I am starting to get it. All I ever had to do was leave that heavy, burden laden robe next to the garments Jesus left behind and roll away the stone and simply walk out. But I just couldn’t do it. I could not leave all my victim-ness behind. I did not even realize it was separate from me.
I wore it like a robe, a fitted robe, tailored just for me, like skin. It got heavier and more elaborate as the years wore on and with every new hurt, new trauma, new perceived attack, new circumstance, I sewed on another patch to my fitted, tailored victim-ness robe. Another label woven into my already impenetrable tapestry that I wore, that I saw the world through, that I breathed through. It was all one, each hurt triggering all the rest as if they were all one entity,an extension of me and completely and blindly defining me.
Child hood sexual abuse- victim, shame, lies,….. stitch, stitch, stitch,
Marriages failed- adultery, battered,cheated,angry… stitch, stitch, stitch,
Parenting mistakes- failure, guilt,… stitch, stitch, stitch
Anorexia- mental illness,physically sick, broken, twisted,starving… stitch, stitch, stitch
Anger and bitterness- stressed,bitchy, angry, irritable,… stitch, stitch, stitch
Depression-sadness, loss, hopelessness, medicated… stitch, stitch, stitch
Lupus- sick and weak, useless, washed up,in pain all the time,… stitch, stitch, stitch…
and on and on. The thread that holds it all together is fear stitching one lie after another together, disguised as faith, decorated with tiny little trinkets of scripture so that it looks good on the outside while hiding my sin stitched tightly on the inside.
Disguised because I believed that I was carrying all this around for God to use someday as if my suffering could save HIM. I somehow allowed myself to believe that all this brokenness could redeem me from the painful memories, broken brainwaves and twisted views left behind by violence, lies and injustices. It was all I had ever known and at some point, I’m not sure when, I chose to be it. I chose to carry it with me and wrap myself up in it everyday and tell myself that this was my testimony, my tool chest, my life mission. But the truth is, I am just scared of what happens when I hand over that robe to God. If I trust Him to define me, I don’t know what that will be and I am terrified of being naked,exposed and vulnerable. It is all I have ever known, it is all I have ever thought about. I am still holding onto that robe because I think God owes me something for the pain I have been through and the suffering I have experienced and I want him to make good on it. What a moron I am! So Entitled that I think the God of angel armies owes me; as if I have rights in a world that He owns and created. Even so I shook my fist at Him and demanded answers; arrogantly screaming the one question that had to be answered; when would my justice come? why would HE not redeem me and allow me to use all that my heart had held onto for His sake? Why would He not use me to reach others?
His answer shook me. It broke my heart. It trampled on all of my demands and humbled me to the point that I could have landed nowhere else but on my knees.
His Answer was this….
Because you still think this is about you. Because your testimony is about your glory, not mine. Because you still believe that what happened to you when you were 7 is a factor in my love for you. Because you are still selfish, and self centered and self serving.
and BAM! Face to the floor.
About a year ago, I stopped sewing patches on that robe, but I didn’t take it off. I stood still for the first time in my life and began to listen. I don’t know if I stopped because I was just that smart or if it was because the robe has simply become too heavy for me to lug around anymore, but for the first time in my life, I took my eyes off of the never-ending, busy, noisy struggle of trying to get justice for my pain and listened. I am starting to catch a glimpse of what it means to surrender to God. I thought that all my suffering was all about service to Him, but it was about service to myself. I thought I would be useful because of my long list of tragedies and traumas, but it is not in those lies that I am worthwhile.
He says I am new, A new Creation. Transformed. Forgiven. Reconciled. Blood bought.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Now I am on a precipice, a jumping off place and its scary. It’s about change. It’s about stepping into the identity that Christ has for me and leaving behind the one that I used to keep Him from getting too close, the kind of close that allows me to hear Him. The one that says it’s time to be real with people,with myself and with my God. The one that calls me to repentance. Even if I get nothing out of it, even it it’s just about obedience.
Although I am Still wearing that heavy, hideous robe, I am ready to shed it. My heart and my body are turning toward the entrance to the tomb, almost ready to roll away that stone and walk out with Christ. But first I must lay down that robe and leave it with the burial garments. I will miss it. It is so familiar. I know how to wear it, Without it I feel completely exposed.
Naked. Exposed. Vunerable….Not sure how the people at church will react to a naked me… I’ll sit in the back…
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