Treatment Initiation: the first stage of recovery marked by ambivalence, resistance, and denial. Also one of the most emotionally fragile stages in recovery. Treatment staff concentrate on giving the patient hope, bonding them with the rest of the group, and helping them identify with others.
This past week we went on a much needed and long awaited vacation. With all the curriculum research and TEKS reading I have been doing in preparation for our year of rehab, I thought it would be plain irresponsible to take a week at the beach and not study the different ecosystem, the physics of waves, and the salinity of salt water. Okay, it’s obvious that I need help defining the word ‘vacation’. Needless to say, my academic plans for vacation time didn’t result in little geniuses who eagerly traded in boogie boards for a magnifying glass and science composition book. Instead, we talked about my cool experiments I prepared and immediately dismissed them for the pool or a Tinkerbell movie.
I found myself so discouraged. “Some teacher, I am…”, I mumbled under my breath one night about the middle of our trip. Paul reminded me that it was vacation and to give myself a break! But I couldn’t help but doubt our rehab ambitions. I was letting fear of failure blind my previous convictions of obedience. A friend reminded me in a text that “You’re being obedient and God is going to bless that. I’m sure it won’t always be easy, but there is peace in obedience.”. Thank God for godly friends. And for husbands who remind you that it is vacation after all.
I think my little trial run of rehab was alot like the first stage of a drug or alcohol recovery program. First of all, I think I was in denial that we really need family rehab. I think if I really search my heart there is a little voice in there that thinks, “We aren’t really that bad. This is more of a little experiment or just a special opportunity for us.” Let me put it this way: when I envisioned my lesson plan involving carrots and seawater, I pictured my glowing children enamored with my wisdom saying, “You are the coolest mom and the best teacher!”. Then they were supposed to turn to eachother and encourage one another with compliments and hugs, only to yawn and suggest that they all go to bed early so that Mommy and Daddy can rest and have an evening alone to talk. I tend to romanticize everything! Needless to say, that was not their reaction to my lesson, in fact, we didn’t even do that experiment!
Enter resistance. “This was a stupid plan if ever I’ve had one!”. My feelings of discouragement were very much marked with a resistance to comply with what was being asked of me- which very simply is to intentionally love my kids and teach them about Jesus. In all my prep and worry, I had forgotten that it is that command that I am called to obey. God said nothing about carrots and best teacher of the year award. And meanwhile, as I am working on being cool, my kids are getting in the way of my ambitious walk towards awesomeness. Man, do I need rehab, or what. I don’t want to look over their hearts in another selfish campaign.
Well, after resistance came the ambivalence. “Well, whatever…”. Maybe that’s not too bad of a place to be, as long as it’s a surrender to Jesus and his plan, and not laziness and slothfulness. And again, if I’m honest, I probably hung out in slothful for at least a couple days. All the work that I had been pouring into “family rehab” had been tiring and all the work yet to do seemed overwhelming. So I just sat still for a couple days. “Whatever…”
But, just like Treatment Initiation, my therapist (Jesus), surrounded me in my fragile emotional state with love and support. He gave me hope, bonded me with others, and helped me to identify with others. Through texts, messages and phone calls from friends who can relate to skimming the surface of their kids’ hearts, Jesus gently reminded me that, yes, there is work to be done in our family. He reminded me that the need for rehab is there and valid. He reminded me that I am not alone, that He does provide, that He is so faithful.
I’ve got to be honest that there is still a lot of fear of failure and anxiousness thinking about this next year. It was a crazy idea to hold myself accountable through a blog…because it’s working. Knowing that I let all of FaceBook in on this next year is holding me to it! But as the first day of school approaches and Jesus keeps reminding me through His Word and His people that this is a good thing, I am reassured and comforted.
God calls His people to some crazy things. I think if we assume that He wants us to only do the mundane and normal, we haven’t searched through His Word. In the bible, time and time again, He asks much from His people and asks them to do things and go places that seem downright outlandish to us today. But He is the same unchanging God. As scripture also points out, at the end of everyone of those crazy request or adventures, God is glorified. Do those who follow ALWAYS end up with what they originally wanted? No. But God is ALWAYS glorified in the end. My desire is that He be glorified. I’ve just got to remember that!