In my opinion, the first step to restoration, is acknowledging and identifying that something requires repair.
I recently had a health scare that had me on the edge of sanity - and I mean, by a frayed thread. My last mammogram revealed a mass (previously biopsied) had grown significantly since the last view. After a follow up ultrasound, my doctor decided to perform a lumpectomy. The surgery did not stress me as much as waiting on the pathology results. I have had PLENTY of life challenges, health and otherwise, but this one scared me. I was completely distracted. I couldn't sleep and tears were frequent. My family and friends attempted to comfort me, and I pretended to be comforted, but inside I was a hot ball of worry. The only solace I could find was in my devotion, meditation and prayer time. My prayers were focused on healing, of course, but even more than that, my focused intention was on releasing toxicity from my body, life and mind. Regardless of test results, I was (and am) determined to clear spaces to receive grace, light, and unconditional love.
Well, praises to Jehovah, pathology came back all clear! HE is the great physician! I am still recovering mentally and have a few scars, but I am so grateful. For me, this lumpectomy symbolizes the removal of masses that take up space in our lives. Masses of confusion. Masses of regret. Masses of unforgiveness. Masses of fear. Masses of pain. Masses of folks who take and don't believe in reciprocity - come on somebody.
What I have learned is, the only way to have a successful FILL-IN-THE-BLANKectomy, is to first recognize that there is a thing (person, feeling, etc.) that may need some special attention. And I don't mean feed that thing, I mean assess it. Determine it's value or lack thereof. We cannot continue to numb those areas by ignoring how they make us feel. These things are energy zappers and space fillers. Some of these masses have been taking up space for years. Childhood trauma. Love trauma. Church trauma. Take it from me - cut that thang out! Make room for the good good. I am not suggesting the process is easy, or pain-free, but anything that does not contribute to our wholeness is literally killing us.
I have made mistakes on this journey. I have walked in unforgiveness for years and likely without the other person(s) having a clue the level of animosity I carried. I have behaved badly - covertly and passive aggressivey to express my frustrations about something. I have hurt people with my words. Thank God I have evolved and matured into a person who can acknowledge, admit and repent for my shortcomings. Thank God for grace.
One of the best self-care exercises is self-assessment. Sit with yourself and face your stuff. Pray about it. Journal it with authenticity and transparency. When (not if) you discover malignant masses, take the steps to remove them. On the road to recovery, fill those spaces with goodness. Find a therapist that can help you dig even deeper. Recognize that your spirit is sensitive and share energy with like-minded folks. Allow yourself to be covered, fed and led in the spirit (shout out to The Message Center). Love you enough.