I was at She Speaks the first time I met Emily Freeman, and I thought she was the cutest, funniest, quirkiest (and I LOVE quirky) girl I had ever met. I still feel the same.
But after reading Grace for the Good Girl and then Simply Tuesday, I thought she might be my artsy, more intellectual alter-ego. Seriously, the way she processes life has mirrored mine in so many ways.
Simply Tuesday was just the right book at just the right time for me—just as I fell into a pit of despair about my own book—and I’m forever grateful for Emily’s words of encouragement found attached to the spine of a great read. Here’s an excerpt she’s allowed me to share. Welcome, Emily!
One day last week I’m struggling through those old kinds of struggles that never seem to fully go away— self-acceptance, over-thinking, fear. My mind cycles through them as they sit on the lazy Susan of my soul. Pick one up, turn the wheel, put it back again.
So the Susan is spinning at the rate of the world and John walks in to my sunroom office to ask me a simple question and I snap at him for interrupting me as if he had just told me off or insulted my hair or said I looked fat. In fact, he only asked me if I needed anything from the store.
My response has nothing to do with him and everything to do the discouragement festering in my own soul, but I immediately feel both terrible as well as strangely justified.
After we talk through it, after I apologize, after I turn back to my desk to continue my work, I am forced to face the state of my soul. My first response is shock—I can’t believe I just did that. My second response is shame—What a terrible person I am.
Shock and shame are my most natural and immediate responses when I make a bad choice or have a bad reaction. My shock and shame response is a better indicator of the condition of my own soul than having the bad thought or choosing poorly in the first place. If I feel shocked and ashamed when I snap at my husband, maybe I am assuming I can handle life on my own and don’t need redemption, not really. And so when my soul has a bad idea, I can’t believe it….
Shock and shame keep my head a clean distance from my heart. That is a dangerous place to live. I don’t want this kind of disconnected life. The answer isn’t to shame myself into better things. That never works.
Instead, I want to stop being shocked by my own capacity for terrible thoughts and bad behavior. Until I stop being shocked, I will continue to gasp and gawk at every foul thought that comes into my mind. I will constantly point to some imaginary version of myself and then return to my real self and the incongruence between the two will bring only dizziness, discouragement, and hopelessness. My soul simply can’t survive the whiplash.
I have an insane capacity for jealousy, selfishness, hoarding, backstabbing, criticism, revenge, and procrastination. The answer to dealing with the shocking thoughts and behavior I’m capable of is to refuse to be shocked in the first place.
Instead, confess and turn toward love. Be loved. Be small. Belong to Christ.
I want to learn to keep company with my weakness even as I practice walking in the New Way of Christ. The only way I know to do this is to confess, both my sin and Christ’s righteousness–to continually accept my capacity for sin, but embrace my potential for health, restoration love, forgiveness, patience, and hope in Christ.
I want to remember I am capable of making bad choices while also bearing in mind the baffling choice of God: he chose to make his home in me even though he knew exactly what he was getting himself into.
I want to always see my ability to choose the old but rejoice in my freedom not to.
I want to be aware of the darkness but identify with the light.
Refuse to be shocked, confess your smallness, and receive grace, forgiveness, renewal, and belief.
That’s some crazy good truth, isn’t it? If you’d like more of where that came from, leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Simply Tuesday and Breaking Up with Perfect. I hope YOU win!
Also, to connect with the cutest, funniest, quirkiest God-girl you’ve ever met, visit Emily at her blog by clicking here.
And don’t forget to get all your ducks in a row to be part of my FREE online book study of Breaking Up with Perfect starting August 1. Click here for all the details and to sign up.