without accountability partners and without like-minded recovery friends.  As I’ve begun to work the program I realize I’m here for more than a food addiction.  I’m also working on control and anger issues as well as co-dependency and over-commitment.  I’m turning my will over to Christ and I’m excited about my journey.

Do you have experience with a recovery program?  I’d love to hear about it and learn from you.