I read this quote by Dr Caroline Leaf and it really struck home. I will be the first to admit, courage to be self aware is different than trying to suck it up and be strong...one is foundational...the other will crumble eventually...
When we feel raw and broken, it is our tendency to blame, complain or explain, to cope, compensate for it, try to fix it, or ignore the pain and how it makes us feel. Sometimes it is second nature to us that we don't even recognize it for what it is. We have been in these cycles for so long. But it is in the moments of feeling raw and broken than God can get into our innermost crevices and we can find healing.
I have been all of these. I have been "strong" and pushed through, I have tried compensating for the shame, the blame and defending the utter weaknesses that make me who I am (but I needn't allow to define me). But there is a brokenness that comes that is so great and terrible and liberating all at once. We have a choice in that brokenness to try to be "stronger" or to face the pain for what it really is.It is in those utterly weak moments, seeing myself for who I am that I came to grips with a grace and a love I pray I will always be humbled by. I faced the worst parts of myself and in all of the agony felt God's grace so real and so strong. Grace is getting what we don't deserve, unmerited love in spite of our bad decisions and just plain old human nature.
It was hard to grasp at first.
I had to ask "Why?"
"Simply because I love you" was the only reply.
And the love washed over me.
It was not the accident that cracked open this weakness but the own personal mess I had made of my private life. Had I not had a taste of that inner grace on a new level prior, the accident would have taken me all the way under. The accident just pushed me to a place of such complete surrender that I had no choice but to stand in all of that grace.
Just stand. It sounds passive but really it is active.
Ephesians 6 says:
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the [b]wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of [c]the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
It takes energy to stand instead of giving up, to let go and let God while refraining from hopelessness. To surrender but not become a doormat. To find true hope (defined by expectantly waiting on God) based on who God says we are to Him and who He is to us... on His promises to us. We can trust His promises (rhemas) even when it appears that they are not a reality. He LIKES to do the unthinkable, the unimaginable. He prefers when we have exhausted all of our own ideas and say, "You're gonna have to do this because I am out of ideas."
Yes. Yes, this is when He moves His mighty hand on our behalf. And it never looks how we thought it would look.
Dr Leaf goes on to say,"Awareness is the first step to making any positive changes in your life. It’s also one of the most painful steps because it forces us to be honest and admit something about ourselves that we don’t want to admit or see due to pride or embarrassment. But I really encourage you today and everyday to face the brutal reality so you can change it!"
You can not choose most of the events in your life. You can not undo the bad decisions. You can not control the bad decisions of others. You are who you are with all of your strengths and weaknesses and you are loved unconditionally. You can choose what you let define you. You can choose forgiveness and to walk free from bitterness.
Whether you are seeking to receive forgiveness for yourself (from God who freely gives) or to extend it to others, forgiveness is a choice and it is also a process. Our prayer is that you find that path to forgiveness and hope and healing...it is a journey as well. God peels back layers at a time... we are His masterpiece that He is crafting and it is an ongoing work until the day we leave this earth.
(This quote is based on Dr Leaf's new book, "Think, Learn, Succeed". And the later from Lysa Lynsterom based on her book, "It's Not Supposed to Be This Way".)