Thursday, April 9, 2015

If loneliness and grief are your schtick, then the great philosopher Elsa had it right, it's time to Let it Go

Typically, when I write, I spend hours on it. It takes me a long time to get all of my thoughts out, then I read and reread and edit and try and make it sound coherent.

So, by the time I hit publish, I've read the darn thing so many times, I'm over it.

I've released whatever was inside my head and heart and I move on.

It doesn't ever bother me that it sits on the website for a long time, and I usually feel just fine with whomever might stumble upon it.

The blog I wrote a few weeks back messed with me on sitting there for a while. I didn't like the idea of that one, being one of my most vulnerable ones, sitting out there for so long.

I used to write way more frequently, but now I only write when I feel this rush in me that I'm supposed to sit and do it. There has to be a deeper voice within me saying I need to go and think and process and put it down in some words.

When that happens, I know the same process will occur. I'll show up truly having no idea where the post will end up, and as I begin typing, sometime in there I will cry and wipe my tears in the middle of a Starbucks as a post comes together in some magical way.

My last post was different. I wanted to write it. I had stirring thoughts and I wanted to write. I decided to roll with it and write just on a desire to do so.

The post came easy and since I didn't have that compelling feeling inside, I decided to sit on it and not immediately publish it.

After several days, I mustered up the courage to reread and hit publish.

I knew I wrote during a low point in the month, not when I was at my optimum, but it was real and true and it was what it was.

The funny thing is, as I wrote and after I wrote, I wondered if there would ever be a time I would write about anything other than loneliness or grief or other discouraging stuff.

I even told myself, loneliness and grief seem to be your schtick Shelly.

I wondered what that said about me...I wondered if I could write about anything else.

I received some sweet notes, a text or two after my post. They were kind and encouraging.

I received a long email from my dearest friend and it made me weep.

But then, I opened another was encouraging as well, but it also said some other things in it that truly made me pause and have a gut check moment.

Here's the deal, more often than not, my significance, value, worth are completely tied to what I think others think of me.

For years, this was a HUGE problem. It ran my life. People's opinions of me have been my holy grail. I wanted, and still 99% of the time want people to think I'm great, I'm doing it right, have my poop together, am wise, funny, solid, with it, and let me just say it, amazing.

It's the "I must get it right to avoid the pitfalls in life" part of my personality meeting the "perfectionist" meeting the "I'm completely insecure with who I am" trifecta.

It's the perfect storm.

It causes one to over analyze, over step, over try, and anything else you can over, it overs that as well.

So, after my life went to pot, I was determined to let go of so much, give this thing to God, and fully immerse myself into rehabilitating the toxicity that had become my insides and my thinking.

It sent my intentionality and my chance at a second chance of living into overdrive. My determination and desire to live an authentic life had another shot, and I was going to take it!

There's been much beauty and healing in the wake of that. I can't even tell you the leaps and bounds I've come and the amazing grace that God has shown me and taught me through the process of surrendering my life to Him, letting go of the controls as much as I can at each step of the way.

But, as I stated in a couple posts back, forgiving myself has been very problematic for me. It's taken (and seems to be still taking) six years to get to a point where I'm allowing the idea to become a possibility.

Six years.

The book of Exodus has always been my favorite. The story of rescue and redemption and God's power amongst a people that begs to go back to slavery and creates idols because they're impatient and forget and can't keep their minds on the Lord has always connected with me, because I have always known I am just like them.

I beg for removal, but then I practically beg to go back. I beg for rescue but then I wander around reminiscing about slavery.

I don't see God working fast enough so I track down some new idols, prop them up, and weep in the mediocrity of it all.

Years ago, a Bible teacher of mine once said, "God took the people out of Egypt, but it took a long while for the Egypt to get out of the people."

God takes me out of slavery, but so often, I think I'm still a slave or that I need to remember that I was a slave or acknowledge that slavery isn't that far away or it's the cause to my mediocrity...not because I set up camp in a desert with my man made gold statues.

When I'm about to have an anxiety attack, one of the best remedies is to call one of 2 friends. If I call Amy or Brit, they'll talk me through it and most likely out of it.
They're calm, they remind me of what is happening, that everything is going to be okay. They ask great questions and just talk with me, but most importantly, they tell me the reality of the situation.

My mind has to remember what reality is and that my body is panicking over a perceived situation but it isn't reality.

That's what God has to do with us each day. That's what we NEED to have Him do each day.

Remind me of what's real Lord, of who I am, of Your love, Your rescue, Your grace, Your forgiveness.

Remind me. Speak to me Lord.

Throughout the Old Testament God says to the people, Do this so you'll remember.

Remember that God brought you out.

Remember the Lord is mighty.

Remember what the Lord has done.

The email that stung a bit, was one that was telling me in so many words, Remember Shelly.

My immediate thought back was, I do! I do remember.

The grace, the joy, the love...all of it. The countless stories and moments and friends and job and simplicity and complete's all God and I'm grateful for every ounce.

But...the forgiveness, letting things go, and not reminding myself or convincing myself I must still be a slave, not so much.

How could I let that go?. It's my schtick.
When my heart hurts, that's usually why.
When I'm alone, that's where my mind wanders.
I might become an optimist for Pete's sake and not a cynic.
I might lose my snark and start accepting the reality of who I am and stop pretending to be something I am not.

So, instead, I build my golden statue for a little while, let my mind wander in the fields of loneliness and wander back across the border into Egypt...or at least long for it for a while.

Living victoriously is hard.

I honestly didn't think it was for me.

I'm intentional and determined and hell bent on doing it, that I can't quite figure out why I'm not full on, immersed living victoriously.

And, this Easter morning, I think I caught a glimpse...

Forgiving myself is the ultimate humility for me.

Forgiving myself would mean I really did and do screw up, and I can't do anything in my own power to fix it.

It means I really do need Jesus.

I'm not solid, super wise, got it together, rockstar amazing.

It means I'm normal and human and in GREAT need of a Savior and friend and forgiveness and grace.

Too often, I am the rich young ruler showing up to Jesus telling Him I'm keeping "them all" Lord, what do I have to do?

I'm singing, I'm dancing, and I'm going after it God...

But I kind of wonder if Jesus might be telling me to stop singing and dancing and chasing it.

Forgiveness and grace come when you realize this isn't a chase; this isn't something you do.

If you do it Shelly, it isn't done, it isn't real, and you're missing the point.

"With man it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible."

 This morning, as John preached from Romans 6 and talked about how we have been buried with Him through baptism into death and all of the ramifications from that...

...that the old life is gone, buried; it is no more. There is no going back. The death has occurred and it is gone. Irrevocable..

I saw how I tend to go back. I'm afraid I haven't paid a big enough penalty, maybe I haven't learned my lesson, maybe I need to relook or rethink or continue to pay the price, so I go back.

And I really need to stop going back, exhuming my mistakes, climbing into the hole, and thinking the ghost is haunting me.

My lack of forgiveness is just my pride refusing to let it go.

And it's time, to let it go.

Stop staring at the Promised Land.

Step into the river and trust God that living victoriously is way better than standing frozen :) in fear to move on in His grip, on His path, and in His plan.

The unknown is scary. It is.

But, His unknown includes hope, grace, love, new life, and victory.

It's time to step.

Shackles gone and buried.

Closing my eyes and stepping out, stepping away...

For this I know, that God is for me.

In Him,

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