"Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no trouble, noise, or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart."
Tonight my heart feels so full. I am overflowing with gratitude, joy and love about so many things. It's amazing. My life isn't perfect. I don't have it all together. My problems still exist. Yet it doesn't matter. My heart feels at peace for the first time in a really long time.
Today as I walked outside, enjoying the amazing beauty surrounding me, I was overcome with so much gratitude I thought my heart might explode. I couldn't help but notice the sky, trees, flowers and even the bugs. Everything seemed so much more vibrant than normal. It felt alive. I felt alive. As I walked I wasn't mourning the past or anxiously thinking about the future, I was just there. My head wasn't spinning in a million different directions nor was I obsessing, I just was.
I've done a lot of soul searching in the past few months. I have been continuously forced out of my comfort zone. I've gone head to head with some of my biggest demons. I've had my entire world turned upside down, repeatedly.
Three months ago I didn't envision that I would temporarily give up the life that I was living and enter a psychiatric institute for treatment for a 11 year battle with an eating disorder. Even more so, I didn't think I would" find myself" in the process. For years I have been waiting for God to heal me through others. During my darkest hours, I constantly looked for signs that my life was worth living. I found comfort in children's smiles, watching others overcome obstacles, volunteering and just my ability to be there and help others. I was constantly trying to earn love through whatever means necessary. I didn't think I was meant to exist if I wasn't pouring my heart and soul into bettering the lives of others. I could give, but I couldn't take. I was so consumed by shame, pride and self hatred that I was untouchable. The love, belonging and connection that I was yearning for, couldn't touch me. I was surrounded by people who were trying to help me, but I couldn't take their hands.
My first night in inpatient treatment I cried for 3 hours straight. The only reason that I stopped was because I physically couldn't cry another tear. I was alone in a room with nothing but a pillow, blanket, stuffed animal that John gave me and pictures. I held the pictures tightly against my chest and prayed for God to get me through the night. My comfort had been stripped away from me.I wasn't laying at home in bed with my fiance. I wasn't on the phone catching up with my grandma. I wasn't on the couch snuggling up with my pets. I wasn't at work doing the job that brought me so much joy. I wasn't on facebook staying connected with all of my friends and family. My heart broke into a thousand little pieces that night and then God helped me put it back together.
My desires and passions haven't changed. I love people and know that my calling involves helping others. But those were not the areas of my life that needed to be fixed. God worked in my heart. It was inside of me that needed to be healed and I believe that it has been.
This isn't/wasn't an overnight process. Our lives are works in progress. God is working on me every day. I am working on myself every day. My battles haven't all been won and there is still plenty to be done. However things have shifted. My heart is whole again and I am at peace with myself. I am able to accept the love surrounding me. When John smiles and tells me that he loves me, I believe it. When family and friends offer a shoulder to cry on or words of support, I listen and take it all in. I am no longer trying to earn my right to be on this planet or earn the love of others. Everything that I need exists inside of me and now that I realize this, I am truly free.
This gratitude, joy and love that is radiating throughout me is more sustaining than the eating disorder ever was. I feel more connected to God, others and myself than ever before. The freedom that I was searching for wasn't found by looking outside of myself. The calmness didn't come from order and perfection. The healing came from taking a chance, letting go and full surrendering myself to God. My heart is so full and I know this is where my truth lies.