Breaking Free

feet-in-chains

I like to think of myself of someone who lives in the moment, with an eye to the future. But I am lying to myself.  I spend a lot of time worrying about the past, thinking about mistakes, second-guessing my decisions, wasting energy on the things I can’t change.  And it is draining.

It is important to understand our past, where we come from, how it has shaped us. Our past is what forms the person we are today, but it isn’t everything about who we are.  Each and every day gives us the opportunity to break free from the past hurts and lies, and live anew in the redemptive power of the cross.

This past week I was given space and time to pray and listen to the voice of the Lord. Through that time, I was shattered. Wrecked. Strung out. Formed and transformed once again. But all of that happened in the gentle, loving way that only the Lord has. The touch of the Savior has brought me to a place of beauty and rest. My soul has been shaken, my world tilted upon its axis. And I cling to the cross, finding shelter, refuge, strength. There is nothing else to grab. There is nothing, no one, that has been the solid foundation, the firm, unyielding rock as my life has been battered by sometimes ceaseless storms. Nothing but the cross. Nothing but the love of the Father, nothing but the saving redemption of the Son, nothing but the passionate stirring of the Spirit.

The funny thing, the crazy thing, is that it all…ALL… came in such a gentle, loving way from God. In the soft, sweet prayers, the gentle nudging of this awakening to myself occurred. It was not harsh, it was not brutal, and yet I feel as shattered and shaken as if it had been.

During a time of prayer, I prayed that God would reveal to me the way in which I needed healing, the places that I needed His touch. I became aware of this pressing down, this stifling, this silencing of my voice…of my worth. I had a strong revelation that so much of what I have done in the past, so many of my sins and hurts, arose from the fact that I never felt like I was given much attention or love.

I have not been seen. Not been noticed. Not been heard. I have played the part of the good daughter, the good student, the busy worker bee. Done all the parts, did my job well. But never noticed. Never given accolades. I work in the background. Quiet. Not seeking attention for myself. But, oh, how I want someone to pay attention. To notice. To see.

Growing up an introvert in a big family, it was hard to feel as though I was paid attention to, or given what I needed. I never felt as though I had a voice that could be heard, and so many times I felt like I couldn’t use my voice if it questioned the status quo.  And I know my parents did their best, loved us in their own ways. But I ached for more.  I did what I could to get attention, any attention, playing the part of the “good girl.” As I got older, I rebelled, but quietly. I hid my rebellion from my family, hid the drinking, the darkness, the tatoo, the craziness of my life. I sought out ways of feeling like others were giving me the attention that I craved, the love I needed. But they weren’t giving me that…they were only using me. I continued to seek approval, desired attention. But never asking for it. Never verbalizing what my true needs were. Perhaps in fear of rejection, or perhaps just in fear. Those hurts, those scars of the past, have healed…but they are still there. Scars are the reminders of those wounds that were deep, that hurt so intensely.  For many years, I have tried to shutter them away, pretending they didn’t even exist.  I have come to realize the importance of recognizing the scars of the past, realizing their pain runs deep, but that they are not the essence of WHO  I am. They are just a part of the history of WHAT has happened in my life. And I do not need to live out my life now as though the wounds are fresh, or as though I am still living in the past.

There is a healing happening within me, through the saving love of the Creator. He is bringing me this awareness that I do want to be seen, cared for, loved. And isn’t that what we all desire, when all of the things of this world are stripped away? Knowing that someone loves us, someone cares.  I have a voice, an opinion, and it matters. It matter to Him, and it matters to others.

As I blog, I do want others to notice, to read my words, to allow them to resonate. I desire for others to comment, to discuss, to be open to the message I try so hard to convey. But I struggle with seeking approval from others versus using this blog to witness. Because THAT is the deep reason that I write. To point to Jesus and show how He has formed and transformed me, and is still. How do I lay down my broken self, sacrifice my pride and vanity, allow my voice to be heard without filtering it for the approval of others? This is my struggle, finding my voice and finding confidence in using it, and not using it to garner attention or approval.

The blessing of my life is that I have a husband who is, and has been, attentive to my needs, even the deep, unspoken ones. He has allowed me a place in which my voice has been encouraged, not stifled, and allowed me to grow and change and discover who I truly am. There is such freedom in feeling safe with another to show your true self. There is so much fear that inhibits one from showing and sharing the brokenness within, and so much freedom and joy when you can find another in which you can allow that to happen. Darkness fears the light, and it is only by shining light in the dark places that redemption can occur and chains of the past can be broken.

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