Who Will Stop You? An Invitation to Transformation this Advent

It’s the season of Advent. The four weeks before Christmas are set aside for joyful preparation and waiting for the birth of love into our world in a new way. I was reminded yesterday that Jesus comes into our hearts and lives in our past, present and future. It got me thinking about how I want new love to be born in my past. The painful moments that have shaped me and left a trail of unhealthy patterns behind them.

Then I spent a moment thinking about this uncomfortable truth from my time deep in anxiety and panic attacks: Others may kind of know what I was experiencing, but at the end of the day, only I knew how it felt and how much I wanted it go away. And that I was the only one who could stop the charade and choose to get help. I still remember the day I decided enough was enough. It was time to shine a light on my fear and learn why I was so scared. The journey to become more myself started the day I was finally honest about my pain. And instead of treating the symptoms, it was time to go right to the source. But no one else could do the work for me. This was my choice alone.

If this is you lately, love is hoping you’ll make the choice to go into your pain this season. Sit with it, talk with a counselor, write it out, take long slow walks, run, share with a trusted loved one. When we arrive at Christmas, love longs to fill up a new space in your life. A space that’s been off limits before. You’re invited to do the work now, to prepare with joy, so that love has room to be born.

Who Will Stop You?

Only you know the depth 
The pain
The reality
Of the unhealthy patterns
In your life

Others may think they know
They can nod and care
And support and love

But they don’t know

You’ve developed a lifetime
Of skills to cope
To numb
To forget

You’re so brilliant 
That some days even you
Forget how much it hurts

And yet
Your ways of being 
Are so solid
That they seem 

They are not

Question them
Be curious

Could love soften even that?
What if I changed?
What if I stopped holding that?
What if I let go of control?

Then even better questions arise

How might my life change?
What would it feel like to be free?
In numbing my pain, have I also numbed my joy?
What could I do in life if this healed?

Then comes the choice that’s yours alone to make
No one gets to make it for you

Who will stop you?

You maintain our death grip on control
And secretly hope someone will stop you
But they won’t really be able to
Because it’s your choice

There’s no magic correct time 
To begin the work 
Of becoming more yourself
It won’t feel great at first
It’s painful to look at pain

But you won’t die
I promise

Well, part of you might die

And I suspect you’ve been ready for that
For a long

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