I hardly know what to do with myself these days. There is no imminent crisis or catastrophe on the horizon, nothing to fear, no storm to weather, no ugly secrets to guard. And yet, the absence of all that, so familiar throughout my life, has left me scratching my head and examining my heart because I feel somewhat unsettled.
Someone waved to me. But was it really to me?
A woman I know only by name and by sight initiated a friendly pre-church chat. Why? She must have some ulterior reason because otherwise why would she bother? Bother with me?
Greetings galore. New friends. Changes, good changes. It’s so much! I don’t know what to do with it all. And strangely, with all the overwhelming good God is working I want to react the same way as I did to all the dark and stormy circumstances my life was all about for so long. I have the overwhelming urge to run and hide somewhere. And I have been wondering why that is.
I think it is because I have lived almost my entire life with ‘ugly’ branded on my heart.
Aesthetically speaking, I leave much to be desired but I’m talking about ugly that starts on the inside, in the core of my being. My heart and soul were crushed early on in life and I could never live above the identity it gave me. I simply grew into the identity it branded me with. Ugly. Garbage. Useless. Waste. Pathetic. Loser. These were just a few of the things I thought of myself.
When God came into the midst of it all it was incredible. It continues to be incredible. I have learned that He is faithful in the big things and in the little things. And still, I want to hide from Him at times. Some days I don’t and I run to Him. Other days I want to run from Him hard and fast because I feel like he will reject me. I forget again that He loves me with a perfect love. I forget that He is capable of seeing a heart in me that I can’t even see because I grew up with ugly in my heart and so I still can’t see beyond that. I forget that He can. And when I forget, I can’t stand the thought of Him seeing what I still see because I have practiced seeing it so long that even when it isn’t there anymore I still see it. Like staring at a lit light bulb at night and then suddenly switching it off. The imprint of what was is so much etched into your vision that you continue to see it for some time after even when the situation has completely changed.
Trusting God is a moment by moment exercise. He loves me. He forgives my past. I don’t have to live in the shadow of it. He already set me free from it and put me on the path to full healing.
So much has changed all around me. So much has changed in my own heart. All I have to do is look onward and forward and not backward. I guess there is just something about the human condition that looks for the familiar so often, even if it is a bad familiar. I guess that is why it is a near impossibility to change on our own; why God is the only way to real change and to true healing.