Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It Is For Freedom...

There are no words to express what the last three months have been like in our family. Rather than share the details, I'll just say a quick and heartfelt thank you to those who were praying and supporting us through this very difficult, sad time in our life.
The Lord has used this time in tremendous ways to grow my husband and I individually and as a couple, drawing us ever nearer to Him. I wish I could say that I've taken every opportunity to build my faith or 'do the right thing', but that's just not reality. I am imperfect, totally.

But this time has been one of change and growth, as I said, and in a conversation with a close friend recently, the question was asked (I paraphrase here), "Why is it exactly that you haven't done anything with your life?" Said friend proceeded to say, "You're a treasure! You're freakin' brilliant and I want to know why you're wasting yourself doing laundry when you have something to say to the world!"

The answer S., is captivity. Which is what got me thinking. What am I captive to? What am I a slave to? From what do I need independence?
This brings me right back around to Proverbs 31, which I talked about last time, because while so many women interpret Proverbs 31 as a beautiful picture of what a woman can be, there are plenty of women, such as myself, who read it as an impossible list of qualities we can never hope to fully attain no matter how hard we try.
My captivity, in spite of my new understanding of this one scripture, stemmed from this same manner of thinking. I have been captive to my own expectations of what my life is supposed to look like, captive to a deep need to meet the expectations of others,
captive to an ideal, captive to a standard, captive to imagined perfection, captive to the approval of others.
And what I find now, is that I have backed myself into a prison cell of self-criticism and self-doubt, knowing that I can never become the impossible ideal I had created in my own mind.
I've spoken before about non-conformity, about my desire to 'take off the hats' of all the personas I was trying to portray, 'perfect wife', 'perfect mother', etc, but clearly this process is more long term than I previously thought and is a journey which must be made with the God who designed me in the first place, pre all my ridiculous interference in the process.

I have since asked myself the question, What if I were free? What if I no longer needed to prove myself to everyone around me? What if I could forgive people? And truly love people? And have a soft heart full of compassion and mercy and the ability to use my gifts without a debilitating fear of failure? What then?
Well then I would write. And I would love fully, expecting nothing. And I could dream impossible dreams without fear of them never coming true. I could cry when I was hurt and laugh when I was filled with joy and release all the painted and wild hopes that have been corralled within me for all these years, waiting and watching for liberty to dawn.
I have spent most of my adult life trying to become something I was never meant to be, trying to conform to an unspoken standard, trying desperately to make everyone proud by attempting to become a quiet-spirited, humble, sweet 'lady' or else meet some specific guideline of perfection for the group that I was in.

But beneath all of my clamoring for perfection and admiration, there was a frustratingly loud voice that would start singing at the most inappropriate times. It sang of courage and love, dignity and hope and honor. It sang in the night when, as a little girl, I listened to my parents fighting. It sang as I wept in the recovery room of an abortion clinic in '98. It sang and sang and sang as I said my wedding vows and held my children in my arms for the first time. And the song that it sang was freedom.

I've said before that my number one rule is Love God and Love Others. Can I be free to do that if I'm trapped in a debilitating cycle of trying to please the people around me, trying to avoid failure and in the process failing utterly? What else holds me captive? To what am I a slave? What keeps me from reaching for the dreams that He has placed in me? He came that I might have life, and life abundantly, so...why don't I?

Because I have never fully understood my value. Not the value in who I would someday be when He was done changing me, the value in my potential; but the value in the person that I am right this minute with no make up on and yesterday's mousse still in my hair. I have been so easily able to see it in everyone but myself and this must be the day when that begins to change because all those wild and painted hopes crave freedom, and so do I.

I can, even now, hear that voice rising up, singing it's song of freedom- and the voice that sings is His.

"The Lord, your God, is with you, He is mighty to save, He takes great delight in you, He will quiet you with his Love, He will rejoice over you with singing... ." Zeph 3:17

1 comment:

jkroft said...

You have spoken out what lurks beneath the surface of the ocean that is me. Thanks for being obedient to your calling--writing! As you pour out, I am filled up. I love you and I rejoice at your new put-back-togetherness! Aunt Jenny xoxo