This Month I am going to choose and feature a story of Overcoming struggle, and give away a free portrait session to the person whose story I pick. You could be featured on my blog next month!!
Ok, I’ll admit it.. Writing your story is hard. wow, what an understatement.
But listen – it’s so so so so so so so so SO important.
Here’s why – Because you need to be reminded. There are points in your life where you will come to a cross roads, or a moment of doubt, or you will encounter a surge of draining energy that you believe just might suck the very life out of your bones – and the A #1 thing that will bring you back to a place of peace – is REMEMBERING.
We remember the slog, the struggle, the pain – and then we remember the GOODNESS of God that met us there. And our hearts are filled with so much gratitude… and the pain is put into perspective.
And that is a terrible struggle we all face. Putting pain in perspective is – is it the hardest thing we as humans have to do? I don’t know, but it is up there. Some personality types have an easier time not being dragged down into the pit by hardship, but they have a hard time getting in touch with the truth the pain carries. Then there are others (like me) that feel all the pain and the struggle and want to flail and scream and moan about it, and struggle to not lose sight of the goodness and all that is lovely and pure – we all struggle to remember.
BUT – when we do – remember, (regardless of personality or tendency toward seeing the truth revealed in struggle) the result is the same for all – Our hearts are filled with peace and joy beyond what we can understand, we experience a surge of gratitude for how far we have come and how faithful God is to us. Perspective brings that.
Make your requests known to God – and the peace that passes understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
It’s hard to tell our stories of loss and pain because so often we don’t allow the full circle to be drawn in our lives. Take some time today and think about a painful time (that horrible stuff we do everything we can to avoid) and then what goodness came out of it. I promise it is there if you look.
For me, one of those moments of struggle was finally admitting to God that I could not be who I believed He required me to be. I could not accomplish being good enough – for anyone – as a wife, a sister, a friend, a mother… I think about it now, about what could have happened if I had stopped there. What if I had not brought that to God and told him what I needed? Because what I needed was – to be a new person, with different everything! At least that’s what I thought I needed. And if I had not gone to Him and told Him, and listened, believing He would answer me (as He has done thousands of times before) then I wouldn’t have heard the words that utterly changed my life from that point on.
“Sallie – Be who I made you to be and everything will flow out of that place.”
I didn’t even understand what that meant. I had no idea how to even be myself. After a life time of being told to not dare to look at “self” I was horribly shut down and out of practice.
What He did NOT say to me was, let your “self” be the center of your universe and everything will flow out of that place.” — I think that might be what people hear when I repeat what He told me.
Knowing who you were created to be and living life from that place of authenticity — and — being the center of your own universe – are so far apart I’m struggling to put words to it. They are polar opposites. No. Not even that. They are not even on the same planet.
I was in the deepest place of anguish of my life (up to that point, anyway) and if I had just redoubled my efforts to do all the things I thought I should do, instead of being honest with God about my pain, I would have never seen the goodness.
Here’s the goodness.
- I learned that God loves me EXACTLY how I am, because He made me this way. (Yikes, how uncomfortable, right?)
- There is literally NOTHING I can do to make Him love me any more or any less than He does now. (So I can stop working so hard to get Him to love me)
- Everything is NOT about me. In fact very little is. (what a relief. So I can stop being responsible for everything that goes on with everyone in the whole world, and I can put down that weight forever)
- I am Seen. I am Known. And I am Loved (I am not hiding myself away because I’m too shameful to be seen, or too much of a mess to let anyone know me for real, and the kicker is I am LOVED ANYWAY!!! ha!!!!! What a glorious bit of goodness!!!)
These are just a few pieces of my life’s narrative that would not have been put into place if I had not been willing to look at the pain in my life – the wretched pain of failure, of not feeling good enough for anything I tired to do or be.
This is one of the greatest “moments” of overcoming in my life. I overcame the terrible lie that I had to measure up to some impossible standard, and that the only way to do it was to stop being my “self” – and be Jesus instead. But I misunderstood.
God is not holding Jesus up in a glass case for us to observe, and to use as a replacement for all the undesirable things in our “selves”. No.
A long time ago Jesus tore a veil that separated us from God’s presence. And ever since that day, he has been inviting us into a sacred space with Him where we learn who He really is and we learn our true identities. The excruciating shame and guilt that we walk into that space with cannot exist where he is, and it falls away – disintegrates before our eyes, and we are made free.
That’s such. good. news.
What is a moment of overcoming in your life? What was the struggle that goodness and beauty was born out of? Send me your stories! I want to hear them, and you need a photoshoot to remember all the GOODNESS!!!!!!