“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” Brennan Manning

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Time to Heal

There once was a time when life didn’t seem so hard. I’d wake up, don my shoes, and never stop running. Give me a deadline, "I’m on it." A need, "I’m there" - pushing hard to do everything right. Positive, submissive, and encouraging would be words to describe myself, and it was very important to me that everyone was pleased with me. I didn’t consider what I thought or felt, why did that matter? As long as I looked good - with everything under control, I was okay.

Then, my life started to unravel - I felt like I was dying inside. I kept straining to keep pace despite my weary body and failing heart. All the ways I had kept myself going before, just weren't working.

Busyness and people pleasing had kept me focused on others and numb to my inner world. I kept my heartache, loneliness, depression, and fears carefully concealed - until one day I realized “something is terribly wrong.” I was helping some friends move when I was overwhelmed by my life - feeling panicked and faint, heart pounding, I had to retreat. Not wanting to be noticed, I quickly said "goodbye." I pictured my body - a corpse. “I feel like I’m bleeding to death,” I tell my husband. For once, I admit my own brokenness - the hurt I buried - afraid that I would be too broken and unacceptable if I really let myself be seen.

Saddened by countless broken relationships, I felt very very alone. With no one to perform for or prop me up, my drive to keep going dwindled. I lost hope. Getting out of bed in the morning was hard, clutter piled up along with dishes and mounds of laundry, but I couldn’t seem to muster the motivation to do anything - besides ensuring my kids were clothed, fed, and felt loved. My world became dark, and I wondered if I would ever see light again.

The real me, inside, wanted to be seen, heard, loved, and cherished. I tell a friend, “I want to really believe in Jesus, not in my ability to please Him, obey Him, and do all the right things, because I've failed miserably at that. I know that He is coming after me. I am the lost sheep.” He responded, “Sounds to me like he’s found you, Paula.” Those words resonated deep - Life. Yes, He has! Faith entered my heart anew, and I believed: I am His Beloved Daughter, accepted as I am. My Daddy, that I barely knew, was calling me to come out of hiding, to clothe my rags in riches, dress and heal my wounds, and restore me - making me whole.

At that time, I had no idea what this journey to wholeness and healing would entail. I didn’t foresee the dark valleys and daunting mountains. I thought I would just be fixed and live ‘happily-ever-after,’ but healing takes time. It’s a painful process to let my Daddy open me up, expose the dark places of my heart, and allow His light to touch me - even the scary parts.

I wouldn’t be honest to say that this process has been easy, but the difficulty has brought me to the end of myself - to cry out in desperation to the only One who can save me.

“I'm not doing good. Woke up in a panic, and I can't find my Jesus. Oh Jesus, please come. Comfort me. I need you.

I'm tired. I'm sick of all of this. I'm sick of all my crazy fears - actually believing no one will stay with me, and I can't get it right. I want to disappear and be done, but I can't even do that. I'm pretty damn helpless and frustrated.

Why is this so freakin' hard?! My days are so out of my control and sometimes I feel like a sick experiment not working. God, I don't understand You. I believe You care, but I doubt it. Why do You put me through all this? You are in control - I am not. Well, I want to just be better and not have to go through all this craziness. Why is this so hard? Where are You? Please God, have mercy on me. Will You just comfort me and tell me it'll be okay? Help me.

You're my Daddy and I'm Your child. Well, I'm a screwed up kid. I don't even know why You like me. I can't do anything right. I'm sorry for having a bad attitude. I want to please You, but I keep failing. Help me believe You. You're not going to give up on me - ever. You're not going to leave me. You are kind. You don't see me the way I see myself. Your eyes are full of kindness and love. You don't despise my helplessness - You come to me again, and again, and again. I will be okay because You are with me.”

Broken, I find myself embraced in the Loving arms of my Savior, and I loosen my grip of control, trusting that He knows the right pace for me. He carefully and gently unveils the layers of hurt, guilt, and shame - so I can place them at the foot of the cross, where His blood cleanses my heart and makes me new.

I trust that even as I am a ‘work in progress’, that's good enough. My Daddy sees me as whole - fully loved just as I am. He creates beauty from ashes - the unlovely pieces are made into a beautiful masterpiece. TODAY, I choose to accept where He has me right NOW, and trust that He who began this good work in me, will carry it through to completion on the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1:6). Redemption. Wins.