With another year behind us, we are confronted with what our expectations and goals for the New Year should be. I've never really found myself with goals about weight loss or minimizing or self-care. My number one goal has always been to be a less broken person; to be able to connect to my emotions less reactively, to create thought patterns that are wholesome and lovely and freeing, and to be content in all circumstances.
Like most, I was handed a lot of baggage, and then threw on another hefty load from poor decision-making and the destructive pleasures I buried my hurts with. I had a breaking point when I was 21 - alone and pregnant. This breaking point was really a time when I was forced to sit in the mess that my life had become, and to cry out to the savior of my soul to rescue me into His arms and kingdom. I was met, accepted, loved, and healed in so many ways. There was still a lot of undoing to follow, and I feel that I have never really processed the chaos of my life properly, healthily.
As a believer, I sometimes drown in the guilt of having to struggle with things that I know Christ died to set me free from. Did that mean that I wasn't doing something right? Was I not doing enough? Was I doing too much and standing in the way? Was I really a disciple? Because my emotions seemed ignorant of discipline and loyalty. I began to feel like the hypocrites that everyone despises. I don't want to profane the name of God because of my brokenness. I don't want to preach one thing with my lips, and another with my life. I'm not thinking in terms of perfection here either. It's not about slight mishaps and small apologies. I'm speaking of deep character issues that have the force of a hurricane; the unkempt emotions that destroy and tear down and rear up in defiance to my heart's deepest desires.
Romans 7:15 speaks so tragically to my heart when Paul says that he does all of the things he despises, and doesn't practice the ways that he desires to live. It is the sinful nature that draws us back to the darkness, to the gaping holes of our brokenness, and to make us feel shameful in the process. But since I've been redeemed, why am I still a slave to the sinful nature? Can I change? I have been crying out for God to meet me in this place of fearful questioning, and this is what he has shared with me so far.
- I cannot live by moralism. I cannot use behavior modification to permanently alter my heart. My desires have to change, and the only way that can happen is through the person of Christ. We cannot free ourselves in a context of slavery. We cannot live in brokenness and claw our way out.
- Change comes when my communion with God grows. It's all about submission.
- I have to rid myself of plans and resolutions of healing, and let the Master Healer have his rightful place in my life.
A person doesn't have to forfeit therapy and friendships and all of the other emotionally healthy habits of life in order to be fully dependent on God to meet us in our need. But we've got to find him central to all of those things. We need to listen more attentively to His voice, ask for His guidance, and have the obedience to follow through.
My resolve for 2017, is more of a revolution - it's a bold stance for my dependency on God to increase, for my own voice to decrease, and to give myself more pause between stimulus and reaction. Join me in accepting freedom, allowing the healing process to root us firmly, and to offer our health and love to every other person we encounter.
Happy New Year!