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 been tangled together like a giant knot that is slowly loosening. 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.”
– Jesus (John 12:24)
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 God. 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 wanted to share:
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 got some counseling during high school, my pride strongly resisted the idea that I needed it again. Don’t let your pride block you from receiving the help 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, I would highly recommend investing in some counseling. You are worth the investment.
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 exaggerated version of how I often feel inside.
These days I have often felt far from good and far from good enough, especially for God. God is perfect; He deserves a perfect daughter. God 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 God is worthy of.
But as I listened for God’s voice the other night, God 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, loves interacting with all living creatures, 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, God said.
As I absorbed God’s words, a profound peace overtook me.
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 that the worst parts of yourself are who you truly are. They are lying. Satan, the Accuser, loves to weigh us down with shame, to convince us that we trapped in our worst failures and faults. But God says we’re not.
We all wrestle with sin, all of us have ugly parts that are important to acknowledge and repent of, but underneath that ugliness is goodness. We were created in the image of God, and God is good. God continually calls that goodness out of us. God is the one who created you. He knows who you truly are. Let God show you His view.
4. God is my constant
I’ll end with this simple truth, the one that always carries me through: God loves me. And He’s never going to stop. Sometimes I ask God 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 God’s, 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 God with all that I am, having tasted such impossible goodness?