Monday, April 21, 2014

Peeling off the Labels


When I look in the mirror, what do I see? To what do I attribute my identity?

To get ready for my upcoming mission trip to India, we've been asked to "tell our story," and I'm struggling a lot with that. While I know that being a Christian allows me to walk in grace, to leave behind shame and guilt and to see myself in all the beauty that God seems me (Easter was/is a good reminder of all that)... I don't always feel that way and struggle to really embrace His truth about who I am.

Instead, I think of all the labels I wear--daughter, sister, teacher, writer, friend, ex-girlfriend, Miss (versus Mrs.)--and I see a lot of failure.

Failure as a daughter when I think of my years of rebellion and disobedience, when I don't call enough, or feel known by my parents (or even really know them). Failure as a sister because of all the years we lost being the closest friends we could be, and how I often take my siblings for granted. Failure as a teacher when I snap at kids or feel fed up and tired and want to quit, when I know I'm far from a favorite or I'm not seen as fun. Failure as a writer... not using my journalism degree and the many stories that have been started but stopped before completion. Failure as a friend as I've grown distant from many and struggle to build new ones. Failure as a girlfriend because I have always ended up as the ex; and never by my choice. Failure as a Miss, because well... I'm pushing 30. Shouldn't I be a Mrs?

And perhaps the biggest label I wear and feel like I don't live up to is that of a Christian. I've been one pretty much all my life, and yet... I don't feel prayerful enough, I don't think I spend enough time in the Word, I'm not bold about sharing my faith...

LIES! I know these are all just lies from the Devil. But they are such easy lies to listen to. And right now I'm struggling to ignore them as I think back to the darkest parts of my story. Thinking of my failures, my missteps, isn't making me feel joy or thankfulness like I imagine it would (because shouldn't I feel that if I truly feel forgiven, if I truly believe that "as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed [my] transgressions" (Psalm 103:12)).

A few weeks ago, I was at a women's event at church and the speaker took some time to talk specifically to the single ladies. Which could have easily been horrible and so focused on our singleness. But since instead focused on our purpose. And how we shouldn't allow ourselves to be in bondage to labels that make us feel inadequate. Our lives should be defined by God and a God-defined life is a life of focus.

Focus purely on Him.

Hard to do if I'm focusing on all the lies Satan feeds as I look in the mirror each day.

So... first... I'm covering my mirror with verses and truths that come from God. That way each day I wake up, I can give myself new labels to hold on to and identify with.

Secondly... I plan to write. I'm not very good at confessing, but maybe that's what I need to do. Pour out all the guilt and shame I'm holding in so I can be free of it. Whether the confessions will ever go beyond me, my journal and God, we'll see. But it's a start. And eventually, I pray I'll be bold enough to share all parts of my story.

But most importantly, I need to remember that Satan often makes things harder as God tries to free us. And so while I will celebrate God in this "wilderness." When I feel despair, I will call on His name. I will give thanks and praise Him because there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 1:8).

And I am in Christ.




 

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