Now is the winter of my discontent. It's amazing how one tiny change in my life has made me consider the bigger things. Since I cut my hair almost two weeks ago, my mind has not stopped churning. And it's given me quite a bit of clarity about a lot of things.
First, a note about the hair. I've cut my hair before. Those who know me know I used to keep it rather short. But this cut is different. It isn't a defense mechanism. It isn't an outward expression of the harsh internal workings of my being. (C'mon - like you didn't all know that was the reason for the short, spiky do.) It isn't the longer, unkept manifestation I've had for months while growing it out, saying "I'm working on it, but I'm not there yet." The hair that fell to the floor took a lot of weight off my shoulders with it. I looked in the mirror and I saw something new - a beautiful young woman, emerging firmly into womanhood with a mix of confidence and timidity. Could it be? Could I be a...woman? And enjoying it?
And it really changed my whole perspective on things. I felt this tug on my heart like God was just working on me, telling me that now we are putting the outside together, so let us clean up the inside, too. I began to see clearly.
Oh, how I have labored to drag the past with me! I have been yoked to the memories, to the pain and trauma of the past. Sometimes, memories sneak up on me. There's nothing I can do about that, I don't think. In a moment like that, I can't stop the memory from flooding over me. But must they have defined me for so long?
It's a victory for the abuser over the abused. For years, I have been dragging everything with me, pulling it along because I believed the lie. Even if I was not consciously aware of what was going on, I was subconsciously believing that THIS is what defined me, that this was my truth. If it didn't hold some fundamental key to my being, it wouldn't have been so important to bring with me into the future. The heavy burden has been choking me, pulling on the reins and holding me from destiny, pulling me back.
You'd think that when I found God 8 years ago, something would have changed for me then. You'd think I would have found myself less yoked or at least, less burdened. But when I looked for God in my life this past week, you know where I found Him? Sitting on the pile of memories, adding to my burden. I let Him into my life, but only as something else to be dragged around. Just something else in my bag of tricks, something I can use to answer when others say "tell me about yourself." But I don't think that's really where God needs to be in my life. No, He should have a more prominent place.
In all my flesh-based glory, I invited Him out of the pile. I invited Him to help me pull. To share my yoke, as Jesus so often talked about. And true to God's nature, He came. Because God will only do in our lives what we ask of Him.
And so, having repositioned the Divine in my life, I looked to my right and together, we took a step forward, God and I, yoked together and dragging the memories behind it. But not a nanosecond had passed before He stopped and looked at me, with that tenderhearted look in His eye and said, "This is stupid."
It was a look that said more. It said "I'll help you pull if that's where you want me in your life. But this is really stupid. You don't need all this junk."
And you know what? He's right. I don't need it any more. I am a strong young woman, on a solid path, and it is time for me to define myself. Forget the lies. Forget the bullcrap. It's time for this little girl to speak for herself.
But what to do with the pile of lies? I tried leaving it, just letting go and taking off down the path with God. But that just doesn't feel right. I feel like everything has its place, somewhere in my life's history where it belongs, but I don't know where that is or how to get it all there, or even if it all goes to the same place. Maybe it's like putting laundry away - a sock here, some shirts there, a memory here, a pain there. I just don't know. But leaving it all in the middle of the roadway (or even in the ditch) just doesn't seem like the right thing to do. I just don't know what the right thing is.
And so I want to go forward, but I also feel like God may draw me back, may bring me to do the right thing by the past, get some closure, then press forward (though I honestly have no understanding of this).
But there are some things I am taking back for myself. For instance, I will not be spending the holidays with my dad's side of the family. When I am with them, my father is back in my life (not to mention, they only use me as a surrogate for him; there is no real love there, I don't believe). Having lost so many of his belongings in the flood, I have realized that I now have the freedom to decide what role he plays in my life, if any. So I am going to take some time and digest that and make my own decision about where he (and his family) fit in to the future.
That is just one example.
These past 5 days, I have been alone. My mom took off to my grandma's two states away to help her recover from surgery, so it has been my and my God. And I have struggled a little bit with what I have found. I have found strong discontent and a desire for more. And I have found just how much I have been limiting myself (and God) by requiring this stuff to stay in my life. I don't know what I will do now. Maybe God will have the answers. For now, I'm just done with the yoke.
"Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36:25-26)