Just what is so wrong with living the quiet life full of simple blessings that God has called me to? That He has placed inside my heart with such a burning passion that I cannot ignore it? That steadies my spirit and rejuvenates my soul with each breathless moment? What is so terrible about being every bit the woman God has put in me to be?
It is the life I think we all wish we could find for ourselves. But if the answer is so simple as it is obvious, then why am I having so much trouble just letting this be?
There’s a lot at stake; I suppose there always is. It is tough to imagine that God could take a girl like me and turn her into the one that lives in my heart in His presence these days. In so many ways, I want to be her. You know, I watch my friends in their daily lives and follow their status messages on Facebook and I get a little jealous (and often more than a little jealous) at the simple little things. These simple things are not foreign in my own life – I love these brisk autumn days, sitting down and listening to the leaves rustle, watching the colors change, warming up with a mug of apple cider. Still, I always stop myself short of fully embracing them.
I’m coming to realize that there’s still a lot I am trying to prove. To myself. For so long, I wondered what kind of girl it was who could know the world as I have known it, and God has answered many of those questions. But His greatest answer, and the one He most wants to sink into my heart, is the one I am having the most trouble embracing. It requires a lot and would bring so much to bear upon my strengthening, but still vulnerable heart. And the truth that God wants me to hear is this: it is not that I am not that girl; it is that I NEVER WAS.
That’s a pretty big distinction. When you live your life as though you could have been her, you can handle your past in certain ways that leave you in this perpetual cycle – it is the cycle I am now in. Where you desperately want to not be that, but you know it lies somewhere within the depths of your being to be everything the world always thought she was. To be the liar, the manipulator, the little piece of trash, less than human, unloved. To be the victim. To be the abused, the abandoned, the rejected, the confused, the hurt, the pained, the vulnerable. The past makes more sense when this is the case, when you can see these traits in yourself to some extent and continue to shoulder some of the blame for every time your life has fallen short of Barbie dolls and birthday parties. You can then spend the rest of your days minding your words, desperate to prove that though you may be that, you are also more than that. You want to show that you have another side to yourself, that somewhere and somehow, you can be an asset to this world and play a role in something. In anything. You want to force your way into things, to blaze a trail and create a place where you are adding something. And you want to follow your heart and hope and pray that it leads you to something more, to something that uses this bright side of your personality, this open side of your heart to experience the world and yes, enjoy the simple things. But not too much because it doesn’t seem real, you don’t seem worthy, or it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that can last. Or worse, you start to understand (as I am now coming to see) that the way you enjoy the simple things, the way that you follow your heart and open yourself up to the wholeness of the woman God has put inside of you, NEGATES your last hope that you could have been that girl that deserved to be that girl because that still offers at least a little explanation of how things got to be this way.
The good things have been invading my life lately. In abundance. They are those warm apple cider moments (which include, thankfully, delicious warm cider) that send those tingling sensations through my body. From the inside out. They are new relationships forming, old ones being restored. They are moments of peace and freedom, where the worries of so long fade away and even cease to exist. They are the times my faith is strong and my confidence assured and my heart steady. They are the moments where I realize I am in God and He is in me and there is this beautiful, whole woman inside me bursting to get out. A woman that He is calling to so many things, to so much good work and grace and mercy in this world. And in her own life. A woman He is calling to answer the questions of my own heart and to be His redemption here. It would not be a stretch at all to say that I wake up every day feeling purposed, beloved, beautiful, and oh so blessed.
Then I always go and do something stupid to ruin it all. More and more, I have noticed that I am always willing to step in at the last moment to ensure that I fail, to guarantee that a great moment becomes a good moment or a mediocre moment. That I am always just short of that last little bit of freedom He is calling me to.
That I am always one tiny bit away from letting go.
The truth is that I could very easily, today, at this moment, be wholly the woman God is calling me to be. I could be that woman that is in my heart. I could be the fullness of God’s glory revealed in this life. That very idea makes my whole body shake. No, seriously – I am trembling even as I write this. But I understand what else this demands of me, and that is a heavy prospect.
It will require grief. Because to embrace all that God has for me, I have to first realize and then live knowing (confidently, honestly knowing) that I never was that girl. That some things cannot be explained and shouldn’t try to be. That I don’t have all the answers and that, in fact, there will never be any answers for this. I have to understand that there’s a chance, knowing how God has created me, that this weight of grief over the unexplained (and perhaps unexplainable) may never go away, that embracing freedom and accepting God’s call in my life may only deepen the pain that has taken me on such an incredible journey, but at times a miserable, degrading one. If not for that journey, I would not know God; but if not for God, I would never understand the journey.
There are so many tears that need to be shed, but they get caught somewhere between my heart and my throat. I don’t know if I am strong enough for this place God is calling me, and yet…I want to be. And I probably am. Because the woman of God that lives in me, His beautiful creation in this less-than-perfect temple is strong. She is strong beyond my wildest imagination. She is beautiful and gifted and humble and quiet. She is stilled and merciful, gracious and grateful. She is blessed and oh so…so…strong. She is ready for this, to let those final strings break and to be free. To live not trapped behind the walls of coping mechanisms and what-ifs and the only manageable answers to life’s questions but to live in the fullness of God’s presence and be everything He has called her to.
My heart is going to break. It is going to shatter, combust. This has been building for several weeks as these revelations have grown deeper into my heart, and it scares the Hell out of me. (Shouldn’t it be a good thing when ANYTHING scares the Hell OUT of us?) I don’t know if I’m strong enough. I really don’t.
But I know that He is. And so is she. And she is I, the woman sipping the warm apple cider and watching the leaves change colors in the season, knowing she is beloved, blessed, purposed, and beautiful.
Pray for me in this journey. Pray for the courage and the strength to embrace God’s freedom, His mercy, His call, and this beautiful simple life and to live worthy of His presence.