Over the past 10 years my weaknesses have held daily meetings to discuss how best to torment and torture me.
Worry, anxiety and fear chaired this committee - they read the minutes of the last meeting on how to provide worry, anxiety and fear into my life - then they read the agenda for the next meeting which was how best to provide worry, anxiety and fear into my life.
And I let these meetings occur, in fact, I facilitated their ability to meet. I provided room for their meetings.
And then I stopped. With a lot of help, I stopped.
Like some cosmic exterminator I wiped them out. "I gave them room no more" to torment and torture me. It required an intervention from a good friend who noticed I was struggling, she suggested a therapist named Valerie Dimick. I agreed to go, but I had to be convinced it was possible to live without worry, anxiety and fear. After all, they had been my go to guys...they were familiar. It was going to take a lot to teach me how to live without them.
Because of her the meetings in my head started to change.
Long ago my husband and I built a house. We were warned this would not go well, that couples fought and even separated over the building of a house. I knew one woman who divorced her husband and ran off with the contractor! But we didn't have personal problems when we built the house. We focused on building the house. It was a great way to tackle such a huge project but we did it unconsciously. We built the house with faith...faith that although we really didn't have the expertise to do this project, we would do our best and trust it would work out. Without question we made a lot of mistakes. For instance we forgot to order interior doors for the entire house, but it worked out mainly because we never considered it wouldn't. We moved into our home on time and I didn't realize it at the time but as we built the house we were being taught a valuable pattern. We didn't focus on each other weaknesses, we focused on building a house. I was too busy, or too young to realize what was being taught. A pattern of focusing on the big picture and not on the minute to minute minutia that is a part of everyone's day.
Because I was unaware of what was being taught, I followed a different pattern with some very negative outcomes when faced with another big event in my life. Although I had been shown a pattern for getting through hard times I didn't use them. My fear paralyzed me.
When the recession in 2007 hit all my basic fears emerged. An entire childhood of abandonment issues came to light. Safety concerns hit me from every direction and I became the most worried, most anxious, most fearful person you would ever meet.
But when Valerie gave me tools to combat the daily and sometimes, hourly, attacks my mind would conjure up, I started to get better. The meetings in my head began to have a different tone. The agenda at the new meetings began with thoughts are not real. When I would think all is lost, there is no hto lose everything I would stop and literally say to myself "that thought is not true, because thoughts are not real." It's all choice isn't it? After all I had gone through far worse things in my life. But for some reason complete financial ruin was my Waterloo. I saw no way out...no possible remedy of any kind.To explain hopelessness is impossible. I can't. But looking back now I do see that my problem was where I placed the focus...entirely on me. MY life is a mess, MY life shouldn't have turned out this way, MY life....MY life....MY life. When we focus on ourselves, of course, we will be depressed.
Weaknesses are part of our DNA. That is very simple. But here is the best part, those weaknesses can be our best friend. Weaknesses can be made strengths. I know God gave us weakness in order for us to overcome them. Not to punish us....but to give us strength.
Here is the best quote ever on strengths and weaknesses I have read. It is by Thomas S. Monson
"God Left us the world unfinished for man to work his skill upon. He left the electricity in the cloud, the oil in the earth. He left the rivers unbridged and the forests unfelled and the cities unbuilt. God gives to man the challenge of raw materials, not the ease of unfinished things. He leaves the pictures unpainted and the music unsung and the problems unsolved, that man might know the joys and glories of creation."
Part of my weakness is worry, anxiety and fear....but I have a determination to combat it and make it a strength. The meetings in my head are far more positive now. I still have to reframe a lot of situations in my life. I remind myself that God wants me to be a success and that the end result of anything I do will be positive. Maybe just the confession of my path will comfort someone who thinks they are alone with weakness. And when you feel that way it is easy to stay miserable. Accept that many people have your same weakness, hell, embrace that! Support groups are formed for that very reason.
And then travel with me as we find ways to make our weaknesses strengths...whatever that might be. Meeting adjourned.