The Inner Fortitude to Fight for YOU! -By Rachel Bailey

 

Do you ever feel like the walls are caving in?  Like you’re all alone and on the verge of begging God to just end it all?  How do you pick yourself up in those moments? How do you find the inner fortitude to fight for YOU???

If you’ve ever been desperate enough to ask Pinterest how to handle these moments you will find a slew of helpful articles telling you to:

  • Get some Sunshine
  • B Vitamins are your friend
  • Eat healthy greens and exercise!

But what about when you don’t even have the energy to take care of yourself?  How do you gather the strength to get out of bed and go to the gym when you can barely force a shower?  If you’re anything like me, you might instinctively rationalize in your mind that your children/husband/parents/friends need you and you MUST get up.  It’s sad that I never actually studied the term codependency until 2 years into my situation.  More on that later.

I’ve asked myself these same questions, and even wondered if my experience would ever open a door to share the answer.  What a coincidence.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s give some credit to what you’re eating because that was a BIG factor in my situation.  Although my circumstances also involved a highly toxic environment, the influence of my internal imbalance was not helping and poor food choices were the culprit. Self-sabotage comes in many flavors, and I ate my feelings regularly. What I would really like to share with you is how I pulled myself out of that moment of desperation

Let’s start with the underlying problem and work our way up; I’ll just expose the roots to give the proper perspective. My name is Rachel, and I’m a people pleaser.

It is physically painful to tell someone that teeny tiny little word….. “no.”  To say it with no explanation or apology attached; excruciating. I eventually realized that I was practically incapable of telling someone no, even if it meant sacrificing my happiness….. my dreams….. and even my sanity.  As much as I hated to admit it, I had a problem.  My environment was riddled with negativity.  I was emotionally exhausted, and my direct sales business was literally dead. I had lost hope.  After months with a counselor and psychiatrist, I began to recognize that my self-talk was just as damaging as the nuclear waste oozing from my home life. I HAD to learn how to use this little word without allowing my affinity for codependency to riddle it with apologies and excuses.  The most effective method I found to master this ability was good old fashioned practice. And maybe a little elbow grease. I discussed the new method with my closest friends, letting them know that if and when I had to say no to them without an excuse that it was purely for self preservation.  I felt that I needed them to understand that I still didn’t want to tell them no, but I had to in order to learn healthy boundaries.  Fortunately for me, they already knew of my “secret” and loved me anyway.

This may seem elementary to the average person; saying “no.”  But for me, it was like learning how to walk again.  I’d spent so much of my time trying to please everyone around me that I didn’t know what I wanted.  According to my counselor, I needed to find out what that was exactly to truly recover.  So I started with the basics.  Alone time… I blocked out time every week to be alone.  I don’t want anyone to think that I just had random hours where I could take off by myself and go get a massage.  I’m a mom, I was battling a toxic relationship and I still had to run my business.  At first it was a hot bath for 30 minutes after my daughter went to sleep. Sometimes it was sitting on the back porch at 3am because I couldn’t sleep.  It became a habit, and then I realized something remarkable.  Those moments, as I forced myself to leave my phone out of sight and just sit in the quiet began to morph into meditation and prayer. Sometimes it was thanking God for allowing me 30 minutes to recuperate. Sometimes I yelled at him from my closet.  You read that right…..  I YELLED at God.

Growing up in church I always had this cookie cutter idea of how prayer should sound.  What I found in these moments is that God doesn’t care about the “thee’s” and “thou’s,”  He simply wants us to speak.  He would rather hear us yell at him in anger than to avoid him all together.  Once I came to grips with the notion that I didn’t have to bend over backwards to gain His approval the way I felt I did for the people in my life, a drastic change began. I found strength inside me that I never thought I possessed and I made changes in my life that I never imagined possible.  In 6 months, I was on my way out of the toxic relationship, but that was just the beginning. I’m far from being out of the woods, and I still have my moments where I struggle to find any strength left at the bottom of my empty barrel.  Those are the moments where I hear God calling me to get quiet so he can show me where the well is.  At the well, He shows me that I have purpose far greater than what I can see.  I can visualize the lives this story will touch, and it makes it all worth it.

Rachel Bailey (Skaggs)

 

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