Slow Recovery

Nobody likes a slow recovery. We much prefer overnight success, a moment of conversion, a quick-n-easy fix. And on top of that, we'd like a 100% guarantee.

But for things that are truly broken, there is no immediate solution. There are no guarantees.

I told him I didn't feel like I loved him anymore. It was the truth.

But I'm hopeful, with time, those feelings will come back.

Yes, it's going to take time.

One of the first things they teach you in 12-step programs is to take your sobriety one day at a time. You can't rush recovery. You can't push it.

Similarly, when I was practicing yoga, I remember my teacher saying that yoga isn't a competition. You shouldn't be hurting yourself. Your body needs gentleness and slowness.

This is such a different philosophy for me. I am all go-go-go. I am all push and drive and hell yeah, we can DO this thing. On the one hand, this is a good thing. I've benefitted from discipline and self-control. But I also really need balance. I need to slow down, pause, breathe, sit in a coffee shop for hours doing nothing.

I need to nap.

I need to slack off.

I need to get serious about having fun.

I need to read books.

It took me 4 months to read The Ragamuffin Gospel because I could not bear "the beams of love." I had to read so slowly, savoring each page because my soul didn't know how to receive that kind of relentless, unconditional love. I had to expand into it.

I finally finished the book a couple nights ago and I just lay on my bed, staring up at the ceiling for a long time. Love like that seems too good to be true, I thought.

But why do I think that? Why don't I believe God loves me unconditionally?

I thought about this for a long time. And then I realized:

I don't believe God loves me unconditionally because love doesn't feel like love to me unless I'm being punished.

This is an embarrassing thing for me to admit. But this is how I've lived my life. As if I don't deserve happiness. As if I don't deserve to feel good.

So, I keep punishing myself because punishment is all I deserve.

Oh, I have so misunderstood grace!

And I think this is the beginning of my second journey--that from now on I'll be living into grace. It will be like traveling in a foreign country, learning a second language. It will be a slow journey, I think. Because recovering from fundamentalist thinking takes time.

In fact, it may take the rest of my life. But at least I know where I've been. By God's grace, I'll never go back.

Forward into love, forward into grace. One tiny, itsy-bitsy step at a time.

Are there other areas of life where recovery is a SLOW process?