I have the “Bible app” (or YouVersion) and today’s verse of the day brought back some young memories.
Back in my teen years, I was pretty uncontrolled. I struggled with severe anxiety and depression so I quit school. It was much easier to not go to school than to deal with the severest social anxiety on a daily basis. There also wasn’t anyone to stop me at that point. There was no mom in my life and my dad & I didn’t have the greatest relationship. As much as he was pretty ticked off about it, he couldn’t control it. He couldn’t control me. My brother, two years my senior, had developed his own friendships and second family. I found a boyfriend on the other side of town – and alcohol.
The law said at 16 years old I could do what I wanted in regards to school; I didn’t have to go. What a relief! I literally walked in to the office at school on my 16th birthday and quit. Funny thing was when I was a young girl, my only dream was going to Berkelee School of Music (in Boston), but you at least have to graduate high school before you can even apply…needless to say that dream was put on hold.
Now, almost 40 years later, I think as a society, we’ve made some headway with regards to children and social anxiety awareness but I say that carefully because I know obviously it’s still a big problem. Back then, no one was trying to get me help and I looked for comfort anywhere I could find it. But that “help” wasn’t in school, so I left.
I thought I was free.
In reality I was enslaved to the bondage of myself…although I was unaware at the time – I was allowing my fears, doubts, and insecurities to make decisions for me. I just didn’t know that at the time; I only knew I wanted – I needed, relief.
Recovery – even more so, recovery in Christ (having – for me – a sound spiritual basis for my faith & 12 Step walk) and a toolbox of recovery tools, has meant unraveling the decisions of my past and learning many of the “why’s” behind those decisions.
Recovery for me has meant not only getting back that which was lost; self-esteem, security in who I am created to be (my destiny) but also another chance at the potential I walked away from in my dysfunctional behaviors and ensuing addictions that manifested.
I could probably write at least a chapter on what freedom means to me in a spiritual sense but the best way that I know how to sum it up is this:
Freedom doesn’t mean a golden ticket to do anything I want but rather freedom to choose to not do the things that won’t bring life or speak life; for me or others.
Quitting high school didn’t bring me life; it only allowed me to run away from an extremely uncomfortable situation. Therapy could’ve helped but the past cannot be changed – we can learn from it, though.
Today, I am free to make better choices – healthier decisions that affect my life in positive ways.
I did get my GED, have attended post secondary school (several times – including a short stay at Berkelee School of Music) and am in process for my degree from my local community college. I am even a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society. I never knew I could actually excel in academia. And although my medical issues have gotten in the way lately, I am still free to return when my body allows.
In school, I have gained valuable skills with regards to being a content creator, graphic designer, and writer. Studying music, I’m able to do more with my voice & guitar than I have in decades. I became a public speaker through recovery & church, and I’ve made some wonderful new, supportive friendships too.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom indeed.
Freedom is a blessing and today, I’m striving to live the (Karah) blessed/free life. No, it’s not always easy, but it is worth it.
Have you been set free? What are you doing with your freedom today?