A lot of our focus this week has been about recognizing our negative thoughts – the lies we believe – and turning them around to reveal a positive truth. That is an incredibly good and helpful practice in recognizing the masterpiece of God’s creation in each of us. But sometimes, when we become aware of a negative thought and take a closer look at it, we find that the other side of the lie is not necessarily a positive, but instead a more constructive way of viewing the negative. We are human after all, and eventually, we’re bound to stumble across something we do actually need to work on. This happened to me recently.
I spent a morning with Lisa, filming the vlog we shared on Monday. In our conversation afterwards, we stumbled across one of my lies. Lisa said something along the lines of, “Pendrak, you are deep!” and I automatically pulled back from that. I demurred, suggesting that maybe I was capable of deep thought periodically but that deep feelings weren’t my thing. Lisa declared that a lie and I was immediately and intensely uncomfortable. I actually teared up a bit as I continued my denials – I’m not relational, I struggle to connect, I don’t know how to do the feelings thing. She continued to suggest that this wasn’t the truth and I finally acknowledged that I needed to sit with it for a bit.
On the way home, I turned the thought over in my head a few times and realized that I was believing the lie that I am incapable of feeling deeply instead of acknowledging the truth that I am afraid of feeling deeply. Which rocked me to my core. I have long felt incomplete in pretty much all of my relationships – including my relationship with God. There is a missing depth that I have struggled to explain, even as I knew it wasn’t quite right. I have believed that I process cognitively rather than emotionally, that I am pragmatic rather than nurturing, and that I am simply not capable of the deep connection that seems to come so easily to those around me. In my faith walk, I have decided at a brain level to believe and to follow, while always struggling a bit at the heart level. I have listened to others talk about their faith and wondered at their passion, feeling separate from it. I have pondered this disconnect over and over again, and every time walked away thinking that maybe this is just how I’m built. At the same time, I've struggled to reconcile this thought with the knowledge that God created all of us for relationship. How could I not be built for it?
To consider now that fear, a fear I wasn’t even aware of, has held me back is overwhelming. The magnitude of that…the realization that it has impacted every relationship...is huge. My first instinct is to make a plan to fix it. But that doesn’t work here. If I knew how to fix it, one would assume I would have done so some time ago. I have absolutely no idea what to do next. So I did, and will continue to do, the only thing there is to do.
“God, I am willing to see things differently. I am willing to feel deeply.”
And now I wait with a new awareness, to see what happens next. I don’t know what that will be, but I know that already I am beginning to let go of the belief that I am somehow “wrong” or “incomplete,” and starting to latch on to the possibility of new life in my relationships and in my faith. It’s exciting. And a little terrifying.
2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” For most of us, this doesn’t happen all at once. It’s a process of discovery and unlearning old habits. It’s slow and painful. The truth is that we are masterpieces created by God AND we are imperfect and eternally in progress. And somehow, the two are not mutually exclusive. When you come across a truth masquerading as a lie, allow yourself to trade condemnation in for conviction. Let go of the old shame and guilt and make room for the new growth and life. Claim that promise for yourself. The new is HERE!
Jenn is a book-reading, quietly nerdy introvert who has, one choice at a time, managed to completely surround herself with chaos. Wife to one incredible man, and homeschooling-mama to three crazy-awesome boys, life is almost never quiet...but in each day there are moments - brief pauses in the crazy - and it is there that she finds God. He is in a quiet breeze through the trees, in a one-on-one conversation, in a lingering glance at a sleeping child's face. It is enough.