This morning I woke up and realized that now, this morning, for the first time in a long time, maybe for the first time since I was very small, I love myself. I’m flawed and imperfect, but I love myself. I love who I am. I love what is inside me. I respect myself, my thoughts, my feelings. I am allowed to take up space. I am allowed to feel. I am allowed to think, to be, to create, to speak, to breathe. I am excited about my future. And I now realize the importance of loving yourself, because how can you begin to love others if you don’t love yourself? It is then constantly a game of earning, earning, taking, inhaling, because in that state, the only love you can give is a needy love, a wanting love – at best, a self-conscious love. When you love yourself, you can love others. And all I can say is, praise God for bringing me to this place. It has been a hard road and a hard road still lies in front of me, but I have found my voice and allowed myself to speak, and I will speak and make and breathe until the hard road leads into another springtime and I can rest again.
Posts Tagged With: God
It’s been a week and a day since a man threw a rock at my head. No, it’s not so serious physically. Maybe I should be able to handle it better.
People ask me how I am. I’m fine. What else do you say? You’re not going to have a breakdown in front of Leslie Social on campus in the middle of the day. Because if I say how I really am, that’s what will happen. “I’m fine” is what I can get out without crying.
Oh yeah, I’m fantastic. I’m depressed all the time and I cry when I get home, and when I wake up. It was a spiritual attack more than anything, and yeah, I feel attacked. I apologize for not being made of steel or for being one of those people who can let it just roll off of them. I feel attacked. I feel every ounce of how much the enemy hates me and doesn’t want me here. Yes, I know, God is greater. I KNOW those things. My parents are missionaries, for goodness’ sake. How would I not know these things? I know that I’m an overcomer because of Jesus. I know I am victorious. I know that. And yet, here I sit on my bed, crying because I feel totally overwhelmed and like I’m drowning in all of this. “Pray for your emotions!” Thanks, I know. “Don’t let your emotions rule you!” Yeah. I know. “Don’t let the enemy accomplish what he wanted to.” Sorry. I’ll add that to my list of things to work on, including “Don’t be such a freaking failure.”
These are all things that pop into my own head. It’s easier to project them on other people, but actually everyone around me is being very supportive and understanding towards me, more than I am towards myself. I expect myself to just be fine, and to be able to handle it, and to be ok.
But I’m not ok, and that’s ok. I’m afraid to walk home from campus, and that’s ok. I’m depressed, and that’s ok. I’m tired all the time, and that’s ok. I’m behind with my academics, and that’s ok. I’m overwhelmed by everything, outward things and inward things, and that’s ok. I cry all the time, and that’s ok. And God knows, and He understands, and He knows how deeply this is affected me, and He doesn’t expect me to be made of steel because He more than anyone else knows how weak I am.
There, I said it: I am weak. I’m weak. I’m a wimp. That rock knocked whatever pride I had left out of me. I have nothing left that shows that I, on my own, am strong at all. I am a crying, snotty mess who is afraid to walk alone on Main Road in the middle of the day with people around. I have to ask God for strength to get out of bed, let alone do what I have to do that day. And you know what? That’s a good place to be. So even though I’m in a bad place (and no, I’m not ok at all) I know that God is strong for me. My faith in Him is not shaken. He protected me; something much worse could have happened that day, but He protected me. I didn’t even have a concussion. I’m not ok, and I’m weak, and that’s ok because He is strong. And eventually, maybe not anytime soon, but eventually, I’ll be ok again and I won’t feel like getting out of bed and getting dressed and leaving my flat takes an impossible amount of effort.
Thank you for your continued prayers. I need them.
So, recently, I’ve been having some inner conflicts about my writing. I love to write, possibly more than doing anything else, and yet I don’t seem to ever have the creative and emotional energy anymore to delve into it. Every time I sit down to write, I end up writing some driveling practice thing that I know will never make it into an actual story. Fifty or so unfinished books are sitting on the dusty virtual shelves of my laptop, and countless more handwritten ones are gathering literal dust on my bookshelf, or sitting in the recesses of my closet, probably growing mold. But I love to write. It used to be so effortless; pure inspiration, pure creativity.
And I got a bit fed up the other night, and in an exasperated tone, I burst out, “Whatever, God – what do YOU want me to do with this writing thing?” (I live alone, so I can talk to myself without being self-conscious about it). Whether or not I felt or sounded exasperated, it was a sincere handing over of my deepest, most precious passion. I don’t know what to do anymore, so I asked God to show me. He is, after all, the one who gives us our talents, and He gifts them for a reason.
I think I’ve known all along what to write, but I haven’t been ready, and I haven’t been doing it the right way. I still wanted to compromise and mix Martha Stewart paint with cheap metallic spray paint, so to speak. Because that’s easier. Because that’s what people do.
So here it is. I’m tired of seeing bookstores peppered with mass-produced, basically-porn, fake, horrible, cheap romance novels that, to quote Miss Ouiser from Steel Magnolias, “have nothin’ but naked people in ‘em,” and that totally trash and walk all over what real love is. I’m tired of hearing that women read these cheap substitutes to fill an emotional gap and settling for so much less than what is real, even just in a book. And I’m equally tired of seeing Christian bookstores with mostly sappy, fake, airy-fairy love stories that often tend to stay so far away from the secular romance novels that they go to a cotton candy extreme. (Seriously, if I have to read the sentence “She didn’t understand this feeling” one more time, I may have an aneurysm. I don’t know about you, but I know when I’m attracted to someone.)
