If you know any of my story, you know that this life has taken a lot from me. And what I haven't let it have, it has tried to steal. So this comes from the deepest part of me that still fights this shadow every day. May it be an encouragement to you.
It's not enough to just get better.
That's right - getting better is not enough. Whether you've faced a drawn-out medical crisis, a life-threatening illness or injury, the unseen injuries of trauma to your soul, the wounds of abuse or abandonment or just unfulfillment - just getting better is not enough.
I used to think it might be. That if I could just "get better," the life I had always dreamed of, the one that ran freely through the deepest parts of my spirit, would fall into my lap. And then I would have it. I would have everything a little girl ever dreamed of. The only thing standing in my way...was getting better.
But that wasn't it. The past four years have been a tremendous healing journey for me, on all levels. On an emotional and mental level, tackling the demons of my past and the lingering questions in my heart. On a physical level, finding a proper diagnosis and finding new nourishment and strength for my body. On a spiritual level, connecting with a God I never knew as a little girl but whose love has RADICALLY transformed everything I am and everything I ever dreamed of being. Over the past four years or so, I (by every definition of the words) "got better."
And it isn't enough.
No magical life came dropping out of the sky. No doors swung wide open. To be honest, my heart has hesitated too often to fully grasp what 'better' means.
So you have to get better, and you have to let go. Let yourself embrace better. Let yourself live better. Let yourself believe in better. Even when the shadows cross your eyes and tell you otherwise.
Because it is a constant battle. It probably doesn't last forever. Indeed, as the days go by and I make strong choices in honor of my own healing, it gets easier and the temptations get fewer and further between. But there are those moments...
Those moments when autopilot hasn't adjusted course. When you stop yourself short of doing something because broken, you never could have fathomed it. Damaged, you wouldn't have even tried. Burdened, you couldn't have made your feet move to follow your heart had you ever decided to give it a go. You knew, in your bondage, you would have failed, so what you failed to do was try.
Then you get better. And you face those same decisions. Those same voices that say, "You can't do this." If your reality of better isn't the story you're telling, if it isn't strength in your steps, you listen and just stand there. Looking stupid. While life passes you by. Chalking up another missed opportunity to...and then it hits you. All those wasted moments. All those missed chances. Listening to a narrative that isn't your life any more.
You defeat your demons. You shine light on your shadows. You embrace the better that God puts in you, but your shadows just don't let go. They don't give up so easily.
So you have to have new eyes. A new way of seeing when you realize you're better. When you see the powerful healing God brings into your life, when you start to see things a new way, you have to see yourself, your life, and your circumstance with new eyes, too. You have to take every moment captive, bring it before God, introduce it to your better, and ask yourself honestly, "Can I do this?"
The answer is "absolutely! Go for it!" more often than we imagine. At least, it is for me. There's this wicked back and forth between the shadows and the truth. The truth grabs your heart in that very first instant and says, "Jump. I'm gonna take your breath away." And then the shadows remind you of the ways you would have failed, why you still should fail, why it just don't fit, why you're not ready yet. Then the Truth chimes back in and chases the shadows away, if you'll let it. If you'll open your heart to God's honest truth (yes, there IS such a thing!), you will find yourself ready to embrace life and share in its dance beyond your wildest imagination.
Beyond what once defined you in your brokenness, your bondage, your trap. Beyond what life's circumstances piled on you and dared you to try to get out of.
You just...lay your crutches down. Refuse to answer to whatever would hinder you. Embrace your better. And say a resounding "yes!" Then brace yourself for adventure.
It's out there. It's everything you ever dreamed of.
And it's yours.
What adventure are you looking forward to? And what is the voice that is telling you that you can't?