I’ve been feeling overwhelmed constantly. I surrender to God daily- give Him my fears, worries, and hurts, but I’ve also learned it is my responsibility to utilize boundaries in relationships and situations.
Recently, I have been approached with several opportunities for ministry involving recovery, I’ve also had several people ask me to share my story, how God saved me, to their loved ones in addiction, and finally, I’ve been learning, well, God has been showing me who my real and true friends are.
I want to start with the most painful situation. Once I moved last summer, I began finding out that the large majority of my friends actually weren’t my friends. I’ve always had lots of friends, so going through this when I got out of addiction was hard. I thought that the people surrounding me in recovery and my walk with Christ were lasting friends. But I have discovered, like everyone does, that it goes somewhat like ” out of sight, out of mind”. I began to see how so many people used me for money, to find identity, to feel better about themselves, and to take up time.
I think it’s so true that there are “friends for a season, a reason, and for life”. I was so hurt over and over again thinking friendships ending were always my fault. But then I realized that though the Word says to love others like I love Christ, I can’t put people on that level… People are not perfect and will always fail because they cannot satisfy that void we all have like a relationship with Jesus does.
I have become extremely cautious in new friendships and am learning to use boundaries and be honest. I have learned that when people come and go in their own time, putting effort into relationships only when it suits them, it’s ok for me to pull back and not be as close. It makes me sad to think people I used to be so close with are now just memories, but it also makes me cherish the best friends I have so much more.
I’ve realized in “my tribe” I look for genuine, honest, encouraging women! I want people in my life that help lead me on in life and in Christ and that I can do the same for them. With my past, especially, I have to be careful who I’m friends with. I suffered with an eating disorder and addiction, so it’s unhealthy for me to spend a lot of time with people that party or put their whole life into body goals and fitness. It’s hard for me to admit that, but I have to take care of myself- there it is again, boundaries.
Putting my trust and expectations in God, praying for discernment, and really seeing people for who they are has definitely been difficult… But God is so good to give me the best family and close group of friends that listen to me be hurt and upset and remind me that it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of me, or what so-called friends think of me. I am loved and that is enough.
Speaking of boundaries in relationships, I am learning to use them in the other situations I mentioned. I literally feel like so much has been thrown at me! Sometimes, just as I have wrong and unhealthy expectations of others, people have them of me as well. Just because I have been successful in recovery by the grace of God, and after about 5 rehabs… haha. I CANNOT change or save someone else currently in addiction. So many parents, friends, and family members of those in addiction think that if I just speak to the person using, something will change.
I need to explain more: even though I have over three years clean, it is extremely difficult for me to get involved in a situation like this and stay detached. It takes me back and is really, really hard. This is why I set boundaries. I will NOT talk to someone who is high and I have to pray and seek God’s guidance. Yes, I do want to be an addiction and recovery therapist once I graduate, but I’m not there yet. It’s really hard for me to share what works and then see the person’s support network not follow through, but instead to continue enabling the person.
Along with this comes the opportunities I have for helping others in recovery. I feel like I’m in the middle of a tornado, everyone is pushing ideas and options my way and I just internally shut down. It’s so awesome to know that people see God working in my life and want to see where that can go, but for me it’s overwhelming. I used to think that anything that can be used for God’s glory and helping others is something I should do, but then I realized that it’s not up to me to do everything.
God has a great plan and purpose and I am seeking to find how I fit into that. I know that I can’t take every opportunity, so I’m working on not committing just because something sounds great, setting boundaries, and earnestly following Christ. Some opportunities may be right, some may be right in different timing, and some may be a bold and direct “no”. Even though I have worked hard to become assertive, it is still a struggle for me to verbalize this to others.
Anyway, I know that when I follow God and trust Him… wait on His answers and timing, He will work everything together for good and His glory. I don’t have to know everything today, but I do know that He will lead and guide me through this season of life. It’s exciting, it’s chaotic, it’s painful, it’s stretching, but He holds me in the palm of His hand and covers all my needs. He shows Himself in the least expected ways, and loves me unconditionally even when I’m the most stubborn. I over-analyze what He asks of me, I feel like a Moses sometimes and I want to be a Joshua. I’m thankful that He loves me for who I am and doesn’t compare me to others, but instead continually molds me to be more like Him.
Proverbs 31:25, 30
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”