I want to write a real, true, beautiful, breathtaking, fiery, wholesome, passionate, pure, lovely, epic love story. I want to write one that people can relate to, that doesn’t hide behind pretense, but that is also good and pure and glorifying to God. I know it can be done, and that’s what I want to do. The world doesn’t need more watered-down half-truth, and it doesn’t need more trashy paperbacks. This is the vision for my writing. And I want it to expand, so that it’s not only love stories, but adventures, and history, and poetry, and songs, and whatever else bubbles up from this.
God has a vision for the world and every detail of it, and the talents He’s given us serve a real, tangible purpose. Ask Him what to do with them – if you’re at the end of your rope, it’s because He has a better one for you to grab onto.
Oswald Chambers said something along the lines of “Change isn’t adding things to become new, it’s God taking things away to reveal the you He made to begin with.” In other words, it’s becoming more and more who you really are. It’s a little sad that we allow so much to be plastered onto us; things that we think are more lovely than we are, but that, in reality, make us like works of art splashed with discordant colors and textures.
Who is the you inside? Why are you hiding yourself? Is it because of insecurities, comparing yourself to other people, wanting to be someone else? Is it because you’re afraid people won’t like you if you show yourself? Or, more likely, because you’d rather someone dislike you for something you’re not than for something you are?
I hide myself for all these reasons. But lately, the conflict has become too great, too tiring and stressful. God is working on the me inside, and she wants out. For a while I projected this on other people, going on rants in my head: “Why do they want to put me in a box? Why can’t they accept me the way I am? Why do they want me to be like them?” But that’s not the issue at all. The only one standing in my way is me. I made the box. I built the walls. I wanted me to be like everyone else.
But I’m not. And I’m writing this because I think there are many other people who struggle with the same thing, and you need to read this. But really read it; don’t just skim and go, “Oh, that’s cool.” I know that’s what you normally do with these things, because that’s what I normally do. But don’t do it this time. For yourself. Let it sink in.
God made YOU the way YOU are. You ARE unique, you ARE original. God doesn’t make copies and clones. He made YOU because He wants YOU to be alive and to be who YOU are. He has given YOU unique talents and gifts and quirks and personality traits that combine to depict to the world a specific aspect of who HE is that only YOU can depict. If you are not letting you be you, the world is missing out on something great, grand, and glorious that God wants to show. And you are cutting beautiful, breathtaking, awe-inspiring pieces of yourself off and throwing them away. You are plastering big black-out sheets over magnificent artwork that is meant to shine out and show people the heart of God, the beauty of God, the majesty of God.
So stop. It will take time, but allow God to peel off the black-out sheets. The reason why you don’t have peace despite your good relationship with God is because you are battling to be someone you’re not. But you know what? No one is as good at being you as you are. And the thing we often envy in other people is their ability to just be themselves. So do it. Be yourself. Who you are is between you and God; no one else has the right to intrude on that sacred ground. They can build you up and help you and raise you, but your core identity is a place only God can and should speak into. Let Him speak. Let Him build you with His breath. Let Him call you out of the box you’ve built.
In His name, there is freedom. Be free.
It is a heart wrenching fact of life, fact of life, that nothing new can come without something old passing away first. And in many cases, it is not simply taking off old clothes and putting new ones on. A part of your flesh must be torn out, a part of the structure of a building must be demolished, a page must be ripped out before a new one can be pasted in.
Without change we would not be human. We would not be happy. We would not be alive. Change is good. But when it happens, it is like a surgery, but one where all the anaesthetic has run out, and all you have to keep the pain at bay is half a shot of morphine and whatever you’re biting down on between your teeth. After, change is good. After, change is adventurous. After, it is easy to say, “Look where we were, and look where we are now. Aren’t we glad to have come this far?” But while it is happening, change hurts more than anything.
Change is ruthless. It is like a train without brakes. It does not stop or slow down so you can catch your breath first; it has no mercy for you, regardless of whether you are tired, or fed up, or grieving, or in pain already; regardless of whether or not you have recovered from the last train, this train surges forward, and it comes, ready or not.
I have no control. There is nothing to hold onto. I am not standing; God is holding me up. He is all the anchor I have, and sometimes I cannot see into the darkness ahead and below and above me. Sometimes all there is, all I can see, is the darkness, like a night without stars, and I only know He is there because I have to know it to move forward, or else cower in fear. Sometimes fear is the darkness and the darkness is fear, and He is my shield against it.
I do not know the future. I do not know tomorrow. I know this moment, this minute, this second. I know I am breathing. I know I am home and with my family, in this moment, with my cat lying beside me and my room a mess because I have enough clothes and books to make it a mess. I know I am healthy, in this moment – I know I can run, if I have to, and I can dance, if music plays. There is a hope deep somewhere in me that does not come from me, because on my own I can have no hope. But this hope, and this love, and this joy, is deep in me, and because it does not come from me I can trust it. I can trust Him.
This light is not from me. This is light of another kind. Darkness must always run away from light, but this is a light that the darkness doesn’t even understand. This light is like nothing else the darkness has ever seen. The darkness cannot understand it. It flees not only in fear but in chaos, in confusion; it cannot understand this light that burns with such loving, fearful might. He is the light, and the light is in me. I will walk in the light, as He is in the light, and then, although I cannot see ahead or above or below, I will know that I am walking on a road that has already been prepared. He is behind me and before me, and He has made the darkness His own covering, and so I do not fear it. I am not afraid. I will walk on, and I will overcome, by the blood of the Lamb.