My soul doesn’t look like this, but this *IS* beautiful.
NOTE: Let me apologize in advance. Most of my blog posts are angst-y in one way or another, because that’s when I need to write things down to get them out of my head. It’s how I make sense of things.
There are times when nothing significant seems to happen for ages. Then there are times when everything happens at once. The past two years has been that for me…it has been a roller coaster of emotion, activity, change, pain, and upheaval. I’m still in the middle of it, in fact. Yet, I can look back from here and think, “Dang, girl! You’re braver than you thought you were!” because I’ve survived it!
On the whole, my life is pretty happy. I know, I don’t write about that part much.🙂 It isn’t perfect, but I have wonderful people to love and spend time with. I’m healthy. I have food to eat and a roof over my head. I live in a country where I’m free to worship however I want. But you know how it is…sometimes things just get HARD.
God has been teaching me so many things lately. Maybe “revealing” is a better word to use. I think it’s true that if we never had to do hard things, we’d never become good, strong people. If you never exercise, your body becomes weak. If you never have anything to overcome, your spirit becomes weak. I’d prefer to never have anything to overcome, myself. But I do see the wisdom in this. I think it’s how we “work out our salvation” – at least partly. Part of living is gaining wisdom. And God floored me with some wisdom today.
Without going into gory details (oh, she’s being discreet for once!), I’ll just say that I’ve got stuff on my mind. I need a job. I left my old home, but my new home isn’t really “home” yet. I have relationship difficulties. I have expectation issues. I think too much. I want too much. I’ve allowed my thinking about my circumstances to become turned around. When that happens, I get depressed and anxious. I have panic attacks. I cry a lot. I am old enough and experienced enough at this point in my life to know when I need help, even when I wish I didn’t have to have it. And the people who love me make sure that I do what I must do (i.e. call the doctor and get the meds I need). That’s the physical/medical side.
The spiritual side is something else altogether. I have a lot of ropes, I guess. I come to the end of these ropes regularly. Today was a day in which I was hanging on to the last frayed strand of a rope that had been stretching dangerously for several weeks. By the time I got home this afternoon I didn’t have any choice except to truly get on my face before God for a couple of hours before I lost it. I am not too proud to say that I’ve gotten really mad at God during the last couple of years of upheaval. I mean really, screaming, ugly mad at God. But today I realized that being mad at God isn’t fair, nor is it productive. The problem here is with me, and I finally got it.
I guess that goes without saying, doesn’t it? The problem is never going to be with God. But I think in his kindness and mercy he lets us rage, and then he gently shows us how we could be doing things better. For me, this realization was that I needed to get to the very bottom of why I feel the way I do about myself. I’m a perfectionist. I expect so much of myself. I have a picture in my head of how I think I should be, and because I can’t possibly live up to it, because I’ve made so many mistakes, I’m generally Very Mad at Myself. Worthless, empty, not really good at anything, not pretty enough, not going to amount to anything, not loveable, incapable of making good decisions.
But you know what? I realized today that I am exactly where God wants me, and I am exactly HOW God wants me. He made this soul – the real me, the thing that is going to live forever. And he *does* think I’m beautiful – me the soul. (Who cares about this body? It’s temporary, so stop worrying about it, Sherrin!)
I thought for so long that God loves me because he HAS to. He can’t help it – he’s God. He can’t do anything but love. That made me feel very much like an obligation. That yes, I may suck immensely, but God has to love me anyway.
But now I see that he WANTS to love me. He created me specifically. He put me in the family he wanted me in – for better or for worse. He raised me in the church, the school, the culture he wanted me in. He allowed the bad things that happened to me that weren’t my fault. One day that which was lost will be restored, by the way. He knew the sins I would commit. They’ve already been forgiven.
Yet it has all shaped me. The things I see as brokenness, screwed-up-ness, impossible-to-love-ness…those things make my soul the way God wants it. I am not worthless. This beautiful soul is flawed, but because of those flaws it has become loving, grateful, generous, kind, and empathetic. I came out of today’s battle with the conviction that with this realization is going to come healing. Those feelings of worthlessness, etc. were keeping me from the joy and abundant life that God promises us in his word. He doesn’t promise easy, happy, perfect. He promises to complete the good work he began in us that started the moment we came into relationship with him.
Children of the Most High God, realize how valuable and loved you are. You’re a beautiful soul. You’re touching lives, just like I am. You’re exactly where you were meant to be. Relax into his will. It’s going to be okay.