I haven’t been blogging much the past month, because I’ve been doing a lot of personal processing. A lot. My thoughts, beliefs, hopes, fears, insights, and regrets have all been tangled together like a giant knot that is slowly getting loosened. And from that mess, I didn’t feel I had anything to share.
I’m still in the middle of the process, but I’m learning that that is okay.
At the beginning of this year, God told me it was a year of New Beginnings for me.
This excited me. I saw it as a promise of hope and newness––which it was. But I didn’t fully grasp that to be made new, the old must die.
“Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
– John 12:24 (spoken by Jesus, right before the crucifixion)
If you’ve been following this blog recently, you may have noticed that a lot of my posts this year have been about aspects of brokenness, about parts of myself dying (such as my understanding, my strength, my “good girl” status, and my pride). I keep thinking I am out of the wilderness, that I’ve gained the clarity I needed, that the sadness has passed, but then another wave hits.
I’m learning to embrace the struggle, because it means God is changing even more of me––and I do want to be changed. I want to be rid of my fear, bitterness, shame, and anxiety––all the negative things I’ve been carrying that are not from Him. I want to be free.
It’s not an easy process, and I’m far from done. But here are some things I’m learning that I want to pass on to you in your process:
1. Grieving is important. Don’t skip the grieving process.
I used to think grieving was only appropriate when someone died. That is the most obvious and necessary time for grieving, but not the only one. When life seasons change, when relationships are lost, when the old must be said goodbye to, grieving is appropriate. That process probably looks different for everyone, but I just want to say: Give yourself space. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to not be okay. Take time to process and cry and mourn what has been lost.
2. Counseling is an invaluable resource.
I’ve been getting some counseling this year, and it has been incredibly helpful. I think there is a huge stigma attached to counseling and therapy that I would like to help dissolve. You don’t have to be on the brink of a breakdown to benefit from counseling. (Although I basically was..) Even though I received counseling during high school, my pride still strongly resisted the idea that I needed it again. Don’t let your pride block you from receiving the help and grace you need.
We all need help. And that’s okay. A good counselor provides an objective viewpoint aided with years of experience, a safe place to externally process, and invaluable insight that it probably would have taken much longer for you to arrive at on your own. Friends who listen are good, but if you have the money and you have some issues (which, let’s face it, we all do), I highly recommend investing in some counseling. You are worth the investment.To be made new, the old must die. Click To Tweet
3. The way God sees me is very different than the way I see myself.
So I’m working on this fantasy novel right now (please don’t ask me when it will be done..), and the main character is a bitter, young king. Secretly, I’ve thought of him as a version of myself. He is arrogant, entitled, suspicious, and brash, full of sarcasm and often unkind––an exaggeration of how I’ve often felt inside.
I’ve often felt far from good and far from good enough, especially for God.
As I’ve been coming face to face with my own ugliness these days, I’ve often felt far from good and far from good enough, especially for God. God is perfect; He deserves a perfect daughter. He deserves a follower and representative of Him who is at least a little less short-tempered and judgmental than me. I try, but I’m not even close to what He is worthy of.
But as I listened for God’s voice the other night, He said, Do you know how I see you? You’re that young farm girl.
I dreamt up this innocent farm girl to basically provide as sharp a contrast to the haughty king as possible. She is naive, sheltered, and boldly curious. She sings as she does her chores and explores the woods behind her house with delight. There is a freedom she lives in that I find utterly foreign––a freedom to ask questions and be completely, unashamedly herself.
But God said, That’s how I see you. And nothing is going to change my mind.
That’s the real you, He said.
As I absorbed His words, a profound peace overtook me.
Voices will tell you the worst parts of yourself are who you truly are. They are lying.
We are all complex individuals, there is quite a bit of the bad and ugly mixed in with the good. But it’s important which part of ourselves we think of as our true self. Voices will tell you the worst parts of yourself are who you truly are. They are lying. Satan, the Accuser, loves to shame us, but that’s not God’s heart.
We may wrestle with sin, but underneath that ugliness is goodness that He calls out of us, and over it is what He has covered us with: Jesus’ beauty. God is the one who created you. He knows who you truly are. Let Him show you His view.
4. God is my constant
I’ll end with this simple truth, the one that always carried me through: God loves me. And He’s never going to stop. Sometimes I ask Him why––
How are you so patient with me? How do I not drive you away with my moodiness and neediness, with all my struggles and insecurities that seem to be on a continual feedback loop? Why do you stay?
But though other certainties may grow hazy at times, one thing I know: I was made to be His, and He has claimed me. As long as I turn toward Him, I will always be in the right place. As long as I cry out His name, I will never be lost.
How can I not love Him with all that I am, having tasted such impossible goodness?