Monday, December 19, 2011

Free At Last, I Am Free At Last

I was told love is the cure, that all I must do to find freedom from my bonds, my chains to "the habit" was to fall in love. To direct oneself outward, the easiest path is to fall in love with another person, be in relationship. I heard this from a friend who heard it from a priest. But we hear it all the time from the world-- love (in the shadow of lust and infatuation) is the cure to any problem you might have and it only has to be love a little bit. I'm sure the priest was well-intentioned and now I can see the higher wisdom in his words, but falling in love was not the cure to my addiction.

Love was the problem. Not because I could not "fall in love" (some friends described me as boy-crazy), not because I did not desire that, and not because I was not in love with the Lord. Contrarily, it was love of the Lord that brought me to this place of desiring to destroy this addiction and sin in my life. No, the problem of love was that I did not believe I was lovable. I did not believe I was beautiful or could be loved. And that fueled the infinite, fiery pit of addiction in my soul.

Only someone infinite could extinguish that hell and fill me.

Love was the answer. Not love for or from the Lord or another person, but self-love. I could list every minute problem, weakness, and failing I had, I could come up with every reason possible why I was not lovable or beautiful. It took Infinite Love for me to realize that it was not He who did not love me, but me who did not love me. I gazed upon the Crucifix like Mary Magdalen gazed upon Christ when caught in adultery and felt how she felt-- Love was standing before me, forgiving me, inviting me deeper, and I had one choice left, whether or not to forgive myself. The Magdalen followed Christ the rest of her days, even following Him to the Cross because she found she could not remain unforgiving to herself when so infinite a mercy was being poured out upon her. In a moment that can only be described as the Divine rushing wind in the small whisper of the Holy Spirit, I said, "Theresa, I forgive you for being too weak to stop masturbating."

Love is still the answer. Even though I have fallen in love and married a wonderfully godly man, my struggles have not magically left me. Those envious, parasitic temptations still vie for a place in my soul to dwell, but I recognize them now. I see them as they are now and I see me as I am-- Theresa, fallen yet good.

The chorus of "Martyrs and Thieves" (by Jennifer Knapp) begins:
So turn on the light and reveal all the glory
I am not afraid
To bear all my weakness, knowing in meekness
I have a kingdom to gain
I am a slave to sin nor to my own mercilessness anymore. I am free. And I am running and fighting, inching however slowly towards that Kingdom. I have left my chains and old ways behind.

3 comments: said...

Oh my gosh, I totally needed to hear this. It's like you read my soul like a book. Lack of self-love holds us back from truly being the saint we are called to be. In fact, this post brings to mind a song... The Saint That is Just Me by Danielle Rose. So inspiring. Thank you for sharing, Theresa. :)

Compassefm said...

Wow.. thank you so much for your openness, Theresa. This is definitely something that few people are willing to bring out into the open. I really appreciate it. love you!

Kelly said...

you're seriously beautiful.