Friday, March 25, 2005

When Things Must Be a Certain Way


Hi. My name is Debra.
I'm a recovering Certain Way Syndrome sufferer.

I first noticed I'd caught CWS during my Nevada Years. My earliest symptom was believing that my family had to be like certain other families:

We should have had more than one child because most everyone else did--even though we were happy with just one.
We had to always sit around the table at dinner time--never around the tv--even when we'd already spent hours together.
Tom's work schedule would just have to change because he'd be gone four days(and nights) and then home four days--even though he would devote much of those four days off to Naomi and I each week.
Our house had to be clean and straightened all the time--even though we usually had various fun projects going and my nagging was making us all i-n-s-a-n-e.

The years flew by and my CWS spread:

I couldn't have my daily quiet time unless I was guaranteed no family interruptions, plus, the house had to be straightened first (so that my To Do List wouldn't nag me).
I had to have just the right kind of paper/journal/pen--and Quiet--before I could write.
I couldn't have company over unless the house was white-glove clean.
I couldn't be happy unless my circumstances were just peachy.

The CWS never reached obsessive-compulsive heights, but it was still there, almost like a low-grade fever. Just enough to keep me paralyzed and wishful for all things elusive. Just enough to keep me aiming for invisible nothings.

Then one morning it was as though the CWS low-grade fever erupted into full-blown I-Am-Sick-Of-Living-This-Way. Have you ever had that? That's a good disease, actually--it's shaken many a person from a miserable life--

You just feel sick and tired of feeling sick and tired all the time.
You want freedom more than you want to be right.
You begin craving God's ways more than your own, so you finally cooperate with what He tells you--even though He tells you to let go of nearly everything you've taught yourself in the past...

...you start giving yourself permission to be contented...and happy...right now, just as things are this day.

And then years and years later, you awake as if from a dream. The way you used to be is hazy and just that--the way you used to be. Looking back, you see how far God has brought you along.

And now your desire is to share your journey with others.

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