One day about a year ago I was combing through some of my old journals and started just randomly flipping through the pages reading some of the entries from as far back as several years. My eyes began to slowly fill with tears and a subtle sadness came over me..
I began to realize that while I thought I had been making so many huge strides in my life both personally and professionally, I became acutely aware of how much I actually had not changed. Sure, I had overcome some pretty big obstacles like unfaithfulness in my marriage (we were both guilty in case you are wondering), got my college degree with 2 kids under the age of 8, and endured a year long deployment. There were also many smaller challenges and obstacles that were documented on those pages. The thing that really got to me the most was reading my responses to the various trials that life had thrown my way.
While I did make it out on the other side in one piece, I found that I handled each with similar tactics. I held onto anger and bitterness. I placed the blame on everyone else or my circumstances. Essentially I saw myself as a victim and I saw that life was just happening to me.
This literally tied my stomach in knots. It was in this moment of raw truth and clarity that I realized I had been living all these years as a slave. I was still chasing other things and other people to give me my identity, to fulfill me, to give me worth. As a Christian woman I should have known better. I should have known that from the day I professed Jesus as my Savior, I was free. None of the past mattered anymore and nothing the future could throw my way could derail me from my new life…that is if (and a big if) I chose to be free, chose to live free.
I suppose in a perfect world that might have been how my story would have unfolded, but as I have learned in the last year you can proclaim one thing with your mouth and have your heart still shouting another thing. This was revealed to me in those pages that day and was clear by my actions, my insecurities, my ever present fear and anxiety when things didn’t go quite as I had planned.
I don’t know exactly the day or the formula that things began to change. I am not sure that there is a specific formula for a thing like this anyway. What I do know is that the last year has been an amazingly painful, humbling, and most of all life giving year. I shared earlier in a live video that I am a perfectionist (recovering anyway), I am a first born, and I like control. I truly believe it was in part those tendencies that drove me to try to save myself time and time again in each of those obstacles. I would try through my works. I would try through my grades. I would try through my physical appearance.
Each and every time I came up short.
That is no coincidence, and it really isn’t even indicative of my ability or my skills. It points simply to the fact that no matter what I cannot save myself. I am sure this will be practice for me for the rest of my life. I can also assure you that the amount of peace and freedom that have come from realizing that I am not capable of saving myself is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I still mess up plenty, but I know now and truly believe it does not define me.
What does define me?
I am covered in grace.
I am a child of God.
I am free to be me, no matter what anyone else might think, say, or do.
Even when I fail, I will still be ok. I will still be enough. I will still be worthy.
Regardless of the number on the scale, in the bank, the likes/comments/follows I am still valuable beyond my wildest dreams.
Friend, sister, it is my desperate hope and prayer for your life that you would find this freedom too. If you aren’t even sure how to go about that, it is ok! It starts with your heart and your desire, your true desire to change. The rest is up to Jesus. And I know from personal experience he won’t disappoint. When you really show up in that vulnerable, “Lord, change me” way…he will! It may seem like it takes forever, and it may be in the blink of an eye.
You have to trust, know, and believe he wants you to change more than you do. Don’t mistake that for you not being good enough as is. If you are a mom you might understand this analogy: you could never love your kids more than you do right now, but that doesn’t mean you want them to stay the same. You want them to grow. Our Father is the same (arguably better than we ever could be).
If you need a friend through this process, I am here for you! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.