Thank you for hanging with me the past few weeks as I took some time to get going with my business. I am amazed at where God has me right now and can’t wait to continue to share with you. As I am beginning to write again today, it’s the third week of July. I have many notes about things I want to share with you.
Today, I want to talk about how I put obstacles in my way of healing and in being in community with others. I get how hard it is to be a survivor of trauma and not want to be around people. Especially sexual trauma, which brings shame and is hard to explain. People don’t often know how to react and then we can take it to heart if they seem to react badly. I had to learn that other’s responses to me was their issue and not mine. It was not a refection of me or what I went through.
That did not happen overnight. It occurred through many sessions with my counselor and prayers to God to open my eyes. Then, the next obstacle was my anxiety. That is hard to deal with when you are outside of your comfort zone.
This only got better through beginning to process my trauma, but also in putting myself out there even when it was uncomfortable. I begin working at my church’s food pantry in the fall of 2017 and even the fall of 2019 when we handed out Thanksgiving baskets, I was standing outside loading cars wondering if anyone knew how hard it was for me to be there. I wanted to come home and hide under a blanket.
The anxiety only got better as I worked through trauma AND allowed myself to be in uncomfortable situations and use my skills to deal with anxiety as it came up.
Those two things began to allow my anxiety to lessen, and for me to begin to build relationships with people I was around. Do not mistake this journey as easy – it was not. Actually, I still deal with anxiety, and I have to take time to deal with it and take in deep breaths and give myself space to deal with it. However, I don’t allow it to keep me from living life.
Third, I was not in “community.” I was around people at the pantry, but I wasn’t in a small group Bible study or going out with people for any reason. I used to come up with various reasons why I couldn’t do these things, but I eventually had to pray for God to make a way for me to feel comfortable and take the leap. When I did, it was well worth it.
What I found once I began forming relationships with people is that the people that truly accept me for who I am and want to understand my history, accept me and encourage me. They don’t condemn choices I’ve made or my experiences. They may push me a little to get out of my comfort zone, but all good friends do.
The amazing thing about forming community was my depression decreased and I started laughing again. I truly never thought I would laugh again. I used to make myself watch Christian comedian videos on YouTube to try to laugh and it never worked.
I spent years after I first began remembering my trauma making excuse upon excuse of why I couldn’t do this or that. I then allowed my depression and anxiety to take over. The other thing besides making excuses was that I wasn’t truly seeking God and His help. When I finally went to Him with my struggles, He reminded me that He is in charge and will take care of me. He helped me decrease my irrational fears and I felt challenged by Him to pursue the dream He has for my life.
One favorite saying I heard lately is, “God feeds the birds but He doesn’t throw the worms in the nest.” In other words we each have to step up and begin living life.
The ultimate thing that pushed me to start this blog and then eventually push myself out to be with others was that I want my life to be a testament to the amazing work God is doing in me. Granted, this work is through my counseling sessions and working through trauma, but the strength I have to do the hard work on days I feel depleted comes only from God.
The most amazing thing about being out in the world more is that my healing is moving along faster once I moved the obstacles (and excuses) I constantly put in my way. 😊
I challenge you, dear friends, to ask God to show you what challenges you are putting in your way to keep you from living out your life for God’s glory. I promise if you ask Him, He will show you. Join me in praying for God’s guidance in this today.
Thank you for caring about me and my life. I pray that You show me what challenges I am putting in my way of doing things You have for me in this life. I submit my life to You that You may guide and direct me on the path You have and provide me the courage and strength to forge the unknown and the mountains ahead. May You receive the glory.
In Jesus Name,
© 2021 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.
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