The Confession: Part Two

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The Wall.

Let me be honest about what this “wall” really is: a shame-based separation of myself from any type of suffering. A deep-set belief of unworthiness.

As a young girl, I recall experiencing several painful and uncomfortable health issues. My mother remembers me asking her why God didn’t answer my prayers and take away the pain. In my wee little girl brain, I began to believe God wouldn’t answer my prayers because I was a “bad girl.” Even at two years old I believed I was less than others. If I were just “good” enough God would remove my suffering.

As I grew the unworthiness embedded itself into my soul. Every disappointment re-instilled the belief that I was flawed and undeserving of love or relationship or blessing…

I won’t say my early physical trauma created a separation between God and myself, however I’m sure it contributed to it. I became distrustful of God and His relentless pursuit of me. I became content to stay on the sidelines of spiritual life. Safe, but never experiencing true joy. I made attempts to break free, but one small setback would send me scurrying back to my safe spot in the corner.

Almost five years ago, things began to change. I was immensely disappointed with how my life was playing out and I was ready to move on from seeking relationship with God. I was giving Him one last chance. I challenged God: show up now, or this relationship is going to stay where it is until I die. (I completely OWN that challenging God is not the wisest of ideas. But I was desperate.)

I laid down the challenge and He took me up on it in an unexpected, gentle way. He invited me to see Him in a different light.

Not in the storm, or the fire or the earthquake.

But in the whisper of a breeze He passed by.

In a few short months, I went from little involvement in church to attending a discipleship group and seeking God fully. In that time, I experienced, not one, but two job layoffs. In times past this development would have crushed me. Yet this time it didn’t. This time, regardless of the layoffs and financial insecurity, I had a new experience: Trust.

For the first time in my life (yes, I really mean that!) I understood what it meant to trust in God. To let Him take over and let go of the burdens. More importantly, I began to believe in who He created me to be. Not the “bad girl” filled with shame, rather a unique individual with immense potential to be pursued and used by God.

By trusting in Him, I let Him woo me. I allowed Him to take over control of my life. Willingly.

There’s far more to this story than I will share now, but know I have been living in trust for five years and what a joy it has been. When awkward times arrive, I am still tempted to rush ahead and fix things, but I am learning to slow it down and allow God to do His work.

Does that “wall” still exist? Sure. It probably will until the end of my life here on earth. I still have fears: justified or not. But now I have God standing in front of me. His grace and love is an impenetrable fortress and it will choose it over the other every time.

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The Confession

I have a confession to make.

I’m having a hard time putting it into words as it concerns a “shame” issue I’ve been avoiding for most of my adult life.

Maybe I need to back into this instead of coming right out and saying it.

Way, way back when bangs were high, shoulder pads were everywhere and “The Breakfast Club” was in the theatres, I was growing up. And it was miserable. I don’t want to go too deep into the story, but know that there were family issues, depression and an abysmally low self-esteem. The only way I could imagine getting through this time was to build an emotional wall. Initially, the wall was a way to protect my heart. To remain safe. However, eventually it became a wall of sarcasm, anger, fear and pride. It wasn’t just a line of defense, but of offense, too.

I should have outgrown the wall. As big hair gave way to the grunge era, I should have been searching out who I was becoming. But I didn’t. I was protected by that wall. And that wall became my identity. My beauty was hidden by bitterness.

Through the years, the wall has taken a lot of damage. Spiritual growth has turned it into a site of ruins. Yet, even in its decimated state, I still find myself ducking behind it’s remnants when I feel exposed to rejection or disappointment.

So. My confession.

My confession is: I know precisely why I am single.

It’s not my outward appearance, intelligence, lack of coolness or any of those other trivial things I have blamed throughout my life.

It’s the wall.

And that wall has been blocking one of the most beautiful parts of me: vulnerability.

Fear built that wall. Fear of being embarrassed. Fear of being rejected. Fear of being hurt. Fear of looking like a fool. Fear of living.

Fear of being pursued.

It’s safer to reject someone before they get the chance to reject you. Something about being pursued (romantically or otherwise) terrified me. Terrifies me?

That wall was never a protection. It was never helping me. It was built on one foundation: shame.

Shame because I’m single. Both the church and the world have made it clear to me that I just didn’t make the cut. Undesirable.

Shame about my failures. Never mind that any success includes numerous flops.

Shame about my past. Even though it is just that: past.

So now what?

How do reclaim vulnerability? How do I live completely in who God made me? How do I embrace joy and walk without fear?

I’ve come so far in the past few years. I long for relationship – but mostly I long for God.

Could it be, with all this faux living I have rejected even His pursuit?

To be continued…