One of the most poisonous things about poison is not what it gives you but what it keeps you from. Several kinds of poison (I learned from a forensic educational whodunit on cable) several kinds of poison bind with the oxygen receptors in your cells. Meaning the parts of your cell that are supposed to receive oxygen are binding to something else, something not oxygen, something not what they need, something other than what they were designed by God to bind to. It's not so much what the poison gives you, it's what the poison keeps you from...the thing designed by God to bring you Life. The thing you were designed by God to so desperately need and so freely receive. Like oxygen. Like love. Like friends.
One of the most poisonous things about the childhood sexual abuse I endured was that I experienced trauma at an age when I was way too young for appropriate self-comfort. I was not differentiated enough to be capable of appropriate self-comfort. The adults who I wanted to comfort me didn't know how.
I shopped for comfort at the only store that was open to a young child: the refrigerator.
So those receptors in my soul that were designed to bind to friends to bind to loving people, those receptors in my soul were binded to food. It was easy really. And it's easy as an adult. I've never had a Hershey bar tell me they weren't available or that my need was invalid. People are problematic some times. Course they are. Good Lord! Look at me! But food becomes poison when it blocks the receptor for the love and human interaction I truly need.
God in his infinite mercy allowed circumstances and my own heart to push me to a place of need that forced me to reach out to my friends. To tell the truth about where I really was and to ask them to love me and pray for me anyway. I have tears in my eyes just remembering yesterday. It's still that fresh. It's still that powerful. The oxygen receptors in my soul are getting real honest-to-God oxygen instead of the poisonous fake. Oh My God!
I'm sending this out to all my friends who gave my soul oxygen yesterday. Who heard me in my dark vulnerable moment and treated me with great care:
The biggest blessing/lesson in all of this is that I have substituted food for friends for most of my life. And by vulnerably telling the truth about where I'm at to a few of my friends has been a profound experience. My telling and their responding is in itself a huge antidote because it makes food as a friend irrelevant. Thanks for being a part of that.
And is this experience of feeling so profoundly loved by my friends, there's a scripture I memorized 14 years ago that I just now truly understand.
2nd Corinthians 7:4 "Great is my confidence in you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am overflowing with joy—in all my affliction."
I used to stammer that scripture to myself, sniffing and crying during a bout of loneliness and pain, crying out to God and telling Him that my confidence was in Him and telling Him I expected Him to fill me with comfort because I was being a brave girl and quoting scripture through my tears. It didn't work. Today I understand why.
Reading the context, I see that Paul was not crying out to God Almighty in a moment of solitary prayer. Paul was talking to his friends. His real flesh-and-blood friends.
2 Corinthians 7:1-4 "1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Make room for us in your hearts; we wronged no one, we corrupted no one, we took advantage of no one. 3 I do not speak to condemn you, for I have said before that you are in our hearts to die together and to live together. 4 Great is my confidence in you; great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction."
He calls his friends 'beloved' and asks them to 'make room for me in your hearts'. Oh. My. God.
I'm beginning to see that when you know someone well enough to call them 'beloved' and you have the oxygenating experience of someone making room for you in their heart, you will be filled with comfort, you will be overflowing with joy even though you are you smack dab in the middle of great affliction.
Today, I'm sucking in the oxygen and poison seems not only beatable but downright irrelevant. -SW