I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl.
My personality leans naturally toward sunny, and joy seems to be a gift God has woven into my DNA. I tend to be able to let things run off me, and I’m not offended easily.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not completely Polly Anna. Just like you, I’ve had pain and losses and disappointments, but I’ve always rebounded pretty easily.
Until 2016. 2016 kicked my booty.
In multiple areas of my life, I experienced some things that broke my heart, and instead of settling in to let God heal and reassemble, I wrestled. I cried. I sank into the hurt, and as I embraced the hurt instead of God’s healing, I fought a loosing battle with…
I didn’t stay in these dark places all day every day, but slowly over the course of the year, I was moving towards decline instead of growing towards incline. I covered it pretty well, though, so that most around me didn’t know the darkness I was experiencing.
Finally, in the weeks before Christmas, I confessed to Barry and a friend, “I feel like I’m walking along the edge of a cliff. I’m ok right this minute, but I feel like I could fall off into a major depression at any moment.”
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever let your circumstances overwhelm you? I knew that’s what I had done.
I let my circumstances overwhelm me, and only I can let that happen. Still, I couldn’t figure out how to stop.
The day after I had confided the depths of my hurt to Barry, I sat in the chair where I meet Jesus every morning, and I asked Him, “How did I get here? And how do I get out?”
Gently, He reminded me of two blog posts that I had read in the previous weeks, one from a wise mentor and one from a young woman who is the daughter of a friend. Then He whispered into my heart with a voice as clear as yours across the phone lines, “Amy, you’ve let your identity slide back into what you do. Your identity isn’t in what you do. It’s to be in Christ.”
It’s so simple, isn’t it? Even baby Christians know this is the way it’s supposed to work, but I forgot somehow… even though I pecked out these words on my keyboard in 2014,
“When tasks rise to the top of my priorities, I stop seeing myself as the richly loved daughter of King Jesus and start feeling like the stepdaughter dressed in rags scrubbing the floor under her Father’s harsh, critical gaze. I start to see God as an unrecognizable taskmaster, and I begin to believe I’m only created to do His work…. Viewing God simply as a divine project manager skews our view of ourselves into dangerously prideful territory, where the work of our hands is exalted above the work of God’s Spirit. The path to the perfectionism pit is short when we trust our own methods and focus on our product.” ~Breaking Up with Perfect
Even though it was hard to admit that I needed to learn an old lesson again, I thanked God for clearly showing me how to get back on the path to joy. I asked for His forgiveness in allowing my identity to be anyplace but in the safe and loving arms of Jesus, and I asked Him to change my heart.
That’s when a miracle happened.
I’m not one to bandy around lightly a weighty word like “miracle”, friends. I know I experienced a true miracle and the healing of my heart. Many times God heals over time, but this time, I got out of my chair almost physically lighter for having let go of the heft of my own responsibility and shifting into Christ’s rest.
And yet I worried… I was worried that it might be temporary. Or that the sadness might come back the next day. Or that I couldn’t live in this joy, but I’ve experienced a permanent change of heart.
Jesus helped me bounce back.
Are you struggling with the hurt of unexpected circumstances? The pain of being misunderstood? The despair of doubting your calling?
I have one step for you to take. Do a little heart check. Where is your identity resting? Is it tethered to the crumbly underpinnings of your own work? Your own efforts? Your own calling?
Or is it attached firmly to the sure foundation of Christ– a place of rest and safety and unfailing love?
Taking that one step, checking where my identity lay, and asking God to move it back where it belonged set me back on the right track. I believe it can help you too!
In picking apart how I got into the pit and how God helped me out, He also let me see the growth and good that has happened this year. Please hang with me next week to hear about a major victory that might be just what you need too!
Congratulations to Katharine (1.5.17 10:35 am), the winner of a copy of Overwhelmed!
If you read this, and your first reaction was, “Oh pooh! I really wanted to win that book!” can I make a suggestion? Go and buy it today anyway. There’s still an opportunity to get the companion planner for free when you buy it, so click on the title above and see all the details.