The way things work in God's universe are so different than the way things work in the world. In the world, healing and insight come from bouncing back after tragedy. From working out until you're so fit you can run marathons. From starting new businesses and kicking major butt in sales. From getting a makeover and embracing the new life you have. By getting out there and dating new guys to prove your heart isn't broken and moving on from the old into the new.
These things aren't bad in small doses and in tandem with true healing other ways. However, these are just some of the ways the world has told me that I should heal and move on. I knew none of these things were right for me and instead were only covering up a deeper pain that needed to be worked through. As a crafter, quilter, and occasional DIYer, I can tell you that good quality work, the kind that lasts through generations, takes time. It's a slow and detailed process. It gets into every grain and fiber and cuts no corners.
This is how it's been with me. Slow. Sometimes so slow it doesn't feel like anything is even happening. If we're honest, there have been days more recent than I'd like to admit where I've struggled as if I never knew Jesus. As if I never got the chance to walk into His warm embrace and hear Him whisper promises of hope and a future.
It's felt a little like starting over. It's felt a lot like not being good enough and not really liking myself and believing with my whole heart that I'm not capable or worthy of being loved the way that I desire. It's ugly, but it's the way I've felt.
Then I spoke to a friend who is going through something that had me looking back on my journey these past two years. This conversation where I shared my heart opened me up to some truths I haven't wanted to face. I want to share some of what I said.
It all started with accepting God's plan and letting go of our fears. Now, if you give me that Christian Cliche, "Let Go and Let God", I might hit you. I'm sorry, but this quote pops up everywhere. It's not that it's bad advice, but it was handed to me on Day One of the end. It's what my ex said to me as I sat in his car bawling my eyes out because he was dating someone new. I feared so much back then. My fearful imagination ran wild. I foreseen each bend in the road leading him further away from me. I was absolutely terrified that I was going to lose him. He told me, "Let Go and Let God." I could have hit him, too. It felt like a lousy way to escape from having a part in the way my heart was breaking.
One by one I lived through my deepest fears coming true. Each one was painful. Each one caused me to question God. Some caused me to question my life. Two had me with pills in my hand ready to end the pain. I don't say this lightly. These were my biggest fears and I held them tight. I put a cage around them and threw away the key because I was terrified of fear getting out and wrecking havoc on my life. Instead, every day I looked at my fear - terrified of how it would crush me if it escaped.
I said to my friend, if I could go back and do it again - I would like to do it differently. I suppose what I should say is IF I HAD TO, I would like to do it differently. Cause, I don't really want to go back to the past two years ever again. Nichole Nordeman has a song called "The Unmaking" and it's become the anthem of my life right now. One of the lyrics says "The longer and the tighter that we hold, only makes it harder to let go." Every time she sings that I think, if I turned to God and turned my back on my ex completely in September two years ago, how much less could this have hurt? If I stuck to my words and said I couldn't be friends with him in November, even when he showed up at my door in a tux begging me not to leave, how much easier would it be now? How much quicker would I have healed?
Bethel sings, "I'm no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God." - I sing it loud and proud but I was a slave to fear, and I didn't even realize it. That fear held me captive - held me as a prisoner in my own emotions and literally has left me clinging for my life. I was fearful of him leaving me. Of choosing someone else. Becoming engaged and then married. Of him never speaking to me again. Truth is, I fought against all these things and they happened anyways. So how much different would it have been if I just trusted God? If I just really let it go the way that Elsa shouts from the mountaintops of her ice castle?
My prayer came to me today and I wrote it down on a miniature post-it note. God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10.
Let me start again. Let me throw off the fear that has hindered me. The fear that held me captive when I thought that I was holding it captive. I want a clean heart, a fresh start, a new beginning. I want a steadfast spirit that hopes and believes in a God that is bigger than my past. I want to believe God when he whispers sweet words of being chosen, being worthy, being precious in His eyes. I am praying for the heart to believe these things, despite my feelings. I recognize that anything of value is not thrown together overnight but is carefully handled and planned. Each detail remarkably thought out and considered before it is presented to the world as complete. I once again turn my life back into the hands of the Potter and let Him continue to shape and mold me into something that can be used for His glory.