The room was cold, the lights were fluorescent, and the coffee was strong. I don’t remember much else about that night. It’s almost like I was so aware of myself I didn’t have the bandwidth to be aware of anything else. Person after person paraded across the front of the room as they muttered something along the lines of “Hi, my name is BlahBlah, I am a following of Jesus Christ finding freedom from suchandsuch.” This was, for me, the beginning of the unraveling.
I’ve lived it for the past 15 years but in that time, I have also watched others around me unravel as well. No matter what brings us to this journey, the process is the same. The unraveling is the systematic undoing of all that we thought we knew and all that we believed to be true. It can be a very unsettling place to be. I have found that those who embark on the journey with other unravelers tend to fare better than those who try to navigate the road alone. There is something about group insanity that feels a bit more sane. Coming to the end of yourself and not knowing what to do next makes this place feel downright scary…a bit like Alice in Wonderland falling down the hole with no clue what’s on the other side.
If you are reading this and it makes about as much sense as Swahili, you aren’t unraveling. Bless you and have a great day. But if this makes everything inside of you jump up and down and say “THAT is what this is! I’m not losing my mind,” hi. My name is Amy and I am a follower of Jesus Christ finding freedom from codependency, eating disorder and depression. I’m not sure what brought you here, but maybe like me, it was a laundry list of failures. Or maybe it was phenomenal success. Or maybe it just happened one day. Do not think for one minute that it takes an addiction or a major life event to put the unraveling into motion. When the Lord is ready, He will pull the loose strings of your life and the unraveling begins. All you know at this point in time is that nothing is the way it used to be and nothing is as it should be. You have nothing to offer anybody, much less the Lord. You cannot muster enough UUUMPH to do all the things and be all the things that make you feel like a productive member of society. But I am here to tell you that THIS is the whole point of the unraveling.
As someone who has walked this road a while, I feel a sense of responsibility to be your tour guide. Kinda like Welcome Week at college but with less pizza and body paint. Let’s start by examining what the unraveling is not. This is not a season that will pass and things will not eventually go back to “normal.” You don’t come back from the unraveling. You simply continue to unwind over and over again like a huge ball of yarn. If that sounds depressing, DO NOT FREAK OUT. There comes a point in the process where you quit fighting and actually begin to enjoy the undone. #pinkiepromise This is a new way of living. A new way of being and a new way of relating to the world. The unraveling is about no longer striving. For anything. This is the place where the mask comes off.
All of this becomes possible through a systematic dismantling of self. As you take each hurt, belief, or disappointment down off the shelf and examine it, you will begin to see where it has served you and where it has kept you stuck. You are unraveling the externals and eventually come to the core. This is the place where the real you resides. All else has been stripped away and only these remain:
Here it is. Solid ground once again. After falling for what felt like ages, you have finally found your soft place to land. Identity. And freedom. This is where freedom lives. Empathy, humility and authenticity live here too. The unraveling is all about love. Loving ourselves and others well is now possible because we have had a foundational experience with God’s scandalous love for us. It breaks us and makes us realize that all we have to bring is our broken hallelujah and there is no sweeter sound to the heart of Jesus.
About Amy Patton
Amy Patton is a business owner, mom, wife and lover of Jesus. She has walked a road of recovery for 15 years and is passionate about helping others find healing, freedom and restoration in Christ. She has likes to drive thru school pickup line with 80’s rock’n’roll blaring from the open window. Check out more from her at www.liverightlovewell.com and www.facebook.com/liverightlovewell.