It started while I was on campus at the University of Arkansas Friday. I not only spent a lot of time there as a student, but the past 12-14 years (I frankly forget.), I have spent a considerable amount of time there as a volunteer, board member, occasional spectator, and even as a "distance" student. It is a place that I have called #home for a long time. While it will always be #home in some sense, my "active" time there is going through a "shift"...and like sands through the hourglass...can't you just hear the music?!?
I found myself snapping shots as I walked across campus and down Dickson Street to meet friends/fellow board members for music and then dinner. Nostalgia started coming over me in waves. "What the heck?!?!" flashed through my mind (more than once)...I mean "Really?!?!"...I was dumbdified (and no that is NOT a word, but YES it SHOULD be :)).
I found it sweet and painful all at the same time.
I am still processing.
The thing about trying to grow emotionally is that you are forced by default to confront the very things you are trying to avoid...hence stunting your emotional growth. It is a viscous cycle...and one that I am navigating like a soldier in a land mine field. *Sigh*
...and that made me smile...
I mean isn't this why so many of us don't, or delay, doing the work?!
I got asked this morning, "Aren't we all broken?" as if (read this as...what I heard was...) "Why are you doing this to yourself?" My first answer wasn't very good...frankly, the question surprised me and made me reflect for a moment..."Why AM I doing this???"
Then I remembered...
I want to be healed.
I am doing the work because I want to be truly healed.
I don't say that as a victim...far from it.....I know that everything bad that has ever happened in my life is not my fault, nor do I whitewash emotionally those things that are my fault. My point is that I want to be able to restore some of my previous rose-colored glasses. While I now recognize that I no longer want the "rosy-only" version, I also don't want the clouded version. I guess I am going for the version that is clear and bright (the sun just started reflecting off of my laptop) and viewed through the same scope of grace that I am working to show myself.
That is a tall order.
When you start studying vulnerability and shame (via Brene Brown), coupled with a women's bible study that digs into the heart of being a woman...it can be overwhelming. Let me be clear, it IS overwhelming.
If there is one thing that I am learning through both of them (and all of this I am experiencing), it is that I hold myself to an unachievable standard...and by default, I do the same to so many of those around me.
...and sh*t just got real...
Wow. Well I just deleted and pasted and deleted and pasted all of that a few times. *Sigh*
If I don't show grace to myself...to all of the past wounds, brokenness, trials, tribulations, errors, sins, shortcomings, etc....If I can't show it to my own self..."OWN my story"...and the very past that has made me Who. I. Am...then how the heck am I supposed to live it, show it, Be. it???
I came across this verse the other morning, and I thought it was sent to me to share with one of the "Captivating 7" who is going through a difficult time...it just dawned on me that I might also need to hear it right now...
"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us .For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:28-39
That last part (verses 38-39) are some powerful words for those of us who struggle with grace for ourselves because it rebukes and rejects the lies we (i.e., the devil) have told ourselves that we are not worthy, not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not...not...not...Enough. to be/deserve/earn the love and forgiveness and mercy and grace of Jesus....or anyone else of this earth.
Well, I am cooked. done. kaput. I need to simmer on all of this awhile.
Yet one more thing...I am listening to an audio version of a book, and yesterday while I drove between Fayetteville and Yellville, the author said the darndest thing..."...the wilderness is avoidable...". To which I pulled over to rewind and write that down. The wilderness is avoidable. Now he was drawing a correlation between the Israelites after Egypt and how we have accepted that as "Christians" we have to go through these "periods"...but he was reminding the reader (listener) that the Israelites had a choice....and maybe, just maybe...so do we. Well, that just about flipped my lid. What a concept?!?
Does the wilderness make you feel better? If you beat yourself up enough, you will feel better. If you analyze it to death, the quizzical will suddenly make sense. If you persecute yourself (rightly or wrongly), then you won't give anyone else a chance to do the same. Are these the lies we all tell ourselves to make our own periods in the wilderness make sense?
Nothing...N.O.T.H.I.N.G can separate us from the love of God.
I know he used the nostalgia of the beautiful University of Arkansas campus to set the stage for more lessons. I just wonder how many lessons one girl can have thrown at her in a three day period before she admits herself to the funny farm. :)))
Just kidding. Maybe. ;)
Growth is hard. Growth is hard for...All. Of. Us. I want to be whole..healed and whole, or as Brene Brown calls it, "Wholehearted."...and the work of my heart is the only path to that...for this girl.
It is QUITE the ride.
So...I have to run...I am about to watch my father do the "voice of God" in Saul's conversion to Christ on the road to Damascus, in Spanish, to a group of K-12 children....there is NO way I am missing THAT.
I will MOST DEFINITELY need therapy after....again, just kidding. :))))
The path to wholeheartedness is dangerous, but I guess I am here to say that it is survivable. I have great hope too, that on the other side, of both the wilderness I created for myself and the one I was launched into...there is a beauty, a peace, a love, a healing, and great grace like I have never known. That is my one hope...my deepest hope.
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)