Thursday, December 26, 2013

Release

A few weeks ago, I was sitting on a flight heading back home to Georgia from Australia. I had booked my return flight at the last minute with a cheap airline because I didn't want to sell both arms and legs to pay for the crazy expensive prices on the better airlines. At the end of the day, I made it from point A to point B, which I guess is the point.

Anyway, during the flight we encountered some turbulence. The pilot said that flying over Fiji is always like that - something about their weather I think he said. I was just trying to hold in my airline meal at the time, so I wasn't entirely paying attention. :)

After his announcement, I remember looking up and noticing that the "fasten seatbelts" sign wasn't lit up. I was surprised, especially because of just how bumpy that portion of the flight was. Parts of my flight (with a more expensive airline) coming to Sydney had been bumpy, and the "fasten seatbelts" sign had been lit up the whole time.

Then, I realized that this was one of those times where I had to rely on the pilot and his judgement of the situation. If he'd really thought we would need to fasten our seatbelts, he would have told us to fasten them. It's basic, I know. Then I realized something: he could see what I couldn't. He could see what was coming, at least to some extent, and determined that a seat belt wasn't necessary.

The more I pondered the whole seatbelt situation, the more I realized that it applies spiritually as well. Sometimes I think I cling to my figurative seat belt with a death grip, knowing that it will keep me "safe." But what is safe is not always right, at least not spiritually. If I'd stuck with what was safe, I would never have moved to a country where I didn't know anybody. I wouldn't have ever given a second thought to marrying a guy I met online and easily dismissed it. I wouldn't have moved cross country, while pregnant, purely based on a leading and without a job or house lined up.

And you know what? I would have seriously missed out on some of the best times of my life. I would have missed out on the joy of finding a new beginning. I would have missed out on healing. I would have missed out on the BEST seven years of my life - of knowing my wonderful hubby. I would have missed out on seeing God very specifically answer prayers and provide for our needs, even when it didn't come in the way I expected.

So sometimes that seat belt doesn't protect...it stands in the way of the things God wants you to do. He's looking ahead at the things that are coming - things that you cannot see - and He says, "No seat belt needed this time." He says, "Jump." And He promises to catch us.

Dusty Boxes

I was a little girl. Innocent. I shouldn't have known such pain, but I did. Not physical pain, but deep emotional pain. I think I could have dealt with the physical pain - at least that heals. But this pain, it lingers. Over and over again it cuts me to the core and I wonder how I will heal yet again. I wonder if I will heal.

Rejection. Disgust. Never good enough.

That's what I felt. It's what I still feel.

I used to think maybe it would get better. "Maybe he'll change," I told myself. Yet even as the words formed in my mind, I knew I didn't really believe them. It had been over 20 years and nothing had changed - why would it be different now? The pain went on, sometimes with new wounds on a daily basis. Inside, I was still a little girl, still trying to process how to stop the hurting, how to make things happy again. I wondered what I'd done wrong, in what way I hadn't measured up this time.

For most of my life, I thought I just wasn't trying hard enough. I thought maybe if I was perfect - if I got the best grades in school, if my teachers liked me, if I read my Bible a whole lot - maybe then, we would be happy. Maybe then, you would like me.

But it never came. I got the good grades, my teachers liked me, and I read my Bible faithfully. But still, my world rocked and caved. Still, that horrible pain came.

And so I learned to shut it down. I learned probably the worst technique of my life - I compartmentalized the pain. I put it in a box, taped it up, and shoved it into the darkest corners of my heart, leaving it there to gather dust until against my will it was ripped open again. I pretended it didn't exist. I pretended my reality didn't exist. It was the only way I could cope.

I learned how to make myself hard inside. I learned how to just numb myself to any of the words that were thrown at me. I pretended they bounced right off my steely heart. And in that moment, they did. But, my technique had a flaw - eventually, when I was alone in my room, those words would come tumbling back to me, and with them poured the tears. My whole body wracked in sobs as I wondered why - again - I wasn't enough.

Some days the only thing that got me through was knowing that the next day I would get up and go to school and I would have at least 6 hours to enjoy life, when I could laugh and not wonder if I was going to be criticized, when I could just be and know I was accepted for being me. I was loved.

I don't remember much about being a kid. Too much of it got packed away in those boxes, and to be honest, I don't want to unpack them. The pain is too great and the rejection too real. I can't relive that over again - I just can't. So for now, they sit and gather dust, and I'm ok with that...because in this moment, I know I am loved. I know I am accepted. I know I am enough.