Where I’ve Been:
For the past few months, I decided to do something that I don’t ever do: I took a break. Like the majority of humans, this year has been hard. I apparently don’t do well on lockdown and there have been significant life changes non-pandemic related. By the time we somehow made it to July, I had nothing to give.
I’ve been faced with life and major shifts before, and each time I would just “push through”. This year was different. Instead of just pushing through, I got honest and disconnected. I didn’t worry about posting to social media, writing, or going out. I did what would pour in to me. Reading, resting, journaling, prayer, and my personal favorite: crying. I didn’t make myself available to do anything.
At first I felt bad and lazy. As someone that has found purpose and worth in my doing, this was a big deal. The challenge was to learn how to still believe I had purpose, but this time, just from my “being”. What I first saw as a challenge, or a test, was actually the set up for healing.
Performing and doing the most, was how I showed up to life. I brought the need to perform to my relationship with God, and everything else for that matter. In God’s grace, He worked with that and showed me I’m so much more than the tasks I complete.
There were some moments that felt miserable. But when I let the rest, reflection, and pain do their work, I began to heal. It was a deep healing work I didn’t know I needed. I began to experience God in a way that went deeper than just having head knowledge.
What I Learned:
There are many things we learn only during our “dark nights”. I am no different. The three powerful lessons I learned during my time of solitude were:
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. This powerful declaration means I do not have to agree with shame. Shame lies that we are bad and will always be. I secretly held to the thought that Jesus loves me, but God still isn’t fully pleased with me. Through therapy and reflection, I got honest about my view of God. It was hard to believe and accept the fullness of His love when I still hated a small part of myself. My experience of God changed when I allowed myself to agree with the full work of the cross and resurrection of Jesus. I still have moments, but there’s a love I fully accept now that carries me through.
Deal with the past or it will keep dealing with you! Much of our personality is shaped by what we’ve been through and how we responded to it. That trait you claim is “just how you are” is really a coping mechanism because you avoid real healing. This is me and I am this. Burying myself in busyness when I feel overwhelmed is just me avoiding doing the self work. This year made it impossible for me to hide behind work or other people. I had to take a look at my past and hand it over to God. Handing your past over means dealing with what’s in it, the good, bad and ugly. Even when it’s scary after all these years, Jesus empowers us to face the past head on. I faced head on what I often swept under the rug of “that was so long ago”. It was not easy, but I’m glad I did the hard work.
My value cannot be in my works! God isn’t looking for me to build up this list of accomplishments to show Him. Regardless of what I do, apart from Jesus I can’t do anything righteous anyway.Tasks aren’t a means to the end, which is God’s love. God’s love is the means to the end of experiencing a life of God’s love. When I make it about me, I have to sustain it. No one is that powerful. In this season of doing less, I’ve gotten more. More mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
This is only a glimpse at what I’ve gained this year, in this season. I know I’m still on a journey and I’m thankful for the process. I’ll be using what I know to help the next person. Help them walk in the freedom God gave everything for them to have.
So what about you? This has been a year of loss, confusion, and uncertainty. What have you gotten out of it? The beauty of God is that there is always redemption. He’s too good to have it any other way! If you already know, celebrate it. If you aren’t sure yet, that’s okay too. Be on the lookout for it. I’m sure it’ll surprise you what you get out of 2020.