Monday, October 10, 2011

The Character House

Last week I had what I am beginning to call a "Genesis Moment."  The Genesis Process involves a small group working on the deep-seeded feelings that cause us to repeat the same responses to hurtful situations.  The old hurts have created habits and responses that don't work.  It helps us to understand and change those responses and have more successful relationships.  I have grown because of this wonderful counseling and I am noticing more often when I am in a "Genesis Moment."  It is helping me get to the heart of the matter right then and there!  (If you want to know more about this class, let me know.  It has changed my life.)

At any rate, my moment began as several family members were gathered at my daughter's home and talking about going back to school as an adult.   Mainly we were talking about how math is difficult to get back into after years being out of school.

Something about math brought up my memory of freshman Geometry.  In eighth grade, I was deemed "smart enough" to take Algebra, thus putting those chosen ahead in the math track at school.  I started the class along with about 30 others and truly thought someone had made a mistake.  I didn't get it.  I wasn't supposed to be in this class.  I am not smart.  I struggled through it and because of a passing grade was put in Geometry as a freshman.  But I felt like I had fooled everyone because I just didn't get it.

My freshmen geometry class was mostly upper classmen and I felt very out of place.  On top of that, Geometry was far more difficult for me than Algebra.  I took alot of notes about theroms and axioms and quadrants but how it all was supposed to work together, I had no idea.  I got continually behind and did poorly on tests.  Just going to class was getting to be such a burden.  I was facing failure and forced to put on a facade every single day upon the ringing of the bell for 7th period.

Rather than choosing to ask for help, the more appropriate option for relief was of course, skip class.  (I say this very facetiously.  Skipping and not asking for help and choosing the wrong option became a habit in my life.  Just get rid of the pain with the tools at hand.  Avoid at all costs.)

I had never skipped a class before and I was so fearful of getting caught skipping.  I was sure that every person who saw me in the hall during 7th period KNEW I was being bad and skipping.  I felt like I was wearing a t-shirt saying, "Look at me!  I am skipping Geometry!"  But even the fear of getting caught skipping was easier to face than my failure in that class.

As I shared that story with my daughter and mom for the first time, my mom shared that she was always afraid of the grades on her report card so that kept her in line with her classes and grades.

But my failure gets worse.  I admitted to her, again for the first time, that I had intercepted my report cards because I had gotten a D in Geometry.

Looking back, I see there were smaller examples of this same avoiding behavior when I was younger.  But the older we get the bigger the problems, the bigger the issues we create and the results are devastating.

It is odd to realize that I actually began to burn down my Character House a long time ago.  The things that happened in my adult life should really have been no surprise at all.  The problems got bigger and my answers were more and more destructive.

In a book called "Little Britches" that I had read aloud to my kids, there is a chapter about The Character House.  The story is about a family who moves to Colorado to be ranchers.  The father in the book explains to his son that if we constantly pull boards off of our Character House to put them in the fire to stay warm, eventually our house is in ruins.

I began thinking about who in the world destroys their own house?  We would never take a sledge hammer to our home to knock off the boards for burning.  It sounds absolutely crazy.  But pull them off, I did.

And as I pursued this thought, I also remembered a recent show about 9/11.  It was the story of an NFL player who was in a building next to the trade centers before they fell.  He had not yet evacuated his building and witnessed several of those who jumped from the building in hopes it was a better option than what they were facing on those upper floors.

What must the pain be like to cause someone to turn on themselves?  To choose very obvious, at least to those watching, very obvious self-injuring options.   We will never know what pain they were facing that made that option look appealing. 

These are just the thoughts that I have been considering as I looked at my own life.  I created such terrible and hurtful patterns.  I thought it was the only answer.  And no one could have helped me because I didn't let them know I was in trouble or needed help. 

Through the Genesis Process I have learned how important it is to be open and honest.  More than that, it has been completely freeing.  I have always longed to be an open person and now I can say that I am much more so.  Being honest and sharing your hurts and pain just opens the door for healing and a free life.  Also, having people in life that will require accountability and ask the tough questions is imperative.

My best days are ahead of me.  God is moving in my life so often that I can barely keep up with the many blessings He has given to me.  The Journey to Laura is seeing fruit and I am finding the Real Gurl, the me that God always intended me to be.  Not perfect, but open and honest and forgiving.  Recently I had three friends actually use the word "transparent" when they talked about the change in me.  They could not have said anything nicer.

Dear God, I cannot thank You enough for the path of my life.  So many times I would have given up but You continued to have Hope for me.  I would go through everything again as long as it meant I would be right here today.  Life is not perfect but I am perfectly free from the chains and through the help of The Genesis Process I get freer every day.  Thank you for helping me rebuild my Character House.  Love, A Real Gurl