Grow, see, break, heal
I should be packing boxes but instead I really wanted to talk to you. This has been on my heart and I want to share this with you in case you needed to be encouraged or inspired. Currently we are packing up to move back up north. As I sit here packing my life into these boxes, I can’t help but notice how much has changed in this last two years—how much I have changed. I got to grow, see, break, and heal in the process.
In some ways Nashville broke me, and in many ways it healed me. We stepped into this chapter unsure but hopeful. I had grand ideas of what life would look like, and what I’d be doing. Fast forward two years, and it was nothing like anticipated. Our time here was far from glamorous, but it was trying and eye opening.
I am a big proponent in stepping out of your comfort zone and living somewhere you never have before. Whether it is going away to college, or taking a trip across the world, seeing the world is so important. It allows us to see ourselves in a new light. We learn things about ourselves, some good, some not so much. A change of scenery can do wonders for our hearts.
I often pray one of David’s prayers, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24). Well, He answered. And this is what I found…
I found a lot of selfishness. I put myself before others in so many areas—my needs and my desires.
I also found that I had been quietly thinking negatively about my God. I talked so much about God, but seldom to Him, and the result was bad theology and sinful thinking. I questioned who He is, His motives, His goodness, His character—yet I rarely bothered to actually know Him.
I also made idols for myself. Rest, sleep, online facades; these became my gods.
It was sinful, to be frank, and I was often unaware of it, but I felt ugly inside and could not fully identity why. These mentalities were baggage that were carried over from previous chapters that had never been dealt with. Things I knew were there but had been shoved under the rug time and time again…. They made life feel heavy and my mind foggy and my heart ache. Can you relate?
But you see, even in my messy thinking, the Lord was at work. In His timing, He convicted me and opened my eyes to see my sinfulness and pride. A dear friend of mine wrote me a letter the other day (hand written letters are my love language). She quoted Jeremiah 29:11, a verse that often gets used for graduations and such, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” To be honest, this verse has often gone over my head. But this time it was like seeing it for the first time. I realized, then, that my God can be trusted, and He does give us hope and a future when we trust Him.
I cried and cried as I finally asked for forgiveness…You see, when we ask for Him to reveal our sinfulness, He does. But He doesn’t just leave you there in your guilt and shame, He gives you hope and a future. There is a beautiful life ahead for those who surrender the things that have taken the place of the Lord.
How can I say that without sounding cliche or cheesy? I cannot overstate how true it is though, friend. I know that words like “repent” and “surrender” seem dated and weird, but to put it in lament terms, it means to see and identify areas of weakness, recognize why they aren’t great for you, and change your lifestyle. We live this way to get the most of life, not to limit our lives. It is the most freeing kind of way to live.
In many seasons thus far I have had to learn this hard lesson. I truly believe that the Lord has an incredible life in store for those who leave their baggage at His feet and never look back. I felt so free when I laid that burden down…and I am not packing it with me in this next chapter.
Anyway, that’s it for this little rant. If you are tired and frustrated in your faith, maybe it’s because you’ve been carrying some baggage that has gone unnoticed for some time now. I encourage you to pray that prayer above, Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. I kid you not, it works.