A Life That Works
For as long as I can remember, I believed something was wrong with me. I was raised in an extremely dysfunctional family, where I developed a negative view of myself and learned to cope by using unhealthy behavior.
Even though we were a Christian family-all of us having accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior-this alone did not seem to make our lives work. At a young age, I learned not to trust myself. I stayed quiet to avoid any possible rejection and I relied on others’ decisions to avoid making my own, never thinking I could handle living. I hated myself and constantly analyzed myself to see what was wrong with me. What I saw in this analysis was what I didn’t like about myself (how I looked, acted and felt). I felt insane and stuck in my family circumstances. I lived in fear of change, and although I hated my situation, it was a safe place because it was familiar. The end result was I was miserable and needed an answer.
I turned away from my family and God to find a solution. Thinking that the acceptance and approval of others would make me okay, I became a people pleaser and tried to fit in with people that I thought were okay. I found temporary relief when I had approval but it was not enough to fill the emptiness inside me. I rebelled against my parents by disobeying them and avoided responsibility as much as possible. Eventually I turned to alcohol and drugs, hoping this could change me, but all I did was temporarily escape my feelings and the reality of my surroundings and family. I found others who were also seeking relief from their unhappy lives by living a lifestyle of drinking, parties and irresponsibility. I joined in and ran from myself and my problems. Really, this only created more problems, because I would always have to face "me" all over again once I was sober. The harder I tried to escape and make alcohol and drugs work for me, the more miserable I was as I realized this obviously was accomplishing nothing.
I became more desperate than ever to find an answer to life. My desperation kept me open, and one day I heard an answer, "There is nothing wrong with me"!
I had just come home from a terrible night with myself-I must have looked as bad on the outside as I felt on my insides. This was probably the most miserable moment in my life. I hated myself, my life outside of home, and my life at home that I was walking into. Nothing had ever worked, I was ready to give up!
That morning my mother approached me, and before I knew what was happening she told me that because God had made me and I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, there was nothing wrong with me. These were not new words to me, but I heard them more clearly than I ever had before. I realized that if I looked within myself, the Spirit of Jesus Christ was there, joined to me. Even though I had lived a life of rebellion and turned away from God, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, whom I asked into my heart when I was a child, never left me. Even in my miserable state, I actually felt relief. My mother shared with me a truth which had brought about answers and positive changes in her life. This truth was first written of in the Bible and she had learned of it through the teachings of Norman Grubb…There is no independent "I". I had to know more!
I must have looked as if my eyes were popping out of my head as I heard more: Who I am is a container. God made me (and all people) a vessel to contain either the Spirit of Jesus Christ or the spirit of Satan. Life is not meaningless on this earth because we were made with the capacity to choose whom we contain. Even when I was born, I was not "just me". I was joined to Satan, like every other person in the world since Adam and Eve. God offered me, when I was a child, the choice to accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as my Savior to save me from sin. I now could see that that was the greatest choice I had ever made. (God offers this choice to everyone else, also). So, could this actually be true, that there really was nothing wrong with me?
Then why had I been so miserable? I heard an answer to this too… I had believed, all my life, a lie. The lie I believed was "There is something wrong with me." I realized that those words are words of Satan, who had tempted me throughout my life. I am not "just-me", but "Christ-me." Because I did not say this about myself and instead agreed with Satan that I was just Dacia and somehow defective, I allowed Satan to misuse me. Satan took me into despicable situations and had me looking in all the wrong places for an answer. I was miserable and felt like something was wrong because there was: I was deceived into believing I was independent and that the problem was me. There was a problem, his name was Satan. There was hope! I thought over and over "There is nothing wrong with me!"
I dared to say that I am Christ-Dacia and believe that this truth is the answer to life. The more I said this about myself, the more it became a reality. I am joined to Christ, I am Christ-Dacia, and He lives in me, as me. As a result, I began to change: the lies I believed were being broken. See, now I could say that I could do something I couldn’t do before, because Jesus Christ is adequate to do so. I say that Jesus Christ is joined to me and He lives life. I take this by faith and believe He can do it. And guess what, I do it! One area I changed was that I never believed I could stop drinking. I was able to by accepting that "I" could not, but Jesus Christ could.
Once sober, the unhealthy behaviors I learned through my life were the next areas God had to change. The first part of making a change is to get a view of the behavior. One view made clear to me was how I continued living in self absorption, fear and self pity. Not long after I became sober I went to a meeting where we all introduced ourselves, sharing where we came from and how we got there. I felt terrified to speak up, afraid of what to say and so self absorbed I hardly heard what others shared. By the time I spoke, I could barely say my name. Through sobs, I forced it out, weak and pitiful. This behavior was a result of both my past believing that I was inadequate, and believing feelings of fear as the reality for that moment. I saw that this, too, is a lie. I am not my feelings. I had agreed with Satan that I was "just Dacia", which allowed him to live out that behavior-masquerading as me. The truth is Jesus Christ is adequate to speak through me; Christ-I is adequate to speak.
Later God had a wonderful opportunity for me to continue changing my believing about speaking out. During the Summer Camp, the youth performed a play-"Christmas in July". My part was to introduce myself as a Miss America contestant, all dressed up with a "Miss Massachusetts", banner around me and wearing makeup and
lipstick. I now had the solution to walking out in front of everyone: Jesus Christ can do the impossible through me. Sure enough, I spoke my part clearly-"Hi, my name’s Dacia Lee Trethewey, and I’m proud to represent my state of Massachusetts". It was fun, and I loved it! Had I believed the lie as I had at the earlier meeting, I would have missed out on this joy and healing of speaking. I am thankful to have this new view and experience the liberation of living from Spirit (fact), instead of soul (feelings).
Another significant change in my life was moving away from home. I walked out again in faith, against my feelings. I took God’s opportunity to live with friends, the Maces, and learned to be a part of a functioning family in Maryland. Here, I learned to live more and more by faith and less by feelings. Saying "yes" to Christ operating me and "no" to Satan’s lie that I’m independent is a minute by minute practice.
Today I am living in Boone, NC. I am very fortunate to be among others who live by faith, knowing that it is Jesus Christ who lives by them. God continues to open my eyes to other areas where I have not believed right about myself: I recover by believing I’m not "just me" and do the next right thing to change. God means for me and every person to fully express the life of Jesus Christ, and be out from under the bondage of unbelief.
This answer is available for everyone. There is nothing wrong with the way God made us. The problem is Satan and his lie that there is an independent "I". Once we have accepted Jesus Christ, we have the means to expose Satan. We can say, "Jesus Christ can do all things, and since He lives in us and as us, Christ-I is adequate for every situation". We are whole and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:4). This is the answer to life. It works, it really does!
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 9 No 2
- The Origin of Evil-Here and Now
- Forward Ever, Backward Never
- The Origin of Evil
- The Mind
- A Life That Works
- Questions? & Answers!
- Birth of the News
- Moments with Meryl
- A Lawyer Tells It Like It Is
- FAITH SWALLOWS UP DOUBT
- FREEDOM FROM SELF
- INDWELT BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD
- THE MAILBOX: PRAISES SUNG
- An Easter Message
- Mini Fellowship Weekend
- Powerless Over Alcohol & Life: Steps 6 and 7
- Annual Business Meeting
- No Independent Self, Part One