October 7, 2013

Does It Bring You Abundant Life?

One of the post-adoption issues my therapist worked with me on was an eating disorder. Up until the day my natural mother died, I had not conquered that issue. In fact I had never managed to go more than 21 days without regressing.

Photo Credit: Sam Howzit, Flickr
That all changed the day my natural mother died.

I’m not saying I’ve arrived. 

Not boasting here and making a triumphant announcement of perfection or anything like that. This isn't my first rodeo with post-adoption issues or stupidity.

What I can tell you is that for the longest time, ever in my life…60 days as of today, I have not regressed.  **happy dance**

Wheeling my suitcase out of hospice, I remember thinking to myself, "I will never be the same again." 

And with God's help, I'm not.

I was changed and never looked back.

I Stared Death in the Face

Judy died in a tremendous amount of pain and suffering. I believe it was not only physical, but other ways as well. Suffice it to say, it was the most transforming real-life illustration I’ve ever experienced.

Months ago in therapy, Melissa encouraged me to choose the things that bring me abundant life.  If a choice didn’t bring me abundant life, as she called it, (actually as the Bible calls it) she invited me to make a change.

I did, for a while.

In fact, during that time I managed a 21-day stint.
She was so proud of me.
I was so proud of me.
And then I failed, miserably. 
Just like I had done thousands of times before. 

I had experienced painful times in my four-plus decades of life. But never had death stared me in the face like it did when Judy died, just her and I, looking into one another’s eyes.

It wasn’t until I saw her anguished face in death that I was finally determined to only choose life.

It was about much more than food.

I walked out of hospice, so altered in every area of my life.

Decisions were yet to be made as a result of this mind-transformation, but there was no doubt I was following through.

In taking the leave of absence that followed, I determined to only do the things that brought me life.

My choices extended to ones like how I answered email or texts or any communications, and who I spent my time with.

My go-to junk foods weren’t part of my life anymore.
But neither was drama.
Or pressure like there was before.
And I really didn't care who got mad about it, and still don't. 

Close friends were surprised that I followed through with this for my entire leave of absence, not cracking or giving in under pressure to appease anyone. 

Then, I  determined to live this way beyond the leave of absence.

Yes, I still have a job. More than one, in fact. I know some may wonder how I can possibly hold down a job, especially one as a pastor, without pressure. 

The answer is nobody's life is problem free, mine included. But, I don’t see things the same way any more nor do I respond to them as I did previously.  Everything around me hasn't changed in some ways , but I have.

So here’s the takeaway today for you, adoptees.

What are you doing that’s not bringing you abundant life?

Adoptees are kinda famous for being people pleasers…and for being over represented in treatment centers. Lots of us have faced addictions and struggles.

I really don’t know what the “light bulb moment’ will be for you. 

I “heard” Melissa with my ears about abundant life, for months. But I never heard her with my heart until I saw Judy die. Suddenly the contrast between painful death and abundant life were in front of my face. And I had a decision to make. Was I going to choose abundant life, or death?

I’ve been choosing  abundant life for 60 days now.   

For me it’s not simply that my trashy foods are gone or that I work out regularly.

It’s not totally about the changes I’ve made in how I spend my time or respond to people either.

What’s different is a transformational heart change.

I’m at a different place with valuing and loving myself, and I will settle for no less than abundant life.

With every bite I take.
Every step I take. (I’ll be watching you. No, not really.)
Every phone call I make, or don’t make.
Every way that I respond to situations.

I choose abundant life.