Thursday, February 24, 2011
Peace From Broken Pieces
I finished the book, Peace From Broken Pieces by Iyanla Vanzant this past weekend. Even now, I struggle to put words together to describe the experience of reading it. It is a visceral, gut-wrenching, brutally honest glimpse into a life, analyzed to the DNA level of conscious and subconscious. And if you have suffered any brokenness in your life you will see yourself in some places. Reading the book was so hard for me that some nights I had to just put it down like hot coal, knowing that if I kept reading I might see some things in myself that I was not ready to see.
Some of my church going friends felt hesitant about reading the book because of Ms. Vanzant's spiritual beliefs as a Yoruba priestess (like it might be contagious once exposed). I assure you that my belief system is intact, mainly because it is tried and tested. But the wisdom and authority from which she writes about brokenness and the road back from it has changed me and helped me on my own journey to wholeness.
The most positive thing I believe I have gained from it is that I look at myself through a more honest lens. I hate lies and if you are a liar you cannot be a close friend of mine because I think liars are dangerous. But I now recognize that there are truths about me that still remain hidden to me and personal lies that I tell myself and the Holy Spirit loves me enough that he will not allow them to be revealed until I am ready to deal with the knowledge. Some knowledge and revelation arrived at too soon can crush you before it heals you.
I think of myself as a mentally healthy, happy, whole, saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit woman but I also know that in a family where few are obese or even overweight you do not get to be over 300 lbs (without even recognizing the weight being gained) without some kind of dysfunction or brokenness at the core. I had the blood tests to check the thyroid or insulin resistance or any number of things that could cause weight gain and all levels were normal. Trust me, I hate writing those words. But really, even if I didn't write them down, was there anyone in my circle of family and friends who DIDN'T notice I was fat? I'm pretty sure they did. I know I did. And I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and tho I didn't admit it to myself, I hated myself. So I punished myself and those who dared to talk to me about the issue by eating even more of my pain. Alone, late at night. Where no one could see.
I can write that now, knowing that I'm not in that position anymore. I am not completely healed but I am in the process of healing. Some of that healing shows on the outside (I've lost a lot of weight and maintained most of it for almost 6 years now.) Relationships that were destroyed by my low self-image are coming back. I appreciate and love my family so much more now because I see them as people who love me. Some in ways that I do not like. Some in a manner that needs adjustment from time to time. But people will only treat me at the level that I tolerate and allow. I need to change so that those around me can also change.
There are some battles that I refuse to fight anymore. Weight is one of them and I will continue to write about my journey because I'm not going to visit these places again. I'm going to learn the lesson and move on. I used to think my worth was tied to my gifts. That when the Bible said in Proverbs 18:16 (New King James Version)
"A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men." , that people wanted to be with me and work with me only because of my gifts and talents. I felt that if I no longer had those gifts then the people around me would disappear too. Some of that is true. I do have friends that have left the building because the hook up isn't there or the cash isn't flowing as readily and I can't do that free job because I have to pay to upgrade my equipment. And I've had church folk stop calling because after years of volunteering to use my gift "for the Lord", I've said "Could you maybe give a sista' a love offering from time to time?" No more. I choose to walk away from abuse, even if it comes from a church or a ministry. Those who love me, value me and recognize my self-worth includes my gifting but is not defined by it, well, they are still here. And so am I. Every day I'm walking toward my own peace from broken pieces. I'm choosing to walk toward wholeness and away from dysfunction. What about you?
Peace and blessings,